Monday, March 31, 2008
Sunday, March 30, 2008
Today I intend to at least take care of the grass/weed situation. I have a reel push mower and an electric mower. The weeds are too tall to use the push mower so I have to use the electric contraption. About an hour ago I pulled out the extension cords and set up the mower. Big fat raindrops fell on my head. Even I know not to use and electric lawnmower in the rain. I put everything under the porch and came back inside to wait. After just a few big fat raindrops it is all clear again and not too wet to mow. I went back outside and set it all up again. Big fat rain drops fell on my head. I put it all back on the porch and came back inside. No more raindrops. COME ON!! I go back outside. Baby Monkey gets stung by a wasp. Come back inside and doctor him up. Go back outside set up the lawnmower and start mowing around the grape hyacinths. Then KERBLAAM - Big lightening bolt and rumbling thunder. Run back inside and say a prayer of thanks for not being struck dead by lightening. Look outside. No way. Absolutely NO FREAKING WAY -SUNSHINE!!! I'm not falling for it this time. We will just have to be the redneck lawn of the month until the clouds are completely gone.
On a brighter note, I had my most successful sourdough bread results since I was gifted/cursed with the bag of starter. It seems the trick is to leave it in a proofing oven a very long time. Apparently, you cannot rush sourdough bread or my dad.
Saturday, March 29, 2008
We grow cool weather vegetables all winter and rotate out to warm season plants around the first of May. In about four weeks the tomatoes, peppers, squash, corn, okra, beans, and cucumbers will go in. In the meantime the onions and garlic will all be pulled, cleaned, and let to dry out before I store them. I still need to start basil.
Friday, March 28, 2008
Wednesday, March 26, 2008
Tuesday, March 25, 2008
I was asked to help with the landscaping of our county's old Poor Farm. This is a MG project to be done along with several others including rainwater harvesting systems and landscaping around other county buildings.
The farm was established in 1883 to house and provide medical care to the county's paupers. An individual was assigned to the farm after being declared a pauper and were to stay there until they could support themselves or died. Able bodied persons were required to work. Apparently, a few "lazy" people were given train tickets out of Kaufman County and the great State of Texas. A court order was required in order to leave the farm. During 1900 the farm was used as an epidemic camp during a small pox outbreak. Later it was used to showcase new farming technologies.
As we walked around today, I saw a hodgepodge of buildings, equipment, and overgrown fence rows. The old jail, 1960's era I believe, is being used for storage. This building gave me the creepy crawlies. I am not sure what structural problems exist in each of the buildings. Water is the first order of business. We found a spigot, but it is not working. The door to one of the buildings had to be kicked hard in order for us to get in. We found a rusted wrench and a rusted ring of some kind.
My challenge will be to find Earthkind designated plants that might have been available in 1883. A square foot garden is being planned for a fenced in "yard." The goal is to turn this into a museum.
Monday, March 24, 2008
1). I am afraid of my electric sewing machine, electric can openers, electric pencil sharpeners, and motherhood. I have a hand cranked sewing machine and a manual can opener. I am just going to have to deal with the panic attacks and get these monkeys raised.
2). I am eight years older than my Manly Man. Go Debbi!
3). I can still do the splits, right and left leg. Might explain how I bagged Manly Man.
4). I am the oldest of seven children. No we are not Catholic. Try going through high school with a constantly pregnant mother - Good times.
5). I don't get my children's jokes. In my defense, the monkeys are only funny when they aren't trying to be funny.
6). I bake bread and recently started growing my own sour dough starter. Now I am sort of gardening in the refrigerator. Manly man and the monkeys are getting worried.
7). I get paid to garden. It seems kind of wrong to love my job this much.
8). I hide chocolate all over the house. Really, it is hidden everywhere. If something happens to me y'all need to come over here and help find all of it.
9.) I can't sing. Out of meanness, I call my sisters and sing happy birthday to their answering machines.
10). I love to pants the monkeys. It's fun and they keep coming back.
Okay, I tag Joy at GardenJoy4Me, Sherry at Sherrys Zoo and Garden, Kurt at All Kurt all the Time, Jack at Jackamunga, and Matt&Jen at Our First Garden. Please tell us ten things about yourself and don't make a voodoo doll in my image to punish me because I tagged you.
Sunday, March 23, 2008
Friday, March 21, 2008
Thursday, March 20, 2008
On that note, I met a long lost cousin today and it was great. We reminisced and had a wonderful visit. I remembered her only as a little blond haired blue eyed girl. I recall wanting her to be at my Mawmaw's house when I went to visit. One time we got in major trouble for going to a creek and finding a snake. We have been out of contact for decades. She grew into a lovely woman and I am glad I overcame my nervousness to reconnect with her today. Families are strange creatures and ours is right up there in the weirdness rankings. I had to remind myself that we were the children when it all fell apart. It is wonderful to let go of the last generation's rancor. It felt like building a bridge back into a part of my family.
Very happy to see you S. Feel free to comment L + mystery uncle.
Thanks you sister#2 for making it all possible. Thank you sister#3 for your support. Thanks to Jack and Eman for your adorable cuteness and ice breaking abilities.
Wednesday, March 19, 2008
Tuesday, March 18, 2008
I read a really good post on Poor Richard's Almanac this morning. Check it out. I truly believe that it is essential that we all know where our food comes from. If you are going to eat meat, and I do, respect the animal that it came from. Learn about soil. Learn how we are all connected. Conserve water. Make compost.
SAVE THE EARTH. IT IS THE ONLY PLANET WITH CHOCOLATE!!!!
I feel better.
Have a Nice Day
Sunday, March 16, 2008
Saturday, March 15, 2008
Friday, March 14, 2008
Then we transplanted huge Lantana. Here is my wonderful new helper. She is not afraid of Lantana or falling or her backside. I got a sunburn.
Then I snuck over to the Monkey's Uncle's house to get rid of the evidence/lantana prunings. I got stuck and therefore got caught.
Now for a link and a nod.
I would like to say a few words about Dee at Red Dirt Ramblings . She was one of the first garden bloggers who commented on my blog. She also encouraged me to join Blotanical, which has been a blast. She posted about rose pruning yesterday. The article is very very well done. She gave very clear instructions on rose pruning and posted pictures to illustrate. She knows her stuff. Please go over and give her a visit.
Thursday, March 13, 2008
Let me tell you about her. She is beautiful. She is a great mom to Jack, the happiest seven month old baby in our family. She teaches English to high school punks. She never corrects my spelling , grammar, or punctuation on this blog. I know it is bugging her, but she never says a word. I can sometimes feel her cringing (I am pretty sure the colon was not there in my version of the header, oops). Obviously, she is very creative and knows her way around a computer better than I do. She is a gardener. In her backyard she has grown a butterfly garden. She taught me how to do this and now we have butterfly attracting plants also. Her husband is my monkeys' favorite toy. She is learning to sew. She knows all the best books to read. She can make our dad be quiet.
Sometimes I sneak over to her town and visit her baby while she is working. I am going to give her more plants and probably a can of worms.
Love you Buddin Anne
Wednesday, March 12, 2008
First gather three, three gallon black plastic plant containers. Place about four inches of shredded, wet paper in the bottom of the first container. Add a pound or two of composting worms and compost. To this add your vegetable peels and waste, fruit peels and waste, egg shells, coffee grounds, paper coffee filters, and tea bags. Place the second container inside of the first without pressing down. We don't want to squash the worms. The second container acts as a lid. When the first container is two-thirds full begin filling the second container using the third container as a lid. When the second container is two -thirds full begin filling the third container. The worms will move up through the drain holes into the higher container, just like they do in the commercial worm composting bins. Keep the whole thing damp, but not soaking wet. By the time the third container is full, the contents of the first container should be compost and worm castings. I place the whole thing in a pot saucer. This will catch any liquid that comes through. The liquid is compost tea and can be used to water and feed your plants. Keep this in the shade. It will get too hot for the worms if it is in the sun.
Tuesday, March 11, 2008
I like to use an inexpensive potting soil mixed with good compost at a ratio of 2/3 potting mix and 1/3 compost. To this I add a little bone meal and cotton seed meal. If the container is large, I will fill the bottom of it with cedar mulch. This keeps the container a little lighter.
I feel like the most important part of a container is the hole in the bottom of it. However, here in Texas in the summer, containers dry out fast. During the hot months the saucer under the container is important as it will hold some water to help the container stay moist.
I like to fertilize my containers once a week with a diluted liquid fertilizer. I used fish emulsion. It stinks, but it works.
Container size is important for practical as well as aesthetic reasons. If the scale of the pot is off, the arrangement will be off. If a plant, for instance a grass, has a large root system the container needs to be larger. Tall plants need a heavier container or the can be easily blown over.
Finally, the fancy pot. Pick three to five types of plants; one that trials, one that is mounding and full, and one that is tall. For this time of year, I have nasturtium, trailing snap dragons, and a sweet myrtle. The sweet myrtle is in the middle, the snap dragon in a circle around the myrtle, and the nasturtium at the edge to trail over the side of the pot. I would take a picture, but the nasturtium is tiny. It will be prime in about three weeks.
Oh I saw something cute the other day. Someone had taken old paint cans and drilled holes in the bottom for drainage. They potted them up, hung them on a hook by the handle - instant hanging basket.
Can you think of anything else I should add?
Monday, March 10, 2008
You still have a few days to pick your gardening super power. Go to the top right corner for the poll. For some reason I became confused before and typed left a few times. I do know my right from my left. Guess which side of my brain I use?
Sunday, March 9, 2008
N's rainwater harvesting set up is very low tech. They simply catch the water in buckets under the drip line of a gardening shed. We dip our watering cans in and take the water to the greenhouse. The large tank is a recycled tank that held some sort of food product, maybe oil. It could be attached to a gutter down spout. N's husband simply uses a sump pump to syphon the water from the buckets into the large tank. I am sure this is more important in the summer as a means of mosquito control. We have not used the large tank at all this winter. There is a hose attached to the large tank. From there, the water is gravity fed through the hose to our plants. There is not much water pressure, but we don't need no stinking water pressure(sorry, the silly had to come out somewhere). Because it is opaque, I have not seen any algae in it so far. If it were clear plastic, it would need to be painted to avoid algae growth.
If you want a more sophisticated system, they are out there for sale. These set ups have a first catch tube to keep the main tank clean, use guttering to collect the water, and often have electric pumps to allow for drip irrigation or soaker hose use. There is also an equation that lets you know how much water you can collect per area of roof and inches of rain. I don't like to do math, but from what I have seen it is always A LARGE AMOUNT OF WATER.
The bucket system works great as do a couple of rain barrels. Hope this helps. If you need more information, I can find it.