Friday, July 31, 2009

Fire and Lemons

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The garden clean up is rolling right along. My mom told me that it looks better than ever. This is high praise from my mom. Audio books have changed my life. I can work for hours and not even notice because the story keeps me entertained.

Tonight I worked for about an hour cleaning up the tomato row. Only two of the plants are still alive. The others were pulled out. Because they had been infected with a fungus, I knew not to compost them. I put them in the little chiminea and set them on fire. Then Middle Monkey burned some old rose canes I had trimmed a few weeks ago. The first picture is the fire.

The second picture is my Meyer lemon tree. Several of the lemons are beginning to ripen. The monkeys are eying them suspiciously. I hope I get a couple for myself.

Tomorrow I go to the meet and greet at Eden's Garden the CSA farm I am joining with a working share. I will post all about it tomorrow.

Have a great weekend.

Thursday, July 30, 2009

Captain Garden

Here is Captain Garden
Protector of potatoes
Champion of chives
Defender of dill
Warrior against weeds

He is standing on the cedar stump I stole from the neighbors curb.

Feel free to add your own silly knight stuff.
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"I say bow to me my little peasant flowers! Kiss my feet and I may feed and water you, Or off with your dead heads! I am tired of looking at your wilted leaves! Bloom or I shall compost you!" By Cindee
Captain Garden, 2009 July 31

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

First Lemon Basil Harvest of Summer 09

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Nothing smells better than fresh picked lemon basil. We will behaving pesto and Italian fried chicken for dinner. I will also make a tomato, mozzarella and basil salad with olive oil and balsamic vinegar. Maybe a bowl of tomato basil soup for a snack this afternoon.

Have y'all got any great basil recipes?

Sunday, July 26, 2009

Garden Clean Up In 10 Parts

Part I. Time 1:28 pm.

The weather looks like it will finally cooperate and not scald our skin whenever we try to step outside. The forecast shows that we should have five days of cooler cloudy weather with the possibility of rain.

My little garden and flower beds around the house are in pitiful shape. The heat has kept me inside or severely shortened the amount time I can stay outside. I love to garden, but I am not willing to risk heat stroke for it.

I intend to use these next five days well. Today, I want to clean up as much of the little garden as possible. So far I have done one of ten sections that need to be cleaned up. These sections are seven raised beds and three borders. So far today, I finished one section. This is were Senor Werm lives along with the Mexican mint marigold, leaks, comfrey and a strangely still living stand of collards.

I will update this post when I finish part II. I hope to get the whole garden weeded and mulched as well as cleaning up the paths all in one day. Wish me luck.

Part II. Time 2:33 pm

The last of the four squares of the knot is cleaned up. Wish I had enough Austin rock to finish the edging. Maybe after I pay for all the back to school stuff. Once I get the three borders and the walkways cleaned up, half of the garden will be finished. This is the first part of the garden that is seen when we walk out on the deck. It is also the part of the garden I take pictures of most often.

Taking a break to eat veggies and steal a couple of stumps.

Part III. Time 3:59 pm.

One of the borders is now cleaned up. It was full of hack berry suckers. I hate hack berry suckers. This is one of the borders were Middle Monkey grows his hardy hibiscus. The two on this side are pitiful looking because of the weed infested dry soil in the beds. Hopefully, they will be happier now that the weeds and hack berries are gone and that there is a nice thick layer of grass clippings mulch put down. Back out to do border #2.

Part IV. Time 5:22 pm.

I weedeated the walkways. Is weedeated a word? I think Nola used it last week so it must be a word. I think completing the whole garden in one day was a little ambitious. I will finish the last border and maybe call it a day.

Part V. Time 6:21 pm.

Uncle, I cry.

The Bermuda grass is so awful in that border that I am going to have to go back out there and water until the ground is soft enough to pull that stuff out. I've got a blister on my index finger from yanking on it. Plus, the rose bushes kept pulling my pony tail and poking my fingers. I think I may have gotten into some poison ivy and I definitely have a sunburn. Am I pitiful enough yet?

Tomorrow, I will get back out there and finish it up. The other part of the garden should not be nearly as hard to clean up as the side I worked on today. There are no stinking hack berries on the other side of the garden.

Enough for today, have a nice evening.

Friday, July 24, 2009

Thank You for Being My Friends

The recent medical revelations and acknowledgment of my body's need for care has made me a little nostalgic and reflective today. I have been imagining and preparing for the next stage of my life for a few months. They boys are not little anymore, I am back to work and Manly and I have discovered our love of traveling together.

Priorities are shifting. Plans and dreams are changing. I no longer want a big house and acres of land. I don't see my future self as rich or influential. I want a pretty home and to be involved in our community. I want to get on a plane and go far away with my man to see and experience different lands and cultures. Instead of taking on the debt of a huge new home and land, I want to pay for college for my boys outright and saddle neither myself nor them with debt for their education.

I want to be thin and healthy again. I want to live as much of my life as I can without physical limitations. Yes, vanity plays a little into this, but I will take advantage of that motivation to reach the goal of a healthy body.

I've been thinking about all the people that have touched my life virtually and face to face since I have started this blogging thing. I count people from all over this country, England, Australia and Japan among my friends. Many of you have shown me opportunities to think outside of my life and into a larger world community. Some of my plants' babies are living and growing in far away gardens and some of your plants' babies are living and growing in my garden right now. Several of you offered support and reassurance regarding my medical situation. For that, I offer a special thank you. (At this point I should begin linking everyone, but there are just too many of you.)

Thanks for being part of my life. I am really looking forward to the future.

Okay, I'm finished being serious now so-

Why do melons have fancy weddings? Because they cantaloupe.

Please forgive me for leaving out my friends in Canada. That we are all "north Americans" thing just let me slip up. Apologies

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Medical Issues

Went to have blood work done as part of our efforts to control my blood pressure and get myself healthy. I had gestational diabetes during each of my pregnancies. Now it looks like the blood sugar monster may be back. My fasting blood sugar was 138. It should be less than 120. This is the highest it has ever been. Now I've got to reevaluate my diet and lifestyle. My knee jerk reaction to this news was to stop at the farmers market and pick up what ever vegetables that we like and didn't already have in the house.

I just had zuccini, yellow squash, tomatoes, onion and garlic braised with just a little montery jack cheese melted on top at the end. It was really good.

Saying bye bye to simple carbs.

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Starting the Fall Garden

My summer garden essentially burned up. I put in the spring garden late again because I cannot seem to make myself pull up the winter veggies when they are not quite done yet. After more than thirty years as a gardener, you would think I would be made of tougher stuff. I still have way to much hope for half producing plants. Maybe this year, I will get over myself.

There are a few corn plants still alive, but the only thriving plants are the peppers, okra, black eyed peas and yard long beans. I started a few tomato plants from seed about three weeks ago. Many of the seedlings were killed off by the 100+ weather and extreme sunlight on our deck. There are four Ladino di Panacchio, one Avivvi and one Mr Stripey still among the living. There are a few stragling survivor tomatoes in the garden. I will clean them up, give them compost and mulch. If they live great.

Today, I am going to start tomato seeds again. I have packets of Avivvi, San Marzano, yellow pear and Ladino di Panacchio. I am going to place the flats in full shade, shift them to morning sun and gradually move them to full sun as they get bigger and stronger. On September 1st, I will put them in the garden and try again. These are going to be the most spoiled tomato plants in the history of Aunt Debbi's Garden. They are going to be diva tomatoes. They will be fed a special diet of worm poo and fish water. Come November, I should be begging for green tomato recipes again. Get ready.

Monday, July 20, 2009

Claire's Quilt

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I finally finished Baby Claire's quilt. She was born last winter and is the youngest daughter of my youngest brother.

We believe that the nine patch squares were pieced by our great grandmother, but nobody knows for sure. It took me months to get back to work on this. I quilted hearts and butterflies into this quilt because I like them and think they are nice in a baby girl's quilt.

Sunday, July 19, 2009

I Have a Gallon of Figs, Now What?

I managed to get the computer working. I had to do this restore thing. It took a long time, but it worked. I haven't tried to use the printer yet, but having the internet back is a relief. What in the world was I going to do with a gallon of figs and no instructions from the webiphere?

If you had a gallon of figs, what would you do with them? Really, I need to know. I've got no clue.

Saturday, July 18, 2009

I Joined a CSA

So here I am in the library. My puter still won't get the interweb, stupid puter. You'd think after several non blogging days I would have something very important to blog about, but no. Seems like I have the heat of summer doldrums.

We did get a little rain and the weather has dropped from a bazillion back into the 90's. Several people in the area of have had serious heat related health issues. I don't go outside after lunch time anymore.

I did join a local CSA farm with a working share membership. What this means is I will work a few hours ever week on the farm for my share of the produce. The farm is Eden's Garden in Balch Springs Texas. They also run a Saturday market. CSA (community supported agriculture) are farms that are supported by the local community. This one is run to provide a living wage for the farmer and provide organically grown produce to members. They also have meat, eggs, and dairy available from other area farmers and ranchers on the market days. I am looking forward to this as our little garden just doesn't give us enough food and I want to concentrate on herbs and cut flowers in it from here on out.

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Modem Death Blog Interruption

My blogging will be temporarily interrupted because of modem death. Will be back as soon as I get another one. I will visit y'all blogs during my breaks at the library.

Happy blogging everyone.

Monday, July 13, 2009

Bogs and Pop Tarts

I gave my bog presentation this morning. Have I ever mentioned that public speaking makes me turn red. I've known these people for six years and I still get nervous speaking in front of them.

The lecture went too quickly and I didn't follow my notes. Basically, I convinced 20 people to avoid bog gardening at all costs. I even had a hard time giving the plants I brought as examples away at the end. The woman who won them in the drawing didn't want them.

Here are things you should not ever do when creating a bog garden.

1. Go find good researched based information and ignore it.

2. Enlist the "help" of three specialists and implement all of their conflicting suggestions. Pots float, mosquitoes have a home, crawdads move in, bog is alkaline, extension agent is unhappy.

3. Put a liner in it with no drainage at all. This creates flooding. Also makes a perfect mosquito and crawdad habitat.

4. Use alkaline compost. This kills plants. (FYI cotton bur compost is alkaline big time)

5. Sink large containers in the bog to hold invasive plants. They will float.

6. Put down flagstone before spreading sand, remove the sandstone repeat.

7. Put in river rock before the bog settles, take all river rock out and add more soil and compost. Repeat.

8. Plant all the plants on the hottest day in September and don't water for two days. This kills plants.

It is actually pretty right now. The hardy hibiscus are blooming. We still need to tweak the plant selections, but it is on its way.

While I gave this little program I received a voice mail. The phone says, "You have one new voicemail. Message marked URGENT." Baby Monkey, "Mom, can I have a pop tart?"

Somebody help me.

Sunday, July 12, 2009

Some People Can Sleep Anywhere

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Baby Monkey and our friend Frank were falling asleep all over the place yesterday afternoon. Camping in 107 degree heat will do that to you. I even left Abby at home. She is an almost completely black German shepherd and I was afraid she would run herself to hard in the sun and overheat. We had a good time, but I did have to take a nap this afternoon to recover. Hope y'all had a great weekend.

I guess I should have warned you about that snake. Sorry. I think it was just a rat snake. There was only mild freaking out. I didn't let the men kill it.

Saturday, July 11, 2009

Cannon Ball

We are camping this weekend. I got to come home last night because I have to work in the library this morning. Tonight, I have to sleep in a tent. Here is Baby Monkey pole standing and dock dunking. Manly and a friend made a tree trunk double seat. They say it will eventually have cup holders. Gotta go to work. See y'all tomorrow if I survive. Have a great weekend.
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Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Sun Salutation

This is what I found in the garden this morning. Moy Grande hibiscus. Isn't it pretty? Yes, that is my hand in the second picture.
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Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Audio Book as Cleaning Aid

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Today was the day to start organizing and cleaning up my house. The worst room is my office/laundry room/sewing nook/workout area/dog kennel. Needless to say this room gets junked up bad. I have my little sewing nook that I just love, but it has been so cluttered and messy that I have not sewn a stitch there since Christmas. Well look at it now all straightened out and organized.

I am not much of of housekeeper. Effieciency and focus elude me. Kathy, my coworker, listens to audio books all the time. She even downloads them to her Ipod. This afternoon, I checked out an audio book. Listening to it while cleaning and organizing makes the work seem to go so much faster and it makes me stay in one room. If I leave the room, I cannot hear the story. Excellent. I think I am going to buy and Ipod to listen to books on while I garden. Maybe I will finally get that show place of a garden I have always dreamed of.

The book is "The Widow of the South" by Robert Hicks. So far, I highly recommend it.

Sunday, July 5, 2009

Welcome to Our Fritillery Factory

The garden is looking pretty ratty. It has been so hot that the only job that is getting done every day is watering. The dill and parsley are going...going...gone to seed. They need to be pulled up and composted. The passion vine has taken over the back fence, several trees and a swing set. It needs to be cut back. A few days ago, I pulled up a dill only to find a little swallowtail caterpillar on it. I put the baby back on another dill and left them all alone. Tonight, I went out to hack back the passion vine only to find it covered up in Gulf Fritillery caterpillars. When I checked on the parsley, looking for more black swallowtails. I found a Gulf Fritillery butterfly drying its wings and getting ready to fly. I hope all of these caterpillars chew the passion vine back significantly. That would make my gardening job a lot easier.

The flowers in the collage are passion flowers and Turk's cap.

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Saturday, July 4, 2009

Pin Cushion

I picked today to begin quilting and working out again. Don't really think they have anything to do with each other. It just seemed like a good day to start doing things again. I have not sewn since Christmas. Somehow, when I don't use things, they get lost. How can they get lost when they have not been touched. I think some Monkey or another has been into my stuff again or maybe it was a Manx. A lot of stuff was pushed off of the back of the sewing table. Looks like the work of a tailless feline to me. One of the missing objects was my pin cushion. I was putting my needles into a little glass saucer my mom's friend made for me. (I really should have taken a picture of it too) The saucer just wasn't right. I needed a pin cushion. There are lots of homemade pin cushion patterns on the Internet. There are some really cute needle holders made from soft drink bottle lids and felt. I may make some of them later. Tonight, I needed an instant pin cushion cuz I'm lazy like that sometimes. The picture above is my roll up pin cushion. I rolled up a rectangle of quilt batting and then rolled the roll in fabric and tied it with crochet thread - viola, pin cushion.
Know of any instant crafts?
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Friday, July 3, 2009

Happy 4th Y'all

Manly and Uncle J. put on quite a show. This is the only half decent picture I was able to snap. I should have shot a video, it was that awesome. Happy 4th y'all.
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Thursday, July 2, 2009

Tomorrow, We Are Going to Blow Some Stuff Up

Manly and Baby Monkey came home with all of these pretty explosives. Now they are working on a control panel made of wires, a piece of board and light switches. They are in the living room right now doing math and electrical engineering. I think I am going to go hang out on twitter and hope they don't set anything off inside of the house.
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Wednesday, July 1, 2009

This Was Amazing

I was feeling a little blah today, so I looked back through our vacation photos. The pictures above were taken at the Xcaret Echo Park. The performance is the four bird men. They climb up and descend from the Universal Tree. The music for the performance is played on pre-Hispanic instruments. This is a form of worship to the sun god. The four men represent the four elements. I couldn't find anything about the other spinning activity, but it looked really cool and dangerous.
The head guy, the one who played the instrument and stood on top of the poll while the others spun down, looked like he was in his late 70's or early 80's. He climbed right down that rope like it was nothing. None of these performers were young men. I was seriously impressed.
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