Category Archives: Gardening

Yesterday’s Harvest

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August 12, 2017 · 5:55 pm

Heat Index

The Best Years in Life

 

Since I wrote this morning, the rain stopped and the temperatures soared. It’s only 90 degrees F. outside now, with humidity around 65%, but if you’re working in the bright sunshine it’s HOT.

I’ve been doing a first-pass session of weeding in my raised bed, square foot garden. With all the wonky weather we’ve been having, the weeds have tried to take over.

I harvested some grape tomatoes, some celery stalks,  and a spaghetti squash. I’ll take pics in a bit and share them. I spent about 45 minutes, and that was really all I could do. I’m drinking cold water and wiping off my head with paper towels now, I’m so wet. UGH.

Still it was nice to know that some things are still doing well in the garden even now.

The new celery I’m starting, and the new experiment with the tomato suckers, and anything else, will stay in the house until it’s time to transfer them to the fall garden or the greenhouse. I’m supposed to be starting lettuce and spinach from seed at the end of August or the 1st of September! I’m hoping to have some nice, healthy transplants to go out in the fall garden and I’ll move any happy tomato plants into the greenhouse this fall. (Right now the thermometer in the greenhouse is still ready above 120 degrees F.)

I’ve had a lot of fun with my garden this year. As usual, I’m still learning a lot of what NOT to do next time, but I’m encouraged that I actually got celery and spaghetti squash to grow for the first time, and we had a really nice season of fresh tomatoes. I got a real harvest of sweet Georgia onions for the first time this year. They’re hanging in mesh bags in the pantry so that I can simply reach in and get one any time I would like. :0)

I’m hoping to have a nice crop of lettuce and spinach for the fall. Last year I lucked out and was still cutting leaves for salads into January!

Still reading about what else I can plant for the fall garden, and when I need to starts seeds. Will report back later.

I hope you’re having a happy day.

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Suckers

Ramon Gonzalez – Tree Hugger

My friend, Laufrain, showed me how to find tomato suckers.

I had just scrubbed out Amber’s kiddie pool and was waiting for it to fill with the hose. I decided to look for some suckers I could plant indoors. I found four, put the stems in rooting hormone and then put the little suckers in water on my dining area table. Tonight, while we’re cooking out, I’ll see if I can find more on the remaining two tomato plants.

It’ll probably take several tries before I get this right, but if I can get the suckers to grow and keep them alive until it’s time to put them in the greenhouse, I MAY have some healthy tomato plants ready to transplant into the garden next spring! I’m planning to do this with some other things too, some of which can go into a fall garden. I’ll get more serious about starting some seeds in the next few days, when we’re supposed to have a lot of rain.

As I get this going, I’ll show you some pictures.

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Coming to the End?

I just harvested 3 more tomatoes while Amber and I were taking a walk, but they’re smaller and not as pretty. I’m grateful for whatever we can get at this point. I’m going to try to get some suckers from the tomato plants and plant them in pots in the house or on the deck for now. It’s still too hot to put them in the greenhouse. If I can keep them alive until they can go in there, I MIGHT be able to keep harvesting tomatoes for quite a while! Can’t wait to start the experiment.

I showed you two spaghetti squash(es) I harvested a week or so ago. I cooked them a couple of days ago and was able to freeze them into individual size servings – enough for 10 meals! I have about three more coming in the garden.  I also am still able to harvest handfuls of grape tomatoes – a fun thing to throw into salads or have with dip with celery and carrots.

I still have some celery growing, and have more on the kitchen counter getting ready to put out. My celery doesn’t look like what you buy at the store. I have read that I’m supposed to be tying the stalks together. I’ll try that one of these days, but I’m just cutting off stalks and bringing them in.

 

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Hooray! It’s Sprinkling!!!

Daily Express

We’re having a wonderful afternoon.

First, it rained overnight and it’s sprinkling again now. We’re thankful for every drop.

My husband is on the driveway pad working on drilling holes in the antenna spokes for the ham radio tower and running a new length of wire around it. He says the sprinkling rain feels super good. :0)

I just came in from doing three things:

Thing One: 

I harvested two of my first-ever spaghetti squash!

 

When I bought one from the store, I washed the seeds and dried them. This spring I planted a couple of seeds in the house in small pots just to see if they would sprout. Not only did they sprout, they did well enough I transferred the plants into my raised bed square foot garden. The plants continued to do well, making yellow blooms and vines. As the other things in the garden came out, I just let the vines go where they wanted to in the squares. I harvested these two today. They’re almost as large as the ones I buy at the store. I have at least three more in the garden, and this was from TWO seeds!  I also got a handful of ripe grape tomatoes to add to my stash. :0)

Thing Two:

My husband and I took Amber with us out to the garden and then into the shop. She was wearing the new electronic collar. The whole time we were out – from the house out to the garden (waiting while I harvested), then to the shop – waiting while we painted – and then  back to the house, passing one of the cats – she was zapped twice. It’s as if we have a different dog! It’s becoming a pleasure to walk with her, rather than a “paying- attention-every-second-trying-to-anticipate, second-guess, and retain-control-whatever-happens” time.

Thing Three:

We went out to the shop to experiment with the air brush in the redoing of our sun/moon metal wall hanging. I felt really intimidated, since I’ve never used an air brush before. This made me determined to at least TRY it. I used paint thinner to make sure that the air brush and tube in the bottle were clean and ready to use. The other end of the tube is attached to a compressed air bottle. We then switched the bottle to a black paint for the shading we were trying to do. I practiced on a cardboard box until I was achieving a reasonably uniform, light spray. I had used tracing paper to mask some areas I didn’t want any shading on. I was able to achieve a darker shading around the sun face and along one side of the moon, with lighter shading on the flames of the sun. My husband and I looked at the picture on the computer together, deciding where the next shading should be.

Tomorrow we’ll look at what we’ve done, decide if we need more shading, or if I can move to a repaint of masked areas.

So far, I think the air brush is really fun. I’ve seen some beautiful things done with an air brush. If I can just get a subtle shading technique, I’ll be happy as a clam!

I’ll take pics of the metal wall hanging soon and post them.

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Filed under Amazing Animals, Family, Gardening, Lewis Art, Lewis projects, metal art, Square Foot Gardening - Raised Beds

Mid Summer Blooms

In Arkansas in mid summer, plants begin to get stressed out. Even though we have an irrigation system and the plants are watered daily, when we get heat indexes or actual temperatures of 108, no amount of watering is enough. The poor plants simply broil.  I took some pics to show you our blooms before the heat gets to be too much for too long….

 

 

 

I love the volunteer wave petunias in the grass.

 

One of my husband’s favorite things is the periwinkles we plant in what we call our “emu” planters.

 

 

 

These zinnias have all come up THIS year voluntarily when they failed to come up when I sprinkled the seeds LAST year…

 

 

 

Volunteer Impatiens

 

 

 

 

 

We’ve gone from incredible humidity summer to what will probably be no rain and no humidity broiler summer for the rest of the season. We’ll be happy if anything survives. We sure have enjoyed our blooms this year, though.

 

 

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Fire Break and Leftover Weeds to Kill

I’m feeling much safer from the threat of wild-fire now. Not that we can actually control when one breaks out, how bad it will be, how the wind will factor in, etc., but I’m feeling more proactive – we’ve acknowledged the threat, and have done what is possible to do to not lose everything if we have one.

Foy Brown did a wonderful job for us. I feel good that he’s willing to come back and redo this area twice a year now. As well as making us safer, he opened up our view of the valley below for us. We love watching the seasons change.

Things are about 98% +  better than they were. Molly and I surveyed the areas that need the weed killer when the time is right.  You can see more weed trees to the left of the picture behind the bird bath. I’ll spray those, and some other weedy type greenery.

 

As you can see, Foy got rid of a bunch. I’ll spray behind the telephone pole and to the other side of this picture, where the brush was in the rocks.

 

 

The weeds were above my head all around the metal flower when we started. Now there are just a few areas needing to be sprayed.  Rain is forecast for tonight-into-tomorrow, with temperatures still high (it IS summer) but humidity a lot lower this weekend and into next week. Maybe I’ll get a good day to finish this project!

 

 

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Multi-Shampoo Day

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Heat index is 110 degrees F. today. UGH.

Amber and I went out to the garden to plant 3 celery plants and take pics of my squash. Then we walked out to the greenhouse so we could take pics of my husband’s ham radio tower which now has THREE sections together. By the time we got back to the house, my head was not only wet, it was dripping. UGH. It’s always hot in Arkansas in the summer ( July and August are the worst). We’re used to that, insulating ourselves from the heat as much as possible. This year, though, we’ve had a lot more humidity than usual. I’m too old for humidity, I find. I refuse to wash my hair more than three times a day, though – so if you’re coming to see us, I might look like an exploded dandelion.

______________

Since I  planted my first celery this year, I’ve learned two things:

Thing One – I’m supposed to be giving them a lot more water than the rest of my garden plants. I’ll keep using the irrigation system, but will also arrange to add extra water to the celery a couple of times a day.

Thing Two – I’m supposed to be tying the stalks together tightly as they grow. I’ll give that a try, but I’m not sure that’s a workable thing. I may just continue to come out and cut some stalks when they’re ready and let the plant do its natural thing.

I planted two spaghetti squash plants grown from seed taken from one bought at the store and sprouted in a glass in the kitchen. I now have FIVE spaghetti squash(es)! I’m not sure what the plural of ‘squash’ is. Anyhow, they’re looking great. Pics below.

I spent about an hour in the raised bed square foot garden yesterday trying to catch up on the weeds. I got things pretty much under control. Even with irrigation, the heat is stressing plants out now, so I’m feeling lucky to have anything still alive. I’m concentrating on trying to keep the plants as comfortable as possible, growing where and how they want to.

This grape tomato plant spread out all over one whole 4’x4′ square planter. Since it has blossoms all over it, I’m just letting it take over the planter.

 

The marigolds are happy. They don’t have very many plants to protect right now. Such happy-looking flowers! (Celery plants are along the back of the marigolds.)

 

Two of the spaghetti squash. I’m just pulling up the vines that spill over the box, spreading the vine carefully over the dirt and letting them go where they may. I put special plastic melon holders under the squash for support. I guess I’ll harvest these soon, as they’re getting to be the size of some I’ve bought at the store. They have blossoms on the vines, too, so I may get more!

 

Three new celery plants planted this morning.

 

 

Two more spaghetti squash(es). you can see a couple of yellow squash blossoms.

 

And this is a dog plant……

Amber went with me to plant the celery and take pictures this morning. She loved walking around under the planter boxes, enjoying the new world…  she got hot, too, and jumped into her pool on the way back from taking pics of my husband’s tower.

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Tomatoes! July 21, 2017

We had a GREAT harvest today. It’s so hot that even though we have an automatic watering system, the plants are pretty stressed. I’m not sure if we’ll have any more or not this year.  We mustn’t be TOO greedy, though. We’ve had a truly great year for fresh tomatoes – plenty for us and more for family and friends, plus ones to freeze. YUM!

The next time I go out, I’m planning to weed the raised bed square foot garden. I’ll take pics to post.

 

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Gifts!

I told you yesterday that our thank you to the Taylors for coming and helping us pour all the concrete for the ham radio tower pad was that my husband replaced the rickety arms of the cart the concrete mixer was on with some metal, painted ones that will probably outlive all of us. I also took a bag of our tomatoes.

We didn’t expect that WE would get gifts from the Taylors!

Laufrain is a master with plants of all kinds. I’ve told you about the Taj Mahal of greenhouses that Dave built for Laufrain. I can’t think of anyone who deserves something fabulous like this more. Her whole yard, right on Shadow Lake, is a wonderland of stone paths, garden areas, natural areas, beautiful lush grass, and more.

The picture above shows an elephant ear plant she gave me. Isn’t it wonderful?

 

If Laufrain told me what the name of this nice plant is, I’ve forgotten it. Not only does it have this beautiful purple and green foliage, it blooms with purple flowers! I can’t wait!!

I went out last evening with the idea of quickly planting these two plants, and ended up calling on my husband for help. We have a wisteria on one end of this planter, and it had big gnarly roots growing all the way to the opposite end of the planter! We used two kinds of shovels, a pick axe and a lopper to finally get holes deep enough to plant.

Laufrain also gave me an avocado plant! It’s on my window sill right now because I want to read up on how to try to take care of it.

We are lucky to have such wonderful friends.

 

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Feeling We’re Inside the Crock Pot

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With the humidity at 54% right now, the heat index is at 106 degrees F., and due to get hotter as the afternoon wears on.  I realize it’s summer, but I’m older than dirt now, and not as able to handle this as I once was.

That said, I’m going to be doing some stuff outside, activity in short bursts with cool down and lots of water in-between, for the rest of the day.

  • gather ripe tomatoes
  • weed the raised bed square foot garden
  • weed whacking around the yard
  • pruning the rose bushes,
  • weeding the flower planters

This is my list in order of priority. I’ll be lucky if I get ANY of these things done.

Thank goodness we have good air conditioning. If we didn’t, I think all I would do is lie around with wet towels over me…

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Tomato Harvest 7-18 – 2017

Well, I pruned the tomatoes in the nook planter, taking out a LOT of particularly the plant on the left side of the planter. Then I moved to the 8 foot brick planter to the east of the house where the other tomato plants are, pruning them. I got pretty ruthless, because I want all the nutrients and energy going to the parts of the plants that might actually produce.

The plants don’t look pretty now, but it looks like they’re responding to the pruning, fertilizer and Seven I put on them about a week ago.

Here is today’s harvest. We’re really pleased with our crop this year. We’ve been oohing and ahhhing at lunch and dinner, eating a BUNCH of sliced ripe tomatoes at every meal except for breakfast. We particularly enjoy giving people we like bags of tomatoes, since we have more than we can eat. (I now know how to can, but I hate to give any of them up when I can eat them fresh off the vine.)

Our friends Laufrain and Dave (our friends and bowling buddies) were telling us last night how pretty the tomatoes were and how good they tasted. :0)

We also gave some to our driller and brush hog master, Foy, and his wife, Judy.

Who can ask for more from a bit of work to grow them?

Sheer luxury!!!

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Progress on our Fight with Weed Trees

The view is opening up!

My friend, Cathy, wrote, suggesting we try a weed killing product she thinks is great. It’s called KillzAll. You buy it concentrated, mix it with water, then spray it on what you want to kill. I ordered a gallon this morning. We can use it while we’re fighting with these and after we finish, plus be prepared to spray again whenever we see their ugly heads springing up. If we spray at the first sign of green in the spring, maybe we can keep them under control without so much work in the heat!

 

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Mid Summer Tomatoes

This was a harvest of a few days ago. I harvested again yesterday, but I didn’t get a picture of them.

Each year I’m learning that I don’t know anything about growing tomatoes.

It’s basically a matter of luck. Sometimes I lose the plants because of wonky weather. Other times tomato caterpillars eat them. Sometimes they just die for no reason I can think of. Sometimes things start out great and then ‘something happens’ cutting the season really short.

This year we’ve been lucky so far. My husband and I decided that if  ‘something happens’ and this is the end of our crop for the year, we’ve had a good year. We’ve had delicious tomatoes to enjoy with lunches and dinners, plus more that we could give to some of our friends. To our idea, it doesn’t get any better than this.

  • I learned this year that I’m not supposed to let any leaves of the plants touch the ground. I think cutting off the lower branches helps in disease control.
  • I also learned from my friend, Laufrain, to find suckers. Before the season is over – when my greenhouse will stay some reasonable temperature and not cook me and my plants, I’ll try to get the suckers to grow. Maybe I can have tomatoes in the fall!

A giant came and sat in the middle of my two tomato plants in the nook planter beside the porch. I can see no other reason that there was a huge depression suddenly in the middle of the plants and things were turning yellow.

I decided that I needed to prune all the dead and dying parts off. What was left I fertilized and then sprinkled with Sevin. Since I was harvesting tomatoes yesterday from these plants, and there are more trying to ripen, I’m hoping that my actions yesterday will save the plants and keep them producing. Fingers crossed.

 

This is the nook planter. As you can see, I had to prune a LOT of the plant on the left.  This is the best I know to do for the poor plants that were looking good only a week ago!

 

These are the tomato plants in the 8 foot brick planter to the east of the house. If you look carefully, you can see the greenhouse in the background. :0)

I’ll prune these plants tonight. They’re not looking bad, as the nook plants were, but they have leaves on the ground and have limbs hanging all over the place.

I’m learning a lot of what NOT to do again each year. This year, though, I’m beginning to learn more of what TO do!

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Weed Trees, Tomatoes, and Wall Hanging

Inhabitat

Today is proving to be a busy, productive day.

This morning we awoke to Amber in distress after having eaten something bad again. She’s like a vacuum cleaner inside or outside, and it’s worth your life to try to keep her from eating TOO many weird things. Anyway, something hadn’t agreed with her, so we were out with the hoses and dog soap first thing. She seemed to be feeling fine otherwise, and ravenously hungry, so we fed her half a can of her lamb/rice sicky dog food. She has done fine the rest of the day, so hopefully this was a temporary problem.

I then got out with the loppers and tackled more weed trees. I actually felt as if I made a bit of progress, even though I only lasted half an hour in the sun, opening up another small section of our view. I’ll keep doing this each morning that I can, and then doing a 2nd session in the evening when the sun is starting to go down. I found some sturdier shoes to wear for this activity, so wasn’t sliding around so much.

I’ve started to seriously prune my tomato plants. I told you it looked like a giant had sat in the middle of the two large tomato plants in the nook planter beside the porch. I’m cutting off dead stuff, pruning leaves or limbs that are hanging way down, etc., trying to make it easier on the plants that are left when I finish. I’ll also put fertilizer on them, plus Sevin to keep the critters off. Before I started the pruning, I was able to harvest several more tomatoes. :0)

This afternoon I was out in the shop working on the metal sun/moon wall hanging. My husband was working on a small roll-around jack, putting on new casters, and we had Molly and Amber out there with us. Amber was driving Molly nuts for a bit, but finally calmed down.

I figured out a method that my husband said looked ‘really good’ on doing the shading that is such a big part of this piece. I took the sponge end off one of my sponge brushes and am using that, instead of a brush, to do the shading. I should be able to get gradations of shading with this, plus – it’s FUN!

About 6:00 or so, depending on the sun, we’ll get back out in the yard. We’ve switched to eating dinner pretty late now in order to give us an hour out there to get something done. (We find that we last a shorter and shorter length of time in the direct sun, and it’s taking us longer to recover than it used to.)

I’ll try to get some pics of the opening view in the back yard, the tomato plants, and the metal wall hanging tomorrow so you can see our works in progress.

I hope you’ve had a good day, too.

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Tomato Fairies?

My husband and I did errands, and made them a LOT more fun by taking bags of tomatoes to 4 of our friends.

We took a bag to our hair stylist,Michael;  our good friends the Taylors; our friend Carla; and our friend Nora. Carla and Nora weren’t home, so I texted them to make sure they’ll find them later.

One of the best things in the world is being able to grow something you really love eating. When you have more than you can eat, it’s even more fun to share the wealth with people you love.

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An Embarrassment of Wealth

This is what I harvested today, with more ripening on the vines.

The vines themselves aren’t looking that great for some reason. It looks like a giant sat in the middle of the two plants in the nook planter, with collapsing and yellowing vines. The vines are too large to try to prop up without breaking them, so I’ll concentrate on pruning them a bit and adding fertilizer and hope for the best.

The plants in the 8 foot brick planter to the east of the house look better, but not as green or robust as they were. All the plants are putting out good tomatoes, though, so I’ll just do what I can and keep my fingers crossed.

We gave some tomatoes to our friend Carla when she came over the other day. We still have some in the fridge, and now we have this new harvest. GUESS what we’ll be eating!

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We’re Rich in Tomatoes!

A couple of days ago we were mourning that we had eaten all our good tomatoes. Look what was ready this morning – with more to be ripe in a day or two!

 

 

 

 

This is half of our onion harvest.

 

I cleaned them up and put them in these two mesh bags. They’re hanging from hooks in our pantry, continuing to dry out. We’ve eaten several, and they’re nice and sweet.

I’ve pulled most of the rest of our plants, with the exception of grape tomatoes, a couple of spaghetti squashes, and lots of celery.

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My New Book Arrived Today!

I’m thrilled that I got this book today.  I’m especially happy in that our greenhouse is still standing, with no damage, after the bad storms with lots of rain and high winds we had yesterday.

Now that we’ve gone to the trouble to build my wonderful greenhouse –

 

 

I would like to get as much use out of it as I can all year-long. So far, we’ve blown out the type of thermometer than has alcohol (aka ‘mercury’) in it, having to switch to the type of thermometer than doesn’t have any liquid in it. The temperatures inside the greenhouse during the day now are over 120 degrees, so I’m ‘guessing’ :0) that this is the time of the year that I should do my planning, scheming, gathering of materials, etc. to be READY to plant when the temperature is reasonable in there. The exhaust fan kicks on when the temperature is over 90, and there is a people fan in there, but the plants can’t survive right now.

I’m going to dive into the book today!

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Some Progress

Wild Ammo

This tired big cat looks a lot better than I do right now.

I just came in from

  • planting three celery plants and a head lettuce bottom,
  • weeding the raised square foot garden beds
  • spraying weed killer on the weeds under the raised beds of the garden.

My hair is completely wet – plastered to my head; my face is red; and I’m still breathing hard -BUT I have a large glass of water with ice and I’m in the a/c, sitting comfortably at my computer, feeling nicely spoiled. :0)

My friend Laufrain looked up growing celery while we were bowling last night and discovered that I should be watering my celery more. Mine is greener and a little tough compared to what you find at the store. We also discovered that I should be tying the stalks together. I have some tomato vine tying tape that I think will work well for that.  I also think I’ll harvest the stalks when they’re smaller and younger. If I keep trying this, I may actually be successful!

I discovered the probable reason why celery isn’t included in the square foot gardening book. The online article said that celery was one of the most difficult veggies to grow. So I’m patting myself on the head a bit, having even a small amount of success. :0)

 

This is the new style thermometer my husband put up in the greenhouse yesterday. As you can see, it’s WAAAY too hot to stay out there long, or to plant much at this point. It’s better first thing in the morning or just before sunset in the evening, but it’s still too hot to try to get seedlings to grow. It may be that I need to take the summer off, have things planned and ready to start around beginning of September for the fall garden. I’ll do a lot of reading about greenhouses, as well as when I should be starting the plants I want to grow for the fall. I have a lot of homework to do.

Our friend Dave came over this morning to help my husband figure out how to make the rotor for the ham radio tower antenna to work properly.  My husband had worked and worked on it, and was at a loss. Dave took it apart, put it back together again, and it miraculously worked. The closed it up and declared victory. Dave says he thinks a special tool he has will get the tower up without our having to hire someone with a crane. They’re planning to assemble the whole thing, including the antenna, on the ground. They’ll test the rotor to make sure it’s working correctly. We’ll already have the guy wire rods in the ground and the guy wires on the tower. They’ll, in effect, winch the tower up into place and hold it steady while cables are plugged in, guy wires attached, etc. The first step, though, is drilling the hole, putting the pipe into the hole, and putting the cement into the hole.

Amber chewed through the rope that attached her to the dog run yesterday. Happily, my husband was watching her and saw what she had done, and so caught up with her and put her on the porch. This morning we got some cable, cable ends, and a new attachment piece. My husband made a new line to attach to the run and we tested it. Probably, since she can’t chew through the cable this time, she’ll pull the whole Martin house that the run is attached to, down…

And so it goes at the Lewises.

If I can cool off, I’m going out to prune the trio of brick flower planters that go between our front yard and the driveway. This, as well as several other things, have been on my list for so many days now they’re beginning to get on my nerves, so I’m determined to make some progress on each of them today.

Happy Tuesday!

 

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Tomato Feast!

Today’s harvest.

At lunch we enjoyed two of the tomatoes, some of the celery I grew that I showed you a couple of days ago, and some radishes I grew. We had carrots from the store and a hard-boiled egg. Nice, crunchy good-for-us lunch!

My husband put the different style thermometer in the greenhouse for me this morning. I got seed packets from the store and will read up on when I’m supposed to plant each of them for a fall garden.

 

We’re trying to have Amber inside with us more and more during the day. My husband took her for a long walk and then we brought her inside while we ate lunch. She dive-bombed Molly, of course, so I put Molly out while we concentrate on Amber for the moment. (She’s asleep beside my feet now as I type this.) Later I’ll bring Molly in and hold her in my lap while Amber cavorts around, wheeling, spinning, and wagging her tail, and see if we can make progress on melding the various members of the family…

Have a wonderful Sunday!

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Good Morning!

Source Unknown

I found this a long time ago and neglected to get the source. There is a signature across the the image between the leaf and the butterfly on the right, but I can’t make it out. Sorry. I think this is really, really nice.

I hope you’re having a good morning, too.

The ham radio operators are having the 2nd day of their annual field day today in Bell Park, Greenwood, Arkansas. Sometime yesterday a 24-hour contest began to see who could get the most contacts in a 24 hour period at a certain bandwidth. Last year there were about six different bandwidths represented. This contest is across the WORLD. Each operator uses his ham radio call sign, making contact with someone. They exchange call signs, recording them to be verified later. There is no ‘prize’ as such, but the winners are announced and bragging rights will never end. :0)  When we were watching and listening a couple of years ago, one man was talking to someone in Uruguay!

The work on my husband’s new-to-him antenna. He’s having a good friend come over and help him make the rotor work as it should this coming week. Meanwhile, he’s built the base it will sit on and is working on the complex 4-plex antenna that will sit on the top.  When we were talking about it yesterday, I suggested we assemble the whole thing on the ground and then hire probably the smallest crane there is to come help the two guys pull the whole thing up and hold it while things are tightened, guy wires are hooked up, wiring is finished, etc. My husband thought about it for a bit and then said, “You know, that’s actually a good idea!” (I ignored the fact that he sounded surprised :0/)

I’m going to put my different style thermometer up in the greenhouse today, and plan to start some spaghetti squash seeds to see if they’ll make. I’m also planning to attack weed trees with a vengence – if the temperatures will stay at some reasonable level. If not, I’ll see what I can do this evening.

I hope you have a wonderful day, too.

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Filed under Bright Ideas, exercise, Gardening, Lewis projects, Square Foot Gardening - Raised Beds

Celery and Lettuce Starts

The three glasses in the foreground of this picture are celery starts. The one behind the other three is lettuce!

I bought a head of lettuce Sunday. When I was making us a sandwich, I smacked the lettuce on the counter to make the hard end pop out and suddenly thought, “Why wouldn’t growing lettuce from a head bought at the store work the same way as celery?”  (At least I don’t talk to myself aloud – at least, not very MUCH…. :0)  )

So I plonked the end in a glass and added water. If you look carefully, you can see that it’s greening up! I have no clue if this will continue to be large enough for me to put in the garden or not, but it sure will be fun to try it.

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I Love YouTube

I just found a good video of a man trimming his fairly early tomato plants. He pinched off the lower branches that touched the soil, saying that you can stop a lot of disease if you do this. He was also pinching off the sucker (he’s pointing to one here) early on to make the main part of the plant sturdier.

He said he waits until mid July to pinch off suckers that are about 6 inches long and then plants them in soil for his fall crop. I think I may be too early in my efforts, so I’ll wait and try to follow the things he showed me.

Meanwhile, I got a different style thermometer (doesn’t use alcohol) and will put in into the greenhouse later. Hopefully, this style will live through the heat.

I’ve decided to try planting some more spaghetti squash seeds, since we still have a good amount of time for them to grow over the summer. Wish me luck?

Right now, the heat index is 103 degrees, lethally hot for old folks like me. We have a 60% chance of rain this afternoon and evening, but I’m afraid it will only be momentary relief.  I may take Amber to stand out in the rain with me, thankful for at least a short reprieve.

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Tomato Plants From Suckers – Take 1

These two tomatoes were ready to be harvested this morning. We have one harvested a couple of days ago, so we’ll feast on sliced tomatoes tonight!

Yesterday I tried to plant suckers in order to grow new tomato plants.

“Tomato suckers, or side shoots, are the growth that appears in the crotch between the stem and a branch. (See photo above.) If left to grow, they will become another main stem with branches, flowers, fruit and more suckers of their own.”

I carefully gathered several suckers, went to my greenhouse where I had pots of Mel’s Mix ready, moistened the bottom of each sucker in water and then stuck it in rooting hormone  (shaking off the excess) and put the suckers in the pots. I then watered the pots. It was really hot in the greenhouse so I left the thermostat-controlled exhaust fan on.

 

This is what the thermometer in the greenhouse showed this morning, although it didn’t feel that bad. The exhaust fan is set to start and run when the temperature inside the greenhouse is 90 degrees F. or higher. It was off. The outside temperature is 77 right now.

 

As you can see, Trial 1 was a failure.  I chose and cut the suckers carefully. The fact that I planted in the heat of the day, rather than in the morning or right before dark may have been a factor. I read the directions on the rooting hormone and followed them carefully, so I don’t think that’s the problem. The fact that the thermometer is reading so high vs the exhaust fan being off may be a factor. I may bring the thermometer in and see if it’s working correctly. *

*It’s now about 45 minutes later. I brought the thermometer inside and my husband shook it. It has red dye now in the bottom of the package. Apparently, the temperature in the greenhouse blew its top off. We’ll hunt for a different style today while we’re out.

On a happier note – I harvested the first of the experiment to try to grow celery from the bottoms cut off stalks bought at the store.

 

 

I cut off the bottom of the stalks of celery I bought at the store and put each in a glass of water. These need to grow a bit more before they’re ready to be taken out to the garden and planted. (If you look carefully, you can see that in the glass that’s second from the left, I’ve put the end of a head of lettuce in a glass, just for giggles.)

 

The celery plants are bushy, rather than looking like what you get at the store. I cut the largest stalks, leaving the smaller ones to hopefully grow.

 

There is a LOT of greenery on each stalk. I washed everything, then cut off the stalks into usable pieces, washed them again, and then took the bowl of cut celery to my husband in the living room where we each tried one. Oddly enough, they taste like celery! :0)

I’m like a kid at Christmas. After several tries and several failures, I’m actually growing edible celery! Woo HOOOO!

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Filed under Arkansas, Delightful Surprises, DIET!, Greenwood, Healthy Eating, Square Foot Gardening - Raised Beds

Nothing

Sun-Gazing.com via Cathy Ruggiero

I used to want to have ‘something to do’ each day – somewhere to go, people to see, activities. I realize that wanting the opposite is definitely a sign of old age, but I’m embracing it.

Today there are no scheduled appointments, no ‘have-to’ errands, no commitments. AHHHHHHHHHHHH!

_________________

Yesterday my husband and I both worked most of the day in the hot sun.

My husband was trying to relocate a microlink to our computers in the shop. This is not a thing we HAVE to have, but it used to work and yesterday it wasn’t. In order to get it to work again, my husband had to move the equipment on the house end from the front of the house to the back and mount it on the window bars. This involved a lot of cable making, stapling inside the wall of the garage, welding and painting for the piece that mounted to the window, testing of cables, switches, and links, etc. It took my husband all day, but he got it working. Now he just has to put his tools away and cut down several branches on a tree between the house and the shop for a clearer line of sight.

In the garden, I planted two celery plants, pulled out the last of the spinach and lettuce plants, pruned the plants that were left, and weeded the raised bed planters. The only thing remaining in the garden to spray the weeds on the ground with weed killer.

I took some stuff out to the greenhouse in preparation for starting some tomato suckers, but the thermometer showed red all the way to the top – over 120 degrees – so I just put the stuff inside and came out again.

I dumped the water from the kiddie pool, washed it out, and refilled it.

I cleaned Amber’s porch up, hosed it out, then squeegeed and mopped.

I mowed the yard on the riding mower after helping my husband with the microlink several times.

By the time we finally stopped for dinner, it was almost 9:00. I cooked, we ate and watched a movie.

Whew!

____________________

There are things I’ll do today, but I’m concentrating on doing things INSIDE while the sun is at its hottest – as we SHOULD have done yesterday – and OUTSIDE when the sun is going down, with only the finishing touches on dinner to do.

I’m going to also take time to read more of my latest “In Death” series book by Nora Roberts while I’m relaxing.

Because my back is letting me know I overdid yesterday, I’ll try to work in a session of yoga.

 

Funny-Pics.co

AHHHHHHHH!

 

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Filed under Attitude, Changes, Housekeeping - Maintenance, Lewis projects, Square Foot Gardening - Raised Beds

Fashion Statement?

Hotel for Dogs

Arkansas got the ‘summer memo’ about 3 weeks ago. We’ve been in the high 90’s with uncomfortable humidity since then. I have to tell you that spring and the 60s are where I am comfortable, so I visibly wilt as soon as I go outside.

We have a lot of sweat bands we keep on a special hook thingie on the back of the door to the garage. I grab two of them routinely because my husband needs one, too, but never seems to remember to get one. He wears a ham radio hat and I wear a hat that makes me look like a squashed mushroom to protect us from the direct sun.

I’m getting so that it FEELS as if I’m wearing a sweat band even when I’m not. It’s a regular part of how I look during the day and evening when we’re home working.

We grab a sweat band and head out the door. We come in, throw the sweat band in the washer, regular as clockwork.

I doubt if we’ll start a fad, though. You definitely need a sense of humor up here on top of our hill.

Today is a several-sweatband-day. I’m going to

  • plant two celery plants in the square foot garden and cut stalks from the largest plant out there
  • sweep the pooled water from the latest storm off the floor of the greenhouse
  • prep for putting tomato suckers in water out there
  • cut down some weed trees
  • prune stuff in the trio of brick planters between the driveway and the front yard
  • mow this evening when the sun is down a bit

I hope that you’re having a good Tuesday.

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Volunteers

Second only to perennials, which come up year after year with no effort from you, I love ‘volunteer’ flowers. These are annuals which come from seeds planted elsewhere, planted last year, or just replant themselves in the yard somewhere. This year I have some wave petunias in a clump just off our deck, some impatiens along the edge of the house behind a brick planter, and zinnias in spots along the front yard and beside some planters.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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And How Does Our Garden Grow?

Huffington Post

 

This is one of the celery plants in my garden that I started from the end of a stalk I bought at the store. I’m going to cut some of the stalks today and see if they taste good.

 

This is one of two spaghetti squash vines I have growing right now. I grew this from a seed I saved from a squash I bought at the store. It’s a bit larger than a softball now.

 

We have lots of green tomatoes, and this one ripening one. It should be ready to bring in in a couple of days.

 

 

Here are two celery plants that have been growing in water in my kitchen. These are ready to be planted in the garden.

 

Can tomatoes be ‘cute?’ If so, I think THESE are. These are grape tomatoes and this is today’s harvest. It may be awhile before I have enough for a salad….

And finally, this is the first thing I’ll do in my new greenhouse – try to grow tomato plants from suckers.

A ‘sucker’ is a sprout from the juncture of two branches. If you look carefully at this picture, you can find the juncture of the tall vertical branch on the right side of the picture and the horizontal branch going out to the left at the bottom of the picture. The ‘sucker’ is the smaller branch with leaves growing right out of the juncture.

 

In the next few days I’ll get some glasses in the greenhouse so I can put the suckers in the water and see if they’ll sprout. Fingers crossed!

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Weed Trees

We have what we call, “Weed Trees” running all the way across the edge where our ‘civilized’ back yard meets the downward slope of the valley. Each year we’re fighting them, having to cut them down to open up our view of the valley below.

Last year we paid a nice guy to come when he could – around a full-time job with the city and some 26 or so people for whom he mowed lawns – to cut them down. This year I decided I would try to do it.

Today I spent a couple of hours lopping them off and throwing them into a sloppy pile.

I started on the far left, right by our trio of large evergreen trees. You can see, if you look carefully, where the brown of the tall grass that’s left is. It took me two hours to clear this much. There are HUNDREDS of weed trees between us and our view of the valley, but I figure if I try to do some every day, I’ll make it across the yard one day…. I’ll keep taking pictures of my progress.

 

 

I also took half of the onions I harvested that have been sitting in the sun for several days on the grating of our trailer and put them out on the porch table so that Amber could feel that she was helping.  At first she wanted to EAT the onions. And then she decided that they didn’t smell that great and she just looked at me with interest from time to time.

I got one mesh bag of them cleaned up and will do the 2nd bag later or tomorrow. I’ll take pics of them, too.

Finally, I just wanted to tell you that I checked on the greenhouse after the gusty winds and the rain and it was FINE. Hooray!!!!

I hope you’re having a good Saturday, too.

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Too Darned Hot!

Dumb Photos

It’s supposed to get to 95 degrees today and the humidity is 64%. According to my heat index calculator, that’s 117 degrees F. Too darned hot!

I want to work in my new greenhouse, trying to get it organized reasonably, and I also need to cut down what we call, “Weed Trees” that line up across the back of our yard and cut off our view.  We’re going to Lunch Bunch very soon, but after that I’ll work in short spurts, coming in to enjoy the air conditioning, drink lots of water, etc.

This will be at least a 2-shampoo and shower day…

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Filed under Arkansas, Challenges, exercise, Gardening, Greenwood