When I was working in the yard a couple of days ago, trying to clean out our flower planters before the coming bad weather, I found these iris! We have several deep purple ‘twice-blooming’ iris that we treasure. I don’t remember seeing any others around the yard this year, but these were blooming behind the well house. They bloom in the spring, and then again in the fall. I couldn’t bear the thought of them freezing, so I cut them and brought them in the house so we could enjoy them as long as possible.
Category Archives: Gardening
I’m about to go outside for the 3rd session of the day of trying to get flower planters cleaned out before our weather goes to pot tomorrow. I have finished finished 7 brick planters today. I have three more, plus 2 pots in the front yard. If I can finish ths, I’ll be happy with my efforts today.
This is the closest I could find to show you my wonderful gardening seat. Mine is red and has a small basket on one end, plus a rope and handle that allow you to pull it like the proverbial ‘little red wagon.” The seat turns, so it gives flexibility in how it is used. I love it.
While I was pruning and clearing out one of the planters, the wind picked up and all of a sudden it was raining leaves. The SOUND the leaves made was wonderful! I don’t think I’ve ever been in quite that position before, but it was a very special thing. My sweet elderly Molly (she is almost 15) was enjoying the sunshine and stayed right with me, keeping me company.
I just had lunch (it’s almost 4pm) and am finishing a cup of coffee. I’ll go see how much more I can clear before the day is gone.
Hope you’re enjoying your day, too!
We just got home from grocery shopping and putting everything away. I’m now relaxing at my computer with a cup of coffee. Ahhhh!
First, I wanted to thank those of you who wrote encouraging messages about the way “Blasing Bright” looks, the booth that my friend Carla and I are sharing now at Rags & Roses in Greenwood, Arkansas. I think we managed to put things where they show up well, people can get to them to look more closely, and you’ve told me that it looks inviting. So THANK YOU. The shop is closed now until Tuesday, but I feel GOOD that I have some of my stuff ‘out there’ for people to see and possibly buy. If you’re in the area, the address is 100 North Main St. The hours Tuesday through Friday, are 11:00 – 6:00. Hours Saturday are 10:00 to 4:00. This is the first time I’ve enjoyed a local venue, and I’m hopeful that Carla and I can share this booth for a long time.
I am planning to spend much of the day out in the yard – or at least as long as my back holds out – cleaning out flower planters. We’ve had several freezes and things are looking pretty sad now. Today has been named, “The last good fall day” for awhile by the weather people, with a cold front coming tomorrow, along with rain, possible wintry mix, and MUCH colder temperatures, so today is the day to do all I can to have our yard look like someone cares.
On cleanup after the ‘gathering-and-processing-for-the-booth’ I need to work in our office and my art room. These are on the back burner, though, as far as priorities, due to the coming weather. I can work on both of THEM when the weather deteriorates.
With all the activity around here, I have ignored my exercising and my poor old body is complaining LOUDLY. I’m going to see how the yard work goes, and then at LEAST get in my yoga practice this afternoon.
Enjoy your Sunday!
This is me after 3 sessions (2 hours) cutting up, pulling out, and hauling off our tomato plants this afternoon. I feel confident in saying I’m worth my salt today.
I got to thinking about that expression, and looked it up. “The expression to be worth one’s salt, which means you’re competent and deserve what you’re earning, is most often said to have its roots in ancient Rome, where soldiers were sometimes paid in salt or given an allowance to purchase it.”
I may have earned my salt today, but right now I’m so pooped I’m not worth spit. (I seem to be full of cliche’s today.)
I did finish the bulk of what I wanted to accomplish. The sky is darkening now as we come closer to possible severe storms here this evening and throughout the night. I still need to clean up and weed whack around the planters, but that can be done another day.
I was so tired that I went ahead and did my yoga session, stretching out the kinks a bit. I may go in and imitate this kitty.
Of all the signs in our yard, this is my favorite. I laugh each time we drive up to the house. It’s on a tree to the right of the top of the driveway. :0)
I’ve told you I had to clean out our raised-bed square foot garden a few weeks ago because the intense heat was too much for the remaining plants. I haven’t been able to find any plants locally to plant for a fall garden, and it’s been too hot to start any seeds in the greenhouse, so I think we’re pretty much finished for the year.
The only thing we have left is the tomatoes in our two converted brick planters on the opposite end of the house. The plants look really sad, but are still producing tomatoes. They aren’t as large or as perfect as they were at the height of the season, but they are still delicious in our salads or cut up as an extra veggie on the plate. We’ve had a pretty good garden this year. I’ll start making plans for the spring garden soon.
My husband mowed our lawn yesterday, so I am weed whacking (edging plus doing areas he can’t get with the riding mower) today. I’ve made some progress, but mainly am feeling inept. One of the orange ‘thingies’ that holds the spool of weed whacking line onto the whacker shattered. It is not fixable, so we’ll have to try and find a replacement for it on the net. I switched to another weed whacker that I don’t like as well. It needed line, but I can’t get this orange thingie (different style) off! Now I have had to come in and ask my husband to come out and see if he can get the whacker ready to go so I can finish that part of the job, and then I’ll use the leaf blower to clean off the concrete areas.
It’s really humid, cloudy, and trying to rain, so I don’t know if I can get my breath back, after glugging a bottle of water, in time to get back out there.
Fingers are crossed that it all comes together and I can finish the job.
If not, I’ll use this excuse to go play in my art room! :0)
We are STILL having super hot, high humidity days here. (The heat index is supposed to be around 106 this afternoon.) Even with our irrigation system, my garden bit the dust. Over the course of several days I cleaned out the plants – murdering fire ants that were in the boxes as I pulled – and finally have things cleaned up.
We built our raised-bed square foot garden for several reasons. We live on top of a ridge line and there is very little ‘soil’ here. You try to dig a hole to plant something and you immediately hit rock – endless rock. So after trying to build a garden, trucking in topsoil, evaluating it in order to add what was needed, etc., we finally gave up traditional methods. For a bit we had two long rectangular boxes on the ground, marked off into squares, filled with Mel’s Mix (peat moss, Vermiculite, and as many different compost types as you can find. We put a fence around the boxes to keep deer and other critters out. We added chicken wire around the base of the fence to keep smaller critters, like rabbits, out. This worked pretty well for awhile, but I was finding it harder and harder to either bend over double or get up and down over and over on my hands and knees.
We decided to build ‘tables’ in effect, raising the garden boxes up to my chest level. The ‘tables’ are linked by lengths of hose with a sprinkler in the center of each box for easy irrigation. We have an outdoor faucet and a timer attached to it so the whole garden is watered automatically each day.
This picture shows the irrigation system a little more clearly. We have six 4 foot by 4 foot boxes in which to plant. The boxes are divided into squares by wire.
This picture shows the fencing a bit more clearly.
Behind the shop and beside the garden is my supply of ingredients to make Mel’s Mix. I have one trash can for each ingredient. The red thing under the tarp is a portable concrete mixer. I put the proper proportions of the ingredients into the mixer and use this to mix things thoroughly. I then dump the mixed soil alternative into a big bucket and take it inside the fencing to dump into each of the boxes. I also mix stuff to take by wheelbarrow around to the converted brick planters we use for tomatoes on the opposite side of the house.
I wish that our weather here in Arkansas were not quite so harsh during the summer. It’s been MUCH too hot to try to get plants started in my greenhouse, for example I mainly use it at the end of winter to try to get plants started for the spring garden.
I’ll have my eyes open for any fall plants available here locally, but mostly, we’re finished until the spring now.
I’m late in blog posting today. Amber went out to the veggie garden with me and helped clean up the remaining planter boxes. I encountered fire ants twice, but had gone in ARMED with EIGHT bug killer in a 2-gallon sprayer and hosed them down. I didn’t get stung, thank goodness! I’ll take pics later of the cleaned up garden, but I was simply too hot when I finished to go back with the camera. (The heat index is 106 or more right now). Once I’m SURE we’ve killed all the ants in the boxes, I’ll try Robin’s suggestion of putting Vaseline around each support leg.
I was actually able to gather quite a few small tomatoes yesterday from the converted brick planters on the other side of the house. I didn’t have a basket with me, so simply used the bottom of my shirt as a carrier. :0) We’re about to the end of the season now. The plants look pretty sad, but we’re still getting small ripe tomatoes, so we’re happy.
The main water line from the well house to the irrigation system had a blowout last night. Our son was able to cobble it back together, but it’s obvious we need a longer hose length of super sturdy stuff to handle the pressure. We got two lengths of hose cut at the hardware store today in two different diameters, thinking one of them will fit. I’m not sure if we’ll get to the replacement today.
My husband started thinking about our truck battery this morning. He keeps a log of our important purchases on his computer so that we can look things up quickly. We discovered that we bought the battery for the truck in 2014! Since our battieries usually die suddenly with change of season, we bought a replacement battery while we were in town today. We’ll change it out later today and take the old one back to the store tomorrow for credit.
Our long time good friends will go bowling with us tonight! Our son is still home with us (a thing for which we are thankful every day) and so we’ll have a lot of fun this evening bowling terribly and then commiserating with ice cream at Braum’s afterwards.
When I finish cooling off and glugging water, we’ll have lunch and then I’ll do my first session of yoga for the week.
I hope your Monday is off to a good start.
This is an old picture of one of the raised beds in our square foot garden. We don’t have the shade fabric over the top anymore and the beds are looking nice and clean in this picture. REALITY Is lot of old plants that have given up the ghost in the relentless sunshine and weeds all over the place. :0/
I went – ARMED – carrying the 2-gallon sprayer filled with EIGHT bug killer that will kill the bugs, but not harm plants, animals, or people.
I pulled out a bunch of the plants, then quit when I got overheated. I went out again, prepared to pull out the remaining two large plants. I pulled out one and was IMMEDIATELY attacked with a SWARM of fire ants overflowing out of the box. I brushed them off my arms as soon as possible, then grabbed the sprayer and hosed everything down, assassinating as many of them as possible. I then came in the house, washed off my arms, took two Benedryl tablets and then put Benedryl ointment on both arms where they were still stinging.
I’m HOPING that I have now gotten being attacked by fire ants and the treatment of it down to a science now. My arms are still stinging, but I only have a couple of welts. (My whole arms would have swelled previously.)
I’ll rest a bit, then go out again, hose down the box again, and see if I can finish clearing that box out.
I remain open to lists of what good things fire ants do – and why I shouldn’t murder them – but have to tell you it’ll be a hard sell.
I’ve had a productive morning.
I vacuumed the carpeted parts of the first floor this morning, vacuuming up at LEAST one dog’s worth of hair, and maybe a cat, too. It amazes (and disgusts) me how MUCH hair I vacuum up each time, even though I’m vacuuming more these days than I ever have before. It’s a miracle that we actually have two dogs and two cats left AND that none of them is bald! I’m liking our 4 goldfish more and more – THEY don’t shed!
I’ve told you that we had 2 of the 14 planters we built around the yard 30 years ago collapse. We rebuilt one of them, and had the second one rebuilt by someone who knows what he’s doing. (It’s beautiful.) My husband worked to make and attach the PVC irrigation system stuff we needed in order to hook the two planters up to our system in the front yard. (It was when he was attaching the PVC pipe to the newest planter that he fell and skinned his leg badly. I put it on my list to use bags of potting soil to fill up the newest planter.
It was the morning after he fell on July 22nd that we discovered he had suffered a stroke. Obviously, we have had other priorities since then, and I’m happy to report that my husband is essentially back to being his normal ornery self now. This morning I decided I would fill up the planter. I filled the wheelbarrow with four 40-pound bags of potting soil and trucked them over to the planter. Our driveway detector went off, and my husband came out to see who was here. He slit the bags and we dumped them into the planter, then got four MORE 40-pound bags in order to finish the job. Now both rebuilt planters are ready to receive new plants, probably in the spring.
We drove down to get the mail (we have a STEEP 650+ foot driveway down to the road where our mailbox is.)
After we got the mail, there was a truck coming down the road the other way. He stopped, obviously wanting to say something to us. When we pulled up next to him, he said, “I’m happy to see you two. I just wanted to tell you I LOVE yawl’s mailbox signs. I come by here every day looking to see what you have up there next. Yawl are really creative.” I thanked him, telling him that he had made our day – week – month – year – and maybe life – with his kind words.
This was about an hour ago. Can you see me STILL grinning? We never pictured ourselves creating things together. We have had a blast fighting over what to create, how to make it, how to paint it, etc. We have SUCH fun with this. We change the decoration twice a month, so are getting ready to put the next one up on the 15th, weather permitting. Now, each time we change the decoration, I’ll picture this NICE, NICE man who took the time to tell us we give him a smile when he passes our driveway. :0)
What a WONDERFUL morning!
Our actual temperature right now is 91 degrees F. The humidity is 63%. That means we’re between the “Extreme Caution” and “Danger” areas of the chart. Oh, JOY.
I am drinking a glass of ice water after Session 2 outside. I cut down a BUNCH of weed trees across the front yard, but I kept the session short due to the heat vs my ‘age seniority.’ :0)
We don’t actually have window units in our house, but I couldn’t resist the picture of this kitty trying to cool off.
I have one more session in me today, and I’ll cut down as many more weed trees I can.
Otherwise, I’ll save more exercise for my yoga session this afternoon.
Did I tell you I’ll be one of the loudest voices cheering when fall finally arrives?
I just came in from half an hour fighting with a tree.
We have a used (new-to-us) riding lawn mower. My husband does the mowing and I do the other associated stuff, like weed whacking, edging, leaf blowing. We have been TRYING to get outside and walk in the evenings (though it’s only about 50% successful thus far). We were on one of our walks and my husband griped about a tree that is off the edge of the part of our land we mow, but whose branches encroach into the area, making my husband have to duck each time he goes under it to mow that part of the yard.
Today I grabbed some really big loppers (longer and larger than those shown in this picture) and attacked the lower branches of the tree. Some of the branches came down easily (usually on my head!) Others – even with the wonderful loppers – it was all I could do to bring the branches down.
I lopped off everything I could reach, tossing the branches down the slope into the uncivilized part of the ridgeline.
We’ll see how successful I was. If I need to do more, I’ll take a high stepping stool we have next time.
I’m wondering if he’ll even notice, since he won’t have to duck. :0)
NEXT up (after I rest a bit more) are the weed trees that have sprung up along the civilized part of the FRONT yard!
I just came in from taking a quick look at the garden, and then to the other end of our house to the tomato planters. This is today’s harvest, but it’s obvious that the super-hot weather lately has brought a halt to most of the harvests now.
We have had a wonderful time this year. We had a LOT of lettuce, radishes, and tomatoes, and were able to share some of each of these with our friends. The zucchini made big plants, and we harvested several zucchini, but I’ll read about how we can do better on these next year. I also want to plant yellow crookneck squash next time.
The cantaloupe was fun, but all we have are either green or yellowish small ones, all hard as a rock with vines spreading everywhere. I have no clue if they’ll actually continue to grow and ripen or not. Another subject for a lot of reading. The red onions are still looking good. As soon as the weather gets a bit cooler, I’ll start looking to see if any are ready to come out of the ground.
Of course when I was the farthest away from the house, the rain started. I toweled off when I came in, but it’s a very good thing I’m not water-soluble. :0)
I just spent half an hour or so trying to prune roses and weed flower planters. I’m embarrassed that some of the weeds are taller than the flowers! Of COURSE it’s hot outside – it IS August and this IS Arkansas, but the humidity makes the heat index 103 and it is still morning! So, I’m TRYING to spend a bit of time outside each morning to try to get things under control. So far, the weeds are winning….
When I went outside to check on the tomatoes and weed a bit in our flower planters, I noticed that everything suddenly looked really wilted.
I got my husband and we turned on each section of the irrigation system, and went around to all the planters, making sure all was getting water. Some weren’t getting anything at all, others were getting too much – it varied all over the place. Once we got the back finished – with a lot of the things you see in the picture above, we switched to the front, where it’s mainly actual hoses and controls.
We think we got everything going. We are inside now, drinking ice water and resting. The heat index this afternoon is between 106 and 110. We’ll stay inside until at least dinner time before trying to do anything more out there.
I hope that YOU and your PLANTS are getting enough water today!
Mother Nature is giving us a reprieve today – the heat index is ONLY 100 right now.
SO – my husband is out mowing the lawn and I’ve been weed whacking around the garden and behind the shop where his riding mower won’t go. It’s going to take several sessions to do what I need to do today. I work for 20 minutes to half an hour, then come in, rest, and drink water. I’ll keep doing that until the job is done or I decide to give it another day. The sun is behind a cloud right now. As soon as I go back out there, the sun will show its face again…
I hope the weather where you are today is comfortable, or that you have a good place to rest.
I’ve just spent half an hour or so assassinating fire ants after donning my cape, goggles, gloves, and mixing 2 gallons of EIGHT bug killer in my sprayer.
These are the odious fire ants that are the bane of my existence for the past couple of years. I never really thought about them before until I happened upon them in one of my garden boxes (about 3 feet up in the air) and they swarmed all over me. biting/stinging me and causing my poor body to turn bright pink, swell up, ache, and itch all at the same time for about three days before starting to subside.
I have since looked up information, thinking that, before I set out to murder something, I should at least know if they do anything good for the environment.
According to extension.org, “Beneficial Effects of Fire Ants. Collectively, ants are beneficial insects in our environment. Their nest-building activities reduce soil compaction and help aerate the soil. Many ant species, such as imported fire ants, are omnivorous (they eat just about anything).”
I’m sorry, but the fact that also eat ME make aerating the soil a very low priority for me, particularly since we don’t need that around here.
I read a nice article by a lady who suggests that you pour a teakettle of boiling water down the hole of the mound and that will take care of the problem. That may very well be true, but I don’t think she is trying to treat a garden of veggie plants who would be upset at having boiling water poured on them or almost 8 acres of ridge line rocky soil. The EIGHT spray works well. The fact that the co-op guy in town recommended it highly, after me telling him I was planning to spray it on things I hoped to later feed to myself and my family, and that I didn’t want our pets hurt, went a long way to convince me.
There is Ant-Man from Marvel Comics and the super hero movie genre, but I don’t think he is murdering ants. I’ll just have to fill that gap.
This quote by Clare Booth Luce is said fairly often around here. So many things that should be good things seem to backfire or cause us harm.
The latest was yesterday when I was working in our square foot garden.
I’ve been feeling guilty because I haven’t been taking care of things out there as well as I would like to, so I made a special effort to put in some time, pruning dead leaves off our zucchini plants. I lifted one last plant up to get to some dead stuff and was suddenly covered with fire ants.
I rapidly brushed them off my arm, pulling off my weeding gloves and getting away from the source as quickly as possible, but ONE got me.
I rushed inside, took two Benedryl tablets, washed the bite and slathered Benedryl ointment on it. It still swelled up, but not as badly as I have in the past. I DO learn from mistakes….
Priority on today’s list is murdering fire ants. I don’t care if they perform some wonderful service to us. I want them gone. I will mix up some EIGHT spray and hose down the whole garden area, plus any ant hills I find, plus our tomato planters today. The EIGHT is really good at killing bugs, but is safe to spray on veggies and other plants and won’t harm our pets. I can’t say enough about this product.
I’ve been working on our garden, trying to get it cleaned up after I had to neglect it for about a week. My husband came out there with me today – a rare and delightful thing – and we did a good amount to prune and clean up. I have another session to do out there, but it will wait.
There is always more to do in the garden, but we improved things a lot today. I pulled up my radishes a couple of days ago, the last time I was out there. For some reason, they didn’t make successfully this time. I was disappointed, because I got spoiled with a really super crop with the last batch I planted in the spring, having enough to give to my friends and having lots for me to enjoy. I’ll concentrate on trying not to be greedy. I’ll plant another group soon.
The zucchini plants are still looking healthy, although I’m having to read everything I can get my hands on to figure out what I’m doing.
We have lots of these small cantaloupes! I didn’t know they start out green, but we made sure each one is now sitting in a plastic bowl to keep it out of the dirt, as I read they like. Fingers crossed that they actually grow into something delicious to eat!
Our weather has been really different this year. Our tomato plants are looking pretty sad right now. I have no clue whether we’ll get more or not. We’ve had such a good crop this year. I hope I can extend the season some. I took bags of ripe tomatoes to our friends at Lunch Bunch this morning, and then another bag to our hairdresser on the way home. I love it when we can share the wealth!
It’s been about a week since I’ve been able to get out to the garden. Needless to say, there is a LOT to do out there now.
I did some weeding and harvested this zucchini and some tomatoes. I’ll go back out there later and prune a bunch of stuff and do more weeding.
We have some cantaloupe! I used several plastic ‘bowls’ with holes in them that allow the cantaloupe to grow while keeping them off the soil. I have no clue if we’ll actually get anything edible, but I’m like a kid waiting for Christmas watching them grow!
I’ll try to get some pics of the garden later to share.
Our ‘nook’ planter (the planter between the porch and the back of the house that we converted to a square foot planter) is providing us with a wealth of tomatoes now! My husband just asked me to cut a cold one up for him for a snack.
We have been extremely lucky this season, even though it has been a weird one weather-wise, and we feel truly wealthy in tomatoes. :0)
If you come by the house in the next few days , I’ll be happy to share them with you!
Today’s tomato harvest with more to come tomorrow! We are truly rich in tomatoes this season. We’re enjoying them for lunch and dinner every day. From a really shaky start, when I thought that the long tomato planter’s plants would die when they suddenly turned yellow, and that all we would get was greenery from the plants in the nook planter, we’ve had a wonderful season.
This is what is in our fridge now. I will share these with friends this week. :0)
I can finally declare victory for the day in the project of shoveling the saved potting soil back into the newly rebuilt planter!
I had just hauled the bricks that held the edges of the tarp together to the area behind the well house when my husband fell. (He is doing better – though his leg is pretty skinned up and we found a new little cut on the bottom of his big toe). He has rested this afternoon, eaten, had cold tea, read a whole book, and is now thinking about taking a nap.)
I decided – since the weather forecast is for possible rain tomorrow morning – that I wanted to get the potting soil into the planter by the end of the day. It took several short sessions, with lots of panting, water drinking and resting in-between, but I did it. I had just taken the tarp out to our burn barrel and was walking back to the house when my husband came out with both doggies.
He didn’t know I had been shoveling, and so was properly surprised that the job was done. The tarp you see in this picture is now gone, and a bare spot on the lawn is all that is left of the ‘save-the-potting-soil’ project. I still need to weed whack, since we couldn’t do a very good job without damaging the tarp, and I need to add a few more bags of potting soil to top off the planter, but basically it is ready to plant! We have leftover bricks from the project, but we’ll decide what to do with them later.
I’ll take more pics when we’ve found some good things to put in the two planters.