Monday, August 30, 2010

Monday Garden Club

I'll be honest. I was worried about leaving the garden for so long while we were on vacation. My father-in-law came over once or twice and picked some veggies. I could tell the peppers and the tomatoes had been picked but last night I still managed to collect a whole bucket of beans, a dozen or so okra, tomatoes, onions, a small cantaloupe and a few zucchini that refuse to give up the ghost.

Now for all you gardeners out there who wish to participate, either leave a comment on what's growing in your yard, or post a Monday Garden Club update on your blog. Don't forget to drop your link in the comments and I'll add it to this post.

Participating Blogs:

Sunday, August 29, 2010

Summer Vacation, Part 1

We've only been home a few hours and it's very clear that our vacation is over. The washing machine is working overtime, agitating a week's worth of dirty, stinky, sweaty clothes while the Gardener is out mowing the surprisingly not so long grass and the children are begging to turn on the TV after almost 10 days of very limited TV watching and absolutely no Qubo. I haven't yet had the courage (or energy) to go out and assess the garden and harvest the crazy amounts of produce that I'm sure are hanging on the plants. The rain gauge indicates that about a half inch of rain fell while we were gone, but I'm guessing it was hot too with the sort of crispy look that has overtaken the farm fields and my hanging baskets of once lush looking petunias. Time for the planters to go back in the garden shed for the year, I guess.

So yeah, vacation. First of all, I would like to know what exactly defines a vacation. Is it living out of a suitcase for a week? Driving 12 hours in the car to go to one of the most boring parts of the country? Staying with family in little 2 bedroom homes? Going to the Mall Of America and accidentally getting on the most terrifying roller coaster ride ever invented? Turns out for us, it's all of those things and more. Actually before we started our trek across Wisconsin and all way to western side of Minnesota and a day trip to my home state of North Dakota, we went up to the family cottage up in the north woods for one last family weekend (with part of my family) before the summer slips away from us.

And here come the photos!

We stared off Saturday with the Gardener's favorite, mini golf...
After mini golfing and a race around the go kart track (Binny and I passed Mae and the Gardener on one of the last turns. Yay for winning! Perhaps we're a bit competitive.) we stopped in at the annual garden tractor pull. We have always wanted to go but it has never been on a weekend when we're up there. What a (redneck) treat!
This girl (I think she was 16 or so) was all pro and wasn't afraid to lean all the way back to get as much traction on her back wheels as possible.
Some of the tractors were really loud...
Like this one with the giant pipes...
It wasn't too long and Binny had enough loud noises and exhaust fumes, so we went back to the cottage for a walk in the woods...With bear protection, of course...Then dinner...Rocko really liked dinner...
The next day, Uncle T took us out in his big boat!
Hey Uncle T, 1974 called, they want their boat back!

While it may be old, it sure does move!

Mae couldn't get enough of being towed around behind the boat...Binny tolerated it, but didn't like going too fast...
Up next, Part 2 including some crazy-ass chickens. Stay tuned!

Monday, August 16, 2010

Monday Garden Club

It seems no matter how many trailer loads full of weeds I pull out of this garden, the weeds still overpower. It's only really bad in the vine garden so I figured I would just let the plants and the weeds duke it out, but still, it looks kinda bad. Which is why I love the sunflower/pole bean divider right down the center. It makes for such a nice privacy screen for the out of control weeds growing along with the pumpkins, winter squash and melons.

The other half isn't so weedy and is much easier to get around in for quick and easy picking.
I'm adding cauliflower to the list of veggies I have tried to grow at least twice with no success. Perhaps I'll pass on the cauliflower next year. My father-in-law only 10 minutes from here grows them every year but I've never had any luck. The heads don't really develop properly then start to flower and make a very unappetizing smell that is quite noticeable even outside in the garden. They will be tossed out onto the compost pile very soon.
I bought these red cabbage plants %50 off for a pack of 6 toward the end of the planting season and thought, for less than a dollar, I would give them a try.
So far so good except the bugs seem to like them.

My peppers are still working on turning red.
Some of the chili peppers are ready as well.
Here's another victim of the hungry bugs this year. These are my sad looking brussel sprout plants after being nibbled up by little green worms.
I don't know enough about chemicals and vegetable gardening to do anything other than pick off the pesky bugs when I see them, but obviously that's not a very effective technique.

The tomato garden is doing so-so. Some of the early varieties are already done and some other varieties are just getting blossoms. I've been picking about an ice cream bucket full of ripe tomatoes twice a week. Earlier in the summer, some of the tomato plants developed some weird leaf curl thing and looked like they were dying. Most have recovered by now but are a bit behind in growth. I guess it's a good thing I planted 25 tomatoes.
The vine garden...
The zucchini and summer squash are finally starting to give up the ghost after producing like mad for the past month.
I'm still piling them up on the porch because I don't have room in the house but actually some of the porch squash are keeping better than some I have in the fridge.

And one more of the sunflowers...
Love them!

Now for all you gardeners out there who wish to participate, either leave a comment on what's growing in your yard, or post a Monday Garden Club update on your blog. Don't forget to drop your link in the comments and I'll add it to this post.

Participating Blogs:
Ma Vie Folle

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Wardrobe Wednesday- Summer Dresses

My kids are lucky. 5 of their 8 grandparents live within an hour of us, so they are able to see them quite regularly. My husband's parents live the closest on a beautiful rural property complete with a pond, a large selection of Christmas trees a really fun tree swing. The girls and I, along with my brother went over there yesterday morning to fish for a few hours before it got too hot.

The girls wore dresses...
We also picked carrots because Grandpa somebody planted carrots in the garden and some on the corner of a field and some more on the corner of another field and so on all over the property.At home, Binny topped and washed every single carrot!

I love summer.

Speaking of grandparents, today is Grandma Dee's birthday! I love her. She called me shortly after Oliver died and left a message that went something like this...

Hello Ali? Yeah, it's Grandma. We're fine. I just wanted to call you and tell you how sorry I am to hear about Oliver. I went shopping for a sympathy card today but couldn't find one for a dog so I thought I'd just call instead.

More Wardrobe Wednesday at Heathen Family Revival.

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Garden Update

Well, I'm late again. I know, shocking. Yesterday I woke up with a headache from hell that I'm convinced was a result of minor case of dehydration after spending all day Sunday outside working in the yard. I'm feeling much better now but I have to admit that at this point in the season, I'm a bit overwhelmed by how much work the garden is. Not only am I caring for the garden outside, I have to do something with all of the food I pick from it to store for the winter. Not always the easiest thing to make myself heat up the hot water canner when it's 85 degrees and humid. Even the blanching I did today warmed up the house more than I would like.

The second round of raspberries will be ready soon! All of my raspberry plants (both red and gold) fruit twice a year. Binny was thrilled when she learned this little bit of information.
The second round of radishes I planted a few weeks ago are now ready. I may even have time for one more crop of those if I get out there and plant them this week.

The beans were the big producer this week and are still climbing very nicely up the sunflower stalks. I'm wondering how tall the beans will climb.

The sunflowers are all taller than me already!

Binny loves to help in the garden especially when I let her use a sharp knife to cut the veggies off the plants.

She also likes to pull the root vegetables. It's hard to convince her to leave some of the onions in the ground when she can see them sticking up through the dirt. Way too tempting for a young gardener.

These little shits...are taking over parts of all three garden sections. I guess it's a good year for winter squash.

My peppers must have read last week's blog post about how they refuse to turn red.

I went out to pick veggies last night after dinner hoping that it would be a bit cooler, but it wasn't, and the mosquitoes were TERRIBLE once again even after I coated myself in bug spray. By the time I finished picking, it was dark and the constant bug swatting and scratching (yes, I'm a scratcher) was getting to be unbearable. I don't think I could have piled one more bean on top anyway.
Today I blanched and froze a quart bag of carrots (from my father-in-law's garden) and a gallon freezer bag full of beans. I still have broccoli to process that I've been collecting over the past week and I'm thinking I'll use it to make broccoli cheese soup. But again, this is not what I would consider soup weather. I just can't get in the mood.
So what is ready in your garden this week?

Now for all you gardeners out there who wish to participate, either leave a comment on what's growing in your yard, or post a Monday Garden Club update on your blog. Don't forget to drop your link in the comments and I'll add it to this post.

Participating Blogs:
Out In Them Sticks