Tuesday, May 24, 2016

In The Garden: May 2016

Not my garden in the picture but the fence is similar.  I have been out there watering my seeds.  Not much has sprouted as yet.  I see germinated seeds and G sees weeds.

As to the "not my picture", I am trying to get myself back into the picture taking mode.  It's been a long time.  I think the new operating system made me stop.  The old one was easy.  The new one--it looks so different and so many steps.  I just gave up.  As I told G--what was easy and fun is now torture.  I will try again. but not today.

I have planted arugula (G and I like it on bruschetta), Little Gem lettuce, dill, parsley, carrots and beets.   I have another 6 to 8 strawberry plants to set into the part of the bed that will now be "The Strawberry Bed".  A few of last year's plants have white strawberry flowers on them.  Not enough for anything but a berry for the gardener.  If I had a grandchild gardening with me--well, I would save them all for her or him to pick and eat.

Last year's failed fennel crop was left in the garden.  And it has returned.  Every plant is now 6 to 8 separate  clumps of stems with huge heads of frothy greens.  Perhaps this is the secret for growing fennel into bulbs???  A two year process.  I hope to achieve some fennel seed as well, later in the year.

I have started seeds on the back deck (and they are enjoying a cloudy wet day) for my summer crops of squash, zucchini, cucumbers.  The deck also holds a large crate filled with tomato and pepper seedlings.  Early Girl and Sweet 100 along with a new to me heirloom tomato called Hillbilly. The pepper is New Ace.  I like to let the peppers go until they start to turn red.  Then I cut them and let them fully ripen in the safety of the sun porch --away from squirrels.  I will buy eggplant as needed. I have no luck growing them.

I have been eating my way thru the many frozen containers of eggplant squash and tomato that I grew last year.  The variety of vegetables that I added to this "stew" is amazing.  I found white beans in one and carrots in another.  The tomato was always the canned marinara from Trader Joe's as my tomato crop was very sad last season.

G and I have been having kabobs from the grocery meat department along with 5 for $1.00 corn at least once a week.  Last week we had teriyaki sticks.  Delish.  I don't know where the corn is coming from but it is absolutely wonderful.  I usually have vegetable kabobs.  Not that I don't eat meat--I do--but it's very infrequent and I am selective.  I am thinking I could make the teriyaki sticks myself.  The teenager who sold me the sticks said they were made "here from a hunk of meat and some sauce". He also told me the marinated kabobs were made "somewhere else".  Interesting, huh?

Work is half doable/enjoyable and half more than I can handle.  It is a struggle.  Perhaps this is the way things will be for me as I grow older? It makes me sad.  But I will have to adjust.

Already I am making choices in the garden as to what is "worth" my time and trouble and what is not. I enjoy the berries and fruits.  I love the carrots and beets.  The lettuces get lost in the shuffle.  The cabbages, while delicious, end up slimy with cabbage worms.  The onions and garlic do very well--on their own.  Cucumbers--while once so easy--are now a trial.  I don't know where I failed them.  The zucchini takes a long time to get going--and I am always afraid they won't--but then I have a enough for several batches of pickles.  There is never enough yellow crookneck squash for the big pans of fried squash that we all LOVE to eat.  The tomatoes are always too slow and not enough for the caprese salads of July and August. Which is why, this year I switched to early and small tomatoes.
The basil had blight last summer and will have it again this summer but hopefully there will be "just enough" for our tomatoes and cheese.

As you can read--I grow only what we love to eat.  Now if the blackberries will co-operate and deliver enough for my daily yogurt lunches (last year they produced ONE berry--which was delicious).  We are eating the rhubarb from my friend Patty's garden as I let my own rhubarb grow a bit more mature--another season.  I need patience.

Tuesday, May 17, 2016


I have been trying to write a new post here for three days and Google (which must have purchased blogspot) has been working overtime to block me.  I just finished a long entering process to get into my own blog.

Plus, I was working outside and am covered in large swollen insect bites.  Some multiple bites on the same small section of skin.  Itches like crazy.

Also, I was very strongly reminded that I am allergic to dust.  A neighbor asked me to repair and tack her rather large, puffy quilt for her.  I said yes.  It hasn't been washed in 10 years.  DUST.  I now have a hacking cough, chest congestion and who knows what else.

G and I tried out the new Taco Truck in Town.  Good.  Not great.  But he sold out of the fish tacos so they must have been great.  Next time I am getting a taco.  Not a burrito.  Too big and too mushy. The chef/owner was born and raised in Santa Clara, CA--right where my son lived for over 20 years-- so we "bonded".

My garden is coming along.  Some of the seeds I planted have germinated and their baby leaves look so cute against the soil.  Arugula and kale.  I managed to get some sage and anise hyssop germinated and grown in the milk jug experiment.  Also some Batchelor Buttons.  I purchased a new thyme plant to replace the one that seems to have disappeared.  Plants do that.  Just--- gone.

I've dug up and taken to work a large box of ajuga ground cover, a box of Lady's Mantle and on Thursday, a box of Nepeta (cat mint).  The other employees are eager to take home free plants.  One has shared her large thistle divisions with me.  It's nice to share.  No one was interested in the iris clumps so I set them in the woods.  Sometimes they grow.

Well, I tired of coughing. So I think I will just get another cough drop and another glass of water and settle into the sofa and try not to itch my bites.  The Witch Hazel I rubbed on the bites seems to be helping.  Not the most interesting post.  Sorry.

Friday, May 13, 2016

May Flowers

We (at work) are almost to the saturation point in floral color right now.  We need more petunia hanging baskets--especially the Heavenly Blue ones.  I have been busy at home, in the garden, and at work potting up geraniums etc for customers.  I have even done my first set of window boxes.

My wardrobe changed overnight.  From corduroy pants and thermal undershirts to capri pants and short sleeved tees (with a men's long sleeved shirt in case of a chill).  In the blink of an eye.  I even opened windows.  Cleared out the dust and winter odors.

I have NOT had my daily potato.  But, I have eaten my way through two large containers of strawberries.  Imported.  Not Maine's delicious berries.  Which reminds me to stock the car with $5 bills so I can stop on the roadside and buy berries when I see them.  Cash only.  And I never have cash on me anymore.  Waiting for someone to start selling rhubarb.  Mine is too small to pull.  I bet Patty's is ready.  I should call and check.  Her land sits on an aquifer and the rhubarb starts early and gets enormous.

The new "asthma" is causing me to be more tired in warmer weather.  I asked G about it (as he has a long term lung condition) and he said the tired-ness doesn't go away.  I have to adjust to it.  I haven't had to use the rescue inhaler.  Yet.

No lack of bees at work.  I have already been stung by one.  Back of the neck under my shirt collar.
And two or more black fly bites already. No brown tail moth rash, yet. No ticks since I found that one running around in my hair.

My neighbor asked me to mend her bed "quilt"-- more of a poofy comforter.  The top is pieced and some of the blocks are unsewing themselves.  I'll do it by hand over time using an invisible appliqué stitch.  Then I may take the time to tack it so she can wash it.  Re-tack.  I think at one time it was tacked but not well.  Not tightly enough or with double knots ( I am going to Google how to do the job correctly).  I will need to clear off my table and set up a "work station".  The light green perle cotton ball I purchased at Goodwill for one dollar will come in quite handy for the tacks.  Funny how that worked out.  G asked what I needed it for--and I said I don't know but I seem to need it for a future something.  And I did.

Tuesday, May 10, 2016

Succulents: The New Geranium

We can't keep the succulent table stocked at work.  Easy to care for (just ignore them) and they don't care if it's sunny or shady.  I love the idea of this large flat topped pedestal container.  That thin wavy succulent at the top of the arrangement is wicked expensive.  And the whole thing would need to be moved into a "less than frozen" area for the colder winter months.  But right now--- Amazing.

My garden is full of weeds right now.  I did get all the red and yellow onions planted.  And the little tiny seedlings out of the Milk Jug experiment (sage and anise hyssop).  I have three kinds of tomatoes on the deck today (shielded from the direct sun by a lawn chair).  I am ready to get going but wanted a second cup of coffee and time to write to you Dear Readers.

Yesterday, after work, I went round to the library and found a mystery to read and an older copy of Permaculture magazine in the "share old magazines" racks.  Then the grocery for more Romaine lettuce for lunches.  I also noticed very large crates on the floor in the produce department with very large bags of "local potatoes".  Usually "local  Maine potatoes", while tasty are also very dirty.  These were exceptionally large Russets and they were clean.  And they were $3.99 for what looks like 10 pounds (but could be more).  G and I each had one potato, baked perfectly, with sour cream and fresh cut chives from my many, many chive plants.  One potato equals a complete meal.  Huge potatoes. I plan on having a nice hot baked potato every day until they are gone.  Use up those chives.

Yesterday, in our feeble attempt to downsize from 4 vehicles (for two people) to two vehicles--G purchased a new car.  Replacing one with another.  Not what I wanted.  My idea was that he would trade two vehicles for one new one.  But on the up side, it's a car not a truck.  He wanted a new truck. I did not want to ride into my golden years (70 to 80) in a truck.  So he traded an old Jeep for a new Jeep.

And, as I suggested, he totally cleaned the old Jeep with Simple Green.  Leather seats and all.  The guys at the dealership were totally gobsmacked at how good that Jeep looked.  How unused it looked.
We are pretty careful with our possessions.  Except for shoes and garden gloves (which we destroy), we are wearing and using some very vintage items.  And they look pretty darn fresh.

Now we need to get rid of (sell) the 1998 BMW Z3 Roadster that has been stored in the garage for over 8 years.  Only two years away from the 20 year "Vintage" label that is so worth waiting for.  (???)  Now the interior of that car is a dream come true.  The Rosewood steering wheel is a thing of beauty as is the custom leather and wood trim on all surfaces. Interested?  Oh, the car is a 6 cylinder, black with a rag top.  Easily gets past 100mph.  I think it has less than 25K in mileage. Owned by an old woman who doesn't drive much.  ROFL but it's true.