right now

right now

Jun 25, 2010

A Work Day!

It was 87 degrees today, heat index of 91... feels like FALL! I finally got back into the garden to get some work done. Although it was still sweaty, it was the kind of sweaty where you feel good once you have a shower, not the kind of heat where I need to make sure my kids know how to dial 9-1-1 on the phone!

Today's Harvest (upside-down, apparently!)
Blackberries, Raspberries, Radishes, 1 Fourth of July Tomato and the 1st Brandywine of the year, even if it was a small one!

I rigged some shade over my lettuces until I can figure out something better...

Massacred a few Japanese Beetles by hand, but then decided it was time to spray Neem anyways all over the apples and grapes since it was overcast. I still had to kill a few by hand just for the sick pleasure of it!

Other things accomplished today include hanging 2 loads of laundry on the line and weeding the fenced-in garden pathways. Since there is no relief in sight for the heat, I decided to clear off the deck, sweep it, rearrange chairs and plants and make room for some containers of lettuces. I have a bamboo screen stretched over the pergola so there is filtered shade there. Now we have 3 chairs so we can at least go read a book or something in the late afternoon in the shade. At least it's fresh air and not being cooped up inside! Bonus, I can sit in an uncomfortable chair and stare longingly at my hammock that can't be used until it cools off!

Not a ton of work done, but after the past 2 weeks, I'll take it! Tomorrow is back into the upper 90's so not sure if I will have anything worthwhile to post, I'll probably be cleaning my house and checking in throughout the day go garden vicariously through you all!

Jun 24, 2010

Today!

I am hot, tired, and cranky. That's the best post title I could come up with!

We really need to get on a better schedule again. I have been letting the kids stay up late, not even letting them out to ride bikes and such until after 7 pm, gardening up until it gets too dark to see at about 8:30 or 9 pm, and then watching tv, reading, etc until well after midnight! I am an early riser usually so being tired in the morning or the alternative, sleeping later and then feeling lazy for it, well, it's just not working! Today was the hottest so far, actual temp of 103 at 5 pm, heat index of 117. I knew it was going to be bad when I woke up and could barely see through the haze in the backyard, so I forced myself to do inside chores, but ended up really happy that I used the time wisely instead of just laying around all day!

Today's chore: Onion Day!

Because of the humidity, I have had my onions hanging and curing in the house for several weeks. I was able to ignore them for quite awhile since they were so pretty, but lately every time I walk by them or look at them sideways, the browned skins and tops would crumble and fall all over the floor! I took today as an opportunity to clean it all up finally. The few that were perfect were hung in mesh bags, but many were already bolting with wide necks when I harvested them, so all of those got chopped for the freezer.




I'm only cooking for myself and 2 little kids, so this will do nicely for stir fry and salsas into fall.

On to my pathetic garlic harvest. I "forgot" to order my garlic last year and on my way out the door headed to Minnesota for Thanksgiving I hurriedly planted a few of the previous year's harvest, thinking I would do more when I got back, but never did!


That's all I've got for this year, yikes! Good thing hubby the pizza chef isn't here, because I can hear him now, "oh, this won't do at all"!

The shallots, however, completely rocked out this year and I have no shortage of!


On the right is the remaining 1/2 garlic bulb and 3 shallots leftover from last year, I planted exactly enough!

Tonight, it's supposed to thunderstorm again so I didn't do anything in the garden except walk around with the camera wondering how the heck that stuff is living out there...
(sorry for hazy photos, humidity got inside my camera!)

The 1st Brandywine of the year


Sorry, I am obsessed with these Polish UFO's... they are getting so big!


"We're gonna need a bigger boat"

What am I going to do with all these peppers?


I just love the variegated leaves, even if the peppers look like yucky Okra, LOL


I didn't even know these were out there!


All those peppers are in this one bed!


Yuk, the Japanese Beetles are here... luckily they prefer my grapes and I noticed them over there tonight. These are my first apples, ever, so I really want them to live!


heehee, anyone have a bed that looks like this? pretty bad....! I kind of forgot about it back behind a shed and now it's full of weeds and Sassafras tree seedlings. I just dug it a month ago, but it's already been taken back by the yard.




Bells of Ireland - won't grow again, they fall over and look horrible!


My favorite right now!

I heard a rumor about the weather breaking tomorrow - I hope so because from the looks of things, I have some harvesting and spraying to do!

kinderGARDENS Week 11 Update

Inadvertent Farmer

Week 11 is a total bust for us, we will be lucky if the "green roof" doesn't completely die on us!


Actual air temp at 5 pm today! The heat index was 117... we are actively keeping kids OUT of the garden this week!

The Amaranthus heads are draping nicely now over the rooftop garden box and we should see some color soon, but almost everything else has curled up and been burned at the stake. The heat has been like this for over a week straight now. Even the squash, which I thought would survive, cannot take the container box. We still have a little hope in the form of Malabar Spinach, while still small, it is laughing off the heat like a champ.


Although it is too hot for the kids to play outside, they have been finding things to do that do not include tv or video games.


Remember these?! Everyone beware of the dreaded potholders at Christmastime - I'll make sure they get the most hideous colors I can find!


Other things keeping the kids busy are swimming lessons. If it wasn't for getting out of the house to lessons, I think they would have gone stir crazy. Posting video for hubby, he doesn't seem to be able to load any video via email on the ship, but he can get the blog! Notice Finn's teacher doesn't let Finn get away with the "I don't know how" routine anymore!

video

Loch is getting better every day, he finally seems to have found a sport he is better at than the other kids his age, and I know it is a big confidence booster for him.



video

Finn just being "Finn"... just the past 2 weeks he has decided he doesn't know how to swim anymore, I think it's because they moved him up a class and now he is the youngest and in the deep end the whole time. He was doing well with the younger group so I might move him back next session, I want him to enjoy this!

Hoping the weather breaks soon and we can get back out there and garden again!

As usual, check out The Inadvertent Farmer for links to other kinderGARDEN participants!

Jun 23, 2010

Braving It

The heat is immense, intolerable! I mowed the yard the other night and the thought occurred to me that inmates wouldn't even be subjected to working in such conditions! Today was no exception, so we waited until after dinner to venture out. I have been waiting until evening to go out and water, which I know is bad, but I just can't deal with the morning sun and humidity so thick it is foggy and swarms of mosquitoes everywhere! At 7 pm tonight I told the kids, okay - you've got 30 minutes to go out with me and play, then it's back inside to hit the showers! Heat index of 100 in the evening even has all of us on edge, I am noticing short tempers with all of us, lots of fighting between the kids, I know it's because we are trapped inside all day. Even the news has been reporting an unusually high amount of violent crime, domestics, murder-suicides, it's got to be the weather!

So here's what we accomplished/noticed in our 30-45 minutes of braving the sticky evening:


My garden seems to be growing tentacles... some random squash has sprouted from somewhere in my fence hedge bushes!


The UFO Polish Heirlooms are looking unbelievably healthy right now, the fruit on them is well over a pound and not even ripening yet! Crazy a$$ tomatoes, who wants to live in that sun and heat all day?


Close up of the monster tomatoes on the Polish


Cosmos self seeded from last year, they look so good I am thinking of planting only this next year... just open the back door and fling seed out there and call it a garden...no fuss, no watering, just heat lovin' pretty!


Other things living out in the jungle - "Hale's Best" cantelope (above) and "Bush Baby" watermelon (below)


I am really impressed with my 7 year old tonight! I had asked him to pull all the remaining Edamame plants out of the beds and we would later harvest the pods over in the shade. After about 4 minutes of this, he calls me over and thrusts a plant at me and tells me that it is covered with "root knot nematodes"! I explained to him that it was actually infected with a beneficial bacteria called "Rhizobia" and that it actually helps the plant take up more nitrogen. (This is essentially a visual cue that the soybean innoculant worked.) I think he understood and now wants to know more, but I am so impressed by his original diagnosis, and the fact that he read about nematodes on his own - he always stashes my books in his room and reads at night. Now that it's summer I let him stay in there and read until he falls asleep instead of enforcing the lights out rule! Loch, you are an amazing child! Below is the pic of the nodules he was concerned about:

"Rhizobia"
(In simple terms, inoculants are useful bacteria that infect roots, form nodules, and convert atmospheric Nitrogen into a useable form for the plant)

On to the carnage...

I ripped out all the Golden Wax and Dragon's Tongue beans tonight. They were just cooked, and starting to become a haven for bugs underneath. Ripped out all the Edamame, too. I did a second sowing about 2 weeks ago but the birds got all the sprout tops, so I will be bean-less for a bit while we sow new seeds and wait.

Unbelievable, but I had the energy to harvest and even photograph it tonight! Not much, but any more would have me freaking out, not in the mood to battle any more mosquitoes!


Fourth of July Tomatoes, Golden Wax Beans, Edamame, Cucumber, Blackberries & Raspberries

I am getting about this many berries a day now, the kids eat the raspberries right away, but every two days I have enough blackberry juice to freeze in Ball jars... when I get around to it some Blackberry Lemonade with a splash of Vodka sounds so nice! Alla y'all invited!

After sweating wearing pants and long sleeves and still getting eaten alive while watering, wouldn't you know it - just as I was getting all my crap together to head back in....THUNDER.... it's all a conspiracy ...

Jun 22, 2010

Dewpoint of 80! Temp 99, Feels Like....

yeah, it feels like that! Temps and humidity are matching those found in the Amazonian Rain Forest, so I've got nothing valuable to offer today. Just been surfing the net for new and exciting ways to stay cool...


Maybe I should go to the kids' swim practice tonight like this? Gotta git me one a dem Booger King crowns first!


While this blogger did this as redneck frost protection, I believe this would make the perfect solution for those days where it's just too hot to go out - open the door, throw a bucket of water out there and slam the door back shut again!


And maybe if we can't find a way to beat the heat, just grab a beer and go try to enjoy it like this lovely lady LOL!

This weather sucks, no nice way to say it. Do what I do: watch your plants die via binoculars from the window, at least you can stay cool while being stressed!

Jun 21, 2010

Summer Solstice, Longest Day of the Year, First Day of Summer, AND...

My Birthday!




Don't you wish life was this simple still?

Yes, I am 40. Forty. The big 4 - 0 . Four Decades. Sometimes I feel like I am still waiting for my life to start, LOL! I think that's just a side effect of being a military family, we are always looking forward to that date when we can live where we want to, in the house that we want. Yes, we have a nice thing going now, but it is always in the back of our minds that we wouldn't be here if it wasn't for the military, and we are always subject to whatever housing is available in our price range at any given base. Not exactly ideal, but we work with it. I think this is why I still feel like I'm in my 20's sometimes, still full of plans for the future! And it helps that I have 2 very young children that don't give me much time to wallow in self pity and feel old!

The boys want to know if I want to have my birthday party at Chuck E. Cheese's. Hmmmm, no, I think I'll pass on that in favor of hanging out at the pool on base this afternoon to beat the heat and putting the kids to bed early. That's my birthday wish!

On to the latest harvests:


Edamame!



Golden Wax Beans, Hybrid Tomatoes, Blackberries, Raspberries


The raspberries never make it past the washing stage, fine by me - less preserving to do!
The kids don't think much of all the seeds in fresh blackberries and don't like anything but strawberry jam, so I ran all the blackberries through the chinois and then another smaller sieve and put away 6 oz of pure blackberry juice in the freezer for future blackberry lemonade! I think I will do that with all the blackberries this year, I am thinking of infusing some iced tea with it as well.


Pepper plants are out of control. I love the variegated leaves on the Fish Hot Pepper.
Jalapenos are starting to come in and I am not ready!


Peering in to the pepper bed... I'm in a lot of trouble this year.... what is the problem with moderation with me????? I parted the green curtain and they were all laughing at me!

Jun 20, 2010

The Fathers In My Life


My Dad!



Did you ever think we would grow up?


And now you are Grandpa!

Thanks for everything you have done for us! Many years ago you sacrificed a career and financial stability to take the plunge and move your family back to MN where you and mom grew up, worked tirelessly to give us all we needed and wanted and gave us a wonderful and safe place in the country to grow up in, and a place I am so proud to call home. Now that I have kids of my own, I understand !
Happy Father's Day!

Sailor/Farmer/Father/Husband - Happy Father's Day!


Military life keeps you from us for long stretches at a time, but you always manage to make sure the kids always know they come first, and give them plenty of "Dad Moments"!


The importance of men, boats, fish, and their dogs


Proper snowman construction


Teaching them to make the finest pizza crust around


"Cool Dad" Job enables children to appreciate big engines and loud noises


Making sure your son caught his first fish while on his first trip "up nort"!


Teaching your son to enjoy the finer things in life, like walleye strips (and a Fitgers?!)


Your ability to squeeze a year's worth of chores into just a few weekends before deployment. Your Subaru thanks you, the new timing belt has made her feel like a new woman!


Your alien fish wishes you a Happy Father's Day and thanks you for releasing her back to spawn more alien monster fish.


Is this a sign of things to come? Your boys are going to keep you on your toes!


Your 2-Headed Dog misses you!


Know that we are sending hugs your way today and every day, but instead of thinking of you over there, we prefer to think of you like this...


... but this year can you please refrain from forgetting about bait that you had stashed in the back of the car? Thanks.

Happy Father's Day!

And a Happy 2nd Father's Day to my brother! You are a great dad, and I know Charlie loves having someone he can commiserate with now!



Happy Father's Day to All!
Love
Erin, Lochlann, Finnegan, "Marley" &"Sprocket"