right now

right now

Jul 10, 2010

It's Here!

It's as big as his head!

First came the extraction. Funny thing: before hubby left, he gave me this tool and said "here, you might want this for your garden stuff"... what the heck is that LOL? I figured he just didn't want to put it away. Sure came in handy!

While I was doing the extraction, I decided to look over the plant. It is VERY healthy, over 6 ft tall now, and loaded with fruit as you can see below. Here's the thing... look at the fruit at the bottom of the plant (above pic) and then look at the fruit now forming at the top of the plant. See the difference? RuralRose, are you looking and laughing? It appears we may indeed have an identification of the UFO Heirloom: "Oxheart"...! I'll keep my eyes on the fruit development but that shape is pretty unmistakeable. I have grown them before, but never ended up with the regular Mortgage Lifter shaped fruit I got at the bottom of the plant. I wonder if seeds were crossed or what the seed's history really is! I will probably never know, but it is fun nonetheless!

It's as big as Sprocket's head too!

Now on to the details:

Tomato fell way short on taste - oh, no! Maybe it's because of my anticipation... I was starting to dream about driving around with it strapped to the hood of my car like a redneck hunter with his prized whitetail, or maybe finding a veggie taxidermist to mount it for me!

It could also be the weather, it rained (thankfully, we needed it!) all day long, heavily. I went out and got it tonight since I was afraid it would split badly by morning with all the rain. It had split this evening but only a little. Maybe it was too swollen with water, but I found the taste to be quite bland, of course way better than store bought, but yet nowhere near the taste of a Brandywine. We'll keep on tasting, though... hopefully the next will be better. This would make a fabulous thick slicing tomato on a burger it is so meaty. Also interesting is that the bottom tomatoes set so much earlier than the ones on top and are so much bigger and slower developing... I will remain hopeful for the next harvest! They better get good because it looks like these two plants will provide the majority of my canning this year, each has over 20 tomatoes on it!

I have had some inquiries for the seed next season, I will definitely be waiting for the best ones to save from, this one wasn't it, sadly!

I'll leave you with a video of one of my favorite summer visitors:

I obviously had hornworms somewhere in the garden, I just love it when I don't find them until they have turned into this stunning moth!

Tonight's the Night...

Yes, I think tonight will be the big night for the first UFO!
How AM I going to get that thing outta there?!

Below is a photo of the UFO Tomatoes, they are really getting tall, that is me reaching as high as I can next to them!

This morning I got a little accomplished before the humidity and heat drove me back inside. I was able to replant some beds with more beans, cilantro, dill, lettuces (I keep trying), and a couple of hills of small pie pumpkins. I should still have enough time in the season to get the pumpkins in time to brew our Harvest Pumpkin Ale and freeze some for pumpkin bread in the winter. I still need to rip out and replant the "green roof", and prune one of my Crepe Myrtle trees that is completely blocking one of my garden paths, but that will have to wait until evening, but truth be told, I am hoping it will rain today and I won't have to go back out!

Photos from the garden this morning, good, bad & ugly in no particular order:

Note: Orange Wellington hybrid tomato does really well in a container!

Sugar Baby Bush Watermelon containers, cosmos are starting to take over the area, though!

Planted Japanese Climbing Cucumbers in this bed just 2 weeks ago, already out of control!

Now get ready to have a good laugh...

My "cornfield" in the shade experiment! It's pathetic! About 18" high and believe it or not, has tiny ears on it LOL! I just shake my head and laugh when I see it every day, it's right next to my shed. I left my radio on out there this morning, maybe they will grow more if they have some tunes to listen to. Here's the description of it for an extra laugh:

Corn, Early Sunglow Hybrid

Best early variety, thrives in cool weather.
Garden-fresh sweet corn is summer's greatest pleasure. A packet contains enough for four 15 ft rows. Seeds are not treated. Extra-early, uniform ears are about 7 inches long with 12 rows of deep kernels. Stalks yield 2 ears. Best early variety, thrives in cool weather. Height 4 to 4½ ft. Proven tops for productivity, flavor and wide adaptability. Ready to harvest in 63 days.

Ears 7" long? LOL... and cool weather? what was I thinking?!

More laughs above. This is my Asparagus bed. The one I dug out by hand all day by myself, even bothered to fence in from the dogs... I kind of forgot about it! So now it's a bed of Sassafras, grass, and miscellaneous weeds! Should have planted that stuff in the green roof, it might still be green!

This is just plain redneck!

I swore I would not buy any more stuff for my garden except seeds for fall. I have more than my fair share of "stuff" in my shed to create things from, and this is what ensued! These are my bean and Edamame beds, and this is actually working to keep the Mockingbird out. I caught him red handed yesterday morning hopping around eating tops off my beans. I sent Sprocket the "Outback Jack" after him and then she was in there messing up my bed too! We made up our own breed for her, she's half Jack Russell, half Australian Shepherd, and the only Aussie in her is her coloring, other than that she is a complete terrier-terror to all vermin in the yard! So while my setup is ugly, it's working. It can come down in a couple of days, the birds don't bother the beans once they get their 2nd set of leaves.

In case you are wondering, this is what an Outback Jack looks like! Yeah, we can't figure it out either...

Sprocket the wonder girl


I am really hoping my grapes make it to harvest this year, last year I put paper bags on all the bunches and the mockingbirds still got to them!

Don't you love the fact that the garden can provide delicious junk food, too?
Tomatoes, Jalapenos, Cilantro, Chives & Homebrew
I walked outside with this yumminess last night and my neighbor said she wouldn't be surprised to see me milking a cow in my backyard and making my own cheese for the nachos, too - hmmm, not sure if that was a compliment or not LOL!

Speaking of last night, this is what the kids looked like when I arrived to pick them up at the "Y" from Parents Night Out! While I am glad they had fun, this means I had to spend a half hour scrubbing them down at 10 pm before bed!

I will be hiding out from the heat all day, but hope to post about that tomato very soon...!

Jul 9, 2010

Friday Fotos

With this unbearable heat wave, what could there possibly be to smile about?

It's easy to forget when swamped with chores and sweat, that there are...

Happy Summer Things!

Ladybugs make me very happy!

Moving the poor fish up onto the shady deck where I can sit and enjoy them is a happy thing!

Kids' art takes on a nature theme

A delivery of summer reading makes me happy!

My boys' enthusiasm for fresh summer caught seafood never gets old!

"Finn" definitely lives up to his name when it comes to eating fish

Smiles instead of whining always makes for a happy day

Gardening in a dress makes me happy!

Marley the Wonder-Dog makes me VERY HAPPY! There's nothing better than a happy, sandy dog.
She just turned 8 years old, Happy Birthday Mars!

One more happy thought: tonight is my 3 hours per month without kids - what should I do? Was thinking of seeing Eclipse, but I may wait on that, there will still be throngs of angst ridden teenagers there tonight. Maybe the bookstore? Maybe gardening by myself? Choices...

Jul 8, 2010

kinderGARDENS Week 13: "I Believe!"

Kim at The Inadvertent Farmer, who's hosting the kinderGARDENS Contest, asked what we "believe" right now in our gardens. In spite of the weather, disease, insects, etc... we always believe in something more, don't we? It's what keeps us going! In honor of the random manic-depressive type of gardening going on here lately, I present random photos!

Thanks to the bee-u-tiful triple digit temps we have been having...

I believe the "green roof" is dead!

I want to believe that eventually the Japanese Beetles will become extinct!

I believe I will never acclimate to the sheer horror that is the Tomato Hornworm!

I believe that my mockingbirds will be evicted very soon from their luxurious digs in the arbor. They are behaving badly and are not at all appreciative of my hospitality thus far.

I believe every child should know where their Thanksgiving Dinner comes from, and run from it if necessary!

I believe that there aren't enough potato sack races anymore...

On to the good...

I believe my garden trellising system will look like this someday, and that my kids will help build it!

I believe that we don't go crabbing nearly enough!

Finally, I believe that in spite of the heat, humidity, bugs and frustration, we will be rewarded with this!

Happy Gardening! Now get those kids in the garden, get them dirty and make them do chores, I believe they'll thank you one day!

Jul 7, 2010

this just in...

Squadron Photo, USS Truman, somewhere in the Persian Gulf...

Sailor/Farmer/Husband is the 1st white shirt on the left, back row - nope, make that the 2nd guy from the left, back row... I am seeing a guy in white standing to the far left, that's not him LOL
I hope you are able to enlarge it, I am at the whim of whatever file size the ship sends me!

They are lookin' pretty cool considering 3 digit temps working in full gear on a steel deck, dontcha think?!

Jul 6, 2010

The past few days' observations & notes!

The lower temps of last week let me get out and get my beds weeded, planted and just inspect the plants in general. Just some photos of what's growing out there right now along with some notes for future reference:

Bush Baby Watermelon
(notes: compact, pretty vine growing well in container boxes, decent yield, no visible bug damage!)

(this was a sickly half dead nursery plant 1 month ago about 4 inches high - I planted near the compost pile and seems to enjoy the full sun and intense heat we have had)

"Hale's Best" Cantelope - I don't know anything about this, never grown melons before! It looks close to being done. (Growing well in a container, not bothered by bugs, not a "messy plant" at all!) See vining habit in below photo:

Another shot of "Hale's Best" Cantelope - this was an afterthought, I tucked a few free seeds into a box of marigolds, the cantelope vine is really well behaved, grows fine in container in intense heat, although the roots are definitely shaded by the marigolds, this little bit of vine has 5 cantelopes on it right now, all appear to be about 1-2 weeks apart in maturity, so: perfect!

Note to self: please exercise a little more self control with the peppers next year! There are easily over 200 peppers in this one bed at this moment from different varieties. In here are Jalapeno Gigante, Fish Hot, Yellow Stuffers and Quadrato d'Asti Rosso. I am terrified about the day that will come soon where I will actually have to start harvesting and figuring out what to do with them!

My first time dealing with blossom end rot - congrats to me, huh? I even used "the spray" religiously but I have always heard that stuff doesn't work. Since these 2 I haven't had any more, but now I can add this little tidbit under my experience belt!

Lovely garden spider in my potatoes. This is the time of year they start covering my tomatoes with their beautiful colors and webs, my little guardians!

Speaking of things that need guarding, my Polish UFO's are approaching State Fair entry sizes and showing no signs of ripening still. Compare these babies to my hand and you can start to tell how large they are getting - and there is 8 like this on there! What's amusing is the fact that I can barely get my hand into the tomato cage my hubby built - I think I am going to have to cut access holes all over it since the cage is 5 ft tall! I have searched and searched on heirloom tomato types given the characteristics I was told from the old lady who gave me the seeds, but I still am no closer to having a name for this variety. I may have to name it myself! We'll wait until we can see the final product and a taste review and then we will have a "name that tomato!" idea post!

After seeing the above pic, it doesn't do the tomato justice! I just ran outside and took another photo for size reference:

This is a 10 oz "full size" Orange Wellington I am holding next to the Polish UFO's!

Sorry for the loud video, it's a necessary part of my hurricane prepping around here, looks like we are going to have an active year. Hubby has trouble getting video via email, but is able to see it on the blog!

Jul 5, 2010

Camping for the Ladies!

This is just one of the things making me smile today! Check out this link to Tiny House blog, one of my favorite sites!

Holiday Exploring

The past week has been absolutely beautiful, and couldn't ask for better weather. I got a ton of work done in the garden and will post on that tomorrow, but today I'll focus on the 4th of July! Since getting so much work done, we played hooky on the last day of nice temps to go and explore our area and have some fun! We have such a variety of places to explore all within 20 minutes of our house, unfortunately the heat, humidity, and snakes keep us from enjoying it to the full extent! We have the ocean, bay, salt marshes, woods, and swamp. We tried to do it all yesterday! We started out Saturday night by camping in the tent in the backyard. Sunday morning, I packed lunches, bikes, hiking shoes & snakebite kit (no joke!) and decided to see if hubby and I might start being able to "get our life back" a little bit by seeing how much the kids could handle LOL! We biked a little, hiked a little, and paddled a little, although we had to rent a canoe since I can't load ours by myself and the kids are still too little to help.

Loaded & ready to explore!

Crossing bridge over brackish marsh of Back Bay headed to the swamp

Beautiful drive with no traffic - it seems everyone flocks to the oceanfront, which is fine with me!

Finn ready to try out his new bike

There they go! While this camp road sufficed as a "trail" for today since it's the first time they have been off the pavement, I intend on exposing them to a little more "trailness" in the future. Singletracks get a little hairy around here, not because of the difficulty, but because of the swamp sucking you in or snakes in the trees and trail!

A little redundant, but daddy will enjoy the video, they were barely off of training wheels when he deployed.

Lunchtime break near the boat launch

Finnegan is about to discover why I told him not to feed the animals...

Northwest River

Heading towards the swamp

Heeeeree, snakey, snakey!

The views and sounds of the swamp are absolutely amazing

The kids have a ways to go yet on stamina, but it was a good day and we were all tired! No water moccasins dropping out of trees today, no bandages required, and we must have used enough bug spray because we emerged intact and still happy! It was home for a couple of hours and then to the beach on the Naval Base for fireworks. I gave up years ago trying to take pictures of fireworks displays, but I will show you the sights on our hike out to the beach:

Atlantic Ocean

Unspoiled beaches not on the resort strip!

I'll leave you with this morning's harvest:

Orange Wellington tomatoes, 4th of July tomatoes, cucumber, raspberries, blackberries

I hope you all had a great holiday weekend and got to do something fun! It's in the mid to upper 90's again for the foreseeable future so I will be trying to get some work done indoors... it all kind of fell by the wayside this past week!