right now

right now

Aug 27, 2010

A Productive Day!

It seems that the good weather is here to stay, hooray! I wanted to get outside and work right away, but a drippy tomato on my counter told me to deal with those first! I only have 2 tomato plants left now, so it took a week of tomatoes to get enough for 1 pint of stewed tomatoes. Lots of beans to blanch and bell peppers to freeze still, but it looks like next week I will actually have time to tackle the jalapenos.

This is pretty much what the daily harvest has dwindled to now

After lunch I had intended on continuing my assault on the vegetable garden, but my attention somehow got diverted to the cosmos that are taking over the yard. It is getting to the point where it freaks me out harvesting beans because I'm afraid of a copperhead hiding out in there or the cosmo branches brushing against my neck and legs makes me jump! I didn't plant any this year, they just self seeded last year and have taken over. They aren't normal pretty little things either, they are about 8 feet tall and stems like bamboo canes. I will NEVER plant these again!

Here is part of the cosmos that I did today, I have to walk in there to get to part of the beans! Notice how much taller they are than the corn LOL! Unfortunately, this scene is repeated in 3 different areas of my yard

Anyways, I ripped a section of them out that made a mountain 4 feet tall, I guess I'll have to burn them. I then weeded that entire area, the good thing is that I seem to have started the fall chores in the most problematic part of the yard, meaning that in a few days, the worst will be over and I can then tend to the garden again, which is very tidy in comparison!

I was able to get the lawn mowed and found that in these 80º temps, it is becoming almost pleasant work again!

The kids helped me out by bringing my tools back to my shed and scooping the dog poop before I mowed so I promised them I would quit early and make a "real" dinner and they could ask their friends over. I made them Boca Bacon & Cheese Omelets, that's "real" in their book, they love "reverse breakfast" nights, and I like them because they are easy!

After their early dinner, it was playtime! They asked "is the water cold?" to which I laughed, we have well water so it is indeed cold! They played in it anyways...

That's Finn sailing down the slip-n-slide, with my neighbor laughing in the background

When I came in tonight, I found this on my desk. No doubt Finn's doing, since he is always collecting rocks and stuff for me :)

I am excited to get working again tomorrow - my energy usually comes in waves, and since I was down with a horrible migraine for 3-4 days this week, I figured I'm owed at least a week of productivity.

I would love to get my seeds and seedlings into the beds, but this is what is holding me back:
Where you see "Hatteras", that's the bullseye for us!

The big one Danielle is a good thing for us, since it is not coming here but will be offshore kicking up the waves and the East Coast Surfing Championships are here this weekend, but Earl behind it is forecasted to come straight to us, and there is Fiona right behind that one. September is typically our big hurricane season, so I kind of watch and wait for plantings... it's kind of a crapshoot and I often have to replant in October :)

I guess at some point this weekend I need to go get fuel in the cars and for the generator... the one time I don't we will get clobbered with a big one. I HATE being without electricity with a well... no power = no water or toilet flushing without hauling buckets! Some of you know how it feels. Although I think it's better here than back home where the well pump just freezes and your whole family has to move to grandma's house in town and wait it out... remember, Mom?!

Happy Hurricaning, everyone! Remember, prepare first, THEN party!

Aug 26, 2010

kinderGARDENS Week 20 - New Friends & Food Security!

Wow, Week 20 is upon us! How nice it is to see September drawing near, and the intense weather start to break. This week has seen more in the way of education for the kids relating to their food instead of the usual tending the garden.

I met a wonderful gal a few months ago at a seed swap party and she is a fellow blogger as well, and has been following the kids' garden adventures and took time out of her busy schedule to mail a card to the kids this week and enclosed some seeds for them to plant - so cute, the card was addressed to "Farmers Finn & Loch", they were ecstatic!

That same day, in the evening, we went out to her flower farm and homestead to pick up some fresh eggs from her, and the kids loved it! They got to enjoy and pet the chickens while we were there, and Loch remarked how nice it was to see who laid "his eggs"! On the way home he commented that he didn't know that chicken butts were cute - they are cute, indeed!

She took time to grab a bucket and snips and let them pick some flowers to bring home, showing them where to cut and how to strip the leaves

Take a minute and meet Gina at Back Bay Botanicals! She is raising chickens and bees on their flower farm as well as building a farm stand all while working full time and preparing for her upcoming wedding, I don't know how she does it all! It's always so nice to connect with fellow bloggers in person!

Thanks for taking the time to show us around, we loved it!

And who else loved it? When we got home the dogs know the smell of fresh eggs right away - Marley's eyes lit up like a Christmas tree! She was a rescue from a "real farm" and although she is much loved and cherished, she has had to "settle" for becoming a frisbee dog at our little suburban homestead instead of herding chicks and goats.

Finnegan showing off the eggs and flowers, not sure what that expression is about!

As far as the kids' garden goes, a few lessons learned:

The peanut box: looks great, healthy, unaffected by insects... the problem?

Peanuts grow by these little "shoots" or "pegs" growing downward into the soil and forming the peanuts... they are in a container, so there was no soil for them to bury themselves in on the edge!

Here is a close-up of the "pegs" that would each become peanuts if they could reach the soil! We will be checking the box itself soon, but just think how many there would be had they been in the ground instead of a container!

Check out Kim at The Inadvertent Farmer for updates on all the kinderGARDENS participants' activities. She has a guest author this week who wrote about a school garden and educating our kids through being outside, what a concept! :)

Aug 25, 2010

All strung out

The peppers, that is!

This is day 3 of a migraine for me, so I will keep the writing to a minimum tonight (can you believe it?) and substitute photos for my running commentary on life in general! You're welcome :)

Been blanching lots of beans again, one of my favorite freezer-fillers!

Muddled through the pain yesterday to rip out tomatoes, the Fish Hot peppers and mini-bells. The rest will have to wait for another day. I love the empty spaces, oh - the possibilities!

I finally spotted some moonflower blossoms this evening... usually they just look like someone T.P.'d my garden in the morning, all scattered on the ground!


Still a few sunflowers in bloom

Remember my "shade corn"?

Now I have "sun corn"! I took the hint and it looks like the second crop is going to produce.

Look below - do you see it???

Here's a close-up!

Just sitting there bouncing on a sunflower and munching seeds

I really, really hope the headache goes away by morning since I feel as though I have wasted a perfectly gorgeous day today - it was 75º, can you believe it? Tomorrow back to 90 but nice again for the weekend and I am so happy I can finally see "September" on the 7-day forecast! I've already tried caffeine, asprin, ibuprofen and all the standard stuff over the past couple of days so I'm going to hit the wine tonight - I know you aren't supposed to drink alcohol with a headache but I'm giving it a try anyways! It's one of those cyclical hormonal migraines some of you may be familiar with, oh the joys of being 40 :)

Aug 24, 2010

Looking back, my problem started when...

In light of my jalapeno issues, and the fact that some have suggested an intervention for me, I decided to look back at last year and see if I do indeed have a problem.

You be the judge:

Get It Together, Girl! - Sep 2009

I still have the scar on my torso from this day!

Apparently at one point during early summer I was sane enough to post a jalapeno canning tutorial - in June! No wonder I sounded more sane than the September post. The tutorial was done with 2 lbs of peppers, the other post was done with a 13 lb harvest, and I was getting that much every week.

To my defense, I did cut the number of my plants down this year from 9 to 6 - obviously still too many!
Stockpots full? Really?
I can't believe I didn't remember this weekly event - I must have blocked it from memory due to PTSD - maybe I can alert the seed companies to refuse my jalapeno seed order next year.

I don't grow zucchini, so I guess this is my penance...

Aug 23, 2010

Weekend Fun

The kids have been getting stir-crazy lately, can't say that I blame them. It seems like they have been cooped up all summer due to triple digit temps and now are facing returning to school in 2 weeks and where did the summer go? We are almost at the half-way mark for Daddy's deployment and I have been so busy dealing with the garden it makes sense that their behavior has been spiraling downward lately - they are just BORED! On the upside, last week we got the first phone call from husband/sailor/daddy/farmer since he left in May! The kids were so excited and it was so nice to hear his voice, yet at the same time it has renewed the incessant "when's daddy coming home?" questions. We were down to once a week, now we are back to once an hour LOL! They had a lot to update daddy on, they can both swim pretty well now, the tooth fairy visited Loch twice in one week, and they have both started piano and fiddle lessons since he left. This is unfair to me, since by the time he gets home they will sound loads better than the "music" I have been subjected to LOL!

Back to the weekend - after seeing their faces drop when I carted in yet another basket of tomatoes Friday afternoon, I thought to myself "oh hell, they can live on the counter for a few days"! Being financially challenged, I had to do some thinking, but luckily we live at the beach and the Naval Base here also has several low-cost activities to do.

Friday Night: Movie! The base just happened to be showing a kid flick at the $2 theater so we saw 'Despicable Me'. I normally hate animated movies, but I am pleased to report this one was pretty good! Bonus that concessions are very nicely priced at the base as well, this is one activity I had pretty much written off in past years due to the outrageous cost, normally we wait for the DVD release, but now I have to remember to take advantage of more of the perks we military families have, since I know the kids just love the whole movie theater experience!

Saturday: Splash Park! Our local YMCA has a great new feature this year for kids, and they also have another outdoor pool if they feel like swimming.

Burning off that energy!

Here is my new favorite photo of Finnegan, I know it will make hubby cry, it did me! Sometimes I am just amazed that these two boys are ours, they are so darn cute!

Don't expect this to happen again soon, a photo of me! Kids playing with camera at the pool! Normally I would just "delete" but since I am actually smiling I will post for hubby. I'm not sure why, but he seems to not care what I look like - and that's a good thing...

just exactly what color is that hair, anyways, green??? I have chlorine & sun to thank for that lovely shade, blech!

Sunday we decided to drive out to one of the local beaches and just walk around. The resort area is near our house and it's impossible to park in the summer so we headed out to Sandbridge instead and had no problem parking. We wandered around a couple of shops and bought a kite the kids could fly on the beach. It started looking like it was going to thunderstorm pretty badly so I splurged and bought the kids an early dinner at a local seafood place on the beach. We are pretty much all in agreement here about our love of seafood, so everyone was happy.

My favorite meal of all time - a broiled crabcake sandwich!

Eating a crabcake anywhere other than the mid-Atlantic area is a sin in my opinion, they are never quite right! Even around the birthplace of the crabcake some restaurants can't seem to get their act together, so when I have one that is really good, I make sure to spread the word. So here's my plug: Sandbridge Island Restaurant & Raw Bar gets a big "thumbs up" for their Chesapeake Bay Crabcake!

I wish I could review other things, but wherever I go I can't get past the crabcake sandwich, if it's on the menu, it's on my plate. If I want to be adventurous, I just steal off the plate of whoever I'm eating with LOL!

Speaking of, the fish in the Loch's fish basket was really good too :)

I think it was $3.50 for the kids' fish dinners, fresh, yummy and a huge portion, I'll take that over a lame H@ppy Meal any day!

Taken in between Finn swatting my hand away from his plate!

I just heard the weather and it is expected to be 78-80 tomorrow - I may die of shock! I am hoping the weekend activities will buy me some good behavior out of the kids while I get busy ripping out the summer plants. After all, they can fly their new kite into the power lines while I work, right?

Another random ironic thought... I have been so busy this afternoon blanching and freezing FRESH vegetables that I didn't have time to cook and fed my kids a frozen pizza????? At least I threw a fresh tomato on it. Does this happen to you? Strange...

Monday's Take

Unbelieveable, but just when I think the tomatoes are done, more roll in! I find myself having them on my counter longer, awaiting enough to do something with, so the end is very near. My UFO's and Orange Wellingtons are done, no tomatoes and minimal blossoms, so they will come out this week. Good thing I didn't wait until September, my usual heavy tomato month, to save seeds because the unusually hot summer has shortened the life span of everything around here. The only ones coming in now are the small Fourth of July and Romas.

this morning: Fish Hot Pepper, Mini Bells, Quadrato Bells, Romas and small hybrid tomatoes, yard long beans and yay - the wax beans are producing again!

Still have not harvested the jalapenos, I don't do anything other than glare at them when I go into the garden...

...every branch has this many on it!

and I have a WHOLE BED of them, help!

I had enough tomatoes to make 2 pints of stewed tomatoes, this may be one of the last batches

I will be busy blanching and freezing beans and pepper strips all evening, and hanging hot peppers to dry. I really wanted to start ripping plants out today, but have been so busy and tomorrow looks like temps will be more pleasant, so the squash bugs have been granted a stay of execution for 24 hours! I managed to avoid the garden chores for much of the weekend, I'll have photos of that posted later.

I will leave you with my favorite part of the garden right now: Yard Long Beans!

This curtain of beauty is what greets me as I walk in the garden gate, enjoy! And put 'em on your list for next year, they are wonderful!