right now

right now

Sep 11, 2010

Time for fun - or not...

Not if your name is Finnegan, anyways. We subjected him yet again to the horrors of a beautiful breezy day out in the wildlife refuge here. This time on bicycle - I thought that would be easier for him than hiking, I was mistaken! Loch and I had a fabulous time even if it was short lived!

Video of a very sloooooowww ride!

Finn was not happy with the day's events...

Loch will be ready to go alone with Daddy when he gets back - he actually said "we could go faster without Finn"... awwww, I explained that Finn was still little and he'd get better, blah, blah, blah, and said "who would watch poor Finn? We can't leave him behind..."

Loch replied, "Go to sittercity.com", where does he come up with this stuff LOL?

Loch found one of my favorite spiders and got excited because there were egg cases, too! I call them garden spiders, but technically they are "Agriope" spiders and they are stunningly beautiful, I'm always talking to them in the garden :)

I had never seen the cases and will have to be on the lookout now because these beauties take up residence in my garden every year in late August and I have to be careful ripping out my tomatoes since that's their preferred place to hang out. They have a neat zigzag pattern on the web, and will usually collect their web in the morning and spin it again in the evening!

Shown next to my hand, the egg cases were over an inch long, each contains over 1000 spiders! The female stays in her web and guards the egg cases until they spiders emerge. They are not aggressive at all, and it is said to bring good luck if they are in your garden, although here they are in everyones garden! There are other colors of orb spiders here, but this is the most common variety.

more cases spotted near a bird observation platform

Above is what a wild blueberry bush here looks like - to the right of the kids, it's called a "Northern Highbush" blueberry - very different from the wild blueberry bushes of northern AK, MN & ME, which are very low to the ground and produce tiny berries, but to me the smaller variety are more tasty. I'm sure everyone has their favorite!

After our ride

Finn "walked it off" and was feeling better so we went to talk to the Ranger for awhile so the kids could report the wildlife they saw. He keeps a neat little log in the check station where kids can write down what they saw and they get little activity books for the refuge on which animals, scat, tracks, etc to be on the lookout for. No snakes today, we've been on a roll!

Here's our post-ride comfort food dinner tonight - at the suggestion of Finn's Uncle Mikey I told him that someday when he gets older and gets really good at biking, the post-ride dinner always includes a frosty IPA ! He looked intrigued, so maybe that will inspire him! Yeah, uncles can be good for some things, like recommending a certain beer style to the children LOL! (and the kids' other 2 uncles will back up Uncle Mikey I'm sure!)

No yard work today, yippee!

Sep 10, 2010

Checking things off the list!

What a productive 36 hours I have had -the weather has turned to cool, and I couldn't be happier! Windows open today, high of 75, sweatshirt in the morning, does wonders for uplifting my spirits!

I have officially started the fall cleanup and plantings, and have a self-imposed deadline of Sep 23rd to get it ALL done! I am hosting our squadron's Family Support Group "Halfway Party" at the end of the month and want the yard to reflect the endless work I seem to put into it, LOL, although usually you can't tell! We are celebrating making it halfway through our spouses' deployments with our sanity semi-intact!

First on "the List" was to get rid of those stupid jalapenos, check!

Next up was to wrap 25 "auction" boxes for our sailors on the boat - although the actual "packing" part of it was pretty pleasant since I had a few of the Gypsy girls over to help:

There's us not packing the boxes.... oh and look there we are again - not packing boxes, LOL

It's amazing that things got done at all :) We were able, however, to figure out how to put away 4 bottles of wine!

Another big check on the list was turning over responsibility for these seedlings! These were grown for the Master Gardener Fall Plant Sale, and were taking up too much space and I was afraid they were going to start getting eaten by critters out there at night.

Today was the first day I really got the full effect of both kids being in school - I got SO much done in the garden! Without having to look for the kids, make sure they weren't setting fires or inviting the neighborhood kids in to trash the house, etc I am amazed at how pleasant it was out there, and the beautiful weather didn't hurt, either.

Below: I got the entire left side of the fence weeded, look, there is actually a mulched bed in there underneath all the grass that had grown over it

Another shot further down the left side of the fenceline, got all the beds on this side of the yard cleaned out - not sure what's going in there yet. I could plant it all, but I really should be cover cropping these beds as I think they are a little deficient in "things".

The main fenced garden was cleared last week and got planted today. Piracicaba Broccoli, Waltham Broccoli, Snowball Cauliflower, Scallions and Parsley seedlings I started went in, and I sowed Olympia Spinach, Tango Lettuce, Mizuna Greens, Gourmet Mix Greens as well as dropped some Scarlet Runner Beans in on the old tomato PVC tower "just to see". It was too hot for them this summer, but now we may have day length issues, but you never know until you try, right? Insert "Shade Corn" flashback here...

Front Side of Zinnia/to be Pea bed

Oh Zinnias, where have you been all my life?
Still blooming like mad, couldn't bear to rip them out even though my peas need to get planted here. I erected a sort of background "wall" for them so they wouldn't flop all over the bed and I think they can share space with the peas now. I'm hoping they will help screen the little pea shoots from the birds as well.

Back side of new "wall" to keep the zinnias off of the peas.

Tomorrow I hope get out there and string my pea fence between the rebar in the bed and plant the seeds!

Still on the list, weed right side of fenceline, prune the berry canes and weed in there, weed & prune the graveled perennial area, burn Mt. Everest of berry canes and old cosmos, and "start to think about" weeding the area by the sheds aka the "asparagus bed" HA!

And a HUGE BONUS - hubby called today! Only the second time we have gotten a phone call in 4 months so we were very happy to hear his voice. They are in port in Dubai for a few days, then it's back out on the high seas again.

And oh yeah, I promised to fit some FUN into my list for us too... I better go figure out what that is going to be :)

kinderGARDENS Week 22 - Butterflies!

Inadvertent Farmer

I'll be honest, we didn't do much this week at all in the garden. Last weekend involved cleaning up after Hurricane Earl and Tuesday was the 1st day of school here so we have been busy trying to get a productive schedule together that includes homework, music, swimming, dinner, playtime and reading time - whew! Still haven't quite figured it out yet!

I did give the camera to Loch last night and asked him to go take a picture of my broccoli seedlings in the garden. He got sidetracked however and I never got my broccoli picture but he did get this:
Black Swallowtail - this is the main variety we have here, and they are huge!

We are hoping to be in the garden all weekend, we are going to try and replant their rooftop container with lettuces now that it has cooled off and we'll see if they do a little better. We will be checking "the peanut box" this week also and hope to have a harvest to show for next week. I really hope there's peanuts in there because the kids have their hearts set on making peanut butter!

One more thing that you MUST do - gather your kids around the computer and hop over to friend Kelly's blog "How My Garden Grows" and watch her video - she caught a Monarch butterfly emerging from it's cocoon and it is amazing! We all try so hard to give them a habitat, see the cocoons, caterpillars, etc, but rarely is someone there when the big event happens, so thank you, Kelly! Plus, it's just darn cute listening to her kids in the background :)

Head over to The Inadvertent Farmer to see what the other kinderGARDENS participants were up to this week!

Sep 8, 2010

The garden? Oh yeah, that thing!

I'm back! I neglected the garden for the past several days in favor of school shopping and spending time at the beach with the boys, but now the day of reckoning has arrived - for the jalapenos, that is!

I'll cover the easy things first. Ignore the damn peppers, LOL..... look at my CORN! "SUN CORN"! Yeah, the sun does make a difference. Unfortunately the tips of the ears had worms, but what I am impressed with is the fact that they were fully pollinated with full ears. So apparently I can grow it, but would have to spray or something. Now that the challenge is over, I will say that I won't grow it again because it took up a whole bed with not a lot of reward. Maybe 2 dinners worth. So next time I'll devote this space to growing more (wait for it)..... yard beans of course!

Speaking of beans...

They are still coming in, but the bush green beans are lumpy in spots, skinny in others and kind of looking less than stellar, so I think it's time to rip them out. The yard beans are producing like mad still, and since they are so easy to pick and preserve they are welcome here for as long as they want to stay.

blanching and freezing beans all morning - someone asked if I cut the yard beans, no I do not - after blanching I coil them and put into baggies as seen below so they are long and lovely for my winter stir-fries.

I managed to get rid of about 6 lbs of jalapenos at the local Army National Guard Unit here this morning, strange, I know - but I was there anyways and I have taken to bringing my basket of peppers everywhere, kind of like you might grab your purse or keys before walking out the door! I have no idea what they are going to do with them, not my problem anymore!

I've got 3 gallon bags of whole peppers in the freezer for making stuffed peppers for parties, and this is what's left to pickle:

OK, watch my back.... I'm goin' in!

Sep 7, 2010

What now???!

First Day of School Today!

Started off with breakfast courtesy of Ms. Gina's eggs at the kids' request!

Finn's first day of Kindergarten, Loch going into 2nd Grade

Dogs always go to see them off

My neighbor is always there in her robe LOL

Here's Finn in the bus window waving...

Sorry hubby had to miss it, but at least the pics are up 5 minutes after the fact so he can see them... modern communication is so awesome!

So for the first time in almost 8 years, I am alone this morning. Sad? Not a chance!

Summer comes to an end for the kids...

Lots of chores to do in the garden, but...

Loch thought he could see daddy from here :(

It's back to school Monday, so the chores can wait!