right now

right now

Apr 29, 2011

One more thing...

My first ever cinnamon rolls!  Oh, yes... I made these at 0'dark thirty since I was up to watch Will and Kate!

Kate was gorgeous, and well, you all know how I feel about men in uniform :)  I still remember watching the wedding in 1981, I was just the right age to love the "princess" stuff then and apparently part of me still likes it, since I woke up everyone to watch this morning, even to my own surprise!  Tell the truth, now, how many of you watched it?  I also want to know how many of you had the Princess Di haircut "back in the day"?! :)

ok, now I'm going outside to work...

Spring Garden Vegetables

Just beautiful weather today!  Highs only in the low 70's and thanks to yesterday's storms, I don't have to water!  This is what's going on this morning in the vegetable garden...



Brandywine Tomatoes

Peppers have put on a huge amount of growth since they were planted last week.

Tomatoes have tripled in size in the past 12 days 

The culvert planted potatoes are all up and have been mulched once already, plain old Red Pontiac from the feed store this year.

Blackberry flowers

 Bronze Mignonette lettuce

Mizuna greens are bolting already!

Tango or Salad Bowl lettuce, can't remember...

The insects are have arrived on the broccoli

Piricicaba Broccoli is starting to have shoots, peas in the background

The 1st pea blossom!  Oregon Sugar Pod II

Peas & Carrots

I planted the kids' rooftop garden early enough this year (I think!) to get some growth before it gets too hot.  Climbing beans will hopefully grow up over the fort and petunias will spill over the side.  That's the plan, anyways...

Cascade Hops for the biergarten :)

A couple of you have inquired about how we grow our hops.  Below is a trellis hubby constructed - we originally grew fast growing Five-Leaf Akebia on it to block the sun from our outdoor table, but quickly realized it was perfect for growing hops!  It's pretty darn high at about 15 feet, but hops can grow up to 30 if they have enough trellising LOL.  We find that they reach the top and spill over to come back down creating a dense wall of foliage and hop cones that smell great. 

 This is also home to "Mr. Mockers" our resident chatty evildoer mockingbird.  Some of you might remember my yearly adventures with him, having to bring an umbrella with me into the garden to block my head from his divebombing and other nonsense.  Since I have a penchant for neurotic Aussies and Border Collies, his antics fit right in around here and I look forward to him every year.  I'm not sure where the nest is this year, but he struts his stuff on top of the arbor since he can see us coming out the back door from here.  He then parades around the edges of the raised beds and split rail fence about 3 feet from me squawking at me the whole time!  I'll try and get a pic of him soon, he's awesome :)

 I still have lots of stuff yet to plant, but these are mostly perennials and herbs with a few trailers to put in randomly.

My garden might be a bit of a challenge this year - I am growing much more than I have before!  In years past if the peas or something weren't ready, I would actually pull them up (organized OCD that I am) so I could replant the beds.  This year has me tucking in plants all over the place, hence the carrots next to the peas and a few other random things.  My pepper plants are all over the place, one here, one over there...    I am looking forward to it however, since my favorite gardens to look at are the French Potager gardens where so many things are intermingled.  It goes against my nature, but it's what I really want to become good at, plus, no more ripping out perfectly good veggies just to maintain "good order and discipline" LOL!  I still have all my direct seeded stuff to go in, I'll be very busy this weekend.

Two last photos:

This is an overview of the gardens from on top of the kids' fort, the main fenced in garden in the first and the second photo is the "side garden" which we seem to add to every year out of necessity.  I'm also noticing that I may be getting a bit old to be climbing up here....  :)  Also note that I haven't planted my bush beans, edamame or cukes yet and have no earthly idea where the squashes will go... it will be a fun ride for sure!

Apr 28, 2011

Sick of me cooking yet?

Me too!  I had intended to get some photos of the garden today, but Mother Nature isn't cooperating.  Speaking of, holy heck what is UP with those storms that ran through part of our country yesterday?  I hope you all fared well, and if you were in the path, chime in and say all is well, please.  I know I'm getting antsy waiting for Alabama blogger E.G. to pop up in my Reader and say everything is okay there.

The line of storms is just a couple of hours east of us now, so far nothing but massive winds here, if it was cold outside the whistling wind I can hear outside would remind me of Laura Ingalls!  No cold, though - it was 82º at 10 a.m., with winds in excess of 45-50 mph.  We are under a tornado "watch" right now, #271 according to the NWS LOL...nothing really expected to develop here though until after 3 pm.  

With a lack of garden progress photos today, looks like it's going to be food again...

Last night's harvest:  Olympia spinach, Tango and Bronze Mignonette lettuces, Mizuna, Mache, scallions and a few pansies to dress it all up.  Annie's Granny and her harvest post reminded me to start weighing my harvests for this year, so I'll have to update my sidebar today.

Dinner Salad

My 1st loaf of whole wheat sourdough bread!  My starter is now about 12 days old, it turned out really well, and I can't wait to get better at fine tuning the baking to my oven.

I made the kids eat some salad before they were allowed to have bread.  One thing I have found to work a bit:  the "Salad Spritzers"... Finn calls it his "salad shooting gun" and it works for him, but Loch remains unconvinced.  Once these are empty I plan to foil them even further by filling them with my homemade dill and herb vinegars :)

This morning at 6 a.m. hubby says "oh, the guys have a potluck today"... today?????  Luckily I already had lots of chickpeas soaking overnight, I have yet to get that amount thing down, but due to my poor estimation I figured out that I had enough for a huge batch of hummus and I would make pitas again and just drive it all over to him when it was done.

No kidding, it made about a quart LOL!  This time I used up some of the oven dried tomatoes, and roasted garlic with the tahini and lemon juice & salt.  It turned out really well, and I'm anxious to get some fresh peppers out of the garden to roast and put in there as well.
The smell of roasted garlic at 7 am is interesting...

On to the pitas...

- then the phone rings... it's hubby stating that for the 2nd week in a row, the guys at work forgot to bring their stuff in, so the potluck was put off until next week.  Really?  LOL I bet they all tried that 6 am "I forgot" excuse at home with their wives and they all got laughed at!  

So now we are set for the whole weekend... we have a massive amount of hummus to eat, looks like I'm not cooking!  I have no problem with hummus, pitas and salad every night this weekend, so I can get some outside work done instead of cooking!

Apr 27, 2011

Shopping at home...

We have less than no money for buying plants, yet are still trying to get a privacy hedge going strong for some covert chicken action someday, so what's a girl to do?  I went shopping in my own yard!  I was lucky in that the kids were back to school on Monday, but hubby had an extra day off for Easter, so we were able to get some real work done.

Two years ago, I was lucky enough to find someone else willing to give me about a dozen Rose of Sharon twigs.  They can be invasive and were coming up all over her property, so she dug a bunch of "sticks" up and gave them to me, as invasive sounded pretty good to me at the time.  We couldn't afford to replace our hurricane damaged fence with more wood panels so we had opted for wire fencing, but had the problem of privacy.  I placed these "sticks" in the ground and within 2 years, I had bushes that were over 5 feet tall after pruning them.  Normally I'm not a fan of Rose of Sharon, but free is free, and they are doing the trick!  Last summer I planted Manhattan Euonymous between them, and by the end of summer they too were tall and bushy.  Now look at the photo below, see the Rose of Sharon "trees"?  They obviously were quickly becoming unnecessary when combined with the fast growing euonymous.

Enter hubby and his mad digging skillz!  He proceeded to dig up 4 of them for me and put them on the other side of the yard that still has no hedging, and other than a hungry husband to cook for, they were free!

Below is with the Rose of Sharon shrubs removed, can barely even tell where they were!  This is going to be a long process filling it all in on the cheap, but we are about halfway there, since the back of the yard portion of the fence is becoming full with naturally occurring Virginia Creeper, invasive here, but beautiful and wild!

He didn't stop there.  I told him that our hammock situation needed help.  We hadn't even had the chance to enjoy it but already couldn't use it since the temps went from highs in the 50's to highs of 90 within a week or so, it's too hot to be pleasant without any shade.

Some of you may remember that the kids had one of those ugly blue above ground pools a couple of years ago, and in an effort to make it nicer to look at, I surrounded it with a thatch "skirt" and old landscape timbers and gravel robbed from the kids' playset.

I know you are laughing now... yes I hate those pools that much!

Well, when the pool went away, I rolled up and kept the thatch, knowing there would be a day when we would need it again.  Hubby took the roll and constructed a little thatch roof for the hammock, and the area was instantly cooled down and lovely for relaxing!  It may be a little redneck, but that's kind of what I like about it at the same time :)

Here's what I see from under it, I get to look at my garden plus smell the huge rosemary shrub that's next to the hammock.

The dogs approved, too!  Black fur and sunshine don't mix well :)

After all that work, I allowed him to kick back and relax for a bit!

Big points for hubby this week so far!

Apr 26, 2011

Miscellaneous Fun

Other than our Easter Sunday fun, we had a few other things that went on over the weekend that involved the garden and gardening friends!

The kids have been in serious need of some new toys for the backyard.  They seem to have outgrown the standard pail and shovel for the sandbox, so we decided on a croquet set and a badmiton set!  Here they are helping daddy set it up.  At this point they had no idea how the game worked, so I told them they have to stand there and hold the net while daddy & I play, LOL!

Thought you might get a kick out of hubby's standard lawnmowing outfit.  He's converted his  Middle Eastern headwrap for U.S. use to keep the pollen away!

The azaleas are finally in full bloom in our yard

A local fellow blogger hosted a seed swap party for a gardening group I'm a member of on Saturday evening at her farm, it was a great location and everyone had a great time.

Below, the kids checking out her mobile coop/chicken tractor.  This thing is the bomb...

She has a gravity fed watering system that ensures a steady supply of fresh water, portable electric fencing that is run by solar, all is easy to move about.  I believe she moves them on a weekly schedule, so it's all very efficient!

Definitely a hit with all the kids in attendance, and the grownups too - who doesn't love chickens?!

Her girls are very curious and happy, and will run right up to make sure they are the center of attention :)

The kids are always excited about getting some of "Miss Gina's eggs" - I'm excited because soon she will be selling them at their new farm stand and will be even easier to keep a stash of local, happy eggs in the fridge.

There were more... but we ate 'em!

Her property is right on Back Bay, which is part of a very large watershed and ecosystem here, and wherever you have water, a bridge and rocks you have... boys!  Like a magnet.  The same went for all the husbands, too!

Below is her new farm stand.  They are just finishing the construction, permitting and all that and will be opening for business in June.  They are working so hard in fact, her hubby was working throughout the entire party but did manage to say hello to everyone - with the farms starting to have berries available already, I know they are anxious to finish. They are a botanical farm and I expect to see lots of flowers there as well as her fresh eggs, and I bet produce, too!  I wish them all the best, such a fun adventure and I admit I'm jealous as can be :)

If you want to check out Gina's blog, go to Back Bay Botanicals, they are working hard to create something very special out there and intend to have a bed & breakfast someday,too - and she has some great posts on the coop!  Above is the photo of the group that evening, our lovely host Gina is the one wearing - you guessed it - the John Deere cap of course!  Thanks for having us all over!

I'll leave you with, what else?  Chicken video! Is there any better way to spend a Saturday evening? I think not!

Apr 24, 2011

Happy Easter!

Here's our day, in an "eggshell"...

We started off with an Easter Egg Hunt in the backyard for all the boys, below is Loch in the back, and friend "T" who lives next door.  Last year I remember dressing them in winter coats at 6 am, today... shorts - it was 89º today!

Here's the boys with their bounty

There's been a lot of talk amongst my blogger friends this week about their Easter traditions and it made me think, and we don't really have any...

So I made one up - 

Below, prepping for the 1st Annual Peep Shoot!

I know some of you love the Peeps, but we hate 'em!  The only good Peep is a dead Peep as far as I'm concerned, so we set 'em up for a lovely Redneck Easter :)

As Chicken Mama told me earlier today, "that's sick & twisted" LOL - but that's how we roll :) - and I know if she was here she'd shoot Peeps, too!

The boys had a blast!  Above is Loch, always serious...

Below, Finn in his combat pose...  (check his outfit, he dressed himself)

Below, neighbor "T" getting some instruction on BB gun skills from hubby, for his 1st time he was a pretty good shot!

Poor Purple Peep...

After a lunch break, it was back out to hit the sprinklers, it was that hot!

Marley was a mess, I wasn't too keen on her getting this dirty, but she is a farm dog forced to live in the suburbs, and was having a huge amount of fun for such an old gal, how could I say no?

No Marley vs. sprinkler day is complete without a few neurotic dog videos (some of you may remember her obsession about hoses), so here you go:

In between all this, hubby and I managed to get a huge amount of work done in the yard.  My energy came back at least for today, and we did a lot of chores that have been on my list for a long time.  The kind that always get kicked to the bottom of the list:  a burn barrel going, cleaning the woodpile, raking up leaves and pinestraw from behind the sheds where no one goes, cleaning up random objects back there like broken patio umbrellas, trellises, PVC pipe... do any of you have these dumping grounds?  Not sure how I'll feel tomorrow, but today was very productive.

We finished it off with low-key burgers on the grill in the backyard with the neighbors, a really nice evening.  The kids played today until they were ragged, and I think they will sleep well.  Good thing, since Spring Break is over today and it's back to school tomorrow, YAY for me!

Below, Finn & T dining al fresco, about 82º at 5 pm, beautiful weather...

On this day we celebrate LIFE, and I hope you all had a great day in church, with family, friends, or just celebrating the life around you that Spring brings. Even though we are apart from extended family, we have hubby/daddy home with us this year and are very thankful for that.  Our thoughts are with those that are deployed and serving our country right now so hubby can take his turn with us!

From Redneck VA - Happy Easter to all y'all!