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May 30, 2010

How does the garden grow!

Ok, I admit it, what you all already know...I am not a daily blogger.

So, here are the highlights for the last week:

*I worked my last day from the Houston office, bittersweet.

*We have started on the process of loan approval so when we do sell our house we will be ready to buy without having anything holding us back!

*The house we loved has a contract on it, so it was not meant to be for us..but it served its purpose of helping us decide what we do want!

*The garden survived without us, though the yellow squash looks like it could have used a little more water. The plants are catching up and putting on new green growth.

*The tomatoes are laden with fruit. Some were laden with bugs so we dusted again. The slicers grew so fast and so big that they became cage bound! We have started picking any as soon as they have the merest amount of color to ripen inside away from bugs. The cherry tomatoes are looking and growing much better. We have tomatoes of all sizes and shapes on almost every surface in the kitchen.

*We are harvesting a basket or two daily of various items, I am trying to remember to cut herbs every few days to dry and store.

*The hot peppers are fruiting, cayenne, sweet banana, Tabasco and jalapeƱo. Ole!

*The blackberries have come on full tilt and besides enjoying them from the vine, I made 6 pints of jam. Max is a berry stealer, carefully using his front teeth to grip and pull a berry at a time off the canes, he only likes the ripe ones too! Thankfully he can't reach them all.

*The Memorial Day weekend is quiet here, a time to catch up on gardening, reading, homework and being with the kids. I miss Dave who has had to work the whole weekend.

Remember those who died in the service of our great country and have a safe and wonderful weekend!


May 23, 2010

Florida Trip

We traveled to Florida for 4 days to see the area, spend time with a Realtor and see some friends. It was a great trip! Friday we looked at several houses and areas, mainly to decide what part of the island we would like to live on, or what neighborhoods. It was invaluable to be able to do this. We found a house we love, and of course now are under the gun to sell ours!
Saturday morning we woke up extra early to drive to the beach for sunrise coffee time (Atlantic/east coast). It was so beautiful and peaceful. We saw many fishing boats heading out and several schools of dolphins out fishing as well. Afterward, we headed west toward Tampa to see our friend Marty. That evening we had dinner with Marty in Dunedin, Fla and watched the sun set on the Gulf/west coast of Florida! Overall, it was a great weekend; seeing friends, basking in the oceans and views, couple time and finding what we hope will be our next home!

May 15, 2010

Cooper's Big Day

Well, it had to happen eventually. The sweet adorable baby boy had to go to the vet for his big boy procedure. Dave had to practically drag him in on his belly. It must smell or sound really bad there. I think some dogs are more sensitive to it than others. Max trots in happy go lucky, and Cooper is absolutely petrified! He is now neutered, micro-chipped and has had his next set of vaccines. The poor baby had a lampshade collar on when I went to pick him up. He was hugging the floor and quivering. He would not look up at me so I had to bend down to get in his lampshade view, he gave a wag but was not interested in moving. He followed to the car and let me lift him in, looking back I think he was in shock. He has such a different personality from Max. Cooper is much more guarded and seems to take everything personally. After we got home Cooper cheered up remarkably! After he ran into the door frame with the lampshade twice and my leg three times with the not-so-soft plastic edges I took his degrading collar off. I was instructed to leave it on for 2 weeks until the sutures dissolve or "until he doesn't bother them". I watched him after I removed it, he is not licking at the incision so he will remain free of the collar.
So, in case the pics are not self explanatory: Cooper in the dreaded collar, Cooper out of the collar (happy face), and my version of Cooper's limited visibility (in this case the back door).
Hug your dog (or cat) today!

milestones in their lives

Charlye and Josh celebrated birthdays in the last week! Char is 17 and Josh is now 16, oh my gosh where does the time go? I am so proud of them and stand in amazement at the wonderful young adults they are. The future is definitely their oyster! Love you both! Mom!

May 11, 2010

snake story

Working in the garden on Sunday was wonderful, except for the part where I found a snake.
It was a Rough Earth snake, basically harmless, especially at only 12" in length. It was probably very content in the garden bed nestled under the weeds. I took a brave approach when I found it (did not squeal like a girl), grabbed it with my gloved hand, being mindful to grab it just behind its head so it couldn't bite me no matter how small its mouth is.
I carried it over to a gravel patch on the driveway, the dogs-as-saviors bouncing alongside. The snake did not have much response initially to being carried, remaining rather limp and relaxed. As we got closer to the intended drop site it started to contract and curl up my hand and around my fingers. I was not ready to release it yet because we were still over the grass, the last snake I pointed out to the dogs they took to the grass and it escaped (learning curve). This could be the same snake--it is too much to think there may have been two snakes in my garden!
So as it contracts and I can feel it wriggle, even with a garden glove on, it begins to bother me. In a shivery, almost squeally, horrible, scaley, slimey sort of way. By the time I reached the gravel I could barely stand anymore and pitched it unceremoniously on the ground for the dogs to play with. The great part was the automatic shiver and near snakey-dance jig (was not the all out total-body snakey-dance I am capable of)--and the fact that the last 20 seconds is the part Dave witnessed. I am certain he got a pretty good laugh at the pantomime!

May 9, 2010

Is there a tomato doctor in the house?

Here are the tomato beds: slicers, romas and the sad cherry tomatoes. The leaves are curled up and I don't know why. I treated with BT first, then 5 days later with insecticidal soap; yesterday I limed and fertilized their bed. The leaves are curling tightly up into themselves. I hope it is weather stress and not a virus, bug or fungus.
Any suggestions?

Happy Mother's Day

It was a wonderful, low-key kind of day here! I didn't get out of my PJs until after noon, planted some flowers, puttered online, and we all went to an early dinner/movie date!
Happy Day!

May 8, 2010

Gardening + Me = No Weeds!

I've spent a fair amount of time the last 2 days getting caught up in the garden. It has been wonderful, even pulling weeds! The humidity was lower this morning than it has been, an added bonus. The dogs accompanied me at almost every step. Max will leave me to chase carpenter bees (leaping into the air to catch them, mesmerized by their buzzing and flight). The leaping and cavorting only lasts so long until he is completely worn out. The carpenter bees are onto him and usually stay just out of reach. Then he usually will come stand by me wherever I am working and watch for spiders, toads, crickets, snakes, skinks, basically anything he can grab and make off with as a treasure. I have been working on him to leave the earth worms alone. He got hot today and went and stood in the sprinkler, Cooper followed, and then they both came to see me (shake off and drip a wet kiss on me)! Cooper is afraid of the lawnmower or any big noises: the neighbors were working on a noisy-engine car so he came to sit very close while I weeded. We have a bag of bones in the barn freezer from the last cow we butchered so I gave them each a raw chew toy, they loved that, and hopefully they won't bury them in the beds.
Dave is back from his trip to a friend's camp down at the Atchafalaya Bay (Shell Island). He brought home lots of catfish and stories of the adventures!
Max found one caterpillar on his own (got the pic just before he squashed it with his foot!) the other one I found on the back of the hop leaves (there were four of them hiding there). A white fuzzy caterpillar was discovered by the watermelon patch. It was on the top of a T-post and was one of the ones that should not be touched, lest all the fuzzy hairs end up in your skin. I have heard that the pain from them is excruciating.
We have been enjoying a couple of strawberries a day and look forward to the blackberries ripening. The vines are covered with fruit. The apple, fig and nectarine have fruit on as well.
Yum! The slicing and roma tomatoes are doing very well and are laden with fruit. The cherry tomatoes look horrible. The tips of the leaves are curled up. I will post a separate post about it, and hopefully to get input from you all.
The red roses in the pic are at the height of their bloom. I can't remember the name of them, but they are one of my favorites because they look like this most of the spring/summer and because they are easy to grow from a cutting.
Have a great week and a Happy Mother's Day tomorrow!!

May 2, 2010

Garden pics

Crookneck Squash blooms!

Radish Haul!

The boys laying by the squash/comfrey bed.

Bush Blue Lake Bean Bed.

Cucs are about to start going places!

Hotsy-totsy Pepper Bed!

The sassy cow with the wheelbarrow just after I gave the hens some weeds.

Attack and rub!

What happened to my scratching post?