Monday, May 22, 2017

"Cold" time in the ol' town tonight....

Things HAD been going smoothly, well as smoothly as gardening in the mountains usually goes.  NOT!  Still, I'd gotten most seeds in and was still planning a few more improvements.  Steve got the "T" posts in around the small bed and that bed was mostly done.


Now, I'd just wait for the tomato plants to get big enough to add cages around them and top it off with the bird netting "fence" to keep the chickens out.


Not too happy on Saturday to walk out and see two of the tomatoes dead. Temps were only to be around 45 at night, but we seemed to be in a pocket of freezing.  So, the black and yellow tomatoes must've hated the cold more than the red one that made it through.  I guess my guardian frog wasn't good luck for this bed?  Still, this necessitated a shopping trip for replacements.

We came back with two new plants but didn't get a black heirloom as none were found.  Got two yellow heirlooms.  Instituted cloth coverings to give them a fighting chance.



The squash were also looking droopy and a few leaves were lost there, too. Pulled out the hoop plastic to keep them covered for a while.  I called it when I said the watermelons weren't going to make it... and I was correct.  All dead!

The pumpkin seeds hadn't shown anything yet.  Until they do, I'm not covering that bed.  Behind the troughs, the broccoli and Brussels sprouts beds have taken off. Not my sprouts, but the ones I bought.  My little guys look pathetic, but they are still alive.  Maybe they'll be a second harvest in the Fall?

Planted other new buys, like green beans.  There wasn't much of a selection at the local store but they did have green and wax beans.  Since NOT ONE of my second seeding of green beans came up, I decided to take this shortcut.  

Note to self:  don't bother with pre-sprouting seeds in the living room again. OK, that won't last.  I'll sprout squash and pumpkins, but not so early.  They usually do well when transplanted.  They didn't THIS year because they peaked too early.  I'm am learning.  Maybe try broccoli again... maybe.



I stopped procrastinating on the potato bins and added the next layer of soil and fertilizer to them.  I was going to add the straw back but decided to just take it out and see how they do with watering twice a week.  

Put the straw into the garden wagon and later noticed the girls having a hayday removing it from the wagon.



The Northland blueberry bushes have bloomed before the Patriot.  There wasn't a race, but they must be Type A plants.  One thing this does tell me is to get some sort of covering ready soon.  Those Rose Chafer beetles will NOT dine on my blueberries this year.  You can take that to the bank... the FOOD bank.  

Ha!  There won't be any left when we're done eating them, but it was a nice thought...



Thursday, May 18, 2017

"Dragon" out the Winter?....


For years I've pined for a full-sized dragon to put onto the property but finding one has become a dream not yet fulfilled.  I WAS able to find a smaller version to fit over the driveway sign and finally installed him.  He's very dapper in his climbing gear, right?

It's not a full-sized version, but I have seen a 6 foot dragon in a catalog.  The price has always stopped me from ordering it.  I do want to stay married and that purchase may just push Steve over the edge.  I think I'll just show him the picture next time that catalog shows up and see if we can negotiate a deal...


The potatoes are doing well in their bins and seem to like this new arrangement. I threw straw over the dirt when they were first planted to keep the moisture in. This is the red potato bin and we look to have a good crop.


My russet potatoes from last year... last week...

... and this week.  They are about ready for more dirt...


It's very hard to see but in the picture above this one (of this week's potato bin) the leaves of the potatoes were blackened by frost.  The basil took a bad freeze, too.  I'm thinking of emailing Mother Nature and complaining.  It's Spring, not Winter.  It's the middle of May.  STOP with the freezing already. I've resorted to stuffing cloth into the potatoes at night to keep it from happening again.

The basil and the lone green bean bush to appear are wearing upside-down flower pots at night.  NOT a stylish look, but I hope it helps them make it. 



I think M N heard me and decided to teach me a lesson about respecting my elders.  So, she sent snow last night with a drizzling of rain.  I knew something was coming as my weather app showed it heading down from Flagstaff, where it left even more snow.  Still, I was not prepared for snow. This late!  In SPRING!  From a mother, of all people!!

First thing, I checked the potatoes and other than being wet, they did well. Having to dry the cloth (above) to use tonight, but I believe it will be the thing to do for several more nights.  The flower pots also seemed to have saved what was left of the bean and basil.  I'd put the butternut squash in last post and they were still alive, but drooping.  ARGGG!!!

Will be heading out later to pick up more garden soil.  Since the potatoes in 2 bins are about 5 inches tall, it's time to add more dirt.  I hope to do that 3 times to really extend the potato plants and see if it increases the amount I harvest.

Also, Steve's coming along to pick up those railroad ties to shore-up the upper bed area.  He's measured and walked it and been muttering stuff under his breath about drills, rebar lengths and such...

... so much so, that I'm beginning to worry about him...

... which I do... A LOT....



Monday, May 15, 2017

Post Mother's Day pounds?....

Hope everyone had a great Mother's Day.  I was spoiled by the boys and Steve.  Chocolates, cards and flowers.  Donuts and luncheon.  WOW!  It'll definitely take me months to get the new pounds off.  Ha! 
 
Actually, the holiday lasted until after breakfast today.  We went out for rib eye and shrimp for the main meal yesterday and there was no way I could finish the steak.  So, today it became a great breakfast...
 
 
... mixed into scrambled eggs with tomatoes and hot sauce.  Mmmm.  Now, I have chocolates to eat (and share) and flowers to brighten my kitchen.  Love my boys... (yes, Steve is one of them).  The "girls" also got into the celebra-tion as they received leftover potato in their treat.  Everyone celebrated, believe me.



The garden is still a work in progress but it's almost done.  My part anyway... the plants will have to do their own things for awhile.

The troughs have had pumpkins, butternut, acorn and watermelon planted into them.  The pumpkins are looking bad, so I also added seeds to see what happens.  The watermelons are following suit.  I made sure not to handle the roots, but they don't look like they'll be there next week.

Here is where I must remember NOT to start them so far in advance EVER again.  Planning ahead is good for work and vacations, but not when OCD gets me to start plants early.  They peaked before it was warm enough to put them out.  So, next year nothing starts before mid-March.



Steve helped me get the bird netting over the upper beds because I saw a squirrel there and that made it a necessity.  The winds have been terrible and I did a lot of swearing before getting his help.  Netting was hooked on everything but what it needed to be hooked on... buttons... straw hat... fence... blocks... poles... EVERYTHING.

I try to reuse everything garden related, so we had to piece the netting together for this bed, hence all the clothespins.  It looks like they're floating in air, but there is netting there. 
 

 
Steve said he didn't like all the soil slipping going on there so I'm getting railroad ties as steps/dams to make my footing safer.  He's measuring here to see how many we'll need.  I have to say that they will be nice additions as I've had to save myself several times by grabbing the posts to keep from falling.
 


Red is looking a little startled here because I caught her trying to eat the parsley through the hoops.  She really had a look of... "WHAT?"...



So, most things are planted and now we just wait.  Going to have Steve add "T" posts to the small tomato bed as the hoop will be too short when they get going.  I'll put the tomato cages up when they get a little farther along.    

A second planting of carrot seeds go in next week, then more lettuce.  Maybe I'll hit the local nursery for replacement watermelons, if any are available.

Now, I think I hear chocolate calling me...

... sigh....



Thursday, May 11, 2017

"Spruce-ing" up the place....

Now that the 1st of May came and went, it was finally time to get the blue spruce seedlings out of the refrigerator, and planted.  It turned out to be the best time to plant after working this out with the Douglas firs.   

Speaking of the firs, we've had a setback with 2 of them.  They had made it through the winter and were greening up... then 2 went kaput.  I'm going to nurse them for a while and see if they sprout any side stems I can work with.


Loaded the wagon and headed out to plant spruce along the front of the house.  Steve made short work of the hole digging.



They were put in and had their new protective walls set up.   This new wall is a creamier blue plastic and seems thicker.  They are cut a little differently, too.  I hope they stand up to the reviews I read.



We put seven along the house and the extra three went down the back driveway.  Now, I guess we just wait to see how the new little trees do, since we lost all of the last bunch.



While topping off the water in the new walls, I went to add some to this fir. The wall was collapsing on one side.  It turned out to be a lost cause, but I did notice this when approaching.  Two little House finches had drowned.  I know they were trying to drink, but I'm sad that I've found so many birds in these walls.  

We keep water all around the property for Ziva and birds.  I just wish they all knew that.  I also wish there was a way to stop this from happening again.



We had visitors for a few days and I didn't need to do any cooking.  Everyone just wanted to eat out.  Tonight I got back into the swing of it and tried my hand at asparagus.  Since I probably won't be growing any myself (everyone was into talking me out of it), I bought some instead.  

Did some chicken and roasted the veggies with oil, garlic and Parmesan. Wow, did it turn out well.  Now, I'm torn.  I'd love to grow it and have a steady supply for 20+ years.  I'd also have to do a lot of work (Steve, too) to get the beds made, filled and protected from the animals up here.  

Still weighing my options. Maybe just buying asparagus is the way to go?....



Monday, May 8, 2017

"Happy Birthday to you... you live in a zoo..."

... you look like a monkey... and you act like one, too"... 

Yes, it's not often my birthday falls on blog day, so I just had to sing about the zoo I live in.  Only a few animals in my zoo... chickens... Ziva... the hated squirrels... Steve, if we're being nutty.  But, it's my zoo, so I'm happy.  


Started the birthday celebrations last night with dinner at our favorite (and only) Mexican restaurant up here.   We love their fajitas so those, and a Margarita, set the tone for the night.



Today, the chickens got in on the celebration with a sundae made just for them. I mixed leftover fajita veggies with eggs, lettuce and tomatoes and served it up in a nuked pumpkin half.  You'd'a thought they'd died and gone to heaven.  Only one more pumpkin left from last season.  They better be glad I like celebrating with them. 



Today, I finished up planting green beans, lettuce, onions, basil, thyme, parsley, zucchini and marigolds into the second raised bed.  Hopefully, everything makes it.



In the small bed, along with the self-renewing oregano, I've planted 3 tomatoes and marigolds.  I broke my promise to myself to just plant two tomato plants.  I'm considering them an early present to ME!

After 8 plants last year with only 2 tomatoes to show for it, I'd decided I would only give 2 plants a try.  Then, the local nursery had heirloom tomatoes. So, I buckled.   I have a round red slicing tomato, a yellow/orange and a black. Hope they make it and we have lovely tomatoes all summer. 



The upper beds have their broccoli and Brussels Sprouts planted along with a marigold each.  I've covered them with temporary tulle netting until they get a little bigger, or the squirrels figure out what's there.  Will need to wrap the whole shebang in bird netting then.

I headed in early when it decided to rain... on my parade...

... my BIRTHDAY parade...



Thursday, May 4, 2017

You say potāto, then I say potăto... then I yell "get away from them"...

It was just another week in the Spring garden.  Meaning... lots of work trying to get it ready and done.  Headed out one morning with chicken treats...


... and doesn't it look like a good breakfast?  It was eggs, lettuce and green apple peels with a yogurt topping.  Almost tempted me.  ALMOST!  I also nuked the second half of the pumpkin I gave them a few days ago.  They had a hard (Ha!) time eating the raw pumpkin so I softened this half up.  They loved all of it.



Got the second half of the strawberry bed planted with kale and carrots.  I have a bunch of volunteer plants coming up there too but have no idea what they are. I'm going to let them grow awhile until I can tell what they might be.   At the 2-leaves-stage everything looks the same to this novice.



Two years ago this whirligig was found at our front gate.  I didn't order it, so I left it in the garage thinking I'd hear if it was a misdirected package.  Then, I wondered if I'd won it or something.  I'd hoped if someone sent it to us that they'd have contacted us to say... "hey, how'd you like the gift I sent you" and I'd know who it was from. None of that happened so I finally just got it out and put it up.  It catches the breezes nicely.



While putting the whirligig up, I noticed that the chickens were being destructive, again!  I should've known that they'd find the bubblewrap interesting, if not tasty.  So, more work was forced upon us and we needed another barrier.  



We constructed a temporary fence between the girls and the potatoes.  It'll last until we decide on a permanent solution.  The close end in above picture we just barricaded with bird netting as digging another fence into the hillside seemed too much work to do.  This area still seems the best place for the potato bins so we'll need something before next year.  

I hate to threaten cooking the hens again, but they are about to push me over my limits.