A few weeks ago, after realizing my okra was just not going to do anything, I replanted it. The first time around, I planted three little hills along my row. Two came up, one died, and the remaining one looks really stunted – but it’s still green. The second time around, I planted three more little hills in addition to the one remaining plant. Of those three, one has come up and looks really nice and dark green. Healthy! Nothing has come up in the other two spots. Maybe it’s still early yet since germination can take two or more weeks.
The sage I planted not long ago has sprouted and is looking good, as is the basil I planted our first time out. The rosemary is a different story. I thought I had seen a new sprout, but after a few days, it wasn’t there any longer – if it had even been there in the first place. It might have been my hopeful imagination… Anyway, this morning, I replanted the rosemary. Last year, nothing happened with it. I’d really like to have some fresh rosemary this year.
Several years ago I grew some indoors from a plant I had gotten to take home from a ladies’ retreat. It was wonderful! The scent reminded me of Christmas, and it tasted so great on roasted potatoes, chicken, pork chops, etc. Unfortunately it died from lack of water when we went on vacation that summer. I made sure our cat was taken care of, but I forgot about the plant…
Hopefully it’ll take this second time around. If not, I guess I’ll have to resort to buying some here and there from the grocery store and using it all within a short time. Really, nothing beats being able to get fresh herbs from your garden whenever you want them.
Posted in Frustration, Gardening, Hobbies | Tagged garden, herbs, okra, rosemary, sage | Leave a Comment »
For March, the boys’ new responsibility added to their allowance system was yard work. Unfortunately there really was nothing to do until the month was nearly gone.
Rain, cool weather, and the lack of high grass kept all of us from needing to do anything outside. Jacob was worried about not getting started on things, so he and Caleb decided to pull the few weeds in the front flower bed.
Finally at the end of the month, Billy and Caleb worked some in the front yard, pulling up lots of clover and other weeds. Jacob was busy cooking that night, but I promised him there would be more to do later.
It was early in April before we were able to get to work on our vegetable garden. Thankfully we didn’t jump the gun and try to plant in March. You know the old saying about there always being one last cold snap before Easter? Our last freeze was that weekend. The following Friday evening, Billy and Caleb worked on getting our garden bed ready for planting. The next morning, Jacob and I planted our cucumbers, squash, zucchini, okra, and basil. Oh, and garlic, which I later found out is a fall crop… Last week he helped me replant the okra since most of our first seeds didn’t sprout. We also planted some sage and rosemary, which I noticed has sprouted in the last day or so.
I don’t think Billy is quite ready to turn Caleb loose with the lawn mower just yet. Maybe after the first few mowings, after the grass is fairly uniform, he’ll teach him how to use it. It’s one of those old-fashioned self-powered push mowers. Shouldn’t take much, right?
Until the weather turns consistently warm and things start growing regularly, the boys won’t have any routine yard chores to do. Once the garden takes off, though, I’ll have them busy weeding, watering, and, hopefully, harvesting.
Posted in Family, Gardening, Goals, life | Tagged cleaning house, gardening, yard work | Leave a Comment »
You know how with the second child you’re much more relaxed about things? You don’t fret over every little mishap. You don’t worry if things get a little dirty. You don’t take as many pictures. Yeah, that’s how I’m feeling with my garden this year. It’s the second time I’ve had one, and all the fretting and worrying I did last year did me no good whatsoever.
Apparently neither did all the care and extra watering I gave it, seeing how the only things I got were jalapenos, a few cherry tomatoes, and some basil. Yes, I truly enjoyed those – but I wanted the other stuff I planted, too! My most-hated garden pests – aphids – made sure I had nothing to show for all the cucumbers, squash, and zucchini I planted and watered and worried over every day. Now I think those little demons are back. My plants are already stunted and my cucumber plants are dying right before my eyes. And I’ve noticed quite a proliferation of ants again this year, caretakers of the little demons.
This year, I’m ditching any hopes of an organic garden. My attempts last year failed miserably. Honestly, I don’t have the patience to keep applying homemade remedies and organic pesticides to my garden almost daily because they wash off when it rains or when I water my plants. I’m pulling out the big guns and buying chemicals. My pesticide of choice – Sevin Dust. That’s what’s been recommended to me by most people I’ve talked to about this problem. I’ve got to get this taken care of soon! I’ll keep you posted.
Posted in Frustration, Gardening, Hobbies | Tagged ants, aphids, chemicals, cucumbers, garden, squash | Leave a Comment »
The view from my kitchen window isn’t the prettiest. It looks out onto the side of my neighbor’s house. But since I feel compelled to open my blinds every day to let the light in, I see that view every time I stand at the sink to wash dishes.
A good while back, I noticed some birds had built a nest in the open vent hole on the side of the house. I would often see the two of them frequently flying back and forth, carrying nest-building materials. Once they were settled, the activity slowed.
Within the last two weeks, I noticed the activity around the nest had picked up a lot. I started paying more attention and realized the parents were bringing in food for their newly-hatched babies. Earlier this week, I found I could hear the baby birds chirping, crying out for food.
Yesterday I noticed the baby birds were mobile. They aren’t flying yet, but they have been getting dangerously close (in my non-mother bird opinion) to the edge of the vent. Mama bird must think so, too, because she’s been pushing them farther back when she comes in to feed them. I think it’s Daddy bird that sits on the edge of the vent and feeds them in the open, right where I can see them perching and chirping, mouths open, waiting impatiently for the morsels of bugs their parents are finding in our backyard…
I haven’t been able to get a picture of the babies at the opening of the vent, but I’ll keep trying. Now that they’re getting braver – and hungrier – Mama bird will have a harder time keeping them reined in. I just hope they don’t fall out!
It’s nice to have something to watch while I wash dishes after breakfast, lunch, and supper. It’s interesting and relaxing. Those babies will be flying away before I know it.
Posted in nature, observations | Tagged baby birds, bird watching, kitchen, nature, nest, washing dishes | Leave a Comment »
I walked out this morning to see if anything had started to grow in my week-old garden. Just the sprouting garlic has done anything. I also noticed for the second time this week that something had been scratching around in one of my rows.
I’m pretty sure it’s my next-door neighbor’s cat doing it. (I’m not 100% sure, but I’m pretty close.) They leave their cat out all the time. All. The. Time. They’ve had a few dogs and they let them in – but not the cat. That goes against the community rules. Dogs are to be kept in fenced yards or inside or on a leash. Cats are to be kept inside or on a leash. (Yeah, right…) It’s because cats tend to roam more freely and get into people’s backyards. And scratch around in their gardens. And leave poop where it doesn’t belong. Grrr…
I grabbed our metal claw tool and… put the soil back where it belonged. At least it’s not where I had planted anything yet. I’ve reserved those two rows for tomatoes and peppers. But since that cat always seems to scratch in the same spot, I’m thinking peppers will go there. Hot ones.
That got me thinking. What are some things that will deter that pest from using my garden as its own special litterbox? I Bing-ed it (I prefer Bing to Google…) and saw tons of related posts about that. It’s a much bigger problem than I realized! After reading a few posts, I’ve decided I want to try a few of the less expensive methods before plunking out money on a motion-activated water sprinkler – though I would love to see that cat run when it gets sprayed!
1. Sprinkling coffee grounds around the garden has been shown to be a deterrent. We’ve got plenty of that. Billy cold brews a huge amount of coffee about every two weeks or so. We sprinkled the grounds in the garden a few times, but we don’t want to overdo it. Now we’re going to concentrate our efforts outside the perimeter.
2. Cats also don’t like citrus scents. We often get oranges, lemons, limes, or grapefruit in our co-op share every other week. I’m going to start saving the peels and rubbing them on the box frame. Then I’ll leave bits of peel around the outside perimeter of the bed, on top of the coffee grounds.
3. Cayenne pepper is another deterrent. I have plenty, and I can buy more. I’m going to sprinkle a little of that around the outer perimeter as well – if the coffee grounds and citrus peels don’t seem to be doing the trick.
The smell of those three things together should be deterrent enough for anything!
I also thought about maybe tossing a bunch of catnip seeds in our neighbor’s back yard. Or maybe I’ll sprinkle some in their front flower bed, which is farther away…
Posted in Frustration, Gardening | Tagged cats, citrus, coffee grounds, garden, litterbox, pepper, preventative measures | Leave a Comment »
Last year’s garden was nothing to brag about. Aphids destroyed my cucumbers, squash, and zucchini. The heat took its toll on my tomatoes. I got several cherry tomatoes, which Jacob and I enjoyed eating, and lots of jalapeños.
Despite my failure, I decided to try again. Yesterday evening, Billy and Caleb worked on getting the bed ready – working in some pecan shells and some coffee grounds we’d tossed out there, spreading the soil evenly, and making rows.
This morning, Jacob and I went out and planted okra, zucchini, squash, cucumber, and basil seeds. I had some garlic that had sprouted, so I decided to try my hand at growing that, too. I’ve heard bugs don’t like it because of the smell. I hope it’s true! In the next few weeks, I also want to set out a few tomato plants, as well as a bell pepper plant and a jalapeno plant.
I was happy to see several ladybugs out there while we were planting. They feed on aphids, so I’m hoping they’ll stick around long enough to realize they’ll soon have quite a buffet. Unfortunately there are also lots of ants in the garden bed, and they’re known defenders of aphids. Maybe the ladybugs will win. If not, I’m dragging out the Sevin Dust!
Posted in Gardening | Tagged ants, aphids, basil, cucumbers, garden, garlic, ladybugs, okra, peppers, planting, squash, tomatoes, zucchini | Leave a Comment »
The boys had to take part one of part one of the STAAR test today. (Tomorrow is part two of part one; parts one and two of part two are later in the month…) We arrived at 9:00 to check in, then they went into their testing rooms to work from 10:00-2:00.
While they tested, I roamed around that part of town. At Michael’s I found some beads and a jewelry stand for showing my pieces for sale at the arts center. Then I drove over to the library, only to find they were closed until 1:00. I went back to a Starbucks I had seen earlier and used part of a year-plus-old gift card. (I never go there…) It’s not that I wanted Starbucks; I wanted free WiFi. The combination of a Grande non-fat Strawberries & Creme frappe and their air conditioning left me shivering in my seat. I sat there for as long as I could stand it before heading back to my car. I decided I’d just sit in the parking lot of the convention center and wait the remaining two hours…
After I had been sitting in the parking lot for about 10 minutes, I got a call. Jacob had finished his test and I could get him. I went in and handed the lady at the registration table his card. A few minutes later she returned, chuckling.
“You’ve trained him well!” she said. I looked at her quizzically, wondering what in the world he had done… “Stranger danger,” she said, and gave me a thumbs up.
Apparently the teacher had taken his name card from the lady and told Jacob his mother was there to pick him up. He looked at her and said,
I’m not going with her. She’s not my mother.
A few minutes later, Jacob appeared in the hallway with his lunch bag, book bag, and water bottle. He saw me, smiled and waved, and walked confidently down the hall.
Good to know.
Posted in Family, Fun/Funny | Tagged caution, humor, smarts, stranger danger | 1 Comment »