Wednesday, July 29, 2015

A Day No Paint Was Spilled

My title post is a flippant play on the great book by Robert Newton Peck, A Day No Pigs Would Die.  Although no paint was spilled today, not much of it was applied either.  

Well, okay, the garage people door got a much needed new facelift and two more window boxes are now sporting their matching green house paint, but that was about it.

Sometime in the very early morning hours of this day, a low front moved in with high winds (yes, again) and (thank you, Mother Nature) much cooler temps.  Although the air temperature all day was delightful, the winds made spraying on paint a no-go.  So, nope, the last of the house painting did not occur today.  Tomorrow.  Tomorrow we're hoping for a much less turbulent day, and we'll finish applying the new green paint to the last of the siding.  We hope.

Without a paint brush attached to my right hand for most of the day, I had a chance to get out into the garden.

Because the soft neck garlic was such an eyesore and actual embarrassment to behold, I pulled all of it.  Other than about 12 bulbs that actually look like something you might recognize as a bulb of garlic, these gumball sized orbs made up the bulk of the harvest.

The stiff neck side of the garlic bed looks much better, as it has from the word go this spring, so I'm still holding out hope that I'll get a better harvest from it.

My zucchini plant has finally started bearing.  I think the bed, with the zucchini in the middle, looks especially attractive right now with the blooming nasturtiums on either end.

This picture doesn't show up the pods of the shell peas very well (too much green-on-green), but the vines are more loaded than I can remember them being in years past.  I figure about two more days, and I'll do my first picking of them.  We do love our fresh frozen green peas, and I should be able to get a big bunch of them in the freezer this year.

Also made our first picking of raspberries today.  This may be the last year for this particular planting which we put in eighteen years ago.  One of the three fourteen foot long rows is particularly weak this year, and I know it would be wise to start a completely new patch in a spot in the field garden that gets more sunlight.

Off to bed now so I can get up early to start another day of fun tomorrow.

Tuesday, July 28, 2015

Too Pooped To Post -- Almost

It's been a very busy, hot, humid past several days.  Our main push has been the house painting . . . and surviving the summer weather that has finally arrived.  Temps during the day have been well into the 80s coupled with a lot of humidity.  (I can hear many of you saying you'd LOVE to have a high for the day of only the high 80s!)  It wouldn't be making us so grumpy if we were getting our usual cool-down at night, but that hasn't been happening as much as we'd like.  But one or two weeks a season of uncomfortably hot weather is about all we get each year, so I shall stop grousing about it right now.

Bless Painter Guy, his sprayer and no-fear attitude of painting the high up areas for us.  Here Papa Pea is removing the protective coverings over windows on one of the sections that was done earlier today.  The whole job is scheduled to be finished tomorrow!  I can hardly believe it.

That blank spot on the house is where my Virginia Creeper was securely fastened until today when it had to come off the siding in preparation for the last of the painting tomorrow.  The tendrils were already reaching the bathroom window on the left and bedroom window on the right.

We unscrewed the trellis that was fastened to the house, I cut the sets of three strings I always put up on each side of the trellis (fastened to corresponding screws in the siding) for the tendrils to climb on, and we laid the whole thing flat out on the ground.  I have a feeling getting it back up and returned to its happy, creeping position will be much harder than taking it down.

A shot of some of the ladders we've been using retired for the night.  Along with a couple of window boxes and various pots of flowers that needed to be moved from their usual spots.  It just struck me as a tranquil scene after the day we put in today.

We're still trying to make progress on the deck project at the same time as the painting.  We called the lumber yard today to see if our ordered materials were in yet and were informed they were delivered yesterday.  To a location in the county about 20 miles from here.  Ooops.  Then we received a call late this afternoon assuring us the materials would be delivered to our yard tomorrow.  Good plan.

Saturday, July 25, 2015

Watching Paint Dry

We've been working on the house painting this week.  It would have been nice to get the deck reconstruction completely done before starting this next big project, but we have to wait until the end of next week for some deck materials to be delivered.

So grab a lawn chair and come watch us paint.

A month or so ago we happened to meet a young guy in the community who is starting his own painting business this summer.  He comes with good recommendations so we've hired him to help us with the painting, mainly on the second story.

He'll be able to use his paint sprayer which should make the work go much faster (much, much faster) than me on a ladder with paint brush in hand. 

Mr. Painter Guy contacted us yesterday morning and said he'd decided to stay home to do some work on his place because of the day's forecast of 50-60% chance of thunderstorms.   It was already dripping at his house.  Okay, sounded reasonable as it was gray and cloudy at our place, too.

Papa Pea then decided to go out and get some lawn mowing done while I mulched the asparagus and a couple of garden beds.  I also snipped blossoms and what seemed like a thousand runners off the new strawberries.  (Vigorous plants they are.)

By then our clouds (and occasional drops of rain) had cleared, the sun had come out and it looked like it was going to be a beautiful day in our neighborhood so the two of us hit the painting project.

This two-story, rather bare, side of the house is going to be perfect for spray painting so Papa Pea did a thorough job of prep work on it.  He also did another second story section around the corner.

After having done some priming the day before, I painted the area around the garage door and then worked on the small back porch entryway.  (Please note, even though working hard, I'm still able to make a fashion statement.  Nuthin' but class when it comes to my wardrobe.)

A couple of people have strongly nicely suggested we paint this porch area a lighter color in contrast to the rest of the house, but I've stuck to my paint brush guns and am doing it in the same color.  Yep, it is getting darker in that little nook the more I paint, but I also think it looks cozy.

Painter Guy is due first thing this morning so I'm off now to fix Papa Pea and me a hearty breakfast so we can get in a good day today.  Forecast is for sun, sun, sun!

Friday, July 24, 2015

Do You Think It's Strange To Be So Giddy Over A Head of Cauliflower?

Yeah, most likely.  Unless you're a gardener who has never been able to grow a head of cauliflower that even vaguely resembles a head of cauliflower.  Yup, that's me!

I feel as though I've won the jackpot this year.  This is the third head that I've harvested, and it's a beauty, no?

I'm sure my new-found ability to successfully grow this vegetable was a fluke resulting from 1) the time I set my cauliflower seedlings out, and 2) exactly the right kind of weather (very cool and wet) we had for the entire beginning of our summer.  (Cauliflower doesn't like to grow in warm weather.)

Needless to say, I am now encouraged and will be trying it again next year.  (Sure hope my balloon doesn't get popped!)

And probably the best part of this all is, as with all the other vegetables you raise yourself, my homegrown cauliflower tastes so much better than any one I've ever purchased.  All three heads harvested so far have been mild, creamy and buttery . . . which all totally reinforces the reason to garden.

Wednesday, July 22, 2015

My Garlic Looks Worse Than Yours, Susan!

On her blog today, Susan over at e-i-e-i-omg! posted a picture of what she called her "sad, sad garlic."  Well, I'm here to prove to her that I have the sadder garlic.

I planted one raised bed of garlic last fall, half soft neck and half stiff neck.  (With a four foot row of Gilia down the middle which, I fear, is never going to bloom this season.)

This is the soft neck side of the bed.  Pitiful, isn't it?  Very few of the plants near the end of the bed showed their little green heads this spring.  I still had some nice looking cloves from last year so I stuck them in the bare spots.  Most of them came up, but none ever grew much over 6" tall.  Sigh.

The sprout-a-bility of the stiff neck (other end of the bed) was great but almost immediately the leaves started turning yellow and even the higher, "healthier" leaves are an insipid shade of gray/green.  See, Susan?  I told you yours look good compared to mine.  At least your self-proclaimed sad, sad garlic has some nice green color to it.  Mine?  Bah.

Monday, July 20, 2015

A Picture Would Have Been Worth A Thousand Words

Unfortunately, I didn't think about grabbing my camera when I glanced out the window this morning and saw that the cold frame I had over the cucumbers had been blown clean off its moorings and was on end in another bed. 

So you get the thousand words (hopefully far fewer) instead of the picture.

We've had high winds since we got up this morning and much of the garden has been taking a beating.

The two trellises I have my edible podded peas on are hanging in there but swaying like drunken sailors.  (No offense to sailors as a whole, you understand.)

Some potato vines have been laid flat, but I think will be okay.

The Agribon covering on the Brussels sprouts was loosened at one end and was ready to take flight.

My sweet pea vines have lost their tenuous grip on their trellis and are being whipped about.

Even a couple of garlic stems keeled over.

Luckily, yesterday I used some rebar to stake the tomato cages.  Otherwise, the whipping of the plants would have toppled everything.

The bushy nasturtiums are tipped and showing their skinny stems to the world rather than their lovely, lush foliage.  Three big clumps of them on three separate plants broke off at ground level and are lying dead and withered.

The row of bush beans are being tossed first one way and then the other. 

My pickling cucumbers that I have been trying to talk into grabbing onto and climbing their trellis have decided the way to survive is to hug the ground as closely as they can.  I think they're trying to crawl to a calmer environment.

I'm glad I decided not to plant corn this year as it would have been flattened (again).

We do get the winds in these here parts.  I don't know if it's because we've created this big open space in the midst of the heavy woods or what.

The cold frame that took flight smooshed the ends of a couple of the cucumber vines and mashed down some of the onions in the bed where it landed.  Coulda been a lot worse.  It's not the first time one of my cold frames has suffered this fate, and it's always surprising the tumble doesn't do much damage to the frame. 

Looking on the bright side of this turbulent day, we have sunshine, the temp is a delightful 73 degrees and there's not a bug in sight.

Sunday, July 19, 2015

Back At It

We finally got back at the deck deconstruction this weekend.  I'm not sure how we got sidetracked (well, I do know, but it's too complicated to explain), but we're on it again now.

We finished removing 8,334 screws (but who was counting) which held the (rotting) deck boards in place.

Oh, if I could explain how sore my chest muscles were this morning after unscrewing all those screws yesterday.  Who knew the muscles I was using?  I would have thought the stress and strain would have been all in my arms.

Okay, buddy, put down that *&%! camera and get back to work!

Totally stripped and ready for construction to begin.