Tuesday, August 31, 2010

We Are Ruining Her

Just look at this poor, exhausted child.

This is the darling daughter of our niece, K, and her husband, B. She is sound asleep on the love seat with a light blazing over her head and one at her feet a couple of nights ago.

The rest of us (Chicken Mama, my hubby, family visiting from California and me) were scattered elsewhere in the kitchen/living room yakking away but this little dumpling at 5-1/2 years old (well, actually 5-3/4 as she will point out) was plumb worn out from the busyness of the day.

Her parents told us later that she cried when they left. Her mama assured her she would see us again in the morning to which L said tearfully, "But they live in MINNESOTA, and I don't!"

It's okay, L. We're keeping you here with us when your parents leave.

Sunday, August 29, 2010

Kissin' Cousins from California

Well, we're not all cousins . . . only three of the group qualify as that. But we're all family.

Part of hubby's side of the family is here visiting. This morning we all met at one of our favorite "special" places for a fantastic Sunday Brunch.

From left to right: B and K. K is hubby's brother's daughter. Their 5 year old daughter is in front. The blond next is hubby's sister's daughter, C. Then comes Chicken Mama, me and hubby. (I'm the one looking like a barrel in the white blouse that could double as a hatchin' jacket for a person 8 months pregnant. I am tossing that blouse immediately. But wait . . . it does make me look as if I actually have a bustline. Should I reconsider??) So K, C and Chicken Mama are the three cousins. B and I married into the clan.

After brunch, hubby and I headed home while Chicken Mama and the rest of the group went in the opposite direction to her little homestead for an afternoon of canoeing and fishing on the river. They've promised to bring fresh fish here for dinner tonight so I made some food to go with the fish.

If no fish arrives with the fishermen, we'll eat a lot of tossed salad, deviled eggs and buttered beets from the garden. No, if that should actually happen . . . that they return with sunburned noses but no fishes . . . someone will make an emergency run into the fish market in town for fish, and we won't go hungry. Or fishless.

Friday, August 27, 2010


The Virginia Creeper we have on a trellis on the south side of the house has grown exceptionally well this year.

Matter of fact, I think my husband might be a smidge afraid of it. He has suggested more than once that I cut it back to keep it a little more under control. See the window box in the above picture? There is a window above the window box. Really. It's our bathroom window.

This is what it looks like when you walk into our bathroom in bright daylight. The Virginia Creeper effectively blocks nearly all light from coming in the window.

To the right of the trellis, it's trying to get a foothold up on the roof plus making a run for our bedroom double window. (I know hubby is hoping for a killing frost before it shuts out all light into the bedroom as it's done in the bathroom.)

Looking to the left from outside, I think the door could become welded shut by the tendrils if the vine had a couple more months to grow.

This is the view from inside the house. The door still swings easily open and shut as the vine is only attached (so far) to the top screen on the door. I think it looks pretty neat. Almost as if I planned it that way.

If I can just keep the pruning shears hidden from my husband, I can enjoy all this natural decoration for another month or so. (Hee-hee-hee.)

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Bleautiful Blueblerries!

Our domestic blueberries started ripening early this year and are still going strong.

Hubby and I ran (literally) out to the patch to harvest ripe ones before the rain-hit-which-never-hit late Monday and came back in with this tip-topped-off quart.

Like the tomatoes, these lovely little berries are becoming tastier as the season goes on. M-m-m-m!

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Sunbathing Onions

Sometime around noon yesterday, a wind came up which blew our gray, humid air away and brought us a gorgeous, dry, sunny afternoon.

I'd been putting off harvesting our onions but this perfect day for pulling them and laying them out to dry for a few hours was just too good to miss.

These are onions from two 4' x 8' beds. I thought there should be more but considering that I've not purchased any onions since spring and have just gone out to the garden and pulled up a fresh onion anytime I needed one, I guess this harvest is decent. I'll be interested to see what the total weight of them is when they're dried.

The red ones didn't get very big nor are the yellow ones as large as some years. But a wind storm flattened the stalks of all the onions mid-summer so that may have affected their growth, too.

I left them out there until late afternoon and then brought them inside for the night. More drying out of the direct sun scheduled for the next several days and then they can be bagged up and stored.

One more crop out of the garden. Startin' to look a little bare out there.

Tuesday, August 24, 2010


Although we got a whole inch of rainfall one day last week, our ground is so dry that no appreciable amount ever made it into our pond.

As I've mentioned, the pond's water comes from the hills behind our place. Water flows into a ditch, through a culvert and into the pond. One would think that an inch would be enough to saturate the ground and provide run-off to the pond but apparently not so.

Some of the plants in the garden have perked up with the recent much needed moisture. The beet greens pictured above are no long lying almost flat on the soil.

But the garden in general is still showing signs of being on its last legs. I planted the seeds for this Osaka Purple Mustard in between my rows of dill because aphids love dill, and the purple mustard tends to keep the aphids at bay. Now the mustard plants are saying, "I'm done. I'm spent. I've had it. Yank me out by my roots and take me to my final resting place in the compost heap."

I went out first thing this morning to do some harvesting in the garden. I came back in an hour later pooped and wondering why I've been feeling so exhausted lately. Okay, we all know gardening is physically taxing, but lately I don't seem to have the oompf I usually do. Hubby and I talked about it and he confessed he's been experiencing the same symptoms.

I'm pretty sure we've come to the root of the problem. Emotional stress can take the starch right out of ya in a way physical stress doesn't. I'm not complaining because I know so many folks these days are struggling through situations much, much, much more challenging than ours. I just think I need to be aware of my emotional well-being and take steps to handle it better. (Ho-ho-ho. Ya-sure-you-betcha. Just being aware of stress and saying you're going to handle it better takes care of the situation, right?)

I exhibit stress by clenching my jaw and cultivating a tight lower back. Yesterday I got up from the kitchen table and went a few steps before being able to straighten up. Hubby said, "Your back is bothering you that much?" "No," I cheerfully retorted. "I just think it's attractive to walk like Quasimodo."

Probably structuring my life so I get more sleep would be a good start. The body needs time to repair and rejuvenate from the emotional kind of stress as much as the physical.

For the last couple of hours before getting up this morning, I was dreaming my mother (who passed away 13 years ago and with whom I haven't lived for 47 years!) was repeatedly coming into the bedroom and trying to get me to wake up and get out of bed. I was BEGGING her to let me sleep saying I just couldn't get up yet.

Throw into the whole mix the fact that I've been making all kinds of dumb mistakes lately. Kind of as if I'm just not operating on all four cyclinders and most certainly not thinking clearly. (I can hear those of you who have been around me recently saying, "Hmmm, I just assumed she was hitting the spiked lemonade a bit much.") I'm thinking a better explanation is that I've just been pushing myself and not coming up with any way of slowing down or taking time off.

The technological advances we have available today are supposed to make our lives easier. But at the same time, we live with such an abundance of choices that life is no longer simple by any stretch of the imagination. How to structure one's life so one isn't flailing off in six directions at once with an unsettled mind. How I wish I could follow old H. D. Thoreau's command of "Simplify, simplify."

Hrumpf. Ain't so easy with all the complexities we are forced to deal with in this day and age.

Monday, August 23, 2010

Pickles to Spare

I'm still on the canning/preserving merry-go-round and can't seem to get off. When will it stop? (I'm not really complaining; just getting dizzy!)

With the last batch of pickles I made this past weekend, I decided I had enough put by, so I could cross "Make pickles" off my list for this year. But when I wandered over to the pickling cucumber vines this afternoon, what did I see but another batch of perfect pickle sized cucs taunting me.

Before I dared even contemplate making "just one more batch," I ran to the telephone and called Patty (Let's Get Real) to see if she might want them. I caught her just at the right time as she was ready to head in my direction (she's a half hour away from me) and said she'd be glad to have the cucs to make pickles.

Here she is by the pickling cucumber trellises. Her helpers aren't her own girls but rather two friends of her girls who had been visiting. Patty was on the way to delivering them to their own home in town. The girls were good pickers and we got a really nice batch of pickles-to-be for her in no time.

We moved over to the bed of dill so Patty could take some home for her pickle making. You can see one of the girls investigating a nearby garden bed and exclaiming over "the really BIG pickles" she found. (It was a bed of slicing cucumbers.)

Earlier today I promised myself I'd work on that last box of "stuff" that needs to be sorted through and fit into my new desk . . . but I feel so pooped now (a little after 8 p.m.) that I'm tempted to knock it off for the night. How many votes do I hear for a shower, jammies, a glass of wine and a good book? Sure sounds good to me!

Saturday, August 21, 2010

The Tomato Gods Have Smiled

After whining and complaining about the taste (none) and texture (cottony) of our cherry tomatoes this year, a miracle has happened.

About a week ago, the tomatoes went through a metamorphosis and began tasting purdy darn good. Like a real tomato even! And the texture is now crisp and juicy. Go figure. They've improved to the extent that I can't keep from popping several in my mouth when I'm picking them.

I suppose we shouldn't question why they have improved so drastically but rather simply enjoy them to the utmost.

Tonight after dinner I went out to harvest beets in preparation for Pickled Beet Day which is on the schedule for tomorrow.

We're getting a wonderful crop of beets this year. They are smooth skinned with nary a blemish in sight and, so far, they've been tender and sweet.

The average size is probably around 6" long, but some have been as big as 9" in length.

Have I mentioned I'm running out of canning jars this year? I guess that's a good sign in that it must mean I've canned more than usual. I may have to purchase more jars at our local hardware store before we make a run to the big city where they're a little more economically priced. But regardless, what a thrill it's gonna be to see my pantry shelves lined with all those jars. (It may even make me forget all the work [and sweat] that has gone into the canning!)

Friday, August 20, 2010

A Day No Beets Will Be Pickled

The above title makes me think of the book A Day No Pigs Will Die written by Robert Newton Peck. Have you read it? Wonderful book, just wonderful. Very appropriate for reading aloud to your kids, too.

But I digress. Back to this post.

Yep, canning pickled beets was on my list for today. But, hallelujah, we are getting some much needed rainfall. Okay, so I could put on rain gear and slosh out to the garden to harvest the beets, but life doesn't need to be any more challenging.

Oh, how we've longed for this rain. The garden has been so dry that I'm surprised it's done as well as it has. I did some weeding yesterday afternoon which proved to be next to impossible. (Wanna see my blister?)

Our small pond is fed only from run-off from the hills behind us, and we've been sadly watching the level of water go down day by day. If only this falling moisture would continue for a couple of days (dare we hope?).

Our deciduous trees (although we don't have many in these here parts) are already starting to turn color. But rather than giving us glimpses of orange or red, the leaves are turning a dusty yellow/tan. I'm thinking our dryness combined with intense heat this summer is causing funny things to happen.

If we get an all-day rain (which is forecast), it will be the perfect day for me to expend some serious effort toward unpacking the last of the items extracted from my old desk and fitting them into my new one. Not that it isn't due time for me to manage that task. It's been a week today that the new desk got set up.

Also would be a great day to cook/bake for the freezer. The only items finding their way into the freezer lately have been veggies from the garden. What about some cookies? Some what? C-O-O-K-I-E-S. You know, those roundish, yummy things that we haven't seen around here in an age?

The bank statement from July still hasn't been reconciled.

Or I could pull all the valances down from over the windows and wash and iron them. I'll bet that hasn't been done in . . . oh, a year or so? (Maybe it's longer since I have absolutely no recollection of doing it the last time.)

Let's face it, there are a myriad of inside housekeeping chores to do that have been ignored all summer.

Okay, so I'm sure I'm not going to have any trouble using my time on this blessed rainy day.

The first hurdle will be to walk away from this computer and get myself in gear.

Thursday, August 19, 2010


A couple of readers have kindly asked how my recovery from the bumblebee sting I got last week is progressing.

This is nine days after my encounter with that venomous little insect. There's still a slight bit of swelling but my hand hasn't bothered me or hurt since last Friday. I could put my wedding ring on today for the first time. I just now tried to see if it would come off, and, ummm, it doesn't seem to want to budge. But I just came in from working in the garden (weeding in rock hard soil) and I'm kinda hot and sweaty so my fingers are no doubt a little more swollen than when I put the ring on this morning.

You can still see the spot on the outside of my hand, below my wrist, where the little bugger nailed me.

Remember my blog post of August 5th when I showed pictures of us mowing down the strawberry plants?

Cut 'em right off, we did.

Just two weeks later, this is what they look like today. And all that growth was accomplished without any appreciable rainfall. Amazing. Too bad all plants in the garden don't work on the same cut-and-come-again principle, huh?

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

A Well Spent Afternoon

Admittedly I've been running around like the proverbial chicken with my head cut off lately. Well, you all know what it's like this time of year. The garden is falling apart (held together only by the heavy network of weeds), and there is food preserving to do nearly every day. And, oh yes, there are the everyday little challenges of Life with which to deal.

But I took part of the day off yesterday and drank. Okay, I had help with the drinking. Pleasant help at that.

My friend, Jen, is currently in the area with her two kids visiting her mom and dad who both live in the county. This is kind of a big deal because Jen and her family live in Cairo, Egypt.

Jen is a published author who writes romance and women's fiction. Her fourth book has just become available, and she kindly left me with a copy yesterday.

Her previous books are (in order of appearance) Here To Stay, One Crazy Summer, and All the Way Home. I started reading Anxiety Separation when I got in bed last night, but of course fell asleep almost immediately. Please understand this is no reflection on Jen's writing or my interest in the book. It's just something that happens every time I stop moving these days.

Back to the afternoon yesterday. I had invited Jen to stop over for some wine and conversation on the deck. Turns out our hot, humid weather has broken (at least for a few days) and with the stiff wind and the deck being in the afternoon shade, I decided to move the table and chairs down on the lawn in a sunny, semi-protected spot. (Why I didn't remember to take pictures yesterday when everyone was here can only be attributed to my failing brain cells. Or perhaps the good bottle of wine. One of the two. Take your choice.)

The kids (10 year old girl and 8 year old boy) weren't so interested in our wine and conversation, so my hubby asked them if they would like to help him mulch our fruit trees. I wish you could have seen those kids go to work. Hubby was cutting overgrown poultry pasture area, loading the collected clippings into a garden cart and a wheelbarrow. Each of the kids then pushed a heavy load into the orchard area (not a short distance!), spread the mulch very neatly under the trees, and went back for another load. (Why oh why did I not think to take pictures??!)

These two little urchins happily made trip after trip after trip, stopping only when it was time to leave. Talk about delightful helpers! The boy asked if he could stay and work some more. I told him when he turns 16, he can come and work for the whole summer. His mother asked, "How 'bout when he's 14?" Both kids went home sweaty and dirty, and I'm guessing they might have gone to bed early last night and slept very soundly.

This little troupe has to leave this coming Sunday to go back home across the ocean to their husband and dad. We've managed to get together three times during their six-week visit which everyone agrees has rocketed by much too quickly.

My husband told me last night it was good to see me sitting down in the middle of the day visiting and having a glass (or two or three or . . . ) of wine. I know I enjoyed myself.

Maybe I just need to line up a schedule of people to come in once (or twice or three times?) a week to sit and visit and drink with me. I undoubtedly wouldn't get as much accomplished, but I'd probably be a lot more relaxed.

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Desk Switching - Part Two or Was That Really a Fun Friday Night?

Last Friday was scheduled to be "Put Mama Pea's New Desk Together." Late in the afternoon (where the heck did the day go?) hubby started to take it out of the packing boxes in the garage.

Our daughter (aka Chicken Mama) was scheduled to stop in for a simple sandwich supper along with a family friend who, I have a feeling, was looking forward to a garage night and some cold beer with my husband.

Somehow, someway J got roped into helping hubby put my desk together. The main assembly needed to be done in place in the bedroom (where my new desk is currently residing) because it's very heavy and would have been awkward to move in through several doors from the garage.

A rather frustrating snag encountered was that there were two instruction booklets that we initially assumed were duplicates. Not so. Almost, but not quite. They differed from each other in several diagrams and written pieces of instruction. But which one was the "correct" one to follow? Ah yes, it made for an interesting evening . . . and a continuing supply of cold beers. And interesting discussions (ahem) and eventual agreement as to just how certain steps were to be done.

But persevere they did aided by suggestions, comments, and encouragement (all very helpful, of course) from me and Chicken Mama.

Unfortunately, our dear daughter was not feeling well at all. (This had come on BEFORE she ate my supper, I want to state.) So we ensconced her on one side of the bed, desk parts and pieces on the other, where she could supervise. She's pictured above with heating pad on her middle, banana in her hand since she hadn't had much of anything to eat all day, and banana sticker in the middle of her forehead.

I'm happy to report that by the end of the evening my desk was totally assembled, hubby was thrilled to have it done, and daughter was starting to feel better. Poor J said his good-byes and left for home a bit earlier than he usually would have on a normal garage night. I think we might have done wore the boy out.

Monday, August 16, 2010

Desk Switching - Part One

My old metal desk was commandeered (with our blessings) by our daughter for her new office space in town.

Here I am packing up the contents of my old desk. (Kowabunga, there was a lot of stuff in there.)

Hubby and I manhandled (with the help of our trusty hand truck and after having to take off the legs) the desk out of our house, into the back of the Suburban and on into town where we met our daughter at her new office.

Above hubby has just gotten it into the second room which will be her office proper.

Here they're trying to place the (heavier than cement) desk close to the spot she wants it.

"Hello, how may I help you?" ( I'm sure the desk top is set up to be much more functional now.)

Tomorrow - The exciting pictures of my new wood desk being assembled. I'm so glad my husband had a male friend to help because if it had been him and me doing it, there would have been blood shed.

Where Am I? WHO Am I?

I feel as if I'm going in three directions at once. Well heck, I AM going in three directions at once.

After the great desk moving out/moving in escapade, I am hooked back up to the Internet. I still haven't found time to reply to all the comments you dear blog readers have made in the last few days, but please be patient with me. It will happen.

Neither have I found sufficient time to get my new desk organized. An hour here or there has been put in on it, but I've still got a long way to go. (Criminy! I had LOT of stuff in that old desk. Who knew?) Our whole bedroom got rearranged and I'm liking the way it looks. Or I should say the way it WILL eventually look.

The garden continues to turn out produce to be harvested and processed daily. The garden looks totally spent. All its oompf is going into maturing the crops. However, its bedraggled state hasn't been helped by the fact that I've not been finding time to keep it weed-free, cleaned up, etc., etc.

I did manage to spend a few hours yesterday morning after harvesting to pull up old plants, deadhead flowers and do general clean up. Because I knew I had only a limited amount of time to give to the chores, I pushed myself faster and harder than an intelligent person would and now my lower back isn't working so pretty good. (Dumb, dumb, dumb, Mama Pea.)

Panic is starting to set in also because of family coming from California in a little over a week. We're eager to have them here for the visit, but need to get so much done before their arrival.

Good, restorative sleep has been eluding me. Some nights I wake up at 2 or 3 a.m. and can't fall back asleep. Others I seem to go into a catatonic state and sleep for 10 or 11 drugged hours. Nothing a couple of weeks at a spa wouldn't cure. (Not that I've ever been to a spa.)

The really great news is that our ungodly hot, humid weather has broken. Yesterday was in the mid-70s with a wonderful breeze blowing and no humidity. Today it's even cooler with forecasts for the same highly tolerable weather all week. Wa-hoo! This turn in the weather really helps with the ol' energy level. We still need a lot of rain though.

I will try to get some pictures posted later today of the desk switching operations.

Right now, I have to go make some pickles.

Friday, August 13, 2010

Say Good-Bye

This is no doubt not the brightest thing I've chosen to do smack-dab in the midst of the garden canning/preserving season, but today we're tearing apart our bedroom where my desk and office area is situated.

I just got a new desk! A lovely wooden model with file cabinet to match. Wa-hoo!

My old desk pictured above is going to our daughter's new office she's in the process of setting up in town.

The new bedroom arrangement here in our home will still contain my desk area. I so want to get it out of the bedroom, but that's in the plans for a ways down the road and won't happen for a while yet. For now we are completely rearranging the positioning of everything in the bedroom so it will all be complete chaos for the day . . . possibly longer.

If you don't hear from me for a few days, you'll know my dear husband is stuck underneath the house in the cramped crawl space trying to reroute phone lines and such to get me hooked up on the opposite side of the room.

Okay, let's get at it!

Thursday, August 12, 2010

My Garden Has Never Looked Worse

There is so much that needs to be tended to out in the garden it's making me crazy. I don't like a messy garden and if you could see mine up close and personal right now, you'd know why I'm cranky.

The only time I've spent out there for what seems like an eon is to harvest veggies and fruit and bring them inside for fresh eating or mostly processing.

No one has been deadheading flowers, staking up overgrown plants, replanting salad greens, pulling out spent pea vines, watering, controlling rampaging squash vines, or (Eeeeeeek!) weeding.

This bed is supposed to be replanted in salad greens. But what is growing here? Weeds, just WEEDS. Sigh.

The lawn could now qualify as a wild life prairie habitat and weed whipping will have to be accomplished with a controlled burn.

And on the inside housekeeping scene, did I mention I'm raising fruit flies in the kitchen for fun and profit?

Getting Better

The swelling in my hand from the bumblebee sting Tuesday is starting to go down.

Guess I won't be able to get my wedding ring on quite yet though.

I slept a bit last night which was a big improvement from the night before.

You can see that the area right below my fingers is less swollen today. There is a bit of yellowish discoloration to my skin, but I'm sure that's just bruising of the tissues from the swelling.

At Jennifer Jo's suggestion, I'll milk it for all I can for a couple more days. (Hey, a girl's gotta do what a girl's gotta do!) I do think cooking or washing dishes or vacuuming would be really bad for me, don't you?

Thanks for all the sympathy and well wishes. This is certainly nothing like a serious injury, but I'll take all the baby-ing I can get!

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

I Had a Feeling It Was Gonna Happen

The garden this year has been loaded with bumblebees. Why this year more than others, who can say? But often when I'm picking they are buzzing over, under and around my hands. We have an understanding, the bumblebees and I, that I'm only going to be in their space for a short time before moving on and don't wish them any harm.

This gentlemen's agreement of ours has worked all summer . . . until yesterday. I was harvesting pickling cucs when I plunged both hands into the vines to spread them when "Wham!" I was nailed on the outside of my left hand between wrist and bottom of little finger.

When I jerked my hand out of the vines, I had a yellow and black bumblebee very firmly attached to my hand. I had to work a little bit (which I did quite quickly) to get him detached. He'd apparently had sufficient time to pump a whole boatload of venom into my hand though because I'm now deformed.

This was taken first thing this morning.

I truly feel like such a wimp but my hand has been so painful (mostly from the swelling, I'm sure) that I had trouble sleeping last night and all day today the swelling has been slowly moving up my arm so that now it's reached my elbow.

The one smart thing I did was to immediately remove my wide gold wedding band as soon as I ran into the house. Years ago, I had to have it cut off (no small feat) because of a black fly bite on my ring finger.

Now I'm functioning like a one-armed bandit and not getting much done. (Susan, should we start a club?)

My daughter stopped over tonight and I commented to her that I kind of liked how my left hand is so smooth and looks young again.

She said, "Yeah, in an unhealthy sort of way."

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Just for Fun

Because we're afraid we'll run out of work projects here on ye ol' homestead (ya, uh-huh, sure), my husband ordered another truckload of birch firewood which was delivered yesterday.

Make no mistake, we have had our two wood sheds chock full of firewood since early on this summer. We actually have a chunk of the eight foot maple logs still to cut up from the last load we had delivered, but we had no place to stack the cut and split wood so we've been ignoring it.

I think hubby wants to get ahead with about a twenty year supply of wood in case he decides to slow down a bit by then. That way he won't have to worry about not having enough firewood to keep us warm! (Just kidding. I think.)

It's fascinating to watch the load being transferred from semi to a pile in our back yard. This guy really knows what he's doing. It took less than 30 minutes to unload all of it. (That's thirteen cords of wood!)

Just another hard, hard working logger/trucker doin' his thing.

Wonder what's going through my husband's mind as he looks at this pile. He's probably thinking he sure is glad he has a strong wife to help him.

In a Word: Yuck!

Our cherry tomato plants are finally producing lots of red, ripe good-sized tomatoes.

How's the flavor? Terrible. Basically because there is none.

How's the texture? Mushy and cottony.

Why do I try? 'Cause I'm a gardener down to my bones and someday the conditions will be juuust right for me to grow wonderfully flavorful, juicy, firm textured tomatoes like my dear old grandpa raised back in Illinois farm country.

Hahahahaha! Heeheehee! Hohohohoho!

Monday, August 9, 2010

Reward at End of Day

Had a super-low energy day yesterday. Almost needed a caterpillar tractor to drag me through the day. Passed out immediately after plopping into bed last night and slept an hour and a half past the six o'clock alarm this morning. I think my better half felt sorry for me, so he let me sleep. Either that or I might have been a titch on the grumpy side yesterday and he was hoping the extra sleep would improve my disposition.

I feel 'bout back up to full energy today and have been productive. Town errands in the morning, laundry all done, more dill pickles canned and a heavy-duty remodeling planning session from late afternoon until just now.

As a reward for being such a good girl today, I just made root beer floats. Hubby got one, too, because he also did good today, got important things done . . . and behaved himself.

Sunday, August 8, 2010

Hot Weather Equals Good Squash

My five Red Kuri squash plants have been very prolific this year.

Some of the squash have reached nearly full size in growth already.

Most of them are still lemon colored (they'll be a deep, dark orange when mature) but I was surprised to see this one, on the right in the above picture, starting to turn color a little.

Now's the tricky part in growing squash up here. If we continue to have some warm weather for the month of August and if we don't get a killing frost until really late in September, we just might have a bunch of yummy squash to eat this fall and early winter.

Saturday, August 7, 2010

The Strawberry Patch Gets a Buzz Cut

July 15th was the last day I picked strawberries from our patch this year. There were a few more berries ripe and ready after that but I had had it. Did I tell you what our total strawberry harvest in pounds was this year? AN ASTOUNDING 174 POUNDS AND 6 OUNCES. I'd call that a pretty good strawberry year.

Hubby went out three times after the last time I picked to gather just enough for his lunch time smoothie, but I let any that ripened after that go.

This is the strawberry patch as it looked this past Thursday. All spent, weedy, and ready for a rest. (That's a good description of how I look right now.)

Now it's time to cut the plants down. We mow them with the lawn mower and bag all the old leaves and stems. The mower is set high enough so that the crown of the plant isn't touched. The debris gets put in the compost heap.

Going, going . . . two of the double rows have been mowed here. One more double row to go.

Hardly looks like the same patch of strawberries, but it's remarkable how quickly they grow back.

Cutting down the plants after they're finished bearing for the year is a process that works for us. Shortly after being cut, the plants' new growth will make them look like healthy, young plants again. They won't form blossoms again this season but stay as green and growing plants until we cover them in late fall with a heavy layer of mulch for the winter months.

Their nice long rest from now until next spring is well deserved because they sure did provide us with an abundance of beautiful, nutritious berries this year.