Wednesday, August 4, 2021

It's All A Blur

These days I don't know which end I'm sitting on.  Not that I'm spending much time sitting.  So maybe it's a good thing.  (Happy Birthday, Martha.  Eighty years old.  Wow.)
We're still very much working toward our goal of reorganizing and purging all storage areas.  You'd think we would learn, but we continue to look at a specific area and think that with the two of us working on it, it should be done in two days.  Two weeks later . . . 
Our solar energy guy came by yesterday to determine what could be done to get our system up and running again after we suspected it might have been damaged by an electrical zap (possibly an indirect strike of lightning) during the storm the last week in July.  Blast and dang, suspicions confirmed.  The controls that enable the panels to follow the sun were damaged, but the more serious issue is that our converter was fried.  It's done, gone, kaputz.  We're very fortunate we still have the ability to run off the grid until we can get back on solar.
The fire danger in our area continues to be very high because of our severe lack of moisture.  Although the temperature climbs into the 80s every day, the sky remains hazy with smoke drifting down from Canada.  Most days the smell of the smoke permeates the air, and I think we're all suffering a bit from the continued unhealthy atmosphere.

I harvested my garlic a couple of weeks ago (eighty-eight bulbs), and it's hanging in an empty corner of a wood shed to cure. 

The sunflowers are blooming like crazy but many of them have several small heads at the top of the plant rather than one larger one you would normally see.  Messy, huh?  Quite a few of my flowers seem to be doing weird things this year.

The geraniums planted around the bird bath look good, but are orange in color (I hate orange geraniums) rather than the dark red ones indicated on the tag when I purchased the starts.

The portion of our little plot of corn that got blown over in the previously mentioned storm has almost righted itself.  Amazing.  Small ears are starting to form on the stalks.

The horseradish root I planted this year is growing beautifully.  I can start harvesting it next year.  Must learn how to make homemade horseradish.  My grandpa always made his own but no recipe (he probably didn't have one) was handed down through the family.

About an hour ago, I put a second batch of stuffed green peppers in the freezer.  The peppers seem to be early this year, and we're glad to have them.
Busy, busy days and in the blink of an eye, this new month of August will be over.  Here's hoping you're all staying healthy and positive while learning to navigate these crazy times we've all found ourselves in. 

Tuesday, July 27, 2021


As I've heard some of you comment, flowers seem to be blossoming earlier than usual this year.  Like a few of my other flowers, this is true of the cosmos I've planted.
But something weird is going on with them.

When the blossoms unfurl, they look like they've been in one heckuva fight.  Even the coloration is strange.  Although this particular one above isn't as bad as most others, they look as though they've been picked and spent too much time in a vase so that they should be relegated to the compost pile. 
The buds look perfectly normal, but not the flowers themselves.  Any ideas what may be going on? 

Saturday, July 24, 2021

An Inch and Three-Tenths!

 That's how much rain we got last night in about ten minutes.  Welcome though the long-awaited rainfall was the fierce thunder/lightning storm did some damage.

Yep, our lovely stand of corn got pushed over by the strong winds coming directly out of the west.  Because we had the corn patch surrounded by the cattle panel "cage" none of the stalks hit the ground, but the west half smooshed over onto the east half which stayed standing by leaning against the firmly anchored cattle panel.

I had to go out today and stake up a dozen or so of our sunflowers that were left leaning at about a 45° angle.  None of them snapped off so they should be alright.

The rain came down in such a torrent that we lost some nice black soil which washed off the blueberry patch and into the grass.  I usually mulch the whole patch but didn't this year.  If I had, there would have been no erosion.

It seems our alternative energy solar system may have been zapped by lightning.  During the rapidly passing storm, we lost power and haven't been able to get it back yet today.  (We still have the option of running on grid power in a situation like this.)  Papa Pea has done everything he knows to do trying to track down the problem, and we have an e-mail explaining the problem to our alternative energy guru but have not heard back from him yet.

After having a few days when the temperature was almost tolerable, today finds us back into the (nearly) intolerable temps.  Add to that, there's been a stiff breeze blowing all day (a hot, hot breeze, not cooling in any way) and both of us find that being outside in a wind takes the stuffin's right out of ya.  After I came in today from staking up the sunflowers and checking a few other things, I felt slightly sick and it was a while before I felt good again.

Oops, wouldn't ya know it.  I just looked out the window and see another sunflower that has taken a nose dive.  I'd better go out and stake it up before I forget about it.

We're thankful for the rainfall that came with the storm though.  Now if Mother Nature would just get back on a schedule of giving us some soothing rains on a regular basis . . . and nix on the wind, please.  And lightning.

Thursday, July 22, 2021

Tiptoe Through The Tulips -- Oops, I Mean Garden

 I'm relieved to say our temperature has dropped significantly, but we still have gotten no rain.  Not much we can do about it but keep watering our garden and fruit trees which does seem to be doing some good.

The Morning Glories I planted way back on June 2nd are finally starting to grow and climb their trellis.

The second green cabbage head I harvested yesterday morning had a few insect holes in the outer leaves but turned out to be a beautiful, tightly formed, perfect head inside.  I made a big bowl of coleslaw but didn't use much of the head because it was so big.

I'm always surprised at what dense and lovely ferns the asparagus spears turn into after we stop harvesting it.

After years and years of talking about it, I finally planted a horseradish root this spring.  We can't take anything from it this first year, but are eagerly awaiting making some homemade horseradish next year.

Our corn is starting to form tassels.  A good sign.

I could eat a kohlrabi like an apple when they're young and tender.  My small crop of them is starting to size up.

It seems my slicing cukes are tripling in size over night.  Won't be long before I can pick and serve a crunchy cucumber salad.

And my first sunflowers are opening.  I do love sunflowers and planted three different varieties this year, all of them "shorties" which shouldn't grow more than four feet tall.  I love the flowers but really dislike having to use a chainsaw (slight exaggeration) to get rid of the six, seven or eight foot tall stalks at the end of the season!

Sunday, July 18, 2021

The Garden and The Purge (Are We Winning Yet?)

I'm just in from watering the garden which has been a (nearly) must-do activity each day.  Had a friend visiting this afternoon and I felt good she thought my garden looked fantastic.  Over the years we've worked hard at building up good soil so I'm sure that's helping everything that has got to be stressed by our complete lack of rainfall.
We had zero germination sowing buckwheat on our two garden plots we chose to leave fallow this year.  Between the crows filling their craws with the sown seed and our coming to the conclusion that the seed may have been a tad on the old side (arrrgh), the cover crop turned out to be a no go.  But Papa Pea has taken the turn of events as an opportunity to spread lots of great compost on the bare soil which will be a benefit for next year. 

My garlic needs to be dug and hung to cure tomorrow.
I planted only six cabbages (three green and three red) with the thought of using them as they matured and not trying to hold any over in the root cellar this year.

We've eaten one of the green ones and another is ready for harvesting.

The red cabbages are a little slower than the green and are just forming soft ball sized heads now.

While watering tonight, I found the first slicing cucumber.  It's approaching jumbo size (not) at nearly three inches long.

The green peppers continue to put out nice sized fruits already.  (It seems a bit early according to my records of past years.)

The one that got blown over before I staked them all up has called it quits and is headed toward the compost heap.

The sugar snap peas are producing and are great in our salads or just tossed into boiling water for a minute or two as that's how we like them cooked.  Great for breakfast with eggs and sausage.
* * * * * * * *
We continue to keep at our Summer of the Massive Purge and it's going well.  At the same time, it's unbelievable how much time needs to be put into each and every area we tackle.  And most of the storage areas are ones that are oppressively hot in this unusual heat we're having this summer.  It's a drain on our physical and mental/emotional bodies to stay at it for more than a few hours a day.  But we also know it would be even more uncomfortable working in the outside storage areas (for many reasons) in the winter time.  
We've sold some things but most of what we want to get rid of has been given away to one source or another because we just want to get it gone and be done with it. 

This is the latest batch on the back porch to be re-homed, relocated or gotten rid of tomorrow.  We both ran out of steam this afternoon and agreed we'd clear these items out first thing tomorrow morning.
All in all, it's a rewarding job, this undertaking, and we haven't had more than two or three drag 'em out fights as to whether specific objects go or stay.  It's all worth it.  So far. 

Tuesday, July 13, 2021

Can't Grow It, But Can't Stop Trying

It must be the stubbornness of the Taurus astrological sign under which I was born because even though I've frequently said I'll never plant corn again until we have a weather and wind protected structure over it, I can't seem to stop myself from a little corn growing experimentation 'bout every other year.
This spring I found myself with an empty 8' x 4' raised bed.  I wasn't able to resist.   I used it to plant a small patch of corn mainly to see if we could find a way of keeping the stalks from being blown flat by our frequent high winds.  Maybe we'd even have enough heat this summer to encourage it to grow.  And, boy howdy, have we ever.
With Papa Pea's help, I surrounded the corn planting with sections of cattle panel (on all four sides) to find out if the panels would "hold it up."  So far, so good.

As far as the growth of the stalks go, they say you have a good crop of corn going if the plants are knee-high by the 4th of July.  Well, ours were nearly waist-high to my long-legged husband at that time and much taller now as you can see by the above picture taken today.  (Yes, we're still existing in a smokey haze from the fires in Canada.  Cough-cough.)
Truth to tell, I'm kinda amazed at how good the corn presently looks.  Mother Nature has provided the heat needed even though she's been severely negligent in sending enough rainfall.  Maybe I will be able to successfully grow corn.  Albeit on a very small scale!