Thursday, July 31, 2008

Back in the Garden Again

There's not much that's more pleasing to the sight and smell senses than sweet peas. I have three bouquets in the house as I write. It was late last week that I noticed the first blossom buds on the vines and now both trellises are blooming like crazy. Sweet peas do rank right up there at the top of the list of my favorite flowers.

Elsewhere in the garden, my earliest planted cucumber bed has cucumbers measuring at least (tah-dah!) two inches long. It may be a short while yet before we're feasting on the succulent, crisp, crunchy, wonderfully fresh fruits.

The potatoes are all looking good, but I have a sneaky suspicion that the traditionally hilled-up-with-dirt ones vs. the ones planted under straw are gonna win our contest this year. That is if the potatoes below compare to the plants above. Definitely larger, lusher, more prolific plants coming out of the dirt.

The sweet green bell peppers (the ones that are supposed to turn a bright red at maturity but never do for me) have plants taller than I've ever seen and lots of blossoms but only a few gumball sized peppers, so far. I'm also growing a sweet pepper this year for the first time, the Antohi Romanian. It's that one you see in the store that is either yellow, red or orange and grows in a narrow, long, kinda banana shape. I already have lots of peppers on the plants, some four inches long and about 1-1/2" wide but they are all a pale yellow color. I'm assuming they change to the brighter colors as they mature? Anybody know?

My squash and pumpkins are growing v - e - r - y slowly. 1) They're planted on ground that was sod plowed up for the first time last fall, and 2) we haven't had many hot, humid days that they thrive on. I planted them all in hills I made out of rotted compost and good, black soil but they definitely seem to be lacking something. Maybe next year . . . .

This past Tuesday we had the first massive picking of shell peas. Whadda crop! The snow peas are also bearing well. I've never had much luck freezing snow peas; they come out limp, lifeless and slightly mushy. The reason I planted as many of them as I did this year was to supply the restaurant. And, of course, we'll take our share for fresh eating. Both varieties of peas have grown so tall and thick that I'm a little fearful of the trellises toppling should we have a wind storm.

Alas and alack, we've had a baaaad infestation of worms in our broccoli this year. The Chief in Charge of Spraying (that would be my husband) didn't implement his organic, biodynamic spraying program early enough this year (my fault, I usually alert him as to when it's "time") and we think it was that dratted little bugger, the gray mottled moth, that sneaked in when we weren't looking. Oh, well, the chickens, ducks, and geese will gladly devour any broccoli we reject.

The pickling cucs are tall enough to reach the first string of the trellis but, as usual, will need a little encouragement from me to get started on their upward climb. I always feel like a mother trying to teach a toddler to stand on his own when I tie some of the cucumber plants to the trellis so they get the idea that's where they're supposed to grab on and climb.

Still fun to watch the garden as it changes every day, but lots of work too as the harvest gets into full swing. The strawberries are almost done, but today I saw the first ripe blueberries and raspberries. Oh, yeah! This morning I saw some orange on a tomato for the first time . . . whahoo!

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Summertime . . . And the Livin' is Easy

Oh, the aches and pains in my body. I need a vacation. Lots and lots of bending, stretching, and over-use of my muscles this summer, not enough down-time, too little sleep and the general stress on all my systems of heavy metal chelation for the past six months . . . add all this together and I'm a wreck.

We made a trip to the Big City yesterday which always leaves me feeling beat-up on the day after. It's a minimum of 5 hours in the car/truck on one's butt getting there and back for starters. Then the stress of making the umpteen stops for an appointment or two and lots of in and out of the various stores in the city (let alone the mental duress and punishment of so many on-the-spot purchasing decisions!), never enough time to get to everything on the list, trying to avoid thinking of ALL THE MONEY one is spending, navigating in more traffic than we're used to . . . well, you get the idea. It's a rough life.

When we return home and unload from one of these infrequent but necessary metropolitan forays, I just have to wonder where we'll stash all the loot we brought back with us. I sure don't remember noticing any empty cupboards or shelves or drawers or even carrying out or using up so much stuff over the last weeks/months since we last went to the city. But, get put away it all does and it's no time at all before another list is started for our next supply trip down the road.

There are times when I wish we weren't so many miles away from shopping convenience . . . but more times when I'm so thankful that we are as far removed from "civilization" as we are. We definitely pay a price for living in the remote area we do but the benefits (at least to my mind) outweigh any disadvantages.

So, how come, since we're living out in the sticks, away from the hustle and bustle of the populated rat race, why isn't my life simpler, slower, less complicated, full of days leisurely spent in my lovely quilt studio, lying in the hammock with a good book, soaking up some sun while lazily paddling a canoe or sitting on the shore contemplating the birds overhead? Well, the aforementioned hammock has yet to be set up this season . . . and I'm too tired to come up with a plausible reason why all the other things aren't happening. But it's helped just to grump and groan and complain for a while. I know I don't really have anything to bellyache about. I'm better now. Thanks.

Friday, July 25, 2008

Just Another Small Project

The primary heat source in our house is the wood stove. This makes getting a year's supply of wood cut, split and under cover a priority job each summer so that the wood has plenty of time to season and dry before we need to use it. As our little red pine squirrels are stashing away their supply of food for winter, we're stashing away our wood.

Here's Roy (resting) in front of an almost full wood shed. He did all of this by himself and it bums me out. I really, really enjoy putting up wood but so far this year I've been so busy in the garden and elsewhere that I haven't helped with any part of the wood working. Okay, I did get in on two huge flat bed trailer loads of lengths of dead trees Roy took down early this spring but that's all. Now that the garden is in pretty good shape, in between harvesting and processing the different crops, I should have some time for playing with the wood.

Much of our wood comes from the dead, standing trees on our land, but occasionally we'll buy a few logger cords of maple in eight foot lengths and work them up. We have a lot of birch, poplar, and pine to harvest from our property but no maple which is best for the really bitter, cold winter weather.

We have two wood sheds. Ideally (true confessions now, there have been years when this didn't happen), one shed is full of wood from a year ago and that's the one we will use for heating this winter. The other, the one we're currently working on filling, will be for burning a year from this coming fall.

In one shed, we partitioned off a small area that we fill with kindling for use in starting fires. We went into last fall with it chuck full and used about two-thirds of it over winter and spring so that will have to be topped off again. Roy saves odds and ends from all construction projects to be made into kindling and this year we also have a good sized pile of dry, old slabwood that we'll cut into about 12" lengths and then split into kindling sized sticks.

Whether it's felling, cutting, hauling, splitting, or stacking, squirreling away a good supply of wood feels like money in the bank. Sure, we expend a lot of time and energy on those BTUs that keep us cozy and warm from September through May, but it's also total body exercise in the fresh air (with a great companion, I have to add) and gives a true sense of accomplishment when we see our wood sheds full of nuts. I mean wood.

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

The Best Laid Plans

Remember the picture I posted a couple of weeks ago of the 35 foot row of cosmos I had planted at the north end of the field garden? By now I'd expected them to be a riot of blooming color. Well, as you can see by this picture taken this morning, I've got color, but not exactly a riot thereof.

I started the cosmos inside this spring with seeds from two different packets I had from last year. One variety I had grown many times before and knew it would produce a plethora (ha!) of white, burgundy, pink and rose colored flowers. The other packet was labeled simply "Cosmos" and had been a freebie sent with some other seeds ordered. I started about 20 plants from each packet and then set them out, alternating the two varieties, in the garden row.

As you can see, the "mystery" cosmos are a'bloomin' away, all one color, all yellow. Guess I should have known better than to plant the generically labeled cosmos. Why did I assume they would be a lovely medley of colors? Should probably be glad they didn't turn out to be miniatures that grew only 4" tall. My white/burgundy/pink/rose colored variety has but a couple of plants in bloom --- all pink. Very disappointing.

Next year: The row will be assorted giant snapdragons. Then we'll see some color!

P.S. I'm STILL having troubles with my blog entries being published with incorrect layouts. Sometimes I get no paragraphing at all and sometimes "almost" paragraphs, but not quite. I'm working on it. Please be patient with my less than easy-to-read copy. Thanks.

Sunday, July 20, 2008

Guilting Myself Into Action

This picture shows a portion of the queen size Double Wedding Ring quilt I gave my daughter for Christmas year before last. I gave it to her . . . and then took it back because I hadn't managed to complete the hand quilting on it before Christmas. Guilt, guilt, guilt. Shame, shame, shame. Hang your head, Mama Pea. It's still not done.

That Christmas I made a quilt for FSIL (favorite son-in-law) and one for DD. FSIL's was done by September and then I started in on DD's. I would have been okay if I hadn't decided to hand quilt the thing but I wanted it to be special and hand quilting was the only way to go.

Why isn't it done by now? That Christmas was a year and a half ago! It's one of those projects that looms so HUGE and will require so much time that it's hard to just jump in with both feet (both hands would probably work better) and get on with it. If I set up a schedule to do an hour a day, it wouldn't seem so daunting. But I don't use a hoop when I hand quilt. Smaller projects I can do on my lap but this quilt is much too large for that. For this I require a large, flat surface on which to spread the quilt. The sewing table in my quilt room is perfect for the job, but that means I have to clear off the table, put away my two sewing machines and various necessary tools that are always set up and ready for any spare time I can squeeze in a little quilting. And don't ya know, every time I do clear the table, an URGENT need comes up for a mending job or gift to be made and I have to put the quilt away and reset up my sewing table with machine, etc. Oh, the great hassles of it all.

The quilt has been calling to me lately though and I think it's time to diligently put in those hours whenever I can until it's finished. So go ahead. Lay a little more guilt on me by asking how it's going. :)

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Posting Problems Equals New Blog Site

Due to continued and inexplicable Blogger issues, I've needed to create a new "home" for my blog. It's not too far: just click here to go there. And, set your browser to that new link for reading future posts.

Thanks! Mama Pea

Audio Tapes (or Do You Hear What I Hear?)

Both Roy and I love to read. Most newcomers to our home comment on our full bookshelves. (If they only knew how many books we have stored in boxes because of lack of room on the shelves.) Give us a choice of an evening of reading or watching a movie and . . . hmmm, when the heck did we last watch a movie? Unfortunately, you won't find us doing much reading this time of year. Up here in the North Country, summer days are long but the season itself is short so being outside in the pleasant weather is something we take advantage of. And when daylight lingers until close to 9 p.m., most days it's too hard to come inside until just before bedtime.

So how do we get our literature fix when there's no crackling fire to sit in front of and there are chores to do? Books on tape. Addicted to them, we are. Got a boring job to do? Listening to an audio tape makes the time (and chore) fly by. I listen while planting or weeding in the garden, painting, doing dishes, making a big salad for supper, doing anything that doesn't require thinking. Roy has an audio tape going while doing carpentry jobs like building new cold frames, stacking wood, doing simple repairs, puttering in the garage. We even have a special hook for the audio player in the bathroom so we can listen while taking a shower. It's a 2-1/2 hour drive to the nearest big city but with a good book on tape, we're there, or back, before we know it.

A year or so ago, I decided to re-read "Gone with the Wind." I'd read it in high school but that was eons ago so I was curious as to what my impression of it would be now. Those of you who are familiar with this Pulitzer Prize winning novel know it has a bit of a slow start . . . and I just couldn't get into it. A week ago I got "Gone with the Wind" on tape from the library and now I'm on Tape 12 and enjoying it thoroughly. I know I've listened to many different books on tape that I wouldn't have had the patience to wade through if I were actually sitting reading the book.

I recently finished listening to an audio book by Gary Paulsen. I've always enjoyed his books but was surprised by this one because it's quite different from his usual style of writing. "Sarny, A Life Remembered" is the story of a plantation slave and her life during and after the Civil War. It was at times a difficult narrative to get through because of the depiction of slavery during that era and atrocities committed during the Civil War. While listening, a couple of times I had to stop what I was doing (weeding) because my eyes filled with tears and I couldn't see. It's read by Lynne Thigpen whose narration was wonderfully poignant. She was an actress that I've admired, so talented, a person who died much too young a couple of years back.

To me, it's down-right amazing how one person can convincingly and effectively portray a myriad of characters through voice inflection, pitch, and cadence. On the other hand, I've stopped listening to a few books on tape because the narration was so bad. The reader of an audio tape can make or break the listening experience, no doubt about that.

Truth to tell, these hectic summer days I've found myself glancing longingly at the couch and looking forward to cold, blustery winter evenings snuggled under a quilt while consuming a good page-turner of a book. But for a couple more months, I'll keep ordering my audio tapes from the library. I don't even have to find my reading glasses in order to listen.

Monday, July 14, 2008

Me and Jessamyn

Years ago, a friend of mine told me that cleaning her house totally destroyed her creativity. This gal was extremely talented. She made and sold one-of-a-kind dolls, designed and sewed original folk art quilts, was an expert on wildflowers of her area and essentially built their house while her husband worked an outside job. What she meant about housecleaning was that when her house was neat, clean and organized, she felt she couldn't create because that would make the house look messy again.

I'm totally the opposite. If I have a project that needs to be done inside (quilting, researching, bulk cooking for the freezer, painting/staining, or any kind of big undertaking) I have to clean house first. It has something to do with organizing my mind along with organizing my surroundings. Muss and clutter are distracting to me . . . or at least the muss and clutter of anything other than what I'm working on. (Someday I'll post a picture of my quilt room when I'm in the midst of a big project. That is if I'm not too embarrassed to do so.)

No matter how much I don't want to clean, I always feel close to euphoric when it's done. My spirits are lifted, my problems are smaller, anything is manageable. I think it has a lot to do with the old saying, "Shape your environment and then your environment shapes you." A clean and organized house gives me a sense of well-being. All is in its place. I'm ready for anything. My base is secure and as it should be.

No, I don't have Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder as you would readily see were you to drop in on me and my house most days. There are too many things I like and want to do, too many things I'm interested in, too many new areas for my mind to explore for O.C.D. ever to be able to take hold. Cleaning the house is just my Valium.

I don't clean house to please others. I do it for myself.

It does for my soul what prayer does for others.

And it takes so much less faith. House ordering is my prayer,

and when I have finished, my prayer is answered.

And bending, stooping, scrubbing, purifies

my body as prayer doesn't.

- Jessamyn West

Saturday, July 12, 2008

Jammin' in July

Well, so far, so good in our strawberry patch. Yesterday was the third day in a row that I had a heavy picking of ripe strawberries.

Although I've always said that raspberries are my personal favorite fruit from the garden, these fresh strawberries have tasted sooooo good this years that I'm gobbling up my fair share, and then some. There aren't many smells from the kitchen that are more enticing than a big pot of strawberry jam bubbling away . . . well, maybe homemade bread baking . . . or a Thanksgiving turkey in the oven . . . or an apple pie . . . or . . . .

I just pulled the second batch of strawberry jam out of the canner and am hoping as it cools, it will set up a bit thicker than the first batch. But the "syrup" I made the first time around was entirely my fault 'cause I used ripe, ripe berries and for a good, thick jam, you should make it with berries that aren't fully ripe so more of the natural pectin is present. The first bath won't go to waste, though. We've already used up the leftover sample on toast and on vanilla ice cream and the flavor is yummy.

Today was a wet, gray day so I stayed out of the strawberry patch. But while making an afternoon garden tour, I did noticed lots of big, red berries peeking out from under the dripping green leaves, so, if we get sun tomorrow, I'll probably be picking again. I'm not minding that chore at all!

Thursday, July 10, 2008

Watermelon? Ya Got Watermelon?

Our chickens have always liked watermelon rinds. They peck them right down to the bare, green shell of a skin. But the geese!

Roy just came in from throwing kitchen scraps into the poultry pen and he swears the geese were upset there were no watermelon rinds this time. They attack and scarf up the rinds as if they were the first food they'd seen in a month. Everything disappears in short order. Poor chickens don't stand a chance unless we make sure to toss the rinds into separate areas well away from each other so the geese don't get them all. The ducks just stand around saying, "What's all the fuss about?"

Monday, July 7, 2008

Mmm, mmm, Strawberries

We got our first decent harvest of strawberries today. And are they beauties. I didn't measure the exact quantity but must have picked 5-6 quarts. Sliced fresh strawberries in cream for dessert tonight. Doesn't get much better. Wha-hoo!

Saturday, July 5, 2008

5th of July Celebration

Once upon a time (exactly thirty-seven years ago today), even though it was the day after the 4th of July, there was still one more spectacular event to ooh and aah over. Our daughter was born. (All together now . . . awwww.)

In 1971 we lived in a small farm town in Illinois that had only one doctor, a general practitioner, and a fairly new hospital. I had my heart set on having a home birth and asked Dr. Q if he would be willing to go along with that. He said that if my pregnancy progressed normally and if Ruth, his long-time nurse, would agree to assist, we could plan on it.

Dr. Q was a short, chunky man, had nine kids of his own, was nearing retirement age, and was well-respected as a physician. Ruth had been his nurse for over thirty years and they had done home births together before the community hospital was built. Besides that, we knew Ruth well as she was the wife of Roy's high school biology teacher. Ruth and George owned an apple orchard and chicken farm where Roy had worked after school and summers for many years.

My pregnancy did, indeed, go well. Never had a hint of morning sickness and felt wonderful the whole time. My due date of June 13th came . . . and went. All my frequent check-ups continued to be fine.

I remember the exact day of June 13th well because my folks lived about an hour away and Mom called that morning to see if her first grandchild would be arriving on time. She asked what I planned on doing that day and I told her there were peas in the garden to pick and process and strawberries to harvest and perhaps make into jam. The weather that day was extremely hot and humid and she didn't think I should be out in the garden. She and Dad insisted on driving up to help although I assured them I was fine and wasn't going to do anything I hadn't been doing for the past nine months. Their impromptu visit that day was intended to take pressure off me so I could relax and be ready for the impending birth. What actually occurred was that both of them nearly suffered heat stroke trying to "help" in the garden. They went home that evening exhausted and still waiting to become grandparents.

June 20th came and went, likewise June 27th, and July 1st. My check-ups continued to look normal, I felt fine and everyone told me I must have figured wrong as to when I actually got pregnant. All I could say was that I knew when my last menstrual cycle occurred and the due date of June 13th should have been right. (Our child was clearly in no hurry to make an appearance. Have I mentioned that she's never been on time in her life since?)

I'm sure these days, a doctor would have induced me or performed a Caesarean section birth but good, old-fashioned Dr. Q felt that as long as everything seemed okay, we would let nature take its course. Roy and I agreed. I wasn't the least bit uncomfortable except when the baby got the urge to tap dance on my liver or practice the latest karate moves.

Finally just before midnight on July 3rd, I awoke with contractions. Got up and made what preparations I thought needed to be made around the house. We didn't call anyone until 4 p.m. on the 4th of July when the SERIOUS contractions started. First phone calls couldn't locate Dr. Q so we called Ruth. She came right over, examined me and said she didn't think we needed to summon Dr. Q quite yet. I think it was about 8 o'clock when she did decide to call him. Still no answer at any of his usual numbers. She then made many more phone calls it seemed to me, but I'll admit I was by that time a little fuzzy and kind of in and out of it.

Around 10 p.m., still with no Dr. Q in sight, Ruth said she was no longer comfortable with the situation and wanted to drive us to the hospital. My water still hadn't broken and my main concern was that I'd make a mess in her new car. But to the hospital we three went without mishap.

There were two nurses waiting to meet us at the hospital door and one turned to the other and said, "Well, she's certainly not full-term." NOT FULL-TERM?? I was danged near 10 months pregnant and had been in labor for close to 24 hours! But I did understand where she was coming from. I had gained only 16 pounds during my pregnancy and didn't look "big" at all. Now, don't go thinking I was an early anorexic. I was eating like a horse as I usually do but had remained very physically active and was in good shape. Just didn't gain anything but baby weight.

It seems I was on the delivery table with the nurses working around me and Roy sitting on a chair at one end of the room trying to remain calm for hours and hours. By then I was so exhausted that when a labor pain subsided, I immediately fell sound asleep and didn't wake until the next one started. Ruth was nowhere in sight. She was out scouring the countryside trying to find Dr. Q . . . who, it turns out, had used the July 4th holiday as an excuse to go on one heck of a huge bender. Never did know where Ruth found him or what she did to get him upright and into the delivery room, but when he finally made his appearance shortly before 4 a.m., I remember noticing that his face was exactly the same color as the green scrubs he was wearing.

Didn't take long after that for our baby to be born . . . all 8 pounds 9-3/4 ounces of healthy, strong baby girl. Every year, come 4th of July, of course I can't help but think back to that very special one and how we spent the day. Totally missed the town's fireworks display in 1971 . . . but I was busy.


Thursday, July 3, 2008

Photo Interruptus

For anyone out there actually reading my blog, you will have noticed that my entry of July 1st is definitely missing some pictures. (Will I never get this right?)

After much hair pulling, head banging and a few really b-a-d words, turns out I couldn't have gotten the pictures inserted into the blog even if I were not so danged technologically challenged. (That should make me feel better but at this point I'm still extremely frustrated over the whole situation.) DD (dear daughter), who seems to have inherited a massive amount of talent in the technological field via the atmosphere or environment or outer space or somewhere, thinks she has diagnosed the problem. Now she just needs to find the time to sit in front of my computer . . . and fix it. This, unfortunately, won't happen until next week, however, as she's booked solid through the coming weekend.

So in the meantime, she has found a way for me to get the pictures to her where she, in turn, can insert them into my blog entry. It's a long, time-consuming, convoluted method but it is working so we'll keep slogging along until we get all the pictures inserted . . . or she can get here to convince my computer to do what it should have been programmed to do in the first place.

Tuesday, July 1, 2008

Garden Tour

These two beds are my second plantings of lettuce of the season and are just about ready to start harvesting. We've been selling produce from the garden to a local restaurant this year and lettuce is one of our mainstays. I love the look of the beds with the contrasting red and green lettuces. As pretty as any flower bed to my mind.

Several years ago, friends of ours taught us how to grow potatoes under mulch. Much easier, I thought, than hilling up the potatoes with dirt in the old traditional method. This year, the Idea Man (that would be my husband) suggested I do a side-by-side experiment to see which method gave us the better yield. So here are two rows under straw mulch and two under dirt. Should be interesting to see how this little trial test comes out. Me, I'm rooting for the mulch to be the winner . . . so much easier than hilling.

These are my two rows of shelling peas that have a ways to go climbing their trellis. They're just starting to blossom. I know some people feel shelling peas are "so much trouble" in that after harvesting you have to sit and, well, shell each and every pod. But by the time the peas are ready to harvest and freeze, I'm ready for any sit-down job. Besides, ya just can't beat the taste of fresh frozen peas in February.

Here's Roy holding up the shade cloth lid on a bed of radishes that is just days away from harvest. Radishes are a cool weather crop so need some shade provided during the hot weather and long days of sunshine, sunshine, sunshine. Interestingly enough, our radishes continually get praises from the kitchen staff at the restaurant. They say they've never seen such beautiful radishes. And here I had always thought a radish was a radish was a radish. Go figure.

This is a section of our strawberry patch. The plants are loaded with oodles of green berries. Actually, I found the first totally ripe one day before yesterday. Just one, mind you, but I know there will be lots more soon. In our locale, the first batch of ripe berries usually appears close to July 4th. I haven't had enough of a crop for the past couple/few years to make jam (Roy's favorite . . . slathered on rye bread, of course, Bohemian boy that he is) so this year we'll eat our fill of fresh berries first, and then instead of freezing most of the crop for our winter's use in smoothies, I'm gonna make a couple batches of jam, I am!

This is a shot peeking into one of our new cold frames. The cold frames we made to use over the garden beds when we first moved here eleven years ago are seriously falling apart so it's time to make new ones. We're experimenting using different materials (ANYthing lighter, puleeze!) and sizes. These are cherry tomato plants that are very happy in their new confines. Last year we had more than we could eat and/or give away but this year we've been assured the restaurant will take every little ruby nugget we can provide.

Here are two of the new big cold frames sitting on beds with one of the old models sandwiched in between. There are cherry tomatoes growing like crazy in the old, shorter cold frame but the plants are already bumping their heads on the top when it's closed.

A picture of my happy cabbages. They're just starting to form teeny-tiny heads. You can perhaps notice the ground underneath them looks green. I had just mulched with fresh grass clippings. It holds the moisture, keeps the cabbages clean when it rains (no mud splashes), discourages the weeds and enriches the garden soil.

This was taken from the top of our yard overlooking one of the three rows of garden beds with the field garden farther on down. The white cylinders are another experiment this year for growing tomatoes. So far, for a couple of reasons, it's been a bust. But stay tuned, we're not giving up on it yet.

I took this so I would have a "before and after" picture to post. This is obviously the "before." The line of fuzzy plants on the right is 35 feet of cosmos that are going to soon bloom with luxuriant blossoms and be a spectacular sight . . . I hope. The start of the strawberry patch is on the left.

The fence trellis (bare though it still is) on the left here is for my pickling cucumbers. If you look very closely, you can see the little guys just poking up on either side of the trellis. I LOVE making pickles.

The tepee trellis (bare again) has morning glories planted around its base. Will they make it to bloom this season? Dunno. I started seeds inside this spring, too early (drat), and the plants wound around each other (and anything else within reach) before I could get them outside. A friend and Master Gardener told me they wouldn't make it transplanted outside after having gotten so big outside. And ya know what? She was right. Hence, the new seeds planted around my garden trellis.

Last but not least, here's Zoey our faithful dog companion sitting in front of Roy's favorite flower bed. If Zoe looks a little less than chirky-perky, it's because she had just tangled with some of our honey bees, gotten stung several times, and was not a happy camper. We were actually a little concerned as she did seem quite uncomfortable (swelling and lumps on her belly) so we gave her a dose of Apis and happily she was right as rain the next morning. Moral of story: Bees get angry when you try to catch and eat them.