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Archive for July, 2008

We had a good rain last night and it seems everything in the garden grew an inch!  The pearl cucumbers and the yellow scallop squash are coming in with no signs of stopping – I posted them at the Veggie Blog.  I also found and removed a sickly cucumber with some type of growth on it.  The growth appears to be eggs with larvae developing inside.  They were very tiny but the camera seemed to magnify the egg and contents. 

 

I did notice some other living creatures going about their daily business … Daddy Long Legs basking in the sun

 

  This Stink Bug will damage my squash vines and the Japanese Beetle is attracted to the Borage. 

I also spotted this unique looking spider on a rose bud …

 

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I have been on the internet for over 10 years now … I chatted, I searched sites, I posted and I learned alot about the internet world.  Then one day I took hold of my brain and asked it “What am I really doing here?”  It didn’t answer me.

So I started a blog to keep track of my true passion … Gardening.  What I realized is when you Garden, you learn so much more than just planting a seed and watching it grow.  You learn patience, frustration, peace, victory, happiness and wonder.  You start to view the world around you in a a totally different way – you notice flowers, you notice your neighbor’s garden, you notice weeds along the highway.  You notice the World around you – nature, life as it is.

If you have a Garden Mind that’s a wonderful perspective on life … But I also realized alot of folks don’t Understand Gardening (at all).  For instance, I gave my Mom, my Sister and my Cousin all transplants this year.  At a recent family bbq I asked how they were doing ….. They ALL said they didn’t make it!  OK … my own faimly doesn’t know how to grow plants that I give them that are already thriving???  What’s the rest of the world doing?

This worries me.

Wait though … my blogging accomplishments (which I can’t believe).  Earlier this month I set a goal for myself saying that I wanted to hit 1200 views to my blog so I could have an average of 300 a month by the end of July.  Why does it matter??   I don’t know ……… so I know folks might find something helpful and I did good.  So anyways, I hit 1500 and won’t know the exact number since we are going down south early Thursday, but dang I did it   OR you did………..Thank YOU!  Thank you for taking the time to read my blog … really

I have to say that the comment from the Editor of GRIT magazine Hank Will really floored me, but then again it didn’t.  GRIT is a real down to earth magazine and they truly understand people and the true way of life.  Thank you Hank ………. I love your magazine!  It has helped me and will help me much more in the future I am sure.  I have alot to learn and Gosh, so does my family!

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I placed my order for garlic today.  In the past I purchased garlic from the store and there really wasn’t much selection … if I recall correctly Early Italian and Late Italian were/are the standard varieties sold around here.  I decided to buy this year from Seed Savers who has an excellent catalog full of unique seeds of all types.  You can request a free catalog at their website and even check out their garlic selection and print out a Garlic Planting Guide.  The garlic you order comes with a detailed planting guide and you can decide what date you want your garlic sent to you.  They offer a Garlic Sampler you can purchase with 10 different varieties – 6 hardneck and 3 softneck and 1 Elephant garlic.  It looks like a great deal but I decided to order less and get a handle on growing garlic before I purchase a whole shipload.  So I decided on 2 hardneck – Chrysalis Purple and Shvelisi (Chesnok Red) and 2 softneck – Chet’s Italian Red and Inchelium Red to ship September 22-24.  The May/June issue of GRIT magazine has an article “GARLIC – A Plant to Love” and they recommend their favorites.  Two I chose to plant are listed Chesnok Red and Chet’s Italian Red, so that’s reassuring.  In this article they offer a quick distinction between hardneck and softneck varieties.  It states that if you live in a more Southern area, where winter frosts are nonexistent or mild, consider softnecks.  If you live in a cold climate, where winters are severe, try a hardneck.  The book I have “Growing Great Garlic” goes into much more detail on different varieties.  For the coming season I figured I would keep the odds even and try 2 of each type.  I will be planting these down south where the winters are much more mild.

On another note … My Dad turns 70 and look at the basket of garden goodies I gathered to give him!  He will be so happy … healthy food to keep him healthy!   Happy 70th Birthday Dad!

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As much as I love gardening I do realize that I must make sure to use the produce I grow and once it starts growing, it can become overwhelming and so the challenge(s) begins….    and to think the tomatoes haven’t even started to ripen yet!

So today I sat back and looked at what I had from the garden – peas, green beans, zucchini, pearl cucumber, basil, chives, yellow scallop squash and flowers 🙂  The pearl cucumber is Wonderful … very crisp and right on for a cucumber.  I was thinking there would be a weird taste but Nope … cucumber all the way!

  Green beans/Pearl Cucumber

The yellow scallop squash we are saving for a stir fry tomorrow, but dang looking at the garden earlier there seems to be like a ton of them growing all the sudden so ONE ain’t no big deal ….

Now……… for the Garden Fresh Quiche I whipped up this morning!  I used Five garden ingredients … peas, green beans, zucchini, basil and chives

  The peas and green beans I simmered in a bit of water for just a few minutes and then sauteed the zucchini with the chives and basil.  I used a store bought pie crust because they are so simple, so next all the veggies went into the crust

  I added a cup of shredded cheddar cheese and a cup of fake eggs … egg beaters           It looks beautiful and healthy BUT it needs some ZIP!  More spices, some hot sauce, a bit of pepper  not sure, but will work on it.   I am open to all ideas, so please let me know what you think.   It is pretty darn healthy don’t ya think

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Today I pulled the last of the spinach stalks that I had left in the ground with the seeds drying.  I am saving spinach seeds for the first time and thought I would elaborate on what I learned about saving the seed.  I did notice an interest in the picture of the Drying Seeds on my Veggie Blog and since that’s a photo blog there is no explanation.  I know that when I first decided to save the seed I searched the internet and didn’t find too much detailed information.  What had me confused was the first stalks to go to seed were small, very small and I remembered when I planted the spinach the seeds were much larger and dark.  So I searched and watched and waited.  I know one explanation I had read mentioned a female seed stalk and a male seed – so even though this made no sense I thought I would see what happened and sure enough … I did notice two totally different seeds developing on separate stalks. 

Here is the explanation I offer from my observations (I could be way off but at least this makes sense to me!)  The first stalks to go to seed were male and contained the pollen and this I did notice … ALOT of yellow dust when the stalks were moved.  The male seed was doing it’s job of spreading the pollen and when it reached the female stalk, seeds developed which were much larger and this is the seed I knew to be the one to plant in the future.  The drying of the seed I concluded has to take place while the stalks are still in the ground so they can complete their process.  I did pull a stalk and let it air dry in the house and it never turned dark like the others that remained in the ground.  I pulled many stalks today that had not finished the final drying but the cucumber vines needed the space and I have PLENTY of spinach seeds to plant.  Here are some pictures to help clarify what the seeds look like and I regret not having one of the male seed stalks which were present earlier in the season (hm, where did they go?)  I will have to watch them closer next year now that I think I know how the process works!!  If anyone has further knowledge on this subject of saving spinach seed, please comment.  It would be much appreciated!  Now to see if the saved seeds actually Grow … stay tuned

Next is the spinach seed I air dryed in the house and it remained green

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Don’t get me wrong … I love zucchini and from past experience I know they love us too!  I only planted 3 hills of the Zucc this year and one is all male flowers and not producing any fruit so I only have 2 hills to deal with.  With all the rain and moisture we have had I did have to disgard some that were soggy – Make sure to check your plants every day!  It’s best to rid the garden of bad plants  and a very important point I should make is that too much moisture causes alot of problems.  Make sure there is good air flow throughout your garden.  Tomorrow I need to go out and do some major pruning on the tomato plants – we have alot of tomatoes growing and many of the lower leaves are not necessary and causing moisture buildup and SLUGS which I can’t stand.  That is one of the minor/MAJOR facts of gardening I have learned … the plants have to breath and not have moisture buildup .. grounds for disease and nasty bugs.  

Back to the zucchini …… I decided I need to stay ahead of the game so I went searching for a recipe site and found Recipezarr.com and joined.  I found a nice recipe for Zucchini Cookies and baked them up!

Zucchini cookies

Zucchini cookies

The kids said they were Good …….. WOW    That’s a major accomplishment dealing with two teens.  Now all I have to do is show them how they can bake zucchini cookies (especially in the weeks ahead)    right

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As we pulled up to our home in Southern Illinois and glanced across the pond we saw White Birds!  They were wading in the water and several were on land.  Neither of us have ever seen these beautiful birds before and I did my best to capture them on the camera.  They were very observant and once they sensed my movements they all flew up in the trees and finally they flew off as I tried to get closer to them.  They are either Great White Egrets or Snowy Egrets or something else all together!  It was a fantastic sight …

As we entered the garage we were greeted by a friendly little lizard …

Walking around the property we spotted baby birds screaming for food – they were high up in the outside corner of the barn and mother bird was feeding them like crazy!  I know I saw at least 4 of them and by the time we left to return home, it seemed they had all left the nest.  I searched the internet and I want to say the birds are Spotted Flycatchers.  The reason I think this is not only do they resemble the bird, but mother bird was actually bringing the huge horse flies to the babies to eat.  Straight up … she didn’t even eat them first!

 Baby birds

 Mother Spotted Flycatcher

 This black crawfish is only about an inch long, but sure is scary looking and the two tiny peepers next were ALL over the place!

  A hummingbird in action and the last picture is ……. The Bluebird of Happiness !

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