I wonder if they're ever tempted to leave their initials? Or make a really crunchy mud pie?
That just happens to be what Peter looks like a bunch of the time - the guy actually takes more pictures than I do!
Poor Peter's turning 40 today, and he's all cheery about it. He seems to think it won't slow him down. He already lets out the occasional grumble about something hurting or aching... Peter? I got bad news for ya, buddy. It doesn't get any easier, especially considering all you put your body through! ;-)
But that doesn't mean it can't still be fun! And that's how I hope today is for you - fun fun fun!! I hope you have a great birthday - you deserve it! And I'm sure Conrad's guaranteeing you have a great 40th birthday...
Granted, dad's yard/garden has had many more years of development/improvement - their grass is greener, their soil is of better quality, he's been amending all his garden space for years now. So he's much farther ahead of me.
Image by jephremley via FlickrMy raspberry canes look lush - they're tall with lots of leafy growth. But those leaves could maybe be a bit greener, and they're chewed up by Japanese beetles, and I'm really not seeing many raspberries on them yet. I have two varieties - Anne, which is a large pale golden raspberry, and Heritage (the same variety my dad grows) which are a more standard, smaller red variety. My Anne raspberries have already been producing for a couple weeks now, but I only ever find 2-3 raspberries at any one time that are ripe and ready to eat. I've seen a few red Heritage raspberries here and there, but the Japanese beetles really seem attracted to them.
Oh, and then there's all the rain we're getting right now - that's actually causing a lot of the raspberries to mold before they're even fully grown. Trust me - moldy raspberries are pretty gross.
Image by jephremley via FlickrHopefully things will dry out for a little bit and perhaps my plants will start budding out more and forming more fruit. Oooor, maybe because I just planted them last year, they're just not going to do much this year. We'll have to wait and see!
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Image by jephremley via FlickrCheck it out - we've got taters!
So while we were back at my folks last Thanksgiving or Christmas, my mom had picked up a small bag of mixed-color fingerling potatoes, and I told her she should consider having dad plant some in their garden. I know dad doesn't normally grow potatoes, and I realize it's normally cheaper and more efficient to just buy them at the store, but thought it could be fun.
Instead she sent the potatoes home with me for my garden. Now sure, I'd gone through the same thing last summer where, after digging up whatever potatoes I've planted, I swore off ever planting them again. They take up a lot of space over a long period of time, and then you really don't get THAT many. So I wasn't going to grow potatoes again this year! (Plus there were the additional complications with potatoes being additional vectors for the late blight that killed off all my tomatoes last summer!).
And yet here I had these cute little red, blue and yellow fingerling potatoes - how could I refuse?
So this spring when I was out there tucking in other plants, I made space for the potatoes that I'd intentionally sprouted by leaving out in the sunshine...and then Tucker took an instant liking to the trenches where I'd just planted the taters.
Image by jephremley via FlickrSo this past week, just before the rainstorms hit, I'd decided the potatoes had been there long enough. I'd seen signs of blooms on the plants (which can be an indicator that they're ready to be dug up) - I didn't let them get to the point where the plants were actually dying back (that's DEFINITELY a sign they're ready!), but I wanted to free up the space for other stuff, and to also open up the airflow since the rest of the bed was the eggplants and okra I really wanted to coddle.
There were a number of really odd things about these potatoes. When you buy the bag of mixed colors, they're all basically the same size. But since they're three different varieties, they also had some very different traits.
The blue potatoes really didn't produce very many potatoes per plant, nor did they get very big - they were still tiny little things. They were your more traditional potato shape - just small. (I've grown Russian fingerlings before that are much longer/narrower - definitely fingerlings...)
The red potatoes, on the other hand, had gotten quite bit - a couple were getting close to the size of a baking potato! They have an odd shape as well - instead of being super plump and round, many of them have slightly more scalloped contours, where they have parts that stick out a little more (perhaps where the eyes are?) and then they cave in a bit between the eyes.
Image by jephremley via FlickrAnd the yellow ones? WEEEEEIRD! Check out the pictures to see what I mean. It's like each potato had little side potatoes growing off've it...and those had rosey-colored tips on them. It's almost like they're growing wings or nipples or something. Bizarre. Of the three varieties, and if you pretend there aren't any "potato nipples" involved, these were the most fingerling-like...
And how to they taste? Well, I probably only dug up 2-3 pounds of potatoes at most (and that's ALL the potatoes I grew), but they're sure tasty. I roasted them, along with other veggies fresh from the garden, with a Chicken Thistle Farm chicken the other night, and booooy were they good! I'll cover more on that later (even though I didn't take any pictures of the meal - I wish I would've!).
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Image by jephremley via FlickrWe've had so much rain the last few days that the pond behind our yard is at an all-time high! At least we've never seen it this full the whole time we've lived here...and we've seen it get pretty high! We're wondering if perhaps the drainage system is clogged up, and so I'll wait and see how it is tomorrow and if there's no sign of drainage, I'll probably start checking to see who needs to be called about getting it un-clogged.
This first picture here, if you look real close, shows the white pipes that run under the yard from the gutters on the house (those I haven't hijacked for rain barrels). While I was out in the garden I could hear a very slight trickle of water - even though it's not still raining, there's still some seepage going on. It's just that the pond isn't usually up so close to the drainage pipes that they flow right out into the water...
Image by jephremley via FlickrThis isn't a natural pond - it's a pond that was dug out to handle drainage in the neighbor (so, yes, it makes you wonder about the quality of the water, what with all the lawn chemical run off, etc...). Normally it seems to remain at a fairly constant depth, but on rare occasion after heavy storms it's filled up extra, and then slowly drains off over the next few days. There's an outflow system at the back of the ponds that drains off to...well, I don't know where. A sewer system? A stream? I don't know. But with all the flooding around here lately, the outflow's either clogged, or not keeping up.
Image via WikipediaThe cucumbers have all died off thanks to the cucumber beetles. The few vines that are left are withering and probably won't have the cucumbers fully develop. I finally hit the plants with Sevin, which will hopefully kill off the cucumber beetles that are still dancing around on the plants. I have new plants I've started from seed, and just put those in the ground the other day...so hopefully with this heat and humidity the plants will start to take off and grow and we'll get another round of cukes before long!?
Image by detsugu via FlickrThe eggplants are doing great! So are the okra. I have to say I've never ever had as much success with these two plants as I have this year - and I attribute that to growing them in raised beds. Two years ago I tucked some eggplant plants into some spare space in the raised bed and they did really well. Last year I put eggplants into the in-ground bed, and they were swallowed up by weeds and the soil was too heavy and they didn't do well. This year? The tallest they've ever been! And I interplanted okra with them, and aside from the leaves being nibbled up by Japanese beetles, the okra plants are tall and pretty healthy looking (although a bit leggy - thanks to the smothering eggplants!).
Image via WikipediaThe peppers are also doing really well. I grow about as many hot peppers as I do sweet peppers, but with sweet peppers you often want to leave them on the plant to ripen up - so you get the cool colors and sweet flavors (otherwise they're just green peppers). It seems like the hot peppers produce more fruit faster than the sweet ones do - so the CSA shares this year will definitely be getting more hot peppers than sweet from me. That's ok - Mary can cover more of the sweet peppers in the shares.
The zucchini and summer squash have also been doing fairly well, but I'm worried that the squash bugs and cucumber beetles have caused them to suffer some (I'm constantly picking off squash bug eggs - and who knows what all I've missed?!), plus I tend to overcrowd the plants, which isn't helping them.
Image via WikipediaI wish I could say the tomatoes are doing great. Tomatoes are one of the big things we all look forward to in our gardens, and after last year's hit of late blight, the hope was that this year would make up for all of last year's losses. Instead my tomatoes aren't doing great this year either. No late blight, but they're just not producing many flowers or fruit. Sure, I have a problem with purple nutsedge (a weed) - and while I had it under control early on, it's really starting to take over in the garden. But I'm not sure that that's the only issue. The plants just don't seem to want to bloom very much. I need to do a soil sample test to see if maybe the soil composition is off....I forget if it's potassium or phosphorus, but one of those two influences the blooming in plants, and perhaps my levels are low in the one the plants need?
Hm, so the new Blogger features, combined with the Zemanta plug in, are really kinda cool! Note that none of the pictures above are from my own collection - they're just recommended pictures Zemanta pulled from that I chose to include. I wonder how things will look in the final layout (which, you've probably noticed by now, has drastically changed - we're quite pink at the moment I'm typing this!).
Boy all this talk about veggies and food is making me hungry! I think it's time for a late lunch!
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Hard to tell if that'll disperse, or build up, by the time it gets here... And then on top of that there's the heat:
A HEAT ADVISORY REMAINS IN EFFECT UNTIL 8 PM EDT THIS EVENING.
TEMPERATURES THIS AFTERNOON WILL REACH THE LOWER 90S ACROSS MUCH OF NORTHERN OHIO. THIS COMBINED WITH HIGH DEW POINTS IN THE LOWER TO MID 70S WILL CAUSE THE HEAT INDEX READINGS TO RANGE FROM AROUND 100 TO 103.
How's that look? Seriously - this is going to be a good day to just stay in doors with the AC on I think. OR go out somewhere and do indoorsy things... Stay indoors folks - it's gonna be hot and steamy out there today.
We need someone to pull off something like this for our library!
(UNFORTUNATELY the embedded video options are too wide for the format of this blog, so make sure you click on the video and go to to the YouTube display to get the full width display of it - you don't want to miss out on anything!)
Even though I baked these the night before they arrived, they seemed to appreciate them whether or not they were "fresh from the oven"! And they were extra good when topped with cream cheese frosting!
On the top we have a BBQ chicken pizza. I marinated chicken breasts in BBQ sauce overnight, then grilled and chopped 'em up. I lightly grilled some homemade pizza dough, then drizzled on BBQ sauce, and piled on the chopped up chicken with corn cut fresh from the cob, purple onions, scallions, torn up provolone and cheddar cheeses (just from deli slices), and a little bit more BBQ sauce, then tossed it back on the grill to get hot and melty!
And on the bottom we have a more traditional pizza - again the dough was pre-grilled, and then I put on torn up fresh mozzarella, sliced plum tomatoes my brother brought from his garden, torn up basil leaves from the pots out on the deck, a drizzle of olive oil and just a light pinch of pepper.
"The favorite" depends on who you asked - Brett looooved the BBQ chicken pizza, Jesse looooooved the pizza marguerite, and Sean? Well, I think he ate a fair amount of each!
Whether or not a parent's at the nest feeding them, they're getting to the point where they're making A LOT of noise for a good chunk of the afternoon. I've no idea what they're talking about, but they certainly have a lot to say!
We JUST saw this guy (Andrew Garfield) in The Imaginarium of Dr Parnassus a couple weeks ago actually - and had no idea he was being considered to play Spidey at the time. I'd have to recommend The Imaginarium of Dr Parnassus actually - I'm not normally a fan of Terry Gilliam movies, but it was really good, and dealt with the death of Heath Ledger during filming REALLY well!
Now - the new Spidey movie's coming out in 2012 - let's hope it's a good one! Hard to believe they're rebooting the whole thing already. Oh well - it worked well for the Bat-movies...
...what critters I'm dealing with...
...and what I'm harvesting for the CSA customers! Yum!