How I Spent My Summer Vacation

What summer vacation???

Honey spent his day off on Friday in the office, working to finish up a project that is due on Monday. Deadlines are good, I suppose. He’s been quarantined for a couple weeks and no one was allowed to bother him without permission from his supervisor! FINALLY!

We both spent the 4th working all morning. But as far as a vacation….well, with a cow that will calf in a month….there won’t be one this year. 😦 Unless we figure out how to get him out of quarantine and find someone to watch the animals this month before the calf comes….well….it ain’t happenin.

But today….with that sunrise and 65*F weather, it almost felt like vacation in the North Carolina mountains….except for the car noises.

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This is what I did on my 4th of July.

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I dug potatoes. Almost 5 gallons. They are beautiful! Mmmmm

I was hugely disappointed with the seed potatoes that I bought. I averaged 1 potato per plant!!!! That’s disgusting! I will let you know if the company stands by their satisfaction guarantee. If not, I’ll be sure the publish their name and if so….I’ll be sure to publish their name!

The Yukon Golds at the top are from potatoes I bought at the health food store for a couple bucks! Why I buy seed potatoes….I’ll never know. I’m always disappointed. Make note to self: NEVER BUY SEED POTATOES EVER AGAIN! No matter what they claim!!!

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My sunflowers are huge with squash, melons and pumpkins plants growing underneath.

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It’s the first year I’ve planted the Three Sisters! Corn, Squash and Beans. I planted beans to climb the corn and squash and cucs under the corn to also climb. It’s working.

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We’ve almost eaten all of our brined pickles from last year….all 2 gallons!

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I hung the garlic under the deck to dry. I still need to dig half of them. The elephant garlic turned out great….in fact all the garlic did. I bought these from Territorial Seed Co. I’ll use lots of them in our brined pickles! Mmmm

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I’ll probably cut the cabbage soon and make kraut. Last year I let them go too long and the worms got most of them.

It’s time to start planning my fall/winter garden with several beds emptying. I’ll start some eyes on my potatoes and plant them this month in the pea bed. Then they will be ready by the first frost in mid October.

I hope you had a lovely 4th.

Growing Challenge Update

Currently, it’s boom time. The beans are on big time, when the tomatoes are ripe I’m going to be in big trouble! The tomatillos are exploding. The carrots are sweet and delicious! The lettuce is bolting. The potatoes are almost ready and those I’ve dug and delicious. The melons are growing like gangbusters! And the cuc’s too! The corn is just about ready… mmmmm it looks good! The butter beans are starting to form. The cabbage is ready. The eggplants are flowering. The onions are ready and sweet!

I was up early again this AM….4 AM to be exact. I was out working in the garden by 6 AM, dawn was just breaking. I did some work on the area in front of my gate and pulled some weeds in the garden paths. I’m telling you there are NO weeds in my raised beds. Most of my weed pulling is in the paths. I’ve got some booger weed that has thorns and insists on growing. It’s a pain, if it goes to seed and that’s what happened last year, so I’m dealing with it this year, it’s just a pain. My volunteer zinnia’s are growing everywhere and are so beautiful. I didn’t let the Cleomi grow, because they become giants and again, go to seed. I’ve done my best to keep them out.

My new herb garden in amazing. However, I didn’t know how BIG Borage would get and it’s shading out so many plants that I put around it. I will have to cut it back seriously.

Today my sister Jackie & her daughter Michelle are visiting from CA with my parents. I’ve got some good homegrown food prepared. We’ll be having; grilled soy free chicken with herbs, grassfed burgers, homemade potato salad of course with homegrown potaotes and herbs, fresh carrots and for dessert, fresh homegrown blackberry cobbler! It’s an amazing feeling to eat what you grow. And to eat what grows locally from our personal farmers. Not to even mention the taste! My sis is so looking forward to todays menu!!! Her husband is hoping she’ll bring back a doggie bag for him in CA, but I really doubt it will keep! Actually, I think Jackie would eat it before it made it home!!! Fresh food is so worth it!!!!!

Current To Do List

replant potatoes

replant beets

replant carrots

harvest onions & cure

harvest potatoes & cure

pick-up straw for new potatoes

buy pantyhose for melons!

find more gallon jars for brine pickles

pick blackberries

pick blueberries

make blackberry & blueberry jam

Cut grass. do laundry & hang – Wednesday

My New Growing Challenge~Crows!

My trusty guard owl on the fence.

My growing challenge for this week is those DangBum Crows!!! I’ve been gardening since I was knee high to a grasshopper and I’ve never had crows! I’m not sure if it’s because our property now is grown and there are more places for the to roost???? I don’t know, but I do know they are a pain in my backside.

Poor corn

They have torn havoc on my corn and now they seem to think my little tiny pepper plants are for their pleasure also. If you remember, I started these peppers indoors this winter….my first growing challenge. Then it took forever, but they got in the ground. And, I’m not sure why, but these peppers just aren’t growing much, so they’ve gotten lots of TLC. Then I transplant them to a bigger space so they can reach out to the sun and grow. That’s when the crows came by and pulled a couple out of the soil. No, they didn’t eat them. They left them to die. 😦 They come in and bomb the plastic owl that’s perched there to protect my garden. It’s when I see Mr. Owl knocked over that I know the crows have been back.

I strung string around my little plants to give the crows a visual illusion!

It is working for the corn now….but it’s too late for the corn.

My tiny little pepper.

I finally bought a Jalapeño because I’m afraid when it’s time for Salsa, my little guys would still be growing.

Other than the crows everything else is growing splendidly! I’m very pleased with my little garden! 😀

Ariel view from the top of some cinder blocks.

The spinach is done. I saved one plant to try and salvage seeds. I’ve never done that, so here’s another Growing Challenge.

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Beautiful bag of greens. They have been so good this year! I really love young kale.

Hair cuts for everyone. All the greens got cut off. They keep putting out though.

My last planting (3rd) of pole beans are really doing great. I think it’s the soil, they really are booming and I got the string up not a day too soon. They are grabbing for it and climbing.

My tomatoes are staked well. I have to keep them tied or they’ll take over the entire space.

Almost all my tomatoes are from volunteer seeds, only three were purchased from Cooks Garden.

Full beds means NO weeds!

My newest herb garden. The sage I started from seed are doing great as well as the borage.

The little fence is to keep the “Toto” dog Lady out. Even though she still manages to get in!

I tried casting lots of herb seeds on the soil this year. Not much produced though. I did get lovely Ca Poppies and I think these are Echinacea Purpurea. Does anyone know? I’ve had to wait on the weeds to grow, because I can identify them by site….but not herb seedlings.

My potatoes are really doing swell! They are big and I haven’t had a one potato bug!

Now lets pray there are potatoes under that ground!!! 😀

My Growing Challenge

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I can’t believe I haven’t blogged for so long about The Growing Challenge. I guess with R&R, I plum ran out of time. Today as I was mowing our 5 acres, which if I can brag a bit, I made record time on my John Deere~48″ mower; 3.5 hrs. That’s some serious circles! 🙂 As I ran past the garden while mowing I stuck my neck out for a look….it’s been so rainy here, that I haven’t been out. Boy things are growing and the joy with raised beds is there’s practically NO weeding….did you get that, NO WEEDING!!!! BUT those dangbum crows have plucked out most of my corn that was up and they’re picking in the soil for my seed. How on earth do they know what’s planted there?????? Stupid crows. I’ve got the BB Gun loaded, cocked and ready to shot!!! 😉

This is my first yr growing onions and leeks and they are looking lovely.

My little Jalapeño.

Dag…my tatters are looking great.

Man!

My pole beans are growing up the twine nicely.

Cabbage looking good.

Beautiful Greens and Lettuce that we are totally enjoying!

Here is a new bed that we bought top soil for $30 yd and it is as hard as a rock. I tried to add compost to it, but it just can’t be worked. The other beds we got top soil for $12 yd and it was great. Honey’s taking this out and going to get some cheap stuff. Boy, they get ya coming and going.

Here’s another growing challenge. I’ve never grown CA Poppies from seed and they look really great!

The real challenge for me this yr was starting seeds indoors and it went very well. Just about everything survived. EXCEPT those beautiful Sweet Potatoes…..they just couldn’t handle it here in my garden. I don’t think I’ll try again. We don’t really have the soil for it and it was too much trouble. It was fun growing them in the jars and finding out what a slip was, other than the one I’m wearing! 😉

This is my Cherry Tomato that I started by seed.

This is the same seed as a volunteer. Does anyone know why it’s leaves look different?

My tomatoes that I started indoors is doing splendid. Compared to the ones that are volunteers they are prettier. The Tomatios are looking good too. The Jalepeno are a little small still. All the peppers that I started indoors are very small. I’m not sure why, but I’m hoping they don’t take the same route as the Sweet Potatoes!

I do love this time of year and I’m so glad to be well. Praise the One and only One who is able to heal. Jesus! He has brought me out of the pit of destruction and set my feet on a rock and put a new song in my mouth a hymn of praise to my God, many will see and fear and put their trust in Him! Jesus is God, and He is healing me.

Look who came home to shoot him some crows!!! 😉 Crow Pie!

Happy St Patties Day!

Today is a celebration for most Irish….of which I am not. I have absolutely not one drop of Irish in me. But my husbands family of Porters goes back way far.  Early records mention William Le Porter in 1190.  Adam Le Porter in 1202 and Robert Le Porter in 1273.  The earliest immigrants from England to America was Peter Porter in 1622.  Our Porter clan was traced back 5 generations (maths not a strong pt) to Ireland when Joseph Porter was born in 1765 in Ireland. That’s as far back in the genealogy as we have it. So that would explain a lot when it comes to the Porters and their “strong wills”. I’m Scottish, English and then we threw in Hungarian. My husband is German, English, and Irish. I’d say my kids have a strong line of some pretty strong willed Ancestry! Our families have fought in the American Revolution, Civil War, WWII and the Korean War. We have blood that rocks of RED, WHITE AND BLUE. We are true patriots.   I digress so easily…..since today is St Patties Day, I will celebrate not by dying the Chesapeake green (it’s already green) but by planting POTATOES and fulfilling the Growing Challenge. My friends that’s what this day is all about; Potatoes. We love them; mashed, fried, scalloped, you name it we love potatoes. I will celebrate by planting 24 hills today; Purple Majesty, Yukon Gold, and Russet. Sounds like a grand day with temps in the 50’s and lots of sun. It’s so bright in here I think I’ll put on my shades. 8)