Friday, May 29, 2015

Movie Review --- San Andreas

Yes, I knew it was going to be cheesy before we went.  Yes, I STILL wanted to see it.  Besides, I'm a big Rock fan, so why not?!
If you're old enough to remember the 70s, you are going to be reminded of so many of the disaster flicks back then -- The Towering Inferno, The Poseidon Adventure, Earthquake, etc.  Lots of action, lots of stuff falling everywhere, our cast in danger, narrowly escaping death at every turn.

In fact, it reminded me a lot of one of Stallone's movies, Daylight.

Don't try to make sense of what happens.  For example, the Hoover Dam gets completely demolished. You'd think it would make more news then the family sitting around the next day saying things like, "isn't it terrible what happened."  Cheesy -- I told you.
Lots of the usual film shtick -- girl meets boy in intense event (Speed, anyone?) and "Shazam!" -- big screen kiss.  What?!! Does not make sense.

Also, I'm thinking Ray is gonna be in a bit of trouble for taking off with Los Angeles's rescue helicopter (just when they need it) and wrecking it, stealing a car, then an airplane, then a boat! And they are all just available when he needed them. You get the picture.

They definitely got the special effects going in this movie, though. The undulation of the earth during an earthquake is something to see.  I give it 2.5 stars and if you want to kill some time with popcorn and a cheesy movie, I say go see it.  It gets 4 stars for nostalgia if you happen to be in my age group!

So This Happened ....

During the big storm last night, we lost part of our big cedar tree in the front yard. The winds were very strong and it rained buckets. I woke up to find the tree down on my big, beautiful flower bed.

It twisted and broke off at the base, but John thinks the other side is fragile now, too, since it's split near the base.  We moved the cars away just in case, until he has time to take that side down.
So, out came the tools...
And after lots of lugging branches and logs...(thank God for the tractor and its bucket!)...
... it was gone.  I helped with the lugging, but not too much with those logs.  Heavy! We'll get to the other side another day.  I hate to see this tree gone, it provided lots of shade for us ever since we've lived here.  Sad.
The tall sunflowers were all snapped off and down also, down in the garden.  Other then that, the garden seemed fine.  Whew!

Spring Garden Notes, May 29, 2015

Rain, rain and more rain.  We had a BIG storm last night, but it was clear and sunny today, and the garden needed the sun.

This week the Butter Dish Yellow squash went crazy...I've picked several every day.  They must like the rain.  We've got a little over 5 pounds so far.
The cucumber plants are producing well, even if they look horrible.  Definitely don't like so much moisture.  It's a game of hide and seek, though, and sometimes the cucumber wins.  Like this White Holland -- supposed to be small and white, but this one is going out to the deer.  Hope they like it!
 We picked the one and only head of cauliflower this week -- Green Macereta.  I cut it up and froze it for eating later.  We have so many veggies right now, it's actually a full time job keeping up with all of it!
I also made tomato sauce from all of the tomatoes that have ripened -- this was a mix of all of our tomatoes --- red, yellow, orange and deep maroon.  I had enough for 3 pints.
 The Malabar spinach is growing and about to reach for the fence.
 The cowpeas as also starting to send out vines.
I planted some cheap flower seeds about three years ago in front of my potting shed, a box of mixed seeds from Big Lots.  Of all the flowers that come up that year, this one has set in and stayed.  A daisy of some kind, but its a very vigorous plant.  Pretty, huh?
These are our Texas Vitex trees in front of the house -- it's the most purple PURPLE this year that I've ever seen.  And they are growing like crazy.  John pruned these two pretty severely during the fall, and they must have liked it.  Really putting on a show!  Last year we put another one of these beauties over by the pool deck and I hope it does as well.
 I brought in a few of the sun flowers -- might as well enjoy them while they're here!
 The gourds are starting to wander over onto the gate.  We don't use this gate anymore, so we're going to let them go and see how far they will travel.  These are either luffa or basket gourds -- they've mixed together so much I can't tell which right now.
Here's another little luffa growing high on the fence.
 On another fence I have these bottle gourds -- there are several on there, but this is the largest.
Not sure what's been creating these perfect holes near the Malabar spinach tub.  John thinks its some kind of beetle.
 Nature is so interesting.

Sunday, May 24, 2015

Spring Garden Notes, May 24, 2015

I've picked about 1/2 of the crisphead lettuce.  It's very good, but what a lot of work to clean it, especially after all the rain that we've had lately.
Speaking of rain, we had over 5 inches last night -- it came down like cats and dogs! Whew! Our seasonal creek is running, and the large lake near us, Medina Lake, which was down to almost no water the last few years, has started rising.  It's very good news for our area, for sure.

The garden is another story -- way too much water.  These sunflowers fell over last night during the downpour!
Also several of the tomatillo plant's branches snapped off.  Sigh...  too much water for most of the garden,  it's not had a single day to dry at all.
Tonight I sliced that beautiful Great White tomato -- isn't it beautiful?! And it was very delicious.
 I used about 2 pounds of the Green Husk tomatillos and made canned tomatillo sauce today.  These tomatillo are so pretty and tart -- I hope the sauce is good, but will let it sit a while before testing it.
Then I cut up the jalapenos I've been gathering and made pickled rings.  I had enough for three jars. We eat these things all the time -- in beans, on queso with chips, in hamburgers, and even egg casserole.
 Yes, I use gloves...these things are HOT!
And I froze some of the peaches that have ripened -- I'll probably be doing this every other day or so for a while until they are all put up.  We finished picking them all, a total of 35 pounds and 4.7 ounces.  Last year we only had 4 pounds and 2.2 ounces, so this tree has really paid for itself!!
The two Knock Out rose bushes that we planted behind the water pump building seem to have taken...
 they've put out new shoots.  In a year or two they will entirely cover this side of the building, if all goes well!
 The calla lily plant has bloomed, but it was also knocked over by the rain.  I had to prop it back up.
The Lantana on the other side of the water pump house is looking really good this year.  Such a reliable plant, rain or shine.
The rain is supposed to be back tomorrow. Sigh.

Friday, May 22, 2015

Spring Garden Notes, May 22, 2015

The buckwheat has started to go to seed!  I'm still impressed with this plant -- now we're going to wait for it to start drying a bit more and we'll try our hand at hand-threshing the seeds.  They are still covered with bees.  I can see the benefit of adding some of these around the edges of a vegetable garden to draw those pollinators.

Bed #4 is starting to look great, well...all except for the bare spot there in the front on the left.  That was where the Swiss Chard was, until the rabbits wiped me out...I caught one in there one morning.  Pretty cheeky of him -- right in front of me! The nerve!  Oh well, I still have the chard in the pots and they both are doing fine.
At the back of this row are the winter squashes -- this one is a butternut squash.
And some zucchini -- the Fordhook Zucchini ...
 ...and the round zucchini.
The squash haus is looking pitiful all along the bottom.  I did spray the leaves with a mixture of baking soda and water that was recommended by a member of one of the garden groups I belong to on Google+, but we still continue to get rain and I'm sure its too much for these plants.
Although --- the squashes are still growing!  This is the Kikuzi that I found last week -- it's grown...
and I've found another one coming along!
The first two Tromboncino squash I found last week dried up and withered away...but there are more.  I hope these make it!
I can't recommend these Table Dainty squash enough ... they are so prolific.  More and more keep showing up!

Here's the ancho peppers -- looking good!
I picked a few more beans yesterday morning.  Here's each of the types I grew this year, top to bottom: Harvester, Empress, Jade and Calima.  I'm probably going to stick with Calima from now on.
My first Red Star tomatoes -- a small heirloom cherry.  
The Sleeping Lady tomatoes are so prolific, too.  These start to ripen from the bottom up!
 The Great White has ripened.  We'll be trying this during the weekend sometime.
We also harvested three of the Spaghetti Squash yesterday.  They are turning yellow.  I wish I knew more about this plant -- I hope we picked these at the right time. I'm going to have to google them and try to learn more.
We've been getting plenty of cucumbers -- the Ashley cucumber has gone over the top of the 8 foot support and has gone under the wood cross bar and is coming out the other side!
The dill plant is about 4 foot tall and has seed heads already. 
Our first peach --- it was delicious, by the way!
Yesterday we picked about half of them and they are sitting out to ripen.  We'll probably pick the other half early next week.  This Rio Grande peach tree is a real producer.
We had to cover the second blackberry patch with netting -- the berries were starting to disappear. This is the Chester thornless blackberry.

Here's one of the sunflowers opening up, at least half way...I think this is a Velvet Queen.
 Not much gardening happening this morning,'s raining again.  Sigh....