Tuesday, March 21, 2017

Max is growing up!

We got to spend part of Sunday with Max! JR and Ashley are working on their Southtown house, and John got to help them out some while I kept Max amused.  He's such a happy kid == he just lights up when his mom or dad come into view. He's got two teeth now, and he's crawling and pulling himself up to stand all the time.
 Oh, and he's using a sippy cup now!
 Mimi's gonna give you kisses!

 Playing ball with Grumpy!

Spring Break 2017

We had so much fun with KT and Joss for their Spring Break this year -- we got KT for three days, and Joss for two!

Of course, we made homemade play-doh. KT loves to mix things.

On Tuesday, we took both girls fishing at Medina Lake.  I haven't been over there in so many years, it was all new to me, too!  But we had the best time -- the girls both brought their own fishing poles and you could tell they've both fished before. Even Joss knew some of the lingo!

On Wednesday we had visitors -- the Wren girls came to play! All four girls had a blast - they ran all over the Fire Ant Ranch, petted and played with all of the chickens and turkeys, ran with Sydney, climbed on the new jungle gym, painted faces, all four girls got bunnies from the "mailman" and tortured them good, created and painted with chalk paint, and they drove KT's pink car all over the place! I'm sure all four of them slept good that night!

Whew! Mimi and Grumpy were exhausted at the end of the day too!

Sunday, March 19, 2017

Spring Garden Log -- March 19, 2017

A few more things planted this weekend - first I planted a kiddie pool with rice! 

I enjoy trying something new every year, and this is it for 2017....a variety called Carolina Gold. This rice has quite the history. Here's from the website:

Considered the "grandfather" of long-grain rice culture in North America, according to the Carolina Gold Rice Foundation, who supplied our seed. This historic variety is believed to have originated from African and Indonesian sources, and appeared as a distinct variety in Charles Towne, Carolina Colony, by 1685. Carolina Gold really inaugurated commercial rice production in North America. Its long grains having superior texture, and a taste reminiscent of almonds and green tea. Although commercial production declined after the Civil War, this superior variety is known and loved to this day. We're excited to offer a genuine piece of early Americana! 

Seeds laying on the bed, waiting to be covered.

I've read conflicting info about whether it needs to be flooded, but I'm planning to keep it pretty wet. From from I've read, rice can't take arid conditions. 

Also got my potato tower planted yesterday - this year I'm putting a mix of red, white and blue potatoes that I picked up at Tractor Supply. This works well for us, we don't get that many potatoes, but I enjoy what we do get.
 Filled about 3/4 full of soil.  Will add soil as the potatoes grow until it's almost full.

Saturday, March 18, 2017

Spring Garden Log -- March 18, 2017

It was tomato day in the garden! Today we planted out the heirloom tomatoes that were started in the greenhouse.
In the main garden we put 8 plants in Bed #1F at the very end. John had welded a hog panel, adding a few extra feet to bring it up to about 6 foot so that I can use it to trellis the tomato vines when they get started. I like to keep them completely off the ground if possible.  This method has worked well for us in the past. 
First he put in the t-posts and then wired the panel on. Then I planted the tomatoes on both sides, using a part of a bucket as a collar around each plant.  This makes it easy to keep the drip irrigation in place and also to fertilize them throughout the summer. All of these are indeterminate type tomatoes except for the white tomato.
 There are two Dagma's Perfection, a medium orange tomato
 One Darby's Red & Yellow - a medium red/yellow striped tomato
 There's two of the Japanese Black Trifele - a medium pear shaped burgandy tomato
 and one Mikhalych - a large red tomato
 One Carbon - a large black tomato
And finally one Blanch Du Soleil - a creamy white beefsteak tomato - semi-determinate

Then I potted up the left over tomato starts that I had into big buckets in the potted garden. 
First, the Blueberries - black cherry tomatoes
Then another Dagma's Perfection
And finally a Speckled Roman - a red and yellow striped paste tomato

I still have two more little starts that need a home, I just have to find pots for them.
Praying for a good tomato year! Should be plenty for salsa, freezing, canning and eating fresh, if all goes well!

Sunday, March 12, 2017

Chick Update

These gals continue to grow - they've pretty much feathered out and are raring to get out of their little enclosure.  John has fixed up an area for them inside the chicken house so that they have more room - they love it.  

We also put them out in an outside cage yesterday so they could explore green grass.  One managed to get out (of course) but she stuck close and we were able to get her back in fairly easily.  Here's a few pics!

Spring Garden Log -- March 12, 2017

Saturday was a work day in the garden, and I mean WORK! John and I were both out there most of the day -- he was working in the vineyard, and I was working in the vegetable garden. We were both exhausted by the end of the day...a good kind of exhausted!

I planted Bed #1C 

  1. Celery - Utah Tall
  2. Spinach - Regiment
  3. Spinach - Red Kitten
  4. Pak Choy - Extra Dwarf

I know -- I swore I was done with spinach --- but I just can't give it up. I can't seem to grow it. Don't know why....but I keep trying like doing the same thing over and over and expecting a different outcome. Sigh...

Then I planted two different types of sorghum in the field for the chickens. These were kind of interesting - Mennonite Sorghum and White African. There's two short rows of both at the back, and in the front I transplanted the Red Garnet Amaranth, which is another grain if you let it go to seed.
 Then I started cleaning up the Squash House so that we can till around it and add compost. That's going to be a big job -- so many weeds. 

Our big Methley Plum tree has finally started to bloom.  Such beautiful flowers - between this tree and the Tangerine Vine, we have bees buzzing all over the place! Good for the garden.

Friday, March 10, 2017

Spring Garden Log -- March 10, 2017

Spring planting continues - Bed #1.

First, Bed #1A holds the little cabbage starts that have been in the greenhouse.  It's getting too hot in there for them, so they had to go out.

  1. Michihili (Chinese) Cabbage
  2. Drumhead Cabbage
  3. Brunswick Cabbage
  4. Mixed Cabbage (Pinetree Seeds)

Bed #1B is all of the carrots. I planted four different types this year:

  1. Sugar Snax Carrots
  2. Dragon Carrots
  3. St. Valery Carrots
  4. Tendersweet Carrots

More to do in Bed #1 soon, but we've been getting some sprinkles almost every day, so I'm trying to fit it in between raindrops!

Meanwhile, we put in an in-ground compost pipe the other day. This is something I'd read about in various places and wanted to try. Supposedly it feeds the worms that work in the ground to loosen the soil and leave their castings to fertilize the plants. It all starts with a bit of sewer pipe (new of course!)
 The pipe is about 2-1/2 feet long, just mark half way, then drill holes around the bottom half. Leave the bottom open (no cap.)
 I used some kind of drill bit thingy that John had with a round hole driller (can you tell I have no idea what that thing is called?)
 The view when I stood it up after drilling the holes!
 John wanted it green, so I sprayed the top part that was going to be out of the ground.
 Then John attached a handle to the top of a sewer pipe cap that fit the size of pipe we had. I sprayed it green, too.
In the walkway between the carrots and the next bed, John dug a hole (about 1-1/2 foot deep) and we buried the part with all of the holes. Top on! Ready to go.  I've dumped some compost (kitchen scraps) in already, and will continue to do so as I collect it. 

I'm still a bit nervous about putting out my tomatoes, so I've been potting them up into bigger and bigger pots until we can put them out in the garden.  Again, I've gone overboard -- I think I have about 16 plants in various stages.  I can't help myself, I just love all the different types and names.  

This Blueberries tomato I've planted twice, the first try didn't germinate, so I got a different batch of seeds and they finally came up.  These are so late, I'll probably just put them in a big pot in the potted garden for the summer.  I also have a Costoluto Genovese tomato that's real small and will do the same with it.
 This week I also planted out the 10 Mississippi Brown cotton plants that I started in the greenhouse. I put these in my old metal trough planter and another big plastic tub. Still can't believe those seeds were still good - I think they were like 6 years old! And every single seed I planted came up. Amazing. These are destined for fall decorations!
 John's orchard is starting to spring to life.  We'll see how it does this year - I'd love to try some wine.
 The oldest peach tree, the Rio Grande, is covered in peaches.  I think this will be a good year for peaches! Please -- no freezing weather!!!!
 Our tangerine vine has outdone itself this year -- just gorgeous and covered both outside the fence and inside the fence with blooms. 
The beets in Bed #2 are starting to germinate!   
 Another new project this year -- I'm trying my hand at microgreens in the greenhouse. I started one tray on Thursday. This is a mild lettuce mix.  I bought the felt microgreen tray liners to grown them on that fit inside the 1020 trays just right.

 The elderberries are also starting to leaf out!
 And finally, the purple bearded iris are budding -- should be seeing some full blown flowers soon.