Saturday, May 29, 2010

Jan's Secret Hide-Away

My sweet William has built a secret garden for me. It's built under a Sycamore tree in the shadiest part of our yard. He used old wooden pallets to put the fence up and topped it with lattice. The gate is a very old door that was in a barn being torn down to make way for a new highway.

We've moved some plants from around our yard to start the flower bed. Then we bought some Impatiens and Begonias to fill in with color.

Lisa and Sandi gave me a glider that is from the fifties or sixties. We've painted it a pale bluish-green or a pale greenish-blue. Whichever way you see the color is the way it is. LOL The glider will be place to the north side of the Sycamore.

William is going to build a table to sit in front of the glider. There we will let our coffee set while we sit on the glider spending quality time together. I can use the table for my tea when I sit under the Sycamore tree and read.

We don't have the fence painted or stained yet. We will do that so the wood will not decay and my fence fall down.

William covered the ground under the tree with black garden cloth and pea gravel. We are going to use pine straw for mulch around the flowers.

Here's some pictures of the secret garden in progress.

The beginning:


My sweet Hubby working on the fence. It's hot and dirty work!


The fence is coming along:


The gate--an old stall door from a barn close to a hundred years old or maybe more.


The lattice is added to the top of the pallets to make it more private. No one can peek over the fence at me unless they're a giant of course. :)


The pea gravel has been spread in the seating area:


We moved some plants to each side of the fence about a month ago.

East side:


West side:


I added some Begonias today and hope to get the impatiens transplanted tomorrow. There will be more pictures when we get the glider moved in and a little decorating done. Y'all come and sit a spell with me. We'll sip iced tea and talk a while!

Friday, May 28, 2010

From The Vine To The Plate

This morning we were lazy and never ate breakfast. Using "no breakfast" for an excuse I cooked a large lunch.

The yellow squash, zucchini and cucumbers are ready to be eaten. Yep, a large lunch of fresh veggies sounded fine with both William and me. I stewed the yellow squash with some onions and butter and cooked some green beans from the freezer. While I was doing my cooking on the stove, William grilled sliced zukes and small ribeye steaks. I sliced a cucumber to go along with the other goodies.

If the manna that God sent from heaven tasted any better than the first spring veggies do, I really don't know why the Isrelites let any of the manna go to waste. LOL Our lunch was so yummy! I don't mean to be bragging on my cooking.....I'm talking about those fresh veggies!

Go with me while I take the veggies from the vine to the plate:

Zucchini, yellow squash and cucumbers. The first of the season!


Yellow Squash on the vine:


Yellow squash waiting to be sliced and put in the pan.


Onions, yellow squash and a little butter getting stewed up!


These are the first zucchini from our garden. They do grow fast! I looked at them a day or two ago but when I went to look again some were almost to large. I think they will do nicely fried like green tomatoes.


Zucchini ready to go on the grill:


Zucchini and ribeyes grilling: Zucchini are delicious grilled. My new favorite way to cook them.


The first cucumber this spring:


Lunch is ready!


A good lunch it was! It's so good to have the fresh veggies getting ready to feast on. It will be nicer when the green beans are ready to gather and serve with squash, cukes, zukes and okra. Oh and don't forget the 'maters! We eat good and it's all low carb which translates into healthy. O.K. healthy sans the butter. LOL

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Raccoon Anyone?

The baby monitor paid for itself last night...'er early this morning. The chickens kept acting up last night and this morning. William went to check on them, gun in hand. He couldn't see anything to make the chickens squawk and carry on but he did say that they were not in the coop and were acting nervous. About three o'clock a hen let out a squawk that could only mean one thing.....Something had a hold on her.

We both jumped out of bed running for the back door. When we got to the pen the rooster and his ladies were all hugging the door of the pen. With flashlights we searched around the pen and couldn't see anything but then it moved. A raccoon was in the hen house.

William shot it with the shotgun. The thing acted like nothing happened. So William got a pistol and gave it a couple of loads of lead. After the fourth shot that hit the animal it finally succumbed to lead poisoning.

We have wire around the hen house. We have wire across the top of the chicken run. We have six foot wire around the run and a door to the pen made of lattice with wire over the lattice. Still the rascals get into the chickens.

They've about wiped out our flock again. There's three hens left in that pen. Well there were three escaped when William opened the door to get a shot off at the invader and we haven't found her yet. I hate to think about her being a late night snack for another animal. But it could be.

I wish people would take up "Coon Hunting" again. Maybe it would thin out the population a little. William killed nine last fall but we can't tell that it's put a dent in the number of those rascally raccoons. Personally, I'm tired of feeding them the costly meals they're having at our expense.

Any way, it's nice to be able to catch them when they do invade our chicken pens! But I have to tell you that William and I both need a nap! "Coon Hunting" is not our cup of tea! Not when it takes away from our sleeping.

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Rant About Wild Animals And.....

some pictures of the green beans bed and the squash/zucchini bed.

I bought a baby monitor to use for the chicken pens. The monitor is a good one that reaches up to nine hundred feet. We sleep with that monitor sitting by our bed each night. We've determined that we're going to get that sneaky "whatever" that is killing our chickens.

Sunday night I heard a hen squawking but for only a few seconds. There was a lot of static on the monitor at the time. William was going "hunting." He got his gun and started out to the chicken pens. The rain was coming down in sheets. Hence, the static. We decided the hen was squawking because of the loud noise of the rain hitting the tin roof of her house and most likely that's why she was squawking.

But in the larger pen there was an animal busily gnawing through the wire to get to the chickens in that pen. This animal cut a large hole in the wire, got a hen and escaped unscathed. Because of the rain we didn't hear those chickens making any noises. Now we're down to three hens and a rooster in that pen.

We feel that we are raising chickens only to feed the wild animals around here. Traps have been set, the animals go into the traps, get the bait without tripping the door of the trap and then it goes on it;s merry way to come again another night.

There has to be a way to stop this thief from stealing our chickens and our eggs for that matter. Calamity Jan is going to have to set up a stake-out to catch the culprit/culprits. It seems the bandit only comes out when it's raining or storming. While I'm not scared of the dark I am very nervous about sitting on a stake-out with lightening popping all around and me under huge oak trees. This just kinda gives me the "Willies". But something has to be done and William can't sit up all night and work the next day. So that leaves me! GULP!

Now to the garden. The green beans are growing and are wrapping their runners around the stakes William put up for support.

May 8, 2010

May 15, 2010

This picture is of the beans I planted on May 15th. Every bean seed came up or it looks that way.

The squash and zucchini took a growth spurt from one week to the other, also.

Squash/zucchini bed on May 8th.


And on May 15th.

Enough rambling for today. I'm really enjoying watching the garden grow!

Sunday, May 16, 2010

We got a good rain yesterday afternoon. All the vegetables look like they've grown six inches since yesterday.

I walked around looking how much the vines had grown overnight when low and behold I spied a baby cucumber. I went on to check the yellow squash and the zucchini vines. There's some baby yellow squash and some baby zucchini. Upon further investagation I found some tiny tomatoes (Early Girl) about the size of a nickel and a sweet banana pepper almost a half inch long.

Baby Cuke!

Our First Yellow Squash:

Tiny Zucchini. If all the buds on the four zucchini plants make I will have to do as the old joke says: Put a bushel of zucchini on the neighbors doorstep and run.

This tomato will have the honor of being this summer's first fried green tomato. Yummy!


Little Sweet Banana Pepper: And I do mean "little".

Fresh Veggies! They're gonna be here right near soon. It really doesn't seem to have been very long since we planted the seeds. About four weeks I think and the vines are already putting on fruit.

The green beans that I planted last Saturday are up. I think every seed I planted came up. That's a good thing!

The Thai pepper and the Poblano pepper hasn't shown itself yet. I am not having any luck with either of these peppers. It would be nice to have both of them but I really want the Thai pepper. Guess I need to Google it and read about the germination habits of Thai pepper to see if I'm planting it correctly.


The six chicks that hatched are growing like weeds. They're eating like grown ones. I have to fill their feeder two or three times a day. I was hoping that they'd be all pullets but no such luck. I know there's two little "misters". It sure would have been a "good thing" if I'd had five pullets and one rooster in the bunch. That would have been enough young hens for us this year. I will need to do another incubation of at least twelve eggs. I may just wait and get some hens and see if they go broody. Then I will have natural incubators. I will have to check with my buddy to see if he found any bantoms or game hens to use for brooding.

Here's a picture of the baby chicks.


That's it for the babies! I will have to be careful to not watch the little fruits too much. You know the old saying "A watched pot never boils"? If I'm too anxious it will seem like forever before the little baby veggies are ready to harvest. It's going to be tough but I can do it! Yea right. I'll be in that garden first thing in the morning to see how much those little rascals have grown.

Hang around. I'll be back to show you the fruit when it's ready for the pickin'.

Friday, May 14, 2010

A Garden In Boxes

A Garden In Boxes
When William and I first started gardening we had raised beds. After a few years we decided to go to the traditional row garden. With the row gardens our production fell dramatically.

This year we decided to go back to raised beds. William has been busy building the boxes for the raised beds. It's been backing breaking work with him working until dark most days after school and on weekends. Rabbit manure, leaves, composted chicken manure, compost and garden soil have been mixed together to go in the beds.

He has gotten the beds ready and we have them planted. So far the plants are growing and looking very promising. The yellow squash, zucchini, peppers and some of the tomatoes are either blooming or have buds on them.

Saturday, William built a new frame for a tomato bed. In this bed we have Yellow Pear, Jelly Bean, Red Tommy Toe, Marianna's Conflict, Dorothy's Mennonite Big Heart, Dinner Plate and Roma plants. A good variety of different tomatoes. Some of these varieties I've never tried to grow.

Marianna's Conflict has been a good tomato for us. It's a smaller tomato but very good and grows well in this area.The Jelly Bean is a grape tomato. These are the types of tomatoes we like to eat straight from the vine along with the Tommy Toe and the Pear type tomatoes.Personally, I'm looking forward to the Dinner Plate variety ripening. Just the name of this tomato makes my mouth water. I can imagine a thick slice of the juicy, ripe tomato on bread smothered with mayo and topped with basil leaves. Yum!

The bed of zucchini and straight neck yellow squash is looking good. There's a lot of flower buds on all the plants. Yellow squash is one of my favorite summer vegetables. We enjoy the yellow squash sautéed in some vegetable oil with onions and loads of fresh cracked black pepper. I can make a meal on sautéed squash.

The green beans are ready for support. I planted half the bed three weeks ago and then planted the other half this last Saturday. The west end of the bed needed more dirt put in it so it took a few days for William to get that done. My Mom gets a kick out of me calling these beans green beans since they are Louisiana Purple pods. J The pods turn green when they are in hot water.

Below is some pictures of the garden in boxes. I hope it produces as good as it looks.

Tomatoes and Eggplant: This bed has the Early Girl and Better Boy tomatoes and Black Beauty Eggplants.


This bed holds all the different tomatoes from Jelly Bean Grape to Dinner Plate and all in between.


The Yellow Squash and Zucchini.


Cucumbers are in a smaller bed but there's enough for us and some to share. That is if they produce at all.


Half a bed of green beans. The west end of the bed was planted on May 8th and are just now breaking through the soil.


The okra isn't growing very fast but we have had some cool nights and days. It will jump start when the temps get to a steady "HOT".


This will be a tepee of green beans. I'm thinking I may plant some lettuces under the beans once the beans cover the tepee poles. I'm not sure what kinds of beans these are except for Italian flat beans planted around three of the poles.


A bed of peppers. There's Sweet Banana, Jalapeno, Cayenne, and Sweet Bell plants in this bed. I planted two hills of Thai pepper and two hills of Poblanos on May 8th. I'm holding my breath (well not literally) that these seeds germinate. I absolutely love Thai and would love to have the Poblano to stuff. Yummy!


The next picture is a plastic tub William set some "maters" and peppers in. Now do you believe we make do with what we have? :)


To end this picture show is one that I couldn't resist showing. The white rose next to William's goldfish pond.


I hope you enjoyed your garden tour. We're planning to do some more work tomorrow so be on the lookout for more pictures. I love my gardens!