Saturday, July 4, 2009

Computer Issues and Happy Independence Day!


I've decided that all the trouble I am having with other browsers is because my computer is likely getting ready to bite the dust. It's memory is about 98% full and is about 7 years old. A child, really, but these children have early aging disease and rarely live beyond the age of 10.

I do not know if this is fixable and I do not have the ability to get a new computer. I will have to find some time to try to figure out what to do about it.

A generous gift from a friend allowed Michael and I to purchase a 7 quart canner that seems to be built for glass stoves. Leah came by again, bless her helpful, generous, and fun heart, and we have been tackling learning to can together.

We made dill pickles and bread and butter pickles, and took care of the large mound of cucumbers that had been tormenting me. I hope they are tasty, if a bit limp.

So I better get down to the garden. I spent most of the day cooking and housecleaning yesterday, but I'm sure veggies are taking over again, and I have baked summer squash cassarole on the menu for today's bash.

Happy Independence Day.

Remember what this country was founded on. Get out the consitution and read it. Make is a family event and tradition.

Go here to download FREE audio recordings, by Max McLean, of several important historical documents. Let is play as you sit together and drink lemonade on yoru porches and BBQ.

This day is not about fireworks. It's about our country. Let's refocus and teach our children and our grandchildren. Before we lose what we were given as a gift.

God bless you all.



Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Double Trouble


( EDIT - Having issues with my two main browsers, so had to go through IE to post pics on last entry. Whew! Took me 1/2 hour. )

I had just decided to put my pictures on manually since the browser coding issue had not been resolved yet, but discovered that I cannot even do it manually.

Here, in my editor, all the html icon links above are working.... except the "Add Image" icon. Is anyone else having this problem?

So I don't know what's up, but I hope the issue is resolved soon. Without pictures my posts are way too wordy.

Yesterday we weeded and tended the herb, strawberry, and flower beds. I ended up with two large bouquets of sunflowers. The June bearing strawberries are laden with green fruits, that the birds are even eating now. We harvested another large basket of basil.

We began gathering branches to make bean teepees, as the corn did not come up sufficiently to do so. We will do more this morning.

Last night, until about 10 pm, we cleaned out the tool shed. It's done but we need to find a place to store all our sports equipment. The year before DH left us, was the year Michael and I focused on his sports. We spent several hours each day doing a variety of sports as part of his school. We had the back of the minivan packed with equipment and just carried it around with us.

However, we've not had time for sports at all any longer, and are hauling all kinds of farm stuff around in the van, since our truck doesn't work. LOL So the sports equipment has been in the tool shed, taking up a good deal of room. We've got to find a place for it all.

I am selling a tennis ball throwing machine that I had found thrown away and had wanted to repair.

Still have a box of cukes, a large basket of summer squash, and the basil from yesterday to process today. And go up on the hill to cut and strip red cedar saplings for bean poles. Perhaps we can get to cleaning out the studio today as well.

I haven't even got to the pool yet.

And this is too wordy. ;)



Tomato Cage Details and Stuff.


( EDIT - Have pics now. Redating this a day later so it's at the top. )

My browser is being a pain, so I'm not able to get photos in right now. I'll have to try again later on.

When we were finishing the cage yesterday I took pictures so anyone who was interested could see how we took on the problem of an out-of-control tomato patch.

Of course, it would have been better to have built this before the tomatoes WERE out of control, but that would mean I was on top of things all the time and, well, that's just not going to happen!

First some drawings I made up that should be helpful.

Sorry, this one arrived sideways and I'm not going to redo it. LOL

The June beetles are OUT!!!!!!!!!!

We took a slight detour to spray for bugs.

Here are the furring strips. A pack of 6 for under 6 dollars.

Drive in T-posts, or something similar, along the perimeter of your tomatoes. Make sure they are only about 6 or 7 feet apart so your boards can reach and overlap.

You can see the posts and the first two courses we put in. You can also see how we threaded the boards THROUGH the branches in some places. Tomatos are so fragile. They ones on the outside can be tied gently back to the strips.

I know for many of you, a lot of these details will be a bit much, but I want those who have never even handled a pair of wire cutters to know what to do as well. Cutting a 4 or 5 foot section of wire off to go do several joints.

Michael, adding another board to the third course. Each one is approximately a foot or so higher.

After affixing the strip to the post, he adds the next strip on to the previous strip.

And tightens it up, then trims the long piece off to take to the next spot and use.

View down one of the T-posts, showing all three courses joined together.

One side is done!

And now both sides are done. It's a bit wavy because we came in after the growth. Next year we are looking forward to putting this in when the plants are first growing. It will be nice and straight then.

From a distance.

Wiring in cross pieces to keep the tomatoes from going sideways. We ran out of furring strips, so we plan on just collecting branches to finish. No sense in spending money we can creatively avoid spending.

Enclosing the ends.... and Michael, wondering what bit him now.

Don't forget to gently and loosely tie up those branches that are sticking outside. We can now walk around the tomatoes and the peppers have some breathing room again. There really was NO room any more and my precious leeks, on the lower side, were trampled. So sad. :(


Leah came by to help and visit again. We were so busy, I forgot to take pictures except for another sad turn of events. Only sad because of my quirky personality, though. LOL

I knew we were not going to be able to eat the grapes from the vineyard this year, due to the very strong antifungal we are using to try and save the grape vines. But as the vines were surviving, better than they'd ever done before, it was a joy to actually see clusters of grapes developing and prospering. I was even thinking of tasting, just a couple here and there, when they were ripe.

But, alas and alack, when we took a walk down to see what massive changes took place over the weekend - because it is ASTOUNDING how quickly things can change in the garden - we found that the black rot had overcome many of the grape clusters, despite all the spraying.

The leaves still looked very good, so I thought we were going to be fine. But it was in the grapes. I do hope I will not have to rip out nearly 100 vines next year and start over, but the fungus may be even down into the root systems. Only time will tell.

We made an executive decision, to just cut off all the grapes, even thought most of them looked fine. It was about two weeks ago we had that VERY rainy week. Black rot spores have about a 2 week incubation period from the time they spore, to the time the damage shows up.

This was one of two garden bags. Hey, we can pretend we are in France and Italy, stomping grapes!

Back in the house, Leah and I perused over wonderful herb and canning books she'd brought along, speaking in glowing terms of our gardening dreams. Then we got to some serious kitchen work, shredding summer squash for drying, pureeing veggies for rollups, and trying out a pickle recipe.

I'll post more about those later. I've got to get to work!



Monday, June 29, 2009

Building Large Cages; Friends at the River.


My dad came over and helped us erect a large tomato cage over the row. In one week of rain and busyness, it had gotten completely out of control. It was nice to have him spend more time with Michael, teaching him things about working and work ethics as well. Not only how to do something, but how to think about what you are doing and do it well.

Yup, I was working too. Here's my shadow, complete with tool belt full of wire cutters, wire, tying ribbon, scissors, etc.

First project was to build a holder for the wire spool, using a bolt and a bucket handle.

Next was building a stand for it, for the times when you are not carrying it, but are just pulling off wire and cutting it.

Then came wiring on the 1 x 2 furring strips. I had purchased three bundles of 6, at .87 cents a board, but will need a third course, so we'll be finishing today.

After church yesterday was a get together at the river. We all brought our own lunches and enjoyed the day. There was catch, ultimate frisbee, swimming, and hanging out in the shade.

We were there early. And used a little grill to cook up two burgers and some foil-wrapped potatoes and onions.

A few of the kids with Michael. They went upriver and floated back down several times. Worked on a rope swing from a tree. Michael, true to his Boy Scout motto, came prepared with rope. Today, he has stone bruises on his feet from the rocks in the river bed.

... and back up the river bank to where the large group kept moving chairs further in to keep up with the shade.

However, the clouds arrived and, at about 5 pm, showers chased us all into our cars to head home.

It was a great day!