Tuesday, July 31, 2007

Butterfly Weed

PS: I had run across a pod of Asclepias tuberosa aka butterfly weed this morning, left over from last year. As we were in the process of mulching our new cranberry beans, I took garden rake in hand and prepared a little space next to my little herbs and planted these seed. I covered them with soil lightly, watered them, and mulched with pine straw. I will see in a few days if they will sprout in this hot weather. I wouldn't expect them to weather the winter outside because they will not have time to develop a strong root system. But, this is just a trial.

Running Okra

This is our "running okra." We have seen the other names, but we just take the easy way out. It can be fried in the old fashioned Southern way, just like the regular okra. It is very tasty that way, but we haven't tried any other way. It should not get much larger than these shown, or they go to seed. Someone gave us the seed to get started, and we save seed every year.

It does look like luffa gourds. It makes a long vegetable and makes a very long vine which is just loaded with yellow blossoms all the time. The vine has to be well supported, and if not, just takes off in space.

What To Do..........

What to do, what to do: (http://doubledeckerbuses.org/blog/index.php/2006/07/09/and_now_some_poetry)

We were in such a quandry this morning trying to figure out what to do with our newly sprouting cranberry beans. The little poem came to mind. My children and grandchildren have found it so amusing!

I digress. We had just planted our cranberry beans last Saturday. This morning, J mentioned that we need to watch them because we had put newspaper over the rows and wouldn't want them to need attention and fail because we didn't notice. So, on my way to the compost pile with an accumulation of veggie scraps, I went by the garden and peeked under the newspaper bonnets. To my surprise, there were the little "crooks" peeking through the moist dirt. The newspaper had done its work.

We pondered whether to (1) leave the paper on but keep it moist, (2) remove the paper but mulch with pine straw, of which we have an abundance, or (3) leave everything off. We, or he, decided on #2. We think the young sprouts need air and sunlight but do need to be sheltered a bit longer. So, that is accomplished.

Wow, it didn't take long for them to sprout. I did soak the seed an hour before I planted them and kept the soil damp. I think the heat also helped. When we planted in the spring, the ground had not fully warmed up and it took a week or longer for the seed to sprout.

Sunday, July 29, 2007

Weekend Duties

Thursday morning I decided to pick cranberry beans. We had noticed several new blooms after the last rain. We were seeing lots of green beans but they were not filled out. I recalled seeing somewhere that they are delicious at that stage if you don't mind forsaking the mature beans. Anyway, since we are wanting to try a fall crop, I decided to harvest the whole shebang, just pulling the vines out by the roots and picking off all the beans, much like harvesting peanuts. The vines were put aside for hubby to put in the compost heap. The mature beans were shelled and the others prepped, and the yield was surprising. I wasn't sure I could get all them in pints, so I just canned them in quarts, which yielded 4 full quarts with some left over for lunch, which was delicious, by the way. The jars with the intermingled green beans were so pretty! They will be for special occasions with family.

Friday, hubby rototilled and prepared two short rows. It wasn't too hard to do since the ground had remained friable from the previous crop. We made a trip to Wal-Mart to purchase a bag of cranberry beans. We don't bother to spend unnecessary money on seeds from a company; we just plant what nature provides and have excellent results. So, bright and early Saturday morning, after soaking the beans for about an hour to speed up their process, we planted two rows of beans, watered them in the little trenches, covered them and then mulched on top with newspapers we had saved, which funny enough equaled the exact amount we needed. After all this, we have had a nice rain! Anyway, we are so eager to see if we have had any luck getting them to sprout, with all this hot weather.

The remainder of the beans were soaked a good bit longer and canned, yielding 7 pints. This is for convenience and well worth the effort. Pretty good yield for just over $1.50 for the package.

We have been watching the Christmas butterbeans carefully, not wanting to let any get too mature while we wait. My husband actually picked a double handful this morning and shelled them, which we had for lunch along with the running okra (which I'll show another time) tomato and banana pepper, all from our garden.

This slow rain today couldn't have come at a better time. So much better for the veggies, and the work is all done. Tomorrow I guess is canning day for some tomatoes.

Friday, July 27, 2007


Busy as the proverbial one-armed paperhanger, not only with staying caught up with ripening veggies, but this weekend I am helping a friend with her medical transcription as she is getting her daughter settled back in college. This happens to be for an orthopedic/sports medicine clinic, and I enjoy it and have really learned lots from these very nice and capable orthopedic surgeons.

The brainstorm I had, though, that obviously as I am a very new blogger and don't have anyone with enough time on hand to humor my many questions, I ran by Books-A-Million this morning, looking for a book on web page and blog help, and the only one I saw at the moment was the Complete Idiot's Guide, which in my case might be appropriate. I really need not only instructions but examples. So, this weekend I expect to become a Complete Expert. We shall see.

Last but not least, I am the recipient of many eggplants. We really enjoy eggplant, but this is ridiculous. I am looking up recipes for eggplant parmesan and have found an interesting one which I hope is okay to freeze. I shall soon see. I would really hate for these beautiful things to go stale. We plan to plant eggplant next year--one of my husband's favorite things. I may just end up freezing these until I can find/make the recipes.

Wednesday, July 25, 2007

"Putting Food Out Front"

This is an interesting article from the Tupelo Daily Journal regarding renewed interest in gardening: djournal.com


I am so far behind—where do I start! Over a week ago, I got the granddaddy of rhinitis/bronchitis (summer colds). I have been struggling with getting better and keeping up with my ripening veggies. I guess I would can beans and tomatoes one day and rest the next. Much better today.

However, today I just didn’t want to deal with more of the same, so I called a friend, actually my daughter’s MIL, and offered her a bunch of fresh veggies. She was very pleased to accept. They have been boxed attractively and I’m awaiting my daughter who will transport them.

I have some ideas I want to research from fellow bloggers, but I need to get those sorted out—as the saying goes, first things first and not necessarily in that order.

Whew! At least I have a start….

Saturday, July 14, 2007

Beans, Beans, More Beans

Just when I had despaired of having enough green beans to can more than a half-dozen pints, here comes the 0.75" rain and scads of beans. I'm not sure how to gauge the yield on this one picking from a very short row, but I'll estimate 7 quarts by the time I get them prepped and the rest of them picked. This is from the previous post where I was so ecstatic over the much needed rain.

Also, these are just a few of the very nice tomatoes that ripened all at once. I see a Roma or two on the tray, and I think Arkansas Travelers. It wasn't too bright of me to cover up the tags so I couldn't see the names, but when I remove the cages later, I will get the names and make a note of whether I want to grow them again next year. The Arkansas Traveler is a pink, low-acid tomato and very delicious; however, it is prone to blight.

So this weekend I will be canning beans. We will be so glad to have them this winter. We will continue to enjoy them fresh as long as they last.

Better run and get started on these veggies! What a joy!

Tuesday, July 10, 2007

What A Good Rain Will Do!

This is the late planting of our snake beans loving their 7' trellis my co-gardener built. For posts, he used landscape timbers he found on closeout at Wal-Mart and bought about 18 of them @ 99 cents. The wire is the wire used for concrete foundations. It does rust, but it appears to be very sturdy. We have done trellises for beans, but also built several cages for other climbey things such as cucumbers. They have been wonderful supports for our tomato plants.
Anyway, for a good view of the many new blooms and new beans, click on the image and scroll, of course. This row is not very long, but it promises to produce all I can handle.
Later, I will share views of other veggies; nothing exotic, but proof that we are surviving the hot, dry weather. We did have a wonderful rain today, and that does such wonders for everything, most especially the grass............

Sunday, July 8, 2007

This Is The Day............

One day post 07/07/07: July has started off hot and dry—nothing new except that we haven’t been getting as much rainfall as usual, which has kept us in a drought. However, as long as we can pay our water bill, our garden has survived and is doing fine so far.

We are now getting ripe tomatoes. They are so good, but so far not enough to can. We just want to enjoy them in their natural state until we are sated with that, or at least me. Husband doesn’t particularly crave them but does enjoy a moderate portion. Ahem. We have several plants of the tommytoes or cherry tomatoes variety, and if they ever start ripening, I plan to can them for juice.

I have actually canned a few quarts/pints of green beans, even though we were disappointed in the yield so far. Also, I have canned a few pints of the cranberry/October beans. They are so good. They are about spent, and I do plan to plant a fall crop around the first of August. This is all just a trial, but it has been fun.

Oh, and the cucumbers…I planted a pack of cucumber seeds, knowing better. We built cages to go around the hills, and they love that. They are in full bloom and I see several baby cukes. They have to be watched daily, because like squash, they can mature overnight, seemingly. I do plan to make a batch of pickles/relish, and when I am done with that, I plan to have mercy on the plants and pull them up. I hate having scads of good stuff that can’t be given away. First, though, I would poll the neighbors to see if they or anyone they know would like to have the excess.

On my early morning tour of the yard/garden, watering my roses and cleome, etc., everything looks so pretty and peaceful. That is before the noise of traffic, etc., has taken over. I know how okra and squash will do if you turn your back—it will become too large overnight if you don’t watch it, so I make my tour this morning, turning the lush squash leaves so as to not miss something just ready. Sure enough, there are yellow and zucchini ready to pick. Naturally, I didn’t bring a container to hold them, so that’s where my shirt-tail comes in handy. (I had picked everything yesterday or so I thought, so I didn't expect to find anything more.) I so need to make a granny apron just for that purpose. I remember my grandmother using her customary, ever ready apron as a catchall when she was outside and came upon something that needed to be picked right then. Aprons can serve different functions, but that one I could use, although it might look funny over jeans!

The okra is coming along, and I had picked that yesterday. That will be a part of our feast today. But when I was walking along looking at the row of snake beans we had planted to supplement our earlier beans (which didn’t handle the hot weather well), I was SO surprised to find some ready snake beans that somehow I had missed on my daily inspections. That was fun, but since this crop is coming along nicely with lots of blooms and already many baby beans, I will have to watch that carefully. I do expect to can beans off this row. It is pretty on the trellis of the large gauge concrete reinforcing wire installed by my co-gardener husband on landscape timber found on closeout at Wal-Mart. I will have to get a picture of that and post it. He is my official photographer, so maybe we can get that done soon. Those beans are fun in that they go to the top of their trellis and then take off in space.

We watered the garden early, enjoying the beauty of Terrapin Hollow, so now back to prepare for Sunday School and following services.

This is the day that the Lord hath made; let us rejoice and be glad in it.............. Psalm 118

Tuesday, July 3, 2007

Significant Holiday

As a child on the farm, "the 4th" was not much different from the other summer days except that as a treat sometimes we kids got to help pick blackberries instead of continuing field work. That is how I remember when they are in season. I also remember the "chiggers" we got from heedlessly wading through the weeds and brambles to get to the juicy berries. It was worth it, because a bucket of berries would yield the most delicious cobblers, jams and jellies. I am afraid I took that for granted, though, because it was always there for us to enjoy. Sometimes, though, if there were field chores to finish, we would do that before we could celebrate.

In the country, the only fireworks were the firecrackers someone might pick up. We didn't have the huge public celebrations we have nowaways; at least, we didn't know if there was. I remember on very special occasions on the 4th, my mother would make homemade ice cream. This was made from the whole milk and cream she had saved from the milk from our dairy cows, using eggs from the hens from our flock. This was in the days before we had ever heard of cholesterol. My dad had arranged for the Ice Man to deliver a huge block of ice. This was kept in a cabinet for that purpose, the only refrigerator we knew until I was about 10 years old when we got electricity in the county where I lived. Daddy would chip off enough chunks of ice to make the ice cream. I think that was his job to turn the crank, and sometimes he would let us kids take a turn at that, until it became too difficult to turn. That was the signal that it was ready. But, to our disappointment, we had to wait until the ice cream mellowed, packed in ice and salt for another hour or so. We managed to sneak a chunk of ice to suck on, not paying attention to how freezing-cold it was because of the salt. As we had no air conditioning except the breezes under the shade trees, just a simple chip of ice was such a treat.

Sometimes Daddy would pour a few spoonsfulls of grape wine he had made, over our bowls of ice cream. That was an unbelievable taste. It never occurred to us that that was "alcohol," because it was never used for sipping in our presence, or left to our sampling. After the day of celebrating with special food, the next day brought the regular routine of the farm life, but it formed the memories that are still so special today.

Tomorrow, we will be attending a family get-together where a lot of the same kinds of foods will be available, including homemade ice cream, watermelon, all the good country food. I am sure we will be remembering the good times but mindful that any time family can be together is something special.

Another reason these days are special is that the 3rd marks the 25th wedding anniversary for our daughter and son-in-law. She was just out of college and eager to get on with her life. Planning a daughter's wedding was a new experience for me, but it must have been okay because they have reached that milestone and looking to the next. They have a lovely daughter to help them celebrate. Their next adventure will be a job relocation which will be taking them to Florida. We have advised them to make sure they have a big house, as besides us, they have brothers and sisters who just might find an excuse to travel to Florida.

Anyway, Happy 25th, L & R. Many happy returns of the day!