Friday, August 31, 2012

Rain & Hummingbirds

Finally, we've gotten rain.  Despite the weatherman predicting 100% chance of rain, Robert was sure that somehow it was all going to miss us.  And yesterday afternoon as we watched it raining on the highway, eight hundred feet north of our house, yet felt no rain on us, I was starting to believe him.  Finally at 5:00, we heard the first drops hit our tin roof.  We sat and listened for a while and at 5:30, Robert read my mind when he said "I'm bored".  Apparently it's been so long since we sat, unable to work because of the rain, that we've forgotten how to sit.  With rain all night and through this morning, we are getting some practice.  We got just under three inches of rain through noon today and it started up again a few minutes ago.  And we aren't complaining.

I didn't take any rainy day pictures today but I thought I'd post a few pictures of one of my favorite fall subjects...hummingbirds.  I'm definitely still learning with this camera and the hummers have been a little frustrating.  But with migration in full swing and me diligently filling feeders I expect plenty of opportunity to practice.  I liked something about this picture despite my inability to get a lot closer.  Did I mention that one factor limiting my success in this endeavor is the two year old standing underneath the feeders yelling "BIRD!!" at the top of his lungs?

These little suckers were much easier to photograph when I was travelling solo.  So I pulled a couple of old photos that I like.

As I head to bed, I hope tomorrow brings more rain and more hummingbirds.  

Wednesday, August 29, 2012


Known to most people as spiders, our farm is covered up with large black and yellow garden "byders".

And Milan is obsessed with them.  So I thought I'd relay a conversation that happens 206,489 times a day around here.  

Milan:  "Byder.  Byder.  Byder.  MOM!  Byder.  MOM, BYDER!!!

Me:  "Really?"

Milan:  "Ooo.  There is!  See?  See?"

Me:  "Where?"

Milan:  "RIGHT THERE!" 

Milan:  "Bye, byder."

Sunday, August 26, 2012

Deer, Again.

I'm starting to feel like a broken record when I blog.

It didn't take long yesterday morning to see the pea patch (that I just posted pictures of on Friday) had been invaded overnight.  It appears that we lost about twenty percent of the patch despite the radio being on and several of our vehicles parked around it.

Friday night all of the plants looked like this.

Saturday morning, like this.

Anyone who is starting to wonder why I post so many pictures of Monster Milan lately needs to realize this is the only garden material I have to work with.  I'd much rather spend time looking through pictures like this.

Saturday, August 25, 2012

This Cat

This cat was having a peaceful evening.

Until he ended up on Monster Milan's radar.

And it was determined that he must. have. a. pear.

Lucky for me it appears he seems to have retained a hard learned spring lesson involving not stepping on trays of seedlings.

Friday, August 24, 2012

A Few Late Tries

I think it's possible that some of the worst damage the blister beetles did to us this year was keep me busy enough that I got behind starting seeds in time for some of the fall planting that I wanted to do.  I went ahead and put a few things in the ground anyway...I guess the weather will determine whether or not these plants produce anything.  Right now though, they look pretty good.

The plants I'm most excited about are a bed of Benary Giant Zinnias.  I'm really hoping for a few fall flowers.

A late planting of zephyr squash.

The purple hull peas that Monster Milan likes to play in should be ready to harvest in the next two weeks or so...I'm hoping they hold off until I get back from visiting my sister in Washington otherwise this may turn into a u-pick!

A few rows of green beans in front of this tractor are looking pretty good despite a few critter issues.

And more broccoli seedlings are enjoying the slightly cooler weather we've had in the last two weeks.

I thought yesterday's post looked a little dismal but not all hope is lost, yet.  

Thursday, August 23, 2012

Time Off

While not exactly on vacation, I am taking some time off from the farmers markets.  This is not exactly by choice, but it's where we are for this season.  I thought I'd post a few pictures of why we are not at the markets right now.

The bare dirt in this photo is the north half of our bigger field.  It had all of our early spring plants in it this year....broccoli, snap peas, lettuce, cabbages.  It was supposed to be under a cover crop of buckwheat for the summer.  Unfortunately, that seed was sown on May 21st and we didn't get measurable rain until late July.  That makes is awfully hard for seed to germinate.  As soon as the lower end of the field is clear, this whole field will be limed and put under a cover crop of clover and rye for the winter.  In the background, a handful of cherry tomato plants still stand that were in the two rows of large tomatoes that the blister beetles took out in late-June.  Those plants and that trellising will come out this weekend.

Just south of those tomatoes is where I had three rows of specialty eggplants.  Between the weather, the flea beetles and the black blister beetles, these plants just never looked healthy this year.  Eggplant is usually one of the last vegetables I am still selling in the fall, right up to frost.  I pulled these plants on Monday to get the lower end of this field ready to lime and cover crop.

Moving further south, these are my pathetic looking sweet pepper plants that I stopped watering a couple of weeks ago after becoming discouraged by sunscald, disease and more blister beetles.  They will come out in the next couple of days.  The only thing more pathetic than these plants are the other half of my pepper plants...

that the deer stripped all foliage from the night before this encounter.  

The one row of heirloom tomatoes that made it through the blister beetle blitz and held out through most of the summer came down two days ago.  I had time and it just wasn't producing enough to justify keeping it in.  Trellising will come down soon.

Now that I've shown some of the more dismal aspects of this summer's gardens, I'll try to take some pictures tonight of a few things we've got planted for the fall that still look good.  (fingers crossed)

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

In the Pea Patch

Monster Milan and I were checking on the progress of our last pea patch this afternoon.  He moves much faster than I do.

And much faster than Chacey.

One night last week we actually got a few drops of rain so before going to bed we turned off the radio that we have been using as deer deterrent.  It resulted in a little bit of damage on the west end of each row.

As the flowers start to bloom, standing in the pea patch and later picking peas can be a little bit intimidating for someone who hasn't picked peas before.  For whatever reason, about two dozen (or more) different wasp species are the major pollinators for this plant in our gardens.  From red, to yellow, to blue and black, big and small, in the next week these peas will be covered up in wasps.  I've picked a lot of peas over the last five years though and it's obvious these insects have one intention...pollination.  Which is why Milan has no fear of them and points them out on each flower he sees.

We did find two volunteer watermelon plants hiding in the rows, not sure how I missed them while weeding.  Unfortunately, I'm pretty sure it's too late in the year to have much hope in them producing anything.

Finally, with the sun going down in the background, I just liked this picture.

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

New Shirt

This came in the mail a few day's ago.  Robert thought he was funny.

I guess I asked for it being rather unwilling to pick one row of cherry tomatoes for the last few weeks.

Saturday, August 18, 2012

Today's Encounter

Heading to the coffeepot this afternoon gave me a good view of the deer our sleeping dogs were missing outside.

While Robert's first reaction is to find something that makes a really loud noise, I always head for a camera.  And while these shots taken out our bathroom window aren't great, they got interesting when I got them back to my computer and saw that I caught something I wasn't even looking at.  

We hadn't been watching long before something spooked them and all seven headed back to our woods.

I was actually watching the big doe in the middle crawl under the fence and accidentally caught the buck on the left attempting to go over the seven foot fence.  I didn't realize this until I loaded the pictures on my computer. 

It may not have been pretty but it got him where he was going.

And in the time it has taken me to upload these pictures, they're all back in the vegetable field.

Friday, August 17, 2012

Bucket Jumping

This is a new event added to the summer's 2-year old Olympics.  It's the bucket jump.

We look for height...

a good landing...

and the ability to maintain control of your watermelon.

A good smile never hurts your score either.