Friday, May 14, 2021

TRASH TO TREASURE THAT WE IGNORED

  Regular readers know that I have a favorite place to look for bargains...our downstairs trash area!  Our building has trash chutes on every floor and they feed into a separate room, but for boxes and other things that people can't put in the chute, there is an area (indoor) near the loading dock where people can put the things they don't want.  I've found quite a few cool items over the last few years.

THIS however, is NOT one of the latest:

I went downstairs recently and saw this thing sitting there. Side note, this is how things are often left when I pick them up. This is one that I saw the sign and went "oh wow, cool!" (big and free!). But then I stepped back, looked at it again and went, "WHAT IS IT?"

We still have no idea.  I even had 2nd Man come down and look at it and we couldn't figure out a use for it, whatever it was.  It was obviously handmade, or maybe custom made (welded together) and was very heavy made up of various large pieces of metal.  The top curved piece rotated, almost like a globe would do.  We were kind of thinking maybe something laid in there, like a piece of art or an artifact like a sword or something similar?  It was probably expensive originally.  

We DO pass on things, ha, I just never take pictures of them.  This one tough, we thought you'd enjoy.

So what do you think it was?  It was gone later that evening so SOMEONE found a use for it.


Wednesday, May 12, 2021

ORCHARD UPDATE BABY FRUIT

After the garden and veggie update, here is another part of what I did plus some baby fruits.  Alas, no baby ducks in these pictures, ha.

I got the cherry bushes planted.  For those who may have missed the post about them, you can read about it HERE.  They are Nanking cherries and while not a cherry tree, they are in the cherry family and produce a bush type of cherry that grows in drought, heat AND hard freezes.  Perfect for our crazy climate!

Nanking cherry

We had two planting rings ready to go with the right soil and I planted them.  This one has grown into a "V shape" we're fine with that.  Just planted it and mulched it.  One down one to go.

Nanking cherry bush

This is the second one, it's more of just a straight single stem, we'll see how it develops over time.  It was a bit windy and we were a bit worried but we're willing to let them grow and be strong.

Blueberries

We have four blueberry plants and they all have at least a few berries on them.  We'll have to get some bird netting over them soon.

Mystery fruit

They mystery fruits continue to grow.  There are four on there.  I hope to let them at least grow enough for me to sacrifice one for educational purposes (ha!) to see what it looks/smells/tastes like on the inside.  Then maybe the identity will be revealed.

Anna apple

And look at this!

One of about half a dozen apples on the Anna apple tree.  We're excited about that.  I did harshly prune it recently (more on that in an upcoming post) so it could be that.  Or that PLUS the record breaking cold freeze we had.  Either way, we're happy to have them.  Last year the three we got were eaten during the "Great Goat Attack", ha.  So we didn't get any.  Hoping this is the start of many years of ever increasing harvests!

Monday, May 10, 2021

BABY VEGGIES AND BABY DUCKS

 It was a good day Saturday.  I got the garden set up for automated watering.  And look, we have veggies coming in.  The plants all look healthy too.

Pickling Cucumbers

The pickling cucumbers are growing like crazy, the vines climbing the trellis.  There are blooms and a couple of tiny cucumbers (click to enlarge).  Exciting to see.

Eggplants

Eggplants bloomed and the blooms went away and now there are tiny little fruits on there.

Tomatoes

And of course the tomatoes are doing their thing for sure.  They aren't so tiny either and are looking good.  So far no issues.  Hoping they keep growing.  This is just one of the plants, the other tomato plant has about four on it, all in varying sizes.

The basil plants are still struggling but hoping with regular watering they'll perk up.

Next was time on the Zen Machine...


After two weeks it wasn't too bad and you know I love my time on the Zen Machine anyway.  This was about normal (actually a bit quicker).  I mowed it pretty short, our grass grows quickly and this will allow me to skip a week which will help with planning other yard projects.

And then as you may remember, 2nd Family had ten new babies...

Ducklings

...and here they are!  Getting bigger.

They are in an enclosure for their safety.  I asked "J" if she had picked them up and she said no, Mama is way too protective.  I got in there and tried but this was as close as I could get.  Yes, mama is VERY protective.  She always put herself between me and the babies.  

But still, we could have sat there and watched them for hours.  They are adorable.

It was a good weekend.

Sunday, May 9, 2021

UPDATE FROM YESTERDAY AND HAPPY MOTHERS DAY

Yesterday, we posted about my goals for spending the day at the farm.  Well, I'm back in town today (for in town errands) but here is the update:

Mow (DONE)

Edge  (KIND OF 1/2 DONE)

Plant the cherry bushes (DONE)

Plant a fruit tree

Transplant the pineapples into larger pots

Restring the deer fencing (DONE)

Set up the garden watering system (DONE)

Not too bad.  More on some of those in upcoming posts.  The mowing was good as always, there was no mud and I cut it pretty short.  It always comes back and we'd rather it be short enough so that if I miss a week for whatever reason it's not a long day of mowing and clogging up the mower, ha.  Yesterday was good!

When I got back, 2nd Man made one of my favorite weekend meals...pork loin with herbs de Provence (with the lavender), mashed roasted sweet potatoes with garlic and buttered green peas.  Put it on the plate, pour some pan drippings over it, a glass (or two) of wine (not wind, ha, thanks for catching that Marcia!) and it becomes a good end to a day of hard work...


Happy Mother's Day to all the Mom's out there!  We don't have ours but we wish a happy day for all and nothing but good memories to all! 

Saturday, May 8, 2021

AT THE FARM TODAY

As this publishes, I will have been up at 7am and headed out for the day...

After last weekend's washout, we're back to clear skies and warm weather and I have a long list of things to do.  In a perfect world, this is what I'd get done:

Mow

Edge

Plant the cherry bushes

Plant a fruit tree

Transplant the pineapples into larger pots

Restring the deer fencing

Set up the garden watering system

But it's not always a perfect world.  I need to stop and get gas.  I need to stop at the garden center.  I need to get some supplies for the garden and trees.  I will mow for sure.  I'd like to edge but that can wait (who's gonna see it? ha).  I will definitely plant the cherry bushes.  I need to add some fishing line to the deer fencing around the fruit.  And I have to get the garden on the automated watering system now that our water is back on and the days are heating up.

If I can mow and we don't get any rain this coming week, I might not have to mow at all next weekend and I can make this a two part list. 

Check back tomorrow and of course next week and we'll see what all gets done.  2nd Man has to be in all weekend on a project for work but I'm sure we'll get some good food in at some point.  And Hobart will be napping, as usual.  Hope you all have a great weekend!


Friday, May 7, 2021

WOODEN BOTTLE SHIPPING BOX TRASH TO TREASURE

 Regular readers know that I have a favorite place to look for bargains...our downstairs trash area!  Our building has trash chutes on every floor and they feed into a separate room, but for boxes and other things that people can't put in the chute, there is an area (indoor) near the loading dock where people can put the things they don't want.  I've found quite a few cool items over the last few years.

Here is one of the latest!


This box probably had bottles in it, wine bottles most likely, or olive oils.  It's very well made and very sturdy.  It was probably something shipped that had to be strong to hold up during the process.  The wood is solid and hard so it should last a while.


We've taken it to the farm where I put it in the barn so I can find a great use for it.  I did discover that it fits nicely into a drawer in the workbench so maybe I can use it to sort items like screwdrivers or something similar.  2nd Man already has items like this (organizers, dividers) for his kitchen drawer supplies so it's my turn to use it for tools or something else, ha. 

Wednesday, May 5, 2021

BANANA PUPS

Banana pup coming up

Remember when I had the bananas in the back of the Jeep because of the historic freeze? Not sure what was going on in the back of the car, LOL, but I discovered this!  They had given birth to "pups" ha!  They are of course also called suckers or offshoots from the main tree.  In the ground, they can be dug up and planted and will become a new banana tree.

Banana pup

So I dug them up though one didn't make it out of the process, it broke off at the root end.  Oh well.  I saved this one with a nice root ball on the end, grabbed a container with some fresh soil and planted it a couple of weekends ago.

We still have to figure out where we are going to put them.  Because of their growth habit, we want to make sure they are planted in the right spot.  They can grow fast and tall.  They also aren't always the most attractive plant in the world, well, more tropical looking than farm looking, like they should be around the sides of a pool or something like that.

We're thinking we can maybe put them in an area of the yard and just leave them to grow and multiply...when we do that, it looks like we might eventually have a banana grove in our future, ha!


Monday, May 3, 2021

HONEYSUCKLE IN BLOOM

When we pull up to the farm this time of year and get out of the car, we can smell the familiar scent on the breeze.  Indeed while I'm mowing I get to inhale that intoxicatingly wonderful scent of childhood...

Honeysuckle patch

Honeysuckle is in bloom everywhere!  This patch is behind the house...

Honeysuckle growing wild

When I was mowing last weekend, I found it everywhere else too.  Here along one side by the fence.

Honeysuckle in bloom

And here is more on the other side of the property.  Who among us hasn't plucked some flowers and pulled out that oh so sweet nectar?  We're grateful to have these just growing wild everywhere on the property.  

Because of this, we've been researching recipes to use with honeysuckle and found some jelly recipes that are supposed to be "Summer in a jar delicious".

I think I'm going to try that here in the next couple of weeks before the flowers go away.  It takes a lot for a batch but I'm willing to do it to try something new and maybe recreate that taste of childhood Summers.

Image via pinterest.com

Anyone ever tasted and/or made a batch of honeysuckle jelly?

Sunday, May 2, 2021

SOUTHERN BREAKFAST OF CHAMPIONS AND HOBART

I awoke to this...


2nd Man made a pan full of biscuits.  Side note, we now just call his Lodge sheet pan the "biscuit pan" ha.


And what better way to top that off some homemade biscuits than with some sausage gravy.

It's the "Southern breakfast of champions"!


Hobart would approve of good food, but he's currently on a "post catnip high" and sleeping...

Saturday, May 1, 2021

WEEKEND WASHOUT

Well...

...there won't be a trip to the farm this weekend.

We are in the middle of storms that just keep rolling in over and over.  No major flooding yet, there is a break between them, but it's supposed to last all weekend.


That storms are widespread and staying along the coast which draws up moisture and keeps the rains coming.


This was at 2am when we were awakened by loud thunder...I picked up my phone and checked the radar so we can see what it's doing at the farm.  That little "push pin" symbol is the farm.  Just rain and storms for a hundred miles around.

So today and tomorrow will be good days for reading and napping and just generally being a cat, ha!

Hope your weekend is off to a better start!

7:00pm update: 3.25 inches of rain at the farm

Friday, April 30, 2021

NEW BABIES

Received a text from 2nd Family that said...

"Sooooooo...THIS happened!"


Ducklings!!!!

She said Mama has been staying under the house and rarely came out.  Then yesterday she walked out with TEN babies following along behind her.

They have made them a cozy home in their chicken coop (it's covered and protected from predators) so they are safe and getting lots of attention.  She said they are so stinkin' cute she just can't stand it, ha.

Was hoping we'd get to see them this weekend but things are not looking good for our weekend weather.


We'll just have to keep and eye on the sky as the saying goes.  We need the rain, so we're OK with that, as long as we don't get the other nasty stuff.  Stay tuned!

Now, time to go back and look at those adorable babies in the picture and think happy thoughts, ha.

Wednesday, April 28, 2021

YARD AND GARDEN UPDATE

Was going to post this yesterday but set the wrong time.  Oops.  So Saturday at the farm was GORGEOUS!


I knew I'd have to mow and I planned ahead for it by ordering the perfect weather, ha.  It was just the perfect temp, not a cloud in the sky and a cool breeze...


I must have had a tailwind because it was a quicker than normal mowing, ha.  I didn't edge but I'll work on that this weekend.  The good thing is there shouldn't be a need to mow this coming weekend because I keep it short this time of year to plan for the heavy Spring rains we sometimes get.  Instead I hope to be working in the garden.  The weeds are creeping in so they need to be pulled and I also need to set up the automated watering timer now that we have our water repaired and turned back on.


Eggplants are growing nicely.  A little slow but I think that later this Spring, they'll get big quickly...


Tomatoes getting bigger every weekend and small tomatoes now starting to appear on both plants...


Pickling cukes are growing nicely and starting to climb the trellis.  Grow babies grow!


And last Friday we posted HERE about the mystery fruit.  I took this picture to show you all it's definitely got peach-y kind of leaves.  You can even see a couple of the fruits in this picture.  We may pull one this weekend (yes even before maturity) just so we can check out the seed/pit, the smell, etc in case we lose them to birds or something like that.  We'll see how it goes.

It was a good weekend last weekend and looking forward to this weekend...if the weather cooperates.

Monday, April 26, 2021

CITRUS DIED IN THE FREEZE NOW A NEW PLAN

 So...after the great freeze of 2021, we lost the citrus.  There was nothing we could do to save them in this type of cold (single digits) short of moving them inside or onto the porch with some lights nearby.

But of course they were in the ground.

Here was the orange tree.  Brown and brittle all the way down to below ground level.

Lemon tree.  It was not coming back either.


Lime tree, also not coming back.

We waited to see if there was any growth coming but this weekend, I did the scratch test at the base and it was brown and brittle on all three.  There was zero growth coming in.  In  fact, the lime tree just fell over at the base on its own.  They've all been removed.

So that got us to thinking.  The whole point of putting the citrus in now is just like that of the other fruit trees that we have planted; we've done it so that by the time we're living out there, we'll have producing fruit trees to enjoy without waiting years.  The other trees are doing great and are on track to be large and producing.  But hey, we'd also really love to have fresh lemons and limes and even some snacking oranges but until we're there, how do we let the trees grow but be able to care for them in these freezes?  Ideally, MOVING them inside the house or barn or even onto the porch for a night or two with freezing temps would be best.  As one of you suggested, an "orangery" would be an option too as would a greenhouse large enough to move them into when cold weather threatens.  Already doing some research on those. 

Image courtesy of wikicommons


How do we move them if they are in the raised beds?  We don't.  But what if they are in large containers?  Well that could be a game changer.

Heck, there have been many times when we've been in the garden centers and saw citrus trees that hadn't been sold but are covered in fruit, still living in their little 5 gallon black plastic containers.  If we put them in large clay pots (we don't like plastic), we could move them around to protect them and then, in a few years, we could still put them in the ground when we're there to protect them at 2am if necessary.

Of course, if they were producing well in containers we could also just leave them in there.


Now we're looking for the right sized citrus trees at the right price and we'll go ahead and get them (lemon, lime, orange) and just leave them in their garden center containers while we figure out the best larger pots.

A plus for us would be that this will open the three former citrus beds to plantings of other fruit trees or bushes (win/win/win!).  We have almost exhausted our list of fruit varieties that will grow here but there are still a few.  We know we can grow asparagus and herbs and such but we'd like to keep this area behind the house as the fruit/sweet plantings and then use the extra raised beds in the big garden for more veggies, herbs or perennial vegetables such as asparagus.

We've got some ideas and we're working on that part of it now...in fact we have already bought one new tree, stay tuned.


Sunday, April 25, 2021

HOBART SUNDAY

Lazy Sunday alert!


With a lazy cat named Hobart.  He's moved on from his fuzzy Christmas blanket to a crocheted afghan that we bought once upon a time at a thrift store, just for him to have something special to sleep on...and he does that very well.  Not sure who he learned that from!?


Pork chops, faro and roasted asparagus.  Yum.

Hope you are having a good weekend.  More of an update tomorrow and we'll catch up on replies to the last couple of posts as well.

Friday, April 23, 2021

STILL HAVE A MYSTERY FRUIT

We asked this a couple seasons back and thought with some new readers and followers, we might ask again.

So a few years ago when we bought our eight fruit trees for the backyard raised bed orchard, we did two each of apple, plum, pear and peach.  Seven of those are what they were supposed to be.  But the two peaches...well one is a peach (was, it died in the freeze) but the other that was supposed to be a peach is this:


We're pretty sure this is not a peach.


There are six or seven on the tree now and they all have this shape.  A couple of years ago, before our fencing, the deer got them before they ripened.  Last year the great goat incident snagged the two that were on the tree.  Hoping this year they make it all the way through and we can taste them.  From everything we can find, we think there is a good chance that these are nectarines.  The leaves and the tree definitely look like peaches but the fruit has no fuzz at all and a slightly different shape during the growing process.

Thoughts?
Look familiar?