Archive for the 'gardens' Category

When it Rains, it Pours – or Not

Wasn’t I just complaining about how much rain we’ve been getting?

Yeah, that’s what I thought…

Well, the truth is that we were getting a lot of rain – which if one is prone to doing some gardening – can be a good thing.

About 5 years ago we purchased three 50-gallon rain barrels.  An environmental and financial good idea.  Water with the rainfall, save some cash and divert some of the water from the over-worked storm sewers.  And for 5 years it’s been a very win-win situation.

One of the lessons we have learned is that during a typical summer rain storm, the amount of roof run-off into the gutters then into the rain barrels is amazing.  50 gallons fills in virtually no time at all.  After about a 2 hour steady rain – 150 gallons of rain water is at our service.

Only on very rare occasions have we had to resort to dragging out the dreaded hose to water our flowers and vegetables.  When droughts happen, 150 gallons of rain water seems to get used almost as quickly as the barrels got filled up.

With all of the vegetable garden expansion we’ve done over the past two summers, along with sacrificing more and more lawn for additional bed space and berry bush plantings – we have a lot more green stuff to water, so the need for additional rain water collection became especially apparent.  We have been tearing through and draining the rain barrels faster than ever before.  Fortunately we did have a pretty wet Spring, but more rain barrels were needed – there was no doubt about that.

So we purchased and combined 3 more barrels into our system – doubling our capacity.


two behind our garage and


two more beside our deck.

We have a third set on the driveway side of the house as well – but I think you get the picture 🙂

Our now 300 gallon rain water capacity should serve us well as we move into the heat of summer 2011.

Should.

All we need now is some actual rain to fill them…

Lettuce Give Thanks

Lotsa lettuce…

and other stuff…

What started as this (from my last post)…

Has turned into this…

Lettuce not forget the Tomatoes, Sweet Potatoes, Basil and Asparagus…

Lettuce eat many Salads!

Angry Plants…

The last couple of months has been pretty wet….rain, rain, cold temperatures and more rain.

So in between this….

We made this….

We have been wanting to try this new garden style called no till, lasagna style, no dig etc. It is super easy!

….and because this is Ohio after all, we went from a windchill of 39 degrees last week to 80 something for the last 2 days and now I have very angry plants.

We have about 130 or so plants and herbs that we started from seed, plus we purchased another flat of veggies today with 6 berry bushes.

Hot temps, full sun with high winds don’t really make a good start for young plants. The kids will have to say one more day in their temporary homes, at least they are at they are safe from the elements.

Time Off….WOOT!!!!!!!!!

I am doing the the happy dance. I am on vacation, that’s right V-A-C-A-T-I-O-N!!!!!!!

I was asked if I would like to come in on Thursday for some training thing…..

NO!

NO! I am NOT coming in…..!

I have moved my vacation time twice already, I’m so done with the public, computer software issues, training, all of it. Homicidal thoughts have been crossing my mind way too often. Really, I need a break.

Back to the happy dance. It has been an interesting start we saved one pit bull from getting hit by a car on Sunday on our way to the store. I have never met such a dominate, ill mannered, no training, feet fixation, mouthing, growing, little girl(40 lbs) like this one. She is not what most responsible owners of this breed or any breed, would call a “good example.” Her owner, lets just say I had some very bad vibes about the whole deal, should not be allowed to own a dog.

This is the second time now that I have had regrets returning a dog to its owner. My gut tells me by her behavior and other observations that there is bad stuff going on. This was the 1st time that the husband has ever been concerned about the behavior of a dog that he has interacted with. In all honesty I kinda think she may have gotten mad because we were taking her back. Nope….she was pissed because she couldn’t mouth at his feet and had a temper tantrum like a child. For some strange reason I didn’t get nervous by her tantrum. I saw it as a type of acting out so to speak of and took the lead from the husband as he requested. I found the whole thing very strange and yet I understood this dog and her ill mannered ways. Btw, she got in our car, jumped in the front seat, in my lap and gave me sloppy bully kisses when we first picked her up. I believe due to her being in “her” environment, street, home set off the behavior. Interesting, I find all of it interesting.

“Can I rake your leaves and have them?” I really asked my neighbor this yesterday because when I see leaves I see compost. I know it’s a strange way of thinking but I can’t help it. All leaves to me, besides smelling good and crunching under your feet make me think of compost. This is a key element to a great garden. Since we have embraced this urban farming thang, I need leaves because I really hate paying for compost. I keep telling my one landscaper friend to dump all his leaves in my drive because I really need them. Really, 8 – 50 gallon garbage cans packed full of leaves is nothing which is what we raked yesterday. I need a huge truck load. I am coveting my other neighbor whose yard may yield about 15 garbage cans full.

So why are we so focused on leaves….well the husband and I have only been cleaning out the back 40 when time has allowed and getting it ready for spring. Let me put it this way, we are cleaning and looking at possible designs. Since we are moving away from a yard that “looks pretty” to a yard that is “pretty” and has purpose “food” the clean slate issue keeps coming up. We have decided that 80% of our landscaping will be finding a new home. We figure that we need about 10 yards of compost to amend the soil of the two zones that will be created next year. There will be a total of 4 zones when all is said and done. I still have much research to do because permaculture is somewhat different than having regular gardens and I’m okay with that.

Projects to finish while on vacation is the office old closet area and re-purpose a 50+ year old shipping crate for the bathroom. Small projects, low cost and large impact.

End of September

September is almost over….hard to believe. Before we know it Halloween will be here. This is the 1st Tuesday that I have had off in a very long time and in spite of the rain it feels really good to be home.

We started this month with Tied-Dyed cupcakes. A little Labor Day celebration with a “Tied-Dyed” theme. Actually Ron was laboring at 4 in the morning making these little delicious cakes.

The Husband and I spent our vacation sleeping, eating, drinking and relaxing just as we promised ourselves we would. No big projects this time, not one. However, The Husband did do a small project. We are taking growing our veggies to the next level – cold frames. Excellent job honey, now for B to bring the other window over so we can get the larger one built.

The garden produced and is still producing veggies. This had led to drying veggies, canning veggies, freezing veggies and giving many veggies away to friends. These are sweet potatoes. I wasn’t even sure if we could grow them. I guess we can!

Since the weather finally broke we have been getting back into our weekend escapes with the dogs out of the city. This is a very special place for me. I spent a lot of time here when I lived in Cleveland and find peace when I visit.




A man fishing on a Sunday afternoon, perfect.

Heat Index 95 Degrees

I’m sick of this heat! I only have one request when we are this hot, I want thunderstorms and rain. If I have to suffer in this miserable weather that feels like the amazon jungle then I want some damn rain as a reward. Am I asking too much? Apparently mother nature thinks so because we have not had an inch of rain in who knows how long. The 10 minute down poor last week doesn’t count. It has rained all around us. It has rain over the lake, to the west, to the south and to the east but not here.

Okay enough complaining about matters one can not control and on to the Tomatoes….This is a phone call last week between the husband and me. So everyone knows I call home ever day at lunch to touch base. The husband and I have done this for years because we have opposite schedules.

The Husband: We have a tomato emergency!

Me: A What?

The Husband: TOMATO EMERGENCY!

Me: What are you talking about?

The Husband: The tomatoes have exploded since yesterday.

Me: How many?

The Husband: I already picked picked 3 pints of the yellow jelly’s, and I picked 2 big bowls plus one big plate of the reds.

Me: Wow, and to think that these were the plants that L’s dad was embarrassed about. He’d be so proud of the them.

These are all heirloom, organic tomatoes. I would say by next weekend we will be canning. We have given so many away already to friends, family, strangers since the tomato explosion.

Does anyone have a good Tomato Bisque recipe?

Six Weeks – Where has Time Gone???

Most projects at the rust belt came to a halt when the temperatures hit the high 80’s with a 90 plus heat index. The Husband was in the middle of re-staining the deck and newly just built trellis when all came to a stop. I stained all the frames for the couches finally – and people it was hot! When the stain/sealer is drying on the brush mother nature is trying to tell you something. Our deck at this point is 1/2 done. Don’t get me wrong I did some transplanting of plants that have been long waiting for their little roots to spread in the rain garden, but that has really been about it. It all just sucked – the weather that is and so at that point we stopped working and enjoyed life. Yes, you may say that I don’t do this hot weather thing real well which is why we don’t live in the south…oppressive, just oppressive heat can be.

Ahhhh living life…. there have been many parties and entertaining with friends and family. This is what we do when it gets hot. Perfectly made margaritas & sipping wine, swimming, awesome people and late nights. We have been planning for vacation in September – things we want to do – and planning out the use of The Back 40.

For those who don’t know The Back 40 is an area of our yard that is about 40 feet long by 59 feet wide. This became the holding area of all things in landscaping, the landscaping of the old front yard prior to basement rebuild and rain gardens. We like some of what we have done but the yard feels unbalanced – which is something I just can’t stand. As the process of redesigning conversations have come up, the husband and I have become aware that we need more space for veggies. We like to grow our own food and herbs. So in the new design of the Back 40 I need to design more area for veggie growing and herbs all the while still having a sense of a balanced yard – color and textures. It will take a miracle to pull this off and September is just around the corner when we are supposed to start this project.

Where in the hell has time gone?


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