Monday, July 30, 2012

Garden onslaught

The cukes have arrived!  I am so tempted to pick one of these now, rather than waiting til it gets bigger.  Tomorrow I might succumb.

The tops of the yellow onions have fallen over, but the leeks are still tall and green.  And though my pepper plants look happy and healthy, they haven't started growing any actual fruit yet.  Grrr.

What a horrible year for broccoli.  Just two small heads in June from twenty plants, formed just before the heat wave hit.  Since then -- zilch.  And no heads are forming on my cauliflower plants either.  I think they are just trying to stay alive.  Maybe if I keep them watered, they will trudge through the summer and start forming heads this fall.  I'm not holding my breath, though.

The zucchini is going gang-busters.  How is it that one day I can look through the plants and see no fruit ready for picking, but the next day I will find one two feet long and six inches thick?  My sparsely-germinated carrots are looking good.  Apparently they like the heat.  

Green beans and tomatoes.  Nothing ready to pick from either of them.   Lots of small green 'maters, though.

The vast sprawling expanse of pumpkins and melons.  They are growing over everything in their path, including the four strangled basil plants in their midst.

My row of flowers and my patch of sunflowers.  Marigolds are blooming non-stop and I've got my first aster blooming.  Nothing from the carnations yet.  They were more of an experiment, anyway, so I'm not too concerned.  The melon vines are encroaching on the asters at the bottom of the photo.

Cabbages are ready!

My purple podded wax beans are almost ready for picking.  The purple flowers and stems against the bright green leaves are very lovely.

My potato patch, looking much the worse for wear.  The unforgiving heat has beaten down these vines, with brown crinkly leaf edges and floppy stems.  But I am fairly confident that there is no blight to be seen.  I can see new green growth amongst the older, dryer leaves.

And when I dug under one of the plants, I managed a decent haul of medium-sized potatoes.  Oh, how I love digging potatoes.  It is one of my favorite gardening chores.  As long as the tubers are not half-eaten by mice or speared by pitchfork tines.

Sunday, July 29, 2012

An evening in Morris, part two

Someday I will have an oregano patch this big.

The University had an entire field devoted to strawberries.  Lots of different varieties, plus experiments with low tunnels.  There were some ripe berries under there!

I took some pictures of my favorite plant discoveries, including this Love in a Mist.

I've never thought much about ornamental peppers before, but these caught my eye.

Thunbergia Susie, or Black-Eyed Susan vine.  Not winter hardy for MN, but easy to collect seed and start anew each year.

I liked the salmon color on this verbena.  Does anyone know if verbenas self-seed well?  And what is the 'SY' on the tag?  Does that mean it's a hybrid?

And my favorite find, this multi-color sunrise Verbena.  Sooo pretty!

The gardens at UMN Morris are very lovely.  I'll have to go back again someday, when I have more time (and less monkeys) to appreciate the scenery.

An evening in Morris, part one

Thursday night we loaded kids into the car and drove to Morris, MN where the University of MN campus was holding a horticulture event in their demonstration gardens.  This was primarily a 'me' excursion, but for the most part the kids were good and abiding, bribed with cheeseburgers at the 4H booth and the promise of Kiwanis cotton candy on the way out.

The gardens did have some kid-themed displays, fortunately.  

At first I thought this teepee was covered in pole beans, but closer inspection showed a variety of random vines.  I told the hubby that he needs to build one of these for me in the garden.  His response, 'why?'  I looked at him crossly.  There does not need to be a 'why' to my requests.  Ha!

A tunnel like this would be fun, too.

The boys really liked the checker board painted on a large hunk of tree stump, with game pieces of painted rock.

This is part of their main vegetable garden.  Not a weed to be seen.  Either they are liberal in their herbicide use, or they use college students as slave labor.  I wish I had some college students as slave labor in my garden.  Maybe if I called them 'interns' and fed them occasionally I could get away with it.

Friday, July 27, 2012

Guest blogger

 here is my brother benjamin.  he is playing whack a mole.

here is the screen.

 here is my brother owen's room.

 here is my side of mine and benjamins room.

here is benjamin's side.

 here is the bathroom.

here is the kitchen.  we just had dinner.

 here is the den.

 here is my mom.

here is our cat oliver.

here is owen.

here is me my name is graham and i made this blog. the picture right by me is my picture. i made it.  i am an artist.  i had my picture hanged at java jules in ortonville.

here is my dad.  the hand that is in the picture is my brother owen's hand.  the cat by my dad died.  his name is eddy.

Picnic at Bonanza

A picnic lunch at one of my favorite places, Bonanza.  We took the boys and two of their friends here yesterday for a few hours, and managed to fill our time there with one discovery after another. 

Here Owen is searching for cool rocks, Zach is searching for toads, and Graham and Robert are building a sand castle.

It ended up being more of a Bronze Age hillfort than a castle, but without adding water to the sand, that's pretty much the best you can do.

We were hit by a few raindrops and a strong wind, but we toughed it out.  Benjamin found a group of frogs and tried to catch one, but they were too fast.  Robert did manage to catch a toad, though.

Graham and Robert found this 'really big creepy spider' in the grass.  We looked a bit further and found more, and more and more of them.  About twenty, all within a few feet of each other.  It's the common garden spider and builds a web with a really cool zig-zag line down the center.

We also found a bunch of milkweed tussock moth caterpillars.  Soft and furry, and tickley on your arm.

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Taunting vanity

When I was first diagnosed with rosacea many years ago, the dermatologist gave me a prescription for oral antibiotics, saying that I would need to take them for months/years to control the disease. I thought about it awhile, and decided that I would prefer to deal with a perpetually red face than with perpetual bacterial mayhem in my digestive tract. Heck, I don't even like to eat meat that's been given low-grade antibiotics.

This past week, however, I've been taking antibiotics for a nasty double ear infection and have noticed a significant improvement in my rosacea. While it's nice to see what I would look like with somewhat normal skin tone, it's a cruel taunt to my vanity saying, 'this is what you could have if only...' Sigh. Three more days of my drug regimen, three more days of a semi-normal face, then back to the blotches.