Thursday, May 30, 2024

And so it goes: Good dog, and pruning tomatoes

As I said in yesterday’s blog, I did not take anything to the garden to put strawberries in, because I told Cliff to tie me into a chair if I mentioned strawberries.  The berries are few, and mostly small.  And we’ve had plenty of them.  However, as I was hoeing weeds around my sweet potato vines this morning, I happened to look toward the berries, and there was a bright red strawberry calling me.  I immediately took off the stem and stuck it into my mouth, dirt and all.  I’m sure I ended up eating over a cupful, but this time there was no sugar on them, so it was a healthy treat.  Windows were open and I could hear Cliff talking in the house.  I knew it would be with his sister, Charlene, because most Thursdays she calls and talks to him all the way to work.  I found a handful of delicious berries and took them to him.  I was nice enough to give his berries a bath, before putting them in front of him, though.  

Cliff reminded me I haven’t planted any okra yet, so I may get that done today.  I really want to plant a couple short rows of corn soon.  The two hills of corn will suffice for maybe six to eight meals, but I like having some in the freezer.

I’ve talked about how the garden hasn’t really done so well in a lot of places.  A week ago most of the cantaloupe plants looked rather puny, and I wasn’t expecting anything would come of them.  Three days ago I glanced over there and they are vining out in fine style, so maybe I’m in luck.

Gabe is seven years old I think… maybe eight in August.  I don’t want to get up and look at his papers, but it’s somewhere in there.  And he is finally turned into a “good boy”.  I can go the garden now, and if he disappears, he will come running when he hears me.  He seems to try to stay closer to me than he used to.  Also, he seems to have gotten over his gland problem that made him smell bad so often.  Knock on wood!  I haven’t had to give him a bath in almost a month.

I have never pruned indeterminate tomatoes back when I had those varieties, but I thought it would be fun to get two indeterminate plants, Big Boy and Better Boy, and try pruning them.  There’s no wire around them; we tie the plants to a metal post as they grow.  Actually, Cliff does the tying because I make a mess of it.  Here’s the Big Boy; it will be tied again today, a foot higher.  I am managing the pruning part of it.  My husband’s only part in it is the tying.

The Better Boy is right beside it, partly in the picture.  I haven’t tried to raise Big Boy tomatoes for at least thirty years because it started having blight so early that the plant was dead before I could eat a tomato from it.  In the sixties through the seventies  I had never heard of or seen blight on tomatoes.  Then came 1980, and I’ve had it ever since.  So far, so good, this year.

I’m anxious to see how this works out.  


Wednesday, May 29, 2024


I picked my first strawberries this year on May 9. Since then, not a day has gone by without picking strawberries. I had occasion to share a lot of the strawberries I picked with friends and relatives, but I think I'm done. Most of the strawberries are tiny, although this morning I picked at least two quarts. I told Cliff that if I say I'm going to pick more tomorrow, he is to tie me up to a chair and not let me out of the house. I think this is the longest strawberry season I've ever had. As of today, we've had strawberries on our cereal every morning for over three weeks.

 Cora, the girl we used to babysit for her first five years, will visit us one day every other week while school is out. She was here yesterday and wanted to pick berries, so we went out and did that, then took them to her grandma in town, because we didn't need them. She also helped me shell peas.

We’ve seen several good movies on Netflix lately:  The Judge, with Robert Duvall and Robert Downy.  Worth (What is life worth) is a mostly true story starring Michael Keaton.  It’s about the problems people had with the victims’ compensation fund after 9/11.  And last evening we watched the first  episode of “The Bomb and the Cold War”.  It was scary and sad.  We’ll probably watch the next episode tonight.

Cliff and I have been watching Bill Maher on Max, too.  He’s a comic who has a foul mouth, but he is my favorite person to listen to when it comes to political things.  It’s easy for me to put up with someone who talks about the failings of both parties.  But here’s a thing that surprised me the other day.  I was playing around on Facebook and looked to find him (he is there, of course), and found two old Facebook memories, things I had said about Maher in 2012.  I barely recall knowing who he was back then.  Anyhow, at that time I was griping about him being a know-it-all, a smug person… wish I had saved what I found in that memory, because I can’t find it again.  But I do understand why I’ve changed my mind about him: Neither the Republicans OR the Democrats are what they used to be, and it seems the biggest changes have come since 2012.  He's talked about how everyone is so easily offended these days, and it's true: I can't say anything without wondering if someone is going to correct me for it.  Can't you just have your opinion, and let me have mine?     
I have Bill Maher's new book on hold at the library. He has the same trouble understanding the same things that the rest of us dummies have difficulty with in this upside-down world, so I will listen to him... a comedian.  That's what it has come to at our house.  The world is now a circus.

That's why I spend so much time outside and in the garden. where everything makes sense, good or bad.

Tuesday, May 28, 2024


My Grandma Stevens had hollyhocks on her farm growing out around her burn barrel over toward the chicken house.  There was a big piece of wood there too (a log maybe?), for taking chickens’ heads off.  My mother (her daughter) simply held the chicken by the legs, placed it on the ground, stepped on its head, and pulled until the head came off.  Grandma took a hatchet, held the chicken head down, and cut off the head; Grandma’s way may have been less cruel than my mom’s, although Mother wasted no time pulling that head off.  Her method only worked on younger frying chickens; older chickens get tough and the hatchet has to be used.  When a hen quits laying eggs every year, she is butchered for chicken and noodles!  But I digress.

I never thought of hollyhocks as a beautiful plant, even as a child.  The actual plant is really tall and ungainly in my opinion, but I did love to play with the flowers.

You can pick the flower, leaving the stem on it, then pick one of those little green things… maybe that’s holding the seeds?… push it onto the stem of the flower, and you can almost see a southern bell doll.  And that is a cherished memory to me.  I recall when my parents and I still lived in Iowa some little girl from school having a birthday party.  All us girls spend some time making southern belle dolls that day.  

I’ve always thought I’d like having a few hollyhocks, ungainly as they are.  My husband, though, doesn’t like to mow around flowers, and I doubt he would like something in the yard growing ten feet tall anyhow.  I’m not sure I would!  But I might just put a few seeds in the corner of my fenced garden where I’d be the one taking care of it.  I have found Ebay is the place to go for common garden seeds.  I have 50 seeds coming in the mail soon, with free shipping.  Altogether it cost $3.89.

When I die, all the grandson who bought our place will have to remind him of me will be weeds and ugly, tall flowering plants.

Much of my garden this year is a failure, but there are still things that surprise me there.  There are several blueberries on the Sunshine Blueberry plant, which I put out there less than a year ago.  Stark Brothers keeps everything you buy on file so you can see when you bought it if you’ve forgotten.

 This year is my first time dealing with asparagus, and for the most part it’s doing great.  Next year I’ll be able to eat some.  They are too skinny to eat this year anyhow.  See those strawberries shining red?  I have been picking strawberries for over two weeks, and if I wanted to, I could still go out and get a couple quarts.  They are really getting smaller, though, and I may call it quits.

nine out of ten roots isn’t bad

My friend Paula grew some tall sunflowers last year, so I planted six plants by my garden fence just for fun.  I find it interesting that they are growing by different sizes getting smaller from left to right.

The first pepper plant I bought and set out on April 7th has suffered cold, wind, and hail:  But look at this pepper!

Monday, May 27, 2024

How about a little good news today?

When I get out of bed in the morning, usually around four A.M. because I can never go back to sleep after that time, I do my Wordle and my two variants of Waffle; I often win the easy Waffle, but seldom win the harder ones that have more letters and words… longer words.  It isn’t so much that I’m stupid as it is that I just don’t take the time thinking about it.  Of course, that’s just another way to be stupid, because why even play the game if you’re going to be lazy about it.  

But when my games are done, I go straight to CNN because in today’s world, one never knows what might have happened while she slept:  Has either Putin or Kim Jong Un decided to bomb some part of my country overnight?  Has either our aging president or the guy that wants to take his place been killed by a gunshot?  Has Gaza become just one big hole in the ground, a burial place for Ishmael’s children?  Even Mother Nature can’t be trusted, because tornadoes are becoming more frequent, and harsher than ever.

But this morning I found good news, and it’s in my neck of the woods: 



Kids can now eat without breaking the piggy bank – at least, at Thomas Ultican Elementary School – thanks to fifth grader Daken Kramer.

Daken paid off the entire meal debt and then some, for his elementary school in Blue Springs, Missouri, after turning in a check for more than $7,300. Daken’s original goal was $3,500, which was just over the total of the school’s debt, according to Daken’s mother, Vanessa Kramer. The remaining amount was given to Blue Springs High School, another school in the district.

“Children in elementary school should not have debt tied to their name. We have found out that there are high schools that keep seniors from attending prom or walking at graduation if they have stuff like student lunch debt,” Kramer said. “Some families can’t help it. They can’t pay it off.”

Sometimes you have to dig deeply to find the good, but I’m thinking maybe this boy will grow up to be president… if our country lasts that long.

Friday, May 24, 2024

Not much to say today

I’m still finding strawberries every day; we never get tired of them.  Other than that, I have been reading some very interesting books lately.  The Many Loves of Mama Love is a true story that I would have never thought could end happily, but it does.

I’m just finishing The Evolution of Annabel Craig and what she learned about the Scopes trial; it has certainly held my interest.  If you click on these links,  you can find out what they’re about.

And now I’ll read “Listen to the Lie”, which has great reviews.  It’s a who-done-it from a new author to me. 

I know this is a boring post, but it’s what I’m doing, and I’m tired of sharing pictures of my garden.  Cliff has gone out to meet up with some old friends, So Gabe and I have the house to ourselves.  Here’s something to think about:


Wednesday, May 22, 2024

I’m going to miss my daily strawberries

There are still some strawberries coming on, but not as many, and a lot of them are small berries.  After getting several freezer bags of them put up for later, I’ve shared with relatives.  Grandson Arick always sees that we get plenty of morel mushrooms, so I’ve given him some.  I told my oldest granddaughter if she’d come and pick, she could have them.  She ended up with a lot of them.  I’ve given some to our daughter, too.  I imagine by the weekend they’ll be done.  Now I’m looking forward to some fresh tomatoes in another month or so.  Most of the plants have fruits on them.

I’m pretty sure I could find enough new potatoes in the garden to make creamed peas and potatoes, but the peas aren’t ready yet.  I have a few green bean plants that are above ground, but it will be awhile.  I just hope all the tomato plants stay healthy!  So far, so good.  Tomatoes are the reason I garden at all, and they haven’t always prospered in my garden.

Take a look at my cat, Blue:  He is totally under the influence of catnip.  I had to put a protective shield around the herb because otherwise he lays down and rolls on it all day, so much that he had almost killed it.

A while back Cliff and I together counted how many tractors he’s owned in his life, many of them that he brought back to life after they had been rusting away for years.  There are a few on the list that he sold without fixing them, just so he’d have the funds for a better one.  They are in no particular order.  I’m sure this will not mean anything to my readers, but I wanted to have it in my blog somewhere, so here it is.  I think I counted 40 tractors.

one Minneapolis Moline “R”;  8N Ford; five 550 Olivers; two Super 55 Olivers; two Farmall “H”; three Farmall M;  two John Deere;  one John Deere “A”; two Allis Chalmers D-17;  one WC Allis Chalmers; one Farmall Cub;  two Super C Farmalls; one Ford 331; one Allis Chalmers WC road grader; one 520 John Deere; one David Brown tractor; one 1855 Oliver; two 1655 Olivers; three 1650 Olivers; one John Deere 4400 (the one he uses for everything); one White 2-85; one almost new 75 horsepower John Deere, 5075E that he didn’t like, so he sold it for a nice profit; one Ford 951; two 880 Olivers, one diesel and one gas; one Super 88; one Ford 3600  

This is about the most tractors we ever had at one time

Monday, May 20, 2024

Sunday Stealing

1. What inspires you the most?  God’s creation: Hills, valleys, the green of spring.  Walks in the woods.  Sunrise, plants in a garden, flowers.  Dogs, cats, cows, horses.  Babies. 

2. How do you think the world will change in 20 years?  I’d be surprised if there’s anything left of the world by then.  I'm glad I won't be around to know.

3. Cats or dogs and why?  If I had to choose it would be a dog, but I’m glad I don’t have to choose.  I have both.

4. What is the funniest memory from your childhood?  I have many happy memories, but right now I cant think of a funny one.

5. Where do you not mind waiting?  Waiting is never difficult these days, since I always have a library book on my phone to read.  However, waiting to hear good news about a friend or relative who has a serious medical problem is hard.  

6. What was the best thing before sliced bread?  My parents were born, making it possible for me to be born!  Sliced bread was first available in 1928, on July 7.  In 1944, I was born on July 7.  Coincidence?  I think not.  You won't find me worrying about carbs!

7. What product would you stockpile if you found out they weren’t going to sell it anymore?  Toilet paper!  Covid taught me a few things, even though I never had covid.

8. What do you get every time you go grocery shopping?  milk, bread, and usually bananas

9. What do people do too much of today?  Looking at their phones.  

10. Are you a GoodWill, or any second hand store customer?  I would like to be, but I don’t have the patience to check things out thoroughly.

11. How do you feel about the death penalty?  Im sort of on the fence about it, considering the fact that since DNA appeared, so many people are wrongly accused.

12. Are there brands of certain items that you will ONLY buy that brand? Ie paper towels, ketchup etc.  Bounty paper towels, some things that my husband is picky about (Hunts ketchup, which is actually cheaper than Heinz anyway, Miracle Whip);  Folgers coffee for both of us and Twinnings Earl Grey Black Tea for me, Sara Lee Butter Bread, Tide laundry soap.

13. What are some things that you will buy the Store brand, and find the quality to be great?  The quality isnt always quite that great, but it if cuts the price in half, Ill suffer through it:  Crackers, for instance.  Things like flour and sugar. 

14. What is a Name brand item that really disappointed you recently?  I cant think of any

15. Do you wear glasses or contacts?  glasses


Friday, May 17, 2024

Gardens and other things

It’s been a strange garden year.

I have planted carrots three times and gotten nothing.  Planted beets three times and got very little.  Cliff’s white radishes he loves so well, on the other hand, have flourished!  They get huge.  He ate all of the first ones, and now a whole row is almost ready.  Many of the plants have just stayed where they were in March, looking cold and rather sick, and beaten with hail until the last three weeks.  At least that’s how it has been with the cabbage, sweet potatoes, and cantaloupe.  I have tilled away some crops because so few of them came up and then replanted only to get the same result.  I’ve had a lot like this bean row:

I planted the whole row, and you see how few bean plants came up.

On the bright side, the potato and tomato plants are doing quite well, unless the load of water in the ground has started to rot the potatoes; I’m afraid to look!

No blight yet, but then there wouldn’t be yet    

We’ve been eating strawberries every day, either on cereal or with shortcake; sometimes both.  Even so, we’ve given some to the grandson, and to our daughter and her husband.  Also, there are quite a few in the freezer, and we should get a lot more.

Some bags have two cups, some have three

The strawberries really don’t like the chilly, cloudy, wet weather.  They aren’t as sweet as they could be, and they look a bit faded.  But they are still making berries.

I had forgotten the fact that when there’s a lot of rain after a long drought, ants will come in the house to find a dry place.  I have an ice cream bucket on the dryer I put coffee grounds, vegetable leavings and so forth to toss out on the garden.  Went in to wash clothes and the ants were all over those leavings.  I sprinkled Borax onto the dryer around the bottom of the bucket, left it there for a couple days and the ants were gone.  Then I found them in my bathroom, dancing around my sink.  More Borax, and POOF!  I didn’t know exactly where they were coming in, so I just put Borax all around the sing and left it for three days.  GONE!!  Last night they had found the cats’ two dishes and were having a feast.  Sprinkled Borax on it… well, you know the story by now.  

However, there’s another short story in this.  I typed most of this entry yesterday afternoon.  Cliff came in the house, I mentioned Borax around the cat food dishes, and Cliff said, “Remember when I put lime on the floor of the barn and all our barn cats died?”

I told him that wouldn’t happen, because I googled to see if it would hurt pets.  Some people said it would, but most said no cat or dog would eat enough to kill them.  

He went back to the shop, and I heard a little voice reminding me I hadn’t seen Blue, the cat, since I let the cats back in the garage for the day.  I called him several times with no avail.  I told myself he was in the pasture or woods hunting like always, but I worried a bit.  Finally, he showed up, healthy and unharmed.  Whew.

This is the first sunny day we’ve had in a long time.  It’s still too wet to till the garden, but I’m getting a lot of hoeing done, and I’ve trimmed the leaves down on the Iris plants, since all but the black irises are done.  I think I’ll be able to till tomorrow, good Lord willing.  I’m going back outside now.

Tuesday, May 14, 2024

Something I learned from my mother

 Since yesterday was a cool and rainy day, I made chili.  I make it from scratch using the recipe from an older Better Homes and Garden recipe.  I consider it a very healthy meal, with more vegetables in it than meat.  

I was reminded of another time I set out to make this same chili about two years ago.  Ground beef was pretty costly at the time, because the Covid mess had made food prices go way up.  I was making chili.  I browned the meat with the onions, bell pepper, and garlic.  Then I added the tomatoes (frozen, from my garden) and tomato sauce.  I added the six tablespoons of what I thought was chili powder and was just about to add the kidney beans when I noticed a mistake:  I had grabbed the wrong spice!  I had put six tablespoons of cayenne pepper in it, and no chili powder!  I normally use about half a teaspoon of cayenne; the recipe doesn’t call for it, but we like a little spice in our chili.

Trust me, nobody would want to eat chili with six tablespoons of heat added.  Meanwhile, I could have cried thinking about throwing away a pound and a half of meat.  It didn’t take me long to figure out a way to save it.

I let what I had in the pan cool, got some freezer bags out, put 1/2 cup of this fiery mess in each bag and put them in the freezer.  Ever since then, I make my chili by the usual recipe, I add a frozen 1/2 cup of heat.  It gives us the exact amount of cayenne pepper we like, while little by little we are saving that one-and-a-half pound of meat.  I think yesterday may have been the last of it.

I know it seems silly to others to go to such extremes.  At that time, that amount of 80% lean ground beef probably hadn’t cost more than six or seven dollars.  But if my mother, who was married in 1932 during the Great Depression, ever taught me anything, it was this:  DON’T WASTE FOOD!

Monday, May 13, 2024

Mothers Day

I am putting my daughter's Mothers Day greeting from Facebook in my blog so I'll have it in the future.  It was better than any card she could have sent.  She probably stole the picture from my blog, or from Facebook.  

Rachel Fierro is with Donna M. Wood.  

Happy Mother's Day to this pajama-gardening, chicken-carrying, song writing, cow-loving Kitchen Magician. I love you!

For some reason, the next comments refuse to be the same size as the first ones.  Oh well, most people know how to make the words larger if they can't read them.  There were other comments, but I really liked all of these.  Any time Cliff gets a chance to comment on my beauty and greatness (ha!) he lets people know how amazing I am.

Thursday, May 09, 2024

Strawberry time

Cliff and I have had strawberries on our cereal for three days straight.  We also had strawberry shortcake once already, and the berries are just getting started.  Here's what I picked this morning:

This is before I washed them, so they have dirt on them, thanks to all the rain we are (thankfully) receiving.

I have a small patch on the southwest corner of the garden; these planted themselves by crawling over the old strawberry bed.

And another on the southeast corner; I moved and planted those myself, carrying new plants from the old site.  There would have been more if it had rained last year.  Look at that bright red berry on the end.

If you have never tasted home-raised strawberries, you're missing out.  When strawberries are raised commercially, they choose a version of strawberries that are very firm, so they can travel well; they are never as naturally sweet as home garden berries.  For a couple weeks or so, we are eating a breakfast fit for royalty, putting two cups of berries over one cup of cereal.  I add a little cream to our two-percent milk, also... and yes, some sugar, but not much.

Riverbend Ed, if you are reading this, I will tell you that my parents planted "everbearing" strawberries one time in their long lives.  My father said they had very few strawberries compared to the June bearing varieties.  Since my mom needed plenty to freeze and plenty for jams, my father tilled out the everbearing after that one year.  I'll be anxious to see how you fare with yours.  I wouldn't mind trying them myself if they work for you.  

I shouldn't have planted this many tomatoes

Those closest plants are Yukon Gold.  I did a bad job of planning my garden this year, and I also had some failures, what with hail, wind, and pouring rains trying to defeat my plants.  There is a row of later red onions beyond those peas yonder.  I transplant cabbages in any little space I see.  

I set out a few cantaloupe plants a month ago, but because of wind and hail, they are just now starting to prosper.  It's the same with the four sweet potato plants, the peppers, and the eggplant.

Every year is different, but I always get lots of pleasure from my garden.

Wednesday, May 08, 2024

Things you probably would rather not know

This morning I was remembering my summertime visits to my Grandma Stevens’ little farm.  I’d stay for a week every time.  I played in the woods across the road from her house for hours.  Sometimes Uncle Leo’s kids would come up and play, or I’d walk to their house.  They lived just up the road from Grandma a mile or so away.  

On one of my visits I was there having the time of my life as usual; it was approaching bedtime when Grandma said to me, “We’re going to wash our feet out on the porch.”  She got the enamel-wear bowl she used for hand-washing, put warm water in it, and set it below the two steps that went down into the porch.  Then she took off her shoes, sat down on the top of the steps, put her feet in the bowl, and washed them.  I was rather puzzled about it; why was she showing me how to wash my feet?  I had never done that before when I stayed at her house, but after this happened, I always washed my feet before bed at her house. 

I stole this picture from Ebay.  This is the closest thing we had to a bathroom sink.  It sat beside a bucket of water we had to carry in from the pump.

I should be embarrassed about what I’m about to tell you now, but I’m not:  I never wore shoes unless I had to, from the time I was a toddler.  I still love walking barefoot.  And for some reason my mother never made me wash my feet before I went to bed.  This was back when my parents and I, as well as most of our relatives, didn’t have running water and bathrooms in their homes.  You washed using a soapy wash cloth all week long and had a bath in a round galvanized wash tub on Saturday so you’d be clean to go to church the next day.  

But in summer when school was out, I can’t for the life of me remember ever washing my feet before going to bed.  I ran around going through puddles and gardens and fields, but I do not recall ever washing my feet regularly.  Here’s the strange thing:  I don’t remember my mother ever telling me to wash my feet at bedtime, either!  I never got that message until I was at Grandma’s house that time, and I don’t think I took that lesson home with me, either!  My mom wasn’t a dirty lazy person.  She washed the clothes in a wringer washer, and back then women wanted their white clothes WHITE!  She used bleach and bluing and hung sheets on the line with pride, because other people might see them.   But she never said anything to me about how dirty my sheets were (not that I would have noticed they were dirty anyhow).  We moved to the city when I was eleven, and it wasn’t long until we had a house with running water and a bathtub.

The bottoms of my feet have always looked dirty in summertime, though.  It isn’t that I don’t bathe, but if you’re walking outside barefoot all the time, it would take bleach to clean the bottoms of your feet; soap and water won’t do it.  I used to garden barefoot, milk the cows barefoot, step in cow manure barefoot (accidentally, but still); I’d go to the nearest hose or puddle or pond, wash it off, and go on my way.  I actually had a friend one time whisper to me that her mother wanted me to start washing my feet before I went to bed at her house. I was twenty years old at the time!

True confessions.  But you all knew I was a little weird, right?

Friday, May 03, 2024

Oh, these lovely mornings

I can’t wait for full daylight before I go to the garden.  I always know there will be some sort of surprise out there:  a different color of iris blooming, or lazy seeds that I had given up on ever germinating that come up all at once.  Gabe the dog and Blue, the cat are always chasing one another in the garden and making me laugh.  Throughout the dull, dreary winter, I revisit these things in my mind:  I don’t know that I have missed a spring sunrise for many years.  I’m always up around 4 A.M. just because I’m made that way, and many times I’ll step outside just to see where the moon and stars are on that day, long before the sun comes up.  I feel at peace with the earth when I’m outside. 

Cliff laughs at the fact I’m outside when he wakes up around 7 o’clock, knowing I’m out in the garden.  I always set up the coffeepot for him before I go out, so he only has to turn it on to have his coffee.

Last week I chose to believe that our weather is going to get back to normal after three dry years.  So to prove that to myself, I put all the soaker hoses away in the garage.  The last two years I wouldn’t have had much of anything in my garden without those soaker hoses.  Right after I put them away Thursday morning, we received yet more rain, as if to reassure me.  Peas are blooming and the green beans are starting to grow.  Cliff has been eating his white radishes right along and we’ve had spinach a couple of times, as well as lettuce.  Now the lettuce is bitter, though.  I googled “bitter lettuce” to see what makes it that way; well, apparently there are plenty of causes:  Dry weather, too much water, hot weather, not enough nutrients.  Well, I’m not going to worry about it, because there are other things I’ve been waiting to plant to plant in that space anyhow.

I do expect to be picking some strawberries next week sometime.  I’ve found a couple of ripe ones.  There’s only one packet of frozen strawberries from last year left in the freezer.  

I have too many tomato plants set out.  I do it every year, hoping that one variety or another will keep us eating tomatoes until October.  I even put out two more Jet Star plants yesterday, because they seem to be less blighty than some of the others.  Before I had ever heard of or seen tomato blight, which showed up in the late eighties in my world, I only ever had two varieties:  Big Boy and Rutgers.  Alas, those don’t last long enough for me to get a ripe tomato off them, these days.  

This was taken just as the sun was coming up after two inches of rain.  

Thursday, May 02, 2024

You know what I’m doing this time of year

 I never thought I’d be proud to have a big healthy weed in my garden, but this one makes me happy.  It’s a milkweed plant I chose to put in my garden last year to draw the monarch butterflies.  It’s the only plant they eat and lay their eggs on.  It spreads rapidly, so that means I’ll have more weeds to take down.  That’s OK, because I’m out there with a hoe killing weeds every day anyway.  

Next, I have Blueberry plants.  I put them all out last summer, but below is the oldest one, which has the start of some berries.

 This pepper plant has been in the gardon for three weeks.  It has tried its best to grow, but we have had a lot of high winds that have tried to kill it several times.  It’s ragged, but it’s tough.

There are 4 berry plants near the fence.  That’s because they need a trellis for support, and I’m hoping I can use the fence for that.  The first three are boysenberries; they are a hybrid plant, having blackberry, raspberry, loganberry, and dewberry in their parentage.  You can see the cat is messing around with the third one.  These three plants came to me looking like sticks with roots.  I assumed they’d put leaves on those “sticks” like a tree would, and had almost given up on them ever coming to life.  In the last week, they let me know they were just fine, but the sticks still look like sticks; the new life came out of the ground from the roots at the base of the “sticks”.  I have no idea if the stick parts will come to life.  Beyond the cat is a red raspberry plant.  

I often do use little sticks to make my rows, but the cat makes it difficult to keep them upright.

Oh yes, look at my asparagus plants!  In two years they’ll be big enough to eat.  Only one root failed to make a plant.

On another note, week before last I took my guitar to the two churches and sang one of the songs I wrote, Patchwork Quilt.  It tells how Christians are all different, but can still work together for good.  Last Sunday my friend Paula found one of those envelopes meant for people to put their donations in; it had been torn open and written on.  The pew is one where several children always sit, and obviously it was a child’s writing.  Paula handed it to me and said, “Look at this.  Children actually do listen in church.”

I had to laugh about the way the child tried to spell quilt.