Saturday, August 30, 2014

Summer is SO BUSY!

I have been so busy this summer with so much going on.  My car had the equivalent of a stroke in early June and has been in the car hospital and car rehab since then, might get to come home to me later this month.  Waiting for the specialists to get done with their assessment and tests.

I have had big changes in my life and that has affected my ability to tend my garden and share stories with you all here.  In a nutshell, I work 2 part-time jobs that keep me away from home from Monday afternoon through Friday evenings.  The cats think I abandon them during the week and are amazed when they get fed at 11 p.m. at night before I crash in bed.

The gardens are doing great and so far have been spared from any hail damage, even though we had golf ball and grapefruit sized hail the weekend of Father's Day - my house took some damage but the gardens were spared - not sure how that worked out.

I have 4 garden plots this year.  3 are my house and 1 very special pumpkin patch is at my grandmother's farm.  The first plot is the asparagus and tomato patch.  A very small strip of garden that is most the asparagus patch but I worked it up so that the tomatoes could try out the soil.  None of the tomato plants are growing very good this year but they are producing tomatoes and we are picking them!

The East garden has green beans, roma tomatoes, chinese cucumbers, regular cucumber, pickler cucumbers and gadzukes in it.  I am trying the cucumber trellis idea this year.  With the help of a very patient and generous man I met, I have 2 chunks of cattle panel attached to the sides of the garden shed with the other end positioned over the cucumber rows.  The cucumbers are learning to climb the panels and let the cucumbers dangle down underneath.  Sometimes this actually is accomplished.  I am amazed when I find a 12-16 inch cucumber that is almost perfectly straight.  Sure makes finding them easier and picking them is pretty easy too.  The cucumbers are loaded with blooms so I think I am going to be buried in cucumbers for another month yet!
East Garden - Chinese Cucumbers, green beans and tomatoes

The West garden is the squash and pumpkin patch this year.  There are 3 varieties of pumpkins and 2 varieties of summer squash - yellow and zucchini.  Of course the zucchini and yellow squash plants are just going hog wild.  Growing so big and almost ready to crawl out through the fence.  I usually pick enough each time I go out to need the wagon. 

The west garden pumpkin patch, pales in comparison to the monster patch, but there are pumpkins in there and the baby boos (upper center) are growing and doing well.

On August 29th I picked all of the squash on the plants and then pulled the plants.  We have an abundance of squash (see below) that just cannot get eaten or picked in a timely manner and dad says he is tired of squash.  I have a casserole in the freezer still and some on the table that have yet to be made into mock apple crunch.  I think I have enough for 2 pans.  Guess that will be all I do for the winter treat.

 The last picking of squash.  Yes they are in the trunk of a car.  They are going to some cows and sheep in Phillips County.  I also found out that there is someone who would like a few zucchini - an Aunt Betty - so we will get her taken care of as well.  All 3 varieties are represented here.  Their vines pulled and laying in 4 heaping piles next to the gardens at home where they will be transferred to the burn tank in a few days.

The gadzukes are getting really good at hiding from me and usually I find them when they are almost too big to grill!  Sometimes the zucchini do that too and then they get made into mock apple pies or crunches!

(no i don't grow flip flops, but they get awful dirty when wore into the garden)

Squash abundance turns into the most delicious casseroles.  I have 3 recipes I love and try to make several of and freeze for future use.

The special pumpkin patch is down at Grandma's house.  Worked up 2 tiller width rows to plant in.  Located in what was for 50 years the chicken coop yard.  So 50 years of chicken poop has been resting here and now is feeding pink pumpkins, chocolate pumpkins and a few baby boos.  I swear the vines grow another 12 inches every night and the pumpkins double in size overnight as well.

Taken on or around the first week of August.

 I used to mow around the pumpkin patch, now I just walk around it and talk to the vines telling them how amazing they are and how I can't believe how much they grow all the time!

These next 3 pictures were taken only 2 weeks later and you can see how much the patch is growing in just that short of time!
Taking over the irrigation pipe, the posts you can barely see is the perimeter of the patch when planted!  Obviously I took the fence down!

Pink skinned pumpkins in honor of breast cancer awareness.  For Sale this year - $5 to $10 depending on their size and they are growing BIG!

In preparation for that wonderful month of October a few new purchases have been made to compete with the growing monster pumpkins.  Boots was nice enough to model one for me this morning and so I was able to capture a view from the back of the line up.

Here is what they look like from the front!  I found them all sad and lonely in Fort Collins, CO on a recent trip to the cabin.  So glad I was able to save them from a life of boring city streets and mean kids!