Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Planning The Early Fall Garden

This morning I cleaned and prepare three beds before the rain started again. Maybe some seeds will make it into the ground if the lightning stops. A little drizzle won't drive me in, but once the lightning starts only an emergency will keep me outside! Lightning scares me.

This is the plan for the early fall garden. As the okra, eggplant, tomatoes, and peppers finish, I'll add other veggies. Ooops, I forgot to make a space for garlic. I'll have to altar something.

Bed Number and Contents:

1. Snow Peas
2. Sugar Ann Peas
3. Okra (Vidrine)

4. Wando Peas
5. Sugar Snap Peas
6. Lincoln Peas

8. Cabbage: Late Flat Dutch, Mammoth Red Rock, Henderson's Charleston Wakefield, Nero Di Toscana (Black Palm Tree), Bacalan De Rennes, Bok Choy

9. & 10. Calendula-Pacific Beauty, Nasturtiums-Dwarf Jewel Mix, Cosmos-Sensation Mix, Bachelor Buttons-Tall Mix, Poppy-Frosted Salmon

11. Tomatoes
12. Mississippi Silver Hulls

13. Pumpkin-Cushaw White, Beets-Bulls Blood, Crapudine, Detroit Red

14. Onions-Red Creole, Australian Brown, Granex Yellow (Hybrid),Bronze D'Ampasta, Gold Princess, Early Texas Grano

15. Greens: Collards-Georgia Southern, Mustard-Southern Giant Curly, Japanese Giant Red Mustard.

16. Leek-Bleu of Solanaise, Parsnips-Harris Model, Swiss Chard-Oriole Orange, Five Color Silver beet

17. Turnips-Boule D' Or, Golden Globe, Purple Top White Glove, Oriental Greens-Thai Mix, Spinach-New Zealand, Merlo Nero

18. Eggplant (to be removed later)

19. Lettuce-Arugula, Chadwicks Rodan, De Meaux (Endive), European Musclun Mix, Tom Thumb

20. Brussel Sprouts- Long Island Improved, Cauliflower-Romanesco Precoce, Rutabaga-American Purple Top

21. Peppers (to be removed later)

Red Potatoes are to planted in wire towers using the hay method
Radishes to be planted where space is found
Sweet Pea flowers (Black Knight and Old Spice) are to planted on trellises in beds 16 and 17

Monday, August 30, 2010

I Still Cry

It's been five years and I think no tears are left. Then I see something like this and I still cry. I really like how this documentary uses the artwork and thoughts of children to relate the story.
Watch more free documentaries

Friday, August 27, 2010

Summer Clean-up

It's that time in south Louisiana. Time to cut back all the irrepressible growth that threatens to smother out any semblance that there is a structured garden some where in there.

It will be warm well into the beginning of November and freezes, if there are any, usually take place in January. Cutting all of the shrubs and perennials back encourages them to put out another lush burst of growth providing a spectacular show for October. I do not cut back tropicals. They will do well the rest of the season and plush foliage helps protect them from any chance freezes.

I am now planting my cold season veggies: cabbage, broccoli, lettuce, greens, carrots, peas, garlic, onions etc...I'll also plant another row of green beans. A second crop of tomatoes were planted at the beginning of August. I also need to plant our cold season annuals: cosmos, bachelor buttons, calendula, nasturtiums, pansies, violets, and snapdragons.

Here's a picture of the beginning of the big cutback. I'm all done now! Whew!
The hurricane lilies are blooming. They bloom during the busiest part of hurricane season. No 'canes yet....fingers crossed.
Here is a picture of the path that was overgrown with dwarf ginger, liriope, and mondo grass. I began cleaning it out and uncovering the stepping stones that were smothered. Notice the agave to the right of the picture.....While digging up the wayward ginger, I levered the shovel down to pry up a clump......
....the pic below shows where the thick sharp thorny spine on the tip of the agave pierced my skin as I levered with the shovel. Luckily it barely missed my eye and glanced off of the edge of my eye socket. Maybe I need to wear eye protection when gardening! Who knew it could be so dangerous. I'm thankful anyway.......So get out there and get those gardens ready for fall! What are you doing to get ready for fall.

Friday, August 20, 2010

Sewing a Modest Uniform Skirt & Crocheted Rug

Finding Tera modest uniform skirts has become a problem since she started high school. None of the local uniform stores carry long enough skirts. Our local store doesn't even carry skirts except for primary. What?!!! All of the middle and high school girls wear skin tight unflattering horrible capri thingys. After surfing the net the only skirts I could find were unattractive or too expensive in my opinion.

I decided the time had come to attempt to make something my daughter would be proud to wear to school. Like anything else you never learn unless you dive in....so I did.

I found a cute pattern, then pinned and cut, and cut, and cut...then read, read, and read, looked, looked, and read, read, ...then...

sewed, and sewed, and of course....ripped and ripped.....and sewed and sewed again....mastered the invisible zipper....then there appeared...
...a not exactly perfect...but, beautiful skirt my daughter loves to wear. Tera has since received many compliments on her new skirt. It's not always easy to be the only one....but, I bet some more girls may get brave enough to buck the status quo and step out with modest and fashionable uniforms all their own!
I used gabardine fabric. It wears really well and is stretchier than cotton. This skirt also sits low on the hips. Tera finds it is more comfortable at school that way.
A picture of my daughter's room. The rug is crocheted from old sheets, curtains, and clothes. You can get an idea of how to make them from the following video.

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Around The House and Gardens

It's a good thing I rested while I could. Presenting...Seleste...After cheerfully and happily attending a friend's birthday party Seleste suddenly doubled over with unbearable pain.

We doubled back to Children's Hospital...and found out that she needed an emergency appendectomy. If you remember...this...Talia had the same surgery in Mississippi while attending camp a little over a year ago...two kids with appendicitis...what are the odds? I must admit I did wonder if it was genetic or if it was something I fed them...????

I love my sofa...It's over 16 years old and I still love it. When anyone is sick this is where they sleep so I can hear them during the night. When I was expecting this was the only place I could get comfortable near the end.
My hearth is getting a little full...my Stern Lady is keeping a disapproving eye on all this clutter.
Lately the mantle has been showcasing interesting pieces of wood and woodland like things.
An Italian Loaf ready for the fridge.
...oops...We started eating before I took the picture.
This is what happens in Louisiana when the garden goes unchecked for weeks. The vines are positively choking out everything else. It's a mixed blessing. They do prevent a lot of weeds from growing as well.
I'll start trimming everything back and preparing beds for fall crops. Right now I am picking: muscadines, peppers, eggplants, okra, melons, and herbs. The pecan trees in the back ground are loaded. As long as a tropical storm doesn't' come along and knock them all out there should be plenty this fall.
A fairy house.
My daughter Tera made this useful little boot stand. It works great and I can hose any mud or chicken poop right off.

Friday, August 13, 2010

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Today In The Garden

Bands from the tropical storm in the Gulf started arriving very early in the morning. We all awoke to thunder, lightning, rain, and fog horns from the ships on the Mississippi. I brought my camera on my daily walk around the garden and snapped these pics before the rain started pouring again. It's a good day to stay inside and sew!

The trees are full of cicadas. They swoop down with their loud noise and startle me when I pass too close at night. Their exoskeletons left clinging to all the trees displays the slit on the back from which the molted adult emerges. They crawl from the ground and climb upon the trees before molting. It must be a good cicada year.

Seleste loves to pick up containers of these shells. I don't know how many I have thrown out. Once unbeknowest to me she gave my neighbor Sandy one in a box tied with a red ribbon. Seleste got a great laugh out of that!
Yes, it's July. The Garden needs a good trimming, but I'll wait a until the weather cools a little.
Pride of Barbados blooming it's beautiful heart out....sigh.

Monday, August 9, 2010

This Weekend's Wedding

I managed to snap a few pictures of the flowers from the wedding I did this weekend. Hectic...Because of the perishable nature of flowers, designing has to be done at the last possible minute to insure that they are beautiful and fresh for the entire duration of the wedding. The 100 degree weather made it even more imperative to wait.

So that doesn't leave much time or energy for taking pictures! Hopefully I can get a photo of the bride with her bouquet. It was a beautiful bouquet of cymbidium orchids, callas, lisianthus, and bells of Ireland. A very unique combination....gotta keep my portfolio updated!

Thursday, August 5, 2010

You only eat store eggs? Huh????

Interestingly enough there are people who will not eat the eggs I produce at home. For various reasons.

Some have the perception that store bought eggs are cleaner and have tighter quality controls. I've even had someone say they just couldn't eat brown eggs....they grossed them out.

Others are really bothered by the fact that I have roosters and well, the eggs may be fertilized and have little well you know rooster stuff in them.

Occasionally there will be a tiny blood spot in an egg, and I don't have those special lights that illuminate them so any "blooded" egg can be removed for the selectively squeamish among us.

According to my "Storeys" chicken raisin' book, this blood spot is only a tiny blood something another that gets enclosed occasionally during the chicken's internal shell making process. Anyway, the same people chow down on red meat that is full of blood...why does a little spot in a egg that doesn't even show once cooked make a difference. I'm sorry, I think people are weird!

I carefully looked and found the best and the worst chicken egg production facility videos I could find. The first tries to be as fair as possible while still casting it's philosophy in a more favorable light. The second, well, its not for the squeamish. I do recommend that you look at both.

Then look at the pictures of my chickens free ranging with their rooster keeping an eye out for predators. There's also a picture of them in their night time coop.

The fact that production farm chickens are kept 6 or so to a battery cage and are never allowed to be a chicken in the sense that God created them is enough for me to decide to keep them myself. It hurts me to see anything kept in squalid conditions. I hate to see a dog chained. I hate to see a horse kept in a stall day in and day out.......It really does break my heart. I wouldn't want to live like that.

It's also a proven fact that chickens that are allowed to free range and eat grass, bugs, and seeds produce nutritionally superior eggs....and ask those that do love to get eggs from me....mine taste better too. The yolks are bright orangy yellow and the egg texture is superior.

I have no problem with eating eggs and meat. I do have a problem with people who do so, but don't want to see how it's done.