Friday, June 24, 2011


It's hotter'an Hades around here right now, and it seems the only crops doing very well are the melons and the okra.  The hotter it gets.  The more they like it. 

We finally got what I call a rain.  It's looking and smelling like Louisiana again.  My mom had maybe hundreds of okra plants volunteer in her garden this year.  So she just let them grow.  I helped her harvest them the other day and snagged all the 3 to 1 inch pods to pickle.  My girls love pickled okra, and I have never grown enough to pickle. 

First I washed them really well...
...and cut the stems short.
I took out dill weed seed and garlic, both from the garden.
I put 2 cups of vinegar, two cups of water, 2 teaspoons of dill seed, and 1/3 cup of canning salt in a pot and brought to a boil.  I packed the fresh okra into pint jars, added two cloves of garlic and some red pepper flakes.  I filled the jars with the boiling vinegar mixture leaving a 1/2 inch headspace.  Then I sealed them with a lid and band and processed in a boiling canner for 15 minutes.  They turned out really yummy.  I waited a few days before opening a jar.  Mommy...I hope you'd like me to help you pick okra again!!!
I finally picked the large melon in my garden.  Guess how much it weighed?......
39.6 pounds!  You should have seen me lugging this thing back to the house.  I should have just used the wagon!

Friday, June 17, 2011

Around The House And Gardens

I guess we are in the drought I suspected.  The Regional Drought Monitor confirms this.  We have had a slight rain or two but no where near the rains we usually have in the summer time.  This lack of precipitation helped lessen the impact of the flooding from the Mississippi in this area...or so I have heard.  The good news is I'm appearing to have more success with my watermelons than I usually do.

I'm attributing that slightly to the dryer weather or maybe it's the new white woven mulch technique I am trying this year.  So far it's impressed me!  Everything grown on it seems to have done better.  It suppresses our aggressive weeds and reflects additional light.  This area of my garden is more traditional.  I grew peas, beans, corn, potatoes and watermelon so far in it and the yields have been fairly good!

But the watermelons....I'm thrilled.  At first glance it just resembles a tangle of aggressive vines.  In Louisiana all vines are aggressive.
But look closer!  Nestled in those mounds of leaves are melons!  Medium sized...
...young and small....
...I read in my Mother Earth News Magazine that to tell if a watermelon is ripe the tendril closest to the melon turns brown.  Well this one is yellow.  Maybe a few more days?
Some are just huge.  I planted two varieties.  I can't think of the names right now, but one is red fleshed and I believe this striped long one is orange.
There are about 20 melons growing in the patch already and the vines are still growing.  I wonder how many we will wind up with.
This is the striped zucchini. I have decided this one is my favorite zucchini.  It taste great and grows to a large size before the seeds get too large.  My Mother-In-Law loves to take a large one wash it and cut a slice off and munch on it.  She munches on a raw zucchini for several days.  She says it's because these zucchinis are sooooo delicious.
My other melons... well something is in a lot of trouble.  My Silverline melons were larger this year than they have ever been.  Something else loves them as well.  Maybe my chickens?  I think I'm going to cover them with chicken wire.  If that helps I'll know they were the culprit.  Every single Silverline melon has at least one little yummy bite munched out of them or a lot more as you can
This is a sleeping beauty melon.  I've never grown them before and am excited to try them.  I read that all other melons besides watermelons are ready when they slip readily from the vine.  Some indicate their ripeness by getting a color glow.  Such as cantaloupes get a orange glow under the netting when they are ripe.
This volunteer squash vine is turning out to be a type of gourd.  They are really pretty with stripes, wings, and warts.  I am going to use them to decorate in the fall.
The okra loves this hot weather.... do the aphids.  There are ladybugs in the garden, but not enough to handle the current population of aphids.  I'll have to do something about this.
I'm working on the side garden.  I have put down clear plastic in an attempt to kill aggressive dollar weed and other weeds.  I also read that it will get hot enough under there to kill any seeds.  We will see!
It's already turning brown under there after one day.
Here is Mr. Slug checking out the new roof on his digs.

Monday, June 13, 2011

Blueberries and The First Fig

Byron's uncle has some friends with huge old blueberry bushes in their yard.  Unbelievably, they don't pick them!  So when they are ripe they call Byron's Uncle, who calls Byron's Father, who calls us!  Then, we all pile into the car with water bottles and sunscreen and drive up to Mississippi to pick plump juicy sweet and sometimes tart blueberries!  This year we picked plenty to freeze... fresh right away...
...and dry!  This is the first time I've ever dried blueberries.  I may have dried them a little much, but they'll most likely be fine for baking.  I'll just rehydrate them a little.  The book said to blanch them in boiling water first for 30 seconds.  I did and this is what they looked like when I put them on to dry.
Today I walked my usual rounds checking on everything and I noticed the figs are getting a little glow to them.  When I peeked a little closer I noticed under a large leaf this huge fig!  It's beautiful... the color is so rich....and did I say it's huge!

Inside...Me, Seleste and Talia shared it.  We each got a nice piece of only one fig!  I hope the rest are as yummy!

Monday, June 6, 2011

This Weekend's Wedding

The flowers I did for the wedding this weekend were bright and beautiful.  They contrasted nicely with the steady green of the golf course.  The colors certainly needed to be bright to compete with the heat!  It was 97 degrees!  The ceremony was at 7:30 so luckily it had cooled down to a lovely 89 degrees....I smelled myself after setting up this wedding!  I did wait until the last possible minute to put the flowers in the wilting heat.
These roses....lovely!
Pomanders punctuated the candelabras....I love my black iron New Orleans....
Tera helping me set up....
I didn't spy any gators....although I've heard there are some there....
Bridesmaid's bouquets....
...and an adorable flower girl that insisted on holding her pomander like a bouquet....guess she wanted to be like the big girls...
....this little guy didn't want to walk in a stupid wedding....
....especially not with any dumb girls....
...and to be greeted by huge grinning people is just plain scary... husband called this the "walk of shame"....the little ring bearer was not happy and he let everyone know!
...then always the best part...the Bride and her Father....
...the pomanders served double duty as centerpieces later....a nice way to save a buck.