Thursday, July 29, 2010

One More Thing?

F├╝rstenau, Winter im Oberdorf (winter in the u...Image via Wikipedia

This summer has really been fantastic. The weather is amazing. I feel like this is well deserved due to the horrible and almost intolerable winter we had. I am not really sure what made last winter so intolerable. Perhaps I was left alone with my own thoughts too long. I lack winter hobbies in a big way. Harry and I started to bowl which was super fun and I got back into needlepoint and puzzling but I think that was not enough to keep my mind away from the garden I was dying to tend and the life I want to lead.

Summer for me is a small glimpse into the life that I wish I had. Tending the animals and weeding the garden allows me to transport myself in my head to a 20 acre farm that I wish I had! The real stinker is that with the economy, I see these gorgeous and affordable farms going up on the market because people cannot afford to support themselves. They are within a price range that Harry and I could afford but we can’t take that leap due to our family situation and the fact that we already have 2 houses. Selling Swood would not only be heart breaking for me, but also, I think, in its current state, near impossible. Buying a third house would spread us too thinly.

My brain brings me here today just because I have been really enjoying the weather and life in general but there is always that “one more thing” that I wish we had. I suppose life is ALWAYS going to be like that. Do you suppose there is anyone that sits and says “wow my life is totally full and I desire nothing else”? Or do you think there is always “one more thing” they wished they had?
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Saturday, July 24, 2010

Hot day!

It is a very hot day at SW south. While my husband is busy working incredibly hard out in the scorching heat, I am busy taking pictures frivolously of all of our accomplishments.  (That is not entirely true, I actually cleaned the heck out of the inside of the house, did laundry and made lunch, but it sounds way more dramatically horrible to think that he was slaving away at the fencing for the new hen enclosure and I was eating bon-bons on the deck right?)

Anyway, I thought I would take some pictures of how the hens were beating the heat. This is Lavinia (formally yellow headed chicken) busy at digging herself a hole.

Here is the unnamed hen sporting her new saddle. She

made it crooked!

Myopic chicken is already well in the hole and AHA! I have been spotted! How Ironic!

here we also have my squash plants mixing with the massive pumpkin plant and watermelon that is taking over the world!

And the camera shy Noah trying his best to hide.

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Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Newest Member!

I am pleased to introduce the newest member of the shmoopywood clan.

Igor the wonder cat.
also known as Igors, Pepper, and the Mousinator.
We rescued him from a local shelter and he has already ventilated the puppy and made himself quite comfortable!

Monday, July 19, 2010


I was outside this morning emptying the puppy and I saw this. I just had to share it! Even if that meant sharing it with my low budget cell phone camera, I still found it that beautiful. I guess I find it beautiful because its an example of something I did both right, and very wrong (see last post). This photo was taken at 6:30am EST lol.

Thursday, July 15, 2010

I keep making mistakes!

A pumpkinImage via Wikipedia
We have been suffering a very dry summer. Last year we were floating up to our eyeballs in water. I think I read somewhere that the month of June 2009, it rained all but 2 days in my region. This year it has been the exact opposite. There are 2 rainy days committed to my memory and they were this past Saturday, and yesterday. So you can imagine that either way is challenging for the garden. I noticed this morning out of my one open eye when I was emptying the puppy at 6am, that the larger bed I had planted squash, pumpkin and melon in looked like a jungle! Yesterday when I was inspecting, it looked like a garden! The water we received yesterday has made these plants so giant and so beautiful that I am getting ready to write down in my garden journal (yes I keep one of those) how you SHOULDNT plant melon and squash in one bed together!

When I put them in the ground, my thought process went something like this:

me: "hey are you sure you should put pumpkin, watermelon and squash all in the same bed?"
me: "yeah it will be fine, why"
me: "welllll I have never seen them grown before but I am pretty sure you need a huge plant to make a 20lb pumpkin"
me: "bah you dont know what you are talking about, I am doing what I want"

By the time they reach maturity, it will be a tangled mess of leaves and fruit! Pumpkin doesn't mature for MONTHS yet and already it has completely overtaken the bed. When I get home, I will take pictures, either today or tomorrow. The weather was raining again this morning but now its sunny so I can't even imagine how large these plants will be by end of business ;)

At least I can laugh at myself!
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Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Dude, What Is That?

If you think about it, its actually pretty funny that I do the things that I do. For example, remember back when I started all my seeds for the garden? Well, I was very careful and meticulous in planting them according to the packet, making sure they had the appropriate light for the appropriate amount of time and finally, I was very careful in MARKING all of my seedlings with those funny little plastic pointy things that you can write on. I made rows and rows. I started 3 different kinds of tomatoes you see, and I was so sure this was going to be my year!!

Shortly after planting, maybe 3 weeks or so, my tomatoes started dying out, whole flats just pooping out. We weren't sure why, maybe over watering, maybe not? not sure! In a panic, I planted the last of my seeds. Do you see where this may be going?

Fast forward to planting them on the deck and in the planters, removing the neat little plastic things, trying to remember which ones were which. Wait, I dont think these are grape tomatoes, they died and I think I replaced them with beefsteak... or was it cherry? or... SHIT!

Thats right.

Even today we aren't sure what is growing on the vines. We have identified ONE tomato plant of 10. This sweet little number which is apparently bestowing many fruit upon us.
Even in my glory I still am somewhat of a garden failure this year. Maybe next year I will get it right?

The peas seem to think so :) And although I know what they are, (sugar snap peas), I am unaware of anything else about them. Including when I planted them lol.

There is alot to learn in gardening!! Thankfully at this current time, I am not trying to grow our main food supply because I am afraid my family would STARVE.

Monday, July 12, 2010

I spoke too soon

Closeup of a green wormImage by via Flickr
Remember how I was JUST saying last week that my garden was doing so much better than last year? Well... Friday I came home from work to realize that my cauliflower looked as though it had been through a grinder. It was all chewed up! When I got closer, I realized that it was little leaf colored wormies having a feast on my garden! I started to pick them off one by one, with the hens standing just on the other side of the fence. (They love it when I have garden troubles because I inevitably end up putting things down their gullets, like little green wormies). There were just too many to pick off! I am a NEW gardener. This is the second garden I have ever had in my entire life so you can imagine my panic!. I grabbed the Sevin that I happen to have around the house because I have chickens, and I doused them.

I know... it was pesticides...

But I had to!

Then I moved on to the rest of my garden for inspection. The potatoes look very bad. In just 1 day they went from looking full and having flowers, to looking like they were dying out. Since I am a new gardener, I am not smart and I did not save the seed bag so I am not sure if i planted "early" potatoes or not and I wasn't sure if they were close to harvest. So I ran back in the house to the internet and read that I could carefully dig to see if there are any mature taters.
Sounded easy...
I dug to china.
Never having successfully grown potatoes, I had no idea really where to look for them.
I eventually found a tiny little potato, and it was (laugh) surprisingly close to the actual plant lol.

I filled the holes back up, did a little "please live a few more weeks" jig, and moved on to my garlic which also looks very sad and dead/dying.
I pulled one

these I know should be ready, they were planted back in October after all.

but alas, smaller than a ping pong ball yet the plants are dying rapidly.

I think the rest of the garden is ok. I have one cherry tomato plant that is so full of green maters that it just may keel over :) (dont worry I do have it in a cage its not going to fall over)

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Thursday, July 8, 2010

You got a saddle for that thing?

There is a new Sheriff in town and that Sheriff is named Mike. We got Mike back when the new chickens were first hatched. We figured if we grabbed a new rooster (this was to be Ted's replacement) when he was little, he would be raised with the new chickens and think he is one of them and to be honest, my theory was spot on! (Apparently I can be right from time to time.) He not only loves his girls, but he also is very good to them.

Now we have to try to get over a more delicate matter. That is the matter of his rather rotund girth. You see, Mike, in all his glory is a Jersey Giant. G-I-A-N-T. With all my bloody research about the perfect breed rooster, and all my searches on the internet, you would think that the word GIANT would ring a bell somewhere right? My hens are not giants. Do you see where I am going with this? Mike is amazing, he is nice, protective of his girls, he lets me carry him around, and his crow is very low key and quiet. These are all great qualities in the king of the yard and for this, we are so thankful. What I can't stand is how he steps on the hens and uh... the bare backs... oh the bare backs...

So I come to you good blog people of the internets... If you had the PERFECT rooster, what could you do to keep him from single handedly removing all of your hens feathers during *uh* a dance.... *cough*...

I wish.

Harvested summer radishes.Image via Wikipedia
I am having a heck of a time acquiring a packet of radish seeds. You see, we already planted, grew and harvested our first round and I thought since it happened so quickly we would be able to go ahead and plant another round. I mean its only the second week of July! I could probably do this again twice before the growing season is over and that would make Hubby oh so very happy. I then started to think how cool it would be to grow different species of radish so I ran off to my local store to grab a packet.



Not a single one.

So now I think to myself "ok, fine... I will go somewhere else and grab a packet"... but no! there are none to be found anywhere! The only place I can find them is on Amazon. I love Amazon but I really hate to order
them online and pay shipping plus to me its a wasteful delivery...

I mean its JULY RIGHT? I SHOULD BE ABLE TO FIND RADISHES AT MY LOCAL STORE RIGHT? I guess I am strange to want to plant radishes multiple times throughout the year and going forward I will remember that I need to plan ahead and buy more than one package of radish.

Sorry for the rant.

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Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Everything is inging

Everything is good.
The plants are growing
The chickens are laying
the rooster is crowing
Noah is... Noah is... crap... uh.... Noahing??

Ah well I lost it with the puppy but the truth is everything really is status-quo here at SW South. We have been really excited about the progress of all of our plants considering how utterly craptastic last years garden was. This year we are having quite the opposite in fact, we have not had rain in like 5 weeks or some such craziness and today's temperatures will reach 99 degrees and this is to be sustained through Saturday! The plants love it as long as we remember to water them thoroughly. Yesterday I had to make 3 trips out there to water! Plants started to wither a bit.
Its very exciting to me because with the exception of the squash, all of our plants are started by me and some of them date back to February!!

The chickens are hot but all of them are starting to lay now which is very exciting for me as well because we hatched 3 of these hens ourselves!

Our boy Noah is growing strong and happy. This is a picture our friend (and his breeder) Sterling took of him Saturday while he was running around with his sister.  He is now about 14 weeks but truthfully i keep losing track of his age as mine increases :) He is a lover and if I do say so myself he is extremely handsome! What an incredible mixture of curiosity, love, happiness, and energy he is turning out to be.

SO for now, this is all I have but promise to keep you posted and stuff as things continue progressing :)

Thursday, July 1, 2010

Summer FINALLY!!

Summer is here for real! How do I Know this? Well I know it for two reasons because D and I have already started attending farmers markets and we are fishing again! The farmers markets around here are small but I think as more people show interest in local foods they will get bigger. I already can see the difference between last year and this year which is great. We also live in the North East so this means that June farmer’s markets are full of bread, jams, strawberries, strawberries and more strawberries. This is ok of course, I realize things are not quite in season. We should be seeing peas and beans soon enough though and then comes the beautiful tomatoes!

Last week’s trip to the FM yielded us some wonderful jam, homemade fresh spinach delights and some organic dog treats. It also got Noah some new people action. Its important to us to make sure we properly socialize a great dane puppy because of our experience in rescue etc. You do not want an unfriendly 150+ pound dog, trust me. Noah is a delight, he loves everyone and everything. NOTHING scares him and he is genuinely happy all the time. Sadly he is also VERY energetic and I am not lol. He is also a bit of a spaz but that is normal puppy behavior. I love watching him try to make his legs work the way they should lol he is very dorky and clumsy all the time. Dragging him around the FM was priceless and people are always shocked to hear he is not a weim.

Our garden is … eh… well its 80% better than it was last year! That’s for sure! It looks as though we may actually get tomatoes and potatoes this year. We have already harvested our first round of radishes and they were reported to be delish! The slug population is nil because the rain is nil. That has been hard to manage. We aren’t doing so well with the corn though, its only about 6-10” high and its July 1st! I don’t know what is going ot happen with it. I have to also say that my day lilies are also JUST blooming so I think the sunlight and habitat of my yard is prolonging the season. Hopefully the warmth will hold out long enough for them to become something amazing!

The chickens are fantabulous. Ted Junior has moved to his new home (finally!!) and is keeping watch over 10 assorted hens. The family is wonderful and I have no concerns over him at all. Our Mike (Jersey Giant) has started to crow very quietly and low toned. He is a super nice roo, lets hope it stays that way because he is enormous. The hens are great, new kids are already laying their tiny little eggs.