Friday, July 15, 2011

I'm Baaaaaack .....

Hey there lovers!
After my week off I got back to work and was absolutely clobbered with a bunch of stuff, so I am just now getting back into the blogosphere.  The week off was good, although it could have been more relaxing.  I also had to lay down some ground rules for the anklebiters of our neighborhood.  All of a sudden our house is THE house to be at, which I'm fine with - but seriously, apparently no one teaches their kids manners anymore, whatsoever.  Among the standout quotes:
"I'm hungry. What do you have to eat?"
"Ewww, I don't like that.  What else do you have?"
"I forgot my towel, on purpose.  I'll just use one of yours"
"Where's my lunch?"

I swear to god.  I started out nice and my the end of the day I was stomping around with a war face on, and all the kids were scared, which I was fine with.  If it keeps them from running through my house dripping wet because "I was hot!" then so be it.  And seriously, our pool is a crappy rinky-dink plastic pool I got for about $15 at KMart, not a freakin in-ground monstrosity with built-in jacuzzi, and they still flock over.  Whatever.

Soooo ... I had this fear of making pickles.  It just seemed super complicated and like you had to have 2 uninterrupted hours to make it come out right.  I planted our one little cucumber plant thinking I'd have enough for salads etc, but not excess.
Zac chased a rabbit into our garden last week and trampled two of my zucchini plants (they are fine, though).  After he squashed them I discovered this :

About 8 full grown cucumbers, just hanging out.  I had already collected a basketful 2 days earlier and was kind of wondering what to do with those - it was PICKLE OR DIE time.
And I did it!!

 3 jars of dill hamburger chips, 3 jars of sandwich slices, and I had 1/2 jar leftover that became refrigerator pickles.  And the big, beautiful (seriously if I get married again I would carry them down the aisle) dill seed heads came right out of the garden.
Here's the perpetrators of my insanity.  Sure, they LOOK cute ...

Don't be fooled.
Our little mystery vine has fruited.  Did I say little?  This sucker has snaked it's way through my neighbors fence, and because she's a cool lady she's fine with it.  When I saw the fruit I told her it is shaped kind of like a butternut squash - she said the ones on her side are definitely pumpkin-shaped.  So mystery vine may be TWO mystery vines!
Here's whats happening on my side of the fence:

 And next to it, something else that I didn't plant - some sunflowers coming up below our feeder

 I had this idea to grow sweet potatoes, but I got discouraged because everything I read said they spread like crazy.  So I found an article about growing sweet potatoes in a barrel - all I needed was a sweet potato slip.  So I suspended one on toothpicks over a jar of water and put it in the sun, just like suggested - it rotted.  And the next one, and the next one.  I gave up.  Butterbean is my sweet potato queen, and I had picked her up some at the Co-op and had them in our pantry.  I reached by them one day and yes - one great big tendril, about 8" long, had sprung out of that thing!
I ran to Home Despot and got a cheap ($12) black plastic trash can and some organic potting soil.  I used a very sharp knife and cut out semicircles all over it, so the potatoes would get good sun and drainage.  I put about 4 inches of soil in the bottom, dropped the potato in, and covered it with more soil.  The conventional wisdom is that you add more soil anytime the sprout is 6" above the soil - obviously I need to go pick up more!

So excited for this.  When you are ready to harvest you just dump the barrel out, how easy is that?  Our family loves sweet potatoes!

  Peas are gone.  I pulled them out and harvested what was left as starters for next year.  In their place went a cantaloupe plant generously donated by a neighbor, 3 rescued pepper plants, and some heirloom lettuce.  I want to find some little corner to put in more radishes.  (Pickled radishes!!)

 One of our dumpster-rescued pepper plants is going ca-raaaaazy.  I have no idea how hot these are, the Mister will be recruited as taste tester/guinea pig.  I can make some salsa with them and THESE

Holy effing hell, I am going to have a buttload of tomatoes.  Most of the time this makes me want to dance, and then sometimes I wake up in a cold sweat wondering what the hell I'm going to do with a ton or two of tomatoes.  Speaking of which ..

This lil heirloom tomato plant has no home :-(  He is an orphan. Once he had a name (Blondkopfchen?  Black Tula?  Peacevine Cherry? Green Zebra??)  He now has no name, and no home, because some fool forgot that her little garden could not possible handle 80 gazillion tomato plants.  I swear every time I walk by him he looks at me with this pathetic little look, waving his sad lil leaves like, "Whyyy??  Why don't you love meeeee??"  I think I'll kick my now-done bean plant out of it's big roomy planter, and move Lil Dude in.  I can't take his complaining anymore.
So what did I miss?  Who's pregnant?  Who fell off the wagon, and who climbed back on?  Who was forced into a psychiatric facility?  Catch me up!


  1. Welcome Back!!! :) Hey those pickles look great and you got quite a few jars out of your cukes. Your veges look so lush and green also...yummmmm!! Now that we are settled in, I'm going to start a patio garden again. :) I have to wait til October tho...growing season in florida is november to march...weird huh? still can't get used to it. You are def going to have a good bounty! :)

  2. I am so beyond jealous of your harvest! I'm not altogether sure here in ice-age land that we're even going to get tomatoes or peppers. As for neighborhood kids, that would drive me crazy. I don't know how you keep your patience.

  3. Oh how wonderful to see you back, my sweet Jewel! And look at all of those delicious pickles you canned! YOU GO GIRL!!!

    I have never heard of the sweet potato bucket idea and am super wowed over it. That is really amazing. Just dump them out? No digging and sweating and cussing?

    Your harvest is one you should surely be so proud of. Clearly a garden created with unyielding love and determination. A perfect combination!

    Have a wonderful week and give those 2 beautiful princesses of yours a super big hug, my sweet friend.

  4. Me! Me! I'm pregnant! LOL, just thought I'd catch you up. Like Katherine, I am beyond jealous not just of your harvest but you know, how you can make stuff grow and stuff. :) I wish neighbor kids came to our house more. I always feel bad for Mi and Ni as they sit around bored. But I suppose they are old enough to work that stuff out themselves. But yeah, you gotta set the ground rules . I remember when I was growing up, my friend's mom would yell at me just as readily as she'd yell at her own daughter. She kept us in line. LOL.

  5. Your. garden. rocks. I put my sweet potatoes in the ground near the fence and am just training them up. I dunno if that was a good idea or not, but we'll see. My stuff doesn't look near as great as yours. I really want to tear into a jar of your pickles. YUM!

  6. Hello!

    Why I love this post:
    -Your observation on the lack of manners in kids... I KNOW, right?! The fact that you don't let it phase you is phenomenal. Me, I get all upset and wonder at my parenting skills, which I must stop and I know it. Now I know I'm not the only mom with a war face on occasionally and that makes me feel so much better!
    -I now know that I'm not the only one who thought that cucumbers would grow a couple cute salads and was instead ambushed with rude-ass pickles out the yin-yang.
    - Love the sweet potato suggestion. We didn't know how to deal with the crazy spreading they like to do...

    So thanks!

  7. My house is da place ta be (Pauly-D....bad Jersey Shore reference) for the kiddos too. I wanna throttle those rude little assholes sometimes too. Actually, I'd like to throttle their lazy parents for allowing their assholish behavior.

    You have huge cucumbers.

  8. Okay, next summer, I will have a garden. No ifs-ands-or-butts about it. Not only will it yield more than I can eat (yay for giving to neighbors), but it will save money (even MORE YAY!!) and provide some exercise. Now if I could just learn to love it, life would be good. Can cucs, tomatoes and sweet potatoes grow in semi-shade? Lydia, maybe I can get you over to my backyard to consult. :) OH, and I'm gonna put a couple fig trees in. My grandparents have a ton, but they won't live forever (the trees, or the peeps) and I gotta learn. (You apparently need at least two to cross-polinate.) Glad you're back to blogging! When I need a break from this hell-hole you used to call work, I read your posts. :)

  9. I could just scream!!! I am so freaking jealous right now. David wants to turn the side of our house into a veggy garden for his tomatoes but I have bigger plans with squash, cucumbers, beans, carrots, etc. He is going to be so damned busy building raised beds for me.
    Oh, welcome back to blogger land darlin. I was wondering when you would be back.


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