Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Hummingbird Season


At first, she was intrigued by her fresh catch.  The animal.  The huntress.  She was wild and conquering.  Her skills were sharp - almost as sharp as her teeth and claws.  She was ready.  She is ready for dove season; but today…today is hummingbird season.

Be vewy quiet.  I’m hunting hummingburds.image

Monday, August 30, 2010

Carrots Love Tomatoes & I Love Carrots/Catsup

On April 29, I planted some Atomic Red Carrots as companions to my Arkansas Traveler Tomatoes.  They were planted simply to benefit the tomatoes by loosening the soil and encouraging the tomato roots to travel deeper.  Success.DSC_1409_4068 The tomatoes grew (and continue to grow) so tall that the growth of the carrots was stunted.  Yesterday, I pulled what I could because I needed some carrots for the minestrone soup I was making.  The carrots were small and a deep, dark red.  Wow.DSC_2070_5039 I didn’t even think to take a reference photo until I had almost finished chopping up the carrots.  Here’s a couple of examples.DSC_2073_5042 I need to order some carrot seeds to plant for fall.

Personal Reveal:  As a child we always had cold carrot sticks on the dinner table.  I liked to dip mine in catsup.  In fact, to this day I believe the reason to eat French Fries is to enjoy catsup.

Note:  The Lemon Squash and Malali Watermelon was ripped out yesterday to make way for some fall planting.



DBE gals:  If you would like to leave a comment on any of these posts scroll down to the bottom of the post.  You will find something that looks like this:

Posted by MAYBELLINE at 9:02 PM 9 comments

  1. Click on comments.
  2. A box should open at the bottom of the post allowing you a space to type in your comments.
  3. Click on the drop down box to choose your identity.  You can type in your name or use an account you may have set up or simply remain anonymous.  If you do choose anonymous, you can reveal who you are in your comment.
  4. Once you have typed in your comment, you can then choose to preview it if you like. 
  5. Once everything looks how you wish then select “Post Comment”.
  6. Your comment will not appear immediately.  I monitor the comments and yours should be posted as soon as I can.

Let me know if you need any help.

Sunday, August 29, 2010

Sometimes Junk Just Works Out


I did not trim the blooms off the chives this week.  On Wednesday the thermometer reached 111; and the rest of the week was similar.  Pee Youie!  I stayed inside for most of the week.  This weekend, the weather is perfect.  PERFECT!  The butterflies and bees are flocking to the chives.  They are welcome.  I don’t know what kind are partying in the chives but here they are:

DSC_2053_5022 DSC_2054_5002 DSC_2052_5021 DSC_2055_5024 DSC_2057_5026 There was a peculiar cloud formation this afternoon that was giving my camera fits.  It was very, very difficult to focus on this because it was all smudgy.  It looks like something bigger is forming in the middle.  What kind of formation is this?  Does this type of formation accompany perfect weather?



DBE gals:  You can click on the photos to view an enlarged image in a separate window.  Let me know if you need help.

Saturday, August 28, 2010

Trash. You Ain’t Nuthin’ But Trash.

imageAll trees and shrubs create trash.  I can’t think of any that don’t unless they’re fake.  Trash is stuff the tree or shrub sheds like leaves, seeds, or blossoms.  Some trash can be a mess.  Some trash can look like colorful confetti from a fun garden party. 

Right now, I have some party trash floating around the garden and I’m okay with that.DSC_1875_4816 Fragrant Wisteria continues to bloom and spread out over the pergola.  The purple trash drops to the gravel below and blows around the backyard.  It’s a fine trade off to endure the perfumed petals in order to enjoy the shade of the vibrant Wisteria.DSC_2045_4993

DSC_2036_4984Oh boy.  The Crepe Myrtle (Watermelon) is the biggest producer of trash in the garden.  These petals are found all over the place this time of year.  Leaf cutting bees even chew them up and stuff them in tiny crevasses in the house windows.  I’ll pick those out later this year when I do a major window cleaning.DSC_2048_4996  DSC_2039_4987 The Texas Ranger blooms here from May until about November: so there is a bounty of blossom trash swirling around and lodging in all kinds of cracks and crevasses.  Here is some party confetti lining the weed infested lawn.DSC_2041_4989 Some gardeners despise garden trash.  Not me.  It’s a colorful accessory for my yard (and the yards of my neighbors – sorry).

Note:  The temperatures have plummeted!  The AC hasn’t been on all day and the high tomorrow is supposed to be 75.  If this is a result of my whining then I may never stop.

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Summer Summer Go Away…


Remember January?  Remember rain?  Remember sweaters?

It’s so flippin’ hot here that the tomatoes and peppers are turning into salsa out in the garden without any help from me.  It’s too  stinkin’ hot.  For those gardeners that longed for the summer during a long, cold, wet winter I say to you:  I’ve had it.  Enough is enough.  You’ve had your summer now let me have some cool weather so I can get on with business.  Sorry.  But it’s time for you to go back inside and endure cabin fever while I enjoy more comfortable weather.  It’s only fair.

Aren’t you ready for apples and jack o’lanterns?  Aren’t you ready for Thanksgiving feasts and Chirstmas goodies?  Aren’t you ready for the seasons to change?  Aren’t you ready to have me stop whining about the heat?

Saturday, August 21, 2010

Garden Update

DSC_2006_4955 Lavender is clipped on a regular basis then dried for use in potpourris.  I did notice that lavender buds are being used to toss at weddings in place of rice or birdseed.  I like that choice.

DSC_2003_4952Dove chickies have hatched up in the grape arbor.  Don’t they know that dove season starts on September 1?  Perhaps they’ll simply hang out in the garden for a while.

DSC_2015_4962The tomatoes just will not stop producing.  My freezers are stuffed and I have loads of salsa.  There are little yellow blossoms on most of the plants.  In the background, the apricot is screaming for an espalier pruning.  This will probably be the sixth trim this summer.

DSC_2022_4969 Summer sweetness plumps up the peaches as they continue to ripen.  I enjoyed a peach this morning and thought it was great.  Farmer MacGregor didn’t think it was sweet enough yet so I won’t harvest just yet.

DSC_2027_4974The chives are blooming and need to be snipped.  Most all the herbs in the garden are growing well – chives, parsley, basil, thyme,  and rosemary.  The summer savory I planted with the beans never germinated.  I planted twice.  It must have been a dud package of seeds.

DSC_2011_4958 I’m not sure how to best preserve the peppers since the favorite way to use them is in salsa or stuff them with cream cheese, wrap them in bacon and bake them.

DSC_2009_4976 Pumpkin looks forward with anticipation for the upcoming dove season.

DSC_2008_4975 Licorice continues to supervise all activity in the garden between naps.  Looks like she’s ready to take a dive.

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Crabgrass and Harry Truman


Yes.  Crabgrass is in the mix of lawn weeds that I pull each evening.  Thank goodness for the radio.  Tonight I listened to Valley Public Radio’s Valley Writer’s ReadEach Wednesday evening a story authored and read by a Central San Joaquin writer is featured.  Tonight, Jim Ashford reads his piece about meeting Harry Truman when Ashford was a young man in the early 1960’s.  It was a nicely written/read story that helped me pass the time laboring on the lawn.

I’m starting to feel like Truman though with an urge to drop a bomb on my lawn and start all over again.

Click on the Valley Writer’s Read link to enjoy a nice story from a local writer.

Tuesday, August 17, 2010



My name is Maybelline and I have spurge.  Spotted spurge.  It’s in my lawn.  The gardener has spread it around.  It grows low to the turf and grows on stressed turf.  Fertilization and irrigation alterations will not help.  My choices to remove the junk are chemicals or manually pulling these boogers.


Each evening as the sun is setting I gather my mat, a Mason jar of ice water, gloves, a weeding trowel, and my radio.  Yes, I listen to Michael Savage.  Surprised?  I also listen to the Thomas Jefferson Hour so back off if you want to pick on me.  The garden kitties join me in exploring the front yard until there is no more light to operate.  I pull out spurge and various other weeds until I fill my weed box.  I do my best to pull the entire trespasser from tip to root. 

Spurge exudes a milky, sticky sap that is supposed to be poisonous.  Carrots Love Tomatoes suggests that the sap of some spurge can be used against warts.  Terrific.  I have some of those.  I have applied a little of the sap to some flat warts on my ankle.  The warts have started to darken.  Each evening when I’m weeding I apply a bit more.  I will not post pictures here but will report if the toad like bits drop off.

In the meantime, I estimate with my current rate of progress that the front lawn should be spurge free in about three months.  This is not encouraging.  My goal is to have a healthy lawn.  It’s  not a big lawn and it’s not a healthy lawn.  Any advice for a chemical free healthy lawn will be greatly appreciated.

Maybe I should consider a weeding party where each participant receives an equal amount of produce for the amount of weeds pulled.  Napalm is sounding better and better.





DBE gals:  Yesterday you tackled a lesson learning how to follow links within Maybelline’s garden.  Here are a few web sites you might enjoy by following these links.  They should open in a separate window.

Ben Nevis

Edinburgh Fringe

Military Tattoo

Nessie Cam

Royal Highland Show

Scotland for the Senses

The Scotsman

Monday, August 16, 2010

The Fall Seeds Are Here! The Fall Seeds Are Here!


My order of new fall seeds arrived from Terroir Seeds out of Chino Valley, Arizona.  By now, you probably know that I support Arizona and its new law (SB1070) regarding illegal immigration.  I prefer to throw my almost worthless dollars to the state of Arizona rather than a sanctuary city or a blowhard state like my very own California.  Nonetheless, the fall seeds arrived and here’s what I’ll plant:

Nutribud Broccoli is an early-maturing variety, having a large central head with medium-sized side shoots on vigorous, attractive plants. Unusually high in free glutamine, a building block of protein and an important healing nutrient.

Harvests of mature heads extend over about a two-week period. Plant succession crops for continuous harvests. Consistently good results. Difficult to find.

Mammoth Red Rock Cabbage is an heirloom from 1889 that have solid round flattened purple-red 7-10 in. diameter large 6-8 lbs heads.

Excellent keeper with hard and tightly wrapped leaves, large-framed medium core that is great for pickling, boiling and general use. Excellent quality cabbage.

Early Jersey Wakefield Cabbage was introduced about 1840. These small 2-3 pound distinctly pointed, conical shaped heads are fast growing, ready for early summer harvesting. Best cabbage for early spring planting.

Regarded by many as one of the best tasting cabbages. Compact size is ideal for raised beds; it's easy to space four or five closely across the width of a raised bed without over crowding.

Cimmarron Lettuce is an heirloom from the 18th century. Also called Little Leprechaun. Beautiful deep red romaine, 10”-12" tall with a crisp, creamy yellow-bronze center with a tender texture and great flavor. Large, sturdy plants virtually impervious to bolting. Both cold and heat hardy.

Merlot Lettuce is absolutely gorgeous, frilled leaves of the richest, dark wine-red. Smooth, full bodied flavor. Loose leaves work well for “cut and come again” culture, as well as baby salad mix. Dark-red lettuce is very high in flavonol, a compound that acts as an antioxidant. William Woys Weaver believes this is destined to become a classic. Finally getting more well known. For the longest shelf life, harvest greens late in the day.

He-Shi-Ko Bunching Onion is a perennial bunching onion, nonbulbing, 3 to 5 slim tender 12-14" silvery-white stalks grow from base with a white pungent flesh.

The Tall Telephone Pea is a Swiss heirloom dating to 1878. Vigorous vines produce a profusion of large, easy to pick, dark-green pods, with 8 - 10 delicious peas in each. Long season. Good in most areas for home gardens, fresh markets and freezing.

Orange Scented Thyme has the traditional flavor of Old English Thyme with a refreshing orange-mint fragrance and pale pink flowers that attract bees. When used in cooking, the clear orange flavor lingers without the harsh aftertaste of other thymes. Excellent with fish, roasted vegetables, stews and soups. Grows short & compact to 4” tall & 12” across.

Stevia leaves are 100-300 times sweeter than table sugar, have virtually no calories and are not broken down by heat. Studies show this non-caloric, natural sweetener lowers blood pressure, regulates heartbeat, is antimicrobial, antibacterial, antiviral, anti-yeast and retards dental plaque. No calories, no carbohydrates, no tooth decay!

In addition, I will plant garlic, carrots, and onions.  I just need to decide the combinations to plant and which beds to use.  All seeds will be sewn in place if the current crops poop out in time.  If not, I will need to start the seeds in peat pots and transplant whenever the beds are ready.


Note:  DBE gals, I did a terrible tutorial job on yesterday’s post.  Let’s try one more time.  Please read these instructions to the end then give it a try.  In the paragraph above you can see the word “garlic” in a different color type.  When a word or group of words are in a different color that generally means that those words are linked to something related to the topic.  Give a single left click on that green garlic.  That action will take you to a post that shows my garlic braid.  If you want to come back to this post click on the back button.  The back button looks something like this.image   An arrow pointing to the left will take you back one page.  If you want to know what a button does just put your cursor (mouse) arrow over the button and some words should pop up to tell you what the button does.

That’s enough for now.  Go out and practice.  Remember, your breed ruled an empire.  You can do this.

Sunday, August 15, 2010

Why Do Aphids Love Pumpkins As Much As Me?

DSC_1952_4902The Cinderella Pumpkins are beginning to bloom.  I didn’t expect anything so this is a bonus.  If the squash set, there should be pumpkins for Halloween and Thanksgiving.  Last year my pumpkin patch was overrun with aphids(Note to DBE gals:  click on the word aphids to see the problem I had last year.  A new window should open with that post.  The window you are currently reading should stay open.  You can return to this window whenever you like.  Lesson over.  Let me know if you have any trouble.  I’m happy to help.) The same is true in 2010.

DSC_1957_4907In the morning, I give the underside of the leaves a blast from the hose to get rid of the aphids and eggs while irrigating.  This does the trick for now.  I may need help from some ladybugs.  The leaves look a bit wilted after this treatment…

DSC_1955_4905 …but they bounce back as the day wears on.

Seed Alert!  Seed Alert!  My seeds have arrived for fall planting.  I’ll post about them soon.

Saturday, August 14, 2010

Scare Tape Revisited

DSC_1950_4900The Red Flame Grapes did way more than I expected from them this season.  The 2 year old vine grew up and over the arbor and is now growing along the fence.  Fruit production was at least 10 times more than the year before.  Although the grapes were kinda small, they had plenty of flavor.  The scare tape still dangles even though there is no more grapes to protect from pecking birds.  It still keeps the birds away from tomatoes, strawberries, and peaches.

The scare tape works really well.  Birds stay out of the garden.  I don’t know if it’s because of the tape or the garden kitties.  Pumpkin (one of two garden kitties) is a menacing creature and always enjoys a good cut of meat.  Since she lounges in the vegetable garden, she may be the one responsible for keeping the birds away.  However…PUMPKIN10-0117 …it seems that birds could get used to the scare tape and disregard the metallic glimmer as if it were only a disco ball.  Thankfully, the local birds remain scared of the tape and Pumpkin - except for the birds that I believe are one of God’s dumbest creatures.

DSC_1948_4898That’s okay, Pumpkin.  I know you’re letting this one fatten up before Dove Season officially starts on September 1.  Hope you have the discipline.

Friday, August 13, 2010

Windows. Clean, Clean Windows.


Check it out.  Farmer MacGregor (on the patio with a red shirt) went around the entire house and touched up the paint around all the windows.  Then, he washed them!  I love clean windows.

I’ve been away and kind of uninspired to post anything.  This weekend looks like a return to Hades; so I’ll find shelter inside.  This will give me an opportunity to sort through photos, can salsa, and look through seeds for the fall.

Fall seeds are being shipped from Terroir Seeds.  I’m getting inspired.  All I need is some cool weather.

Sunday, August 8, 2010

Flower Power in the Veggie Patch

There’s still lots blooming in the veggie patch.  Not everything is edible; but the blossoms attract pollinators to the patch and production remains very, very high.

DSC_1903_4854  The Texas Ranger busts into bloom starting in May and continues until around November.  The bees are drunk on all the pollen they are loading up.  Texas Rangers are easy to grow in zone 9.  They thrive in the dry heat and aren’t fussy, temperamental plants.

DSC_1907_4858 Marigolds sprouted from last season’s seeds; so I left them alone growing amongst the Al Kuffa Tomatoes and the Borlotto Solista Beans.  I need to remember to be careful when I clean these out in the fall.  There are loads of spiders in them (Black Windows included).

DSC_1909_4860 Okay.  All the tomatoes continue to produce.  This has been a banner year for tomato production.  Truly overwhelming.  I really thought that these plants that were started by seed on March 1 would have been finished by now and I would be preparing the beds for the fall/winter crops.  No way.  They just keep on giving.

DSC_1910_4861 The Serrano Peppers are enjoying the heat of summer and all the plants are loaded with lantern like blossoms.DSC_1911_4862  These little butterflies flutter all through the peppers.  Grasshoppers are a problem that I believe I’m keeping under control with my grasshopper hunt each evening.  Slap.  Squish. Stomp.  No grasshopper is safe.  At the beginning of summer they would give me goose bumps.  Now, I am a grasshopper exterminator using my gloved hands and Croc covered feet as my weapons of destruction.

DSC_1912_4863 Black Hungarian Peppers are similar to the Serranos except they are deep purple. Cue the Deep Purple soundtrack.

DSC_1914_4865 The Malali Watermelon continues to produce as well.  Charlotte here will not let any bees or butterflies near this blossom she rules over.

DSC_1916_4867 The Lemon Squash will not stop.  Note to self:  plant two seeds next season and hope that only one germinates.

DSC_1918_4869Borlotto Solista Beans have a delicate, soft pink blossom.  I think that grasshoppers find them delicious because there aren’t that many beans yet.

DSC_1919_4870 Thyme is blooming and the bees love it.  I need to get out there and give it a snip.

DSC_1928_4878English Lavender continues to attract the bees and butterflies.  The spittle bugs seem to be gone for the time being.

DSC_1922_4872 The chives are starting to develop seed heads that also need to be snipped.

There it is.  A garden update on all the flowers in the veggie patch.