Supplies Stamps: MiniTags2Cut and Minis4Circles by The Stamps of Life Ink: Strawberry and Licorice, Stephanie Barnard ColorBox Paper: Neenah, October Afternoon, and The Stamps of Life Dies: MiniTags2Cut by The Stamps of Life Other: Button, May Arts ribbon and twine
I haven't done a garden update since I prepped the beds for planting in February, so how about an update! Here's an overview of the garden. The building you see is the end of the chicken house.
The garden with two rows is the new area we put in a year ago. Here I'm growing various squash (spaghetti, acorn, 8-ball, yellow, black zuc), watermelon, and some cantaloupe melon. Just yesterday I put down soaker hoses along the tops of the rows and covered the hoses with compost to help with water conservation. This bed gets a LOT of southern wind, which is very hard on the plants. So, just out of view on the right side of the garden I put an aluminum windbreak in place. You'll probably see parts of it in other photos.
Last year we pulled the two large metal troughs out of the barn to use in the garden. They're completely full of holes and I thought they would make great beds for the garden. I was RIGHT! There are two tomato plants in each trough, as well as either spinach or radishes to fill in the growing space. This trough happens to be a Sweet 100 tomato, and a yellow pear tomato, along with spinach (which I need to pick!) I have a couple pieces of plastic roofing temporarily clipped to the trellises to block the strong southern wind we were getting today.
Behind the troughs are nine 4'x8' beds (two I'm not using this year), three 3'x5' beds, and lots of large containers.
This is the main area of the garden (click photo for larger view). Where we live does not have the best soil for gardening, and we don't have a tiller, so I do my best to grow in raised beds or large containers with a mixture I create using our soil, farm compost, and sandy soil we had delivered a couple of years ago. The large blue tubs are not my favorite visually, but they are great for what I use them for. Alan buys the tubs in the winter for the cows. They're filled with a hard sticky mess that the cows just love to lick on. When the tub gets emptied, it becomes mine for the garden! We drill holes in the bottom for drainage, set them on a couple inches of gravel, and I fill them up!
In the tubs I grow things like tomatoes, mint, small cucumbers, herbs, and even flowers. This is a new tomato variety for me this year. Husky Cherry Red -- and boy are they not kidding about this thing being "husky"! Some of the branches are as big as my thumb! It holds up GREAT in the wind, so I'm hoping it puts out some nice fruit. It might be a good variety to grow here, if the tomatoes are good!
In front of the chicken house are two 4'x8' beds. The back bed is filled with three black zucchini and three Cherokee Purple tomato plants. The front bed has some small watermelon (backside), and three monster sized Patty Pan squash plants. I also have a small grouping of cucumbers set to climb up a half circle trellis in one corner.
Here is the backside of the bed that is just in front of the chicken house. Plants always do super well in this bed, where they are protected by the chicken house from the southern winds. What a jungle.
In front of the chicken yard is the tee-pee trellis we built last year. This year I decided to just plant a grouping of sunflowers in that area. The HUGE plants closer to the fence are volunteer sunflowers that popped up in the grass. As far as I'm concerned, sunflowers can grow any where on the farm they'd like and volunteers are always allowed to grow. In the blue tub is a Black Cherry Tomato, just transplanted and trellised today.
Back in the main garden area, I have a 4'x8' bed of red beets ready to harvest. They're destined for pickling! Yum! Not sure what I'll plant in this bed once the beets are pulled. Decisions, decisions!
A zucchini plant, and some small watermelon seedlings are growing in this bed.
I had several OLD packages of basil and dill seed I thought I'd just toss into this large aluminum tub. I wasn't sure the seeds would germinate ... the packages said 2005 on them. I guess they were OK afterall! Haa!
Thought I'd drop a few old pumpkin seeds next to this bed and see if they'd grow. Yup, they grew!
This year instead of trellising all of the cucubmers, I thought I'd try growing an entire bed of them on the ground without a trellis. We just get so much wind here and the vines get really dried out. I thought maybe they'd do better if kept lower to the ground. We'll see. They're just now starting to flower. I'm already battling cucumber beetles, and have lost a few plants to wilt. I have cucumbers in several locations, so hopefully we'll get enough for us while battling the bugs.
I haven't been short of challenges this year. I thought we'd be able to get a good jump on the garden, getting seeds in the ground in February in time for some good spring rains. But, I was wrong. We didn't get the rains we expected, and the ground temperature wasn't ideal for sprouting seeds. Much of what I seeded didn't even come up. And then we had a frost, and I lost a good portion of what had sprouted.
I think I was expecting a spring like we had last year, where the garden was in full harvest by the first of June. So, mid-April, I reseeded most of the garden (even using old seeds, if I had them). We might have some surprises, since when I replanted, I didn't exactly write down what I planted in every location. I'm sure I have a few of the squash plants mixed up. Oh well!
I sure hope we have a good harvest this year.... and if you garden, I HOPE YOU DO, TOO!!
I was out in the garden today and noticed that one of my Cherokee Purple tomato plants had a few bare stems.
Stems completely stripped of their soft, green leaves.
I knew exactly what I needed to be looking for...
...and I found HIM! Happily munch, munch, munching away at another leaf stem.
This is the first Tobacco Horn Worm I've found in the garden this year. Longer than my middle finger, and about as big around. I know there will be others, so I will have my eagle eyes on the tomato plants from now on. Horn worms cause great damage to plants. Thankfully, they're easy to pick off, and easy to dispose of. The ducks LOVE them!
The Stamps of Life recently released a framelit die that coordinates with their Cars2Drive stamp set. I've been having a ball making projects with it! The cards I've made are a bit bolder, more graphic, then I tend to make when I'm using my own illustrations. And I love the variety The Stamps of Life produects allow me in my creativity!
Not only is using the die cut car fun, but using the negative space of the die is also great! Here I used the negative space of the die to create a heart filled beetle. I used a sentiment from Ladybugs2Love stamp set -- a perfect companion for the car die, I think!
I also made this clean and simple card using just a red die cut car, a heart, and a sentiment. I love how it turned out! I used my seamstress tracing wheel to create some faux stitch lines for a bit of visual excitement!
I enjoy the variation these types of products allow me in my craft time! It's a nice departure from colored line art!
Supplies Stamps: Ladybugs2Love, Cars2Drive, Frame5Background, Talk4Phone by The Stamps of Life Ink: Guava and Licorice, Stephanie Barnard ColorBox Paper: Neenah, Bo Bunny, October Afternoon, and The Stamps of Life Dies: Cars2Drive by The Stamps of Life ShinHan Touch Twin markers: R2, R3, BG3, Y34 Other: Tracing Wheel, small red gems, Corner Chomper
Hope you're not tired of weather photos ... but I thought I would share this shot of last night's sky, taken after the afternoon thunderstorm passed through. We got a wonderful bit of rain, and it dropped the air temperature down over 20 degrees. Perfect!
And if you're wondering about the view in the direction of the setting sun..
Sunsets are one of the, umm, two things I like about Texas. *grin* And last night the sunset was another beauty. It was very cloudy and grey early in the evening, and I didn't think we'd see any sunset at all. Alan and I were sitting in the living room, when out the window I saw the light had changed and was completely different. Everything was gold and glowing! The sun had dropped beneath the storm clouds and was casting beautiful gold light on everything around us. Outside I went, camera in hand.
We could see the storm to the north, and the VERY black clounds of the storm that was to the southwest of us that promised to come our way. And between the two storms was the setting sun.
The last photo I took of the sunset.
When I first started taking photos, when the sun was well above the horizon, the air was completely still. Our own moment of silence for those effected by this week's weather.
We had kind of an usual sunset last night. Thankfully, I was outside at the time and was able to run in and grab the camera before the color was gone. Everything was pink -- it was the strangest color cast!
We had some storms to the west of us but the clouds weren't high enough to block the setting sun. The humidity did block much of the sun's light though, which made it possible to look at the sun without being blinded from sunlight.
I thought the coral color was so pretty, how it faded to pink. Not too much longer and the sun was mostly obscured by the distant storm clouds. It was sure pretty while it lasted!
Whipper Snapper Designs posted a 'sneak peek' on their facebook page of a couple of my soon to be released stamp images, that are part of their upcoming Fall/Winter release. I thought I'd spread the fun and show you one of those peeks here, too!
I was out picking some prickly lettuce for the geese this evening (it's their FAVORITE snack!) and came across a few (5 to be exact) juvenile wheelie bugs! I went inside, grabbed my camera and macro lens, and headed back outside with a bug jar.
These bugs are about a quarter their soon to be adult size. Wheelie bugs (aka assassin bugs) are GREAT bugs to have in the garden! They are a predator insect and instead of eating plants, they dine on bugs that do! Like soft bodied caterpillars and beetles. After I snapped a few photos, I carefully plunked 5 bugs into my bug jar and scooted out to the garden and set them free.
Go! EAT BUGS!
I've posted other photos of wheelie bugs on the blog ... here, here, and here.
Back in November 2012 I introduced you to this young chicken who is a chick of the famous Tiny Tim and Cricket, who was a house chick until she was big enough to join her flock outside.
This chick was also a temporary house guest. At a fairly young age she seemed to develop a palsy which made life in the coop with the other chickens very difficult. She had a hard time keeping up with the other babies, had a hard time keeping herself on her feet, and had a tendency to get stuck places she couldn't get herself out of. So while I was out west visiting friends, Alan brought her inside for extra TLC. I love coming home to house chickens! *grin*
Turns out, Daisy was a pretty good babysitter. *grin*
Anyway, I thought you might like a little update on this little cutie!
Turns out, she wasn't a she after all, but a HE! After a few weeks of in-house TLC, he showed great improvement. While he still gets the shakes and sometimes completely topples over, it's not as frequent as before. He now has much better control over his muscles. He returned to the coop with the others, but has his own 3'x4' brooder to hang out in when he has difficult days. I call it his bachelor pad. He's face to face with all the other chickens, and sings to all the ladies.
It's quite humid here today, so his normally curly, frizzled feathers are a bit relaxed. He always has lots of things to say, and crows OFTEN.
But unlike Tiny Tim who had a cute little hiccup at the end of his crow, his crow isn't that unusual -- just frequent.
His name: Unsteady Eddie. It seemed to fit. Handsome little fella, isn't he!
you're a stamper and you like challenges, or you're new to the idea of
challenges and want to give participating a whirl, I invite you to
participate with The Challenge Chicks! We're a small group of friends and stampers hosting monthly challenges. Won't you join us?!
Our challenge for May 2013 is being shared today!
This month's challenge is hosted by Diane and she chose to host a color challenge!
For my project, I chose a beautiful floral patterned paper by Crate Paper. It contains all the necessary colors for the challenge, which helped the rest of my card come together quickly!
Here is the color map for the challenge. If you're a Stampin' Up! brand crafter, the colors are Chocolate Chip, Soft Sky, Crushed Curry and Tangerine. If your'e not a Stampin' Up! brand crafter, just do your best to match the colors. You'll see the blue I used on my card is a bit more "blue", and that's Ok! *grin*
Now, get yourself a good dose of inspiration and check out the rest of The Challenge Chicks projects:
And finally, you'll find this month's challenge gallery on SplitCoastStampers using keyword CHXMAY13
. We invite you to play along! Upload your project to your
SplitCoastStampers gallery, add the keyword above, and your project will
be automatically added to the gallery. Or join us on Facebook!
We look forward to seeing your projects!
Supplies Stamp: MiniTags2Cut by The Stamps of Life Ink: Chocolate, Stephanie Barnard ColorBox Paper: Neenah, Paper Accents, Farmhouse floral print by Crate Paper (6x6) Dies: MiniTags2Cut by The Stamps of Life Other: Tracing Wheel, May Arts twine, buttons