Saturday, July 23, 2016

Let Your Love Grow Tall

 As you can see, Jack's experiment with the tomato towers has gone really well this year.  This is only 2 plants but has really taken off and producing a ton of maters.  Unfortunately, this tower is planted with MoneyMakers and I have not been very impressed with them.  They are mostly hollow and the tops are not ripening well at all.  Some of them are more solid and ripe but the majority I just throw to the chickens.  I thought maybe it was the structure of the tower somehow but the Golden Jubilees planted in the other tower are fantastic.  Very full and ripe all over.  Both plants are very healthy as far as foliage too.  The maters planted in the main garden are doing pretty good but the foliage looks pitiful compared to these.

 The garden as a whole has done very well this year and I'd say it's mostly due to Jack's hard work.  He has really busted his butt this year keeping it weeded and mulched well and generating new soil with compost and such.  I started the plants from seed and planted and then have done the harvesting, but he's done the really hard stuff.  I have done some weeding but not as much as him.
Some things, like the squash and zukes, have about pooped out at this point and are not as full as this photo shows anymore.  In fact, I've pulled up about half of them.  The corn there is much, much taller though.  The corn in the new expansion has not done as well but that soil is new and very lean, so that's not unexpected.  We are getting some corn to eat but it's not real full.

 The stuff in the concrete block is still doing well but must be watered often.  We were in a bit of a drought there for a while and were watering practically every day.  Fortunately we have gotten some relief lately and are not having to water as much.

 The cukes have slowed way down but are still producing some.  Maybe I should have staggered their planting a bit.  They have been very tasty though, not bitter at all and I've heard a lot of folks complaining that a lot of the cukes from the farmer's market have been very bitter.  Lack of water I guess.

 So, we have been getting a great harvest this year, especially with the blueberries. They have been fantastic! and I've kept them all to myself!  haha!  Actually, we have given some to my mom and other family but I have frozen a bunch.  The cucumbers are Marketmore btw.  I'll grow them again I imagine.

 The tomatoes have been a mixed bag, literally.  The Snowballs are great! (that's the cream-colored ones). Very tasty, mild flavor and I don't seem to react to them badly.  The Golden Jubilees are great also but I've grown those before and knew I liked them.  In fact, I've been so happy with these because they are from seeds I saved.  The Green Zebras....well...I'm not even sure if I got the correct thing.  What I think is the Zebras taste okay but I'm not real impressed with them either.  The Black Cherries are great as usual (old favorite) and I have some other red ones that honestly...I don't even have a clue what they are.  Every plant (that's red ones) looks totally different.  The tomatoes I mean.  One plant kinda looks like Cherokee Purples or Black Krim, one looks like giant Black Cherries and then one other is just a nondescript red tomato.  Who knows?

Anyway, they're pretty!  I think Jack has kinda decided the farmer's market isn't his cup of tea but now I have all these veggies to do something with!  So, social media to the rescue!  Facebook certainly has it's drawbacks but I have found it's great for selling stuff.  So...I just put the word out on the weekends and so far I've about sold out every Saturday.  We are not making a ton of money by any means but it's paid for some of the stuff we bought to improve the garden this year.

Of course, we are keeping most of the fruits of our labors for ourselves. In fact, tomorrow is a big canning day.  I've got peas, beans and salsa ready to go, so tomorrow morning will see the ol' pressure canner in action once again.  We still have a fair amount of jams left from last year so I don't know that I'll do much more of that but I might make some pickled okra to give away.  Sadly, I really can't eat it anymore but I know several people that enjoy it and we are getting a good bit of okra this year, so...!  It's an easy gift.
How goes your garden this year?  Or do you depend on the farmer's market?

Tuesday, July 12, 2016

Been Caught Stealing

Hey Folks!!  it's really me!!  I am back for a little post.  I have a little bit of an excuse for being away so long this time, as we did a little more traveling and I've been busy doing a few little welding projects for other people.  But other than that I've just been a turd for not writing. lol!

I wanted to address a certain question I was asked in my last post and then I hope to get back to posting about the goings on around here (our garden is doing real well this year) and some stuff I've been up to.  But first, the question and reason for that title.
One of my longtime, faithful readers asked me if I could share more images of my art (such as what was in that last post) and if I could make the images larger.  Okay, I have no idea how to make the images larger.  When you do a post, Blogger gives you 4 different sizes of images to pick from.  I always pick 'large' so it shows up well in the posts.  I have tried 'x-large' but for some reason that makes it where the image is so large it bleeds over into the text and side stuff.  Sometimes if you click on the image it will take you to another page where it enlarges it and sometimes not.  I have no idea how to make them any larger than what Blogger will allow me here.

Now, on to the trickier answer for the other question.  I know my longtime readers are on the up and up as far as my images go and most all people are actually.  Many of you have asked me for permission to use my images for backgrounds and what not and I'm perfectly fine with that.  However, I have learned the hard way, and not just on the Internets, that you can't just blindly trust.  So, I will probably not be sharing very many images of my sculptures.  Pottery is one thing, because it is so individual.  It's extremely hard for even good potters to throw just like someone else.  Other art is different.  Now, I am not under the delusion that my art is SO wonderful that people will want to steal it or try to copy it.  However, I have had some crazy things go viral from my images here that I never would have guessed.  For instance, the post I did years ago about the rebar handrails I made; that has been shared and pinned literally thousands of times (best I can tell) on Pinterest and a number of other sites dealing with houses, DIY, etc.  Not one person ever asked my permission to share my images or information.  It never has bothered me a whole lot because, for one, the rebar handrail was not my original idea.  That's been around for a while.  And two, all of the pins and posts I have followed always linked back to my blog, but who knows how many others did not.  There was one other post I did that has also been pinned a lot but I can't remember what it is right now.  It may have been the stained glass window I made for the bathroom.

Anyway, the image below is part of the answer also and just goes to prove that some people will steal anything, either in real life or online.  This is a rock I used to have that I found here on my property.  I loved it because, as you can see, it is perfectly heart-shaped and was rather large.  Probably 6 inches across or more.  It sat in a very prominent location in one flower bed because I liked it and liked to see it every day.  Well, after a visit by some "friends" one day, I noticed shortly thereafter that the rock was gone.  Very few people come to visit me here so I remember things like that pretty well.  I remembered the rock well because I liked it so much and it stood out because of where I placed it.

I cannot prove those people took it and I will admit I may very well be wrong....but I have looked everywhere for months and months and it is nowhere to be found and the timing would be a very odd coincidence. 
When I was young I was very trusting (naive) and then when I got out into the real world I learned some hard lessons.  Not everyone that calls you friend, is.  And what's more, they think you don't notice.  Even people that claim they love you dearly will deceive you.  Repeatedly if they can and no matter how much they know it will hurt you.  And now, in a world with the possibility of total anonymity via computer, you really can't trust anyone.  Hell, disagree with a person on Facebook (or in my case, prove their false propaganda wrong) over even some trivial matter and some of them are so psychotic you will have to pull out all the cloak and daggers to get away from them.  I do not want to make my blog private due to the large amount of construction information that it contains.  If there is the possibility that could help someone out there I'd rather have that.  But that means I have to limit some other information from now on.  I will not be sharing any plans for the future either other than just very general stuff (see Facebook reference).  I do not mean to implicate anything about any of my long time readers.  On the contrary, it's the people that have never made their presence known that would probably be up to something.  Or those that just happen by.  In this day and age though, I just think it's best to be prudent with certain information.  I hope you all understand.

Thursday, June 02, 2016

Cherry Bomb

 Well, once again I did not mean to stay away so long from posting but things have just been a little bit of a struggle lately.  I'm making a little progress on the allergy front but not much at all on the arthritis part.  Still a lot of pain.  I did go for a week or so with very little brain fog so that was nice; I was very excited about that.  Then we went on a short vacation down to Mobile to see some of Jack's family and the trip down and back was pretty hard.  Lots of driving which means lots of sitting.  By the time we got home I was pretty much toast and have had much trouble recovering from it.  Basically I've just been a blob.  A foggy, hurting blob.

 On some good news though...the garden is doing great!  We even had enough cherries off the tree this year for me to make a small cobbler with.  Wooo doggies!  It was good.  The chickens really love the cherries too and fortunately the tree is actually in the garden where they cannot get to it.  I suspect I would find them up in it otherwise.  I give them the fruits that the birds have picked on and they just go nuts! Even going so far as to physically knock each other down to get to the cherries first.  They are so funny.

 The peas are doing well although at this point they are kinda on the downhill side.  Being a cooler weather crop they are not lasting long in this hotter weather.  That's fine though.  I've frozen plenty and I'll pull these up and plant green beans in their place I think.

 The cauliflower and broccoli did real well also.  Jack did his first day at the local Farmer's Market and sold out of broccoli rather quickly.  We had enough to freeze some also.  I'm slowly pulling up the spent stalks to give to the chickens and am not sure what I want to plant there next.

I didn't realize until I went to do this post that I haven't really taken much of any photos lately; especially of the garden so ya'll are just getting a few scraps, so to speak.  I'll try to get out there and get some new pics soon.

And I had promised ya'll a photo or two of the new art work I am working here is one new piece.  I've actually been doing a series of these and have one more I want to do.  My new direction is not going very well though, although I am very pleased with how my new work is coming out.  I've been turned down by absolutely every show I've entered this year; photography, sculpture.... everything.  But I will not get discouraged.  I like my new work.  Hell, with the setbacks I've faced over the past few years, this is nothing.  I do need to transition to something that is going to make money on a regular basis but I will keep on with the sculpture too.

Thursday, April 28, 2016

Cinderblock Garden

 Our garden this year is off to a great start due to the early spring and my actually getting off my butt this year and starting quite a lot of things from seed, rather than waiting on the local stores to get stuff out.  Seems they are always late.  Plus, they don't have the greatest variety of plants.  This is my first year growing radishes and I am stoked!  They came out so beautiful and SO tasty.  I've been making a radish/ cucumber salad that is to die for.  I mean seriously good.

 Jack wanted to experiment with more raised bed gardening so we are slowly transitioning over to large concrete block beds.  We get the blocks from a local concrete company as seconds (although I can't see much wrong with them) so it's much more affordable than buying new block.  Not the most attractive things in the world but you can make them look okay.  Beautiful plants like thins growing in them makes them much more attractive!

 This is the old strawberry bed that never produced a whole lot and was terrorized by moles and wild violets.  Jack dug the whole thing out, laid mole barrier in the bottom, refilled it with enriched soil and now it's got a bumper crop of broccoli and cauliflower in it.  We have a local farm that sells the best strawberries ever, so I'd just as soon buy from them.  They are reasonable and organic.

 Seems we'll also have a bumper crop of blueberries this year too.  This is especially great because blueberries are very anti-histamine and I've found a recipe for a coconut milk, blueberry, mango smoothie that is wonderful!  I have one several times a week now so I'll be freezing quarts and quarts of these these beauties this year.  Not so much jam but that's okay.

 Jack was attempting to till up the okra space but the girls commandeered it for bathing.  They thought it mighty kind of him to make that bath space just for them.  They have all been through their spring worming and are laying pretty good right now so they deserve a few treats!

 One view of the new raised bed area.  I've planted most everything that you see in those starter pots and it's all well on it's way at this point.  Still have not finished planting the main garden but we are getting close.

We are also experimenting in planting in double size concrete block.  Seems to be going okay at this point.  This is an old photo and these sugar peas are well over the top of the fence now and making little peas!  If we have enough stuff we are also going to try selling at the local farmer's market this spring.  This was another one of Jack's ideas!  I'm all for it though, if we can produce enough stuff!  I think we'll have some different things, more heirloom veggies and stuff but whether that appeals to anyone in this area remains to be seen.  Anyway, we'll have lots of fresh veggies and fruits and it's very gratifying to grow so much tasty food!

Sunday, April 10, 2016

Sorta Silent Sunday

 Just a few scenes from this beautiful spring we are having here.  I hope the weather is nice where you are.

 I am trying to get together a post on more of my allergy findings and treatment.  The past few days I've been dealing with one of my headaches it's going a little slow.  I am making progress with the allergies but there is a lot of backing up and punting going on as I learn!

 I'm very excited about some new sculpture I've been doing and I'll show ya'll soon.

 I'm also trying to get over the idea that I have to post a long, drawn out literary work every time I want to put something up here.  I think that's why so many bloggers get drawn away from blogging and over to Facebook.  A few photos here with no text is just fine too.

A favorite spring delight!

Saturday, March 12, 2016

Mind Over Matter

 Gertie was enjoying her sun bathing until Marlena flopped down on her head.

 Just a few random photos for ya'll to let you know I'm still here.  Most of this past week we had the most gorgeous spring weather and it was very much enjoyed by everyone.  We've been very busy with the garden and such and I've been busy trying to get set up to do sculpture now instead of pottery.

 It is just a complete struggle for me to come up with anything to post about though.  I fear that I have totally lost my mojo in that department along with several others.  I was doing pretty good but have slowed back down to a crawl lately. Not sure why.  I just don't seem to have much enthusiasm for anything anymore.

 I still see the beauty in things around me though.  I exercise every day that I can.  I'm trying to find new outlets for my art.

I love to sit out with the girls on sunny days.  They make me happy with their chatter and one or two always want a hug and petting for a while.  I guess their attention to me makes me happy.  Funny how even a little critter can make you feel loved.

Thursday, February 25, 2016

Hangin' On

 You still here??

 Hey folks!  Those few of you still dropping by.  I'm still hangin' in and working on stuff.  Thought I'd at least put up a few photos of things around here.  We've been pretty busy with lots of stuff and making progress on many things.  As soon as the weather gets better and I can get some decent photos I'll show ya'll some of that.

 We've ha a lot of rain since Christmas.  In fact, we had one of the worst rain storms I've seen here on Christmas Day.  Finally got over all that and had another bad storm come through last night.  Nothing was messed up thankfully.  Just soppy wet everywhere.

I've been making some progress on my allergies also and I'll describe that in detail later, in case anyone is interested.  Unfortunately, even though I've made some progress on that, the pain in my hips and butt has not gotten better and, in fact, has spread to my right hip!  That has been truly aggravating and it's made driving or riding in a vehicle a real test of nerves and endurance.  Anything over about 30 minutes and I'm about at my limit.  When Jack is driving I can lay down at least and that's the only way I'm able to go much anywhere except short trips here and there.

I finally finished a pottery order that I've been working on for a couple of months now.  Well, I still have to glaze fire it but that should go okay.  I may do a little pottery now and again but for the most part I think I'm done with that.  I think getting away from all that is one of the reasons I've been feeling better.  I told ya'll I was thinking about doing some slip cast stuff but I think I'm just burnt out on all pottery and want to get away from it.  It does not excite me anymore and that's a bad thing in art.
I recently did a little metal sculpture for an auction though and the piece was a big hit AND I really enjoyed doing it.  I think that'll be my next direction as for as art.  I'll show ya'll some photos of that too.

I've been trying hard to keep up my exercising and have added some strength training for my legs and hips in an effort to try to stabilize my hips and SI joint.  I've read that weakness in those areas can lead to your SI joint being too loose and moving too much, which can cause the pain of the bones grinding on each other.  I'm about ready to try anything at this point but it kinda makes sense to me.  And, when I did a few of the exercises designed to strengthen those areas...I'm embarrassed to say, I could barely do 5 or 6 reps because those muscles were so weak.  So, there may be something to that.

We are really trying to get a jump on spring this year and have started lots of seedlings.  Jack built a really cool seed starting set-up in the basement and it's working great.  I'm really, really anxious for warm weather, I'll tell you.  I've been so thankful that this winter has been very mild for us but would not be surprised if we still get a snow storm next month.  That is not unheard of in the south.

On a sad note, a hawk got little WingNut a few weeks ago.  Well, she wasn't so little anymore but she was a sweet little hen, unlike her sister who is a bit of a turd.  It was a rainy day and we were not outside much when it happened, so no free-ranging anymore on rainy days.  I've always been fearful of letting them out on rainy days for that very reason but they squawk so to go out.  Well, no more.  I just hate that it took loosing one to convince me not to do that.  They have a big run, two actually, that they can go between on days they need to stay in.  The hawks have been really bad this year too.  I think all the young 'uns that the older, resident hawk couple has raised over the years have come into their own and are still in the area.  The other day we had about 5 or 6 circling the girls at one time!  Even with us out there yelling at them.  They are brazen.  The girls finally got so nervous they voluntarily ran back into their covered runs.  One hawk got so low over the yard that Chigger took off after it after it, jumping up and snapping at it!  I think that convinced it to go elsewhere.  Chigger is a good girl and fierce protector of Callie Cat too.

So, I'll try to be back soon.  We are supposed to get some real pretty weather in the next few days so I should be able to get some decent photos.