Down the rabbit hole

I have fallen down a deep and dark blogging hole and I want out. See, I have a select few blogs that I follow daily. Unfortunately one of the problems with following other people's blogs is that you don't have time to work on your own. It's not their fault. They make the time to keep folks up to date on the happenings in their gardens or on their farms. Hell - if they didn't I wouldn't be bothered with reading their stuff now would I? That being said I'm noticing a very scary trend. We all seem to be posting the same crap.

Plants, animals, projects, etc. In and of itself us all posting about the same stuff is no big deal. Hell, we all have pretty much the same interests. This time of year everybody is literally doing the exact same things in their yards, gardens, on the farm, around the house, etc. We're also all blogging about it at the same time. Sadly, I'm starting to lose interest in what other people are doing. It's not that I don't care - it's more like if  I want to see a cucumber or teeny tiny watermelon I can go out in my own back yard and look at one. I don't need to see pretty pictures. I can go out back and take my own!

I know I know I'm being petty. Other people are probably thinking the same thing about my blog (if anyone is actually reading any of this of course) and wishing for something new and different. I try to mix it up but I don't want to go bat shit crazy off topic. I can't say that I would blame anyone for thinking I'm boring if they come here looking for something exciting. I'm naturally a boring person. That's just me. But when it comes to other peoples lives I expect more! If I take the time to read you then damnit I want something to read.

Personally I'm getting pretty tired of it all - the reading of other people's blogs that is. My attitude is not very 'blogger' like of me I know but I'm still faithfully logging in to see what everyone else is talking about because, well, if they are doing something cool I want to know about it! I guess when I think about it that's really the point. You check out what other folks are doing and you may or may not find something that floats your boat. No pain no gain you could say. There's that and then there's the truth of it all: I feel vested. That's right - vested. I've been reading their stuff for so long I feel like a bad friend if I don't read their posts every single day. I may not comment on anything but I still have to check it out.

So I've fallen into this vicious cycle. I read. I post. I post. I read. I look for excitement in other people's posts where I can find it. I just don't want this to turn into a chore. I want this to be fun - a running commentary on my homesteading adventures in the big city. How frikkin' corny am I?


Rainbows, growth spurts and garlic

It's been a crazy week - a fun week - check out the highlights:


How often do you see a double rainbow in the city? Better question - how many people actually noticed and stopped and took the time to appreciate the beauty of it?

I did not find gold at the end of this rainbow but I did find vodka and a spot up the block to shack up for a few hours after I downed the bottle. JK!


The girls are growing. They've started hanging out with me in the garden. They're pretty good and behave themselves for the most part. Occasional we have issues but it's been cool. They tend to stick together out there but of course there's always one...

Cluck Norris - she's fearless ... she keeps wandering off and she's gonna end up being some stray dog's dinner.

Make shift holding pen - they were PISSED!


Garlic. Siberian hardneck from SSE. Beautiful stuff. I'm leaving some in for another week. Probably pulled it too early but it's my garlic and I couldn't resist and I had to know what the hell was going on down there! Hehehehehehe!


Rainy Harvest

Before the rain moved in this evening I got a chance to hang out in the garden and get a few clean up chores and some light weeding done here and there around the beds. Went ahead and dumped the other halfway dead potato bag and figured since I was out there anyway I'd go ahead and weed and thin the onion bed and harvest some herbs. Picked a couple of peas while I was at it ... I'm getting good at this!

My Cup Runeth Over

It's been raining like hell the last couple of days. Yeah yeah yeah - in a couple of weeks I'll be bitching that it hasn't rained enough - but that will be then - this is now and it's been raining it's ass off! Normally I love a good rain - I truly appreciate what we have had come through the last couple of days. Even still heavy rains and high winds kinda mess with you when you're trying to get stuff to grow. I shouldn't bitch though. Some people around here have lost their entire garden - plants blown over and snapped, seedlings literally rip from the ground by the winds, sown seeds washing out of rows. I definitely should not bitch because I can say, with a big ol' grin on my face, that I haven't suffered any obvious ill effects out there.The beds are draining well and the plants are thriving (knock on wood). I am having problems with the high winds and my peas though. They keep blowing over on the chicken wire fence. My DH built me a gorgeous 6+ foot high folding trellis but it came out too late for the first sowing. No biggie, I'll use it in the fall. Peas are almost done for the summer for me anyway so I'm not too sad about it but it's still irritating.

The only down side for me had been that things have been going f'in nuts out there!

This bed holds beans, carrots, basil, tomatoes, marigolds and nasturtiums. Can you see anything other than the tomatoes? They are all staked and caged and they still have managed to take over the beds. I have little green tomatoes everywhere ... it's a beautiful sight! My Early Girl has clusters! Clusters!!! Hoping to have my first tomato by the 4th of July - that would rock my world to be sure! Yeah I have no reason at all to bitch about how things are going out there.
The other beds  and the 'bucket brigade' are doing just as well although not nearly as mature as this bed.
I'm not gonna sweat though - just have to stay on top of it and watch for any signs of disease or pest problems. I mean I could pull one or two plants and probably be alright - but I ain't pullin' jack crap. This is only Year Two. If I run into issues it'll be a notable lesson for next years garden!



6+ inches

My rain gauge says it's rained over 6 inches in the last couple of days ... maybe it's broken. Although a little tube with inch markings on it can't be all that wrong - can it? :)
I took this pic after the sun had been out all day so a little bit of the water had evaporated by the time I got out there.


Taking it all with a grain of salt

A few weeks ago I put up a question on a local gardening community forum board (won't name names) asking if anyone knew what the deal was with my tators. I was worried because I had 4 healthy bags of potatoes planted with early, mid, and late season varieties that seemingly overnight decided they hated me and started keeling over.

I literally hand picked 3 of the 4 varieties I set out. I had gone down to Planters and dug through the barrels of seed potatoes and picked out the very best I could find. I brought them home, cut and cured them and planted them out in their little bags - all in the name of love for the tator. (The Purple Viking, the 4th bag, I bought on line while looking for something "new"). So naturally I was upset at the thought of losing even one of the bags but here I was watching 2 of them doing something they definitely shouldn't have been doing - seeming to die! The leaves had turned yellow and were starting to lose that lush and lucious look but overall the plants were doing well. I needed to know if anyone with more knowledge than I profess to have could help me out. So I joined the forum and posted my concern. After about 2 weeks I got a response - the poster assured me that what I had going on was one of the blights - couldn't say which one but was fairly certain that's what it was. OK - that's cool - but why did 6 other people jump on the bandwagon and not only diagnose blight but wilt and tobacco virus too? ...and all before I even posted a pic. I was told to immediately remove the bags from the vicinity of the other garden plants and the other 2 bags and destroy the plants because nothing was going to grow and the disease would spread.

In a panic I moved the two bags over to a lonely corner of the garden - but I couldn't bring myself to destroy them. I just couldn't. I moved them to their corner and I left them there. I watered them when I watered the rest of the garden and checked for bugs when I thought about it but my heart ached with every wilting leaf and shriveling branch. Finally, today, I couldn't take it any more. One of the bags seemed half dead - the other half only so so and just barely hanging on - I just couldn't take looking at them any longer. So I sucked it up and dumped one of the bags ... and found potatoes. Nice sized ones too. Not as many as I'd have hoped but considering I'm guessing I probably dumped them sooner than I should have (DUH!!) wasn't too bad of a haul.

... so what do I think was the problem? I interplanted the bags - I planted early season with mid-season and mid with late and early with late ... I basically f'd up. Makes sense that half of the bag would be ready before the other half, huh? The only thing is I never got flowers - so I didn't think there would actually be potatoes in there!

To sum it up - the next time I start freaking out about what's going on in the garden I should probably trust my first gut instinct and just let it happen. Worse case it doesn't grow. Today's lesson was an easy one to learn - I can't dig up everything I set out because some random dude on the 'net told me it was going to kill everything around it. Now I'm not blaming the guy for touching off my freak out session - that was all me. He was only trying to help!

From here on out I'm telling myself hourly to take all gardening advice - solicited or not - with a grain of salt.
I always have this thing rattling around in my head that since I'm new to this I have to follow what others say because they've been at it for a while and undoubtedly know more than I do. The internet is awash with folks with decades of experience - I should be able to trust anything they say, right? Folks know what they're talking about I'm sure, but unless they are physically here looking at it there's no way they can know for sure about what's going which leaves me in the same spot I would have been in had I not asked any one at all about what was going on.

So I'm down to 3 bags now. They look a little raggedy but I'm not dumping them. I'm going to wait until they die back the way they are suppose to - totally and completely. I'm going to take my chances with these last 3 - sorry randome dude.


I think they're gonna make it!

Loving my girls! Loveable as they are I try not to forget they are FOOD!!!! :) Still just so much fun ...


eScaping Garlic

This past fall I planted 12 cloves of Siberian hardneck garlic from Seed Savers Exchange. I now have 11 healthy scaping hardneck garlic plants - one fell as a casualty to the squirrels ... oh well. I figure if I really like it I can hold back 4 or 5 good bulbs to plant out this fall. I think I will pick up another "starter set" of a different variety from SSE to go in with this one.
Love, love, love garlic. Planning to make it a staple in my garden.
Putting in pathways ... once again managed to avoid cleaning the shed - woohoo!!!

This is from my bathroom window. Not a good angle - half of the garden on this side is cut off and  I still haven't figured out how to use the zoom on the camera. Guess I could have opened the screen and leaned out but it wasn't that serious.
A little over a year ago this entire area was choked by weeds and brush and a bunch of other crap including volunteer pumpkins. This is a hell of a lot better.
 Still a lot of work to do out there!


It's hot!

It has gotten progressively hotter thru out the day. I thought it was suppose to cool down as the sun set but apparently nobody told that bitch Mother Nature because I swear that is so not the case today! It's hot! It's one of those kind of hots that make you wanna sleep. This is the kind of hot that saps your energy. Had I not gone out and watered, pulled weeds, side dressed the tomatoes and picked peas early this morning it still wouldn't be done because I wouldn't have been out there until the sun went completely down today which would most definitely not have been good.
Despite my bravado I'm sure I'd have peeped my garden out from the 2nd floor bathroom window and I'd have seen my beds suffering and I'd have gone out and done what needed doing and I'd have been evil the whole time I was doing it but I'd have done it. That's the thing with gardening on this scale - you put in the time and energy to get it off on the right foot and you can't just let it slide. You suck it up and you go out and you sweat it out and you do what you know needs doing - and you reap the rewards for it later.
I found 2 little tomatoes this morning - they may not make it but the plants are setting so that's a good sign. I found newly formed squash and lots of blossoms. The popcorn is about 3 inches high (got it out late - most probably won't be knee high by the 4th!), the garlic is sending up scapes and the onions are amazing - lots of baby onions out there to be thinned. The beans have started their climb up the tepees and the strawberries are setting lots of buds. I'd have missed all of this had I slept in today instead of heading out early to avoid the heat and with the addition of the chicks and having their needs to tend to now I see waking up super bright and early from here on out the norm for me.
I've always been a morning person (not sure how I hooked up with my other half - he would sleep til noon if I let him!) so it's not a big deal waking early to work around the heat. I just need to get a good routine going. Gotta give it some time. Right now I'm just cranky. I'm such a baby but damnit it's hot out there (and the added humidity and stagnant air - no breeze - doesn't help either).
... and to think - just a few weeks ago I was bitching about the cool nights and the cold wet soil. Yeah.


What's in a name?

...after much debate and many tears (I wanted to slap some people for being all stupid about the names they were putting out there – they obviously made the mistake of thinking this was a democracy - it ain't!) - the chicks all have names.

Please welcome –

Jackie Brown – she’s super chill – if she grows up to be anything like she is now she’s going to be super docile

Lucy Loo – bossy b!tch – she picks on everybody – so far at the top of the pecking order

Cluck Norris – Lucy’s right hand pecker – Cluck Norris starts pecking where Lucy leaves off!

Smiles Davis –  kinda hard to pin her down. She fights back when picked on but otherwise just hangs out. I wasn't having a bird named 'smiles' but my oldest named her so gotta keep it. Thanks K. for adding the 'davis' - now I'm loving it!

... and last but not least

Pasti Butt - as in ‘pasty butt’ – she poops a lot! – a lot! Hoping she cuts back soon - gonna need to swab her vent so the poop will slide off (TMI?)

Lots of thought and consideration went in to these names. Seriously - these birds will be a part of the family for a while to come. I may have to send them to that big coop in the sky when they stop laying but that's life - until then they get names. It's only fair.


All Chickens Poop

My first flock has arrived! Very exciting stuff. Too cute. Of course they won't be 'cute' forever and the pooping and peeping ain't all that cute after the twelfth hour of it but damn if they aren't just perfect.

Picking them up at the post office was an experience. For one thing we live in the city - not the heart of the city but we aren't on the fringes either. Don't get me wrong - with the exception of having to call 3 times just to find out if there was anything special they needed me to do paperwork wise and stuff like that it went well. They called me the minute they arrived which was 15 mins after I had called to see if they were there. They were nice and helpful when I made my way to the window. She took my information and asked to see my driver's license for verification - and then tried to jack me for my chicks. For real. I could hear my girls peeping all the way out in the lobby - I could also hear one worker telling the other worker to tell me that they lost them. I kid you not. I had to yell through the microphone speaker thingy that I could hear them! Needless to say I got my chicks and got the hell out of there before they remembered a bill or two they forgot to deliver - those they can keep...

Despite the near 'chick-napping' that went down all 5 chicks arrived home safe and sound. No pasty butts, no watery eyes, alert and peppy - and poopy.

I knew that chicks pooped; I had heard they pooped a lot. Everything and everybody poops but I had no idea that something that small could poop that damn much! What the hell??!! I guess I have lots and lots of chicken poop to look forward to in the coming future but if these little peepers are pooping this freakin' much how much poop will these 5 peepers poop when they aren't little 'peepers' no more?! Scary poop dilemma.

Anyway, it's been a little over twelve hours since they came home and I've already been compelled to change the bedding in the brooder.

They are watered and fed and chillin' right now. All 5 of the girls have been poked back to life at least twice. What can I say? It seemed cruel but at varying times they all looked dead. Sleeping chicks are a very scary deal. They just fall over. They fall over face first where ever they are and are sound asleep. Funny as hell to watch but scary as hell to just walk up on. Ask my 6 year - it was funny to me - not so much to her!


"Sunday" Rant

"Don't tell your grandmother how to suck an egg."

My wonderful FIL told me that years and years ago. It baffled me at first because I wasn't in the habit of witnessing people suck eggs and I wasn't gonna ask him what the hell he was talking about. I mean naturally I wondered what the hell he'd been drinking/smoking/snorting before I got there but I wasn't asking that either! I have issues. I have this thing about being respectful to my elders - it's a little something called "home training" - something most people have no experience with at all. It goes like this - He (my elder) said something. He (my elder) looked and sounded pretty sure about what he said. Who was I (the young pup, child) to go all smartass on him and question him about it? He (my elder) is over 60 so his word is law! Sound crazy? Maybe but "elder respect" is something near and dear to my heart.

It was all good though - he saw I was struggling with some inner demon, laughed a little and went on and explained it as only Wally could. Fuck off and don't tell people how to do what they do when they're doing it. That's it. Pretty simple, huh?Now before you go thinking my FIL is an ass he's not! :) I was interviewing him about his military service for a writing assignment at school and he was giving me some great shit to use in the paper. He's one of the most down to earth and trully wonderful human beings you'd ever meet and he doesn't take shit. He's smarter than the average bear and he imparted a great truth to me that day. He's a wonderful man. I actually enjoyed writing that paper - but - I digress so back to the topic at hand.

So here's where I'm going with this.

Don't tell me that I'm wrong for the following things:

  • attempting to grow as much of my family's food as I can

  • raising chickens and/or rabbits for eggs and meat

  • wanting to not work 60-80 hrs a week

  • being content with my current work situation and not seeking out advancement ops

  • wanting to learn to knit and can and cheese make and bake bread, etc

  • refusing to fall into the the abyss of the consumer driven craziness that rules the households of so many in this country

  • for being happy to live simply and trying to get my family to follow

It's ok to have an opinion. It's ok to express it and you can even tell me that I am wrong if you don't agree with what I do but what you're not allowed to do is attack me. I won't stand for it. Not because I don't like what you have to say or can't see your view point or can't get on board with what you think but because there is a right and wrong way to do things and being an ass just because it feels right to you and you finally got your courage up to approach me that day isn't the way to get through to me. It's just that simple.

You're going to live your life. I'm going to live mine. Mine will undoubtedly be healthier and happier for you not being around beause if you don't like the way I live you'd just be a pain in my ass. You, with all your high and mighty and judgmental bull crap, will undoubtedly make me want to hit you in the face and that would be wrong. Couple that with how your shit doesn't stink attitude and you and I will never be on the same page. So ...

"Don't tell your grandmother how to suck an egg." It's simple, to the point and advice that so many in this world would be smart to live by.

.. and that's my Sunday rant (posted on a Tuesday).