Friday, June 29, 2012

Despite the heat, the garden is still producing

Despite daytime highs around 110 for almost a week now, the garden is still managing to produce a few goodies, such as these cucumbers and onions.  Despite the fact that I forget to label the plants when I seeded them, I'm pretty sure these are pickling cucumbers, as I seem to remember planting the pickling ones on the north side of the trellis and the slicing ones on the south side.

After the problem with the water supply being turned off to the raised beds while I was on my cruise, most of the onion greens turned brown, so I decided to see if there were any viable onions to harvest and found these.  I've decided to let the rest remain in the ground to see if they'll continue to grow and if not, I'll still have some small onions to harvest.

Last year's pepper plants look like they've developed curly top disease, so they'll be coming out and I'll turn the bed into an herb garden.  I'll post pictures when I'm done.

Thursday, June 28, 2012

Larry the Patriot

Larry's are dressed up to celebrate America's birthday on the Fourth of July and is planning to go to Washington, D.C. to represent the Scarecrow Patriots, of which he is the President.  He's hoping to meet the President. or at least an actor who has portrayed the President, real or fictional.  He's sending plane tickets to his friends Marty, Sal and Mr. T, and extends an invitation to all other scarecrows across this great nation to join him on the National Mall for this year's concert.

The gnomes all look up to him as their great leader.

The summer monsoons are trying to make an appearance, but so far all we've gotten the last two days is dust storms, or Haboobs as the National Weather Service has taken to calling them.  Tuesday it looked like we were going to get hit, but it veered to the east and missed us. Yesterday's was stronger and we got winds up to 21 MPH and dust for about 20 minutes, with just enough of a sprinkle to mess up the windshield on my wife's car, but not enough to be measurable by my weather station.

The approaching storm as seen over my neighbor's house; the dark band between the roof and the clouds is  the dust storm.

Monday, June 25, 2012

New stuff and a milestone

First, the milestone; this blog has now had 3200 page views with visitors from at least 37 countries and I hope many of them are repeat visitors who find my posts interesting, informative and humorous, but unless you leave feedback, I'll never know.

Now on to the new stuff; I finally got my drill back from my son, who's been using it while remodeling their new place and so I was able to install some of my recent acquisitions, including this hand-made American Eagle I found at a local thrift store for just $3, just in time for the Fourth of July; it's displayed on the eave over our carport.

I also was able to put up the German flag my cousin and his wife gave me when we met on my recent cruise, so I can proudly declare my German heritage.

I've saved the best for last, as my wife bought me a combined birthday/Father's Day gift of a professional style weather station that records inside temperature and humidity and the following outside conditions:
current and daily high and low: 
wind speed and direction
dew point

barometric pressure charted over the past 12 hours
rainfall recorded during a single event, plus monthly and annual totals
current heat index
lowest daily wind chill

It also has time and date functions and multiple alarms that can be set to warn if the temperature falls below or exceeds the temperature I set or to warn of approaching storms.

When my neighbor did some remodeling on the outside of his house, I salvaged the carport support posts and was going to use them to mount birdhouses on, but one of them turned out to be the perfect place to mount the outside sensor.

The inside control unit receives all the data wirelessly and can be placed anywhere within 300 feet of the sensor unit, so I can put it anyplace in the house I want; it's currently in my office area and will be placed in my new office once my son and his family move into their new place.  As you can see, at 9:09 in the morning it's already 96 and very dry with 11% humidity, calm winds and a rising barometer.

Here's some pictures of the flowers I seeded a couple of weeks ago, but failed to record what they were; I think the first picture is petunias and the second is vincas.

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Today's Harvest

Harvested the bulk of the grapes today, 7.5 pounds worth!  Not bad for 3 vines in their first year of production.  I used my handy harvesting apron I bought at Target a few years ago to haul the bounty into the house; it has snap sides for easy emptying and several pockets to hold tools.

Found a lovely cut crystal vase in the house my son and daughter-in-law bought and they graciously allowed me to keep it.  It looks wonderful on my antique Eastlake marble topped table, filled with a bouquet of  pink Climbing America roses

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Random musings

While it's not officially Summer until tomorrow, it certainly feels like it anyway, with temps of 109-113 for the next few days.  On the bright side, it'll being cooling down to the low 100's this weekend with a slight chance of monsoon rains, which are desperately needed.  Hopefully they won't be preceded by another dust storm like the one we had Saturday.  The red corn I planted last week is already up and looking promising and there are a few cucumbers starting on the vines.  The flowers I seeded in the window box and bulb bed are coming along nicely, just wish I could remember what they are.  I guess I'll have to wait until they get a little bigger and/or bloom before I can ID them.

Harvested the Anna apples and only got about a 1/2 bushel this year, but if it stays true to form, next year should be another bumper crop year.  The nectarine is definitely not performing to my expectations and will be removed this winter and replaced with a Desert Gold Peach, which is supposed to be one the the most productive for this area.

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Grill Master Larry

Larry has forgiven me for not taking him on the Baltic cruise and to show that we're friends again, he's preparing to fire up the grill and put on a feast that'll put Bobby Flay to shame.  As Larry says, "Bobby may have "Boy meets grill", but that ain't nothing compared to the magic that happens when Scarecrow gets grilling."  Maybe Larry should challenge Bobby to a BBQ Throwdown.

Monday, June 11, 2012

First grape harvest...ever!

Harvested some ruby red seedless grapes, my first harvest after waiting for three years!  They're rather small and I'm not sure if it's due to being the first fruit production or to inadequate watering while I was in the Baltic, but they're tasty anyway.

Pulled up and replanted the red corn, which definitely suffered from a lack of water after my daughter-in-law accidentally shut of the water supply to the raised veggie beds.  Bought 8 varieties of Dahlias at Walmart on clearance and even though it's rather late in the season, I'm going to plant them tomorrow in the bulb bed anyway in the hope that I'll get blooms; if not then I'll try again in Spring, since they did so well for me and the bulbs, other than the Glads, were a disappointment.

Thursday, June 7, 2012

Cruise aftermath

We returned from our cruise on the First, 3 hours late due to a delay in Minneapolis and after being up for nearly 24 hours, we crashed in bed.  Got up late Saturday morning and I went out to survey the gardens, which despite a few stumbles, fared pretty well.  My daughter-in-law had trouble with my homegrown watering system and accidentally turned off the water to the raised beds and the corn may not recover, but the tomatoes and cucumbers are okay.  Lost a fern, a sweet potato vine and some of the cannas (maybe), but overall it was better than I feared it would be.

The cruise was fantastic and I took over 1000 photos, including flowers and trees; the tulips were so large I may never grow them again as I know I won't be able to replicate anything close to them here.

Here are some selected shots from Stockholm, Sweden

These are from Sigtuna, Sweden

These are from Peterhof, Russia

And lastly, these are from Tivoli Garden, Copenhagen, Denmark

I've collected all the floral shots in an album on my Facebook page "Mr B's Garden".