Thursday, September 18, 2008

The season comes to an end...I think.

This weather has been so fickle! I don't know what to expect. Yesterday I wore flip flops, jeans and a t-shirt and I thought the cold wind was going to blow me into the next town! Today I thought we might get more of the same so I wore a sweater and jeans and sneakers...and now, I'm HOT. I can imagine how my poor vegetable plants feel...they don't know what to make of it either!
I guess what we'll make of it is that this season is coming to a close. My tomatoes are still going pretty good but everything else is telling me it's time to call it a day. And I'm OK with that. I didn't do anything about winter crops...I barely got a grip on summer crops! I am looking forward to planning next year's garden. I've got my seed catalogs dog-eared and highlighted, my gardening books piled high next to my chair, sticky notes on every other page...I can't wait! I'll have to be careful though...I can see how gardeners get bombarded with gorgeous vegetables come harvest time, it's hard to pick just one kind of anything! You need at least 2...or 3...or more! Not to mention how many plants you get from a packet of seeds. Oh my...I see trouble in my future. And, is it wrong to want to grow eggplant even though I can't stand it? I do NOT like the taste or the texture...but they're so beautiful I want to grow one! We'll husband says, "Only grow what we will eat." And I agree, it makes sense and I'd hate to be wasteful. Actually, only growing what we'd eat was the original plan...MY idea, too! But looking at those gardening catalogs...oh my, it can be dangerous. Everything is so pretty!
After a long, hot summer the air is beginning to feel like autumn...that cool, brisk crispness that always makes me happy. I'm ready. And I'm so thankful for my garden for helping me get through the summer. Summer is hard for me...but a garden makes it worth it. Definitely. As a matter of fact, I may even look forward to it next year...I never thought I'd say that!

Friday, September 12, 2008

My new favorite place is...

...the library. Oh my gosh. Why didn't I take MUCH more advantage of this resource a MUCH longer time ago?! I am loving it! I have been borrowing books from the library weekly. Books on canning and preserving, green living, sustainable living, raising chickens, cookbooks by my favorite FOOD Network chefs. I've also been perusing the magazines while I'm there...usually while I wait for my sons to find their books and play a game or two on the internet. It's MUCH cheaper than buying the magazine...which I have to admit, I have a bit of a problem with. My husband says I have an addiction...and I'm not so sure he's wrong! But I've been trying to be good and just look at them at the library. I look at the decorating magazines mostly...mainly because I've been noticing that when I buy them it takes me about 30 minutes to go through the whole thing. And more often than not I'm disappointed. By looking at them at the library I can be disappointed for free!
Well, that was a whole topic I didn't mean to cover...but there is it...out in the open. I feel a weight lifted...! I did want to write about this book that I found at the library...Preserving for All Seasons by Anne Gardon. It's a beautiful book...with recipes that look delectable. What I like about it most is that the recipes are unique from the typical recipes you'd find in your popular canning and preserving books. I can't wait to try some of the recipes. I think that this book is worth owning. And that is the beauty of the library...that you can borrow a book, check it out and then buy it KNOWING that you're going to love it and use it! What a concept...I tend to catch on slowly.

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Playing favorites.

Squash is my favorite vegetable plant. At least thus far as I've only grown a few things...squash, cucumber, tomatoes, beans, melons and herbs. The squash plant is amazing...huge deep, dark green leaves, sturdy stalks, beautiful orange-yellow flowers...just gorgeous. I was surprised to see that the inside of the stems are hollow! As strong as they are I thought they'd be solid. But they're hollow...which adds to their amazing-ness. This year the squash was the best producer. It blessed me with beautiful, gigantic zucchini. And the plants are still healthy...unlike the melons and cucumbers...they're goners. I'm not sure what got to my cukes but it wasn't pretty. And the melons...? Well...I think it was just a matter of not enough sun. Oh, and not enough room to stretch out. I'm going to have a learning curve on that one. While beans are lovely and easy to grow, they didn't produce for me. They got overtaken by my beautiful, yet invasive, squash plants. I sowed a second batch of beans but I was too late. They grew fast, and flowered, but no beans. Tomatoes...easy. And good producers. The Sweet 100 is making me happy on a daily basis. I gather so many tomatoes from that plant that it makes me feel like an official gardener. If only ALL of my plants could have produced like that.
I knew that this first garden experience was going to be experimental...and that I'd have to learn as I went along. So I expected some failures. But expectation doesn't make it any easier to swallow. I wanted immediate success and instant gratification! But it's not like that with's a slow, patient process. There's a lot of waiting involved. And I don't know about you, but I am NOT good at waiting! Looks like this whole gardening thing is going to teach me a lot more than I thought! It's not just about food. It's about life. Sow. And wait. I just wish it were easier! In the meantime, I'll wait...expectantly.
Psalm 5:3
3 In the morning, O LORD, you hear my voice; in the morning I lay my requests before you and wait in expectation.

Monday, September 8, 2008

All work and no play.

I have been substituting in child care positions for our school district for the past couple of weeks so my computer time is almost nil! So of course...what gets neglected? The blog. But that's OK. I told myself when I started this thing that it wasn't going to own me...I was going to own IT.
See my one, lonely little watermelon? It's been the same size for a few weeks now. I'm assuming it's done doing whatever it is that it's going to do. I "thumped" it yesterday...and it sounded like I think it's supposed to sound. But to be honest, the whole "thump the watermelon to test it's ripeness" has NEVER worked for me. I picked up my little watermelon yesterday...and it's quite heavy. I'm hoping this means quite JUICY. There aren't any yellow spots will it not be as sweet as I'd like? Will it not be sweet at all? Either way, I'm going to release it from the vine today and open it up. This was my first attempt at growing melons so I'm feeling fortunate to have even this one little guy. My cantaloupes did nothing. Nada. Zilch. The vines were pretty. And so were the little flowers. But no melons. Maybe next year. I hear they're picky about soil. Plus I don't think I had them in a place where they got enough sun. Gardening has such a learning curve, doesn't it? Maybe by the time I'm 90 I'll have it down.