Thursday, July 31, 2014


Pooka found something hiding in her watermelon plant. a tiny little watermelon that is getting bigger each day. She is so excited to finally be getting a melon. Now to see how big it will get. This is off Pooka's watermelon plant that we only agreed to since it said it lives in an 18" pot. Otherwise the rule is we don't have space for a melon plant. Good to see it is doing something. Now to keep watching and see if we get anymore.

Monday, July 28, 2014

Making the bed

This year we tried to start most of Pooka's pollinator bed by seed. It didn't work. Either I pulled them all thinking they were weeds, or they didn't come up through the mulch. Either way, her bed was looking a bit empty.
I took Pooka, Brother and her friend E to the nursery one day. I told her I would buy her a couple of plants and she could buy herself a couple of plants for the bed. Pooka rushed to get her money so she could buy what she wanted. We ended up getting quite a few plants. One of the nursery staff asked if we needed a cart, and I said no thank you since the rule is we have to carry what we take out. This prevents anyone from getting too ahead of themselves. Pooka bought herself a hollyhock and a daisy (since she is in daisies after all Mom.)  I then bought another chamomile for the herb garden, as well as a Dragon's head and Carpathian bell plant. 
Nursery run haul
Pooka and I planted them the next day when it was just the two of us. She loved getting to lay them in her garden and dig holes. I will say that can be a challenge since their are some tree roots under her bed from a nearby tree. In the end, she was rather happy with it, and made sure that each plant would attract either hummingbirds and/or butterflies. She will be so upset if she doesn't see a hummingbird this year.
All in

Thursday, July 24, 2014

Three days of harvest gave to Pooka

In the last few days, we have finally seen the garden start to produce. On the first day, it started with a jalapeno, a yellow cherry tomato and a sweet pepper, Pooka swears she has never had the sweet peppers before. I told her it is the same variety we have every year. These peppers like our yard as compared to bell peppers which no matter how many tricks we have, it never seems to do well. I may or may not of eaten the cherry tomato seconds after this picture was taken.
first day
The next day, we came in with peppers. Lost of peppers. We have one poblano and a ton of jalapeno. Daddy says they are not too hot, but they are great for us. I will say jalapeno poppers are in our future, but it was nice to be able to be able to say "I think we need a bigger boat" or bowl in this case. Pooka has grown up with Daddy and I repeating the line from JAWS when it comes to the garden.
second day
The third day of harvest gave to me, 4 cherry tomatoes and a ripe fireball tomato. We were so excited to finally start getting tomatoes. Luckily, I had tacos on the menu, so we were so excited that for dinner that night we were able to use the a garlic bulb (more on that later),  an onion, tomatoes and hot and sweet peppers all in the tacos. It was a very good dinner and the kids love tacos, so they were quite happy to have it.
Third day
Hopefully soon, I can really feel like the garden is giving us it's bounty. It just feels like all of this is so much later then usual. I don't know if it is the cooler weather, or that I may of been a bit late starting some things *cough cucumber cough*, but I will be so happy when I can skip the produce department at the grocery store for at least a few days.

Friday, July 18, 2014

Berries everywhere

Berries have been coming in almost daily. We get our choice of strawberries, blueberries and raspberries. While we may not get enough to make jam out of, it has been great seeing Pooka and Brother sharing berries for lunch everyday. Sadly, I think we are just about out of raspberries and blueberries for the season, but at least we got a good snack out of them.  Maybe next year we will get even more.
A small harvest one day of berries and peas. 

Thursday, July 17, 2014

Plants bought in at the fairy tea

While we where already at the nursery for the fairy tea,  I couldn't help but to make a quick run through the veggie and herbs section. I did have a purpose, we had some sugar peas killing off a pepper plant, and I wanted to drop a basil plant in between to fix the problem. While we were there, this cute little orange pepper jumped into my arms. Because, lets face it, carrying a fairy garden, I didn't have enough to carry. Pooka just loved being able to bring another color into the garden because as she told her friend "Normal food colors are boring."
Sweet basil and orange pepper

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Hard days

I try to be honest with whoever reads this and live isn't always full harvests and pretty pictures and memories. Somedays, the memories are good but make you miss the one they are about. This is so very true today. Out of nowhere last night, Pooka asked me to read to her the book "The Next Place." It is a book we got for her when her Great Grandmother died. Then she cuddled up to me and told me she missed her.

I would love to say, I had some wonderful way to make her feel better, but I didn't. Truth is, I miss her too and my being home has reminded me of that. It use to be days like today, Pooka and I would have taken her to run errands, or gone over to visit her and have me sneak chores in. I mean, Pooka spent probably the first 5 years of her life helping to take care of her, calling her so she didn't get lonely, and making sure Great Grandma had her cane.

I woke up this morning missing her as well. The morning phone calls just to chat and give her someone to talk to, and all the little things that drove me crazy when she was alive. That woman taught me patience if nothing else. I went outside this morning to water the new rosebush. We had finally put her sign up, a sign I will be keeping for us, but out of nowhere, we had roses. Lots of roses. Maybe, just maybe someone knows we are thinking of her, or maybe the rosebush is happy, but it put a great smile on Pooka's face, which was something she needed. It was also a lovely color of yellow that I know she would love.
Roses on a rough day

Monday, July 14, 2014

Fairy Garden

A few weeks ago, Daddy and I embarked on a huge project for the house. New floors in the downstairs. This was one of those rare projects that just fights us at every turn and Pooka and Brother were real troopers for the whole thing. They behaved and didn't complain about not getting to do much outside or having to eat out for almost every meal. Brother hates dust and chaos, and this had both, and Pooka was in there trying to help where she was allowed. We were so proud we gave them both something special on a Sunday. Brother went with Daddy for guy time and I surprised Pooka by taking her to the Fairy Tea and Garden Party our favorite nursery was hosting that weekend. 

Pooka had no idea what was going on when we got there, and actually looked at me and said "You could of asked me if I wanted to come." I told her we could leave, and she said "No, I want to be here, but can you please ask next time so I am ready for it." Fair enough my dear. 

A fairy headband
They had a fair amount of girls, and they had pink tea (Pooka had hoped for purple) and fruit and veggies. Pooka even asked the fairy that came to tea, Fairy Kirsten if she knew Green Thumb. Fairy Kirsten did know Green Thumb, but not very well, she admitted. But after Pooka taught the fairy about all the kinds of basil and herbs she grew, Fairy Kirsten told her she would have to call Green Thumb as soon as she got back to her fairy house and get Pooka's address to come visit. Fairy Kirsten even gave each girl their own little fairy headband. Pooka was just happy her butterfly wasn't pink. I am sure she could of swapped if that was the case. 

After the girls had eaten, they did a small craft on making butterflies and they even found some glitter for them. I will admit I cringed at the glitter since I really didn't want it, but Pooka was in a "shiny moment" and was all over it. Once the butterflies were made, they told Pooka if it was okay with me she could make a fairy garden. I had brought a clearance pot just for that, and I let her go to town. The nursery was wonderful and gave us dirt and sand and pebbles and moss, but we did have to pay for the plants and anything else (and gave us a discount as well). Pooka had picked out a cute little fairy holding a basket and a butterfly. She was being a Pooka and was more interested in getting more plants. I swear she couldn't of squished anymore plants in that pot if she had tried. Then Fairy Kirsten came over and asked if Pooka wanted more "Fairy dust" for her garden, and Pooka asked her to fill up the basket the fairy was holding. Pooka was so excited and wanted to carry her garden out. After having seen a couple of fairies not make it to the parking lot, I carried her home safely and Pooka asked to put it on a bakers rack in the kitchen where it is her job to water it. Pooka then asked if we could go back and get a little bunny and an owl for her fairy garden (which I gave into when we went on 50% off weekend). 
Pooka's fairy garden
Pooka had a wonderful time, even if she was shy at first. She has since started making a point to go say hi to all the staff when she is there, since they made it so fun. It is always good to see her learn its okay to talk to people and have a bit of a "girls" moment, and it was a great way for me to say "Thank you for putting up with everything" at the same time.

Saturday, July 12, 2014

Replacing the rose bush

Sometimes, things just do not work out. No matter how much love and hope and emotion is in them.  When Aunt S and I went and collected a rosebush from my grandmothers, we had to fight to get the bush. The bush was too happy where my grandmother had planted it and we didn't have enough of a root system. I had feared it wouldn't make it, and when our nursery was doing a 50% off sale, I knew it was time to accept that the bush didn't want to be here without my grandmother. I think I took this news harder than either child. Pooka loved its yellow and pink roses that spoke highly of my grandmother's love of flair. Brother really hadn't invested in it because it was not what he needed. Me well, I hurt worst because in a way I felt I had not only failed her in my inability to keep it alive, but I had failed the children in trying to give them their own little place to remember her. I wanted to give them something to remember her by. 
This is the bush
I finally had to admit defeat when the entire bush would break when it was bent. When I went to remove the bush, I grabbed the base and just yanked. The entire thing just came right out and when I looked at the roots, no new ones had even started. It wasn't going to make it even if I had given it another year.
the new rose
The nursery was doing a 50% off sale, and I took the kids to pick out their new great grandma rose. Pooka wanted something very bright and colorful for great grandma. Brother didn't want to be involved. He has handled this whole situation in his own way and having a rose didn't matter to him. He did love the name of a "Yellow brick rose". He thought great grandma would like that since she had always love children's movies. I liked the fact it was yellow and spoke to her love of COLOR and flair (I sometimes think this is where Pooka got her sense of style).
Proof the rose never took
This is the hole after I yanked the old bush out. I didn't remember planting garlic over there, but apparently I had. You can see how the dirt is barely disturbed from where I pulled the old plant out. As I dug out a new hole, Pooka did wonder if I would find her letter to great grandma. I said that I didn't want to find it since it had been given to her and we shouldn't take it back. She understood that but it did tell me she was handling this like a kid and that she was doing okay with everything.
Bonus garlic
I did take the chance to remove the bonus garlic. The more I thought about it the more I almost remember planting some test garlic on this side just to see what it would do. Apparently they didn't do much since the bulbs were a bit small. But now its bonus garlic to go to our haul of garlic.
The new Great grandma rose
With only a small amount of work, and transplanting one of great grandma's stars, we got the new rosebush in its home. It has done well here and is getting ready to start blooming. Maybe having a rosebush with stars will be enough to remind all of us of great grandma. I know she would love that we are doing something small for her and so her Pooka and Brother can say goodbye.

Friday, July 11, 2014

July 1st pictures

I know this is a bit behind, but the 1st of the month pictures need put up. I swear they were taken on the first, I just haven't had a chance to upload them. I am lucky we are slowly catching up on all that is behind here. I guess me taking the summer off is paying off finally. 

Pollinator garden
Pooka's pollinator/humming bird garden. It looks a empty. I don't think the seeds liked having the mulch dropped on them or I may of accidentally pulled the seedlings thinking they were weeds. I guess I need to go back to the nursery for more plants.

Garlic bed
The garlic is quickly dying back. I have spent about 10 minutes a day out there most days lately just harvesting garlic, so even since this picture, its starting to clear out. Although the sight of all these beautiful bulbs of garlic in the garage drying has made it very worth it.

Herb bed part 1

Oh the herb bed looks more then a bit overgrown. I have been handing tarragon and some other herbs (sage and thyme) to anyone who stops by for more then 30 seconds. I have finally trimmed the tarragon back to a more manageable size, but come spring, I think him and the thyme are going to get split up and handed out to people with a "PLEASE TAKE IT" beg. 

Herb bed part 2
Well, it is official, the lilac in this bed is dead dead. I had hoped it would hold on, but it just didn't. At least the basil and the garlic make it look less sad, and once all the garlic is out, I will pulling the lilac.  Pooka and I have one more hope for a Gremo lilac and we are going to wait till spring to move it. The death peppers are also doing well. One went giant sized and has peppers on it while the rest have struggled a tad.

The sunflowers are much smaller this year than in previous years, mostly due to their very late start. They will sprint up in no time with all this rain, but I do need to get over there and weed again.


The onions are doing fairly well. They have fallen over but re not dead yet. The weeds are bad around the bed, but thats due more to our broken weed whacker. Daddy let the smoke out so we have been a bit behind on trimming. But the onions are looking good

Brandywine, rainbow cherry and fireball tomatoes

The brandywine, rainbow cherry and fireball tomatoes are all doing well. They have since had a custom cage put around them, and are growing well. I have seen tomatoes on both the cherry and the fireballs, and I think our first fireball should be ready anytime. I really need to get better at starting these seeds at the right time, but I think the cool weather isn't helping them either.

Tomatoes, a sugar pea  and sweet peppers

The fireball tomatoes are growing pretty much on top of some sugar peas. Brother is happy to get "normal" peas and Pooka just likes the extra snacks. We have some peppers forming on the pepper plants, so here is to having home grown peppers soon. I am so tired of store bought.
Peppers and purple peas

The cubanelle pepper plants are actually fairly small, but they are starting to flower and the purple pea plant here is holding its own against the heat fairly well. Pooka loves going out to harvest her purple peas and I am glad since we can get up to 2 oz every few days.
Beefsteak tomatoes, Romas and blueberry tomatoes

The tomatoes on this side are going nuts. These had the commerical tomato cages that literally fell over onto the leaks and the grass for that matter. I was pretty sure I could lose Pooka in these plants, so we built our own custom cages. Glad to know I spent money on metal cages for nothing. At least they are good for peas and other things. We have tomatoes on everything and are watching for something to ripen.
Green beans and tomatillos

The store bought tomatillos are doing quite well and they are flowering but not yet producing more then tiny (like head of a pin) sized tomatillos. I am letting it go until it gets going better and then hopefully we will have a ton. The beans started to do well, but Mr. Wabbit has attacked them and I am trying to keep and eye on them. I may need to get out the bunny cage. Ugh.

Eggplant and hot peppers

The eggplants which are closest to the camera are doing well. The hot peppers again have peppers forming but nothing worth harvesting just yet. Here is to hoping for lots of nice hot peppers for Daddy. Daddy is already eyeing the jalapenos for making poppers with.

Purple pea, broccoli and cucumbers

The purple pea in this picture has pretty much about given up. I am going to leave it in the pot and just replant some more seeds for a fall crop. at least they will have something sturdy to climb up. The broccoli did well after fighting off the bunny but the cabbage worms have begun to attack as well. We are trying something new with it, so I am waiting to see how it goes. The cucumbers are flowering if a bit small. Hopefully I can get some cucumbers soon. I really hate buying those.

Apparently I forgot pictures of the deck and the corn and watermelon and raspberries (So all the containers), so they are just growing like mad and we may have squash and zuchini rather soon. I have even seen the beginings of a watermelon, which I will have to get pictures of

Thursday, July 10, 2014

Trellis on clearance

Look what I found on clearance. I was at target and this little trellis was 50% off. While it may not be big enough to handle the tomatoes, I knew we could find a use for it. Especially when it is under $5.
Clearance trellis
 I came home and looked around. The replacement raspberry bush seemed to try and sprawl onto other plants, especially including the lime tree. This looks like a good job for a small trellis.
I think it is trying to take over everything
 It took less then 3 minutes to open, unbox and install the new trellis. Is it meant for large amounts of weight, probably not, but it does a great job with the raspberry. Gotta love cheap little fixes.
All nice and neat now. 

Wednesday, July 9, 2014

Releasing Jeffery

Butterfly ready to go
Pooka and K's first butterfly, Jeffery hatched from his cocoon. Pooka wanted to make sure K was there for the release and he was ready to go. This is only picture we got of him before we released him. I guess we have started the butterfly army of doom 2.0.

Tuesday, July 8, 2014

We didn't see this coming

It never ceases to surprise me or Pooka how Mother Nature doesn't give up. We went outside the other day to harvest and found that the confused blueberry had suddenly waited till the end of June to start getting leaves. Pooka just went "Mommy, it has leaves" And they are not small leaves, but you can tell its the first tenative leaves of spring.

Surprise leaves
It had a couple green tips begining to appear. Maybe this blueberry plant isn't dead yet. We are going to leave it alone and see if it can get itself strong enough to survive the summer and maybe even the winter. 
I am trying to be alive
Sadly, the probably dead blueberry is dead dead. It breaks instead of bends and has the look of a dead plant. So we pulled it and are saving the pot to replant something else into. At least we didn't lose them both to the polar vortex. 
It's dead Jim, take it's pot. 

Thursday, July 3, 2014

Hedging bets may equal LOTS of tomatillos

This spring, I would of told you we were never going to see purple tomatillos. They didn't seem to grow well and they were rather sad looking. So I bought regular green tomatillo plants from our nursery to be sure we had something. Anything at that point would of been better then not having them at all. I had put the 3 most likely to die purple tomatillos in pots and told them to live or die but make up their minds. Pooka was rather saddened by the idea only getting verde (green, she speaks a bit of Spanish) tomatillos but when I told her I couldn't start more she accepted it.

Tomatillos decided to live
A couple of weeks ago, I went outside and realized that the tomatillo plants I had given up on had decided that they were happy as can be. They were big enough they needed to go into the ground. I had left just a small bit of space in that bed that I could put them in, so they were planted next to the green ones. Does this mean we may not get purple tomatillos? I have no idea. I am sure they will cross pollinate, but I don't know what that will mean. Until then, we are just going to wait and let them grow. Pooka was so excited to plant her purpura (purple in Spanish) tomatillos she is hoping to make one batch of purpura salsa this year. We will have to see what we get. I guess I shouldn't of given up. However, I will take this over not having any tomatillos anyday.

Tuesday, July 1, 2014

Garlic Test Harvest

A few days ago, Daddy and I saw some of the garlic had died back. Not all of it, but a good test pull as we called it. Daddy was so anxious to see what the garlic was doing. He and Pooka tell me they are tempted to pull it to see what it is doing.
Garlic ready for harvest
We ended up pulling out about 4 plants. Not a huge test but it was a start. We only pulled the ones that had fallen over and were almost completely brown. Pooka loves harvesting garlic since it gives her an excuse to play in the dirt. The downside is that you have to be super careful (which Pooka isn't always) so you don't destroy the bulb. One bulb got squished and then rotted before we could use it. Oops. We had 2 very good sized garlic bulbs out of our test pulls. Daddy was happy they were the size we would find at a store. We had one smaller one but those are just as good for drying and cooking. Pooka loved just getting to pull them out and helping me tie them together to dry.
Test harvest
On one plant we found this weird growth in the stem of the plant. I broke it (which is why I wanted the bulb to pull) and it had these little mini cloves of garlic in it. I guess I didn't get all the scapes. I have seen one or 2 other plants with these growths. I will have to plant the "garlic seed" as we have taken to calling it and see what it does next year. They smell like garlic. Have you any idea what these are?
"Garlic Seed" maybe