Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Garden is Good!

Now, in case you didn't see that the first time....

Yes!! Those are the tomatoes I got today and that doesn't include the peppers, eggplants, green beans, stevia or grape tomatoes. Hola...we have good stuff here.

Oh, and please excuse how I look because it was 96 degrees outside with 83% humidity and I was working hard. Remember, focus on the tomatoes...

As much as that is, it still isn't enough to for a full canning batch, so I'm headed off to my favorite farm to get 6 dozen ears of very sweet corn, a half bushel of just-picked peaches and a half bushel more tomatoes. Between that and my harvest today and tomorrow, I should have enough for a nice big batch of canning.

Sunday, July 27, 2008

Preserving the Bounty

Aside from learning the fine art of canning, I'm trying other things too. I'd like to have foods be as independent of energy using devices as possible, of course, but some vegetables simply can't be canned well. Or if they can be, the taste and texture is appalling.

Squash is one such vegetable, particularly yellow summer squash.

My solution is to dehydrate them. Dehydrating has a lot going for it. Whatever you dehydrate can be rehydrated and then used like fresh, well, for the most part! For some things it is better to use them in casseroles or breads or other things where the food is cooked with other things. My intention is to use this stuff in the dog food over the winter since I make home-made.

For me there is a further benefit. I live in a hurricane zone and it is pretty unlikely that a bunch of jars are going to weather a direct hit, should my house get rattled, while a vacuum sealed packet of a dehydrated veggie should be just fine.

Here is what it looks like to dehydrate squash. You might notice that one of the squash in this snap is orange. I didn't use that one, it is just an experiment of mine. Some of my bits turned a bit brown so I took those out. Not sure if it matters, but better safe than sorry!

Give it a try!
And, as usual, a delightful snap of a beagle to brighten your day. Here GiGi is enjoying ruining a freshly dried load of towels by making a burrow of them. Ah well, it is worth it to see her so happy!

Thursday, July 17, 2008

State of the Garden...17 July 2008

I know, I know; I haven't updated the garden in total for several weeks. With Boscoe, it's been just too busy to get all that is happening in there down at one time.

But, things are a moving and it is way overtime for a full report with lots of pictures.

First, the bugs. I started to get a nasty case of aphids last month so I decided to see what an order of ladybugs would do to them. I ordered them and a bag of red wrigglers for the soil and my compost pile (I'll write more on them later). I released half the ladybugs right away and put the rest in the fridge for later. Sure enough, I had not an aphid in sight within 24 hours! Just a few days ago, I released the other half when I saw evidence of more aphids starting on the eggplant. Again, not an aphid in sight now. But, also not a ladybug in sight either. They just don't seem to hang around after supper! Here's a nice shot of them.

For those who remember, I had a small problem with my peppers. The blooms were simply falling right off or even if they fertilized, the little nublets of pepper fell off. It was very depressing. It looked like I might have over-nitrogened some of them because of the heavy leaf growth and others were simply not liking all the sun. I moved them and voila..pepper heaven for many of them. Here is my Spanish Spice pepper showing some lovely 8 inch hanging fruit. Some of the bells are now following suit. The Godfathers and the poblanos are also producing really heavily right now. Right now I'm frantically looking for ways to preserve the bounty for later.

My first eggplant came off the other day too! It is quite small but I understand that is normal for the first one. I'm not worrying too much. There's more growing. Here is a snap of my confusing yellow squash plant. It has no growing tip at all. It produced one male and one female flower and they made one single perfect squash. I'm letting it grow unchecked to see what happens to it. Just out of curiosity :)

And here is my experiment in lettuce. Since I've never actually seen one go to seed, I decided to let one of each kind bolt to see what it looks like. It is quite attractive, isn't it?

Here is a nice picture of my pickings for the other night. It was just enough to enjoy a lovely grilled dinner of eggplant and peppers with a small carrot salad and sliced tomato...yummm. Those Spanish peppers are over 8 inches long just to give you an idea of scale.

This is my largest Butternut squash plant. The leaves are huge and the bloom gigantic. I'm confused about them though. It looks like all the blooms and buds are male. Do they do like Zucchini and produce males first and then females or what? Any info is welcome to this squash newbie.

This bad picture is an early morning shot of my squash bed. Those large and tall bush like plants in the back are actually my Stevia plants. Amazing how huge they are getting, but I'm sure not complaining.

Bed One here has changed over the past month in a big way. Newly planted bush beans and edamame have taken the place of peas and carrots and the tomato plants are producing well, even if they look a bit ragged. Gigi approves as you can see. Beds 2 and 3 are equally changed with more beans of various kinds and peppers transplanted from the smaller pots in the container garden.

This was a short tour and I didn't include flowers this time, shame on me, but I'll hopefully catch up soon. I'd love to see pictures of everyone else's garden.

To finish off, here is a nice picture of Boscoe's shaved behind and leg. His incision looks good and his butt is funny enough to share. :) Happy gardening everyone!

Boscoe Doing Very Well Everyone!

For those who sent good wishes, we both thank you ever so much! Boscoe is doing really well and is itching to get around more than he should. I'm keeping to the doctor's orders though and he is getting only very small walks in the yard and no stair climbing at all. Crate rest as much as he can stand is still the order of the day, too.

His smile is back and goofy faces, his specialty, are better than ever. Here are a couple of pictures of the big man.

By the way, I just think his little shaved right rear quarter is hilarious. You can really see that he has an "old man butt" when it is that way!

When we go back to the surgeon in a couple of weeks, I'll let everyone know if the surgery was effective or not. We're keeping our fingers crossed!

Wednesday, July 9, 2008

BiteNot Collar on Boscoe

As promised, I'm posting some pictures of Boscoe with his BiteNot collar. It may look like he is not happy with it, but that is the drugs talking, he is actually much more comfortable now. The e-collar was keeping him sopping wet on his jaw and neck because the drugs make him drool. This is keeping him clean and dry and he can actually eat rather than simply slop it into his e-collar.

It works like an e-collar because it keeps him from turning his head tightly, sort of like one of those neck braces, but stronger. He can still get to his front paws, so he can still hold his treats to eat them. Bonus! When he lays down it pushes some of his loose skin rolls foward so he gets this little scowling wrinkles on his forehead.

I'm still very worried about him and scared of potential infection, ligaments popping loose or any number of things...but at least he is a bit more comfortable!

Boscoe Home and So Brave!

Boscoe came through his surgery very well and came home the next morning. I admit that I was shocked when I saw him and his leg. It just looks so butchered! Here are some pics of the big man but please...keep in mind it shows his leg and if you are very squeamish don't look!

This is a picture of Big Man just before I took him into surgery. Doesn't his look sweet.

These two show him right after he came home. He is wearing an e-collar and it was too big for his crate if he was going to be comfortable on crate rest for 2 weeks! I ran to WalMart real quick and bought the giant for a great dane...and it was quite an experience trying to get that in from the garage in a hurry. Doesn't his leg look pitiful.

Here he is showing how much he was drooling into his e-collar. It was disgusting and it couldn't have been comforable so I made a quick overnight order for the BiteNot collar. The owner of the site was so nice and called me to be sure I got something that would work for him and did overnight it.

I'll get a picture of it for the next post.

And here is all the pills he has to take twice a day.

Sunday, July 6, 2008

Boscoe's Big Day

Well, tomorrow is the day of Boscoe's surgery to fix his poor torn ligaments. I'm terrified but it has to be done so I just have to buck up. He doesn't seem to care...of course he doesn't do calendars.

Tonight he got a nice steak, with quick fried zucchini and squash...with a little kibble for interest. And he got a new bed at Petsmart...the second one in 3 weeks...that he actually really likes. The other one he doesn't like at all and the cat has claimed with territorial zeal.

He is a nice array of pictures of my big man lately. Everyone, wish him luck, good health, a smooth surgery and to not become addicted to prescription pain pills.

Here here is watching fireflies in the yard. The early ones with a yellow single flash were all around him

Boscoe has the sweetest little dome head, don't you think?

This is a rather embarrassing one, but I gotta admit I do the "dance" to get them moving. It has been raining the last couple of days and neither one of them wants to go out and do their last business of the night when it is wet. So I get them all riled up by doing the dance and talking like an idiot and then they go. If you look at the bottom you can see Boscoe with his head tilted to the side and grinning.

And here is Boscoe giving Gigi a little smoochie-poo. Enough said.

Wish him luck....