Got some stuff done in the yard and took some pics. First, the backyard as a whole and a view of the left side. If you look in the back part of the second picture beyond both apple trees, you can see the wild flowers about to flower:
The grass is really starting to come in, and I think one or two more seedings and it might be thick and lush like I want. Then I can destroy it putting in the path.
Got the pole beans and the trellises set up, and in the background in the mulch you can see the bumper crop of sunflowers coming up. I planted them late, but hopefully not too late, so there would be some color in September:
Watermelons are coming in- have about eight the size pictured, and about 8 more half that size:
Onions are doing well:
Tomatoes are doing super- I have already picked about 50 or so, and have a metric ton more growing. Most impressive are the renegade tomato plants that were seedlings I decided were too wimpy to plant and just threw in the compost:
I guess they showed me. I need to rig something to get them up off the ground so the tomatoes don’t rot.
I just love how green everything is.
Someone is going to sneak in and unmoor your tree.
John, what do you do what surplus tomatoes? Give away? Make sauce? Can in Mason jars? Asking for a friend.
If you don’t have one, I highly recommend a vacuum sealer – if you’ve got the freezer space, you can easily freeze your veggies. Most don’t even need to be cooked – peppers, onions, even tomatoes, though I blanch and peel my tomatoes before freezing. I think you have to blanch green beans before freezing. I haven’t done those yet.
You people who can actually grow things piss me off.
I am a big fan of tray-freezing tomatoes and peppers, then vacuum sealing and tossing in the chest freezer. I usually buy a half bushel of tomatoes fom my CSA and have them in the freezer for winter. Run boiling water over them and the skins peel right off.
What is that tan thing in the middle distance? Is that Lily having a bit of a roll?
Given the size of your hands, that makes them almost ripe.
You just wanted to rub it in, didn’t you?
One of the housemates brought in a big basket of tomatoes and three giant zucchini from the one plant I bought, and my peaches are ripening. Summer fruit is heaven. I am lazy so I just throw washed Roma tomatoes into ziploc bags and freeze them. They get kind of mushy but are delicious in sauces and stews in the winter.
@Mary G: My philosophy is to pick the zucchini when they’re smallish, and eat them. We try not to let them get big.
Excellent website for for all kinds of food presevation. This is just the freezing section, but you can get to all the others from there.
I love my vacuum sealer. I had one of the clamp-type for a few years, but a couple of years ago I sprung for a chamber-type. It was expensive and takes up more space, but it’s fantastic. Since it can use much cheaper bags, it will even pay for itself if you use it heavily. You can even seal liquids, which are always a problem with the clamp-type.
We warned you about this. //
This is the real trick. They’re great when they’re small and tender but awful when they get big and tough. Also, you can limit production by picking the flowers, which are also edible.
@opiejeanne: Milk fed zucchini.
@Roger Moore: Our kids came over several times one season and raided the flowers, but we still had too many that I let get away from us. They really are better small. That was the year I figured it out.
We didn’t plant any this year, but the tomatillos have replanted themselves. they’re coming up where the spinach was before we ate it all up.
@Mike J: Monster!
Cue the Locusts.
@?BillinGlendaleCA: There you are! How’s the forehead?
I read the early morning thread in the middle of the day, and have been looking for you since to give you this unsolicited advice. My night table is similar to yours in size and placement, and to prevent gouging my left eye out, I squash a small decorative pillow between the bed and the night table, making sure it goes past the sharp corner. I think a folded up towel would work in a pinch (but wouldn’t look as cute on the rare days the bed gets made).
Yes, people tell me I can be too bossy.
There is no such thing as a great zucchini.
@Roger Moore: a friend told me I must get one for my fish.
This week really zoomed by. I have my ACL revision surgery in about 4 weeks — 8/31.
If I were to show you pics of my backyard, you’d probably blow a gasket.
Your grass is growing better than expected. Careful not to let mulch pile up against the tree base. It will cause the roots to “girdle.”
have you considered pickled tomotoes?
Damn, John,you are making me crazy jealous.
At first glance I thought your compost box was a hen house. Could you keep chickens if you wanted?
@Mnemosyne: Seems to me you’ve been waiting a long time for this surgery. How long will you be laid up?
@Mike J: LOL!
I have a funny little book about the people, men mostly, obsessed with growing the biggest pumpkins. I can’t remember if feeding them milk was in the book but I’ve read it somewhere.
The seedlings outgrew the others because they are in the compost. That means make lots more compost. Talk neighbors into giving you leaves and stuff.
Onions are supposed to be poisonous for dogs. Garlic too, so be careful. I used to have a house with a muscadine grape arbor and big vines. Then I found out grapes and raisins can poison dogs, but not all the time. Luckily at the time that dog didn’t have any interest. She did like eating tomatoes and strawberries though, just before they were people ripe, when I was counting the days.
@Ohio Mom: It’s still sore where I sliced it, but better. The cut is on my eyebrow towards the corner of my eye(those that have met me in person know I have an eyebrow piercing, it’s about a 1/4 from that). I do have a pillow there, but it’s obviously not big enough.
@TenguPhule: You have to bring your depressing bs to this thread? Take a fucking break.
Thats when you turn them into pickle relish.
@Mnemosyne: I’m sure you are counting down the days. Just be careful and don’t do anything foolish before then.
@opiejeanne: What? Its now a crime to make fun of Cole? Considering every other disaster that seems to strike him every time he makes one of these “things are going just fine now”, its not out of line to think something awful yet hilarious is going to be reported in a follow up post.
@opiejeanne: If you read the Little House books it might have been there; Almanzo Wilder grew a milk-fed pumpkin to show at the county fair when he was a kid.
Two weeks off work, on crutches for 4-6 weeks because it’s a revision surgery and has to be treated more gently. ?
I think I’m going to get forearm crutches this time because the underarm crutches really messed up my bad shoulder.
@Ruviana: Farmer Boy.
@?BillinGlendaleCA: Oh no. I missed that you hurt yourself. I’m so sorry. I’ve been kind of busy most days after the morning threads.
Each of my beautiful children have a scar somewhere on their heads, the youngest just below her brow, right between her eyes. 4 stitches. On her 4th birthday when she fell out of bed and hit the window seat.
So much blood!
The middle one, front of her scalp right behind where her bangs would start, if she had bangs. Chasing her sister around a wagon at a winery and forgot to duck under the drainage pipe sticking out of one end. She was 8 or 9.
So much blood!
The oldest, sitting on the arm of an overstuffed chair and just sort of rotated to the left and hit next to the corner of his left eye against the window sill. Needed stitches but wouldn’t cooperate so just got a butterfly bandage. Did it again about a year later, probably horsing around the same way. Again, no stitches.
So much blood!
I’ll bet yours bled like the dickens.
It’s the brown season up here in the northwest, so it’s seems odd to have green grass. But at least the trees are green and anything with deep roots is flourishing.
@Shell: zucchini bread. Which thankfully doesn’t taste anything like zucchini because that would be weird.
I’m reminded of Hercule Poirot going into retirement with a plan to improve the flavor of “vegetable marrows”. Luckily a case dragged him away from the boredom of such un rewarding practices.
@TenguPhule: No, you can make all kinds of fun of Cole but predicting a plague of locusts isn’t funny.
@Ruviana: That would be the one called Farm Boy? I read it a million years ago, but that may be where I read it.
ETA Farmer Boy. Just watched Princess Bride.
@WhatsMyNym: Some of my grass is still green-ish. Mostly the weeds.
@opiejeanne: In conceivable!
Pumpkins also show up in some of the early Blandings Castle stories by PG Wodehouse — Emsworth started with pumpkins before he moved on to pigs.
First off,of course,you have to have the right variety that WILL grow to such a huge size.
Sometimes those pix of prize-winning gargantuan pumpkins make me think of someone from ‘My 600-pound Life. ‘
@opiejeanne: I thought it was fine. I saw an episode of Chip and Joanna Gaines’ show today where they built a chicken run around the garden so the chickens would eat the grasshoppers (or locusts). We gardeners are always on the watch for whatever will foil our efforts.
I took a friend from my Barnes & Noble days to her first physical therapy session today after some sort of knee surgery last week. She is in good spirits and getting around with a cane (and some sort of brace on the knee), but you can tell from how she moves that things are tender.
Dorothy A. Winsor
The yard is looking good.
Once you have a vacuum sealer, you’ll discover all kinds of things it can be used for you never would have considered. Like it makes sense to buy stuff in bulk if you can practically save it vacuum sealed. You can also seal non-food items. For example, clothes take up much less space after being vacuum sealed, and they’re protected from insects.
@opiejeanne: But he already got the flooding and I didn’t think predicting anything involving fire or pillars of salt would be funny.
I love watermelon, but what do you do with all of that watermelon?
If all else fails, pickle them.
/you can pickle almost anything
@Shell: I did read the book. I know how the winner that year did it as well as what some of the previous winners did.
And some were involved in sabotage perpetrated on other growers’ pets. That was the part that got me, that someone would destroy someone else’s pumpkins to give theirs an edge.
I have a decent zucchini recipe where you sauté some green peppe rand onion until they’re soft, then put the succhini, sliced medium thick, with salt, pepper and fresh dill until they get semis0ft, about 8-10 minutes. Then mix in a generous dollop of sour cream and mix it in over low hear for about a minute. Good flavor.
@Gretchen: Aint’ nothing funny about a plague of hungry grasshoppers, but I was mostly reacting to how negative he was being about Cole’s successful garden. Just too Eeyore. No, wait that’s not fair. Eeeyore was just depressed.
I always mean to ask you: have you ever seen any episodes of Wodehouse Playhouse? British series with John Alderton and Pauline Collins, mid-’70s—so pretty dated now—but often surprisingly good, especially at capturing Wodehouse’s eccentric lingo.
There are episodes available on YouTube, but I’m sort of afraid to watch them now. There was one where Collins was in a club golf tournament that was particularly funny.
I managed to get a couple before graduating from high school. One was when I was in preschool; I was running around the house, slipped, and hit my head on a door frame. The other happened ten years later at swim practice; I bashed my head on the under side of a starting block trying to climb out of the pool too fast. Lots of blood both times. Interestingly, the scars crossed. I think they’ve faded to the point of invisibility by now, but I can’t easily see because they’d be covered by hair anyway.
Too much watermelon? No problem.
@Omnes Omnibus: LOL. You keep using that word. I do not think it means what you think it means.
Another Seattler here. It was 90 at our place again today and low humidity. We’ve had 3/4 inch of rain since Msy 1. Normally we get 4 inches and the lawns are browning but this year we’re losing shrubs from the dry weather. I wish we’d planted tomatoes because it the perfect yesr for them. It’s been great for outdoor BBQs because it’s been stsying warm at night. Normally the wind off Puget Sound (50 in late summer) and the lakes (70 in late summer) will drop the temperature to 60 at 10 PM. The upside is no mosquitoes. My childhood in Ohio taught me what a billion is: the number of skeeters in our backyard.
@TenguPhule: The flooding wasn’t exactly funny, but if you’ve ever awaited the first sweet corn from your garden you’d know not to joke about grasshoppers or locusts.
I think we ought to encourage him in his endeavors. This is his first garden, after all, and he’s enthusiastic. and doing very well.
There can never be too much watermelon.
I remember as a kid, times when we had 20 or 30 acres of watermelon. It was not enough watermelon. Believe me.
Edit: Thanks to Cole for backyardpix. No pets in the yard though ( I therefor issue 0.5 full-service blog demerits).
@JMG: Sounds pretty good. I usually just saute them with some onions, some garlic, sweet peppers if I have them (can’t grow them here, failed even in the greenhouse. ) Never thought of the sour cream but that is interesting.
How about a plague of frogs? The creek turning to blood? Biting insects? Boils? I can see wanting to avoid wild animals, anything going wrong with the piglets, fiery hail, darkness, or the death of first born.
@opiejeanne: Over here in paradise the birds and beetles do the bulk of the damage to the food plants. Grasshoppers are kind of a joke. Sorry I didn’t realize the difference in pests.
I thought those were already normal WV phenomena.
I read about one of those giant pumpkin contests where they also had boat races made out of some of the bigger but not enough to be biggest pumpkins. Carve up your own pumpkin boat, then get in and try and paddle a round boat. Round boats want to go in spins, so spectators were more entertained. I want to see that one day.
Orlando used to have a yearly bathtub made into boats race, but I didn’t manage to go.
I also wanted to see the riding mower races.
Some kinds of crazy people sound fun.
@Dan B: I miss the first few years we lived here when it rained in the summer, maybe every third or fourth day. That hasn’t happened since the drought began about 5 years ago.
Watermelon juice. Watermelon sorbet. Give watermelon to friends and relatives. In general, it’s better to have too much and need to figure out how to gift the excess than to have too little.
@chris: Problem definitely solved at Casa Cole!
@TenguPhule: Which part of paradise do you occupy? I’m just outside Seattle, which I mentioned all the time and everyone is sick of hearing it.
We have trouble with lots of animals eating our garden, and beetles are killing our birch trees, and it’s damned expensive to fight because we have a lot of birches. We get grasshoppers here, and when they arrive the devastation is terrible.
Damn. I can’t believe how quickly your grass has filled in. You transformed a rice paddy. But, I live in the high desert of NM.
YES!! I love that series. My favorite is of the two gentle poets who are appalled by blood sports, but succumb to it when theyre visiting some some hunting-lover friends in the country. The poem about ‘pursue the gnu’ is not to be missed.
@?BillinGlendaleCA: (runs to bedroom to reconsider decorative pillow’s size and shape).
@?BillinGlendaleCA: Whichever wag here (M4?) commented that the willow tree was too close to the birthday cake last week made me lol. Such knowing, gentle, referential humor is so helpful these days.
@Roger Moore: When the scars crossed did they make a recognizable pattern or symbol? You could be a wizard or something.
@Roger Moore: Ummm…I think the boil thing already happened this week with Cole getting his heinie lanced.
Still remember reading “Candide” in HS French Lit class. This timeless malady in Fr is “un furoncle sur les fesses”. Sounds so much classier than a boil on the butt.
I still haven’t gotten an answer on that tan thing on the grass. Could it be Lily?
I loved it when I first saw it years ago, but I worry that it hasn’t aged well. Maybe I’ll take a look on YouTube.
J R in WV
I had a growth taken off my left shoulder and a cyst removed from my lower left back last Thursday. Things were a little tender Friday and Saturday… now the missing cyst on my back is getting really itchy. Woe is me…
And the VW, an all wheel drive Tiguan, which went bad last Friday, main drive shaft center bearing failed. Amazing sounds, I went to run errands in town, it was squealing worse as I drove into town. I did the errands on the way to the VW dealer to see if the wheels were falling off or the motor blowing up.
So today I did another set of errands, same ones as last week, stopped by the VW shop, mumble, maybe they have all the parts, maybe they don’t. New service advisor, was a salesman, I would be a better service guy. He said it was on the rack, so sounded good, but they maybe don’t have all the parts…whut?
And I was right there asking if they had all the parts… he doesn’t know? Maybe it will be fixed tomorrow, or not. Grrrr. At least we have another car, from back when we both commuted to work in opposite directions.
We made a green tomato pickle — my Grandma’s recipe, I’m not sure if it was a Kentucky recipe from her family or a Pennsy-Dutch recipe from her in-laws. Hard green tomatoes, onions, big fat lima beans just as a garni, sweet red peppers same. Vinegar and dill pickle spice, simmer, can in pints. Great with brown beans in the wintertime.
She called it Chow-chow. Dice things between 1/2 inch and 3/4 inch, not too small. Good for fall, you raid all the unripe tomatoes before the first frost, make pickles from them, don’t get scurvy over the winter for a lack of fresh fruit and veges.
@J R in WV: I’ve had chow-chow. My husband’s grandma made it.
My farming ancestors in the Ozarks pickled just about everything they didn’t make jam out of .
@Steeplejack: looks like a sprinkler to me.
@eclare: Seed it, chop it up with the juice and make popsicles. Put them in a freezer bag. Great for cooling down in summer. Soothing for sore throats in winter.
Green? We don’t need no stinking green! We live in Las Vegas, where your favorite color better be TAN! Congratulations, sire, on your continuing masterpiece. Best wishes, from the desert. I’ll send you pictures of playing golf in Dec and Feb.