Sunday, August 30, 2009

The Dog Days of Summer Gardening

Well, the dog days of summer are upon us and nowhere is that more evident than in our little vegetable garden. As you know, it is our first year of trying to grow some of our own food. Unfortunately, it has not gone as well as we had hoped for. Even though it is only late August a number of our plants are already spent. I had to pull out our three zucchini plants today. I thought we might get one or two more but the last one that looked promising just stopped growing and then withered and died.

We did finally however get a watermelon. For months, all we have had is vines and then flowering vines but not a melon in sight. Then, suddenly, as if my magic a few little melons started to appear on the vines. We have one that is now the size of a softball. May be in September, it will be ready to harvest.

Even our tomatoes did not do nearly as well as we hoped. Sure, we had some to harvest. Though they were mostly the Grape, Sweet 100s and a few Romas. We got one Gold Medal but it ended up getting some sort of rot or bug damage and died on the vine. And, we did manage to coax a few Jersey Devils (above) to fully fledged and ripen adulthood. But, again, we lost more than we harvested. Our hope had been to have a enough tomatoes to can for the winter but we have barely ended up with enough for a salad. Hopefully, next tomato season will be better.

Ironically, in sunny and hot, Southern California, our chard has been been doing well. How, I don't know. I thought this would have hated the weather but it's going strong. We'll be planting more for the fall.

Our fall hope...the one, lone butternut squash. Why we only have one is a mystery. We're hoping against hope that at least one more will sprout from this plant.

But, we'll keep trying. As soon as the heatwave that we are experiencing breaks, we're going to plant new things for the fall and winter. Though the garden has not producted as many veggies as hoped for, we are not giving up. Plus, Dan and I are new at this, so hopefully we will get better at it.

A New Visitor to Our Yard

We added a birdbath to our backyard last weekend. And, ever since, Dan and I check periodically to see if we have any feathered visitors. And, finally we did. Yesterday we spotted a hawk drinking from the birdbath. It was awe-inspiring. So beautiful. He or she was there for a good 10 minutes. We just stared from the house in amazement.

Then, much to our delight this morning, the hawk was back. This time, we got to see it take a full bath.

It is true that if you provide water, the critters will come. We are hoping to be blessed with more sightings of the hawk very soon. I will try and get a picture if possible.

Saturday, August 15, 2009

A Dramm Fine Hose

Yes, it is totally geeky but I am writing out my new hose. I cannot help it. I love this this hose. It's orange. It makes me smile to look at it.

We actually already have one for the backyard and it's been great for more than a year and a half. Oh, we have had other hoses that we have purchased at Target or Home Depot. And, they were all crap. Calling them crap is being kind. Absolute garbage and a waste of money is what they ended up being. They would crack and leak and just generally fall apart within months.

Then one day, I decided to get serious about the hose issue and ordered the Dramm Colorstorm Premium Rubber Hose from Gardener's Supply Company. This one was yellow. But, the best part is that it worked. No cracking, no leaking. Plus, it is still going strong after a year and a half. Sure, it's not cheap but I had spent more money constantly buying crappy hoses so it has been money well worth spent. So well worth spent, that we just bought our second one for the front yard. And, I love the orange color. So much more fun and cheerier than green or black. Dramm gets it right. They make a high quality product that lasts and even comes in fun colors. The added bonus is that they are made in the USA. I'm not trying to point fingers or anything but those other hoses were all made in China.

The moral of this story is buy quality. It is well worth the extra money.

Egg + Bread = Yummy Breakfast

It's starting to become a bit of habit. The egg (preferably poached) plus bread (toasted with butter) breakfast. I cannot resist the siren call of Dan's homemade artisanal bread. And, though I could just eat it alone with some butter or jam or honey, I find that I need more than just carbs in the morning. I need some protein. So, this is the perfect mix for me.

Today's fine breakfast got a wee bit fancier than usual though with the addition of some sauteed spinach and crumbled feta. It was delicious. I have a feeling I'll be having it again very soon. Perhaps even tomorrow.