Monday, August 31, 2009

Delicious Ears

A couple days before we departed on our vacation the corn we planted started coming in.

Here is a picture of the first 8 ears picked -

Here you can see just how delicious they look with their husks pulled back -

You simply can NOT beat farm fresh corn just picked, shucked and cooked. Hmm, Hmm good!!

We we're able to eat some fantastic Tennessee fresh picked corn also, which is equally as tasty. When we returned from our trip there was still plenty of good eatin corn waiting for us. One of the dog day pleasures of summer!

We're Back...

The fat lady has sung! Our vacation is over, boohoohoo! The two weeks flew by and went way too fast. We fought it as best we could but reluctantly we're back at work today. No luck at hitting the big Powerball or Megamillions jackpots, alas.

We logged a round trip total of 2,008 miles and traveled the following -
Day1: Depart home, MA. to Lancaster, PA. (408 miles)
Day2: Departed Lancaster; Took in Gettysburg then to Charleston, W.VA. (426 miles)
Day3 - Day8: Visited St. Albans and some family then to Johnson City, TN. (306 miles)
Day9: Departed Johnson City to Scranton, PA. (584 miles)
Day10: Departed Scranton to home (284 miles)

We had a great trip - I'm glad we went! Emilie was a trooper and did a fantastic job traveling, especially since her portable DVD player died just a couple hours into Day1. I'm happy and proud to have been able to recreate the trip I remember taking as a kid with JoAnne and Emilie. To be able to share that same experiences with them, to show them where my family grew up, and to introduce them to family they had yet to met.

As the song "Take Me There" by Rascal Flatts says -

I wanna roll down Main Street, the back roads
Like we did when you were a kid
What made you who you are?
Tell me what your story is

Also, a VERY BIG thank you to our extended family in TN for EVERYTHING that you did for us!!

Monday, August 17, 2009

We're on Vacation and We're Off!!

JoAnne, Emilie and I are on vacation, yippie!

We're great procrastinators. Although we've discussed what to do and where we should go pretty much all summer long, it wasn't till Friday-ish 8/14 that we finally made a decision and decided what we're going to do.

We want to take a swim in some warm water, 80+ degree - our pool is just too cold, i.e. 76ish, brrrr.

So, we're off (driving) to Johnson City Tennessee!! We know of a wonderful little cement pond that we just can't wait to jump into...

P.S. Ssshhhhh, since we're such terrible procrastinators, we've not even had a chance to call ahead to make sure the pool's still open. We'll be making this call from the road this morning...

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Wild Wabbit Wabies

Working in the yard the other afternoon I came upon a wild rabbit nest with four plump babies crammed inside. The nest was nothing more than a hole in the ground, just big enough for these little guys. The hole was dug beside a large rock in one of our flower gardens and was partially covered by some nearby chives and purple coneflowers – a pretty cool location and hiding spot. Emilie and I saw a couple of them tooling around in that same flower garden about a week later. Still too young to be out on their own but old enough to be curious and checkout the area - just hope that know that eating our flowers and vegetables are a NO NO!!

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Garden Prep

I have several potted tomato plants still hangin around. They are just now starting to show signs of late blight and will go in the trash come Monday. Otherwise, all the tomato plants I had in the garden are gone. I spent a couple hours this past weekend turning the soil where the plants were in an effort to make sure any and all tomato parts, i.e. leaves, tomato's and juices, are underground to compost and decay.

Come fall I will add some compost and turn the soil once again and finish off with a planting of winter rye. Then come spring time, I'll turn the soil once more. Hopefully, this will rid the garden of any signs or remnants of blight, so we can have some tomato success this time next year.

As you can see from the photo above there's an open void between the corn up top and the sunflowers down below, alas. I planted some zinnias, that we started from seed, in this area so it's not so empty, plus it'll add some color. It's almost time to pick some corn and the gold finch are enjoying the sunflowers.

Find the Critter IV

Can you find the critters in the above picture?

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Fun Fact

Fun Fact!

Grapes are a good source of vitamins C and K.

It's Gamo Time! Let's Dance...

I type this posting with a sense of embarrassment. Embarrassment for two reasons; the first is that I incorrectly blamed our visiting deer for eating a number of our vegetable and flower plants, and the second for not considering and foolishly believing that I had eradicated the true culprit, varmint, sonofabiach...the woodchuck, see earlier posting titled: Jon & Kate Plus Eight Minus Six and Jon. However, just to be clear, the deer are NOT harmless victims that have been falsely accused and the jury is still out on who's responsible for some of the other, non-broccoli damage.

I take pride in noticing outdoor animal plant type stuff, especially in and around our yard where I spend SO much time, a lot of it on my hands and knees. To jump to the conclusion that the deer were to blame and to not even consider that something or someone else was responsible for the damage, has me questioning my Chi - perhaps my Yin & Yang are outta sink...

As I made my way to shake the dew off my trouser lily this morning, I peaked out the windows and was SHOCKED to see a big, fat woodchuck sitting in amongst the kale and broccoli helping himself as if at an all you can eat buffet! You can see, in the first picture below, the damage he's done to the broccoli - eating the tops and tender new shoots off of each plant. It's possible but highly unlikely that I would be more understanding if the rodent ate one plant at a time but it infuriates me that he bebop's from one plant to another as he destroys them all, arrrrrrrrrrr!!

Broccoli and kale garden below. You can see the damage done to the broccoli - chewed and eaten, all of them. Apparently this pest doesn't care for kale but then again I don't blame him for that. Actually, I would prefer he eat the kale versus the broccoli, since I eat the broccoli and we grown the kale to feed our bunnies.

Here are two small pumpkins happily minding their own business and just growing. As you can see one of them has been attacked and eaten, almost in half - sunofabiach!

Here is the same pumpkin plant as above zoomed out some. As you can see from this photo a bunch of the leaves have been eaten off the vine. You shouldn't be able to see the orange flowers if all the leaves were still in place.

As Grouch Marx said in the 1933 movie Duck Soup and a line that Bugs Bunny 'borrowed' from this same movie and brought to fame, "Of course, you know, this means war!"

Monday, August 10, 2009

Fun Fact

Fun Fact!

Peanut butter is found in about 75 percent of American homes!

Sunday, August 09, 2009

Visiting Pest - Hibiscus Sawfly

We have a beautiful Hibiscus that is in it's third summer that sports super BIG pink flowers. We have it planted in a corner out back against the foundation of the house on one side and the stockade fence on the other. This seems to be an ideal spot for it to overwinter, as it's been coming up every summer since being planted. This surprise me a little being that the Hibiscus is a tropical plant and we're here in New England, zone 6 - I'm guessing it's one of the hardy varieties. The only care given, outside of watering, is that we cut it back in the fall.

It's yet to bloom this summer but well on the way, yippee! However, this summer it's also attracted one of it's well known nemesis - the Hibiscus Sawfly - Atomacera decepta. As you can see from the picture below, the larva stage, is quite destructive and does a number on the foliage. They're small enough to squish with your fingers and not too messy, so I try to visit the plant once a day to kill as many of these pest as possible, as we anxiously await the flower's arrivals!

Larva stage - Hibiscus Sawfly

Adult stage - Hibiscus Sawfly

You might try yourself a Hibiscus cocktail, which is made with champagne and cranberry juice.

Friday, August 07, 2009

Jon & Kate Plus Eight Minus Six and Jon

Awoke the other morning to see a mother deer and her twin fawns frolicking in the backyard. They were fun to watch, as the fawns were carefree running and jumping, twisting and turning. Obviously they're still too young to be concerned about danger; that's what mom is for.

We've only seen them once so far BUT they've been frequent visitors for sure. They have already worn out their welcome in my book - sssssshoe, scram go away! Here is a list of the plants I've noticed that they've alerady helped themselves to: a good portion of some of our pumpkin plants, the tops off some sedium, a couple comfrey plants, hostas, raspberries and even bold enough to venture up into the yard to eat the tops off of the broccoli. Of course since they're browsers they do a little damage here and a little damage there, UUGH!

Thursday, August 06, 2009

Find the Critter XIII

Can you find the critters in the above picture?

Also, can you name the critter and the plant?



Raspberries have an extremely high fiber content—about 20 percent of their total weight.

We've Got The Blight Blues...

We’ve got it!

No, not the Mega Millions jackpot from this past weekend, which is now at 103 million.

Nope, not the Powerball jackpot from this past weekend, which is now at 161 million.

What we got is “Late Blight”!

Late Blight, the disease that was responsible for the Irish potato famine in the mid-19th century, is a very destructive and infectious disease of tomato and potato plants. The extremely wet weather we’ve had all spring and summer has created the ideal conditions, or perfect storm, for this disease to BECOME… When it hits, it hits hard and it hits fast. We noticed it on a single tomato plant on 7/25 and by 7/27, less that three days later, the remaining 24 tomato plants were infected, as we’re our single row of potato plants. I spent a couple hours in Sunday cutting up and bagging the plants to get them curbside for trash pickup, which is the recommend approach for the home gardner.

Sadly, we’re out of the tomato business this season, which means we’re out of the canning business too – VERY upsetting and disheartening. So much hard work all for not…

Monday, August 03, 2009

Fun Fact

Fun Fact!

Corn has both male (tassel) and female (ear) flowers on the same plant.