Sunday, July 28, 2013

The "Greats"...

This time of the year we have all kinds of flowers blooming and it's fantastic!  Of course with all these flower there are plenty of insects; flying one, crawling one, jumping ones, etc.
Here is a picture of a Great Globe Thistle, otherwise known as Echinops sphaerocephalus, that is playing host to the Great Black Wasp, otherwise known as Sphex pensylvanicus.
I love the black on purple colors.  Ah, really enjoy walking around the yard and watching all these critters enjoying all our labor of love!

Dinner BLT's!!

OH YEAH, the tomatoes are beginning to roll in!!
We had BLT's for dinner last night and they were SCRUMPTIOUS!!
Pick our first Cucumber yesterday, which also was put out for dinner

Find The Critter

Can you find the critter in the above picture?
Clue:  Looks like a bee but it's not.  Doesn't sting or bite.  Adults are often seen "hovering" over blossoms. They're a benefit to your garden.
It's the Hover Fly, also known as the Syrphid fly or Flower fly.

It's A Flip Flop Summer

Always love when Emilie takes the camera and goes on a shooting spree.  You never know what you'll see or what she's taken pictures of but one thing for sure is that she has a unique perspective and creative talent.

Black Beauties!

JoAnne found some unique Black Bloom Petunias this season and they're beautiful for sure.
They appear to be very hardy too and doing well.

Thursday, July 25, 2013

2013 Broccoli - Round II

Another batch of broccoli picked last night!!  The first batch was DELICIOUS!

Thick-Skinned Gourd

I'm not sure why they're sometimes referred to as "thick-skinned" gourds, perhaps they take criticism well?!?

So, back in the early Spring I posted about having started a variety of pumpkin and gourd seeds indoors; 50 of them to be exact.  Well, we ended up with a whopping two plants that made it - both pumpkin plants; one from a white pumpkin and one from a 400lb pumpkin.  No luck with all others.
One of the plants that I really wanted to have survive, and a first time attempting to grow, was the birdhouse gourd.  Although, several did sprout and begin to grow, they failed to survive the transplant into larger pots.
Ironically, out of nowhere and handily in the same raised bed that already has a trellis, what looks to be a birdhouse gourd plants has appeared and putting the trellis to good use.
Time will tell what it produces, if anything, but there are a number of small gourds starting.

2013 Garlic Harvest, A-Yum!

German White Garlic Harvest
As you can see from the above picture the garlic plants have all but died, signaling harvest time!

Here all plants have been removed and garlic bed tilled.

Here is the freshly harvested, dirty, yet wonderful bounty, (31 bulbs)!

And here they are hung out to dry.

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Yarrow - Achillea millefolium

Here is a sampling of the (3) different colored Yarrow plants of ours.
The white are all over - along roadways, parking lots, etc.  Occasionally, I'd see a yellow one too but not nearly as often.  This is the first year I came across a red, so I bought it!
All are now beginning to fade and not as bright and vibrant but the bees, butterflies and insects still flock to them.

Circle of "Compost" Life

Finally got around to planting our extra summer and zucchini squash plants.  The 6-packs, for each variety, I bought in early summer had SO many more that six plants.  I planted what I thought we could handle and the extras I potted up.
They really weren't doing too well in the small pots with all this heat, not to mention that we're tired of watering them, so  I was prepared to add them to the compost pile in a composting way.  However, I thought I had nothing to lose by sticking them in the dirt and giving them a drink of water.
Let's see how they do.  If they live and produce it's a WIN for us, and if they don't no harm no foul.  either way they're gonna be compost.

Find The Critter

Can you find the critter in these pictures?!
Same kind of critter but not the same critter, if you know what I'm trying to say.
I've seen more of these insects in our yard this year then ever before and love it!

Sunday, July 21, 2013

Mom - In Loving Memory

I can't believe it's been 8 years, where has the time gone?
I miss you each and every day!

Thursday, July 18, 2013

Cicada Nymphal Instar

Spied and caught a cicada instar the other night when feeding and putting the animals to bed for the night.  You, or at least me anyway, seldom come across the cicada's at this stage in their life, as they're not in it for very long.  I typically find the abandoned exoskeletal remains hanging all over.

It didn't take this dude long to molt into it's final stage, adulthood.  It was less than a couple hours from catching and placing it in a bug container when we noticed it molted.  It's wings were a neon greenish color and still crinkled up.

In the morning it was done, as seen in the above photo, and ready to be released.  Fortunately, it hung around for Emilie to snap a couple pic then, zooooom, off it flew into a nearby treetop.

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

"Here I Am To Save The Day" - Mighty Mouse

And just like how Mighty Mouse used to do it, so did one of Franklin's finest!
Happen to catch a Franklin police officer respond to a distress call at our neighbors house this afternoon.
From what I can tell it looked like the toddler got locked in the car!
Since it's in the area of 95 degrees and hot and humid and the vehicle being black and sitting out in the direct sun, it was clearly and emergency!
The police officer zoomed in and I'd say in less than 30 seconds upon his arrival he had the door opened.  Of course I can't divulge how it was done but it was pretty cool.
The little one looked fine once she was taken out of her car seat.  Thank goodness crisis averted.

Cool Facts re: Fireflies

Spotted this lady lightening bug crawling along our deck the other afternoon, so I took her photo.  I'm sure she was resting up for a night of lighting things up.  It could be just me but seems that I'm seeing more fireflies this summer than in recent years.
Brings back fond memories of when I was growing up.
10 Cool Facts About Fireflies
1. Fireflies, also called lightning bugs, are neither flies nor bugs.
2. Fireflies are the world's most efficient light producers.
3. Fireflies "talk" to each other using light signals.
4. Fireflies are bioluminescent throughout their life cycles.
5. Not all adult fireflies flash.
6. Firefly larvae feed on snails.
7. Some fireflies are cannibals.
8. Female fireflies sometimes mimic the flashes of other species.
9. Firefly luciferase is used in all kinds of medical research.
10. Some fireflies synchronize their flash signals.
(facts pulled from

Odiferous Invader For Sure!

Garlic mustard, also called Jack-by-the-hedge and sauce-alone, is a biennial plant in the mustard family and a seriously invasive alien plant. Left to itself, it can completely take over an area, crowding out all native plants. It grows along shaded roadsides, woody paths, and other shady areas.
I noticed this growing in our backyard, along the wooded areas, years ago now but in the last couple of years it's exploded and taken over!  Not only do I see it in the neighbors yard but along the roadways and parking lots too.  I also find plants attempting to grow in our flower beds and raspberry beds - it's everywhere.
I guess it shouldn't be a surprise since the maximum production on one plant with 12 stems is estimated at 7,900 seeds, yikes!

"V" Is For Victory!

*****  WARNING  *****
** Graphic Image Below **
We no longer have a problem with our strawberries disappearing and/or being half eaten and picked through.
It's weird, not sure what happen and why this pillaging just all of a sudden *SNAP* stopped but I sure am thankful!

Smile You're On My...iPad!

Sign of the times.
These are just two examples of how already inconsiderate people can be even MORE inconsiderate!!
For example, the woman in the first picture had NO problem stepping right in front of me, as if I wasn't even there, to hoist her silly iPad and begin taking pictures.  Now that she's trying to be all tech savvy and "with it", she needs more time to get her new toy in place and working, which just takes that much longer.  All the while completely oblivious to anyone or anything behind her.  After all it was all about her and her daughter.  There were no other girls playing in the softball all-star game...
Same with this tubby one here, she's a peach this one (a story for another time).  She didn't care who was sitting behind her and who she was blocking, as she has special moments to capture and because her child was the only one at the 5th grade graduation ceremony, there were no others.
I loath them all!

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

The "Speeding" Nun

So, I was relaxed and listening to sports talk radio on my commute into the office this morning.  The cruise control set a tad over 70 and just below most of the traffic flow so not to arouse suspicion from the State police.

All of a sudden I noticed, in my rear view mirror, a gold colored Chevrolet with Quebec plates roaring up the high speed lane.

When it pulled up beside me and passed I was very surprise to see there was a Nun behind the wheel.

Gave new meaning to "The Flying Nun"!!

Monday, July 15, 2013

2013 Broccoli

Although these are small heads of broccoli, they're the first to be picked.  Remember these broccoli plants were chewed to their stems by a wild rabbit, but TLC and constant care they've bounced back.  The plants themselves look great, however, the smaller heads may be a side effect.
No worries, they'll cook up and taste just fine!!

All Aboard!

Trixie took a dip in the pool yesterday to cool off.
JoAnne has taught her to get on the boogie board all by herself and relax floating around the shallow end.  Too funny if I do say so myself.

2013 Tomatoes Have Arrived

We picked our first two tomatoes of the season, see above!
Fingers crossed that we have a bumper crop this year.

Tuesday, July 09, 2013

Potential Fall Contest Entry?!

The pumpkin plant that we started in the house is well established outside in the ground and loving this hot, humid weather!  Remember this plant began from a seed that was removed from a 400+lb pumpkin several years ago.
We're not sure if we'll get anything that big but I'm stacking the odds in our favor as I've wrapped the plant in pure compost and we've been watering it a plenty!  Of course I'm anticipating we'll lose a great deal of lawn as this monster plant begins to stretch and grow but hey that's less I will need to cut.
Just hope the woodchucks keep their distance and don't mess with this dude.
Can't wait!!

Fun With Morning Glory's

So, we're going to see if our freshly planted Morning Glory's will climb up and along the twine we've installed.
There are three strands, approximately 20 - 25 feet long, running from a section of stockade fencing up to our deck, which is ~12 feet high off the ground.
We mixed and planted several different color varieties of MG's in a big 10-gallon container.
It's gonna be interesting to see just how far they'll make it.  If it works, they'll also be providing some level of shade for the items that usually bake in the hot sun.  Plus, an added bonus will be yet another attraction for the oodles of Hummingbirds we already have. However, this just might bring them closer for us to watch and enjoy.
Stay tuned, more pictures to follow as things progress...

Saturday, July 06, 2013

Brandywine Tomatoes!

These are our Brandywine tomatoes!
Our farmer friend Tim grew these in his greenhouse.  They were tiny plugs when I brought them home but they're since taken root and are taking off.  You can almost watch them grow.  They love this hot humid weather.  If all goes well we should have tomatoes coming out of our ears very soon!

First Zucchini of 2013!

First zucchini squash of the season!!

Praying Mantis Galor

I came across this Praying Mantis this morning when I was tying our tomato plants.  Once all twenty plants were tied I was then able to maneuver throughout, so I began weeding.  I was surprised when the weed I attempted to grab scooted.  Upon a closer look it wasn't a weed after all but rather a 100% pure green Praying Mantis.  He climbed up on a corn stalk leaf, then onto a tomato leaf.  The dude blends it perfectly!

Wednesday, July 03, 2013

I Stepped In "IT" Alright!!

Here's a little comic relief for you all -
I stepped in dog poop last night!
I'm sure many of you have unfortunately done the same thing and as you know it's gross and disgusting to say the least, right!
Well, my experience has an interesting twist to it. You see the dog poop I stepped in just so happened to be residing on the living room carpet AND I was barefoot...