Friday, July 25, 2014

Zucchini Fishin'

Can you believe this summer?? It's the BEST.  It has been so mild and perfect for outdoor dining and exercising and anything you can possibly come up with to do outside. We haven't seen 100 yet! So that is why I'm super sad that I'm seeing back to school stuff in the stores. I know it's not too soon because they are starting back up again in less than a month, but still! I'm going to have to do something to preserve my sanity this upcoming winter. Winter garden maybe ? :) Speaking of garden (haha such a un-smooth transition), mine is awful! I mean, it's making a comeback.  I think I've seen all of the cucumbers I'm going to see because the plant died of wilt (I blame the massive population of cucumber beetles), and my war with the squash vine borer was only semi successful.  The zucchinis are recovering, and making new leaves and flowers, but it might be a few weeks before I see any fruit again.  Have you tried any watermelons this year? They are gooood! When cutting into watermelon, I always have this fear that I will cut off my entire arm. I don't think it's too ridiculous of a fear either.

A few weeks ago I declared war on the squirrels and mice. Next year we will be making a cage to completely enclose them. Hopefully it isn't too ugly. I still haven't had a really good ripe (full size) tomato. I brought in a yellowy orange one yesterday because I just couldn't bear to see it taken or bitten into. The whole garden is covered in Cayenne pepper in hopes the spiciness will quell their green and red tomato appetites. Last week I hit a tipping point and I told Don to kill all the squirrels. Then I went out and killed a few mice. I felt bad, but then, those bastards bit into my prize tomato. The one that was covered in cayenne and turning red. The one that was nearly as big as my head. All that sadness and regret for mice killing vanished in an instant. Poof. They took a tiny bite and now 1/3 of it is rotten and ruined. GrrRRRrrrrr.
If you're wondering why I'm smiling so big despite my ruined tomato, it's because Don told me to hold my tomato like William holds his fish (close to the camera so they look as big as they possibly can). 
Something ate Don's only grape bunch the day after I took this picture. Next year they will be more protected. 

The blackberries are awesome when I can keep them from the birds.

I only grew three strawberries this year so these were from the store, I just love the look of cut up strawberries. 
I was trying to catch squirrels and I caught a dumb baby starling. Twice. You'd think he would've learned after the first time that the corn wasn't a good idea. 
 I also caught our one eyed squirrel (which wasn't our doing) and relocated him to a park about a mile away.

There has also been some fish catching happening:

My flowers are rocking this summer.  This Zinnia is one of my favorites. It has a pinkish antique look that I love.

The Black Eyed Susan Vine bloomed today because I finally gave it the sun it wanted. It's so pretty!

The bees are happy.

I'm hoping to get at least 5 more mini pumpkins off my vines. They are so cool and warty!

Ever wonder where you get a million bruises? I don't. It's summer!!!

I've been on a bit of a zucchini bread baking binge.  I went to the store today to get mini loaf pans so I could make them more sharable.

I had to test it first though... I think I finally have the oven time down right.  I used this recipe and baked them for 40 minutes at 350ยบ in the mini loaf pans.

Now, I just have to deliver them... but to where?? Guess I need to figure that out :)

I'm on Instagram. I'm not sure why. I guess I like to post a lot of pictures, but not all of them to Facebook. If you have a desire to see any of the pictures like the ones above, my name on there is beccasgarden and most of the time I post pictures of the garden, flowers, and food.

Tuesday, July 1, 2014

Berry Win

Mo Garden, Mo Problems.  Everything is growing fast. The big tomato cages are bending under the weight so I keep having to add more supports.  I have a cherry tomato plant in the back right that is being held up by a string outside its cage, but the string keeps getting lower and lower and I think I heard it scream for help earlier today.  I'm trying to keep some room in between the plants so I'm not doing impossible yoga to reach ripe ones later in the season, but I think it'll eventually be a lost cause. 

The Zucchini is squash vine borer suffering.  The larvae have made there way into the stems and are eating until they are fat and the vine is dead. Well, they are trying. I'm going out everyday and poking the stems with a pin in hopes that I will stab them all to death. So far, they've only completely taken out my puniest pumpkin vine. They have taken out about 5 zucchini. This was the biggest one, and it was just gross in the middle. 

I ripped the pumpkin vine out of the ground and dissected it. The larvae were in the stem and so I took the three I found and fed them to the ants. I needed them to have a slow death for my own sick satisfaction. What can I say? I was really really looking forward to zucchini bread and noodles and muffins.

Flowers are starting to bloom. Sunflowers (with a bonus praying mantis in the middle): 

The Zinnias:

 The butterfly bush is attracting all sorts of bees and butterflies and moths.

This is the first tomato that showed up and it's starting to ripen, which despite it happening year after year, I still get really excited. 

I noticed I had some strawberries ripening and hiding from the birds under the cucumber plant. Since the strawberry was an impulse buy because it was the last sad little plant, I was very proud of it. Way to go little, pathetic strawberry plant!

These are the first three strawberries. As you can see, the one on the left I didn't pick soon enough. The one in the middle was just right,  and the one on the right was probably picked a day too soon. If I was blonde, I'd be worried that three bears might barge into my yard and accuse me of stealing their strawberries. As you can also see, the strawberry plant is getting better at making a proper strawberry shape. We promptly ate the two on the right. I don't even like strawberries all that much, but I wasn't going to let Don have all the fun. Yesterday we ate the two tiny raspberries I managed to save from the birds, but I was so excited about those that I failed to take pictures. You'll just have to take my word for it that they were pretty and delicious.

Today, while I was waging my war on the squash vine borer larvae, something red caught my eye. Could it be? Nooooo! It's my first ripe tomato. It's a cherry tomato, but I'm counting it! July 1st ripe tomato? I win gardening! My prize is a tiny tomato :).  

Saw these fat tire bikes at Walmart. I don't understand. Does anyone else? I bet you couldn't do any sweet jumps with those tires.  

Here is Monk, under a blanket, even though she's really hot. Sometimes (a lot of the time) I wonder about this dog. 

Thursday, June 19, 2014

City Squash

I haven't updated in awhile - for shame! Probably because it's summahhhhhhhh. It's not really summer until Saturday, but in my book when we reach consecutive 90 degree days and I turn the air on, it's summer.  I had a dream the other day that I got up and went swimming in our pool.  Then I woke up only to realize that we do not have a pool. Sad morning.  I don't miss cleaning a pool or doing maintenance on a pool, but I do miss swimming in one. 

I don't remember it being this hot out when I was a kid.  Of course, when you are a kid, you are immune to all things temperature related. Lips are blue because it's 75 outside and the water is freezing in the pool? Great day for a swim.  You are the color of a straight up red Crayola crayon because you've just got into a pinecone war with your neighbor on a 95 degree day? Great day for a war.  

I planted the garden on May 3rd.  Then I failed to do a post about it. Whoops. Well, here is what it looked like: 

As you can see, it looked like a dirt patch with the occasional leaf in it.  So it grew slowly for the first couple of weeks and then I went on an unexpected and wonderful vacation. When I came back from vacation, on June 3rd, this is what it looked like, minus the rainbow sun burst: 

As you can see (or maybe not), everything got a lot bigger. Last week, I went to bed one day, and then the next day, everything went crazy. Check out the crazy zucchini on the bottom right... here is what it looks like today

And here is me in the garden for scale: 

So I'd say dirt to jungle in that amount of time isn't too shabby.  I spend most of my time trying to kill a squash vine borer moth.  I pick at least 7 of its eggs off of the zucchini, cucumber, and pumpkin everyday and if I get any veggies off any of them before they collapse, I'll consider my efforts a win. The cucumber are doing really well: 

I'm always amazed when things grow where I live. I guess if you have dirt, it'll grow.  I currently have blackberries, raspberries,strawberries, and grapes growing. It's city fruit! ha. 

The flower box is nice too, but I'm not too happy with my random flowers this year. It's like my brain couldn't stick with a theme and I purchased all of the flowers. Oh, purple ? that looks great... lemme just grab this red and blue and yellow too. Yikes.  

My Tonka truck is hauling purple mini petunias this year. 

The planters on the front porch actually look good.  I didn't go too crazy with them and stuck to the plan somewhat: 

I call this one my ugly pot. I love it in all its red, cream, and green glory:

I made a summer banner to include all my favorite things like food and food. 

I also finished a friend's coffee table. It has been sitting in the living room for a long time so I was happy to finally get my butt in gear and paint it.  It's an old french advertisement off a sack of grain. Thanks Graphics Fairy! Garden 1914. Yep. Works for me. 

I have a little garden bench or stool that I need to paint and I just have to decide which bee picture I'm putting on there.  I also have ten million more summer projects so I better get started. 

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

April Showers

I've taken the flannel sheets off our bed in hopes that we are officially done with freezing temps.  I'm going to plant some things this week and it's risky, but a risk well worth taking because I'm sick of pink tomatoes at the grocery store and I need bees and butterflies and gardens in my life as soon as possible.  I think I've finally taken some decent pictures of the bathroom to post!  It's only like 3 months later, but hey, better late than never? :).

Note the amount of crap gathered not only on the window sill, but the toilet tank. Speaking of toilets, I couldn't even close the lid for the picture? Geez. This was one of the last days of mint green. I was done. 

Not the greatest light balance in this picture, but you get the idea. It looks SO MUCH BETTER. 
 The old bathroom lacked space for just about everything. My makeup and hairbrush and curling irons have drawers to live in now! I love it. Oh and that sink? You can lay the hair dryer on it without it falling into the sink or onto the floor. The tile on the floor isn't coming up and has a little variety to the pattern so when I lose, say, half my hair after brushing it (don't worry, I have enough for 10 humans), it doesn't show up so much if I don't sweep it up every. single. day. Everything is square or rectangle. The towel rack, the toilet paper holder, the sink, the fixtures, the soap dispenser etc...  Don wouldn't let me get the square tank toilet because it wasn't a very good toilet, but I've made my peace with that decision since the new toilet is amazing. Who knew there were so many choices when it came to toilets? Not me.

I don't miss anything about this picture. Wait maybe the... nope. Nothing. 

You can't really tell, but the vanity and the medicine cabinet are espresso, not black. The paint we used is called Studio Taupe by Behr and my sister is obsessed with it. It makes me happy because it reminds me of chocolate milk or Weimaraners. 
The tub is gone.  The one million pound tub is gone.  So is that so-stained-not-even-pinterest-can-cure grout. So are the 7 bottles of various shampoo and conditioner with a tiny bit left in each. 

Let's talk about this shower.  Do you know how easy it is to wash dogs now? I know that shouldn't be a top priority, but it is. They run, but they can't jump through glass like they could with a shower curtain. You can't get to a corner where that sprayer won't reach either. I have cleaner dogs now.  I imagine it would work for crazy toddlers as well ;). That big square rain-like shower head up there is awesome.  I wanted one of those, and Don wanted something that had better water pressure. He found this one by Delta,  and it is the best of both worlds. If you want a great shower and you're in the neighborhood, come on by... unless you're creepy, then forget it! hehe. You can choose the main shower head, the sprayer, or both. If you have the sprayer on, it's pretty much like a main shower head for short people. The grey tile in the shower matches the grey tile on the floor. I think Don did an excellent job at design... I wonder if it has something to do with being an engineer or if it's contradictory to being an engineer. The things I wonder about.

So that's the bathroom. I like it. Moving on! It's definitely Spring (Other than that random hard freeze a few nights ago) and flowers and trees are beautiful!

This house has ridiculous curb appeal. It's SO CUTE. It makes my house look like a shack. I'm not sure what that flag is doing there, but unless it's for a good cause, it should probably go because it's messing up the wonderfulness of this porch. ;) 

I made a welcome mat for the front door.  Don saw it online and wanted it.  I found the blank floor mat at Goodwill for I don't know... let's say 79 cents (when things are 79 cents a pound, it's hard to determine how much they cost without actually weighing them).  I made stencils and painted it on. You're welcome husband.

This is the side of my house.  We're going to ignore the empty box, and look at what came in the box! See the garden arch? I got it at Aldi for 29.99.  I looked at Goodwill and everywhere else for the past year and couldn't find one, and I freaked out when this one popped up in the Aldi ad. Originally I thought I'd have to build one, but this was better.  It's gorgeous, and it's only going to be prettier when it's covered in moon flower vines. It's about a foot in the neighbor's yard, but he didn't care. He never comes over to this side of his house and I mow that strip of grass for him in the summer anyway. Deal.

So overall, I'm very happy with the house right now, and I know that it's only going to get better as things start growing and I get the flower box and garden in. Sigh. I've missed you warm weather!  Monkey feels the same way.


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I'm pretty much your average human being, minus the 2.5 children. I do have 7 nieces and nephews.