Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Golden Success!

Early this year I decided to plant a butterfly garden so I could attract some beautiful creatures to our yard. I planted some milkweed by the a/c next to the house. When it was about yay high (just imagine a plant that has grown to a reasonable size) Don decided to weed wack for the first (and only) time this year. I was semi devastated, but I stayed calm and just planted more.  Last week, they started blooming:

Today, while watering, I noticed that they were looking a little raggedy. No. What? It couldn't be! But it was! Success comes in many different forms.  Today, success was finding this little guy chomping on a plant whose seed was put into the ground, watered, and grown specifically for him. I was super excited.

Other things blooming that aren't as exciting but still beautiful: 

 Teddy Bear Sunflower :


This is my volunteer tomato in the flower box. I don't know where it came from or what kind it is but it sort of looks like grape tomatoes. I guess time will tell :) 

This is a dark chili chocolate bar from Aldi. They come in a pack of four. They are delicious. Every time I open one I feel like busting into song; I've got a golden ticket!!!  The wrapper has some gold on it and it makes a lot of crunchy fun foil noise when you open it and it reminds me of Charlie opening his chocolate. It makes me smile. 

Thursday, August 21, 2014

Hot Mantis

We have finally hit summer.... took awhile, but the MO heat and humidity has finally reared its glorious head. Summer: So hot right now! I haven't seen Zoolander in awhile so I should probably rectify that situation soon.  Outdoor movie night? Sounds like an excellent plan.  Maybe in a couple weeks when it isn't 90 degrees at 8:00pm.  

Look at this glorious team of winners. I've been playing kickball since Spring of 2009, every spring, summer, and fall with two winters thrown in and we've never won our division. This summer it finally happened!  I always have fun and always meet so many great new people that it's been worth it, but having a recreational kickball medal is just icing on our playing a kid's sport cake.

I like this bug.  We used to keep them as pets when we were kids for about a week before we would let them free.  They ate apples and brought joy to this bug lovin' girl's heart.  I also like this painted and repainted outdoor chair because it is old and chippy and looks like it has been loved. If only I would have taken a clearer picture. Can't win them all I guess. 

This is what the kitchen table looks like nowadays.  I've been picking a lot of tomatoes.  The squirrels seem to be scared of Don and now my only problem is the Cardinals.  They've been eating all of the blooms off the zucchini and pumpkin so I haven't been getting either.  I put up bird nets and now the blooms are starting to grow again so here's hoping I have better luck getting a few more of each. It'll probably be cutting it close for the pumpkins though... they take longer to grow. 

These are my Four O'clocks. I only see them if I go out at night.  Odd little flowers. I probably won't replant next year, but maybe I'll get some volunteers. 

This is a bee party. Don't be jealous, I wasn't invited to the bee party, I was just hired to take pictures. They paid me in tomatoes. 

This is my sidewalk Zinnia.  I must've dropped a seed this spring and for some reason it thrived in a tiny sidewalk crack. Can I just cover the yard in Zinnias? I lurve them.  I had to tie these back a little though because the dogs like to charge through them. 

I have the daily Monarch.  Sounds like an awesome newspaper for gardening.  I'd subscribe.  The butterfly likes to visit some flowers here and then he always goes over the shed into the neighbor's yard when he's done.  I have some butterfly milkweed that hasn't bloomed yet even though I yell at it everyday that it is running out of time and it needs to establish a friendship with the Monarch so it can later be eaten.  Hmmmm maybe I should quit giving it so much information. 

For some reason, the squirrels have not plucked off my sunset sunflowers. I'm not complaining. 
I love the orange Zinnias. 

These peppermint ones are pretty cool too. 

I took this picture tonight.  Welcome to the jungle. I need to go pick tomatoes. The Roma clusters are out of control which is nice because they make awesome salsa. Except I'm out of chips.  Grocery store trip tomorrow. Definitely. 

Had a big Praying Mantis drop by tonight.  I always hate getting really close to them because they never look friendly.  I'm pretty sure this one was trying to figure out if he could eat my pinky finger. 

I'm not letting Halloween sneak up on me this year. I have projects to do!  I found this lantern at Goodwill (ha, where else?) It's so cool.  Oh the things that make me smile... rust and all. 

For the first time since I was like 11, I have a pair of winter boots. Up until two winters ago, I wore that pair of boots that I had when I was 11. My mom and sister made fun of them, but I held on to them until they unraveled and fell apart (like a lot of my shoes, I have issues letting go).  These new boots were on clearance and when I tried them on it was like walking on clouds. They are magnificently ugly and water proof and they will keep my feet super warm. Don calls them moon boots. Maybe this winter won't be so miserable (who am I kidding? it will be awful).  

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. 


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