Month: July 2003

Summer observations

It’s been a fast Summer. We are on the last week of July already. I’ll admit that I’m wishing the month away, hoping for better things in August [$$$-wise Frank].

But that isn’t why the month is going fast. Wishing time away tends to make it stretch out, generally for me at the least. It’s just going fast, as it has for some other folks we’ve talked to recently. At least it’s not “just us”!

My sunflowers are all nearly done. Seeds are nearly done, and we have American Goldfinches stripping all the heads of their seeds. They didn’t do that last year. I have a Finch Feeder, full of wonderul thistle [Niger Seed]. They ignore it en total. They want the FRESH seeds, Black Oil Sunflowers.

Well, dying sunflower foliage calls for Autumn days not far away. Hmm. It’s still July. I can’t recall what really happened with them last year. Silly. Anyhow, I’ve seen other little things that make me think of an early Autumn. I have nothing to back up any forcast claims, and I am not making any. Just noting that I’m thinking about stuff.

It’s just really been different, this is our first Summer in Georgia with abundant rain. Everything is different. Smog? No smoggy days bugging us this Summer out here. Can’t say THAT about previous years. Allergies though, have been really bad this Spring and Summer. But not every day. We’ve had Fireflies on our property this year, never before. Our Locust Tree, the wild one, flowered visibly and smellably this Spring, never before. It’s full of long leathery fruit now, forming it’s seeds. We’ve never seen the tree full of that, since it’s never blossomed with us around. When we moved here, in November 1997, the tree had some old dry seed pods hanging on it. Just some. That means it’s not bloomed since at least Spring of 1996, I’m guessing. We first found this house in September 1997, and it was not prolificly sporting pods, not at all.

Well, that’s just observations about how water changes the environment. Like our backyard. Every time it rains, slosh, slosh, slosh… walking through the yard means standing water. In the past, it was cracked earth, bare spots, and “where’d the water go” if it DID rain. Now it’s everywhere, and we love the Blessing of Rain. God is good to us!

Canning Tomatoes

My garden is doing alright. Hence I tried some canning for the first time ever, yesterday. I have 2 jars [1-qt each] of tomato sauce, and 2 jars [1-pint each] of quartered tomatoes.

Success!

The lids are sealed.

The only canning I will do is of high acid stuff, tomatoes and fruit, basically. I won’t do pressure canning.

I really like freezing, that becomes an issue with the freezer not having enough space. We have a large upright one, and it’s full … I need to weed through it. It’s cat food or milk, mostly, those things both take up lots of space. At any rate, canning tomatoes is a fine thing to do, since you have them fresh in the summer, but no other time of the year, so commercially canned is all that’s available [don’t buy shipped “fresh” tomatoes, ‘cept for one or two if I’m dying for one out of season]. Home canning is just your tomatoes heated up, which you do when you cook that sauce.

Now pressure canning is another thing entirely. I don’t do pressure cooking, it’s abnormal and changes food, possibly. I don’t have a microwave either. Used to, got rid of it.

Fermenting is the way to go, old time fermenting and cold storage. I’m not doing it really, yet, but getting towards that time. If you are familiar with Nourishing Traditions, you’d possibly know about this method. I’m not able to do much of it, since my fridge isn’t very good for it. I’d need a cold cellar, root cellar, or separate fridge. All things for the future.

Cameras, digital or film

I can’t get my digital CHEAP camera to download to the computer. It may be a bad cable, and I have no way of getting a new one. It’s that cheap Earthlink Xirlink camera you can get by subbing to their service, if you get that offer. I’ve used it often enough, it’s good for far away subject if you’re only going for onscreen viewing in a smallish size.

My last hen photos [June 30, July 2] were two days that I took several photos with that camera. The actual last pictures downloaded. The other day I took some sky pictures that I wanted to do a photomerge of. They are in the camera, and I can’t get them out. Bummer. The only other possibility is that the serial port is bad on the desktop computer. That’s unlikely, but the only lurking possibility, unless the rechargeable batteries are so bad … but they aren’t, I can’t imagine one any of those four little things would go out, but allow me to TAKE pictures and see the number of them in the camera, but not have enough power for the computer twain program to recognize the camera. So this is a little vent.

At least I have film for my good camera now. I really liked that cheap digital though, I could take thirty pictures, or how many I wanted, and then work with them right away. It’s not like they are high-res wonders, no, they are ugly, but a landscape turns out acceptable, and a group from distance is alright, just don’t blow it up, or zoom in on it.

Ah, my eye is on the newer Canon EOS 10D. It’s cheap for a Digital SLR camera. It’s expensive and way out of range for us now. Even the Canon G5 is out of range, at $1000 [or a bit less], depending on where either one could be purchased, cheaper than the 10D. So, I’m stuck with film only now. And I do love it, I’m just really liking the digital way … so it’s hard to let go. My sad little camera was my entry into the digital-only photo world. I liked it enough. Compare that to the interent speeds. If one would say they like online content, and they’ve only been able to dialup with a 14,000k modem … sure some would laugh. It’s not a completely good analogy, for I scan film and photos in high-res on my computer, and have film scanned when it’s developed sometimes as well, so I’m not unfamiliar with high-res images. So, to make the analogy work, I’ll say that the 14,000k modem person has that at home, but goes on trips and get connected into hotel ethernet connections sometimes, so they know the speed.

Still not a perfect analogy, but I’ll leave it at that. My Canon Rebel 2000 is a great camera. It’d be nice to have it’s sibling, the 10D. It would share lenses. An awesome pairing. I know there is better equipment out there, I’m not a pro-photographer, so I’m happy in my amateur state, with these superb cameras. They are excellent for the photographer that’s a wanna-be-happy-to-never-be.

Happy Birthday!

Happy Birthday to you, happy birthday to you, happy birthday dear Frank, happy birthday to you!

Frank is 38 today. That makes him 2 years older than me, for 8 days. πŸ™‚

Gardening stuff, and more

I sprayed the tomato plants with the BT Worm Killer just awhile ago. I waited until it was a bit cooler, not that it mattered. The whole affair just pooped me out anyhow. [I am quite intolerant to too much heat, anything above 70 degrees flakes me out in varying degrees … which makes the South a great place to live, inside during the Summer, except when the mosquitoes are out in there biggest #’s then the temps are alright ;), and all the other seasons are tolerable if not great.]

If I could go around with an ice pack on the back of my neck, I’d be very nice and happy all the time. Otherwise, watch out. Stressed out hot person isn’t the person to be around. Too bad that’s me, I can’t get away from myself. πŸ™‚

People think our house is too cold. I think it’s still too warm!

My garden is hot. So I can only go out there for a little bit each time. I hope the Bt helps. If a worm eats a Bt contaminated leaf it makes the dude stop eating right away and they die in a few days. This is a good thing. I’m not sure how it all will work out with the status my garden is in, it may be too late to do much good this way, but it’ll be something that needs more intensive attention … as any “natural” thing would anyhow.

I must talk a bit about the bees around here. We have alot of Sunflowers in the front and the back of the house. They have many bee admirers. Then in the new herb garden there is a Giant Hyssop … which is covered in bees all the time, it’s glorious looking [not really that big yet, it’s a new plant in the garden from a 3 gal container at the most, probably smaller.] They are so nice, bumblebees are nice, ya know. Busy bees.

My Gerber Daisies out front aren’t all doing so well. They’ve struggled a bit with the heat, but mostly two newer ones that didn’t want to attach themselves to the ground, so I had to water them at least once a day heavily or else they’d droop. I’m thankful to say that BOTH of them finally have rooted themselves into the ground and don’t need extra watering. I need to give them all some better attention though, as something else is bothering them, don’t know what yet.

I planted Lamb’s Ear in the bern out front, opposite side of the end where the G. Daisies are. It’s flourishing, absolutely gorgeous. We can’t get enough of “petting” the leaves when we are out there. Poor thing has Flea Beatles on it now though. Those are not “fleas” just share the name “flea” with the jumping parasite due to the way the Flea Beatle jumps. Our are black busy little tiny hole chewers. They haven’t done much damage, they are just very noticeable on the huge velvety Lamb’s Ears. I haven’t seen what I can really do to get them out of there yet, some Pyrethrin maybe. According to Southern Living Garden Book it’s useful for the grubs mostly. Well, this is the first time we’ve ever seen Flea Beatles, and they are all over a dear permanent perennial plant. Tilling to expose grubs, well that’s not exactly do-able πŸ˜‰

So it’s just one thing if not another. Bugs ick. Some are good, most are annoying, and some just plain no reason for them, though God saw fit to allow them in His plan. Before the Fall, or After the Fall? When did they begin their life? That’s a good conversation to have, particularly over some good drink with Reformed friends.

I planned on just writing about how I sprayed the tomatoes … and ended up with a gardening diatribe of sorts. That’s what happens when it takes several trips away from the computer to do sundry things.

Tomatoes – let the killing begin

We got Bt Worm Killer, which is a liquid concentrate form of Bt, for the tomato problem. If I’d been able to diagnose the problem sooner, it’d have been a better deal, but since that’s not the case, I must accept the way it is. Damage, and more to come, but perhaps we’ll get a handle on the problem and have more tomatoes.

It’s July 8, and so that gives us 4 months until first Frost … so that’s how many days? Enough for more tomatoes, if I can get too damaged fruit off soon and get the plants to re-flower.

If y’all don’t know what Bt is, look forward to a description of it here soon, and any results of the tomato situation as well.

My Tomato Woes

Check out this post from the Egg Report today about worm eggs. My garden was doing alright, in some ways, but now my tomatoes are being attacked. I saw a worm coming out of a hole in the last week or two, and killed it immediately, it was very small, tiny really. A few days later I found another tomato in the same situation. I did the same thing.

The last few days I’ve pulled many holey tomatoes off the plants. I’m so disturbed by it, and so I searched online yesterday. I’m not heartened to find buggy info, it never gives me really good news, KWIM? At any rate, I’m surely just going to be on garden duty more often, and getting rid of eggs and worms and whatever as soon as possible. Most of the damage is not that easy to spot, and then I have to determine if a certain fruit can stay or not, with holes. Is it damage heavily, are there worms inside or not? How can I know! It’s supposedly that most of the damage worms cause is superficial, or just under the surface, not going INTO the fruit, making those tomatoes candidates for paste or juice.

This is not my idea of a good year with tomatoes. I’ve never had THIS kind of worm problem, and I’m an not chemically inclined either. πŸ™

Chickens

I’ve been busy today with my blackleg Henny-penny, one of my favorites.

I hope she’ll be alright. Well, this whole day was rather all about chickens, and nothing else. Stock up on learning, that’s what I do.

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