Showing posts with label Nature. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Nature. Show all posts

Sunday, August 18, 2019

Mid-August Garden Update

It has been a hot summer with what little rain we got coming in fits and starts. Four inches here, a half inch there, and plenty of sunshine. This meant lots of watering, and I was nearly as wet as the garden when I was done. It would have been nice of all that rain we had back in the spring had been spaced out a bit.

The second run of beans is still producing and we had a great dinner last night of fresh squash and beans, and a pepper from the garden cooked in with some fried potatoes. I should also mention that fresh-from-the-garden-parsley is amazing. Now I know that parsley actually has a fragrance. It was so good in my parsley, garlic, anchovy and olive oil sauce for our skirt steak. Yum! If you don't grow parsley, you should.

The squash have had a good run, but they are winding down and will soon be removed to start the fall garden. 


Hubby's tomato now has 5 tomatoes on it and we are hoping they will survive to ripen. Did I mention we are not seasoned gardeners? In my other bed, I have three zucchini and another pepper. The tag says it is ancho/poblano. Could be one or the other or a mixture. Doesn't matter to me...it's all good. After the yellow summer squash, I am looking forward to some late summer zucchini.

Still to come are beets and maybe some more radish, and I hope to get onions and garlic in around the first of October.

What's in your garden now?


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Wednesday, July 3, 2019

Can You Believe It's Already July?

So where does the time go? The older I get the more often I ask this question. Time is flying by faster than a spaceship from childhood cartoons. That said, the garden is growing by leaps and bounds. At least the squash is. It is finally producing! We picked two and I counted nearly a dozen more tiny ones just set on. Thank goodness, I was beginning to think I was the only poor schmuck on the planet who couldn't grow squash. And guess what? That third (and last) row of radish actually produced a few radishes for hubby's dinner.


That may all be in jeopardy because while I was watering this afternoon with the hose attached to the newly reconnected spigot, I was startled to notice that the tomato was somewhat shorter than yesterday. Now wait a minute, they are supposed to grow upward, right? I looked closer to see that the very top had been chewed off (at least they left the blossoms). Then the beans...nearly a half dozen of my beans had been chewed off as well.

Now folks, this garden isn't in the country. Nope, it has been in the city for nearly 30 years and even when it was squarely in the county, there were rarely ever any wildlife spotted except for the usual birds, hoppy toads, as we called them, and the occasional garter snake.

Well, it appears that we may have deer munching our veggies. We've heard about deer sightings in the neighborhood, but haven't seen them. We have seen deer where we live a short distance away and also in the city, twice this year late in the evening.

Whatever it is at least they haven't show a preference for squash...yet. Fingers crossed.



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Thursday, June 27, 2019

Late June Garden Update

Hi there and welcome back to the late June garden update. We are neophyte gardeners, and are feeling our way through with the help of videos and articles on gardening, and what I remember from "helping" my mom years ago. Getting a late start did not help either.

I started with some herbs in pots, and most of them are still surviving, maybe even thriving (pictured below is my sage), although still too thick for optimum growth. I plan to thin and transplant as I figure out where they should go. The radish did absolutely zilch, but the beans are producing nicely, and we have had at least four decent batches for dinner.


We created a raised bed for additional planting, and so far have several squash, a pepper, a tomato, more radish, another row of green beans and some green onions I got from the store, used the tops in cooking and cut off the bottoms and planted. Yes, you can regrow vegetables from cuttings.

Here are some pictures of the garden's progress.

Here we have the bed after we have added a layer of leaf mulch and starting to spread the layer of top soil (6 bags). According to what I read, you can either mix all your ingredients together or layer them. We chose to use the layering approach.


Next we have the layer of Black Kow, aka manure (2 bags). Back when we were planting the potato buckets, we could not find Black Kow, so we made do with a different brand. By the way, the taters seem to be doing fine and it looks like buds are setting on. I figure they've been planted about 6 weeks now.


Our top layer was 6 bags of garden soil. We got this on sale earlier in the season for $2 a bag. Sometimes we do actually plan ahead.


Here it is all pretty, leveled out and ready to plant. Now what?


Here it is now with the squash on the left, the tomato in the cage, the beans at the top right.There is also a sweet pepper, some onions and more radish. Obviously, there is more room and I have some hot peppers in pots - my second attempt to start peppers from seeds. The first were Hungarian hot wax peppers, but none of those seeds sprouted. I must have had a bad package of seed, because everything else came up.


Right now there are little peppers, the beans (second crop) are coming along nicely and the onions are sprouting. I should have onions in a couple weeks. The squash are blooming, but as yet have none have set on. I doubt that this planting of radish will yield any edibles either. They are an early crop and I knew that going in, but we had a lot of rain and an out-of-state wedding to attend when we would have been setting up the garden. 

Our thumbs are not the best shade of green, but we decided we would, once again, like to try our hand at growing something besides weeds. I'll pop back in later for another show and tell.

Bonus picture - first crop of beans (both green and yellow, aka wax beans).



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Friday, May 3, 2019

Beans, Bugs and More!

This is my bean crop. These two sections are the yellow (wax) beans and the first to germinate. Looking good so far! The radish are the first row (at the bottom of the following two pics). 


This section is my Blue Lake bush beans. A little slower than the yellow ones, but over achievers as they have nearly caught up with the others. Actually they weren't that far behind, and sprouted quicker than expected. 

The sage is also starting to come up. Wish me and these tender young veggies good luck.


This cute fellow is the Eastern Eyed Click Beetle. He had accidentally hitched a ride on hubby's back and got unceremoniously swatted to the ground before I knew what he was. Fortunately, he survived to fly away. They are harmless to humans!


This lovely creature is a Luna Moth who was hanging out on the wall next to the light fixture. What a nice surprise since we don't see them very often.


Here are some of the strawberries I transplanted. It looks like they are going to make it.


I won't bore you with the incremental progress of my garden, but will update when things ramp up a bit. Until then, happy gardening.



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Wednesday, May 1, 2019

Herbal Update and a Butterfly

Seen in the early morning...well about 8:30. That's still early, right?  Isn't it beautiful. I am thinking maybe newly hatched and drying it's wings because it was sitting so still on the wall. I love butterflies, and am hoping to see some Monarchs this year.

Swallowtail
The oregano, thyme and parsley are coming along nicely. I may have made a mistake planting them as I did, scattering seed in the pots. Transplanting could be tricky, or I could just thin to a few per pot. The replanted basil (not pictured) has started coming up, too. At last check, the sage hadn't sprouted, but they were supposed to take longer.


I'll try and get some shots of my beans and radish for a later post. Until next time, happy gardening!


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Saturday, April 27, 2019

Oh No You Don't

A garden update: This is the bait box, and when I went back to check on my newly planted seeds, I found that critters had been in them digging around and had upended several of my bean seeds, one of which had already sprouted a root. It was probably Robins trying to make a meal on my earthworms. I fussed and suwannee'd and fixed it, knowing full well it would keep happening until either what was left of the beans sprouted and grew or just gave up.


Sometimes that little light bulb goes off and reminds me of what I already know, so I grabbed the screens I put screens over the box last year. The light bulb also helps mask the mess I hadn't cleaned up.

Anyway, my radish are already coming up so hopefully the screens will protect them. The planter I used for my sage also came under attack, and I used a piece of hardware cloth over that. Even the strawberries that I transplanted from the field seemed like they might make it.

I mentioned that I had more seed to plant but didn't have a place prepared. Well, I found some old styrofoam cups and started my yellow squash and some Hungarian Wax peppers in them. As my Mom would say, "time will tell". I'll keep you updated as the garden saga continues.



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Thursday, April 25, 2019

Time to Plant

Summer is just around the corner and I have started planting...yes you heard that right. Now it's nothing big, just a few herbs, beans and some radish (for hubby, I don't eat radish).

I have a few more things to plant, but there is a crap-ton of work yet to be done to prepare a place - maybe a raised bed or some large containers. I don't know what yet, but the weather is right for growing now that the temps are warm and the monsoons seem to have subsided, at least for the time being.

The herbs:

No photo description available.

Planted:

Image may contain: plant, outdoor and nature

To date, the thyme and oregano have sprouted, and the basil got overturned, probably by a squirrel or other critter. I had to replant it. 

I also have a large container that is probably 7 feet by 2.5 feet and maybe a foot deep that was originally used to house bait. My mom got it years ago when the man who sold bait closed up shop. It has been used for plants ever since, and I have it now. 

I grew beans in it last year and they did pretty good considering I failed to notice that I had bought climbing bean seeds. The stakes I put up were not sufficient and some ended up in the neighboring azalea. Nevertheless, we got several batches and they bloomed right through October.

We shall see what happens this year. I planted all bush beans! All gardeners are welcome to chime in with stories and/or advice.


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Thursday, January 25, 2018

Catching The Big One

This is Day 19 of the 2018 edition of the 20 Days of Chill writing challenge hosted by P. J. at A ‘lil HooHaaPlease join us this month on our writing journey. Today's prompt is Pounder.

This is the next to the last day of the challenge and I just didn't know quite what to do with today's prompt, so I went with the obvious usage of the word. 

When we catch the granddaddy of all fish, it is usually just a fish tale, but now and again someone legitimately catches a big one. 

Robert Strickland was certainly not floundering around last fall when he pulled a 38-pounder out of Salem Lake during the the city's annual Pier Catfish Tournament.

You can check out the article to see the actual fish caught by the tournament winner, and hear Strickland talk about catching the big ones. He has fished all around the area, but keeps coming back to Salem Lake.


If you enjoyed this post, please leave a comment. I would love to hear your thoughts.

Wednesday, January 17, 2018

Let It Snow...Or Not

This is Day 13 of the 2018 edition of the 20 Days of Chill writing challenge hosted by P. J. at A ‘lil HooHaaPlease join us this month on our writing journey. Today's prompt is Let it snow (or not).

If you live in the South you understand this concept very well. If you're from the North and think it never snows here, it does. It is just not as predictable here. With modern technology and advanced forecasting, most weather sources will give a 10-day forecast. Unlike years ago, when we had one forecast which we either got in the morning paper or saw on the daily weather report on TV, we now have weather news that is updated 24/7. 

What that means is that the forecast fluctuates more than a politician's double-talk. What you read this morning may not be true by lunch time. So when you look at the long-range forecast and see the "S-word" (snow), don't start making or cancelling plans based on that. The snow will likely be in and out of the forecast many times before you actually get the snow...or not.

Snow is indeed in the forecast for the day of this post. By the time it is up, we will know whether we got snow or not.

Update: We got SNOW!




Santa, is that you?



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Friday, January 12, 2018

High Tide

This is Day 10 of the 2018 edition of the 20 Days of Chill writing challenge hosted by P. J. at A ‘lil HooHaaPlease join us this month on our writing journey. Today's prompt is Hi, low...in, out.


My very first thought when I saw today's prompt are Tides. What exactly are tides anyway?
Tides are the rise and fall of sea levels caused by the combined effects of the gravitational forces exerted by the Moon and the Sun and the rotation of Earth.
Spending time at the beach will get you to thinking about the tides for various reasons such as fishing, swimming and sunbathing, games, jogging, sand castles and tidal pools.

The tides are high when the moon is either directly over head where you are, or directly overhead on the exact opposite side of the earth. It works differently in each place. When the moon is overhead at your location, the moon's gravity is essentially pulling the water toward it. The opposite is true when the moon is overhead on the opposite side of the earth from you. The moon's gravity is pulling the earth away from the water on that side. There is a graphic here that shows this.

What I knew about tides from my beach trips was that there were both high and low tides twice a day, and that the moon affects the tides. Now I know more of how that works. Any coastal town will experience a high tide about every 12 hours and 25 minutes. If you are interested, you can find tide charts at any bait and tackle shop on the beach or just search online for tide charts.

Now let's stroll along the beach and enjoy The Tide Is High by Blondie.







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Monday, July 31, 2017

Hi, What Are You?

We found this cute little fellow on our back door as we were heading out to the store. He was up near the top of the screen, so hubby snapped a picture for me.

He is known as the Eastern-Eyed Click Beetle, but those lovely spots for which he is named are not really his eyes.

He was probably about 1.5 inch long, and definitely an attention grabber. These interesting creatures are harmless to people, i.e., they do not bite or sting, nor do they damage property. 

Like other click beetles, these click or snap to right themselves, or to avoid predators, and they can also fly. 

They are actually garden friendly, so if you see them, just let them go about their merry way. I've never seen one before so it's nice to encounter a friendly critter amongst the usual bombardment of ants and mosquitoes.

If you're interested, you can read more about them here and here.




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Friday, March 31, 2017

Brunch Is Served!


About 12:30 this morning we were awakened by a distinct "WOOF" nearby (or would have been awakened if the sandman had already sprinkled us with dream dust). We looked out and didn't see anything. There it was again, louder-WOOF, and now we find it is coming from our front yard beneath the Dogwood. 

We see a large dog standing there and we recognized him as one we've seen around before. He is friendly and we always fear for him running loose. There was another dog crouched down on the ground like he had something he was guarding. He did! At first we were afraid he had another animal. 

Thankfully not, however he had snatched the suet feeder out of the tree. It is a plastic-coated wire container with a block of suet bird food. Yum, every dog's favorite midnight snack, right? He was barking and growling, seemingly daring the other dog to try and take it. The friendly dog was just standing there watching and thinking, "Yeah, I'm never getting any of that, and here I am standing guard. That's just selfish!"


This is where the feeder had been hanging since the first of the year. Never would I have imagined that dogs would go after my bird feeder. Squirrels yes, dogs no.

We needed more food for the birdies, so we got what we found at Walmart and it was a different brand and mixture of fat and seed. Apparently this had more aroma than the previous ones. 


After it was cleaned up and reassembled, we relocated it. It is now more than a foot above my head. The picture doesn't show it well, but it is a fair bit higher than before. I suspect there is one dog in the neighborhood that isn't feeling too well this morning, so if your dog has a case of the...well you know, I'd be happy to tell you how it happened.

Note to my birds: Sorry you didn't have any breakfast here this morning. How about some brunch?

It is a simple feeder and an inexpensive way to start feeding the seed-eating birds in your yard. The feeders are a couple bucks and the food is less than a dollar at Walmart.


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Monday, April 18, 2016

Just Listen!


The earth has music for those who listen. - Shakespeare

The earth is constantly trying to get our attention. Every time a species is added to the endangered list. Every time the words climate change are uttered. Every time we read about a fish kill from contaminated water. We have but one planet and it's resources are not unlimited. Let us listen to what it is telling us.

Earth Day is Friday, April 22.



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Wednesday, January 13, 2016

Vitamin Nature

This is Day 8 of the 20 Days of Chill writing challenge hosted by P. J. at A ‘lil HooHaa. Today's prompt is A dose of Vitamin N. Please visit the other participants for more interesting views on this topic.


What is Vitamin N? The answer is simple. It is Nature. You may be wondering why nature is now classified as a Vitamin.

Let's look at it this way. Think about how you feel after a walk in the park, a picnic by the lake, a visit to the zoo, or a camping trip. Okay so all camping trips aren't great, particularly when Mother Nature is not cooperating, e.g. rain. But still, you are out in the wide open spaces, building fires, playing ball, or whatever gets your nature-related groove on. You get the idea - you just feel better.

We are connected to the earth, grass, trees, sky and water. All of these are things we, as humans, are hard wired to love. It's in our DNA so to speak, and we can actually suffer from withdrawal when we are deprived. Our connection with nature helps reduce the stress that builds up in our technologically-powered lives.

Being one with nature is also good for the brain. While getting some exercise outdoors in the fresh air, we breathe more deeply thus supplying our brain with an abundance of oxygen. Did you know that your brain uses 20% of body's oxygen supply? Studies have even shown there to be a connection between ADHD and the lack of vitamin N. Children across the board respond to nature therapy with a reduction in symptoms.

There is even a term for the lack of nature in our lives. It is called Nature Deficiency Disorder? The good news is that it is totally curable.

So what are you waiting for? Get out there and get yourself a big dose of Vitamin N, the ultimate natural vitamin.



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Tuesday, January 12, 2016

What Is That Scent?

This is Day 7 of the 20 Days of Chill writing challenge hosted by P. J. at A ‘lil HooHaa. Today's prompt is Summer Rain. Please visit the other participants for more interesting views on this topic.


Do you ever step out the door, sniff the air and say, yep it's gonna rain today? Do you wonder why you know this? I'll tell you. It is called petrichor, and is often used to describe the scent of rain in the air. More specifically, it is an oil from the earth that is released into the air just before a rainfall. 

It is a smell that most people are familiar with, whether or not they know why. It is suggested that we find this scent pleasing because we inherited our fondness for it from our ancestors who relied heavily on rain for their survival.

Right before a rain there is increased humidity which penetrates the rocks and soil and is just enough moisture to release the petrichor. This is even more evident when the rain actually begins to fall and the scent is carried on the wind. I notice this earthy fragrance most during an early Summer rain. 

Check out this video to see how this happens.





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Tuesday, December 15, 2015

I'll Fly Away



We were walking along the Marsh Walk in Murrells Inlet last week watching the wildlife and enjoying a nice fall day at the beach when this fellow decided I had gotten a bit too close. I managed to catch him before he got away. Some of the other posts were resting places for gulls and cormorants.

Here are some interesting facts about the Brown Pelicans:

They are sometimes the victims of theft. Gulls often try to steal fish from the pelican's pouch as they drain the water after a dive, sometimes while perched upon the pelican's head. How rude!

Pelicans incubate their eggs by standing on them. When startled, a hasty takeoff can cause them to crush their eggs.

Brown Pelicans are only one of two species of Pelicans that plunge dive for food; the other being the Peruvian Pelican.

They live on both the East and West coasts. They breed on the barrier islands of the Atlantic and Gulf coasts, Mangrove Islets in Louisiana and Florida, and rocky islands off the West Coast.

Pelicans eat mostly small fish such as mullet, anchovies and herring, diving from heights of up to 65 feet. Their throat pouch can hold up to 2.6 gallons of water, which they drain before swallowing their catch.

Adults are silent except during wing-jerking displays that forces air out of their lungs and produces a rather hoarse sound. Like most birds, the young call for food when they're hungry.





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Monday, November 9, 2015

Another Rainy Day

A pleasant smile is the wisest comment, always interpreted favorably and rarely misquoted. - Robert Brault


Being at the beach always puts a smile on my face, so on this rainy November day, I look back, remember and smile. The gull in this picture is getting his smile on, too.



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Saturday, November 7, 2015

Just A Rock


There is nothing special about this rock. I did not sit on it in contemplation. It does not mark the site of a buried treasure - that I'm aware of anyway. It is just a rock in the woods along the Salem Lake trail. It caught my eye by the way the afternoon sun shone on it bringing out all the different layers of color and texture.



Posted for Photo Friday prompt - Minimalism, and yeah I know it's Saturday. 



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Friday, August 21, 2015

Photo Friday: The Mighty Oak


Giant Live Oak on Anastasia Island in St. Augustine, Florida
June 2015




Posted for Photo Friday prompt, Trees.






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Friday, August 7, 2015

Turtles Go Round and Round

We love to vacation in Florida, and Skipper's Fish Camp is one of our favorite stops along the way.  We go there for the food, which is outstanding, but we also love to just stroll around and enjoy the critters. Here are some of the turtles drifting lazily around the pool.

It was a beautiful sunny day, perfect for taking pictures.  I just love the shadows cast by the swimming turtles.



Hi there. Aren't you cute! I used to have turtles when I was a kid, back in the day when you could get turtles at the pet shop. I called them Perky and Flipper. Now I just enjoy them in their natural habitat, or in this case, their swimming pool.


Here's the little fellow, up close and personal. 

"Hey, where's my shadow?"

No, that's not a real alligator, although there was one in the river. I'll get to him in another post.



Please enjoy the turtles going round and round, and as always, thanks for visiting!

If you can't see the video, click here.





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