December 31, 2011 - Goodbye to 2011

It was a good year, and it was a bad year. The good was that Mr. Granny and I are still alive and kicking, the family stayed healthy and happy, the Arizona property sold (that took a lot of weight off my shoulders), and the garden produced a lot of good food for our table. The bad was the tragic death of our little pet rabbit and the garden was the worst it has ever been in my entire gardening life. As far as the garden goes, I don't know if the blame should be placed on the purchased compost, which wasn't nearly as nice as in past years, the weather, which was so much cooler than normal, or the gardener, who is getting so very old and addlepated. Oh well, we'll try again, and hope the 2012 garden is beautiful and bountiful.

While many of you have already started your 2012 garden plans, I sit here in the middle of 20 boxes of Rhino flooring waiting to be installed. New counter top materials and kitchen sink have been ordered, and there will be much varnishing and painting going on in my house. We've lived in this house for over 20 years, and it was last updated in the mid-70s. It's past time to rid it of the Harvest gold sink and counter tops, and move into the present time with wood flooring. It's a big task to take on, and I'm not without worries that i'll absolutely hate it when we're finished, but Robin is holding my hand and giving advise through the entire process. I don't always listen to her, sometimes I just follow my gut feelings....If the floors look horrid, it won't be her fault. We each picked a different wood, and I stuck with my favorite. At least with the new laminate flooring, if I absolutely hate it, it can be pulled back up and used in the bedrooms!

Stacks of flooring in the front entry.

It's called "Embossed Oak". Yes, that's the new vacuum in the background, along with my step stool for reaching up to the ceiling. They really aren't part of my living room decor, LOL!

My vacuum cleaner decided to poop out on my just before Christmas. It wasn't old, maybe two years, and it was the best (most expensive) Kenmore that Sears sold, but I'd had a lot of problems with it. When a much less expensive Shark Navigator went on sale, based on the good reviews I decided to buy it. My goodness, I cannot believe how much dirt it is pulling out of my carpets! I'm definitely happy with the purchase. Of course, a new vacuum cleaner means I must clean the entire house. I've vacuumed floors, walls, ceilings, upholstery and fireplace brick. I've scrubbed baseboards and light fixtures. I've polished furniture and rearranged and rehung pictures. The dining room is finished, the living room is almost done, and I'll be moving on down the hallway by evening! There will be no New Year's Eve celebrations in our house tonight. Granny will by too worn out, and probably in bed by nine!

I'd like to wish all of you a happy, healthy and prosperous new year. May your gardens be blessed and bountiful

December 28, 2011 - The Seeds of Hope and Friendship

The first 2012 seed catalog arrived today! Does that mean I dare hope spring will soon be here? Or that I dare hope our 2012 gardening season will be better than it was in 2011? I hope, I hope, I hope!!!

Thank you to Robin for the gift of membership to Mike the Gardener's Seeds of the Month Club! Seeds of friendship will grow in my garden this year.

How adorable is this card from my dear Sassy Butterfly? It looks like Otto and Annie walking in a wiener wonderland, LOL! And a stocking stuffed with two new varieties of tomato seeds! I'm very anxious to try them.

Of course, I can't leave out my gift to me! Free seeds from Wintersown. org! If you haven't sent for yours, be sure to do so ASAP!

Now, if that doesn't give us HOPE that spring is coming, I don't know what will!

December 27, 2011 - Christmas Past

I made it through Christmas! I had 16 of us crowded inside for dinner, and we actually managed it. This being our first winter at home in probably fifteen years, maybe more, I wasn't sure I could find room to seat everyone. Usually our family dinners are during the summer, and we have outdoor seating. Our dining room table only seats six. We set up a card table, and brought in the patio table for another eight seats. The teenagers ended up in the TV room, holding plates on their laps, so we actually had empty seats at the tables.

Santa showed up......

.....and brought us presents to open.

Then we had dinner.

Corn Chowder
Baked Ham
Scalloped Potatoes
Green Beans (from the 2011 garden)
Cole Slaw
Deviled Eggs
Relish Tray
Crescent Rolls
Jalapeno Corn Muffins
Raspberry Jam (2011 garden)
Jalapeno Jelly (2011 garden)
Pumpkin Pie/Whipped Cream
Apple Pie
Christmas Cookies

Mr. Granny sneaked off for a nap while everyone was still here! I'll have to speak to him about his manners. Luckily, our guests were just our kids and grandchildren, so they really don't care if Grandpa goes off to bed.....just as long as Grandma keeps the food coming.

We had a wonderful day with our family. I hope all of you also had a wonderful Christmas day.

December 24, 2011 - Merry Christmas!

Wishing each and every one of you a..........

Merry Christmas

Happy Hanukkah

Blessed Holiday Season

December 14, 2011 - I Just Can't Trust My Kids!

The other day, Mr. Granny and I went out for a day of Christmas shopping. While we were gone, our daughter Amy came over to the house with her camera, determined to get some good photos of the kids. She wanted to get at least one that was good enough to frame as a gift for me for Christmas. The venture turned into a real comedy of errors. As soon as she would get them seated together and begin to take a picture, one or the other would move. At one time, the boy ran into the bedroom and hid under the king sized bed. Three year old Alicyn had to crawl under the bed and pull him out by his head.

Amy didn't tell on them, but I'm sure she interrupted a party when she came in. I have a feeling the moment we left those kids headed straight for the kitchen to mix up a batch of those "funny" brownies....if you know what I mean. I have no idea where they got "that ingredient". Mr. Granny and I have never been into that type of thing. It must be the friends they keep. Anyway, I doubt I'll ever trust them to stay home alone ever again.

You'll never convince me they weren't stoned!

November 26, 2011 - I Can't Find It!

"I can't find it" are the most common words used at our house this week. When we arrived back home, the kids came over and unloaded the pickup for us. Not knowing just where I was going to put everything, we had them pile it all along one side of the garage. The plan was to bring in a few containers each day, then decide if we'd keep or donate the items. I really have no need for two food processors, two mixers, two blenders.......well, you get the idea. But, you know what they say about the best laid plans of mice and men. Or in this case, of mice and Granny.

I didn't plan on getting sick, but yesterday the sore throat and achy body, chills and fever, overtook me. I went to bed at 7:30 last night, and slept for 19 hours! I'm sure the stress and long hours of work the past few weeks were partially responsible for lowering my immunity. I just hope I can shake it real soon, because I still can't find anything (including my camera)!

Do you know that Annie and Otto snuggled up to me for those 19 hours and only left go outside to pee! The devotion of those two is mind boggling.

November 23, 2011 - There's No Place Like Home!

We're here safe and sound, and it's so good to be back. I have my internet again! I also have a truck filled with household goods to put away, a mountain of laundry, and I'm tired from driving 8 hours today. The rest of our trip, after the bad motel experience, went great. I'll tell you all about it as soon as I find some free time to like actually sit down at the computer. In the meantime, happy Thanksgiving to all of you, and I'll be back blogging real soon.

November 22, 2011 - The Saga Continues

What does one do when someone's diesel truck is warming up outside of your room at The Motel From Hell at 4:45 AM? For a full fifteen minutes! I'll tell you give up and get up. Then you take your dogs outside in the 28F chill of the early morning, and they refuse to pee because they're afraid of the noisy truck. And then you try to pass the time by reading your email, but the connection is flakier than the one I left behind in AZ, and I cannot get a connection. By 5:45 they must have reset their router, and I can finally access my email and begin reading all the blogs I've missed recently. Do you think that might just take me a while to catch up with all of you?

What? Only 519 blog posts to read? No problem!

Now what? It's only 6:00 AM, the next hotel is just three hours away, and check in time isn't until three this afternoon. We had planned on a relaxing morning in this motel room, just drinking coffee and watching TV, but this cable system doesn't even have ABC or NBC (I missed Dancing With the Stars last night....bummer). And the spout is broken on the coffee pot, so most of the coffee ended up on the dresser instead of in the cups. I wonder how long the dogs would be happy under their big blankets, in the back seat of the pickup, while we have breakfast and play a few penny slot machines at the local casino. I wonder how long our wallets will hold out! With the time change, there is still ten hours until check in time at Jackpot. I must admit, this trip isn't going as well as planned.

November 21, 2011 - Can You Believe.....???

I'm sitting in one of the scroungiest, yet expensive, motel rooms in Ely, Nevada tonight. Don't always believe the reviews you read on line. This recommendation must have been written by the owner :-( We've never stayed in Ely before, but we wanted to break up our trip home so the drive wasn't so tiring. We usually drive about eleven hours the first day, and eight the second day. This time we decided to drive the approximately 8 hours to Ely today, three or so hours to Jackpot tomorrow, then 8 more hours home on Wednesday. Of course, we had to make sure we could reserve a room where pets are welcome, so I chose this one for the glowing recommendation.....HA! The first room they put us in turned out to have no cable connection on the TV, and no "free WIFI" as advertised. We had to pack up the dogs, their beds, the suitcase, Mr. Granny's freshly made cocktail and move to another room. At least this one didn't have a hole in the wall, and the closet door opens. I got an internet connection that lasted all of five minutes, so this may not get published tonight :-( :-(

(I'm already into double frowny faces, and I've just begun)

Maybe I should begin at the beginning...............

Two weeks after we arrived at our Arizona winter home, it sold! I didn't want to say anything until it was final, and the closing date had been set for December 5. However, both the buyer and we were receptive to an earlier closing date, which turned out to be today. The single, widowed lady fell in love with it at first sight, and would have written us a check right there and then if we hadn't had it listed with a real estate company. As it was, she made a cash offer that was acceptable to us. We didn't make money on the deal, but we had a winter home for seven years and we didn't take a loss on it. We just feel lucky that it sold in this bad economy. It's been on the market for nearly two years! She also bought the furniture, so we didn't have to rent a U-Haul to get it all home. The funny thing about the whole deal was that she actually lives less than five miles from us up in Washington (1200 miles from the AZ property)! She banks at the same credit union that we do, so the funds were withdrawn and deposited at the same bank. And.....her brother-in-law lives in LaGrande, OR. I mentioned we had lived in Baker City. Her b-in-l had (has) a Chevron service station in LaGrande. Mr. Granny had a Chevron service station in Baker City. We knew her brother-in-law well! REALLY small world.

Which brings us back to the trip home.

I've driven through Las Vegas at least twice a year for the last 12 years. No problems. This morning I missed the exit ramp to Interstate 15. I took the next exit, thinking it would eventually display a sign leading us back to the freeway. Nope. Not a single hint as to how to get back without heading south and retracing our route. We actually ended up 35 miles north of the city before stopping for directions. Directions were given to head back toward Vegas, and directions were followed. We ended up on a dead end street. We headed back to the main highway and took the next busy street heading east. Dead end. Back to the highway, inching closer and closer to Vegas, we came alongside a Nevada Highway Patrol car. I gestured for him to roll down his window, and hollered that we were lost and needed to get to I-15. He yelled back the directions (just two more blocks, turn east and it would take us right to the freeway). It only took us two hours of extra driving time to get back on the correct road toward home! The first time we drove through Vegas, Mr. Granny missed a turn and we got lost in a residential area. Our last trip through Vegas and I get lost. Now we're even!

We left the dogs in the motel room and drove to the business district for dinner tonight. We had stopped in Parker for a sausage biscuit at McDonald's at 8:30 this morning and, with our scenic tour of Vegas, had not stopped for lunch. By the time we arrived in Ely, we were starving! I downed a delicious dinner salad, a large salt baked potato with butter and sour cream, and two pork ribs from a barbecued half rack. I took out the leftovers and put them in with the frozen foods, so I'll have another treat once I arrive home. Mr. Granny had a huge breakfast for his dinner, for just $5. We'll definitely hit that place for breakfast tomorrow morning. We're ignoring our diets for these two days. After all, he's already lost 12 pounds and I'm down 16. It took me 2 1/2 months, it took him just 4 weeks. We'll get back "on the wagon" after Thanksgiving dinner at our daughter Amy's house.

Looks like I might be back on line for the moment, so I'd better get this published! Hopefully I'll be back soon, with my home connection and no more internet problems!

October 27, 2011 - Internet Woes, (continued)

You are all trying to be so helpful! Let me explain what is going on down here...

The RV park across the street and the library are the only internet sources for me. In the past I've always had a so-so connection from the park. I do pay for it, at their going rate of $10 a month. When it was working better than it is now, it was $30 a month. In the past couple of years their equipment just hasn't been working well (translate: cheap router that has to be reset every few hours), so rather than upgrade the equipment, they just lowered the price. There is no password. I pay my money, and they enter my computer's MAC number into their data, which gives me access. Last week I was getting a strong signal, so I took my money over to the park owner to pay for this month's WIFI. She said they had been having problems with it, and might have to limit it to park residents only and allot time periods for different people to use it, and wouldn't take my $10. I am still in the system, and sometimes (like right now) it does work, but I have to sit outside to get the signal. There have only been a couple of times in the past week that I could get anything at all.

This is a tiny town, there is no cable TV/internet, and the only dial up provider stopped their services this summer. The only way to get internet is via satellite or through the cell phone company. Considering the length of time we are down here, so far both methods are way too costly. My cell phone provider is ATT, and I would have to sign a two year contract with them to get an affordable (and limited) connection. I'm just not going to do that when I have a reliable and unlimited cable connection at home, 7-8 months of the year. Amy (daughter) is looking into other prepaid plans, but only ATT and Verizon service this area, all others would entail roaming charges or have no coverage here at all.

So that's my dilemma. It's by guess or by golly for a connection here at the house, or drive down to the library on Tuesday/Thursday.

Really, I'm not doing anything exciting enough to blog about right now anyway! Today I pruned some of the oleanders (only three of the 16 or so I have to do), made a big pot of navy bean soup, picked two jalapeno peppers from the traveling plant (they weren't a bit hot) and made a dozen jalapeno cornbread muffins. Luckily I brought some jalapeno jelly I can put on them for heat.

Now, I'd better get this published before I lose the connection again....if it's not already too late!

October 25, 2011 - From the Library

Here I am, at the local library. It's not as handy as having access from the house, but it will have to do. My daughter has looked into getting 3G or 4G for this area, but we're out of range for the Sprint network, which is the only one that would be affordable. That one (Virgin Mobile) would have cost over $80 for the devise and $50 per month. Unless I did a 2 year contract with my carrier, ATT, that cost would be prohibitive. I definitely do not want to be paying $60+ a month for the next two years, plus over $200 for the devise! I might mention, we are in such a remote area of Arizona that we don't even have a land line internet carrier here!

This first trip to the library will be a short one, just to read your comments and get my email. There is no way I'll ever catch up on my blog reading, but I'll be setting aside a few hours each week to at least skim over them and see what all of you have been up to. And I promise to find time to blog by next week!

Thank you to my daughter Amy for publishing your comments and taking the time to call and read them to me. I appreciate it very much.

October 20, 2011 - Easy Come, Easy Go

This is Amy, Granny's daughter. After being able to access WIFI for the first two days, Granny is again without internet. At this time it looks like the park across the street is only going to allow access to park residents. She'll be going to town today to see if she can access through the local library's network. If not, you'll have a long winter with boring updates from me. In the meantime, I will also be publishing comments and reading them to her via telephone.

October 17, 2011 - We Made It!

The trip down was uneventful, but the weather was great. We arrived yesterday, a full three hours ahead of schedule, even after stopping in Parker for a few groceries. We had five picnic coolers full of frozen or perishable foods, and all of it arrived in good condition. We had some of this year's Fortex pole beans with our dinner tonight, with garden fresh tomatoes (they're ripening faster than we can eat them!)

I am utterly exhausted. Mr. Granny wasn't feeling well, so I had to drive most of the way. I think I got in around 900 miles to Mr. Granny's 300. Of course, unpacking the truck in 97 degree weather and putting things away in a 97 degree house took a bit of a toll on me. I still have two or three containers out on the porch to unload. There's a lot of work ahead of me, weeding, watering and pruning. It looks like the summer was pretty brutal on the yard and plants.

I was happy to see the WIFI from the RV park across the street is still functional. The signal is weak, but at least I can post and get email.

When I get caught up around here, I'll be sure to find something about which to blog. In the meantime, thank you to each and every one for the well wishes for a safe trip.

Oh, there was one slight casualty. The lemon tree looks fine, but the poor pepper plant has an uphill battle. One of the picnic coolers slid off and landed right on top of it. I had some bamboo stakes all around it, so they did give it some protection, but it doesn't look very pretty now. I do think it will survive.

October 14, 2011 - Shut 'er Down!

The pickup is packed, and the only thing left to do is clean out the refrigerator and pack the frozen foods and perishables into coolers and keep our fingers crossed the frozen foods remain frozen through the trip south. We've rounded up four large picnic coolers, and three will be used for frozen meat and garden produce. I'll take as many garden fruits and veggies as I can for use through the winter. All of the butternut squash and green tomatoes are already in the truck, ready to go.

We had a big dinner for the family on Wednesday night. There were 16 of us with kids, grandkids and one great-grandson. Amy (daughter) took pictures with her cell phone. It doesn't have a flash, so the photos are grainy, but here we are, getting ready to eat way too much Chinese food.................

The family

Mr. Granny and me.

It's time for my yearly fight with my local Charter Cable. They'll tell me I can't snowbird my internet, and want to charge me $75 to cancel the service or keep charging me $40+ per month when I'm not using it. Then I get a call from the company telling me I can snowbird it. Then they charge the $75 anyway, so I have to call and go around and around with them over the bill. Happens every year. So....I'm going to pack up my modem and take it to Charter with me. I have a copy of every monthly charge for the past 2-plus years. I'm going to lay it on the line. Do they want $75 and the modem now and lose me as a customer forever, or do they want to snowbird it and continue to get my forty bucks a months when I'm actually using their service? I hate to switch to another carrier, but if I have to I will.

We'll be leaving very early tomorrow morning, so I'll say my goodbyes to all of you now, and hope I have an internet connection again soon.

Love you all,

PS: We found room to take both the lemon tree and the pepper plant!

UPDATE! I didn't have to fight with Charter Cable this time! I actually got a very nice lady, who had no problem snowbirding my internet for the winter.

October 11, 2011 - Thank You

I want to thank all of you who sent such heartfelt condolences over the death of Cookie. Having so many wonderful friends, even though we've never even met, means a lot to me and helps lessen the pain of the loss of a loved fur baby.

October 10, 2011 - A Sad Day

Our little Cookie Buns is gone. Something got in his cage last night, out on our patio, and killed him. Annie and Otto won't stop barking, and have been running around through the flower bed near Cookie's cage, but I can't find any evidence that would shed a light on what did the deed. There has been a strange cat in the neighborhood lately, and I saw it on our patio once. Would a cat kill a rabbit? He was a tiny thing, barely two pounds. Whatever it was, there was quite a struggle and a lot of bloodshed.

Cookie Buns
2001 - 2011


October 10, 2011 - Final Harvest Monday

This will be the final harvest post for 2011. Everything has been harvested from the garden, with the exception of some strawberries and a few tomatoes, which may or may not be added to the final totals. I will try to do an overview of individual crop totals soon, as well as what worked and what didn't turn out so great this year.

Harvest Totals October 3 - October 9

Beets - 2.94 pounds
Carrots - 6 pounds
Lettuce - 1.69 pounds
Peppers, sweet - 10.69 pounds
Strawberries - 1 pound
Tomatoes - 10.69 pounds

Total harvest for the week: 33.94 pounds
Total harvest for the year to date: 543.31 pounds

Please join in the Harvest Monday at Daphne's Dandelions!

October 9, 2011 - The End of the Season

The end of the gardening season has arrived. In six days, we'll be leaving to spend the winter in Arizona, so the Washington garden has been harvested, with the exception of a few tomatoes and strawberries, and is being cleaned up and "put to bed" for 2011.

The east garden has been cleared of everything but the flowers, parsley, and the cantaloupe plant that has no chance of ripening. It's still trying though, so I'll give it a reprieve and have my son come over to check on it in a couple of weeks....IF we don't get a freeze before then. Garlic was planted in the small fenced area, then covered with grass hay mulch. I was tearing out my hair, trying to find a suitable place to plant it. I wanted it behind the shed, next to the lettuce bed, but the cosmos and sunflowers have completely obliterated that spot. My second choice was against the chain link kennel, at the back of this plot. I tried to dig there, but the neighbor's walnut tree has put out so many roots in that area it was impossible to work up a decent bed. I want to till this east bed next spring, so I really didn't want anything planted in it. I finally gave in, and used this year's onion bed. This end of the garden will have to be left untilled and dug by Granny power.

Yesterday I pruned the raspberries for the second time. They had grown so tall and lush, they were nearly as large as they were before the first pruning. Now the canes are all about 2 1/2-3 feet high, so won't suffer from being whipped around by strong winter winds. Mr. Granny began sawing down the sunflowers today. I'll remove the heads and put them in, or next to, the kennel garden, so the birds can eat the seeds this winter.

The "shed tomatoes" have all been removed, with the exception of an unknown variety volunteer. I'll leave it and hope the fruit gets some blush before it freezes. I'll try to get my son to come over and keep an eye on it. The zinnias will be pulled this week.

The volunteer tomato.

I'm not sure what to do with the cosmos jungle. I've been bringing bouquets into the house, and they are so pretty! Only the ones that flopped over have blossomed, so maybe I can at least get the upright giants cut down.

These "semi-dwarf" zinnias grew nearly 6' high.

I wonder if I can sneak this jalapeno pepper plant into the back of the pickup without Mr. Granny seeing it. It's loaded with baby peppers and blossoms, and looks better than it has all year! It would make a nice plant for the porch in Arizona.

My tomato alley is beginning to look rather sad. They are still giving me ripe tomatoes, so will probably not be removed. I'll just have to deal with the dead plants next spring.

I've started cutting back the Cherokee Purple tomatoes, but they still have a lot of green fruits. I picked everything that had even the faintest blush of color today. I'd like to take some to ripen through the next month or two.

It doesn't look like winter, does it? It's hard to pull up plants and then leave the garden while everything is so green. I'm still hoping for a big display of Heavenly Blue morning glories on the kennel fence before I leave, but so far I only see about a half dozen each day.

The back flower bed doesn't know it's winter, either.

October 5, 2011 - Slow Down, People!

Slow down, guys! I'm exactly 43 blogs behind in my reading. Well, actually only 42 since Robin scolded me for no recent comments! Not only have I been terribly busy, readying everything for our impending migration to Arizona, I've also been stuck on one particular blog for the past two evenings. I'm enjoying Two Men and a Little Farm so much, I've begun from their beginning, and I'm working my way up to the present. 1st Man has officially joined the rest of you in my!

I did manage to get my closet cleaned out today. I packed everything that's going south, even my overnight bag for the hotel, and took two large garbage bags of clothing and purses to Goodwill. I now have one neat closet, and another that we won't talk about (Mr. Granny's, of course).

Ten days from right now, we'll be enjoying an evening in Jackpot, Nevada. Eleven days from right now, we should be walking in the door of home #2. Time is flying, and there's still so much to do!

October 4, 2011 - Harvest Monday on Tuesday

I know, I know, I'm late to the party! Honestly, this past week has just been a whirlwind of busyness. Along with the end-of-garden cleanup, I decided to clean out closets, haul the discards to the thrift store, and begin packing for our Arizona trip. Yesterday and today found me taking a grandson to the dentist for a checkup and fillings. I hate sitting for 2 1/2 hours, listening to my stomach growl because I missed lunch, freezing half to death in the frigid waiting room, and bored after having read every magazine in the place. I did find a sunbeam coming through a window, so I sat there and basked in its warmth until clouds covered the sun, then I had to go out and sit in my car to warm up.

That's why I missed Harvest Monday.

Harvest Totals September 26 - October 2

Beans, bush - 1.94 pounds (final harvest)
Beans, pole - 8 ounces (final harvest)
Beets - 1.06 pounds
Carrots - 2.69 pounds
Cucumbers - 4 ounces (final harvest)
Lettuce - 14 ounces
Peppers, sweet - 6.19 pounds
Spinach - 2 ounces
Squash, summer - 6 ounces
Strawberries - 1.06 pounds
Tomatoes - 11.44 pounds

Total harvest for the week: 26.50 pounds
Total harvest for the year to date: 510.32 pounds

This week the harvests for the year broke the 500 pound mark, which is just slightly over half of what was harvested last year, but satisfactory nonetheless.

Please join in the Harvest Monday at Daphne's Dandelions!

October 1, 2011 - I Did It!

I didn't think I was going to hit 500 pounds of harvest this year, but I did it! That's only about half of what I get in a normal year, but this has not been a normal year for gardening, that's for sure. Here is what put me over the top today, a bit early for Harvest Monday............

Today I pulled out all the bush and pole beans. I had wanted to wait on the bush beans, hoping I could beat last year's yield, and today they did just that. Just barely. So garden cleanup has really begun in earnest. The non-yielding zucchini was uprooted (what a disappointment that was this year), three more tomato plants are gone, and one bed of marigolds is no more. The old tomato fortress bed has been cleaned out and readied for next year's planting. I'll leave the alyssum to reseed, and probably do the same with the nasturtiums. Marigolds will probably pop up like weeds next year, as they have already dropped a lot of seeds.

I am hoping to have the entire garden cleaned up and put to bed for the winter by a week from tomorrow, as I'll be extra busy the following week, packing for the trip to Arizona.


September 30, 2011 - The End of September Garden

Better late than never! I thought we'd be leaving for Arizona before the Heavenly Blue morning glories blossomed this year. I doubt we'll get to view the vines in their full glory, but at least we are getting a few blooms to admire each day. Next year I'll try to plant an earlier variety, like Grandpa Ott.

Baskets of produce are still being picked. Even though the quantity is less, the quality is good.

As much as I love cosmos, I really need to plant a shorter variety in the future. Many of these were over 8' high.

The cosmos and sunflowers were tied up against the fence, but they got so tall they still toppled over. Only the toppled cosmos blossomed though, the upright plants have yet to show any color.

The squash patch has been cleaned out, and I moved the top of the compost barrel there. I'm filling it with vegetation and kitchen scraps, layered with dry hay and composted cow manure. I'm going to plant my Waltham Butternut squash on top of it next spring. Two pots of basil, cinnamon and lemon, were moved from behind the zinnias, given a trim, and set out where they can get some sun.

Hollyhocks were cut back to the ground when powdery mildew and rust took a toll on them. This little beauty popped back up and is giving me some pretty blossoms on a healthy looking plant.

The strawberries didn't send out as many runners this year as usual, which was a good thing. I got over 22 pounds of berries from this little area, and I'm still picking them a couple of days a week.

Poor Leona the Meyer Lemon. Last spring I put her over by the shed, where she would be protected from strong winds and harsh sun. She was happy there....until the zinnias took over and tried to smother her. By the time I discovered what was happening, her bottom leaves were all mottled with bright yellow spots. When I Googled for the problem, I though she was diseased and doomed to die. However, after I moved her out to the sunshine, she grew some healthy new leaves on top. That makes me think she had a fungal disease from lack of air circulation. The sickly leaves are falling off, but her two full sized lemons are hanging on. I hope I can nurse her along until we at least get our first lemon harvest from her.

Maybe I pruned my summer bearing raspberries a bit too soon, as they're growing out of bounds already. I may have to crop them back again before we leave.

Powdery mildew is spreading fast on the zucchini. The summer squash and cucumbers were a total bust this year, and the yields were pitiful!

Do you remember the tomato fortress? It's all gone now. I lost all my Brandywines to diseases this year, so this spot won't be used for growing tomatoes again. These bush beans are still giving us enough to eat and some to freeze, but about one more meal of them and I'll be ripping them all out and cleaning up the bed.

This bed is actually more productive than it appears in the photo. The baby beets are now being harvested, and the lettuce has been feeding us and the rabbit for probably a month or more. The tiny patch of spinach in the back was all that germinated after sowing the entire bed. The beets were covered with netting, and didn't suffer much leaf miner damage, but the spinach was left uncovered and is mostly unusable. I did pick a few leaves this week, but not enough for a meal. I'll probably just toss them in with a salad or some scrambled eggs.

Awww, my two baby melons are developing their netting but won't have time to ripen before frost. The seeds were planted on a whim in late summer, from a store bought melon. I knew they wouldn't have enough time. I was surprised at the number of blossoms that developed on it. I cut the vines way back so it could put its energy into ripening the fruit, but it was too little too late.

Peppers, peppers and more peppers. At least I'm getting some red ones, and they are as sweet as sugar. I'm watching the weather reports, as I will soon have to harvest all that are left before they freeze.

The north garden is beginning to look a bit emptier. I only have two weeks left to get it all harvested and cleaned up.

The east garden still has a lot of carrots and peppers. Absolutely tons of parsley is still growing here, I just do not need another sprig of it!

I hope the new pickup is large enough to carry all the butternut squash, all the carrots that remain to be pulled, Leona the lemon tree and three or four coolers full of frozen produce to Arizona. We'll be leaving early in the morning of October 15th, and that's not very far off. Granny has a LOT of garden cleanup to do in the next two weeks, not to mention packing for a 5-month trip away from home.