Monday, July 27, 2009

Staycation. Eggplants, grapes, tomatoes...

The yawning pause here was a very busy week at work followed by our week-long 2009 "Staycation." Highlight: Don Giovanni at the Santa Fe Opera Wednesday night!

6 Bucket Rain on Tuesday 21 July
And finally some more, with lightning and thunder last night, Sunday 26 July. We got lazy and didn't try to fill the few empties (all full of extra ditch water from Saturday's watering), so our de facto rain gauge was out of order. One bucket for sure.

This is a placeholder for yard and garden news:
Lilies are out. Zinnias bloomed this week, in slow motion: adult red, then white, then pink. Amaranth short but with seed heads. Green bean babies!! The tri-color mix of bush beans in the garden now have the tiny curls that will be green beans. Harvested 5 perfect eggplants. Red grapes galore. A single tentative desert primrose (the bush looks healthy and happy). Finches already pecking holes in the apples, and prowling the sunflowers. Bees continuing to wear themselves out hauling over-stuffed thigh pouches of gold sunflower pollen back down the street. Aggressive Mexican Reds (hummingbirds, just passing through) battling our current non-too-mild black-headed guy for the feeder. Very curious to know what we're supposed to do or expect from the sweet potatoes (vines looking quietly happy) or the leeks (think those are still on the small side). Chilis busting out everywhere. Green peppers gaining in size. Oh--harvesting a few pickling cucumbers. Sun chokes are enormous (7'?), but still with no sign of flowering. G. starting to think about fall crops. Garlic? Broccoli? Carrots. Peas. Beets.

Very sad: at some point in the last several weeks, the artichoke dried up and died, as did those darling desert bluebells and a handful of marigolds. Also: suspect that the wilt has ahold of the watermelon vines.

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Inferno slips into the forecast

BEWARE today will be conducted under the auspices of the blazing red-orange smelt furnace icon.
It was not there last night!
Some graveyard shift weatherman sneaked it into today's line-up during the wee hours.
Was that supposed to cushion the blow?
Consider this your quasi-volcanic, 97-degree,
Egg-frying Pavement Warning.
Oh, but it's a dry heat....

Jack and the bean stalk--no kidding!

The Kentucky Wonders are already groping for my arcs of rainbow-hued cord.

Monday, July 6, 2009

Blackberries, beans and ... come on tomatoes!

I can always tell when G is picking blackberries... the quiet morning air is punctuated with yelps. She is a brave and greedy woman. I think in terms of annual harvest, she's gotten roughly 3 pints so far. Add vanilla ice cream and oh my!!

G's new batch of hot weather grass coming along. [Hot?! You bet.] Next to it, the raised bed seems to have disappeared under mountains of tomato vine. The mountain of plant has mountains of fruit, but it seems to be taking 30 years to ripen. Which begs the question: Roughly how long does it take for a cherry tomato to go from flower to dinner table? We had our first salad out of the raised bed Saturday [lettuce and a couple of precious apparently early tomatoes]... very tasty. Something is attacking the Bok Choy. ?! Hey, that's mine! Oh, and I caught one more tomato horn worm. Hate to kill them; they are so handsome. But voracious. Ruthless. Rapacious. They can strip a plant in no time. And speaking of rapacious, the battle against squash bugs continues. Seem to find several a day still. Yesterday afternoon there were 3 on one of the cucumber plants. They had nearly killed it in the space of 24 hours. Granted the plant was small and young, but--24 hours!

I added some extra strings for the beans to climb. We decided they needed the hub cap [not pictured] to ornament their spot. I have been enjoying them enormously. (Akin to watching paint dry?! No. I just like sitting and looking at them. I can't really imagine what they'll do, to be honest.)

Last bits of garden news? One of the pickling cucumbers has a baby--the size of a gherkin. Sooooo cute. And one of the green pepper plants does too--currently bigger than a pea but smaller than a marble. Monarch visiting: this huge handsome butterfly likes G's Echinacea flowers; he or she bobbles by a couple of times a day, just to brighten things up. Yesterday Gloria was standing nearby and he/she swirled right around her head! Delightful to be that close to it. We have also seen a large tiger-hued butterfly... G looked it up but I don't remember what she told me it was.

We had a lovely rain Friday morning, by the way. But nothing since. The clouds gather along about late afternoon, tease us a little, then rush over to the mountains. (The rich get richer, right?!)

...ton of bricks 2

We worked ourselves silly Saturday and Sunday. (Oh my aching everything!) It's not perfect by a long shot, but we finished stage one: the landing. We're pretty excited.


Interesting to note that the sunflowers we planted in the ground first bloomed first. The early ones are in a spot where we see them more often, but the soil isn't as good.

The plants on the other side of the house are lush, but so far--no blooms. [G is standing next to them: below] Just look at those leaves! I suppose it could be the variety/ the luck of the draw, since this was a mixed envelope. Maybe the ones on the west are old-fashioned yellow standards...

Thursday, July 2, 2009

Cemeteries I pass daily...

Weed, water and wait - 1st Wk of July

Oh, and smash a lot of bugs!
*6 tomato horn worms (add photo)
*a dozen squash bugs (sudden spike in those). Can they fly?
*a worm demolishing my petunias
*AND on a happier note -- spotted a young mantis. bright spring green. on the petunias near the bug I squashed. I felt badly; might have just swept away his or her dinner.

*Our first brown sunflower. Very handsome!! And a second big yellow one our shy early bird.

*It's hot and feels like it hasn't rained in forever. I am haunted by the barren brown of the cemetery I drive past weekday mornings on the way to work. The water line is so emphatic. [see below] a ton of bricks

G got serious about the walkway yesterday. Took the garden truck to a landscape supply place and brought home .43 tons slightly damp builder's sand. (We think we got gypped--like paying by the pound for wet broccoli...) Then she started the tear-down process. [Oh chaos and dark night. She was looking crazed by the time I got home. It was 93 degrees in the shade.]

Dot's Diner

A friend was in Bisbee recently, staying at the Airstream motel. She snapped this photo. I smiled; liked the idea that I might be cosmically related to this perky, creative joint--this bright spot-- in the middle of nowhere.

"Perpetual Care" or/ Irrigation - No irrigation