Wednesday, July 9, 2014

Gardenish things

 My garden is somewhat puny this year. I failed to prepare the beds last fall due to various circumstances, and it shows. I have hopes that my compost will flourish (isn't that a lovely thought! flourishing compost!) this year so that I can greatly improve the quality of my soil by next year. However, I am currently having issues with a tree that is trying to grow its roots UPwards into my compost pile. Thus effectively ruining/stealing/using up all of the good stuff at the bottom and cementing it to the ground with thousands of tiny rooty tendrils. Thus ruining my life. Every time I try to turn the pile it becomes a battle involving many curse words and a machete.

Lemme tell you. Gardening in Oklahoma is like trying to squeeze life out of a rock. A really, really stubborn, clay-filled, pest-infested rock. As a good friend of mine once said, the environment here is "hostile", at best! Still, I'm determined to coax something out of the barrenness. At least I got my seedlings started early for once. :P

When the okra is puny, I know we're in trouble...

Also, please forgive the ridiculous amount of weeds in my garden this year. I've been meaning to mulch it for ages now. I should have done it months ago so that it could have retained more of the lovely rain we got!

Beautiful cabbage!

Devastated cabbage!

Diatomaceous Earth to the rescue!

See what I mean about hostile? I went to check on my potato plants the other day, for instance. They were growing big and beautiful and perky just the day before. I walked up to this:

One. Day. Y'all. This is one day's worth of total devastation. Not a single leaf made it out unscathed. I was almost left without any leaves at all. And I couldn't for the life of me find the critter that did it. From what I've read, this is the work of the infamous Colorado potato beetle, but I have yet to have the bastard show his face.

At least some things are doing well...

Ginger (left), and Egyptian Walking Onions (right)



 I'm having my first ever truly successful run with tomatoes this year, oddly enough. Maybe they're hogging all the fertility. Hmm... Next thing on my list: learn to can!! Oh, and buy a pressure canner. Right. I guess that would be an important step. :P


I'm excited about this pepper's supposed to be spicy, but not TOO spicy.

The romaine has done well...time to gather seeds, and feed the rest to the rabbits!

The mustard is also done...time to gather seeds and either turn them into mustard, or save them for next year...

I planted a mix of kale, Brussels sprouts, and broccoli in this pot...I figured it would go crazy since kale is usually so easy to grow. I was going to feed it to the rabbits since I despise kale, but so far it hasn't grown more than 2 leaves per plant, and those are being vigorously gnawed upon by some sort of insect.

A stray brassica made it to the regular garden bed and is doing much better than its siblings...

Sorrel...if you haven't tried it, you should! So citrusy and delightful!

Sage and oregano...I think...I lose track of the mints...

Trying out a few new herbs to fill in some of the blank spaces...this purple basil smelled fabulous, and the one on the right is dill, which I love.

I have no idea what to do with chives, but this one caught my fancy...

Something lemony...I don't remember...they were on sale. :P

The boys's's's' (grammar? phooey) strawberry plants are making babies like there's no tomorrow...goooo strawberries!

I'm having trouble keeping the ants off of my purslane. They seem to be sucking the juices from it, and it's not really growing. I dusted it with Diatomaceous earth (my very best friend in times of desperation), and I see lots of teeny little baby purslanes coming up, so I have hope!
The cucumbers are going mad...

Baby cucumber...isn't it funny!

"Doug! Grab hold, I'll help you up!"
"(Panting) I don't know if I can do it, Karl. Go on without me. Save yourself."
"You're gonna make it man, just don't let go!"

Cucumbers! ...Oh, and this baby musk melon, which is adorable.

Celery...I didn't think it would make it!

Scarlet runner beans...that seem to be happy making zero beans...

My pride and joy...everyone, this is my Marshmallow plant. It barely survived last year, but has come back this year with every intention of conquering the world. Isn't it beautiful?!

That's about all this post can handle, folks! Tune in next time as the war against clay and beetle continues to wage in the wastes of the Midwest...

Shared on the HomeAcre Hop, and the Homestead Barn Hop!

Sunday, July 6, 2014

New Addition

Meet Liesel Arachnia, Empress of Comfy Loveseat and Official Mouse/Vermin Eliminator.

I know I said I'm not into pets, but...this one won me over. I give her cod liver oil and she loves me a lot. Plus we have a mouse problem, so she's justified, right? RIGHT?!? :P

I had a sore back the other night and was lying face down in bed, and she came and laid on top of me and kneaded the sore spot with her claws and warmfed me with her awesomeness.

I kind of love her.

Eventually, I hope to raise quail or some other small bird (pheasant, pigeon, etc.) in addition to rabbits so that I can afford to feed her a raw diet. She gets some raw now, but it's definitely more of an on-the-side thing. Still, her coat has gone from rough and dry to sleek and shiny over the course of a week, so I think she's adjusting to the cushy life pretty well!

I have no idea whether or not she is pregnant. The vet was kind of useless in that area. I do know she's been roaming the neighborhood for a while now, and there was definitely an interested tomcat who kept pestering her, so it's pretty likely. We'll find out by the end of August or so! The vet's assistant told me it didn't matter either way, we could just get her spayed and if she was pregnant, she "wouldn't have them kittens!".

I told Liesel if she DOES have kittens, I won't be throwing them away. Her babies are worth having if they're in there. And amen.

So we'll just wait and see. Ezekiel really, reeeeally wants her to have kittens. Because they would be "SooooooooOOOOOOooooo CUUUUTE!!", he tells me while he cups his hands in front of him, cradling the tiny imaginary kitten and crinkling up his five-year-old face as if being pummeled by infinite armies of adorable.

Ohhhh baby animals. How you slay me with your evil cuteness!

I can't wait until we have baby bunnies. There aren't many things in this world cuter than a baby bunny. Especially when they get their fur and start hopping around like perfect little minatures of their parents. Like the ones in THIS VIDEO. OR THIS ONE. Oh my word. I have to stop thinking about it now. I'm about to blow the lid off my cuteness tank just imagining them.

Did that sound weird?

Ahem! So I moved my rabbits since they finished fertilizing my front lawn, and I put their cage UP on a RAISED contraption so they're not on the GROUND (are you reading this, Ernest?). This was mainly because the cage isn't actually built for being on the ground and was beginning to get slightly rusty (ugh). Also because moving a cage that's not built for it every single day gets very tiresome. Anyway. IT WAS NOT BECAUSE ERNEST TOLD ME TO DO IT, IT'S BECAUSE I WANTED TO. SO THERE.

Moving on...

My totally redneck setup...

Winifred, just chillin'...
 Don't worry, it's temporary!! LOL...but hey, it was something I could do BY MYSELF, and it got the cage off the ground the way I wanted it, it's pretty sturdy, and it was cheap! All good things. I have grand plans to build a wonderful hutch system this month (this one is WAY cool), but since I'm totally inept at using a drill/saw/any useful tools, I have to wait for my already hard-working husband to have the time and inclination to help me/teach me/do it while I watch. ;)

I'm really pleased with their location in the backyard. They get looooots of shade and I don't worry about them near as much as when they were in the front! Hurrah for happy critters!