Friday, May 22, 2015

Spring Garden Notes, May 22, 2015

The buckwheat has started to go to seed!  I'm still impressed with this plant -- now we're going to wait for it to start drying a bit more and we'll try our hand at hand-threshing the seeds.  They are still covered with bees.  I can see the benefit of adding some of these around the edges of a vegetable garden to draw those pollinators.

Bed #4 is starting to look great, well...all except for the bare spot there in the front on the left.  That was where the Swiss Chard was, until the rabbits wiped me out...I caught one in there one morning.  Pretty cheeky of him -- right in front of me! The nerve!  Oh well, I still have the chard in the pots and they both are doing fine.
At the back of this row are the winter squashes -- this one is a butternut squash.
And some zucchini -- the Fordhook Zucchini ...
 ...and the round zucchini.
The squash haus is looking pitiful all along the bottom.  I did spray the leaves with a mixture of baking soda and water that was recommended by a member of one of the garden groups I belong to on Google+, but we still continue to get rain and I'm sure its too much for these plants.
Although --- the squashes are still growing!  This is the Kikuzi that I found last week -- it's grown...
and I've found another one coming along!
The first two Tromboncino squash I found last week dried up and withered away...but there are more.  I hope these make it!
I can't recommend these Table Dainty squash enough ... they are so prolific.  More and more keep showing up!

Here's the ancho peppers -- looking good!
I picked a few more beans yesterday morning.  Here's each of the types I grew this year, top to bottom: Harvester, Empress, Jade and Calima.  I'm probably going to stick with Calima from now on.
My first Red Star tomatoes -- a small heirloom cherry.  
The Sleeping Lady tomatoes are so prolific, too.  These start to ripen from the bottom up!
 The Great White has ripened.  We'll be trying this during the weekend sometime.
We also harvested three of the Spaghetti Squash yesterday.  They are turning yellow.  I wish I knew more about this plant -- I hope we picked these at the right time. I'm going to have to google them and try to learn more.
We've been getting plenty of cucumbers -- the Ashley cucumber has gone over the top of the 8 foot support and has gone under the wood cross bar and is coming out the other side!
The dill plant is about 4 foot tall and has seed heads already. 
Our first peach --- it was delicious, by the way!
Yesterday we picked about half of them and they are sitting out to ripen.  We'll probably pick the other half early next week.  This Rio Grande peach tree is a real producer.
We had to cover the second blackberry patch with netting -- the berries were starting to disappear. This is the Chester thornless blackberry.

Here's one of the sunflowers opening up, at least half way...I think this is a Velvet Queen.
 Not much gardening happening this morning,'s raining again.  Sigh....

Wednesday, May 20, 2015

What We've Been Watching on Netflix

We've been watching more Netflix now that most of our favorite shows are finished for the season, and we've found a few that we really liked.

The Dark Valley 
This movie was made in 2014, and is a pretty good revenge movie, if you don't mind reading the subtitles, as the movie is in German.  The setting is a small village in 19th century Austria, a new man rides into town just as the winter snows are about to fall.  He claims to be a photographer, so the family that runs the village allows him to stay.

It took us a while to remember where we had seen the star of the movie, Sam Riley.  He played the black bird in Disney's Maleficent.  

Pretty good movie - I recommend it!

Based on a true story, this tells the adventure of Robyn Davidson, an Australian women who decides to trek across the desert (1,700 miles) in 1977 with only her black dog and three camels.  She was sponsored by National Geographic, who sent a photographer to meet up with her several times on her journey.  The actress that portrayed her was Mila Wasikowska, who you may remember from Jane Eyre, the 2011 movie.
I normally don't care for movies about real people, so I thought I'd hate this one (John picked it out), but I have to say I was sucked into the story.  She was one brave young lady.

Young Ones
Oh my, this was a weird one.  Told in chapters, it's set in a future where water is hard to find and those people who are still hanging on to their land have a pretty hard life.

The story begins with a father and his two teens working their land.  The daughters boyfriend has other ideas.

This one's not for everyone -- it was a bit of a slog, but once you start it, it's hard not to want to find out what happens.

Quite a wild ride, it made me think of Jaws or Jurassic Park!  An archaeologist takes his two children on an expedition to follow the message found in Viking runes.

Of course, things don't exactly as planned.  This was quite an adventure, and I highly recommend it!

Very good!

Heavenly Sword

Animated story of a girl who must protect a family sword.  I tried, but couldn't stay through the whole thing.  The animation is great, but I lost interest.  I think John finished it, though.


Tuesday, May 19, 2015

The Scorch Trials Movie Trailer

I'm looking forward to this one!  John and I "listened" to the first book, The Maze Runner, on audiobook on a trip a couple of years ago and we really liked it.  Then we saw the movie based on the first book last year.  This movie is based on the second book in the three book series, The Scorch Trials, and I'm anxious to see what happens, it's coming out in September.

Monday, May 18, 2015

Spring Garden Notes, May 18, 2015

We've finally had a full day without rain...time to catch up on garden tasks! Not that I'm complaining about rain -- I'm not.  Just to appreciate how much we love rain around here, take a look at the Drought map of Texas from 2011...the darker the red, the worse the drought.
And here's the map as of April 2015...there are still a few areas of worry, but on the whole, Texas is in much better shape....

and now you see how happy we are to see rain here!

The Green Husk Tomatillos are starting to burst their wrappers.  I'm bringing them in to ripen as I'm finding them.  Can't wait to make some tomatillo salsa.
I'm ripening several of the tomatoes in the house, too.  I wrote their names down so I can keep track of what's what.
Today I brought in the first of the Great White tomatoes.  It's starting to yellow a bit, and since I'm not sure exactly what to look for with these, I thought I'd see what this one does.  This one weighed 9.9 ounces!

Speaking of tomato plants...I found the entire top of one of my Sleeping Lady tomatoes eaten away and these webs on about three of the leaves further down the plant.  John seems to think its from a Tomato Hornworm, but I couldn't find one.  Does anyone recognize these things?  Are they egg sacks?

In any case, I destroyed them and treated the plant, so hopefully it won't happen again.

Three more of the broccoli plants have started to finally show a good head starting on them.  I'm hoping they will have time to grow out before it starts to get too hot.
I started picking all of my lettuce (two types) because it will soon be too hot for it here.  The lettuce starts to get bitter.  I'll plant some in the pots on the side of the potting shed now since its much cooler over there and in the shade a lot of the day.

I'm not impressed with the Red Romaine lettuce that I grew this year.  It grew just fine but the paper thin leaves remind me of what eating tissue paper must be like.  Not a fan.  Good thing these seeds were freebies from a seed order and I didn't chose them myself.  The Batavian Crisphead, on the other hand, is delicious and crunchy, just like I like my lettuce.  I eat a salad almost every day, and sometimes two, so growing my own is great!

I almost have enough jalapenos for pickled rings.  Those plants are just pumping out the peppers.
Take a look at these Calima beans!  This is why I've grown this particular bean every year since I found them.  Straight, beautiful, crunchy beans, and the plants are full of beans and blooms.  We picked over a pound of these today.

The forecast is for slight chances of rain the rest of the week, increasing at the weekend, so I'm planning to be out in the garden as much as possible the next few days.  Lots of weeding to do!

Sunday, May 17, 2015

Turkey Pen

Poor Layla has something wrong or she may be a runt.  I looked her symptoms up online and I think it may be a neurological problem caused by fungus (and all this rain we've been having is not helping) which is causing her to "gasp" (open and shut her mouth over and over again) after she eats.

It clears up after a little while, and then she can eat again just fine, but in our hope to clear it up, John raised the floor inside of the pen today so that they aren't on damp bedding and hay.  The rain sometimes washes right into part of their pen if its a particularly heavy rain, so now it will go right under them instead.

Its been so long since we've really had the kind of rain that we needed to worry about these kinds of problems.  When the chickens were in this old pen, they would just go up on the roosts and be nice and dry.  Turkeys not so much.

Movie Review --- Mad Max: Fury Road

Out of bounds! CLASSIC Mad Max! Thrill ride! A perfect nod to the original series.... all of these describe the latest Mad Max movie perfectly.

Honestly, I had a bit of anxiety about seeing this movie -- would they ruin my memories of Mel Gibson as the original Max?  Would it be too bloody and violent (with all of the latest movie magic available to directors these days?) Thankfully, none of this worry was necessary -- I think Mel would be pleased by how Tom Hardy treated Max.  I don't think he said more than 15 words in the whole movie!  A man of few words -- mostly grunts. ha!

I had read that some men were worried that this movie was going to be some femi-nazi rant on how women are treated, but I didn't find it to be so.  I'm pretty sure that people in a post-apocalyptic world will revert to their base selves, more like animals, which is the world that Fury Road is set in.  Why try to insinuate that its more of a message then that? People are base.  Its the truth.  Only a social pact by some people in society adds the very thin layer of politeness or "proper" behaviour to our world. And that's defined by everyone differently.

Anyway, I really liked the movie.  This was much more Imperator Furiosa's movie anyway, not Max's.  If you're a fan of the original series, you'll like it too! 4 Stars!

Saturday, May 16, 2015

Spring Garden Notes, May 16, 2015

The Green Macereta Cauliflower has finally showed up!  There are two other cauliflower plants in the raised bed, but not sure if they are the same or the Early Snowball (I got a bit mixed up when planting out my little starts from the greenhouse -- neither of them have shown a head yet.
We picked a mess of jalapenos today -- I'll soon have enough for a few jars of pickled rings.....
I topped off the "Hot Pink" Swiss Chard today so that the new little leaves will have some room to grow.  We'll be having some chard this week!
The Sleeping Beauty tomatoes have riped -- ready for the next salad.....
and the spaghetti squash is as big as those in the grocery store, so now its just a matter of waiting until they turn yellow, I think.  There are about 4 of these size, and a few smaller ones on the Squash Haus.
Unfortunate side effect to all of the rain we've been getting -- some of the garden really doesn't like wet feet -- these tomatillos are experiencing too much water in their leaves for sure.  I know they will likely recover when it dries out, though.
The Golden Zucchini on the other hand, may not recover..... damn!
This week I made a batch of sprouts -- an easy addition to my salads.  I really only enjoy one or two types of sprouts - alfalfa mostly, maybe beans occasionally.  I can't eat those spicy sprouts like radish or broccoli.
Way too may green beans -- so I had to freeze some of them on Friday.  This batch made three bags for the freezer.

I can't get over the peaches on this Rio Grande peach tree this year -- its loaded down!  I looked it up on the blog to find out when they ripened last year and it was the last week of May, so hopefully we'll be eating peaches soon!

John took this picture this week of his Cabernet grapes. They are looking so great, don't they!?
Over by the field, the new Datura plants are starting to bloom!  I haven't been out early enough to catch them in full bloom yet, but one day I'll make it and take a picture.
And take a look at this passion flower on the plant I got for Mother's Day...full beautiful bloom. Wow!  As you can see, it's still in the pot -- I'm still trying to decide where to plant it.