Thursday, August 30, 2012

Summer Review

Although my veggie gardens were perhaps the most minor gardening I did this summer, there was plenty to enjoy around the landscape.  The blueberries were amazing - although the very end of the harvest actually "fermented" in the heat wave that hit at the end of June.  105 degrees was more than those fat ripe berries could handle.  But we'd already picked ourselves silly.

The tomatoes crashed so resoundingly and suddenly that it had to be blight.  First time in years I had planted directly into our soil and it will be the last time.  We live in Virginia Beach farm country and so had lots of fresh tomatoes and other vegetables to choose from at our local farm stands, but you know that it's still not the same as your own tomatoes.  <sigh>  With the energy I had all expended on training for the 200 mile bike tour rather than garden prep, we were serious CSA folks this season.

Thanks to organizations like  Buy Fresh Buy Local Hampton Roads, more folks are finding their way to our farm neighbors.  With this level of community participation and support for local farms and markets, the small farm families here in Virginia Beach, Chesapeake, Norfolk and throughout the area will be able to thrive and continue producing fresh food right here.

Yep.  That's the back window of my Jeep!

On the lovelier side of the garden, it was a super summer for daylilies and a lot of the dedicated perennials that continue to delight and impress me, both with their beauty and with their hardiness.

Daylily clumps.  How I wish I knew what happened to their variety tags.  Nevertheless, I enjoy them as "anonymous" beauties.  And hide my frustration....

I bought these lilies several years ago as "has beens" at a garden center, about 8 qt pots to a tray and with a price of $2 per tray.  They had bloomed out and were deemed unsalable - which they did seem to be until I came along and read the tag.  They are one of the joys of my June/early July garden. ( I love gardening on the cheap!  Is that wrong?)  :)   As an aside:  These were being sold as "Stargazer" lilies - which they are not, so I am glad not to have paid the original price for them! I actually like this gentle pink blossom much better. They have asiatic foliage - what you see in the foreground is a daylily - otherwise these blooms would call up an old-fashioned crinum lily.
PS - If you saw my post earlier this week, you know that these lily stems have died back and are now completely hidden by a very feral encrouchment of sweet potato vine!

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Meet the Babies!

Speaking of things that run amok in August - meet the babies!  Mother banty hen, Freckles, has her new brood out and about. (She sat the eggs from several of my less maternally-minded hens.  Freckles would and probably could hatch a rock if she didn't find anything more suitable. Determined doesn't begin to describe her.)  The chicks are starting to look vaguely like chickens.  What's really amazing is that I can already tell which chick came from which hen in the flock!  All slightly "off" the original by the effect of the tall white daddy, RoosterMan.   Enjoy!

Enjoying a bit of canteloupe on a hot summer morning.

Hiding camera on my lap so Freckles will stay calm.
See her watching me?  What am I up to??
Babies couldn't care less.
All moms are black and white breeds except Freckles,
whose own baby (way to the right) hardly shows up here.

There is nothing, truly, any more relaxing than the gentle burbling of a mama hen
and the faint, constant chorus of baby trills and cheeps than answer her.
If you sit out in the coop for a few moments on a sultry summer afternoon,
the day pours over you like molasses.
You must nap.

Monday, August 27, 2012

And the Rains Came .... and came... and....


It's August.  You can't fool me, I know miserably hot and humid when I'm in it.  My two intolerable conditions.  In tandem.  Dog days. The dogs don't want them.   My garden is running amok. I'm ignoring it as much as possible, although yesterday I did have to go out and beat back the Jasmine vine that was making a serious effort to get into the house.  Same vine I was told would likely die away in any winter.  Nope.  Fabulous in June.  Feral in August.
Come for a walk with me.   Before the garden gets us both.
Isn't this lovely?  This was the pool garden in June.  Calm and collected, much like its gardener.  There were a few spots I felt were "bare" so when I tripped over  a decidedly cheap little six pack of blindingly chartreuse sweet potato vine plants at Home Depot in July, so I popped them in to "liven it all up a bit" over the summer when the spring plants die back.
Behold the result in August....
It's going for the pool.  This photo really doesn't even do the vine justice.
It's grown since this was taken.  By the hour.
I have clippers in hand.
But it's too @#$ hot and humid to go out there
and fight it.
More later, I have to go pour some iced tea.