Friday, July 19, 2019

Garden Friday

frat party on loofah flower

Welcome to Garden Friday,
where we're gettin' our buzzzzz on!

The veggie garden is enjoying some mid-summer growth.
Rain has been sparse over the last few weeks,
but we're hoping that will be changing in the upcoming days.
We could use a good drenching.

The cucumbers are responding to the heat
by climbing up our wiggle sticks.
There's something so refreshing about cold cukes in a salad.

The leek that were planted in March
have filled out the container.

Some are even showing seed heads,
which usually signals harvest time.
This weekend I plan to pull one up
to see if it's ready for eating.

The Yukon Gold potatoes will be harvested this weekend.
The leaves are turning yellow and getting floppy,
a sure sign that they are finished growing.

white sweet potato bed

The white sweet potato bed is filling in quickly.
For some reason, I'm not having as good growth
with the regular (orange) sweet potatoes growing in their crate.
Traditional sweet potatoes have always been so easy to grow,
and I'm not sure what's causing the problem.
It sure can't be lack of heat!

Another heat lover, the loofah is scaling the gazebo trellis.
It is constantly covered in pollinators.

For some reason, this is the only gourd I've found on the vines.
It's gaining size with no prodding from me,
but I'm not sure why it's the only one.

Okra is another crop unbothered  by the steamy temperatures.
Here, some grow in our newly created raised rows.

Others are doing well in the straw bales.
The one thing that's great about the straw bales,
is that they retain the moisture when watered in.

The butternut squash seems to double in size each week!


A few watermelons are on their way up the arches and looking healthy.

The drying beans have not been too successful,
but this Whipple bean plant looks like it may actually produce something.

Along with the veggie garden,
the flowers are painting our homestead in a gorgeous array of colors.
This is our mailbox bed,
which was heavily seeded early in spring.
Most of the seeds didn't germinate,
but the tithonia on the left does not disappoint.

This calendula is a new-to-me plant this year.
The blooms are both yellow and orange,
a dynamite combination!

The pollinators have been all over the salvia, sunflowers,
tithonia and zinnias.

It's been thrilling to see the increase in the amount and variety
of butterflies we've seen this year.
The butterfly bed we put in last spring is really paying off.

With a profusion of blossoms
and home-grown produce,
every day is filled with blessings.

May your day be filled with blessings of your own.

Tuesday, July 16, 2019

Love in Sink

The kitchen facelift project is continuing
with the addition of something I've been dreaming about for some time.

The stainless steel sink that was here
was builder grade, nothing special.
We ended up selling it on Craig's List for $20.

Before the company installing our new countertops would even come out to measure,
Big K had to put the new sink in place.
We were told that apron sinks complicate things just a  bit,
so he put on his handyman suit and went to work.

The plumbing had to be reworked to fit the new sink,
and let's just say, 
things didn't exactly go as planned.
All hands were on deck to handle the emergency.
I think we used every rag we had.

Fortunately, we got the water shut off
before too much damage was done.
At least our beautiful wood floors got a good cleaning.
Once the mess was sopped up,
our resident handyman carried on to get the plumbing straightened out.

Since the apron sink spills over the front of the cabinets,
these top two panels needed to be removed.
We weren't sure at this point if the doors would be able to be used.
One option we considered was a cute, lil' vintage curtain
to cover up the contents of the storage area below the sink.

With a little figuring, 
Big K cut the size hole we needed for the sink to rest on.
Some folks reinforce the sides of the cabinets
since the sink is pretty heavy,
but we decided not to do that,
as it would take up some of the space we have for storing needed items.
The cabinets alone should be sturdy enough
to hold the weight of the sink.

This is the new sink and faucet 
with the old nasty, dingy countertops. 
Can I just tell you how much I love this sink?
We looked around for a long time to find one we could afford.
I was first thinking that I wanted a double sink,
since that's all I've ever had,
but they were more expensive.
It turns out, the larger basin is absolutely perfect.
It easily fits a sheet pan and several pots and pans for cleaning.
This sink's so big, you could wash 3 or 4 puppies in it!

And the pull-down spray nozzle?
Let me tell you, it's my new toy. 
The old sink didn't have a sprayer because the previous owners
had installed a water filtration system on one side,
and had their soap dispenser on the other.
This spray nozzle gets used every single day
and is SO appreciated.

What an amazing change just this one project has made.
As you can see, the doors did fit perfectly after the sink install.
The kitchen looks updated, fresh and streamlined.
It feels like us.
We were into the farm look well before all of the
renovation shows were on the air,
so it's wonderful to have our home more of a reflection of our taste.
It really helps that Big K and I pretty much like the same type of decor.

I feel so blessed to be able to surround myself 
with what I truly love in our home.
What feels right.
For a homebody like me,
it's a wonderful opportunity to continue feathering our nest.

Friday, July 12, 2019

Garden Friday

Bee Happy!
It's Garden Friday!
The summer garden is moving right along.

The butternut squash is quickly climbing the cattle panel
that was erected last week.
With very little persuading, it is doubling in size every few days.
And that's before adding fertilizer!

 Thankfully, I'm still harvesting beets.
It will soon be time to start these anew,
and I intend on increasing their number in seed trays.

 This welcome sight caught my eye this week.
Flowers mean something good is coming your way.

 In this case, it means watermelon and canteloupe are setting fruit.
This is the Sugar Baby variety, a first timer for us.
We have gotten a late start,
but hoping that the summer heat will produce some of our favorites.
(I never realized that watermelons were so hairy!)

 Another heat lover, okra, is slowly inching its way taller.
We have two varieties growing in separate raised rows,
Bradford family and the conventional Clemson spineless.

 The pumpkins are doing well,
despite the fact that I haven't watered them enough.
We are promised rain almost daily,
and then nothing happens.
I will have to be less trusting and more consistent.

The two volunteer tomato plants that came up under the gazebo structure
are already forming fruit, with very little help from me.
Not sure what these are, as I wasn't planning on growing tomatoes this year.

 So far, this is the only loofah on the vine.
This shows it one week apart.
Can you believe the growth?
I will have to check today to see if there are any more gourds starting
since there are plenty of flowers on the vine.

Black-eyed Susan vine


 The pollinators have been having a field day
with so many different blooms to enjoy!



 Our crepe myrtle trees have also been behind in blooming.
They're worth the wait.

I hope that your garden is relishing the heat of summer
with just enough rain to keep things humming along.
Have a wonderful weekend!

Tuesday, July 9, 2019

Sweet Support

We recently planted white sweet potato slips into one of our raised beds.
This is first-time crop for us,
although we have grown the standard variety in the past.
In a matter of weeks, these slips have grown quite a bit
and I wanted to prepare something for the vines to climb.

We had just what I needed around the homestead.
Some welded wire, wooden stakes, u-staples
and a wire cutter were all that were required.

The project began by using a jigsaw to create a sharp point
on the wooden stakes.
This will make it so much easier to get them into the soil.

These wire cutters do a great job on all kinds of wire.
They've been in Big K's toolbox forever.
I cut two panels of welded wire out,
after measuring the raised bed's sides.

 It turns out, the U-staples were too wide,
so I raided the "junk" drawer in the kitchen.
We had some twist ties from various things,
so I put two of them together,

and placed a couple of twist ties every so often.
If they don't hold up,
tie wraps will be purchased. 
Another option would be to use a staple gun.
Sometimes you just gotta use what ya got.

Easy, schmeesy.
This little project took very little time,
not much effort and didn't cost a dime.
Sounds like a dynamite combination!

They were pounded into the soil just outside of the box.
Now the vines have somewhere to roam.
If we get the rain we're supposed to,
I expect they'll be covering the panels in no time.

The bed right next to the sweet potatoes houses the butternut squash.
They're not even waiting for the rain,
they are pretty much taking over the cattle panel we placed there on the weekend.
I'm enjoying the vertical elements in the garden.

It's not always necessary to purchase what you need to make things work in the garden.
Sometimes things can be created from what is already there.
It's all about letting your creativity run free.

"A garden is a grand teacher.  It teaches
patience and careful watchfulness;
it teaches industry and thrift;
above all, it teaches entire trust."
~Gertrude Jekyll