Tuesday, July 30, 2019

Going Local-Jetton Park

 With cooler temperatures still looming,
sister and I decided to spend an afternoon together.
We met for lunch,
and then rationalized that if we wanted to go to Kilwin's for ice cream,
we had better work off the calories ahead of time.
That's how we ended up at Jetton Park in Cornelius.

 By the time we arrived, it was getting muggy,
but we were thankful for the wooded pathways that led us along.
Being in the shade seems to bring the temperature down
a good ten degrees.
And there are always sights and sounds to savor.

 This park boasts over 100 acres sprawled out right in the middle of a highly populated area.
There are areas to sunbathe (does anyone do that anymore?),
ride bikes or rollerblade, 
or simply take your dog (or your honey) for a leisurely stroll.

There are also plenty of picnic tables, playgrounds
and tennis courts, giving the visitor much from which to choose.
Jetton Park hosts weddings and parties,
as well as family reunions for a reasonable price.
Rental information can be found here.

There are large, open areas to play frisbee or throw around a baseball,
or play a good old-fashioned game of "Red Light, Green Light".
It did my heart good to see so many kids
out with their families and not a screen in sight.

 This park is actually right around the corner from my fabulous doctor.
In fact, it's close to so many conveniences that it is hidden in plain sight.
What a great place to get away from it all 
and still be near what you need.

We may plan another visit soon,
to spend time for my birthday exploring the trails.
There is so much more to see and it is worth the trip from our location.
I can't think of a better way to spend the day
than a picnic lunch, a game of frisbee and hiking.

You can visit this gem in the heart of town 
from sunrise to 10:30 p.m. at
19000 Jetton Road  Cornelius, NC.
 Need more information?
Call 980-314-1001

Friday, July 26, 2019

Garden Friday

It's Garden Friday!
Here's a little of what's "growing on" around the homestead.

The turmeric is practically jumping out of the pots.
It seems to enjoy the combination of heat and drought.
This plant is being grown for its medicinal benefits,
as it is one of the best remedies for inflammation.

Some of the cucumbers are getting a bit of size to them.
These are slicing cukes, which will be used on salads.

The Sugar Baby watermelons are slowly growing.
They have a beautiful pattern to them.
This is our first attempt at growing melon.

Have you ever seen such a fuzzy melon?


It took only a few weeks for the white sweet potatoes
to fill in this entire 4 X 4 raised bed.
The vines will now start climbing up the recently made trellis.
The leaves of this root vegetable are similar to spinach when eaten raw.

The butternut squash seems quite content
and continues it ascent up the folded cattle panel.

The first of the fruit was found this week.
I'm looking forward to making some soup with this crop.

The blossoms look similar to the loofah and pumpkin blooms.
The pollinators have no trouble finding these huge flowers.

The first okra was picked last weekend.
Soon, we will be overrun with the stuff.
I hope to be able to pickle a lot of it.

Even the eggplant makes me hopeful,
although it does have a few holes
indicating that something is munching on it.
Quite a few of the crops in the garden are late this season,
as there were problems with germination and pests early on.
We just keep throwin' seed at it!

The pumpkin is one thirsty plant.
We had a deluge on Tuesday that made it very happy.
Daily checks for eggs have been made,
as the squash bug loves to settle on the leaves.
I simply crush them with gloved hands.

The first loofah on the trellis hasn't stopped growing yet.
Several others have now been spotted,
so I'm hoping that we will have a number to donate to the Community Garden Fundraiser.

I love watching the loofah vines covering the gazebo structure.
Every morning when I go for my walk,
I'm amazed to see the flowers reaching for the sky!

With the forecast of rain looming,
I decided to make some compost tea.
It's actually turkey poop placed in a bucket,
then filled with water.
In this case, rainwater filled it for me.
This is used as a general fertilizer.

The Yukon Gold potatoes were harvested this week.
They were planted in mid-March,
and by the looks of the faded and flopping stalks,
it was time to see what we had growing in the straw.

This year, I tried a little experiment.
I used the potato towers that were made last year,
but instead of banking with soil as they grew,
I used straw instead.

The results yielded far fewer potatoes than last year.
You can even see a couple of green ones,
which were thrown in the compost pile.
Next year, I will return to using soil to hill up the taters.
At least we got a couple of handfuls to use for baking.

The leek I harvested was delicious and they will continue
to be picked and eaten as often as desired.
Even though it's summer,
I've been craving soup,
so I may use the potatoes and leek together to make up a batch.

This week we were blessed with some fantastic weather!
After our downpour, the morning temperatures have been in the 60's,
with highs only reaching the low to mid 80's.
What a relief after the heat wave that hit the country last week.

The stellar weather is supposed to continue this weekend.
I'm hoping to meet up with sister for lunch,
and maybe we'll even get in a hike.
Enjoy whatever comes your way!

Tuesday, July 23, 2019

Community Garden Workday for July (2019)

Saturday was a hot and steamy mess.
It didn't deter a handful of dedicated volunteers
from their appointed duties at the East Lincoln Community Garden
in Denver, NC.
Once every month we designate a workday to tend to community beds,
complete projects and get our share of weed pulling done.
This past weekend we focused on clearing the walkways of weeds.

The heat of summer has produced lots of garden goodies.
Some beds were packed with nutritious nuggets.

Vine-ripened tomatoes just waiting for their turn to be picked.

Lavender and loofah adorn one of the perimeter fences.
The loofah vine was loaded with blossoms.
This climber makes a superb screen.

There was plenty of okra to be found.

Looks like this one got away!

There's more where that came from!
A certain number of beds in this garden
are dedicated to the local food bank.
All of the produce grown in these beds
helps to feed the community.

Native milkweed could be found in one of the member's beds.
That means that monarch butterflies are part of this garden's future!
He was kind enough to offer me seeds once they open up.
At home, we try to use mostly native plants in our landscape.

A lot of weeding got done,
but with the heat index predicted at 105 degrees,
we didn't finish everything we'd hoped to.
There's always next month,
and we know the weeds will be there waiting.

The best part of the morning's work 
was getting to know our fellow gardeners better
and sharing our love of nature and giving back.

"We know that without food we would die.
Without fellowship,
life is not worth living."
~Laurie Colwin

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.