Wednesday, July 30, 2008

See hawk.

See hawk fly.

See hawk fly from chicken coop.

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Hummingbirds visit

There were two of them but they were so fast! The kitchen table is in the way and I didn't have enough time to run from one side to the next before they were gone.

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

The boys' haul today

It just makes them giddy to pick all this! LOL That's corn, potatoes, tomatoes, eggplant, tomatillo, okra, zucchini, cucumber and summer squash.

This is a picture David Benjamin took of where some evil chickens have eaten a small butternut squash. They have destroyed several of them.

Look at the cantaloupe hugelkultur bed. You almost can't see the sad one on the left. The big bed is full of baby cantaloupe. We have one about four inches in length already. Can you believe how fast it has grown just since I posted the last picture of it?

I have dug several new beds today. It kind of looks like we are about to bury people doesn't it? We are zoned for burial actually....

These are some blackeyed peas. I can't wait to eat some of our own blackeyed peas. It really is so much fun gardening with the kids. They are begging for more spots to plant stuff. I only planted that corn and cantaloupe up there for Isaac. The garden just keeps on spreading.

Oh, I can't forget to include the pumpkins David Benjamin picked out. We have one vine that has grown through some shrubs behind a retaining wall back of the pumpkin bed. And this is well past where I planted the pumpkins. The seed packet failed to say how long the vines would get probably because no one would buy them if they knew ahead of time! Anyway, the vine is still growing out on the driveway now. And a large pumpkin is now sitting on top of the metal trashcan! Here they are showing off one of the pumpkins. We have quite a few but this was the first to turn orange.

This is the vine coming through the shrubs and on to the driveway. The vine is coming from an area about 4 feet off the ground.

And here is the pumpkin sitting on the trash can!

This is the area the vine is coming from. We just planted this large area behind the house in corn and pumpkins.

Tuesday, July 8, 2008

Trivia Night


Fintan Trivia
Persian Rug Trivia
Bible Trivia
Harry Potter Trivia
Dirty Tshirt Trivia
Webkinz Trivia
Dinosaur Trivia
Isaac Trivia


Which arm is Fintan's left arm?
What is Fintan's favorite color?
Which Death Eater killed Sirius Black?
Where would you put a Persian rug in our house? Daddy's nose
Where are germs in our house? Everywhere
How much is Davy Jones' locker worth in kinz cash? 725
What food is on Isaac's T-shirt? Food Some Kind
What is the largest planet in the solar system?
Name two dinosaurs that are herbivores?
How many hairs are on Fintan's left arm? 5, 740
Who led the Israelites out of Egypt?
Where are Isaac's shoes?

Could he be any cuter?

He just played me a "tune" on his Daddy's guitar. And he said he did it so I would know how much he loves me. That I am his best friend..really I am. And he loves me 58% a 1000!

Monday, July 7, 2008

I Eats Chalk!

All I Wanted Is A Chicken Dinner

Is that so bad?

Saturday, July 5, 2008

Hugelkultur Compared

I showed some pictures previously of the process of building our hugelkultur bed. I can't remember how many of them I showed. A couple of weeks ago I began to suspect that something odd was going on with our cantaloupe beds. I had had one packet of cantaloupe seeds. I planted 3 hills each in 2 beds. One bed was a hill bed like you might plant with corn and squash. I cleared a rectangle and dug out 3 circles about 18 wide each and enriched it with old manure and alfalfa pellets. We then mulched all over the bed with straw.

I also made an experimental hugelkultur bed. We put branches on the ground that were mostly freshly cut. We tossed on pinecones and bark from the pine tree that fell and hit our house New Years day and had been laying in our yard. We tossed on some leaves and we put on a layer of manure. Lastly we tossed old sod on. I use my stirrup hoe and scrape the grass or mostly weeds rather on the ground to prepare a garden bed. The only dirt it pulls up is a thin layer attached to the roots. It looks similar to the sod strips people put in their yard only no one would buy dandelion sod. We placed that on the hugelkultur bed with the weeds facing down and the dirt side up. In my head I thought of it as a garbage bed. We made it entirely out of what people want to get out of their yard and dispose of in some way.

I didn't expect it to do much, at least not this year. But on the top of the bed we used a small shovel and lightly dug in 3 piles of red clay for planting. I had the extra seed so why not? I didn't get around to planting the cantaloupe in that bed till 2 weeks after planting the first. It did come up. I was worried about the plants getting enough water and having some where to put down roots since I planted in them a brush pile basically. Recently though I would glance off the front porch at the two cantaloupe beds side by side and wonder if I was seeing things. Was the hugelkultur really looking better than the traditionally planted one? See for yourself. Here they are side by side:

Here is the hugelkultur bed. Look how gorgeous and green and lush these leaves are? That is a burlap mulch but weeds are growing through. It was the start of an experiment I never finished. David keeps asking me if I am sure I used the same seeds. I used the same seeds from the exact same packet.

And the sad traditionally planted one is here. It looks like it's missing something doesn't it? And this had a 2 week head start.

I think amazing is not an over exaggeration here. I am amazed! I had wanted to apply some alfalfa pellets to the hugelkultur one but never got around to it. They have both received 2 applications of actively aerated compost tea. That's for another post though. One thing that stands out in my mind is how the branches in the bed are supposed to have the ability to hold in large quantities of water in the soil. Permaculture design does place an emphasis on finding ways to help your yard hold water in the soil. I am too tired to elaborate on how and why and I just remembered a hose turned on earlier today/yesterday and wonder if it was ever turned off :( But I now have some exciting plans for all the trees we recently cut down.

Here is a photo of these same beds taken earlier for comparison:

It's taken from the other side of the beds so that is the hugelkultur bed on the left and you can see how the plants are smaller than the ones in the bed on the right. See how lumpy that bed is under the burlap? Not a finely prepared garden bed!

Wednesday, July 2, 2008

Fun with bees!

The boys decided yesterday that it would be fun to catch bees! I think they are crazy but they seem pretty good at it. No one has been stung...yet. The bugs are all entranced with the big patch of Monarda, otherwise known as Bee Balm, in the flower bed outside the kitchen window. That's the remains of a flower head of one in with the giant bee. And we have a nasty wasp thrown in for good measure. I keep reminding them not to open the jars in the house to try and make myself feel better!