Caught in the act

Posted August 7, 2016 By Ruth

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Garden update

Posted August 3, 2016 By Ruth

I finally got a cantaloupe for myself today.  No pictures, I ate it already.

I’m still waiting for the Sugar Baby watermelons to ripen, they’re huge, but apparently not ripe yet since the tendril at each hasn’t even started to die back yet.

For anyone else trying to figure out when Golden Crispy Melons are ripe, part of the answer is that once the skin starts cracking PICK THEM NOW BEFORE THE INSECTS FIND THEM.  I can also confirm that they don’t slip off the vines like cantaloupe.  Other than that I can’t help you. Maybe I’ll do better next year……

Once the real tomato rush hits I’m going to be overwhelmed.  There are SO MANY tomatoes on all those HUGE plants this year.  Wow.  And unlike last year, this year my little home-made 3′ tall cages are NOT cutting it.  The Black Icicles are pushing 8ft tall, and everything else is taller than my eye-level.  Well, the ones that haven’t fallen over from lack of support are anyway.  You can’t even SEE the cages anymore.

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Since most of the tomatoes are going for sauce (or maybe ketchup if I have enough and time to play) anyway I’m going to try just stuffing them into gallon ziplocks and freezing them till I have time to actually make something out of them.  Its supposed to work fine with fruit for jelly, so I don’t see why it wouldn’t for tomatoes for sauce.

They do look pretty all together in the bowl though:

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Not sure if its the heat or what, but I’m also having a horrid time with blossom end rot this year too.  I’ve already added calcium to the tires, both when planting the plants and again a few weeks ago.  I don’t normally have to pitch more than a couple tomatoes for BER, but this year I’ve already pitched several Icicle tomatoes and a bunch of the Black Plums.  Rapid growth is supposed to be one of the triggers, so thats what I’m blaming it on.  Cause yah, we’ve had some rapid growth this year!

I had to treat all the pepper plants for caterpillars this week.  They’d found my paprika peppers (which looked AWESOME till I looked closer), and I ended up picking and pitching more than half the peppers due to the damage.  Hopefully I caught it in time to save at least some of them.

Ripening Hungarian Hot Wax peppers:

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I’ve got two more baseball bats er, zucchini out there to pick and process, and god knows when I’m going to have time to do that.  Maybe tomorrow.

Melon Pear fruit:

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Size wise they’re a bit bigger and fatter than the biggest grapes I’ve seen, but not by much.

Some flower pictures, just cause:

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Just a couple links

Posted August 3, 2016 By Ruth

Ok, three.

Turns out that pushing yourself to the limits for fitness might be just as bad as not exercising at all.  I have a Facebook friend, who I actually knew in college, who’s a HUGE Crossfit dude.  He and his wife participate in Crossfit regularly, and he has dreams of making it to the major competitions that make it onto TV.  He regularly posts memes that show two 80+ adults, one in a wheelchair and one muscle bound, insisting that the only difference between them is that one exercised.  Well he used to.  If he still does he does it so that I can’t see them, apparently he got tired of arguing with me over whether that muscle bound 80-something woman is actually “average”.  It was all I could do to not specifically wave this study in his face.  Nor did it surprise me.

Hillary is not the first.  Though certinally if she wins she can claim that.  On the subject of politics, I expect NY state to go to Hillary thanks to NYC and the capital area.  If Upstate NY was a separate voting group I’d expect it to go to Trump, as the number of Trump signs and flags has grown exponentially in the last several weeks.

Speaking of politics and Trump, another article looking at why Trump is so popular.

In my new life, as an uncomfortable member of what folks back home pejoratively call the elite, my friends blame racism for this perception of the president. There is, undoubtedly, some truth to that theory. But most of the people I know dislike Obama for reasons that have nothing to do with skin color. They think of him as an alien because, compared to them, he is.

Regardless of what I think of Trump (and my thoughts are pretty darn negative on the subject), I do have to agree that I get really sick of the “you hate Obama cause of his skin color!” memes that go around.  Cause yah, his skin color’s got nothing to do with it, other than the fact that I get really tired of having it waved in my face!  I didn’t not vote for Obama cause of his skin color any more than I’m not going to vote for Hillary cause of her genitals!

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Coyote

Posted August 1, 2016 By Ruth

Husband commented that he’d not heard all that many coyotes this year, and I have to admit that neither have I.  Usually we hear them several nights a week by summer time.  Certainly we’ve had a bunny population explosion this year.  Not sure if someone did a big hunt, or if the pack has just moved around for some reason.

Although I’ve been seeing one on the trail cameras occasionally, I’m pretty sure it’s only one, and it appears to be a youngster.  I caught a daylight look at him not to long ago, apparently hunting bunnies in my neighbor’s back yard.  Pretty sure he’s (or she, can’t tell from a distance) not mature, got a skinny gangly look to him, like you see in not yet mature dogs.  Course, I didn’t have my camera on me at the time, dammit.

 

I’m thinking this is the cantaloupe thief, as I got a very blurry shot of a coyote checking out the garden the night after someone stole the cantaloupe, and, other than the bunnies munching around the edges, nothing else has even approached the garden.

A note for everyone who says that “Well, I have a big dog, so X wildlife don’t come into my yard!”.  I got news for you.  Chances are good Apollo is quite a bit bigger than your dog, AND he’s an intact male.  And he pees all around the yard, and around the garden in particular.  We actually encourage him to pee around (around, not IN) the garden in hopes of driving off some of the munchers.  Not only has it not appeared to make any difference in the quantity of wildlife we see, he and a couple foxes ended up in a “My Tree! Peeing Contest” last winter!

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Hemopet

Posted July 30, 2016 By Ruth

I know.  Those of you who aren’t dog owners are probably going “WTF is Hemopet???”  Heck, an awful lot of dog owners are probably doing the same thing.

Hemopet is a multifunction non-profit:

They run one of the largest canine bloodbanks in the country, filling 40% of the nationwide need for canine blood for transfusions.  Yes, dogs need transfusions.  Not only because of injury, but because of surgeries, or medical problems.  If you’ve ever had a dog require major surgery, eat rat poison, be diagnosed with parvo, be diagnosed with IMHA, or any one of bunch of other issues, its very very likely your dog has received a blood transfusion, and there’s a 40% chance that blood came from Hemopet.

They provide a select list of blood testing, including one of the best thyroid labs you can have your dog’s bloodwork sent to.

They have run a variety of studies in vaccine efficacy, most recently proving that small dogs only need about half a dose of the standard vaccine package, reducing the load on the immune system for tiny dogs.  They are also helping with a study to look at the efficiency of the rabies vaccine, to prove that (like the other core vaccines) the rabies vaccine lasts far longer than the 3yrs that the laws allows for.  Hoping to reduce the number of dogs put down for rabies exposure just because their rabies vaccine had “expired”.

Unfortunately they’re in trouble.  The state of CA audited them, and decided that they owe sales taxes, despite their status as a non-profit.  A state Senate bill was created to ensure that non-profit canine blood banks were added to the list of not needing to pay taxes, and the Assembly modified it to state that they still owe BACK taxes, which would still require Hemopet to pay approx $81,000.  Since they came in -$90,000 in 2015 anyway, $81,000 is more than can be come up with.  Being forced to pay it would result in the shut down of Hemopet.

The country would lose 40% of its canine blood supply.  Us owners would lose one of the best places to have a variety of bloodwork done.  Not to mention the research they’ve been working on.

If you live in CA please go to the link above, follow the links, and send a letter to the committee that currently has control of the bill that controls Hemopet’s fate.

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Dammit

Posted July 27, 2016 By Ruth

The one plant in the garden that the wild critters REALLY want to munch on this year has been my cantaloupe vines.

As soon as the vines inch past the line of repellent the ends are chomped off.  Nothing else has been chewed on this way, just the cantaloupe.  I’ve managed to keep the damage at a minimum by religiously spraying the new growth once a week or so, but if I forget……

Apparently the first cantaloupe melon ripened late yesterday, or possibly even overnight.  Its my one gripe about this variety, it’ll go from GREEN to RIPE in less than 24hrs.

And apparently the scent of the ripe fruit was to much to resist for whoever was keeping such a close eye on the cantaloupe for me:

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Though I grow a small variety, the fruit isn’t THAT small.  I can’t see a rabbit carrying it 10 feet the way it was.  I suspect deer.  Maybe I’ll move a trail camera over to watch the garden……

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Garden update

Posted July 25, 2016 By Ruth

The garden is coming along nicely for the most part.

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The first White Cherry Tomatoes

 

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The first of the Blue Berries Tomatoes

 

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More cucumbers, two Black Icicle tomatoes and a Buena Mulata pepper

The various melons are ripening.  I did staggered plantings of the watermelons and cantaloupe this year in an attempt to keep from being overwhelmed with fruit all at once.  We’ll see how that actually works.

Anyone know anything about the Golden Crispy Melon?  I got a packet of freebie seeds, and went ahead and planted them, but I can’t find alot of info on them, including how to tell when they’re ripe!

Something appears to be killing off my carrots.

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Not sure if its a watering issue or what.  I guess I’ll go pick some carrots and see what I’ve got.

Overall though the garden is doing quite well!

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In other news, I sold this Saturday at work:

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I can’t decide if I ought to praise the guy for planning ahead.  Or if I ought to be pissed at him for reminding me winter is coming!

Anyone know what this flower is?

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It looks REALLY familiar, like I ought to recognize it.  But nothing’s jumping at me.

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If you’re a dog lover, or a Pokemon Go player, on Facebook you’ve probably seen (or had someone mention to you) this post:

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A quick search and it was quickly proved to be false.  Snopes link.

Apparently there IS a shelter, who is attempting to get people who are playing Pokemon Go to walk their dogs.  Very cool concept.  It gets dogs out of the shelter for a bit, gets them exercise, and gets them out in public.

However they aren’t RENTING the dogs out.  They haven’t made a fortune on the scheme.  They haven’t sold off all their dogs.

Folks, Google (or the search engine of your choice) is your friend when it comes to this sort of thing.  Before you share that too good to be true post do a quick search and make sure its not fake…..k?

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Neighbors

Posted July 20, 2016 By Ruth

We’ve not gotten to know most of our neighbors well.  We have non-standard schedules, especially in comparison to most of our neighbors who work more traditional 9-5 type schedules.  Plus we’re both introverts.  Add in the large lot size that means that actually interacting with someone means going out of your way, and we mostly know our neighbors well enough to wave at, and thats about it.

The one exception is the couple in the property on our north side.  Older than my parents (I never asked ages, but they both retired a couple years after we bought the house, and I’m pretty sure they were past retirement age at that point and had been working part time to keep busy), but when we moved in, back in 2010, I’d have not called them elderly.  That has changed unfortunately.  One has had both knees replaced, the other both hips.  He’s had heart problems, and back problems, and kidney problems.  This summer their daughter has been doing most of the yard work for them, and roundly telling off her dad when she catches him doing something to strenuous.  Neither moves very well any more.

Sunday their house was quiet.  Not unusual, they have a trailer at a camp a few hours away and frequently go there for weekends, and the occasional weeks.

Monday it was still quiet, I wasn’t overly worried, though she usually lets me know when they’re going to be gone for a longer period so we can keep an eye on the house for them.

But Tuesday the driveway was full of cars, all day.

The kids’ cars.  All three of them.

Though all three kids, and families, are by frequently, having more than one on a weekday is unusual.  Combined with the oddly quiet house the day before I started to worry.  I hadn’t seen an ambulance, but that could just mean they hadn’t used sirens……

Tuesday evening she called me.

Saturday evening he’d been admitted to the hospital, for fluid in his lungs and kidney shut down, plus some additional symptoms.

Monday he’d had a massive stroke that basically destroyed his brain.

The funeral is Friday.

 

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Garden Update

Posted July 19, 2016 By Ruth

Blue Berries tomatoes are ripening

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Black Icicles are getting there too, plus the tallest one just topped the 7foot tall cages:

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There’s at least two more that’ll definitely make the 7foot mark, and a couple more that may or may not.

 

Sugar Baby Watermelon:

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Cantaloupe:

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Melon Pear fruit:

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Note-I didn’t realize till it was to late, but quite a few places recommend caging these plants, like tomatoes, and for much the same reason.  The weight of the fruit flattens the plants out.  Something to keep in mind if we decide to grow them again.

 

Paprika peppers:

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I’ve pulled two zucchini out of the garden, and made a batch of zucchini bread, just cause.

Oh, and this is Friday’s cucumber harvest:

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JUST Friday’s harvest.  Of course I’ve had at least a few almost every day for the last week-plus, which I’ve mostly been eating, cause these are seriously good eating cukes.  So I made two quarts of refrigerator pickles.  Which used up less than half of Friday’s harvest.  Gave away 8 or so to a friend.  Harvested another pile at least that big on Sunday.  Gave away another handful to a neighbor.  Gave away the whole pile to a former co-worker who planned to do a serious batch of pickles.  And between yesterday and today (Tuesday) I refilled the strainer with cucumbers.  I think my cucumber plants are happy.  Time to play around with a wider variety of pickles I think.

 

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