I get a few days in a row off….

Posted September 20, 2018 By Ruth

I get a few days in a row off work, and figure I can catch up on everything, and life tries to throw me a curve ball again.

But hey, I didn’t break anything this time!

Sunday morning I bumped my left big toe on something, and it hurt way more than it should have.  I mean sure, stubbing your toe hurts like hell, but I hadn’t stubbed it, I’d just bumped the outside edge of it.  Kick off the crocs I wear for slopping around the house and look at my toe, and there’s a big mess of puss and ooze over half of my toenail.  EEWWWWW.

Go clean off my toe, can’t find where it came from, trim back my toenail a bit, and a push on the outside of the toe (right where I bumped it) produces more ooze.  Yuck.  Soak both feet in a hot water and epsom salt bath for ~10 minutes, dry them off, and pack the spot with neosporin.

And try to figure out how the hell I managed this one.  Only other time I’ve seen an infection like this was when I was 16 and I got a badly infected ingrown toenail on the big toe of my other foot.  They ended up having to remove part of that toenail to deal with it.  But this time I don’t have an ingrown toenail.  And it didn’t hurt at all till I bumped it.  And it stopped hurting as long as I wasn’t poking at it.

Went to work as usual Monday, but by the time I got home the toe was sore, a visual check showed that it wasn’t getting any better.  Yay.  Get an appointment to see the doctor Tuesday.  Not my regular doc, but at least it wasn’t urgent care.  I don’t have to work again till Saturday, which sucks paycheck wise, but means that I can mostly keep off my feet.  Doc looks at it, says “hey, ingrown toenail!”  And I say “well that’s what it looks like but its not ingrown!”.  He prescribed me an antibiotic and gives me a referral to a podiatrist.  Yay.

Wasn’t till I was at the pharmacy picking it up that the name of the antibiotic rang a bell.  It’s the same one that made me puke back in January.  But hey, that reaction was probably the result of the surgery…..right?

Yah.  Not so much.  Wednesday morning I was calling the doctor’s office back to inform them that Keflex and I don’t get along and if they want me to continue taking it they’re going to have to give me an anti-nausea med.  Which they did.  Spent Wednesday half nauseous half grumpy about the taste the anti-nausea meds leave in my mouth, and hurting from a sore neck from somehow sleeping wrong.  Grump.

Spent today making bread and still feeling grumpy.  The anti-nausea meds make it possible to keep things down, but my stomach still isn’t thrilled with life.  And the anti-nausea meds still leave a nasty taste in my mouth.  And the podiatrist doesn’t have an opening till the end of Oct.  Depending on what happens after my week on antibiotics I might see if they can find me another podiatrist who can get me in sooner.  Yay.

Dear Life, I guess you didn’t hear me when I told you I was done with this whole doctor thing.  Seriously, I’m DONE with the whole DOCTOR THING!

Garden update, and notes to self

Posted September 6, 2018 By Ruth

Thats one day’s harvest, over this past week.  Admittedly I’d not managed to get out to the garden in a couple days, but still.

Notes to self

Tomatoes.

I keep trying other varieties of tomatoes.  I need to just stop that and stick to my Black Plums and maybe the Black Icicles.    Nothing wrong with any of the other varieties I’ve tried but we keep going back to the Black Plums.

But if anyone’s looking for a good container tomato, you might try the Black Japanese Trifele Tomatoes.  1: potato leaf, very cool looking 2: they stayed much more compact than any of the other varieties so far 3: they also appear to be less affected by whatever blight or fungus or whatever it is that’s affecting the rest of the tomatoes this year.

The Bill Beans are a nice slicing tomato, but they’re so big, and take so long to ripen, that they tend to end up buggy.

Peppers.

Several of the new varieties I grew this year apparently need support.  Corbaci are falling over hard, as are the Shepherds Ramshorns.  Both paprikas are also falling hard.  The only thing keeping the cayenne’s reasonably upright is that they’re planted in one of the stock tanks.  All just from the weight of the peppers on the plants.  Meanwhile the Sugar Rush are having no issues despite the large number of peppers there.  If I grow any of these varieties next year I’ll need to remember to find a way to help support the plants.

Also, the Shepherds Ramshorns are barely producing, and the plants aren’t very big, that MIGHT be the fact that they’re behind the giant cucumber though.

Bishops Crown isn’t producing at all, though the plants look good otherwise.

Fish Peppers look ok.

Super Nova’s are iffy, plants don’t look bad, but they don’t look great, and there’s only a couple peppers there.

Datils and Peter Peppers both had a harder start, but look awesome now and have a ton of peppers on the plants.

Corbaci plants aren’t huge, but they’re covered in peppers.

The Hungarian Hot Wax peppers came back practically from dead, and now look awesome, now to see if the weather will hold on long enough for them to ripen.

Carrots suck this year, they’re all tiny.

Did I mention I was growing giant cucumbers?

Posted August 19, 2018 By Ruth

Last weekend I made dill pickle spears out of two giant cucumbers:

These two cucumbers made 6 pints of spears!

Then this week I picked these four cucumbers:

Maybe a quart of fridge pickles…..

I’ve been giving them away too, not to mention that I also grew my usual Mini White cucumbers, which I’ve also been giving away at least a few of, as well as eating.

I will probly stick to my usual Mini White cucumbers from here on out, but these are fun at least.

In other news, I made a batch of tomato sauce yesterday.  I realized that I never actually take a photo of the final sauce, and I ought to, since black tomatoes produce a much darker sauce that folks expect:

I love the flavor of these tomatoes though.

More garden

Posted August 18, 2018 By Ruth

Not an entirely happy garden year for me.  First the screwy issues with some of the peppers.  Now more of the peppers have some nasty leaf spotting, which kinda looks like bacterial leaf spot, but not quite.  And now a bunch of my tomatoes almost look like they’ve blighted.  But not quite like they’ve blighted (late blight always affects the fruit too, and the fruit are universally unaffected here).  Ugh.  Broke down and bought a copper fungicide to treat with later today.  The blights, and most similar type problems, are fungal, as are many of the bacterial leaf spot look-alikes.  Plus we went from DRY DRY DRY to WET WET WET, which makes a fungal problem even more likely.  Here’s hoping I can save the rest of the tomato crop at least.

I picked this Cayenne pepper the other day:

Or maybe that should read “peppers”??

An amusing harvest from my Sugar Rush plants:

We were given a Sugar Rush Cream pepper last year, husband liked it so I had him save several of the seeds.  I also bought Sugar Rush Cream seeds, just to be safe.  But I ended up with two plants from the saved seeds.  What you see here is one pepper from each plant.  The rounder one is fairly typical Sugar Rush Cream.  The longer one is typical Sugar Rush Peach, the variety that the Creams were bred from.  I was amused.

 

Ripening paprika peppers:

Fish peppers:

 

Unhappy tomatoes:

 

Less than happy pepper plants:

 

 

Surprisingly happy Hungarian Hot Wax peppers:

Corbaci peppers:

 

Cayenne peppers:

 

My hibiscus plants:

 

We also took down the dead pine in the front yard.  Part of me hates having done so, the birds loved it.  But it was perfectly positioned to take down the power lines to the house if it ever went over.  Infact we were shocked that it DIDN’T go over this past spring, with all the high wind storms we had!

 

In other news, I figured out how to tell when the pears are ripe…..

Garden update

Posted August 3, 2018 By Ruth

We got the first Gagon Cucumber this week:

It measured 12″ exactly, from tip to tip, and weighed 2 pounds 2 ounces.  I don’t think it’s technically quite ripe, but I was tying up the vines to give them more support and it broke off the vine.  So.  Definitely on the tough side, however it is by far the most aromatic cucumber I have ever cut into.  Husband was taking the dogs out as I cut it up, and he walked in the front door and asked what I had been cutting up “because I can smell cucumbers all the way up here!”.  I’m thinking it would make awesome infused water for anyone so inclined.

A picture of the tied up cucumber vines:

They’re basically as tall as me, and most of them have stretched back down to the ground again.

Today’s garden harvest:

the first zucchini of the year, a few Mini White Cucumbers, a nice load of tomatoes, and that big yellow thing is a less ripe Gagon cucumber.  You can’t see it in the photo, but the stem end has only JUST started to turn the pink-brown and scaly of the ripe ones.  This is just as aromatic as the first one, and is just as big, but has much more edible flesh.  It’s still a very firm crisp cucumber, but not to the point of being tough.  I’m thinking these’ll make some awesome dill pickle spears.

A few hot peppers have been dribbling in, but most of the plants are loaded, so at whatever point they hit I’m going to be buried.  The Snow leopard melons are doing well, but it’ll be a bit still before they’re ripe.

I MAY (cross fingers knock on wood) have managed to defeat, or avoid, or something, the bug that was chewing holes in the various sweet/less hot peppers previous years.  So far only one paprika pepper and two jalapenos have had to be tossed for holes.  I’m not holding my breath till I have ripe peppers in my hands, but so far so good!

Dear Spammers, Scammers, and Online Idiots

Posted July 30, 2018 By Ruth

You read the “About Me” page far enough to get the email to contact me at.  So I’m going to assume you read the part where I told you not to contact me if your sole purpose of the email is to get me to link to a post on your “blog” in an attempt to make you money.

So when you send me an email asking me to link to a post on your “blog” (cause that’s a commercial money making page and not a true blog if I ever saw one), because there’s a post on my blog that’s “similar” and to prove it you include a link to my blog that doesn’t actually link to any specific post but to a generic date grouping, I’m going to assume you’re a moron who can’t actually read and ignore you.

And when you double down on the stupid by sending me a follow up email with the line “did you see my first email” I’m going to respond with a profanity laden email that you will not appreciate pointing out your stupidity and lack of reading skills.

So just skip the whole email thing and consider this your response.

So, when planning and planting my garden I mostly try to stick to things that I know we’ll eat.  But I also believe in trying new things on occasion, and so when the seed catalogs arrive every year I sit down with a couple different color highlighters and start marking off the seeds I NEED and the seeds that look cool and the seeds I want.  And I try to pick at least one or two from the latter two categories to try every year.

For this year’s garden the one really weird thing I ended up trying was Gagon Cucumbers.  They’re cool looking!  I skimmed the description, made sure that they had at least a chance of growing well in my screwed up climate (” thrives in cool northern climates, but also stands up to intense heat and humidity” sweet!  It has a chance!), and didn’t look much closer.

I took THIS picture on 7/18:

It was maybe 5-6″ long, looking good!

Today I took a few minutes before work to walk the garden, and decided to check on the baby Gagon cucumber while I was at it…..

Holy……Its  now a good foot in length, and still not yet fully ripe.  It weighs several pounds at least.

I went back to the seed link and took a closer look at the description “up to 20” long”……ooops, and there’s several more forming on the vines!

So um, I guess I have cucumbers this year!

I also found these:

Which are my first ripe Black Vernissage Tomatoes.  I haven’t had a chance to eat one yet, maybe after work.

Something weird going on with my peppers

Posted July 19, 2018 By Ruth

So, a couple weeks ago I noticed that the Sugar Rush Cream peppers had something funky going on:

New leaves coming in  pale and twisted.  Mature leaves were fine, but some of the in between new and mature leaves were also affected at least a little.

Thinking I had another deficiency I did some research.  The only thing that appears to match is a calcium deficiency, but that makes no sense.  While I did seem to have a magnesium deficiency again this year I specifically went out of my way to treat it with a commercially purchased Calcium/Magnesium blend supplement in an attempt to avoid that sort of problem.  There are some insects that can cause curled leaves, but they tend to affect mature leaves more than new.

It was suggested to me that maybe the weather was the problem.  When I first noticed it, it was right after the first heatwave broke and all of the beds were a bit over-wet due to the thunderstorms.  But the beds dried out quickly enough, and the problem only seemed to get worse, not better.  Course, our weather has been especially screw this year.  DRY and HOT, then almost chilly and soaking wet, then back to DRY and HOT.

I bought and treated that bed with a tomato/vegetable fertilizer high in calcium.  And at least one of the plants looks less pale and twisted, though the leaves aren’t back to normal yet.  But now the problem appears to be spreading.   At least one of the cayenne plants is doing the same thing, and this morning I spotted the same signs on one of the habaneros.

All three are located in the stock tank self-wicking beds.  They ARE drained, via drilled holes in one end right at the soil line, so I don’t think they’re over wet (and yes I confirmed that they are still draining via those holes).  But the stock tanks are also the oldest part of my garden, so its possible that there’s a deficiency cropping up I guess.

I went ahead and treated the whole garden with the tomato/vegi fertilizer, since it seemed to help at least a little with the Sugar Rush peppers.

I also got ahold of the information I need to arrange soil testing for my garden.  But I was planning on holding off doing that till fall, as it requires digging into the beds at least a few inches, which would mean pulling up weed barrier and disturbing the roots of plants.  I might be regretting that decision.

Garden Pictures

Posted July 10, 2018 By Ruth

Fish Peppers.  The bi-color leaves is a feature, not a bug.


 

Black Vernissage Tomato

 

Jalapenos

 

Gagon Cucumbers

 

Mini White Cucumbers

 

Habaneros and two different kinds of paprika peppers

 

Sugar Rush Cream peppers

 

Onions, and a couple Blazing Stars that self seeded themselves into that tank

 

The Hungarian Hot Wax peppers (which, sadly enough) look much better now than they did a week ago

 

Cayenne Peppers

 

Black Trifele Tomatoes

 

Black Icicle Tomatoes

 

Datil Peppers.  Apparently they’re more sensitive to to much sun/heat (which is kinda funny, since they’re a Florida staple), and they didn’t handle the heat wave well.

So I rigged some shade for them, we’ll see how it works.

 

 

Peter Peppers.  Note, NOT named for some guy named Peter.  In this case “peter” is a euphemism.  Don’t google them on your work computer…….but it made me laugh, so I had to try growing them!

 

And there you go, a random selection of whats growing in my garden this year!

Garden update

Posted July 1, 2018 By Ruth

The Green Nutmeg melons have failed for the 2nd year in a row.  I’m not going to restart them like I tried last year.  Will have to decide next year if I want to try for a 3rd.  This time looks like an insect chewed them all to bits.

Most of the rest of the garden is doing very well.  Despite the fact that our weather has been swinging hard.  A low of 46(F) on June 26th, and a  high of 100 today (and possibly higher tomorrow!).  I thought I was going to lose the Hungarian Hot Wax peppers, but they appear to have finally picked themselves up.  Most everything else is climbing for the sky and looking awesome.

For anyone else in the north-east corner of the country: be aware that Cornell has IDed a new tomato/potato blight!

The infected tomato plants found in Onondaga County were destroyed, and vegetable pathologists at Cornell are now working to determine what fungicides will be effective in managing what appears to be an unknown or uncommon strain of late blight.

Growers can identify late blight by looking for black or brown lesions on leaves and stems of tomato and potato plants.

The disease thrives in humid, wet conditions and can spread quickly from field to field and over several miles.

 

Last week I stopped into one of the local farms to buy a quart of fresh, locally grown, perfectly ripe, strawberries (priced $5.50), only to discover that they had flats (8 quarts) on sale for $30, as a one day sale.  I came home with a flat of strawberries I wasn’t planning on!  Made regular strawberry jelly.  Made a strawberry & wine jelly.  Ate close to a quart just as is.  Canned up 14 1/2 pints of whole berries in light syrup.  And used my Instant Pot to juice out the rest of them (I froze the juice) for later making of more jelly or strawberry syrup or the like.  Then, this past Friday, I stopped in at a different farm to check on their predicted date for having sweet corn (they produce some of the best sweet corn I’ve ever had), and they also had strawberries, so I picked up another quart.  After eating close to a 1/3 of them I froze the rest in sugar in a quart jar.  So yah, we have strawberries for the year…….

Pictures of my garden today: