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:

Birds update

Posted June 17, 2018 By Ruth

The last picture I took of the Song Sparrow baby:

 

Two days later it was gone.  I didn’t think it was far enough along to fledge, but maybe it did.  Or maybe whatever predator that feasted on its siblings finally got it too.

The last picture I took of the BlueBird babies:

They fledged early by my count.  Either I was off on exactly when they hatched, or only having to feed three babies meant they were able to grow faster.  The parents don’t appear to be setting up for a 2nd clutch, so I’ll probably pull down the Sparrow Spooker this week.

While I was getting annoyed at the House Sparrows for killing the Bluebird babies I missed them attacking a Tree Swallow nest.  That box is in a harder to see location, and I didn’t realize what had happened till I caught a House Sparrow going into the box with nesting materials.  The good news: no dead bodies.  The bad news: several destroyed eggs below the box.  *sigh* I’ll have to decide where I want to setup the trap this time around…..

 

F*@#ing House Sparrows!

Posted June 4, 2018 By Ruth

Not an hour after I finished typing the last post.

Stopped to look out my back window, which faces the Bluebird house.

See the male Bluebird fly out carrying a fecal sac.

See a little brown bird fly into the house.

FUCK

Storm out and head for the Bluebird house and sure enough a female House Sparrow bursts out and away.

Opened the box and took this picture:

 

Storm back to the house, dig out the Sparrow Spooker and my drill and head back out to put it on the box.

The female House Sparrow was in the box again!!

Put up the Spooker, check the babies.  As far as I can tell they’re all breathing, but whether they’ll stay that way…..at least the one is definitely injured.

The Bluebird parents aren’t enthused by the Spooker, but after a few minutes of swooping back and forth they figured out they could still access the opening.

Cross your fingers…..

Garden and general update

Posted June 4, 2018 By Ruth

The garden is FINALLY all planted!

Now to get some straw down for mulch and water retention.

I’m growing several new varieties of things this year.  The one interesting looking one so far is the Japanese Black Trifele Tomato, which is a “potato leaf” variety.  I’d never seen a “potato leaf” tomato before!

I still need to cage up the Black Plum tomatoes.  At the end of last year I tossed all the cages into one aisle of the garden.  This year, as I started working my way around to planting I noticed that I was getting yelled at by a Song Sparrow.  Turns out there was a reason for him or her being pissy:

While the nest is nicely snugged in the wedge between two tires, it’s also in the row with all the cages.  I pulled out what I had to for the less sturdy varieties, but I’m leaving the Black Plums as long as I can, in hopes that the cages will help protect the nest a bit.  Unfortunately the Song Sparrow may be out of luck.  As of yesterday the number of babies had dwindled to 1.  Not sure whats happening to them, but I’m crossing my fingers the last baby will survive!

Speaking of birds, there are wild turkey’s ALL OVER this year.  These two wandered across my front yard the other day, to Apollo’s disgust:

The same day, while I was hurrying to an appointment, I hit a not small bird that lunged out the road side ditch as I passed.  All I saw was a flash of a not small wing over the front passenger corner of the hood, felt the thump of the bumper smacking the bird, and looked in my rear view mirror to see a cloud of feathers in the air, but no bird.  It was raining, and I was late, so I didn’t stop.  When I got where I was going I took a minute to check the front of my car, no dents, can’t a been a turkey then, if I hit a turkey it would have left one hell of a dent…..except there were feathers caught in the corner of the hood, and they sure look like turkey feathers:

At a guess the impact was glancing enough to push the bird sideways instead of into my bumper.  There was no body on the roadside when I checked on my way home, so maybe he or she even survived it!

The Bluebird babies are still there:

Last spring/summer, between being sick for a month, plus the broken arm, plus life, I never got the strawberry tire weeded.  Hell, we ate like two strawberries out of it.  So this last week I set out to get the weeds out of the tire.  Unfortunately the neglect may have done in the strawberries.  After pulling all the weeds there was barely any strawberry plants at all!  After some back and forth I spent a couple hours today digging up the remaining strawberry plants, as well as the flowers that were also planted in that tire, and planting them elsewhere in the yard.  The tire needs a refill of dirt/compost, and then I’m going to cover it with black plastic and burn out the weeds.  I’ll plant new strawberries next year.

I also did a half-assed weeding of the hosta bed:

They’re filling in nicely, can’t wait till they fill in enough to cut down on my weeding!

Anyone know what these big ferny things are:

They’re trying to take over that corner, not sure if I like that or not……

 

 

Bluebirds!

Posted May 30, 2018 By Ruth

If you remember, last year I decided I’d had enough of the House Sparrows killing the Bluebirds and Bluebird eggs.  We trapped House Sparrows all summer and through the fall till it started snowing.  When the weather started turning nice in the spring we got back out the trap and caught a few more.

It seems to have worked.

 

I think they actually hatched a couple days ago, but yesterday was the first chance I  had to actually check the nest.

They’re not out of the woods yet, my first experience with House Sparrows killing Bluebirds was in 2013 when they killed not only the several day old hatchlings, but also momma Bluebird.  But so far we’ve seen essentially no harassment by the House Sparrows.  They’re definitely around, but they aren’t competing for the nesting box.

In another month or so I’ll start trapping again, should be just about right to catch the first crop of this year’s House Sparrow babies as they venture out on their own.

Along the same lines, a few years ago we put up a Purple Martin box in an attempt to lure them into nesting in the yard as well, I’d love to see a reduction in flying insects.  Unfortunately the House Sparrows claimed it and drove away the Martins every time they showed up to check the box.  The trapping has also fixed that House Sparrow problem.  Only for us to discover another problem…….Starlings.  The Martin house we got has the half circle openings which are supposed to be Starling resistant.  And certainly up until this year I’d seen no sign of Starlings being able to go through them, though I’d seen Starlings checking it out on occasion.  But this spring, with no House Sparrows to guard the house, the Starlings descended.  And proved that those half circle openings are indeed not Starling PROOF.  I attempted to get video showing the Starlings going in and out with nesting materials, but wasn’t able to get close enough.  So we reblocked the holes with paper cups.  So the Starlings pulled the paper cups out.  So we duck taped the cups in place.  So the Starlings pulled the tape lose.  *sigh* Currently the cups are taped in place with multiple pieces of tape.  I’m hoping that in another couple weeks, when I usually start seeing Martins around, I can safely open the house back up without the Starlings trying again……

Memorial Day

Posted May 28, 2018 By Ruth

I’m off to go deal with the masses at work, for the Memorial Day sale. People complain about the commercialization of Christmas……

 

What can you see from your window?
I can’t see anything from mine
Flags on the side of the highway
And scripture on grocery store signs
Maybe eighteen was too early
Maybe thirty or forty is too
Did you get your chance to make peace with the man
Before he sent down his angels for you?

Mamas and grandmamas love you
‘Cause that’s all they know how to do
You never planned on the bombs in the sand
Or sleeping in your dress blues

Your wife said this all would be funny
When you came back home in a week
You’d turn twenty-two and we’d celebrate you
In a bar or a tent by the creek
Your baby would just about be here
Your very last tour would be up
But you won’t be back. They’re all dressing in black
Drinking sweet tea in styrofoam cups

Mamas and grandmamas love you
American boys hate to lose
You never planned on the bombs in the sand
Or sleeping in your dress blues

Now the high school gymnasium’s ready
Full of flowers and old legionnaires
Nobody showed up to protest
They just sniffle and stare
But there’s red, white, and blue in the rafters
And there’s silent old men from the corps
What did they say when they shipped you away
To give all in some God awful war?

Nobody here could forget you
You showed us what we had to lose
You never planned on the bombs in the sand
Or sleeping in your dress blues

No, no you never planned on the bombs in the sand
Or sleeping in your dress blues
You never planned on the bombs in the sand
Or sleeping in your dress blues

 

or if you prefer:

 

Lay me down in the cold cold ground
Where before many more have gone
Lay me down in the cold cold ground
Where before many more have gone When they come I will stand my ground
Stand my ground I’ll not be afraid Thoughts of home take away my fear
Sweat and blood hide my veil of tears Once a year say a prayer for me
Close your eyes and remember me Never more shall I see the sun
For I fell to a Germans gun Lay me down in the cold cold ground
Where before many more have gone
Lay me down in the cold cold ground
Where before many more have gone Where before many more have gone

In memory of Sgt. Charles Stuart MacKenzie
Seaforth Highlanders
Who along with many others gave up his life so that we can live free. We will remember them

(h/t: Knuckledraggin)