Sunday, July 27, 2014

Arbor on the deck?

I have been wanting an arbor for a while now.  I just figured I would run across one that was in my price range sooner or later.  One of those things that I didn't really need, but they are so cool... especially when you find a prolific climber to plant at its base.  I did not know where I wanted to put it, but I knew I would find the right place if I found an arbor.  Well my arbor became a reality the other day... in the most unexpected place... JoAnn's.  It was in the clearance aisle and nearly 90% off the original price... couldn't pass it by.

We talked about where I would put it on the way home.  I was trying to come up with a good layout, something with the right sun exposure, but Ron made the suggestion of putting it on the deck.  I have learned not to toss out ideas Ron comes up with too quickly... at least not before I have weighed the pros and cons.  Late the same afternoon we opened the box and put it together on the deck... just to test that possibility.

I really was surprised how much I liked its ambiance.  It is like saying, "step down into my garden". Next morning I was at the nursery buying tomato plants and I asked about something that might survive in a planter on the deck... this time of year.  She showed me this "chocolate vine" that already had many vining branches.  I'm really liking what we created.

A few days ago I got thinking it was time to get my garden ready for Fall planting... especially tomatoes and peppers.  At the nursery they didn't have any pepper plants that I wanted, but I bought a Solar Fire Tomato and a Valley Girl.  Two tomato plants are plenty for us... Ron does not like tomatoes.  I also bought a couple Juliets... that smaller Roma shaped tomato that is so prolific.  I'm trying a new technique that I saw in my online garden research.  I may describe it in more detail a little further down the road once I know how good the idea is... but this is what it looks like now.  The white bucket has the Solar Fire and the Valley Girl on opposite sides.  The black bucket has the Juliets.

Check out the watermelons flowing out over their bed in the background.  I planted those fairly late, but that was one that was supposed to be able to withstand the heat.  Lots of blossoms and starting to see little baby watermelons. 

Looking forward to harvesting my sweet potatoes.  The rows of vines look very impressive... but then my white potato plants looked impressive, and I only got 1/2 bucket of potatoes.  I've got okra that I don't even know how to cook, but those plants are almost shoulder high.

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Wow... it's Wednesday

It is sometimes hard to remember what day it is when you don't go to work and have a need to stay on schedule.  That is not to be confused with having nothing to do.  I have a schedule, but it has nothing to do with an employer. Sunday is the Lord's day... we're at church morning and evening.  I am back at church on Monday morning for quilting.  Tuesday we go to breakfast with a great bunch of friends from church... the ladies have their table and the gents have their round table.  Wednesday we are back to church for evening activities... sometimes a class and sometimes a prayer meeting.  Every other Thursday we have quilting group that currently is meeting at my house.  Friday Ron and I go into San Antonio for whatever we happen to feel like doing.  Often times we stop at JoAnn's and almost always we stop at Sam's.  We end our outing with lunch somewhere special... sometimes special is just Chick-Fil-A.  So Saturday is a pretty open day.  Yes, I think we are on a schedule.

This past weekend we went on an adventure to East Texas.  It took 6 hours to get there, so we decided it was not a one day trip.

We have a camper that just sits in the driveway, so it was decided that this would be a good opportunity to take it for a new experience.  We bought the camper to have an extra room for company.  The camper has been used a few times for that purpose, but we had not taken it on a camping trip... prior to this weekend.

The Texas State Railroad runs between Rusk and Palestine Texas.  There is a campground with full hook-ups at the Rusk end... just on the other side of the parking lot from the depot.  This is the tail end of our camper to show how close it was to the railroad tracks.

We met some interesting people and the train ride was very nice.  Not so much scenery to wow the ride, but the ambiance of the train was good. Most of the ride was through wooded areas.  We did see an old train turntable though.  I had someone ask me to check the train ride out for access in regards to her Mom with a walker.  The train itself has been updated and is very nice, but we were in the Lone Star car which was way up front... and we entered several cars back.  Unless they were to provide a handicap entry, I'm not sure it would be good for someone who did not want to walk that far... the cars way back were not air conditioned. 

It was a nice adventure, and I don't have anything really bad to add... but we have been there, done that... you know how that goes. If it was within a couple hours, it might be a train ride I could take visitors to, but it would not be worth the 6 hour ride to get there... and the 6 hours back of course.

Have a great day.

Monday, July 21, 2014

It's about time...

With so much time since my last post, it is hard to know where to begin with a new post.  I have done some quilting, both for myself and for several others, but most of my focus has been on gardening.  My enclosed garden now has 9 raised beds, and most of those raised beds have shade cloth over them.  There is still my first raised bed on the other side of the back yard, but that is another story.  My tomatoes were good producers for a while, especially my Juliets.  Juliet tomatoes are kind of a mini Roma tomato. The Tycoon tomatoes have not been as productive as the Juliets, but both were good choices for my raised beds.
Back in December I put several asparagus plants (crowns) directly in the ground.  They were slow to come up, but little by little they appeared until I think I had about 12 plants.  Among other challenges I have had, moles/voles/gophers... one or all have been a problem with tunneling and causing havoc in my root crops.  My potatoes were a bust.  I made my potato box and put some red potatoes in there, then I planted two 20 foot rows of white potatoes.  I planted them at the end of February like I was supposed to.  When it came time to dig them, I did not even have 1/2 bucket.  I think I might have planted more than I reaped.  I did find many tunnels as I was digging.  I thought the potatoes were going to be OK... The plants looked real good, but I think the moles did alot of damage.  The potato box was a complete waste of time.

It is not uncommon to find tunnels all over my backyard... the telltale raised trails.  I very much would like to have my asparagus be one of my victories in the garden.  I don't think I realized back in December the potential problem of the moles/gophers when I put my asparagus crowns directly in the ground... All of my raised beds have hardware cloth on the bottom to keep critters out.  A few weeks ago when I was at a nursery, I asked if it would be possible to move an asparagus bed.  With it being a new bed, their advice was to do it right now, if I was going to do it at all, so I had Ron build me another raised bed to move my asparagus into.  It has been a few weeks already and they appear to be adjusting well.

Enough about gardening for the moment.  I have acquired a few beads over time.  Every now and then I sit down and try to create something special.  I put the finishing touches on this creation today at quilting.  Closures have never been something I liked doing.  One of my quilting buddies just happens to be an artist in beads. I had her show me how the real beaders finish their necklaces.  I didn't have all the right tools, but we made do with what I had... and now I know what I will need to buy for additional tools and findings.  I think this one might get worn more than once or twice.  I really like the colors.