Tuesday, June 26, 2018

Under the Weather

 We've had a deluge almost daily for about a week, thankfully, and during yesterday's thunder and lightening we lost a huge limb. Thankfully, again, it hit nothing and fell in just the right spot in the empty-ish back yard. Hurray!!! I haven't yet found which tree it came from. I guess now we'll have to agree with Nick that we need a fire pit, as there are many more branches littering the yard beside this big guy.

 The rain has been heaven sent for the gardens and I am so thrilled at the growth and blooming. 

The zinnias that I planted from seed are opening and full of buds, and even doing well in the semi-shade. But alas, all is not well with the one of the clematis. It is a goner I am afraid, but I have another waiting in a pot to take over that spot. This dying business has happened to several plants, right next to ones that are growing just fine. I have no idea what is going on.

The peppers are doing GREAT and are all bearing fruit. They are in the hottest bed with sun that reaches them first.
 The other end of the pepper bed are sweet potatoes and just sprouting beets with four o'clock flowers filling in where the potatoes were supposed to be growing. Nothing happened with those tubers, but I imagine the sweet potatoes will fill in the empty spot. I am putting beets all over the garden, and seeing where they do best. Love fresh beets.

 And no surprise, the zucchini, yellow squash and cucumbers are already gigantic.
 The tomatoes are also doing great, not getting out of hand and fruiting nicely. One died (???) so I got two more to replace that one, a Solar Fire and this tiny cherry variety which was miss-labeled, so I am guessing it is Tiny Tim. It is loaded with little berry sized tomatoes.

 The next bed has been a bit of a struggle getting started. Green bean seeds just didn't want to sprout, or were stolen by chipmunks. So I presprouted a second batch indoors and got them in the ground with a full root started. They came up almost overnight. And then the others did too. So I have various stages of green beans in this bed, along with red kuri squash and watermelon vines.

 The last bed has cantaloupe, pumpkins, and butternut squash and was to have potatoes, but only one sprouted. Dang. I had a baking potato in the house sprout an eye, so I am chitting it and will get it in the dirt this week. All that space with nothing growing in it. Grrr.

 One cool morning last week we decided to fence in the front yard, for the sake of the dogs, who have no grass to play in. During the winter I ordered this arbor and it has a gate, so that is the start of the fence idea, which to save our marriage we will have Nick install.

I am most happy with these Cheyenne Spirit coneflowers. They just keep on blooming and are orange, red, and yellow turning to cream. I already have pink and white in the garden and next season I will transplant them together for a fabu display.
The first year of a garden is pretty much an experiment, learning what works where. Next year I will have an earlier start and I imagine that some veggies will be put in the patio garden and some flowers in the veggie beds where the shade is now more obvious. A cut flower bed might happen. I am so impressed with the zinnia variety I planted, a cut and come again mix, with several branching stems on each plant. Imagine a big bed of those!
Image result for zinnia cut and come again

Friday, June 15, 2018

Tabbed Slippers

 My church group, the Knitwits make lots of knitted and crocheted items for charity, and all the while I have been attending, I didn't find a project I could really settle on and make repeatedly until now. Bed slippers, for those who aren't ambulatory, are in hospice or whatever, have become my project. Looking at lots of patterns, I wanted something fast, simple and mindless, since I am always busy gabbing at our meetings and can't pay attention to written patterns. And I wanted no sewing and just a few stitches to cast on. Of course I couldn't find anything that met that criteria so I made up a pattern.

 Tabbed Slippers
light worsted or dk weight yarn
size 6 needles (double pointed)
one size adjustable

cast on 6 stitches and knit in garter st for 34 rows or 17 ridges
bind off but do not break yarn.
With dpns, Pick up stitches along the sides and bottom of the tab, forty stitches.
knit in garter for twelve ridges and then join on 4 dpns to knit in the round. Knit for about two inches and then begin decreases for the toe. I like to put (20) half the stitches on one needle and ten each on two more needles.
To decrease, starting on front right K1, ssk, knit to within 3 sts of end of row, k2tog, k1. Repeat on the back side of the toe stitches.
Round 2, K.
Round 3 Repeat decreasing. When 8 stitches remain, cut yarn leaving a long end to join live stitches, pull tight and bury end.

Could that be easier? Where I say about two inches, this is where the foot length can be increased. I have size 7 feet and these slippers are quite stretchy so the finished slipper looks short, but it fits just right.

The size is pretty variable, so for heavens sake, try them on! Gauge isn't as important but stretchiness of the yarn is. I am using merino superwash yarns, here, and they have lots of bounce. The whole slipper takes but 2 hours, so if they are too big, or too small, it becomes evident early on and its is simple to make adjustments. Be brave and knit on!

Wednesday, June 13, 2018

Strawberry Daiquiri Icebox Cake

 I saw this fast and easy version of my fave Tira Misu on Pinterest. Cappucino Ice Box Cake

 I made it and it was so yummy and fast, compared to actually making a real Tira Misu. It got me thinking, what other versions of this no bake layered dessert would be yummy and fun to make. I discussed this with famed foodie, my sister Brooke, and we immediately went for Key Lime pie. Ooooh! But when I got to the Walmart Neighborhood Market, I spied strawberry daiquiri drink in the freezer section and since it is strawberry time, it made the cut for my first experiment. The ingredients: Strawberries, cookies (macaroon) daiquiri mix, light Greek Yoghurt, and whipped topping. Here's the deal...

Two cups of topping and two cups of yoghurt mixed (folded in lightly) with about 4 ounces of the defrosted daiquiri mix 

In an 8 inch square baking dish, dip the cookies in the daiquiri mix for the bottom layer.

Top with a layer of sliced berries 
Then spread the whipped mixture on the berries and repeat with more dipped cookies. The second layer fits better without breaking the cookies. Top again with strawberries and the second layer of topping.

 For a finish, I crunched up more cookies and sprinkled them on top, with a garnish of sliced strawberry. Easy peasy and now to wait for four hours for all the flavors to meld. I tasted the whipped combo and it was tangy and super sweet, so I am hoping the tart strawberries will balance out the sweet. Can't wait to try it!!

Friday, June 8, 2018

God's Garden

I am happy to say that the veggie beds are in and planted! I got started about 7am and finished by 9:30. I took my time and enjoyed the planting, in the gloriously rich mushroom compost. So warm and obviously fertile. You know I loves me some good dirt. The beds are 15 feet long by 4 feet wide. Just perfect for all that I planned on growing. They are in the shade early morning but then have the full sun for the rest of the day and well into evening. They face southwest. Gonna be a hot one today but starting Monday rain is predicted for the whole week. Excellent!

 Bed number one has peppers, Beauregard sweet potatoes (first time I am growing them) and golden russet potatoes. Peppers include Coolapeno, Mammoth Jalapeno, Poblano, Giant Marconi, and Big Bertha Bell.  Way more than we can eat, so I do plan to share. I have lots of friends who eat veggies.

 Bed number two has tomatoes, cucumbers and squash. Even tho my tomatoes are all determinate and won't get too tall, I decided to stake them anyway in case. Varieties include Debut, Bush Goliath, Celebrity, Husky Cherry, and one more which I forget...   Update: Red Pride is the one I forgot.
 Bed Three has lots of green bean seeds planted and one hill of ice box Sugar Baby watermelon. And Bed Four has seeds of pumpkin, butternut squash, beets and Gold potatoes, with cantaloupe at the top end. 
When I bought my plants initially they were in small pots and I replanted them into larger pots with good soil while I waited for the garden to be constructed. As I unpotted them today I was happy to see the roots had filled the new pots and were quite happy to be growing. Some tomatoes already have fruited.
 Mulch is added around all the plants and Nick is going to make a drip irrigation system for me in the coming weeks. This is my dream garden and my plan is to keep at it until they cart me away.

Wednesday, June 6, 2018

Pondette 2.0

 The big new galvanized tub arrived yesterday and I got it filled in minutes. I chose a spot that is in the shade in the afternoon but gets a lot of morning sun. And I have decided that it is more of a water garden than a fish pond, as we are down to only one little goldfish.
 The orange canna has begun blooming and now I am on the lookout for more water plants. 
On order is a water iris, Chance Beauty.Chance Beauty Iris  and I think I will add some colocasia 9GreenBox - Jack's Giant Colocasia - 4'' Potand some papyrus if I can find them.Image result for papyrus plant
But the really big news is that Nick the landscaper has returned and is building my veggie beds, at last. Not his fault as we had a huge week of rain.  I will have four 15 foot beds, in a staggered pattern. Concrete block of course, 2 courses high. He promises wonderful lush compost to fill them. The brick will be delivered today.

 Most of the wood chips have been spread, but we still have a small pile for walkways between the veggie beds. Still to come are the trees to define the garden design. We'll have Green Giant arborvitae to screen between the two gardens and provide a bit more shade and privacy. It's all coming along nicely. Image result for green giant arborvitae