Over the Fence Chat 09/02-09/08

greenspun.com : LUSENET : Beyond the Sidewalks : One Thread

Did I get the dates right?

I won't be here next weekend (going to a kayaking symposium) so someone else please feel free to start one of these next week!

It's been raining quite a bit lately and activities have had a tendency to slow down. Still haven't received our hay yet so I need to contact our resource and see what's up. That's okay though as I haven't really got the barns ready either. ;-)

Picked an ear of corn last night and it still wasn't ready. The green beans are stalled out with tiny beans. However, I do have tomatoes ripening! Hooray.

We went to visit friends on Friday night...Mr. S. showed them how to put siding on their barns. We had a few samples of Mr. S's excellent microbrews and then thought we'd enjoy driving to town to get a pizza. The wonderful pizza restaurant was out of business (yeah, we don't get out much!) We then went to another restaurant that specializes in pizza but found out that they were out of dough! I guess the message is that we should have stayed home and made our own...

Our friends have an immaculate farm, too...flowers and vegetables in borders; an outdoor riding arena; a drylot and different paddocks for their horses; nice kennels for their dogs; a beautiful covered pavillion for entertaining. These folks are as frugal, if not more so than we are, and have done a great job with what they have. I tried hard to not let the old spectre of jealousy creep up, but it was a battle. (sigh) I came home to our weedy and somewhat beat up place and wondered how they had enough time to get all those things done. Then I decided to count my blessings and be happy with what I have! (But I sure worked outside until dark last night weeding!)

Happy Labor Day and may the fruits of your labors delight you!

-- Anonymous, September 02, 2001


Hey Everyone!

Must seem weird, Sheepish, to be getting corn on the cob before beans!! I predict that you'll be swamped with beans soon.

Labor Day weekend has gone quite well for us. We closed our auto repair garage on Fri. for a 4-day weekend. This is the BIG Blue Hill Fair weekend and everyone goes to this fair!! On Fri. we took my MIL (her first fair since my FIL died in Nov. of '00). She did very well, altho' she would talk quite often of things that she and "Dave" would do at the fairs. I think she enjoyed reminising (sp.?).

Sat. we spent most of the morning "rigging" up our new lobster traps. Received our recreational lobster license from the state. We can set up to five traps for personal use. Believe me, I have lots of "personal" use planned for the lobsters we catch:-)!!

Sun. we took our granddaughter to the fair. Can't keep her out of the livestock area!! She and her family just got back from "Six Flags over New England" and she said she liked the local fair better!! We have a total of 26 Agricultural fairs in Maine during the summer months. Sure wish we could get to all of them!! Tomorrow DH and I get to go all by ourselves...finally!!! Is it just me or does anyone else get the "urge" to bathe and clip livestock when they get home from the fairs??

After helping my MIL get through the loss of her husband last Nov. I'd hoped that we could relax somewhat, but my own mother fell last Thurs. while grocery shopping and broke her hip. She had to have several pins put in her hip and physically she should be fine...after several weeks of therapy. But physicologically she's really depressed. She's only 73 yrs. old, but many folks I've known have gone downhill after a broken hip. Plus she lives way down south in North Carolina so I can't visit her....well there goes my phone bill!!!!

FINALLY got some much needed rain here in my part of Maine. Should help the Brussels sprouts and some late broccoli.

Hope all of you have a good and productive week!!!!

-- Anonymous, September 02, 2001

Just got back from another wonderful weekend at the camp in Vermont. I could stay there indefinately with no problem. We did some work around there; cleaned off the roof and put mulch down on the path but mostly just enjoyed the peace and quiet. It got chilly Saturday night so we started a fire in the tiny little stove in the living room. Don't you just love the smell of woodsmoke?

The garden is coming in fast and furious so I'm trying to keep up. Grandson's watermelons are the size of bowling balls and ornamental gourds are taking over. Why did I plant those things????

Getting set to do tomatoes today. Love the look of those red jeweled jars sitting in the pantry just waiting for winter.

Hope everyone enjoyed the long weekend.

Wishing you enough.

-- Anonymous, September 04, 2001

Ten more days! I can do it....I can make it....I can handle anything for just ten more days....

I've got 18 whole glorious wonderful vacation days - I'm talking 24 hour loooong days coming up in - you guessed it! - just ten more days! I've been sneaking out of work the back way to avoid the scheduling office; and I've been threatening my family with death and destruction if they don't check the caller ID before they answer the phone the past couple of weeks - overtime avoidance - it seems to be working, I actually had three days in a row off last week. Didn't quite know what to do with myself!!

Got off work yesterday am and went by and picked up my new spectacles - first ever pair of bi-focals. Am I really walking funny, or does it just seem like it!? Got upstairs just fine in my wedge heeled sling back shoes, but goin' back downstairs was another thing altogether! Finally gave up and kicked off my shoes, grabbed the rail, closed my eyes and hoped I'd hit bottom standing upright! Really looking forward to driving in these suckers! (That would be Rt 16 and Rt 316 between Windsor and Mattoon/Charleston between 6 and 7 pm and 7 and 8 am; for those of you who would like to avoid me!) My new sunglases are single vision, so humanity is safe while the sun is shining!

Got some tomatoes canned last week; the garden is about done as I didn't plant a fall garden this year. Yet. I may put out some spinach and chard for salads; and I have a stock panel and plastic ready to go over a couple of tomato plants. Still working on my perennial flower beds - Pop threw himself in front of the cleome and begged for clemency, so it's still stinking away in there. Well, okay - really he said "What are you, nuts!? Ya finally got a dang flower to grow and now you want to yank it out?! Grumble, grumble, lets a bleep-blapping cockleburr grow in there cause she thinks it's a flower, mutter, mutter, dang crazy woman anyhow, mutter, grumble..."

I'm planning to run over to KY and visit with Sharon the first week of my vacation - she has a list of everything we didn't get to do the last time I was there! I'm planning to take along lots of pictures of this place and my ruler and graph paper so we can enjoy some lazy time sitting on the porch planning garden - she has the most beautiful perennial beds surrounding her home. I swear, I'd move to KY just for those big flat rocks to build beds, walls and pathways with! Lookin' forward to sitting with my coffee early morning, on the porch steps in the sun and getting me some big Bubba smooches - that's the dog, BTW!

Billie Creek Village in Rockville, IN is having a fiber arts festival - quilts, spinning, weaving, etc...on the 15th and 16th; so I am planning on going there my first day of vacation (15th) and then on into Sharon's on the 16th. When I get back from KY, Hubby and I are going to head West, down old Rt. 66 for the second week of vacation. I have to be home each Friday night for football games, so we can't go too far. In the six years we have been together, we have never gone anywhere away from home even overnight before; plus our work/home schedules are so different that six days of enforced togetherness might be enough!

Well, I need to get off here and go out and see if there are tomatoes that need canned. A lady recently sent me an e-mail from a spagetti sauce question I asked on CS over a year ago; and we have been corresponding a little; she just sent me a recipe for home canned tomato soup that I would like to try. I mixed up some cookies last night and need to get them baked and sent off to Ryan and I need to get to work on some uniform dresses I am sewing for a lady at work. Day off - snort! - what's a day off!?

Hugs to you all, hope you have a productive week - or a lazy one, if that's what you wish!

-- Anonymous, September 04, 2001

Hello everyone! We had a busy weekend. My daughter, Maranda went with a friend camping and was gone till Monday. The rest of us, Michael, I and Justin hauled pig food, mowed and worked around the place. Michael had to work Sat. night so Justin and I went to pizza hut and had a mother/son night. That was after he picked up and threw over to the pigs big piles of grass that Michael had yard swept up, and I unloaded a truck bed full of meal and pellets. We had a nice time. Maranda came home monday with cuts on the bottom of her feet from the river. She had basketball practice today and now is doctoring them again. My nephew, Curtis is such a joy each day. He is learning so much and it's nice to have a little one around most of the time. I got a call today from a lady who may be getting a teachers aide position and she watches a 2 year old and 9 month old. She wanted to know if I would be interested in watching them. Curtis needs others his age around and I think it would be good for him. Michael also undertook a project of helping my brother put in a new water heater. They switched from an electric one to a gas one and that was an all day , all night project. He is working today his day off. They also called for him yesterday. They just won't leave Polly and Michael alone. All is well with the animals. We may be expecting boxer puppies in 60 days or so. I too hope that everyone had a good weekend. Phyllis

-- Anonymous, September 04, 2001

As mentioned a million times, I have been anticipating my hay delivery. Some of you know that there has been a big drought out here which has impacted hay growers. Some folks took a gov't buy-out and stopped producing after the first cutting, etc. At any rate, there is supposed to be a shortage of hay. With that in mind, I made my selection of suppliers and my choice of hay. Yikes! Didn't want to get left out!

I called yesterday to see why they hadn't called me back to set up my delivery. After all, I had given them driving directions, etc. My last conversation with the guy who owns the company was that he was to call me with 24 hours notice (or more) and let me know when he could bring the hay. Done deal. I told him that since my husband was out of town for that week, to set it up for the following week (which was *last* week.)

At any rate, I called yesterday and spoke to his wife. They sold out of the hay that I bought! She said that they didn't set up any delivery because they didn't have my Visa number! Hey, do you think they might have mentioned that it was required first!!!!! I was furious!!!!! Last year they delivered and I paid them with a *check*! And no deposit. PLUS they had me down for wanting to buy a special blend at $204/ton!!! NOT WHAT I ORDERED.

Today I'm going in to town and pay $194/ton (hostage prices) plus delivery from somebody else. Did I mention how MAD I am??? Good thing I'm working again. SHEEEEEEESH! I'm ready to call the BBB.

-- Anonymous, September 05, 2001

I feel for you sheepish, I wish I could send some of the hay around here to you. I see if laying everywhere in fields. Big round bales and some small square ones. We have been fortunate to have had rain all summer and now it's not raining so much, and we could use some. I hope it all works out for you. Michael went in at 3 yesterday and worked until 7 this morning and then had to stay for a meeting. He was just beat when he got home. There was a news report this morning that the state police had found a Meth Lab in the southern remote part of our little town. I live in the Northern remote part of town. How scary, although I wonder about my neighbor down the road sometimes. They made no arrests thought. They need to catch those people for sure. Maranda's feet are better and she seems to be doing fine in basketball practice. She starts piano lessons on Sunday. Our 4-H group is having a rummage sale this saturday and my son is having a friend to stay friday night. Michael and I are suppose to go check out a festival in a nearby town and then a friend is coming by for some rabbits sunday afternoon. A busy weekend on the way. Phyllis

-- Anonymous, September 06, 2001

My first year garden experiment is drawing to an end. My garden has been a failure in so many ways. None of my tomatoes have done WELL -- lots of cracking, some blossom end rot, now something is eating the ripe ones (chipmunks I bet!). Nevertheless, I planted so many that I'm getting quite a lot of tomato "product". I've had to cut out the bad parts, and none of them have been of a flavor to make good slicers (not to mention not in good enough condition to make nice looking slices). So I've got a crock pot going and I'm going to cook it down into sauce.

I thought about salsa -- I had some 'Golden Boy' and a very few Green Zebra that would have been nice with some really good ripe red ones, but I didn't get any of those. Nothing has been really flavorful. I thought about just zapping the tomatoes in the blender and freezing the puree, but I decided cooking it down would make it take up less room in the freezer. My thought is that even if it isn't the most flavorful, I can use it in chili (my main use for tomato products anyway -- LOVE chili). All the chili spices will make up for the deficiencies of flavor -- that's my hope anyway. [sigh]

I actually have had two bell peppers ripen to red, which amazed me because I planted them fairly late. There seem to be others that are going to come along soon too. At least some of the ripe stuff is going into the tomato sauce. Getting lots of chili peppers too. Debating what to do with those. They're mostly for the parrot, but I'm getting a LOT of them, and she only eats about one a day.

The bush cukes got some kind of mildew or something, but have continued to produce, certainly enough cukes for me to eat fresh -- tasty too. I don't want to make pickles. Some day maybe, but not this year. Besides, Julie gave me enough of her yummy pickles to keep me satisfied. The acorn squash seem to have done well, though I have not split one open nor roasted one yet. For all I know, they're tasteless too. Have to wait and see.

The corn has been an interesting experience. I think my ears are not properly developed. I have yet to pick any. The kale is still growing along nicely.

Now, in my earth boxes on the deck, the Sweet Million cherry tomatoes are about done, and the Yellow Pear are not far behind. These have been my main eating tomatoes this year. They, at least, have been tasty! I have another box with Viva Italia roma type tomatoes in them. They got blossom end rot badly (and were treated the SAME as the others so it makes no sense!), but seem to have recovered. They are the SLOWEST ripening tomatoes I have ever seen, but they're starting to get there now. Wonder how THEY will taste? More sauce if they're decent . . .

NEXT year, I resolve to plant far fewer tomatoes, further apart, so that I can take better care of them. If I have a garden at all. I may move in with Julie and let her grow food for me (just kidding, Julie, quit running to lock the doors!). I should get busy and create a file with notes of all the things to do differently next year!

Sometime this next week, I'm heading north so that Julie and I can make our annual trek to the Renaissance Faire in Minnesota. I hope to spend a couple of days in our hometown before we go west.

-- Anonymous, September 08, 2001

Oh boy! Here I was gonna post more and try and hold up my end of the deal and I see that I'm posting RIGHT after Joy, and now she's gonna think that I'm rubbing it in for sure.

Actually, I've been spending time on a cage bird forum a lot lately, trying to help out people with their bird problems since I seem to be the only one with much experience. That and rescuing ANOTHER guinea pig who was a near thing. Poor thing is nothing but skin and bones. I am rapidly turning into the local guinea pig rescue. And two of my horses got in a fracas and I've been doctoring the loser. The last jangle those two had, she came out with a huge bite on her butt and no hair there for weeks, this time she apparently thought she should fight it out, but lost again. Huge divot out of her hock this time, AND another bite on the backside. Five acres to run around in and wouldn't you know, they've GOT to annoy each other.

Here I was gonna brag about the gardening efforts. I dug up potatoes, like I mentioned, and they are gorgeous. I've got them drying a bit on a rack in the garage before storing them. I'm wondering how long that should be, as well as how long to dry the shallots before trimming and bagging them.

I've gotten quite a lot of zucchini this year from a spineless variety, I'm thinking to save seed from one of the big ones for next year as they did really well this year, no powdery mildew and altho I had a little problem with BER (odd, because some would rot, the others would be just fine on the same plant), but even so with one hill I got more than I could use, I've been giving it away, next thing to do is make mock apple pies with it. I wish I had my own freezer, I'd freeze some for baking later. Oh well.

The tomatoes are doing pretty good, especially since I got no vine ripe ones last year unless they were the Earth Box ones under the poly tunnel, and there wasn't enough of those. I had all the green tomatoes in the world, and I don't like fried green tomatoes. I dill pickled a lot and STILL have them this year, so I'm not going to do that again this year, same for the green tomato mincemeat.

My best producers have been the Fourth of July bush, Sweet Million, Sun Gold, and Grape. Washington Cherry has been catching up on ripening, as has Oregon Spring. Wayahead was a disappointment in terms of taste, extremely mediocre as vine-ripe, what would it be like otherwise? The Sweet Cluster were okay, but not thrilling. I've got to start freezing tomatoes anyway. Next year I'm not going to monkey around with as many different tomatoes I think and just go for the ones that I liked this year.

Kale has been really good , and the free brussel sprouts plants I got at the farm market are starting to develop now that the weather is cooling down a bit. The bok choy was looking rough when the weather was hot and humid, but rallied as it cooled down, and the late carrots are starting to look good. The cabbage doesn't seem to be doing much, maybe it'll start to grow now that it's cooler, if it doesn't freeze first.

And toward that end, I'm starting to set up the hoops and will be putting plastic over soon before the real frost starts nipping to save the plants that I can (tomatoes as long as possible), encourage the cold weather ones (like the kale, brussel sprouts,aand cabbages).

I'm wondering what to do with my experimental potatoes. I planted them around the first of July when I found a bucket gone to sprouts that I'd lost track of. They have looked pretty healthy, but haven't bloomed, and some of the foliage is looking a bit yellow, even though I have been feeding them with fish and kelp emulsion. I'm trying not to disturb them, but it's rather like waiting for christmas with the package sitting right out there in plain sight. I can't wait to find out what's in it!! Spuds, or duds? Not that I really need more potatoes, the one bed yielded enough for me for the winter and then some I think, but can't waste any potential potatoes, so they got planted. Waiting is hard tho.

And the scarlet runner beans, which were pretty dud-ish all summer are NOW setting lots of flowers and little beans. There are a few older pods that I just let go to set seed for next year's growing (I nibble the flowers anyway, the rabbit likes the cut leaves I've given her, and the hummingbirds and bees like the flowers, so I plant them anyway).

I'm putting in three more garden beds, one for rhubarb, one for small fruits, and one for herbs, supposedly. I wanted to do asparagas, but when I got to reading up on it, I decided there wasn't enough room for it where I planned. Oh well, I'm regrouping and thinking of other locations for it. I'm also trying to get organized to set up some cold frames and grow some extended season green crops under them as beds clear out. I've been working on the compost bins, turning them and taking out what is done and useable to work in between the crops.

Gotta get those covers on before leaving for the Renn Faire, or I may come back to nothing but black rags hanging in the garden! Got to get freezing ripe ones in the meantime!! No rest for the wicked, as the saying goes.

-- Anonymous, September 09, 2001

Don't worry about bragging. [a] We've known for years that you have more gardening experience and a greener thumb, and [b] I knew the garden was an experiment and learning experience. No worries. There better not be any big green torpedos left in my van, though! :-P

-- Anonymous, September 09, 2001

Moderation questions? read the FAQ