Monday, July 29, 2013

Garlic Mystery

Here's the scoop:
We've been growing garlic for years. Never had a problem with it. Until now. The above garlic looks perfectly normal. And healthy. The other day, we grabbed a bulb to use for dinner. Peeled the cloves. Everything looked great. One thing was missing though. The cloves had NO smell. Well maybe they smelled a little green. But they did not smell like garlic or taste like garlic.
We opened a few more bulbs. Same results. Needless to say, we're confused as could be. Besides the fact that we don't have garlic to put up for the year, we don't have our seed crop. We replant cloves from our harvest. So now, I'll have to find a few good sources for garlic.
I'll also be browsing the internet for answers to this mystery. If you have any answers for me, please leave them in the comments.
Until next time.....

Friday, July 26, 2013

Summer Clearance Sale

I have a summer clearance sale in my shop. I think it will remain there until the end of August. Now, I realize that summer isn't over yet and I'm not trying to rush through it. The dog days lie ahead and can very well bite me in the azz with sweltering heat and dry weather. We've had an amazing July thus far, all things considered and I want to celebrate summer with a sale. You can find the section here.
I am beginning to put up tomatoes. It's a happy time. I'll be posting some tomato recipes and tips, so stay tuned.
Until next time.....

Monday, July 22, 2013

Shifting Winds


We woke up this morning to the sound of the wind. Rain was in the forecast for today which pleased us. We haven't had rain in a week and the garden needed a drink. I stepped outside. The wind wasn't a hot, muggy July wind. It was more like end of summer, Autumn's calling kinda wind. I grabbed the camera right before the rain came and snapped a few photos to remember this end of July day.

1. Watching the rain fall from the back deck.
2. Crepe Myrtle in full bloom towering over the tomato plants in the garage garden.
3. The corn blowing in the wind.
4. Black Eyed Susans in full bloom behind the tomatillo bed.
5. New squash bed, freshly mulched with grass clippings.
6. Thai Basil in bloom. I'm letting one of the plants flower for the bees. I've never grown this variety of basil before.
7. And finally..........tomato harvest! We have to pick them a little sooner than we'd like because the mockingbirds like to 'taste' them.

It's going to be a busy week ahead.
Until next time.....

Friday, July 19, 2013

National Ice Cream Month

Did you know that July is National Ice Cream Month? I discovered that a few years ago and I try to celebrate as much as I can. We keep our ice cream canister in the freezer so we can churn up a batch of ice cream on a whim. When the temps and humidity are soaring, like they have been this week, what better way to cool down than to have ice cream for dinner (or dessert).
Until next time.....
You can see more of the Dancing Cat's artwork by clicking here.

Monday, July 15, 2013

Strange Days Indeed

The weather continues to be all over the map. We're still getting rain, although it's more of a pop up shower in the afternoon and it's not enough to flood the gardens. I've done a plant body count and things aren't as bad as it looked at first (or so I keep telling myself).
We lost 21 out of the 29 pepper plants that we started. We were growing six varieties of hot and sweet peppers. Although this is a MAJOR loss for us, peppers are something that we can buy locally and won't cost a lot of money.
We lost 10 out of the 43 regular tomato plants and 4 of the 43 Roma tomato plants. At first more plants were shriveling up, but it looks like they're coming back. Fingers crossed.
This year, I decided to divide our tomato crop and plant it in different sections of the main garden. I also planted some in the bed behind the garage and in the bed next to the compost. I've never done this before and am so glad that I did.
The peppers are planted in a fairly new bed that obviously needs to be raised, since it's the one that flooded the worst. I'm in the process of building it up with compost and grass clippings. Lesson learned.

This week's round up:
1. Corn with Dixie Speckled Butter Peas in the foreground. Okra in between.
2. Vitex in bloom with happy bees and butterflies.
3. Tomatillo. Can you say Salsa Verde?
4. Cypress Vine and Morning Glory. Hummingbirds will be happy!
5. Cucumbers continue to shine.
6. Wave Petunias. I usually don't plant anything in pots in the summertime because it usually is too hot here. No matter how much I water, the plants rarely flourish. Not this year.
7. Corn tassels! Can't wait to eat my first ear of corn; fresh picked and raw.

Here's to a wonderful week all around.
Until next time.....

Friday, July 12, 2013


Our cucumbers were spared any harm from the July flood. They continue to grow like crazy. I've put up enough pickles to last a couple of years. That makes me happy.
I begin my day by munching on a few fresh picked ones. We've been eating a lot of fresh sliced cukes in a vinegar/water mix with salt and fresh dill added. The vinegar can be any kind that your heart desires. Sometimes I add sliced onions. I make this in the morning and put it in the frig until it's time to eat. Cool and crunchy!
Until next time.....

Tuesday, July 9, 2013

Christmas In July 2013

My Christmas In July sale began today in my Etsy shop. Prices have been reduced 15%. The sale is scheduled to end on the 21st. You can get to my shop here. Until next time.....

Monday, July 8, 2013

The Wa-a-ting Is The Hardest Part

After all was said and done, we had a total of 5 7/10" of rain fall in 5 days. The sun finally came out on Sunday and the temps returned to normal. The gardens don't look so good. I knew in the back of my mind that all this rain wasn't good for them and they were in danger of rotting. Right now our pepper bed is supersaturated and the plants are wilting. Half of the tomatoes are wilting too. So far everything else looks OK. This isn't the first time this has happened and it won't be the last, but it sure as hell doesn't get any easier. I'm going to pass on posting any garden pictures today. You really don't want to see what I see. Until next time.....

Friday, July 5, 2013

Cucumber Season

This year's 4th of July was one for the record books. Literally. We broke a record in middle TN. Out here, south of town the high for the day was 66 degrees! It was fabulous. It rained ALL day. We had the windows open and it was almost chilly. Needless to say, the sound of the rain was heavenly. Our dinner plans changed from chicken on the grill to pizza indoors, which was fine with me. The rain did stop in time for the fireworks display in Nashville. I heard it was a wonderful show.

The gardens are loving all of this rain. Cucumber season has officially begun. We've had 3 bad summers previous to this one with record breaking triple digits temps and drought. Our cukes didn't do well and we didn't have enough at one time to put up pickles. But this year is totally different. The cukes are coming in like crazy. I put my first batch of dill pickles up last week. Today, I'll be making them again.
Breakfast consisted of a cucumber placed inside a hotdog bun brushed with mayo and topped with sea salt. Happiness~

Above we have:
Our pickling cukes. I'm harvesting them in two sizes. The smaller ones to put up whole and the larger ones will be sliced and used on sandwiches.
A new slicing cuke that I'm trying this year. It's Suyo Long. They grow to 15". I picked the first one this morning, so I have no idea how they taste. Stay tuned.
Pickling cuke vines.
Slicing cuke vines.
John Mac's Super Chilly Dills. Our recipe can be found here.
Until next time.....

Monday, July 1, 2013

Welcome July

I'm sitting here this morning wearing flip flops, shorts and a LONG sleeve shirt. It is almost cool outside and I love it. The weather has been incredible lately. Mid 80's, low humidity, afternoon showers. The windows are open. The gardens look fabulous. The perfect southern summer.

I haven't seen the chicken snake since the day I removed it from the bluebird house, but I did see a garter snake in the corn patch yesterday. And this morning I saw another chicken snake in the squash bed.

I thought I'd welcome July in with flowers.
A double Rose of Sharon.
Purple morning glory.
Vitex with sleeping bumble bee.

We have a busy week ahead. Our pickling cukes are coming in, so I'll begin making batches of dill pickles. The garlic needs to be braided. The beets are ready to be dug, steamed and frozen. The last of the sugar snap peas need to be put up. The squash plants are producing like crazy. We've been eating a lot of squash for dinner. Grilled zukes are my current favorite. I need to head outside and dig potatoes and
I want to till and prepare a new bed for potatoes and onions. Best get a move on.
Until next time.....


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