Summer is upon us

It sure seems Spring is shorter and shorter each year – this year we had frost one day and 2 weeks later 90 degree days!   The past 2 days have been scorchers outside and right now it is storming so the garden is getting a much-needed drink!   This was the first year I was able to sit and actually watch a pair of Purple Martins around their nest.    They make a clicking sound as they move about which I found quite amazing.

I was able to capture a turtle actually laying eggs (the video is 4 mins. in length and this is over the limit at Flickr so I need to shorten it or find another way to post it).   Frankie alerted us to the turtle’s presence and stood howling away at her as she calmly proceeded to do her duty.   I have the area marked off and hope we will be around when the baby turtles make their appearance.

The chickens love the warm weather and all the nice little bugs they find – the ticks are one of those bugs I could easily live without.

I find plenty of them down south and this year the locust are out, about and LOUD!

I harvested my first batch of Garlic Scapes and promptly made a nice pasta dish using them.   Also shared some with a local chef who was very appreciative.   These were from the Chrysalis Purple hardneck and I will have many more from the other varieties soon.   Along with all this summer activity, we have been busy getting our home in St. Charles ready for market.   Obviously, this is not a good time to sell a home …… but you never know!


Please No Frost …

Lilacs are in bloom!

With two 80 degree days this week I could hold off no longer!   I started planting in my garden outside and I have been checking the weather constantly.   The official day here is May 15th (which is Sunday) for danger of frost to occur.   We have had frost later than that in past years, but now I can only cross my fingers and keep my hopes high.   The 10 day forecast shows there will be a cooling off this weekend but nowhere near frost.   I did keep a few of each variety safe in the house just in case.

Pepper plants are more than happy to be placed in the ground – varieties are Marconi, Red Mini, Alma Paprika, Tam Jalapeno and Purple Pepper.

Cayenne peppers are still waiting – I have to rethink where I want to plant them.   I already have peppers on some of these!

Summer squash

These seeds are from Renee’s Garden and are Tricolor Zucchini which means the package had 3 different varieties of squash – Clarimore, Golden Dawn and Raven which gives me an interesting selection.   Same with the package of Summer Scallop – three varieties of Pattypan squash;  Sunburst, Peter Pan and Starship.   Can’t wait to see what will grow!

Tricolor Pattypan Squash

Here is a shot of one Tomato transplant … I have many more!   The varieties in ground are Cherokee Purple,  Amish Paste, Sungold,  Amana Orange,  Black Cherry and Black Krim.

Winter Squash – the two types here are Delicata which I will train to grow on the fence and Butternut which will be too heavy for the fence.

Last but not least my Moon and Stars Watermelon – seems like it took a bit to get going, but will take off I am sure once the warmth is here to stay.   Also planted a few flowers out …. so as I fine tune some more planting all I can keep doing is chanting … Please No Frost – Please No Frost.   You are welcome to chant along!

Hoping your garden plans are coming together!

Tough Doggy Day

I wanted to share this story so others can avoid the same terrible mishap happening to their own precious pets.   Anyone who owns a dog or cat and had some type of surgery knows the all too familiar and hated “cone” that the poor patient has to wear for what seems an eternity.   Well, here is Frankie and the hated cone after a heart wrenching day.   The poor guy is still not sure what happened – but I was there and can tell the story.

We have four dogs – Frankie and Augie are good pals and get along very well.   They do wrestle around as dogs do and usually I end up yelling for them to “Stop”!  The other two Billie and Sarge are small and although Billie will start to mess with the bigger dogs it really is not a good idea.  

What occurred today (and one time previous) is as they were wrestling around Frankie got his claw nail caught in Augie’s chain collar.   Bad scene and now Frankie has many stitches in his front paw and a punctured lip and nose.   We still don’t know the extent of the repair but he will either need a root canal or a pulled tooth.   He came down in the struggle and landed on the ceramic tile … tooth first.

So the bottom line – if you have more than one pet who needs a collar, do not use chain link collars.   I should have figured this out the first time it happened, but sometimes we don’t realize there is an issue until tragedy strikes.   Everyone is still a bit shook up, but we will all recover and hopefully someone out there will avoid this same crisis.

poor Frankie 😦  

First Farmer’s Market and Wind Turbines

This past weekend I was able to visit my first Farmer’s Market of the year!   We were down South visiting our daughter at school and she had an assignment from one of her classes … visit a Farmer’s Market and write a report.   She asked if I wanted to join her …….. heck yea!   The markets further up North don’t start rolling for another month so this was Great!

She was thrilled with the jar of  honey we purchased for her since she now enjoys drinking tea each morning.   I think she was not thrilled with the fact that I was taking her picture ……    I also purchased some herbs and flowers for my own garden.   It was a gorgeous day at the market!

I have taken photos and even a video of these wind turbines which we pass on our trip down and I happened to take a few more this time.   What I found interesting as I flipped through my Organic Gardening magazine when I arrived home was a short article about these wind turbines.   It states that they Grow Better Crops!   What happens is these giant, and they are GIANT, turning metal designs create a gentle turbulence , more favorable temperatures and more air exchange with the plants.   More carbon dioxide is received and the blowing air helps dry the leaves reducing risk of fungal infections.   While the wind turbines are constructed to generate electricity this newly discovered benefit is being eagerly researched.

When we first started seeing semi trucks carrying these huge metal constructions, we likened them to parts of an airplane.   Now we know better …. they are parts of a wind turbine.   Fascinating for sure!

Wordless Wednesday

Huge Garden Project

The past 3 years I have been concentrating my gardening efforts on our place down south and this year I am doing a reverse!   We have cleared a rather large area in our yard up north and have decided to do a really spectacular garden.   Although I have some gardening knowledge this large space is intimidating!   There is nothing there and I plan to make it pretty … yikes!

This is our back yard and the area with black dirt is our new garden!   That is alot of black dirt!

Another angle ….. of ALOT of black dirt!

And still another view of the area

Frankie is quite content watching as we line the area with brick to keep the soil from running off in heavy rains.   Some days I really wish my dogs, of which we have four, could pitch in and help a little with some of this work.

Next step is framing the area with plastic lattice to keep the bunnies out … the squirrels will climb over so I need to keep an eye out for them.   One year they had a real feast on all my miniature blue corn I had growing when we were gone for a weekend.

This is an additional area on the side of the house that I plan to clean up and add flowers or it may be the herb garden.

It looks like I have my work cut out for me ….. maybe the dogs will have a change of heart and decide to help out.

Follow along as I create my Dream Garden!


Traveling back and forth

I never really paid attention to the length of the state of Illinois until I started traveling it back and forth.   It is a long state and the scenery is pretty much the same the whole ride until you come across a town along the way – then you have scenery and activity.   Of course I am referring to my travels down south along the interstate and I have become real familiar with flat lands, corn and lots of rural life!   It can be considered quite amazing …

This is a massive amount of corn … put it into perspective compared to the truck or the home in the picture.   This is last year’s harvest and right about now the farmers are either readying the fields or actually planting for the new season.

Between the fields of planted crop there are farms … some freshly painted, some with cows and many others that are just falling to ruin.   It is a great shame to see these huge buildings which were built  many, many years ago just falling to the ground.   I am, of course, making the assumption that the upkeep and repair is just too much.

Can you image the stories that these great buildings hold, the long days and hard work …..

The men, women and children who have walked among these great buildings.   The sweat and tears that have fallen among those broken boards …

 memories that we can only hope will live on forever.