Monday, July 26, 2010

The Year of the Hopper

2o1o marked the first year that I didn't plant a garden or a single tomato plant.

Most years I go overboard and have way too many plants for our family. Every year I plan on doing lots of canning and freezing of fresh vegetables. Eventually the weeds get out of control, and I end up with way too many zucchini plants. So we would buckle down and weed the garden. We would get it looking good and then the cows would decide to jump fence to have a light snack at the salad bar. Nothing ends up getting canned or frozen and I always end the year saying next year the garden will be bigger and better!

For some reason I didn't get the garden planted this spring. It could have been because of this little guy

or maybe I wanted to just enjoy my husband farming his

fields of corn, sugar beets and beans.

Or maybe it was because I knew that the grasshopper population

would explode and take over the world.

The destructive little 'buggers' have stripped my chokecherry bushes of leaves,

eaten the rhubarb completely off,

and wrecked havoc in my yard and eaten off what perennials I had left from"that pig."

Now they are moving through the fields and the

guys are working non stop to get everything sprayed

before they destroy the crops.

Thankfully they sprayed my yard.

Now we can walk through the yard,

without wading through thousands of insects.

Next year Dani we will have pickles!

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Carnival Rides

Every year during the hottest week in July,
a celebration takes place in our little town.

Four city blocks of our brick lined main street is blocked off,
then carnival rides, games and food vendors are moved in.

I look out my window at work where I see the little kids
sitting on courthouse lawn waiting for the rides to start for the day.
I can see mothers pushing strollers up and down the street
looking for bargains at the sidewalk sales of local merchants.
Even though I can never find a bargain I can't live without.
There are is always all kinds of entertainment for all ages,
the local dance school has a performance one evening, street dances,
singing contests, and always a beer garden or two.
The parade is held Saturday morning and lots of tootsie rolls are given away.
My youngest isn't found of the parade clown,
since the year he tried to sit down on her lap
while she watched the parade.
To this day she doesn't care for clowns.
Class reunions, softball tournaments and family reunions
are taking place this week also.

So the town is brimming with people.

There is always a good variety of foods to choose from: barbecue, Greek gyros,
Indian tacos, corn on the cob, pizza by slice and funnel cakes.

My girls were excited to attend this year,
as we out of town last year during that time.

My oldest immediately found her friends she hasn’t seen for several weeks.
Which is the curse of being a country kid and not a city slicker.
You don’t see your school friends on a daily or even a weekly basis.
She just text messages them so they know she is still alive.
She went off with them and reemerged just in time to go home.

So we were left with my youngest and her friend
to ride the carnival rides with.
I snapped a couple of photos with my cell phone,
so the picture quality is what it is.

When I was younger I didn't like to ride "the Sizzler"
It would start out real slow
then turn a corner and jerk you around the other way

My evil older sisters would always have me sit on the outside.

So when we jerked around they would slide into me,

and squish me for the rest of the ride.

Then they would take me on the tilt-a-whirl,

where they would spin it until I would turn green.

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Where does the time go?

Trey is 5 months old now.

Dani is excited it's summer time, and

loves going to the lake to jet ski.

She isn't excited that school starts in

27 days.

Krista has spent her summer days helping dad fix sprinklers.

She now has her learner's/school permit and will start high school

in 27 days (YIKES).

Trey loves both of his sister's.

and sweet potatoes.
Although he isn't eating sweet potatoes in this picture.

Sunday, July 18, 2010

Crack for the Soul

I love summer.
There's no doubt about it.

This summer I have made a concerted effort to grow a garden.
It shouldn't be too hard .... after all, I come from a long line of gardeners.

Granny had the ultimate garden.
Truth be told, I didn't enjoy visiting with her nearly as much as I enjoyed visting her garden.
Especially the raspberry patch.

So you can imagine how excited I was this spring to see this.

Granddad Pipe had the best strawberry patch,
so naturally I had to grow strawberries too.

I put them in an old wash tub this year
and the bunnies have yet to find them.

This week we started picking ripe berries.

That has made Mardell very, very happy.

Grandma Hall was best known for flowers.
Didn't matter what kind, she could grow it.

I'm not nearly as prolific a flower grower as Grandma,
but I have enjoyed the ones that I do have.

We dug these up from a roadside patch on our way to Ogallala last summer.

These came from Ingrid's garden last summer.

The butterflies have especially enjoyed the yarrow this summer.

Grandma Lou was well known for her geraniums.

She always grew geraniums to put on grave sites.

Then there was Dad.
He grew everything .... and lots of it.

He gave me a currant bush and it was in full bloom this spring.

I have since split the original bush into three bushes
and the birds have spread them as well.

I often find currants when I'm hiking in the pasture!

But I imagine he was best known for always buying more
even after his garden was already planted.
It's a sickness that I inherited.

Mernard's had a sale this past week
Plants were on sale for a quarter.
I didn't NEED a thing.

I made three separate trips.  

See all of the hanging baskets in front of the house?
All made from quarter plants.
18 baskets cost me about $50.

Two weeks and they'll be lush and full 
and no one will know that we didn't spend $20 on each one.

As for my garden, I started out with a small plot.

 Here the potatoes are just peeking out of the ground.
I've never grown potatoes before and you'll notice I had just gotten started on 
the permanent garden path.

A month makes a lot of difference.

 The path is complete, but you'd never know it because the
potatoes have taken over that portion of the garden.

I decided it was full and needed more space.

 After all, I somehow ended up with 50+ tomato plants.

 So, I rototilled more space to the south and east of the house.

It's a good thing .... made more space for  all of the 
onion sets that I somehow ended up buying and my zucchini plants.

 I didn't go as crazy with pepper plants as I usually do.

I have always subscribed to the theory of companion planting,
but this year I wanted to try companion planting for pest control.

Beets are supposed to deter cabbage moths as is basil.
So I planted beets in between my rows of cabbage and 
basil in between my cabbage.

It has worked well .... for cabbage moths.

It didn't turn out so well for the canteloupe.
The grasshoppers enjoyed it immensely.

That's okay, because they are also enjoying the Sevin right now.

I wasn't about to let them eat my watermelon ....

... especially since I actually have a baby watermelon set on.

The pumpkins are also setting on.

 The one thing that has been all mine and 
not influenced by anyone has been the herb garden. 

We decided to move it up front by the pond this year.

We had it in the back by the pond, but the dogs were hard on it
and since they have so little space to run we gave in and moved it.

 It always looks so puny to start with and yet
I always think that it looks fantastic.

 Now, I'm just overjoyed.
The move was a good decision.

Now, when the dogs wag their tails 
as they come in the house it is very fragrant.

The pond started out looking pretty barren as well.

 Now it's tough to even find the pond ...

... unless you're a frog looking for a cool dip ....

 ... or a cushy place to float ...

 ... or perhaps just a pond edge to wait for a dragonfly snack ....

 .... or you're just meeting a friend.

 If the day gets too hot, simply find a shady place to sit ....

 .... or sun bathe on a rock.

 It didn't bother this guy at all when I laid down on the ground
and started snapping pictures.

 He refused to smile though.

I also have elusive frogs in my garden.

 Why not hang out in a pot of basil?

 This guy is really burrowed under .....

 right underneath my ornamental pepper plant .....

 in my herb planter!

As much as I love my gardens,
I just hate it when I run across this guy.

 I just don't like getting up close and personal with ANY kind of snake!