Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Things are doing well and moving along!

The morning has changed a lot since I got up, the sun has been out for a while but now it is mostly overcast. I have mentioned that I was planning on fertilizing twice a month with 15-15-15 so this morning I did the second round. Today I also added cal-dolomita to the fertilizer figuring every little bit helps.

In the middle, hard to see is a red hibiscus that was broken off the main plant by the kittens maybe a week ago, it is doing well already. Also you can see the cal-dolomita that I scattered around.

Brought out the chicken’s roost to allow the rain to help clean it up. The other roost was put on the coop till this one is clean. One of the ladies is inspecting the cleaning job, “not good enough” she says.

One of the little Mapolas was beaten up pretty good by the hens scratching, it is coming back very good. You can see the grains of fertilizer on the rightside of the base.

Caroline moved these plants as they were shading the new truenos trees. Got to get Juan to write down the names so I can post them and someday remember.

This trueno is really doing well, it likes its new home and of course likes the fertilizer. These are supposed to grow quickly, we’re hoping they with become a back stop for the ball field.

The little tea tree is doing well, most likely will have to remove the queen of the night growing behind it.

This pomegranate has not done very much. It has been where it is for almost two years. It is doing better now than it ever has, perhaps the cal-dolomita is helping a lot.

This Mapola is really happy, almost 3’ tall already. That is lemongrass sticking thru the fence which BTW is about ready to head out, it sure looks good when it does. It is almost as tall as the roof of the garden.

One of the blackberries is hanging over the fence, we should be a few berries this year.

The elephants ears are doing well and spreading out, I had to remove the cage as the leaves were caught in the wire.

Now here is a surprise, this little running or traveling iris is thru the fence into the chicken’s area but they haven’t bothered it.

I haven’t seen this before, the mint is flowering, I don’t know if there will be seeds as it is so easy to take cuttings and start them plus wherever it touches the ground it roots and takes off from there.

The white rose is blossoming out all over. The blossoms like the red rose get so heavy I have to prop up the cane to take a photo, pretty isn’t it?

The kittens love to scratch, they will scratch on the little stick in the background so I put this up for them to mutilate, they haven’t touched it yet. Perhaps I insulted them, cough, cough!

I took this shot from my chair just to give you one of my views. In the background is my little 4’X8’ trailer that gets the dirt and such for the yard and hauls the wood trimmings for our wood stove. So far it seems like all of the plants transplanted to the little raised beds are doing well. Soon you will see herbs of some sort growing in the holes in the blocks (holes filled with dirt of course) following the suggestion of Donald Rose. As always, anyone who has a question, suggestion or comment, don’t hesitate to email me, I appreciate all the comments. Folks sometimes see things that we don’t or have good suggestions on growing things like we have but we could do it better. Tomorrow the cars should get their yearly inspections then I can start putting in the water system in the garden and get something growing. I need to pick up a couple of gallons of bleach to clean the white cloth and the poly roof so things can get sunshine to grow with. Oh yeah, the kittens are doing great, Miss Kitty just got up on the back of my chair, she’ll snooze there till it is time to play some more.
It just started sprinkling, no more outside work, Miss Kitty is on my left shoulder purring and nibbling on my ear. Tickles like crazy!!!!

I think that is it for today. Take care, be well.

So much to do so little time!

Tickle it with a hoe and it will laugh into a garden....

Sunday, August 19, 2012

The Garden is the Main Purpose of This Blog!

A friend has remarked that he was concerned that I might forget the garden in my blog. His concern was that other things (subjects) might distract from the news about what is going on in the garden. I had started a personal reply but as I began to type and explain what is and what was to happen with the garden and such I thought perhaps others would like to know what was in the planning so here is my reply to him and to all.

The primary reason for the blog is the garden which right now has most everything removed waiting for me to get new plants sprouted so I haven't said much about it.

The seeds for bell peppers turned out to be something else, sort of like a jalapeno, just maybe hotter, they turned red instead of staying green which maybe jalapenos do but being that I have never raised them I don't know. The okra never did much of anything. The tomatoes weren't pruned and grew way too big again. Which was more plant than tomatoes. The new tomato plants will be pruned to 4 main stalks and constantly suckered and trimmed for height. I did a lot of reading about trimming and pruning tomatoes and now know how much more I can do to keep them from getting too big. When we had tomatoes in a regular garden their height and size was no problem so they were left to grow as big as they wanted and they did in the well prepared soil back in CA and when I was a kid.

Also the little raised beds are an experiment too. As many plants don't like their roots wet for a long time I am trying these little raised beds with different plants to see which ones improve and do well during the rainy season. These little raised beds will have to be watered during the dry season (for which I’ve been planning a water system for, mostly a drip system), perhaps they'll end up with different plants in them as well, it’s all an experiment. I'm thinking of doing one little one for one tomato plant to see just what can be done with them during the dry season (maybe two, one trimmed and pruned and the other just suckered).

What I don’t want and would have a hard time with is a regular type garden where I would have to bend over to tend to it properly; the ol’ back just won’t allow me to do that.

I have planned to start my tomato seeds next month in my window greenhouse for the garden so I’ll also start one for the little raised bed as well. By the time the rains have slowed down they’ll be good size, ready for transplanting. What I’m doing now will give me good large tomatoes so I can save seeds for myself and for those who have asked for saved seeds. My plan is to save seeds from the best of the best, nice shaped and good size tomatoes.

I’m thinking of planting some lettuce, radishes and carrots now just to see how well they can do this time of the year.

I’ll install my water system this week. I will post photos of before and after and also with the system on so folks can see how it works.

I will continue to post about all that is happening around here as well as the garden. I email folks about this and that all the time which as all of you know, can get very time consuming so I’ll post more often to the blog instead of doing single emails about things. Some post may contain only information about the garden and plants while other post will contain everything.

Today is bright and shiny, no rain (yet). Have already been in the garden and worked in the yard, time for lunch.

So much to do so little time!

Saturday, August 18, 2012

I did good, I got the blocks for the planters

I was busy, I got the concrete blocks for our little raised bed planters hoping that they will drain fast enough for the plants that don’t like wet feet. The soil is a mixture of good black topsoil and wood shavings from the chicken coop. We’re hoping that mixture will drain fast enough for the sensitive plants.

This is what is left of a trailer load (4’X8’X2’) of good black topsoil. It comes complete with worms, ants and who knows what plant life. Mixing it with the wood shavings makes it easy to pull the weeds.

This is our new horseradish bed. The plants are already perking up thou it is hard to see here. Lots of good wood shavings.

A planter full of spinach and some starts of oregano. We should end up with more of each than we can use, we’ll share all the excess.

Some starts of aloe for anyone who might want some. The plant on the right is an herb that has a licorice flavor but neither of us remember its name. At the bottom of the photo is turmeric. I'll pick up more concrete blocks for at least one more planter, well that is what Caroline says. The next one is already started waiting for more blocks.

The Jade we had in the front outside planter was getting crowded out so it has been temporarily potted in plastic till we can get some nice clay pots for them. Oh, the little guy was one I bought not understanding the fellow that gave the name, the leaves then were just round and the stalk did not look like a Jade plant but it do now. Je! Je! Je!

We could not get by without some entertaining wrestling matches. Here is Daniel and Miss Kitty having a match.

Then Aly had to get into the action with Daniel while Miss Kitty observes. For some reason unknown these two love to fuss around this plant in the cage (the reason for the cage) and these rocks. They play paws under the bigger rock below Aly’s head, oh, and of course under the bottom of the wire cage.

I also had to included a photo of Momma PJ and the two guinea keets. She is taking a dust bath in the wood shavings which filled the plastic green dish to her right and also some got on the keets. These wood shavings aren’t the good shavings (lots of fines) we get but those shavings are vented outside at the sawmill and are now wet all the time. As soon as we get a few days without rain I’ll rush over and get 10/15 bags full.

The elephant ears are growing like weeds. They get all the moisture they like from the water dish for the chickens which KitCat aka Ning shares with them. I feed the fermented feed for the chickens in a dog dish on the sidewalk about where I am standing so the excess and water that collects in the bowl gets tossed around the plants where it adds to the soil.

Here is one for the expert tree folks, I do not know the name of this tree but it has these, what I guess you call flowers and berries. Next photo shows the tree better.

The leaves remind me of the sensitive plant, Mimosa, that we had when I was a kid, eons ago but the blossoms are different. Could it be a Dormilona?

Our coffee plant struggles to keep its leaves and berries. No idea why it hasn’t shot up more unless the soil was very, very short on cal dolomita which I found and added the first of the month, I didn’t know it needed a lot of this till I was talking to a person who raised coffee. The soil it is planted in was 50/50 clay and abono which may not have been all of what it needed, now we will see how well it does.

The golden dewdrops are doing much better but I have no idea what causes the little black dots on their leaves. There are more and much fuller berries on some of the trees, perhaps they too liked the added cal dolomita. Being that the back yard was really disturbed when the house was remodeled the topsoil got turned under and the ol’ clay came to the top so I took several buckets full of cal dolomita and scattered it around the yard trying to improve the soil. I’ll get another 50 kilo bag and do some more scattering around the yard.

And this is Patches our ol’ friend from the states. We brought her and our other old cat, Coal, on the airplane when we moved here 4 years ago. She loves to roll in the wood shavings but wouldn’t pose for a good photo of her showing her face, no she is not shy.

The garden is mostly cleaned up, enough so I can install my watering system which is PVC pipe with very small holes spaced along its length. There are two advantages to what I am doing. Water will be better distributed all over the garden and with a mechanical timer I can set it and know the whole are is well watered when it needs it (and walk away).

Funny thing, the two new quail which were raised in close human contact are more nervous when I get near than the other ones we’ve had. The older ones hardly pay any attention to me when I’m in the garden area but these new quail try to fly and butt the fencing trying to get away. They’ll settle down over time I imagine.

 In the morning while it is still dark thirty I’ll get Henrietta the little black bantam hen and put her in the garden area to scratch around in the dirt getting bugs and old seed from the parakeets. The quail do not get up in the garden dirt even with the ladder I built for them.

This was taken some time ago of Henrietta. She has the strangest voice, there are times she sounds like a duck and then she can sound like an old rusty hinge needing oil but she is a good brooder and a great mom.

Well I guess I should get this posted, the tummy is saying it is dinner time and I do like a good dinner. I’ve been thinking it is about time for a good meal of chicken and dumplings, soooooo good tasting but soooooo bad for the calories. . . . .
So much to do so little time!

Saturday, August 11, 2012

Another awesome morning in our paradise!

I was setting outside with my morning coffee and thought that I needed to take some pictures of an awesome morning. We’ve had several bright sunny mornings, this one was just begging to be shared soooo. . . . . .

This is about 630AM looking East-North-East thru the fence. Still some ground fog in the valley.

Of course I had to have a proper "director" to make sure I took good photos. This would facing almost be due North.

This butter fly bush is doing very good (hard to see the purple blossoms). It also attracts humming birds. The larger our trees get the more butter flies and hummers will visit us. The golden dewdrops are having more and more blossoms and berries. I keep watching to see if any birds are attracted to eat the berries.

This Trueno tree was planted about 2 weeks ago, it has grown at least 6”, it is growing fast as I was told it should. Notice the blossoms on the left side of the photo from the Ray de la Noche (queen of the night).

These Mapolas trees are the same age as the Trueno tree but haven’t started their growing spurt yet. I’m guessing they are busy putting down roots a then look out, they are supposed to grow faster than the Trueno. Of course one of the other "directors" had to make sure of things. I now have 5 cats that follow me around the yard.

These elephant ears were planted less than 2 weeks ago, the cages will be taken away as soon as they are big enough to not be damaged by the chickens. The yellow rope on the left side goes to the Moringa tree.

In Caroline’s area I did a raised bed to keep this spinach from drowning, not sure what kind it is, the plants were given to me by Trisha, a friend.

More blocks for raised beds are being placed around for plants that can’t stand to have wet feet. Notice the white chairs next to the wall where we sit for that morning coffee.

I got more different flowers here than I wanted which is the one in the center, forgot the name. I’ll have to look it up again.

We didn’t know we had a white rose but it is busy showing off its blossoms. They were so heavy with dew I had to prop them up to take a photo.

This new lemon mint is growing fast, I need to take some cuttings for Trisha.

This red hibiscus is almost 4’ tall, it is very happy where it is planted.

The Moringa tree is getting clusters of new leaves after there were so many blown off by the strong winds a couple of weeks ago. I had to put a rope from up as high as I could reach with my small ladder over to the clothes line post to keep the strong wind from possibly causing it to fall over, the rope is hard to see, it is yellow, you can see it in the photo of the elephant ears.

I will take more photos of area and animals and post them. 

Please let me know what things I might take photos of, should I talk about the photos more or . . . . . I hope for some of my friends in the dry North that these photos bring some joy as they are meant too.

 Now it is time to get ready to visit the newly remodeled Angel Valley B&B for its grand opening, perhaps I’ll add a photo or two in my next posting.

So much to do so little time! 

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

So Much To Do So Little Time!

Miss Kitty on her throne!
I guess I need to explain the title today. What has happened to me I imagine that has happened to so many. You retire and for a short time you wallow in the fact, “hey I’m retired, I don’t have to do a thing but enjoy my retirement”, well it doesn’t always work exactly that way. You sit and find that it is hard not to look around and see this little thing that could be done a little better. Then there is that spot in the yard that could use a bush or that other place that just needs a flower to brighten up that corner. You put in a chicken coop and before you know you are eating eggs that are so much better. Arrrg, the leaf cutters are eating all the new plants, you spray and spray then one day you pass a booth selling all kinds of birds and chickens and oh, oh, are those guineas???? Yep they sure are and you take a couple home and in a few days you notice no leaf cutter ants, the guineas have cleaned them up. You finally decide the bush/trees, the golden dewdrops (that were planted fro wind breaks), aren’t growing as fast as they were said to grow so you see your neighbors have nice bush/trees and ask what they are and before you know it you have planted 50 Mapolas and several Trueno bush/trees hoping they will eventually shield the dewdrops (as wind breaks) and all of them attract hummers, butterflies and birds. Oh, of course there is the garden you keep doing things with, 5 minutes here a half hour there. You know the story of Miss Kitty and Daniel and Aly who now also take some time. Today as I have been trying to do when the weather is nice I grab a cup of coffee and sit in the backyard at sunup and just watch all the antics of the cats/kittens, the chickens and the yard clowns, the guineas. Of course while watching, this cat or one of the others comes for some lap time and scratches. Oh yeah, I also am feeding the fermented chicken feed which doesn’t take but maybe 15 extra minutes to fix and feed. Then you run to the clinic, go to town to fill prescriptions at the hospital or the CCSS pharmacy, stop by the vets place where you were told might have the heat lamps and shields you are looking for to use when the new chicks arrive (setting up an area in the coop as a brooder), nope don’t have those but we have some fertile quail so you bring home a pair of those and another plant. Oops, forgot that you moved the spinach plants that you got from your friend, Trish, and planted them in their own raised bed so they drain well (lots of rain) while I redo the garden. And so it goes, retired???? from what, oh yeah from that work-work thing, but not from the pleasure of living and for those like me always tinkering with something or planting, so much to do so little time!
Oh, this and the photo above shows Miss Kitty and the little stool she has claimed for herself. I had used the stool to stand on to get something down and had set it by the door till I was to put it away later. Well when I went to put it away Miss Kitty was sitting in it so I let it set for a while longer. The next time I thought of putting it away she was asleep on top of it. Then I notice that when I went in the kitchen to cook or whatever, she was either in or on top of the stool so it was decided that it should be left there as her very own special place (we have another stool). It is also good that when she is on the top it is easy to reach down and give her pets. 

  As always there is a time for sitting too. We don't just go and go, we stop and sit a spell (oops, just had to run out to the coop one on the new keets was out of the brooder area and hollering its little head off), perhaps to do as I am doing now, putting something in my blog (needs more new photos doesn't it?) or emailing folks about this or that. It is what I love about being retired, I do as I want, when I want and with those I share my life with. I put work-work behind me, what I do now isn't work-work, it is pleasure, it is Pura Vida, the attitude of enjoying life.

So much to do so little time!