Sunday, April 28, 2013

The Long, Hard March to Nowhere

So today was the March of Dimes in Houston.  Noel and I had planned to go do the 5 mile walk.

We got up early early early this morning, got dressed, and headed out the door to meet up with some of my coworkers to carpool to the site of the walk.

We got to the parking deck where we were meeting, and nobody had shown up yet.  So I checked my email, and found out that due to the threat of bad weather, they were cancelling the walk.  Sigh.

So we grumbled.  I guess I should've checked my email earlier, but really?  We knew we had to be there really early, and who is going to take time to check email that early? 

We walked anyway.

And yes, I wore black/green/orange argyle knee socks.  Why not?

In other news, we harvested the first of the sugar snap peas today!!  YUM. 

And in other other news, I saw this when stopped at a redlight this weekend.  This family relationship seems...unusual...

A golf man, a tennis woman, and 2 businessmen?  WHAT?!?!?!

Sunday, April 21, 2013

Heeeeeere's Gottfried!!

My dear sister expressed some concern over not seeing Gottfried, our friendly garden gnome that my friend Lisa gave to me years ago, in our previous pictures of the garden.  No need to worry - Gottfriend is just fine and at his post!

Here he is, surveying his domain.

(Note that he's totally bleached out by the sun - he's a very diligent (and possibly albino) garden gnome.  Perhaps I should repaint him?)

And he's doing a great job.  Check out the garden now!


You can't see it from here, but the sugar snap peas are now actually through the netting and are 5-6 inches above the top of it!  Amazing.  And, as Noel pointed out previously, a little creepy.

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Fish Smoothie = Nature's Miracle Worker

Hi all!  Happy April!  Hopefully you all survived the tax man ok.

The weather here in Texas has been warm and sunny of late.  Noel and I have been working in the garden, weeding and such, and trying to protect everything from the birds.

We put up a bird feeder this year, one of those inexpensive $8 deals made out of plastic.  The birds LOVED it.  Unfortunately so did the squirrels.  We would see them scare off the little chickadees so they could hang upside down, Flying Wallenda style, and eat the feeder completely empty.  At one point, they just decided to forego the formality of actually climbing onto the feeder, and we found the aftermath -- empty feeder on the ground, with holes chewed in the top and side.  HOLES.  These were some seriously hungry/gluttonous squirrels.

So we upgraded feeders to a squirrel-proof one.  They still get plenty of seed from the ground, but now the little birds get a chance to eat too.  The cats LOVE watching the action outside, and sit on the window sill chirping at the little family of young squirrels that wrestle at the base of the tree.  So cute.

Until they get into the garden.  Then things get serious.

So this past weekend, I weeded quite a bit (we are in Texas, and it's been steadily in the upper 70s & 80s - weeds are plentiful to say the least).  We also put up some netting over the garden so that birds and squirrels couldn't get into anything.  Because yes, things are already growing! Witness a baby tomato!

See the gargantuan 6 ft tall hibiscus!

Marvel at the lantana that Just Won't Stop Spreading!

So yes, netting was needed.  We put up some extra posts, stranded some twine around the perimeter, and spread the netting over the whole shebang. 

I had also fertilized that day with the official Stinkiest Fertilizer Ever: fish emulsion. 

The neighbors hate us.  Until we bribe them with home grown veggies to placate their assaulted nasal passages.  This stuff STINKS.  I got it all over myself the first time I used it a few weeks ago, and washed my hands in: soap, dishwashing liquid, more soap, antiseptic soap, lime juice, and baking soda.  Still the smell persisted.  GROSS.  The cats were following me around. 

But the stuff works.  So I repeated the process on Sunday, thankfully not smearing it on myself this time.  Then Noel came to me with a note (I was on the phone).

"The fish stuff is creeping me out.  You need to go look at the garden."

I thought that maybe it had created some new kind of funk from baking in the sun, or had left a weird slimy residue or something.  Nothing could have prepared me for what he really meant:

The veggies had grown exponentially overnight. 

Remember what the garden looked like a mere 3 weeks ago? 

When I walked out on Sunday, I saw THIS:

When we put the netting on, the sugar snap peas (the tallest things in the picture above) were about 5-6 inches below the netting.  The very next evening, they were already latched onto the netting and crawling up through it! 

Thus the creepy fish stuff.  :)

Everything is coming up really nicely!  Hopefully the netting will help.

Next thing to net & protect?  Our new peach tree - with little baby peaches!

They're so cute & fuzzy, I can't help but pet them a little.  But we've already noticed them disappearing off the tree.  Stupid squirrels.