Saturday, August 25, 2012

The Tree Saga

A few weeks ago, a storm split our old oak tree.

This was the first step to remove the downed limbs.  We did what we could, but it was too dangerous to finish the job.

That dangling limb was heavy.  Every time a limb lying on the ground was cut, it tore more of the trunk of the tree.

Time for a professional.  We hired Joseph, a certified Arborist.  

He climbed up to inspect the damage and to give us a prognosis.  Our big concern: Has the damage weakened the tree to the extent that the whole thing has to come down?  Is the tree dying?

He cleaned up the split, sawed the dangling limb off and gave us his expert advice:  The tree remains strong.  It will survive and live for a long time.  It would take a tornado to topple the tree.  
Whew!  What a relief!

Now, it's our turn again to clean up.  The leaves go into the compost bin.

Larger limbs get chopped up.

All this beautiful wood.  I hate to just burn it, so... 

... the larger limbs were put to good use, lining the new garden bed.  

I love this look.  

Have a great weekend,

Monday, August 20, 2012

The Local Farmers Market

We went to the Farmer's Market last week.  In our little town, it's open on Saturdays.  It's small, maybe 20 vendors, but it's growing.
In the next town over, there is a larger one with 50-60 vendors on Saturdays.  On Tuesdays, it's open again but with a smaller number of vendors.  Maybe about 10-12.  This was my small purchase last week.
A young couple was selling melons.  I asked about that larger white round object (pictured above).  They said it was a Snow Melon.  Now, I've never even heard of a Snow Melon, never mind seen or tasted one.  
They were so enthusiastic, explaining how they grew their melons, how delicious the melons were, the best time to eat them, the best way to serve them (always chilled from the fridge) and how special the fruit was to them.  They were such a sweet couple.  
They offered samples while explaining they had a very small crop this year so each one was very special to them.  
It was absolutely delicious.  Better than any melon I've ever tasted.  I paid her price without batting an eye and looked at it the same way she did, as a precious commodity to be appreciated.
Then I asked about the striped things.  To be honest, I didn't know what they were, if they were a vegetable or fruit.  (I know, I'm limited.)  The young man stepped in and explained they were Tiger Melons.  He was thrilled to share his favorite way to eat them: slice them and serve with a scoop of vanilla ice cream.  It was his favorite summer dessert.  I bought two of the four that remained.  On the way home, we bought vanilla ice cream in anticipation of the sublime experience we were about to enjoy.   
Once home, Colson and I sliced them, put a scoop of vanilla ice cream on top and oohed and awed over every mouthful.  The young man was right, it was a delicious dessert.
That's just one of the benefits of a Farmers Market.  Had I seen these products in the grocery store, without a doubt, I would have passed them by.  Even if I was adventurous and had purchased them, most likely, they would not have had the same fresh flavor because they would have been shipped a long distance.
Now pictured below is a squash I've bought several times from the Farmers Market.  The first time I saw it, I thought it was an early Halloween gourd.
Feeling the total novice, I asked what it was.  The vendor happily told me it was Paddy Pan Squash.  (Never heard of that either.)  He explained it was currently his favorite versatile squash.  You can eat it raw with the skin, chopped in salads or you can cook it just like you would any other squash.  I got a great crash tutorial.  

It's my go-to squash these days.
It's been the same way with heirloom tomatoes (I should have taken photos), even honey.  Most vendors let you sample the product first.  They all explain how it's grown or harvested and you learn what's growing in season right where you live.  
Since I missed Saturdays market, I can't wait until tomorrow. Who knows what new thing I'll find.  I'm hoping for Snow and Tigers!

Bye now 
from Whippoorwill Road.

Monday, August 13, 2012

Oh Great...

A few nights ago, a storm blew in.  While we were comforting Big 'Ol Nasty Dog (see previous post), Mother Nature was having a heyday.

Whether it was from lightening or just a weak spot, we lost half of the biggest oak tree.  

We were awed... and sad.

It didn't fall on the fountain.  And the wood might be good for something other than burning in the fire pit.

But when I look at this picture, I think, "Man, what a mess with all those weeds."  And then I look at the tree and I wonder if I'm ever going to make progress with this property.

Here's the bright spot.  My kids were out in the garden today, working.  Isn't this the way life should be: growing your food, enjoying the great outdoors, being at peace with one another?

On a side note, this was New Man's first day of college.  And he's out here, weeding the beds with his siblings.  

I loved this moment.  Seeing them outside, preparing for a future harvest.

Look what we found!  We do have deer in the garden!  

And when I look at this picture, I think, "Man, I wish I could have seen them."  And then I think to myself, it's a good thing we don't depend on this garden for survival.  Otherwise I may not love seeing this as much.

I do love Mother Nature with all her ups and downs 
on Whippoorwill Road.

Thursday, August 9, 2012

It Was a Hot and Scary Night

It's been so hot, that when we first saw this squirrel, we thought it had heat exhaustion.
It didn't, it was just cooling itself off in the shade.

Finally, it rained.  It thundered.  And Big 'Ol Nasty Dog panicked yet again.
We tried to close him off from the main kitchen area since he pants and slobbers and we were eating dinner.

Clay went to the rescue.  He left his meal to comfort Big 'Ol Nasty Dog.

He sat there in the dogs bed and held this trembling fraidy cat until the worst of the storm was over.

And me, being the compassionate one, wrote myself a note.

Love from Whippoorwill Road,

Saturday, August 4, 2012

Garden Glory has Faded

All my beautiful vegetables plants are gone.
We ate, and picked and froze as much as we could.  
The heat, drought and overcrowding got the rest. 
It was a great first experience.  We pulled up all the fading leaves and cleaned out the beds.

This was my Mother's Day gift.
Isn't she a beauty?

We used my new gift to till up a new area for a fall crop.  

This is all that's left of the tomatoes.  Only one remains.  I took out two that weren't really producing.  The basil keeps going and we've made a lot of pesto.  Which has translated into homemade Pesto Pizza.  
The beans in the lower left of the photo will be pulled up this week.

These two little patches of earth gave us so much.  I was always amazed how much food we received daily. 
Now, I'll enrich the soil with some organic compost and grow again.

Farmer Jane
aka: Bernadine