Say Hello To My Little Friends

It’s amazing some days when you head out into your yard and run across some unexpected new friends. And, these friends were welcomed!

I had to remove the bricks we had around the front flower bed because they got moved over the winter, possibly by hitting them with the snow blower, and when I pulled out all the bricks, I found a frog living in the muck under the bricks. He was not happy that I disturbed his little home, but I put him back in his home when I was done.

FROGGYS HOME

Fixing the bricks & finding our new friend, Froggy.

FROG 5-7-14

It’s amazing on how froggy can twist his leg around like that!

FROG CLOSEUP 5-7-14

Look at that face!

Then yesterday, my neighbor Steve showed me a little Robin’s nest he had in his bushes with three baby Robins in it. They were so adorable with their little fuzzy heads and pink bellies. I don’t think they had opened their eyes yet as they looked really young still. Ah, the beauty of nature is so fascinating. These are welcomed friends because they do no harm to our bushes or plants. (Thanks for the heads up Steve as I got some beautiful photographs!)

BABY ROBINS1

Click on the photo to enlarge this, and you can see the little tuffs of fuzz on their heads!

BABY ROBINS2

This little guy opened his beak up, as he probably thought I was bringing him some worms!

BABY ROBINS3

Just think, they will leave the nest soon and will be pulling their own worms out of the ground.

Nature is beautiful, isn’t it?

The WOW Factor

I knew it would happen sooner or later, and it happened this weekend.  The sunflowers that our Auntie Rene gave us, finally started to open.  All of the sunflowers seem to be in different stages of growth, and one finally opened up this weekend. Definitely a WOW factor!

BeFunky_SUNFLOWER OPENINGa

I have been keeping a close eye on the sunflowers to see what I would have to fight off these plants, and I have been quite successful, except for two of them perishing to a groundhog attack and being eaten.  Three of the five plants are still growing.

This is the first sunflower to open this weekend.  I had to climb up on a ladder to photograph this one as it is nearing the top of the garage right now.

BeFunky_SUNFLOWERa1

It appears, that from the second it opened, the bees were drawn to it like it was smothered in honey or something of the sort.  I kept checking on it to capture it opening, and every time, I saw more bees….one, two, three.  I watched them closely on top of the ladder, as they just crawled around in circles around the face of the sunflower.  My only fear was to have a bee decide to fly at me and I would have fallen off the ladder for sure!  (as I was getting pretty close to the sunflower with my camera)

BeFunky_SUNFLOWER AND BEE3a

BeFunky_SUNFLOWER AND BEE2

This is the second one, ready to open any day now.

BeFunky_SUNFLOWER READY TO OPENa

What a beautiful pop of color now added to our garden!

Garden Update 7-22-13

GARDEN COLLAGE 7-22-13

Another week has passed and we have evaded any deer attacks in the garden, except now something is taking advantage of our cabbage.  We are thinking that a bunny got in the garden area somehow, but we’re not sure since we have not seen one yet.  The cabbage heads are still intact, but the outer leaves have been severely nibbled.

FLAT DUTCH CABBAGE 7-22-13

We do have some good news to report, as our Juliet Tomatoes are now starting to ripen.  HINT: When Juliets form on the vine, they usually come in a group of 10, so just imagine how many tomatoes we are going to pick with batches like that! They have come back after the deer had chewed lots of the branches a few weeks earlier, and are now filled with nice huge tomatoes, getting ready to be picked soon.  Phew!  You should click on the photographs to enlarge so you can see actually how tall our one Juliet plant is.  It is amazing on how this just sky-rocketed!  (we need to find a pole tall enough to support it now)

JULIET TOMATO 7-22-13

JULIET TOMATOES 7-22-13

SEVEN FOOT HIGH JULIET TOMATO PLANT 7-22-13

Our weather has been so up and down here lately, one week with nothing but rain, then temps in the 90’s, and now this week we’re back to normal temps and cooler, and we even had more rain today with hail.  If we can just get a nice week of sun, the garden would surely ripen up nicely.

SPIDER IN THE GARDEN 7-22-13

I just noticed today that we finally have a small Red Warty Thing pumpkin that has formed.  Our pumpkins are really behind in their growth this year and we hope that we can actually get a pumpkin or two before Halloween.

Our zucchini is taking its good ole time in growing too, but we are not surprised with this as they did the same thing last year.  We need to improve our soil next year as this will encourage growth with more nutrients.  Remember that our zucchini plants are in the flower bed next to the garage, and are not in our raised garden.  But what is strange, is that our strawberry patch is on the left side of this same flower bed and the strawberries did great this season.  Who knows why one kind of plant does well and the other grows slower, but it has to be all about the soil composition.  That’s ok though, as next year we are planning on planting the zucchini in the raised garden bed, as we feel the strawberry plants will take over that entire flower bed area.  (by the way, look at the photo below…can you see where the arrow is?  That is where the strawberry plants started at the beginning of the season.  Now they are more than halfway through the flower bed)

ZUCCHINI 7-22-13

STRAWBERRY PATCH 7-22-13

The cucumbers have grown with leaps and bounds and are climbing up the two trellis’s and little cucumbers are all over the vines.  I could only imagine how much taller our cucumbers would be now, if the deer would not have pruned them down to nubs a few weeks ago.

CUCUMBERS 7-22-13

BABY CUCUMBER 7-22-13

We were sitting here talking the other day and we could not believe all of the setbacks we have had this gardening season.  One after another, and we were close to just throwing in the towel on the whole garden a few times, but then you get that burst of energy that pulls you back up to fight back against the elements & the critters.  Even having a small garden like ours, is a lot of work, time involved, and lots of maintenance.  Our garden is 6′ x 16′ and you would think that it would be a breeze to maintain…think again!

SUNFLOWERS FROM AUNTIE RENE

It’s all worth it though just to be able to pick something that you grew yourself, as you can appreciate all the work that went behind starting that plant from a seed the size of a “dot”.

Survival or Revenge?

GARDEN UPDATE BUTTONLast Tuesday, you all know what happened.  A deer came into our garden and demolished about half of our garden.  Hoof prints were all over our raised garden bed, cabbage plants were trampled on, cucumbers chewed that were about to bloom, pepper plants were chewed down to nothing, romaine lettuce nibbled to nubs, strawberry plants pruned, and tomato branches bit and tomatoes eaten like an appetizer.

Then, a few days later on Friday, we noticed that the deer were back and tried to get back into the garden.  Yet this time they did not jump the fence, rather tried to break through it.  The good news is, that they did not make it into the garden.  Phew!  Later that day, we went back to Pettiti’s Garden Center in the hopes to find more pepper plants to replace the ones that the deer demolished and to purchase a highly recommended deer spray called Plantskydd.  (as you can see from the label, it also deters Elk, and so far, we have not had any elk sightings here….yet)  This spray also does not need to be re-applied when it rains, and it is thick like blood.  Ew, I know.

PLANTSKYDD

Our wonderful neighbor let us borrow his spray after our first deer attack and we sprayed it all around the garden fence.  Holy cow, this spray stunk up the whole neighborhood and I actually had to vacate our backyard for the evening.  Thank God everyone had their AC on at the time, or there would have been a lot of windows slamming shut from the stench.

STARTING OVER

We planted all of our pepper plants, planted more romaine lettuce and leaf lettuce, and as of today, I noticed that the romaine lettuce is trying to re-grow from the nub left in the ground.  It somewhat looks promising that we might be able to recover our garden, but time will tell.

OUR GARDEN 7-8-13

I hadn’t been in the garden for a few days because I was so sickened last week of what happened, and I finally went out over the long weekend to take a look around.  It finally hit me that I cannot just sit back and watch our garden get demolished by these animals, and that I had to do something.  So, I opened up our recycling bin and pulled out about 10 empty dog food cans and drilled holes in them, then strung them up in a line in front of our garden fence in the hopes to deter the deer.  I am hoping that these work to run them off and hopes that it will scare them when they bump into them.  We’ll see.

TIN CANS

To date, we have dealt with chipmunks, deer, and now today….you are not going to believe this one – – a porcupine!  Yes, I said porcupine!  Nikita was looking out the front window this morning and seemed amused watching something.  I went to investigate, and found a porcupine under our front window.  Holy crap is what I said to myself.  Of course, I ran and grabbed my camera to get a photo of this guy we named “Porky” because I figured no one would believe me that I just saw a porcupine.  Now, I need to do some research on “what” does Porky eat.  Hope it is not veggies!  Also, check out the long claws on him – yikes!  If you don’t think this is a porcupine, let me know, but that is what I really think it is.

PORCUPINE 7-8-13

We also had yet another loss this weekend too, as all of our grown from seed under the nice warmth of a grow light Burpee Sunflowers are now all gone.  The deer ate every single one of them.  And we were looking forward to actually watching these grow as we have never grown them before.  Well, I guess we won’t find out what they will look like this year at least.

EAT ME

SUNFLOWERS

Trying to grow a garden this year has been quite an adventure and we are up to an adventure, but not of this kind.   Geez!

 

 

 

 

 

Garden Update & It’s Not Good News

We are still trying to recover from what happened this week.  It is not good.  We feel that all of our hard work has been for nothing.  I usually post our garden updates on Tuesday and I am glad that I got distracted because if I would have posted my normal Tuesday post, I would have had to retract it on Wednesday morning.

Wednesday morning I woke up to take Bella out for her morning duties and as I stood there in the backyard, still half asleep, I took a glance over at the garden.  Then I looked again.  And again.  I could not believe what I was looking at.  What caught my eye was a clump of lettuce just laying on the grass.  Hmmm, that is not where it is supposed to be.  Then I glanced at the long row of red peppers next to the lettuce where there once were nicely formed peppers on each plant.  Gone.  All gone!  I think I screamed out loud, or it was the voice inside my head that was screaming in terror.  I went into shock Wednesday morning, and I have not recovered yet.

After some investigation, we originally thought it was a raccoon that climbed over our garden fence and wrecked holy terror on every plant in the garden, but we now know that it was a deer that jumped our 6′ high fence and made it into our garden for their evening smorgasbord.  Every plant in our garden was munched on, stepped on, ripped up, and damaged.  Our only hopes is that they can recover and new growth will emerge.  Our Romaine Lettuce that was over 6″ in height, is now only a stub.  Each and every Juliet Tomato and Big Boy Tomato that was nicely formed and ripening on the vines, are now all…gone.  Our baby broccoli that was coming up, was trampled on and the hopes of it coming back is not good.  Did I mention that I am in shock?

I did, however, go out on Monday and take my usual weekly garden photographs for my Tuesday post, and those will be the last nice pictures we will cherish of our garden.  We will just have to wait to see what happens.  Then, on Wednesday, I went to check my mail on Yahoo and saw that someone posted a video of a herd of deer in a field jumping over a fence.  How perfect I thought, and had to share that video with you.  Ah, nature putting our fences to shame.

http://screen.yahoo.com/massive-deer-herd-jump-over-102226379.html

Disclaimer: The photographs listed below are graphic in nature, so be warned before you scroll down to view them.  Gardeners, you might want to turn away, parental guidance is recommended.


Monday, July 1, 2013 & Wednesday, July 3, 2013

OUR GARDEN 7-1-13

As you can see from the above photograph, we have already picked & enjoyed our first few batches of fresh picked lettuce.

ROMAINE LETTUCE 7-1-13

ROMAINE STUB 7-3-13

Here are the photographs of our Romaine Lettuce on Monday, and on Wednesday.  From a beautiful bouquet of fresh greens taken down to a nub.  How sad is this!

RED PEPPER 7-1-13

EVERY PEPPER PLANT LOOKS LIKE THIS NOW

Each and every one of our more than 25+ red and green peppers plants went from bountiful veggies, to sticks.  Still in shock over this.

JULIETS RIPENING NICELY 7-1-13

THIS IS WHERE THE RIPENING JULIET TOMATOES WERE

MORE TOMATO NUBS

I don’t even want to talk about the tomatoes, as it will make me cry.  These little guys were gingerly handled from a seed, pampered into sprouts, and transplanted with love into our garden – only to be taken down by a deer in one night.  These should be ok though, since they still have blooms on them, but nonetheless, we are devastated by the attack.

CUCUMBERS 7-1-13

LEAVES ALL NIBBLED OFF CUCS

I have more photographs, but I cannot continue to post them as I am getting sick to my stomach again over all of this.  We are just sickened that in one night our entire garden has been damaged.  Nature must have been hungry that night.

 

Where Did The Week Go?

It’s been about two weeks since we have any sort of rain.  Our temps have been nice, not hot, but nice and welcoming finally the arrival of Spring.  But, it appears that our temps are going to drop again for this weekend and a storm will be blowing in later today.  We need the rain.

I was outside with the dogs this morning and happened to look up and saw a beautiful deer just standing in our neighbors yard.  Man, it was so beautiful just standing there eating their lilac tree.  It started to stomp its front hoof at me when I approached to take a photograph.  Silly deer.  They are so wonderful to watch walking around the neighborhood, and are definitely a lot bigger when you are close enough to them.  The only thing that I despise about them is when they head on over to our yard and start to munch on all of our plants.  They are destructive.

DEER 5-10-13

We worked on getting our raised garden together and filled with new garden soil over the weekend.  We had 3 yards of garden soil delivered on Saturday, and Sunday we worked on getting all of that soil in the raised garden, and on Monday morning, woke up sore.  (figured that would happen)

ROY WORKING IN GARDEN

VAL WORKING IN GARDEN

Not to mention that I got sunburned on my back.  You forget about putting on any sunscreen this early in the year, and you definitely pay for it later, like I am now.  My back is peeling like how a snake sheds it skin.  Yuck!  We also had to put up the 6 foot high fence around the garden again, like we did last year, to keep the deer out.  We even have a wood door to walk into the garden too, pretty cool, eh?  Now, our next problem to address is how to keep the chipmunks away from pulling our seeds out of the ground like they did last year.  So, what we are going to do, is cut the bottom off all of the plastic Creamora bottles we have been saving and place the  bottles over the seeds and seedlings when they start to emerge from the soil, just to keep the chippies away.  (oh yeah, you leave the top off the bottle too, to let air in)

Roy got a lot of things planted over the weekend as he was chomping at the bit to get the garden started already.  We had a great day to do this on Sunday.  After all the new soil was added to the garden, he planted us some Romaine Lettuce, Black Seeded Simpson Leaf Lettuce, Zucchini, and some Jack Be Little Pumpkins.  We had no luck last year with our zucchini, so this year I hope we have a better shot at getting some as I am dying to make some homemade zucchini bread.  Yum!

At this time of year, we are always busy.  Right now, I am still working my way around the house painting.  Trying to fit that in around all of the outside work to do.  Since we loved the Behr Gobi Desert color we painted in the bedroom, we decided to do the kitchen in it too.  The kitchen was only painted white, so adding a tad of color to it really looks beautiful.  It’s a very nice neutral color, and once I get a few things up on the wall, like photographs of the dogs in nice black frames, it will look marvelous!

We also got a nice new rain barrel from our new neighbors last week.  Since we almost passed out from the water bills last year watering the garden, we were so thankful and appreciative that we were able to get this rain barrel.  This will definitely save us lots of money on watering the garden this summer.  So, we have the rain barrel now, and we had to figure out how to hook it up since we never had one before.  We did research online and found lots of places that had parts to hook to the rain barrel, but when I was in KMart, I purchased a “gutter extension” flexible hose for $10.99 that worked perfectly for our needs.  I got my jigsaw out and cut a hole on top of the rain barrel in the size of the one end of the flexible hose, made sure the hose fit perfectly, then took our sharp garden scissors and cut the gutter.  After that, it was basically all done, as I just had to slide the gutter into the flexible hose and the hookup was complete.  With the rain storm arriving later today, we can’t wait to start collecting water!

FLEX-A-SPOUT

RAIN BARREL

Once this cold spell passes us this weekend, I am going to start taking all of our plants outside for small increments to harden them off.  After a week of doing this, they will be ready to be planted into the garden.  Man, I can’t even tell you how excited we are about picking our first pile of fresh home grown veggies!  I can taste my first tomato salad now!  And, I can’t wait to show you the progression of our garden too with photographs.  I also thought it would be really neat to do a slideshow of the garden.  What I was thinking, was to take a photograph of the garden every Monday morning from the same spot, and so on, and see how the garden grows in week increments!  It should look like the garden is growing right in front of you!

Bella and I took a walk in the park the other day and talked with a few people.  Bella met this adorable little girl who fed her doggie treats.  Bella was so nice to her and even gave her a little kissie on her nose.  The little girl giggled.  Bella also got to meet a small doggie on our walk named Buster.  Both Buster and Bella did their funny thing of running around in circles like little tazmanian devils.  It was funny to watch!

BELLA AND VAL ON SLIDE

BELLA SIDEWALK CHALK

Bella meets Buster in the Park

Bella meets Buster in the Park

I am not sure where this whole week went.  it just seemed to fly by in a blink of an eye.  I can’t believe it’s Friday already.  What do you have planned for your weekend?

What is Happiness?

What is Happiness?

Happiness can be related to many things.  Happiness starts in your heart and grows.   Happiness keeps you young.  Happiness can be found in locating the last bag of your favorite candy on the shelf, finding that spare dollar in your coat pocket, finding a lost button, getting the best parking spot, picking out the cart at the grocery store that does not squeak, a clean car, your favorite song on the radio, finding lower gas prices, a winning lottery ticket (even if it’s for a buck), or finding that perfect person to spend your life with.  That is what I have done, found the perfect person for me.  He is a hard worker, the most generous person I have ever met, a great provider, loves animals, and above all, he loves me.  I am the luckiest person in the whole world to have found him because he means the world to me and I wish I could give him everything that he has ever wished for in life, because he deserves it, but all I can give him is my love and devotion and show it by all of the things that I do for him every day.  I am not one for material things, and I am a true believer that it’s the little things in life that makes us happy, like a new colored highlighter or sticky note pad, or waking up next to the one you love every day.  That is the best feeling in the whole world and I would be lost without him.  I just hope that he knows just how much I love him and think the world of him.

Happiness also comes from working on projects together.  For us, for example, by creating our new garden this year.  We have worked on this from the start together, and have done the research and know what we need, went out and bought all the material to make it happen, and now, we’re at the next phase of our project, the planting of our sprouts.  We got our dirt delivered and got it in our raised garden bed, and now we just have to wait out our weather for a little longer for the last frost, and everything can head out to the garden to find their spot of glory in the garden.  Ah, togetherness, there is nothing like it, whether it is a plant meeting Mother Nature in the garden, or being with the one you love & sharing life together.

So here’s to the one I love – the person who means the world to me, as he’s like the sugar in my coffee, and the peanut butter in my Reeces Cup, the person who I owe everything to, and the one who I could never live without.  Love you Sweetie!  Thanks for everything that you do for me! 

 

Happiness, pleasure, joy, exhilaration, bliss, contentedness, delight, enjoyment,  satisfaction. Happiness,  bliss,  contentment,  felicity  imply an active or passive state of pleasure or pleasurable satisfaction.  Happiness  results from the possession or attainment of what one considers good:  the happiness of visiting one’s family.  Bliss  is unalloyed happiness or supreme delight: the bliss of perfect companionship.  Contentment  is a peaceful kind of happiness in which one rests without desires, even though every wish may not have been gratified:  contentment in one’s surroundings. 

Dreaming of Summer Blooms

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We just had a few days of snow, yes snow, and it got me to thinking about how the summer months bring so many beautiful blooms in the garden.  With the arrival of Spring we watch our plants start to emerge from the ground, and new birth begins.  We dream of  what our gardens will look like, and future plans that we have on our mind.  For things that did not work well in previous years, we plan on making them better, bigger, and more beautiful.   Some people try to keep up with the Jones’s, but that never works, if what you do in your garden is “just right” for you, then it’s perfect.  Coming home from a long day at work and seeing your plants in bloom always makes you smile.  So  today, we wanted to share with you some of our past Summer Blooms and can’t wait for the arrival of all the new birth that is on the way! 

Enjoy the blooms and we hope they made you smile today! 
Click on any photograph to enlarge them to see their beauty.