New Neighbors

Big news – picked a few ears of corn. It’s about 2 weeks early relative to the estimated harvest date but it’s starting to ripen nicely. It’s a bi-color variety and they really look good. There are two ears per stalk and probably 50-75 stalks reaching maturity in the next few weeks so we should be overdosing on corn in June.

Converted some Kale and Swiss Chard into Blueberries the other day. Alchemy. Nancy’s bridge partner grows blueberries so she keeps me covered during the season (now) and I reciprocate with the greens and other garden goodies. She’s about 85 and swears that it’s my veggies that keep her so healthy. Up until a few years ago she did her own small garden but it’s really too much for her now and she so appreciates the fresh produce. I do ok with the kale even though I don’t much care for it myself. Barbara makes a tasty Portuguese Kale soup and Wilma does the blueberries so it works out just fine and dresses up the garden.

Thirty two quarts of spaghetti sauce made to date and no sign of a let up in tomato production. I think a dozen tomato plants is over the top – note to me: cut back to eleven next year. I can pick ten pounds a day and the mix is shifting more to the San Marzano’s as the season progresses.

We have a new neighbor. I call him/her/them the Tuba’s. George’s fish ponds have attracted some rather large jumper frogs and they sound like someone is on his back porch playing the tuba. As the crow flies, we’re probably 250′ from his back porch but I can hear them as if they were on my porch. Techies know that low frequency sounds carry farther and this is probably a 20 hz song. George said that the pools are loaded with tad poles and frog eggs so things are only going to get better/worse depending on your perspective. Personally I love it and Nancy’s hearing isn’t what it used to be. I guess the croaking is also calling in some black snakes looking for frog legs, tadpoles, and/or eggs so he’s got a real eco system going on up there. Sure the population of raccoons is up too as evidenced by my second trash can disaster this month. I thought perhaps it was a bear but this time they got hold of one of Nancy’s Downy bottles and the tooth marks were way too small to be a bear. I guess just eating frogs and tadpoles doesn’t do it for them and they need a taste of home cooked garbage now and then.

Pulled the Brussels

Did something I’ve never done before and really feel bad about it. Now I know what it means to be clinically depressed. I took two of my surf reels to a shop for cleaning. That’s something I’ve always done myself but I’m facing a combination of the manufacturers using smaller parts and me growing bigger thumbs. Even though I’ve generally lost weight, somehow my fingers are fatter. I just can’t deal with the little springs and gears like I used to. Hell, I can’t even see them let alone figure out which way they go together. For those of you who’ve never dissected a fishing reel, they are full of spring loaded parts that stack together in just the right order. If you screw up taking it apart, the springs pop and parts go flying. Visualize working on a fine watch. Being mechanically challenged, it was always difficult for me, but I was able to make it happen. I even use to customize my reels with special gears, centrifugal weights and other parts to increase the performance beyond the manufacturer’s wildest dreams. Now I’m at the limit of my ability picking up one of these tiny screws and getting it started without cross threading. Handing those reels over was like handing over the keys to the kingdom and abdicating my control over the process. I explained to the guy exactly what I wanted and he just looked at me with that, “if you know so much, why don’t you do it yourself” look. Maybe it would have been better just to pitch them casually on the counter and say, “clean and oil”. Better yet, get Nancy to take them in.

A few posts back I mentioned that I was going to try rooting some sweet potato vines in the house as a way to expand and extend the crop. It works – at least the rooting part. In less than a week, the three cuttings have really nice roots and will be back in the garden by tonight. I think I’ll cut three more and repeat the process. This particular variety, Evangeline, has smallish green to purple leaves and very attractive foliage so even if the potatoes never materialize, they dress up the kitchen window sill nicely – my opinion and not necessarily shared by all the residents here. I guess we won’t know for a few months whether the whole process yields potatoes. Is it possible that all my messing around is endangering the whole crop? Learning that shipment of new starts has been banned by the Dept of Ag has spurred me on to all this experimentation. What if these are the greatest sweet potatoes ever grown/tasted and I can’t get more?

Pulled out the last of the celery, a month past it’s prime, and put a couple of eggplants in the spot. The Swiss Chard is looking a bit worn and just has trouble dealing with the heat so I’m going to pull it and put a Tomato Berry in it’s place. And the Brussels are now in their final resting place – the compost pile. The picture shows them pulled and ready for the final picking. Not sure how much longer they would have kept producing but it was getting really hot in the afternoons and I’m ready for a switch to okra. We had five plants and that seemed adequate for us and George. Next season I’m going to start them a month or two earlier and put in 6 plants. The only winter crop still putting out is the Kale. Sure wish I liked it.