Friday, August 13, 2010


After the excitement of last weekend, the week has passed by rather quietly.  The summer heat has finally stifled me, it would seem--or else it was whatever pollen and dander has been floating in the air.  Along with, of course, the humidity.

Regardless, the endless dry days of temperatures in the upper 90s are taking their toll, and not just on me.

Doesn't the garden look positively droopy?  To be fair, I snapped this about 6:00 at the end of another hot dry day.  If you look closely, you'll see some of the tomato plants are well on their way to dead, and I don't think it's simply the weather.  It could be a fungus, or just old age and general stress wearing them down.  Whatever the cause, they have done their duty well, and if they are a bit tired, who am I to think less of them?

The beans on the trellis, however, are another matter.  They are having a lovely time up there, enjoying regular visits from the mockingbirds who enjoy the vantage point to survey the yard...but they haven't produced squat.  Everyone I've shared garden gossip with this year has told me the same thing: the beans and squash will not fruit.  We are doing well in that our beans are at least flowering--for all the good it's doing.  Still, I know that the roots are adding vital nitrogen to our soil, so I will let them enjoy their unearned vacation!

I should have taken a photo earlier of our cayennes and jalepenos.  Earlier this week I harvested at least half of the ripe peppers from these bushes.  There was so much red it looked like Christmas had come early!  We have very little use for these, as I am a grand wimp in the spice category, but Miss Chef just enjoys growing them.  Fortunately, one of my co-workers has actually become known as Hot Sauce around the office due to his love of spice, so he was quite happy to take my half-harvest for making pepper vinegar.  More power to him!

And here's a closeup of our sad tomatoes...

I have to confess, they've been suffering from neglect.  They should have been tied up again, and a couple of the stakes have bent or broken.  But I'm so tomatoed out, and it's been so uncomfortable out, I haven't been able to bring myself to care enough to do something about it!

However, not everything is dead or dying!  The unmonitored basil has gone happily along on its own, putting out flavorful foliage and pretty flowers, much to this fellow's delight.

Look at that greedy little guy (or gal, rather), face full into the nectar cup.  Honestly, such manners!  Still, I must graciously thank this bee for more or less ignoring me while I hovered overhead trying to get my best snap.  (That bright blue background is the side of our inflatable pool--which come to think of it, is also kind of droopy.)

Meanwhile, Rosie was enjoying her new fence.

She has recently discovered something living under the neighbor's deck, and now spends hours at a time keeping watch.  Dog tv; no monthly fee!

There is one amazing gardening success that happened right under our noses!  This is the front entrance walkway to the house.  Notice the variety of contrasting foliage.

Those spiky plants in the front are actually lemongrass!  Miss Chef, as ever curious about unusual ingredients that we can grow ourselves, bought a few plants during a late-spring herb binge.  Her herb garden, and my vegetable garden, were both already full, so she stuck them in here.  (I haven't been able to get any perennials to take root here, so it's become our test nursery--last year we had yellow bell peppers here.)

It's a good thing she didn't try to stuff these into her herb garden, because the center plant alone is just about as big as that entire bed!  The only failure here is our failure to actually use a single bit of these plants.  The one or two times I might have had need of their flavor I had completely forgotten their existence.

Since these are not perennials, we'll have to dry some to experiment with.  (Hmmm....sounds like a good prize for a giveaway, don't you think?)

And, finally, an unexpected shot of something I'm quite happy about!

The city of Charlotte has recently expanded its curbside recycling program.  Every home in the city received one of these bins to replace the old red square ones we used to carry to the curb.  There has been a lot of grumbling in the paper and online, partly because they also completely changed the pickup schedules for both trash and recycling.  And of course, there are always those who resent any government interference in their lives and think that recycling is some kind of liberal conspiracy against personal freedom (insert eye-roll). 

However, since these parallel so easily with the pre-existing trash bins, I have been thrilled to notice that a huge majority of our neighborhood is dutifully rolling these to the curb every other week!  Which means less in the landfills, regardless of anyone's political leanings.  And I've also enjoyed the fact that we don't have to juggle an overflowing red bin down to the street anymore.

Oh, and since the two bins are so similar in size, I can now say that Miss Chef and I recycle as much as we toss.  Which makes me very happy.

What's making you happy these days?


  1. Love the lemongrass. It looks like you actually planned to put it there. I think that recycling bin is a fantastic idea. Besides being very handy, it's got to be saving the city some money, if it's only picked up every two weeks.

  2. I bought a lemongrass plant this year, too! The tag that came with it said it could survive the winter if it was sheltered and pampered, so that's what I plan to do - because it's too darn small to get much benefit from right now!

    Isn't that funny about the squash and the beans. You already know the story about our squash. After a VERY rocky start and two replantings, our beans are finally producing, and I've gone from complaining about no beans to complaining about too many beans. I think I need to work on my capacity for gratitude...

    (BTW, my word verification for this post is "flacrete" which sounds like something you might do in flartopia. Hmmm.....)

  3. What a beautiful shot of the bee on your basil. The blue in the background just makes it pop.

    The picture of Rosie made me laugh out loud. We have the same scene playing out here right now with Kassie watching the squirrels on the other side of her fence. She literally will sit there for hours!

  4. oooo, those peppers look gooood!
    And your lemongrass is as pretty as an ornamental grass.

  5. "Sad tomatoes"?!?!?!?! They look a thousand times better than mine and we're not having a heat wave! I'm ready to give up and pull mine out. Iyiyi.

    And yeah for recycling-- We have three cans-- Black for trash, green for lawn stuff and blue for ALL the recyclables. It's easy.

    Happy weekend, jj

  6. i lik dat farm. dat a gud farm.
    i lik to mak de con brad.

  7. Here at the office, I am the one (or wouldn't have gotten done) pushing recycling - got all sorts of containers with different labeling, put up posters, etc. Got a truck that comes by once a week to pick the stuff up. I also have the employees bringing me their old egg cartons, and of course, I take those home. We should write a blog sometime about what we recycle. Such as, I also keep old Kleenex boxes, they are fairly sturdy and are good organizers.

  8. Do y'all live on the Indian Trail side of Charlotte by chance? I have a cousin who lives in Indian Trail.

  9. Joanna, Indian Trail is southeast of Charlotte, we're southwest. I actually work with a guy from Indian Trail, as a matter of fact.

  10. You're a KRAFT mayo fan too. I usually buy store brand but gotta stick with KRAFT mayo, I was raised on it.

    Sure wish you would post your Mothers Potato Salad recipe, like I said, I made this up to resemble the one we had at the friends house and she no longer can find the recipe after her husband died, she remarried and never makes it anymore. No rush but I sure would appreciate it if you'd post the recipe sometime.

  11. Old age, stress, and fungus wear me down too. I don't blame your tomato plants! I can't seem to find mine because the weeds have grown so tall. I am going to go on an expedition for them this weekend I think. I am hoping there might actually be a few tomatoes on them! Woohoo!

  12. Beautiful pictures. I just love that one of the bee.


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