A transplanted Southern Californian living in North Dakota, with some insights on life with deaf dogs, a gluten free spouse, and the occasional mischievous garden gnome. Thank you for visiting and I hope you enjoy.



Monday, September 12, 2016

Shaak Ti the Delicate Lady

Shaak Ti is indeed a delicate lady, genteel and proper in every respect.  She even sleeps with her paws delicately crossed. 
As you can see, it was a pretty rough weekend for the dogs of the homestead.  There was a lot of lounging in their dog beds or supervising from their pillowed perch in the upstairs window while us humans toiled in the garden.  

Wednesday, August 31, 2016

More Late Summer Garden Pictures

We're bearing down on the end of August, then Labor Day and possibly soon the end of summer. Here are some pictures from around the garden in the last week of August. 
This is the Blueberry area, just next to the Petunia Tower in the back yard.  The blueberries are surrounded by some assorted dianthus, sweet alyssum, and more petunias. 
This is the front edging of the garden area on the south side of the driveway.  The plants that aren't blooming are Indian Summer dianthus that I planted this Spring, I expect a great bloom showing next year.  There are also some trailing red verbeena, and the yellow flowers are Helenium autumnale - Sneezeweed. We only bought the sneezeweed because Alycia thought name was cool, but they've bloomed steadily and consistently all summer. I think we'll be adding more sneezeweed next year too.   
More verbeena, sneezeweed, dianthus, and even a lovely pink petunia. 
The Great Wall of Cherry Tomatoes.  These are planted in a raised bed along our garage and face south. Between the all day sunshine they receive and the heat that reflects off the metal siding, the tomatoes are really happy here.  Along the front edge of this raised bed are a few different varieties of marigolds (Inca Gold, Golden Gem and others). 
View of the Great Wall of Tomatoes from the other side of the raised bed.  You can barely make out the celery that we planted at the front corner of the box.  These got a bit overwhelmed, and probably were not my best decision to plant these here. 
Close up of the Golden Gem marigolds. These are one of my favorite marigolds and I either save the seeds every year, or let them go to seed in Fall and spread the seeds around the area where I want them to grow the next year.  Then I let the army of volunteers take over the next Spring, thinning them where it's needed. 

Friday, August 26, 2016

We Won - Free Stuff From Our Blogging Friends



Many thanks to Get Busy Gardening! for their awesome recent online giveaway.  If you haven't checked out their website or Facebook Account, I would highly recommend spending some time on their site.  They are our (almost) neighbors just down in the twin cities in Minnesota and have a huge repository of helpful gardening information.   

We entered online a few weeks ago and won: 
Thanks so Much to Amy at Get Busy Gardening!

Monday, August 22, 2016

Take Time to Enjoy the Sunbeams of Life

Shadowfax knows how to best manage a Monday morning: Find a good sunbeam and take a nap!
School has started again for both John and me, and we're cautiously optimistic about the upcoming year. Just 9 months to go until summer vacation...

Saturday, August 20, 2016

Cucumber Trellis Update

We posted pictures of our Armenian and Pickling cucumbers growing on a trellis (see post here) last month.  It's always impressive to me to see the growth that happens in late summer.  Here is that cucumber trellis last month:
Here's the same cucumber trellis exactly one month later. The heat, humidity and rain of the last month have helped these grow by leaps and bounds.  They've taken over their trellis completely and have overtopped the 6 foot fence. 
We waited and waited for the Armenian cucumbers to ripen and now we've got more than we can consume, multiple large ones are ripe every day.  That's the nature of of gardening here in the Upper Midwest...wait, wait, wait, then explosion of veggies. 

The Armenian cucumbers are eaten raw, the pickling cucumbers are used to make my tasty Refrigerator Bread and Butter Pickles, several quarts of which are sitting on the fridge right now.  I'll eat them throughout the winter and use them for fresh homemade relish as well.  

You may notice from the picture that many of the leaves in the middle and bottom of the plants are are whitish or pale looking.  This is most likely powdery mildew, which will eventually kill the plant, but won't really have a significant impact on the development of the remaining cucumbers.  Due to our short growing season here, a hard frost is going to kill this plant long before the powdery mildew will. 

Tuesday, August 2, 2016

Petunia Tower Update

The Petunia Tower I created a couple of months ago (see Petunia Tower) is filling out nicely and chock full of lovely blooms.  It's on the East side of the house past the blueberry raised bed area and gets full sun until early afternoon, which the petunias have seemed to enjoy. 

This is the Petunia Tower and clematis (jackmanii clematis) growing on a trellis that we see regularly every day on our way in from the back gate or garage into the house. 
The close up of the petunia tower shows that there's a little room for improvement next year.  These look a bit straggly for my taste and I think next year I'll treat this more like a potted planting like we have on the front steps (pictures of front step posts here) and have more variety of plants rather than just petunias.  This is the fun part of gardening for me, trying something out, seeing how it goes, then making improvements for next year!

Thursday, July 28, 2016

Late July Garden Pictures

This Summer here at the homestead has been full of precipitation, we've only had to water a couple of times so far this year.  The gardens have blossomed in the last few weeks of July with regular rainfall and warm, humid conditions.  It has been fantastic weather for growing.
This garden mound was started four years ago and is finally now well established (you can follow the progression from Dirt Delivery and Mound Formation to how it looks today).  There are still some bare spots to fill in way in the back behind the pine tree that have conveniently not been included in the photo.   
The light purple flowers in the left foreground are purple Coneflower (echinacea purpurea).  The middle and background have two monarda - "Purple Rooster" and "Coral Reef".  After taking a few years to get established, the monarda (also known as bee balm) have not only self-seeded to a few more locations in this bed, but also put on a show this year.

The yellow flowers in the middle are "Summer Sun" heliopsis and interspersed are some various annual zinnias and even a handful of marigolds.
This is the front garden bed that faces to the North.  It looks vastly different than it did in mid-June (pictures here), the blue hues of salvias have been replaced by yellow of the "Summer Sun" heliopsis and pale purple of the hosta blooms.  It always amazes me how the same garden bed can look vastly different in a few short weeks.

Tuesday, July 26, 2016

A Rump Pillow for Snuggling

It was a typical Summer day here at the homestead.  We got some chores done, tidied up some things in the garden, and played in the yard with the dogs.  It was hot outside though, and a rousing game of fetch followed by their afternoon walk took its toll on Shaak Ti and Shadowfax.
This is a pretty standard late-afternoon or early-evening scene around here, with the girls all snuggling together on the floor.  Shaak Ti is usually wedged somewhere.  In this case she's chosen to wedge her head between the couch and Shadowfax's rump.  That's a dangerous spot to be. 
When the bright summer sun saps your strength, the only recourse is to submit to a nice afternoon nap.