Monday, May 31, 2021

May's Garden (2021)

This is the honest truth.  Last night the temperature dropped to 46 degrees (F). Saturday night we went to a Memorial Day cookout where everyone wore coats and huddled around the fire.  This new weather pattern is requiring some adapting. The cool-season plants are thriving, the hot-season plants are disoriented and I am confused.

The potatoes are very happy in the pile of horse manure where they were dumped.  


There are two yellow squash on the front corner of the potato bed eagerly fighting for space.

We are impatiently awaiting the first tiny harvest any day now.  Usually, I only get about three pickings of squash before they die from the squash vine borers.  


This year, I bought enough of the squash vine borer scent traps to last all season; without them, it is impossible to grow summer squash.  Since the borers hatch twice in my garden zone (7a), six months of coverage is required.  It cost $40 and I struggled with spending that much money.  So I asked myself, will I get $40 of squash from my garden if I use the traps? At today's grocery prices, the answer was an easy yes. My plan is to plant an abundance this year and then be able to can enough for two winters.  Maybe next summer there will be fewer borers and I may, hopefully, grow enough to eat fresh.

The first trap went up on May 15th and it has already caught one small adult.


The first row beside the lawn has pepper plants.  It is definitely a ridiculous amount of peppers and there are more still to be planted. This is the year for experimenting with new varieties and I obviously went overboard when buying new seeds.


This past winter we ran out of canned tomatoes because we had eaten too many fresh last summer. This year, that isn't going to happen again - there will be plenty!  There are still more plants waiting to go in the ground.


Medicinal calendulas, beets, endive, and lettuce are squeezed into the extra space between the tomatoes.  Melons are at the beginning of the rows and will spread down the thin space at the side of the paths.  


The center of the garden was the last to be plowed and it is beginning to sprout.


The Swiss Chard at the far end is still bolting wildly.  The small leaves are good but it is tedious picking them.  

The last row which was from the unknown assorted seeds is about finished and will be replaced with sweet potatoes soon.


The back of the garden is amazing.  If I had known trailers of horse manure would make this much difference, I would have bought myself a horse years ago.


The cucumber plants are growing up the support fence in front of the shed but the Sugarbaby watermelon and okra plants are just sitting.  I think the cool nights have slowed them.


This year I bought a package of assorted cabbages for the first time and like that they mature at different times.  Beets are squeezed between the cabbages.


The two winter hoop house beds in the back have been thrilled with the cool spring temperatures. The squash in the middle of the path was a volunteer.  It sprouted and I left it.  It hasn't bloomed so I have no idea what variety or cross it might be. 


The English peas on the back fence have been a huge success...well, a success for me, at least.  For the first time ever, I have gotten more than a few handfuls of peas. They haven't died from the hot weather yet!  A longer spring is much preferred over the quick rush of blazing hot summer heat.



The far back corner is the onion bed.  Vining plants will be planted at the base of the supports...when I can make up my mind what I want.  There are too many choices this year.


The onion bulbs are beginning to form.  


The spinach planted between the onions is almost all gone but the endive is still growing.  It seems to like the cool shade under the trees.


The garden this year is more interesting than ever with all of the new varieties.  The taste tests will be coming soon and that is when the fun really begins.

Sunday, May 30, 2021

Testing, Testing, 1, 2, 3...

 Greetings, 

This is Dustin from GetMeToTheCountry's in-house IT department.

We interrupt our regular broadcast of the gripping, edge-of-your-seat epic drama of Mom's garden blog documenting play-by-play her intense, visceral struggles against the adverse forces of nature such as scorching drought and floods that run uphill as well as ferocious beasts of the wilderness like the fashionable hat-eating horse or the burglarious bullet-resistant armadillo lurking in the night... to bring you a technical services update. This post is a heads-up to our current follow-by-email widget subscribers and RSS feed subscribers (and also so I can test these features to make sure they work).

 Google has indicated their subscription-by-email widget service named "FeedBurner" will go into maintenance mode in July 2021, implying that it is going away at some point. "Follow.It" is our new follow-by-email widget provider. 

For those of you who have already subscribed via email to GetMeToTheCountry, you should still receive notifications of new posts as usual, but now the notifications may look a bit different and you may need to reconfirm your subscription in the next update message. 

As for the RSS feed, the current subscriptions to the old RSS link *should* automatically redirect and you shouldn't have to do anything special to keep it working.

Thank you for your patience as we make these changes. 


Tuesday, May 11, 2021

Passover Celebrations (2021)


We celebrate the Feasts of the Lord according to the astronomically and agriculturally correct calendar.  It is how God tells time.  We celebrate them because He acts according to His timetable.  The feasts are dress rehearsals for what God has done in the past or is going to do in the future.  Since we are in a prophetic season (a time when He is moving) we are watching closely for the signs. This year, everyone around the world is confused. That includes me.

My late grandfather's wine glass

The Gregorian calendar is used here in the USA. It has a leap day every four years to keep the calendar coordinated with the sun.  The Hebrew calendar is based on the cycles of the moon and has a leap month every few years. The leap month is decided by the rabbis in Israel and is based on the ripe barley harvest around the Temple Mount.  If there are not enough grains to make loaves of bread for the Wave Offering for the Feast of First Fruits a few weeks later, an extra month is added to the calendar.  

Unleavened bread made from whole wheat flour, oil, and salt.

This year, no one could agree if enough were ready.  Since there was no high priest to judge (Jesus is in heaven), "every man decided to do what was right in his own eyes" and two Passovers, Unleavened Breads, First Fruits, and Pentecosts were declared. 

Lighting the Shabbot Candle at Sundown

We celebrated our first Passover on Sunday, March 28th with a feast, the second one a month later with sandwiches.  At present, I am still counting down to the second Pentecost.  On each "maybe today is the right feast date" we talked to each other and discussed what was happening in the world and wondered which were signs from God. We all have different opinions...confusion is reigning, but time will tell.  

Our Seder Meal

Our first Passover was almost the same as last year's celebration except Joshua, my firstborn, received the honor of applying the lamb's blood to the doorframes.  He took this responsibility seriously since he is the only firstborn in the house and his life is on the line.

Take some of the blood and put it on the sides and tops of the doorframes of the houses where they eat the lambs.  For I will pass through the land of Egypt this night and will smite all the firstborn in the land of Egypt, both man and beast; and against all the gods of Egypt I will execute judgment... The blood will be a sign for you on the houses where you are, and when I see the blood, I will pass over you. No destructive plague will touch you when I strike Egypt.  This is a day you are to commemorate; for the generations to come, you shall celebrate it as a festival to the Lord- a lasting ordinance.  Exodus 12 NIV




Scooter seemed to be quite interested in the proceedings which made us wonder if he too is firstborn.


We wore our shoes and kept our keys and wallets close by to quickly grab if we heard the shofar blow. It is the closest we can get to the meaning of "girdling our loins".

And thus shall ye eat it; with your loins girdled, your shoes on your feet, and your staff in your hand; and ye shall eat in haste.      Exodus 12:11, KJV.

Everyone's wallet and car keys sitting beside the table.

A fresh salad from the garden symbolized the Lord's abundance. He provided the rain and was responsible for my successful garden.

Garden salad

A fruit salad covered in cream represented looking ahead to the sweetness of the promised land of milk and honey.

Fruit salad covered in cream

Cucumbers and garlic remind me to not murmur and complain in my tent when life is not perfect.

Garlic plant and cucumbers

The lamb represented Jesus who choose to be sacrificed as our Passover Lamb.

Cooked Lamb

The only other change this year was the choice of bitter herbs. We ate the yellow blooms from a bolting mustard plant because they are deceptive.  Their beauty is enticing at first but it becomes bitter as you eat. For me, they symbolized how easy it was to be trapped in slavery.  Lies such as: "lockdown for only two weeks to save lives and flatten the covid curve" morphed into "you can't visit your mother for 11 months or go anywhere without a vaccination passport."  A virus with a survival rate of 99.9 percent for anyone under 70 years old terrified and stopped the world.  I willingly gave up freedoms and unquestioningly believed Pharoah.  Never again.

Bitter flowers from a bolting mustard plant

As for receiving a message from God, He has spoken clearly and I have heard.  This year is going to be confusing, chaotic and it will get worse before it gets better.  

Scooter washing the dishes.

Last year's celebrations and an explanation as to our traditions
Passover, Sundown, April 8, 2020

Thursday, April 29, 2021

April's Garden (2021)

 

The best words to explain this month's garden would be "I was going to...."  I realize I haven't made a post in a whole month but, gosh, "I was going to...." The weather has been awesome.  Coming inside to look at a computer was unthinkable.  The only reason I am inside now is that it is raining outside. 

The garden is sitting in cups on the front porch waiting to be transplanted.  After listening to the old farmer's weather reports, I intentionally waited until later this year to plant.  For a few years now, many volcanos have been erupting around the world.  Historically, (according to tree rings and old records) whenever that happens, the ash in the atmosphere causes climate change, blocks the sun's warmth, and lowers the world's temperatures. Normally our last hard frost in my area is about April 15th, but this year we had a hard freeze less than a week ago.  It's a good thing I waited.


In the garden, only cool weather plants were out and they did fine.  However, the potatoes in the newly created potato patch took a hit.


They all died back but today a few have sprouted.  It appears they will survive.


The first two fence rows for tomatoes are now up.  A few were planted yesterday and when the rain stops, more will go out. The paths are marked with hay and it helps me visualize what to put where.  The area on the right is tilled and ready.  The area to the left is not.  We put a load of fresh manure on the left side so it must be tilled a couple of times before anything can be planted. However, the tiller broke and must be repaired first.  


This is the last bit of the winter garden. The Swiss Chards are bolting but their flavor is still not bitter.  It will have to hold us until the rest of the garden begins producing.


Standing with my back to the fence and turning towards the house is the new spot Bill plowed.  It adds about two more feet at the end of the garden.  As he expected, it was full of rocks and was hard on the tiller.  A twenty-five by two-foot row may not sound like much, but it makes a difference in the growing area.


The back right corner in front of the shed was the location of the crazy trellis that collapsed last summer under the weight of Lima Beans.  We tore the twisted fencing down and left a piece in the corner. It will hold a Sugar Baby Watermelon and cucumbers. Detroit Red beets and a few cabbages are in the patch in the center.  Okra will grow right up against the short fences on either side.


Everything was started in cups on the front porch and was transplanted yesterday.


The okra will be trimmed to lean over the short fence into the lawn to not waste any space in the garden. We will have to dodge it when walking around the corner but I would rather save the garden area for more things.  After the okras are established, a vining bean will be put under each one to see if they could be supported by the okra.  


Standing with my back against the okra corner and looking toward the field will be the new winter hoop houses for this year. One bed has all broccoli and the other has collard greens.  Since I never seem to have enough of those two vegetables, that's what I planted.  I am tired of winter vegetables and ready to experiment with the new seeds I purchased.


At the end of the new winter beds are the onion, leek, spinach, endive, snow pea, and English peas. No decision yet as to what will run up the supports.


It does require careful balancing on the stepping stones when harvesting but this wasted space is well utilized now. 


On the back short fence, the snow peas haven't bloomed yet.


The horse trainers gave me their empty feed tubs to recycle.  These were pink so I painted them black.  The plan is to move all of my herbs into them since nothing else will grow in the shade under the tall trees.  The horses can reach over the fence but have never shown any interest in strong-smelling plants.  Filling them up with compost and digging up my herbs is on my "I'm going to-do list."


Getting as much as possible out of every inch and trying new vegetables are my goals for this year.  That means everything is on my list, well, everything except for going inside to look at the computer to read the news.  Nope.  If the sun is shining, I am outside.