Friday, June 30, 2017

June's Garden (2017)

If I had to assign a theme to June's garden, it would be "progress is being made."  Since the busy season has ended at my job. I have begun working in the garden. I will begin with the successes.

I HAVE A WATERMELON!  I HAVE A WATERMELON!  I HAVE A WATERMELON!  Nevermind I am the world's worst at knowing when to harvest them at peak flavor, but I HAVE A WATERMELON!  I HAVE A WATERMELON!

And since I am bragging, here is my AWESOME compost pile!  In previous years I would have already dug it up and moved the dirt to the garden by now.  However, since I am behind on everything, the impatient compost pile decided to plant itself.  Everything growing is a volunteer.

The other side looks a bit disgusting, but we will ignore that fact because...

look what I found when I parted the leaves!  Tomatoes!!!!!!!!!!!!

Another success is the blueberry bush, which Bill wrapped in the cloth I used for the winter garden hoop houses. He saw mockingbirds helping themselves and decided to do something about it.  Although looking out the bedroom window at night, it looks like a ghost and causes Scooter to bark when the wind is blowing.

My yellow squash plant looks like a success, but I am reserving judgment.  Squash vine borers are a HUGE problem for me and last year I gave up fighting them and went one whole year without growing any squash to (hopefully) cause them to die out.  We shall see.

Squash vine borers, emerge in May and June from cocoons which have wintered over in the ground.  The moth then lays eggs on the stems and the larvae bore into the stems, killing the plant.  They have two life cycles here in Tennessee.  Covering the plant with fabric does not work because they emerge up from the soil inside the hoop house. Spraying does not work because they bore inside the vine and the poison will not reach them.  Unless you happen to spray, in the right place at the right time just as they begin to bore, they continue to survive.  Sometimes they are on the underside of the stem which never receives poison.  I have tried EVERYTHING.

This is what I am trying in hopes it will deter them from getting to the stems.  This is under the leaves before I did anything.

I cut off the outer leaves, sprinkled poison on the stems, pulled the blooms off so the bees will avoid the plant for a few days, then covered the stems with cut grass.

Hopefully, the moths will not be able to get to the stem to lay the eggs.  However, they have probably already done that since it is the end of June.  Normally I get a good harvest for a  few weeks, then the plant dies.  I will plant more seeds and try again, but usually, it happens again.

Commercial farmers are able to rotate their crops from one huge field to another huge field and keep the moths from finding all of the plants.  Rotating from one side of my garden to the other does not seem to work.  They just fly over.  This is my big experiment for this year.  Maybe???? they died out last year.

This is the area by the field fence and it was the first spot planted in the spring.  It has beans and a few okra.

This is the middle of the garden, out of control weeds.

This is the area closest to the house which was the last to be planted.  It has peanuts on the left (with quite a few empty spots), bush lima beans, tomatoes in the center and sweet potatoes on the far right.

This is the area by the back fence.  It will be my winter garden this year, carrots first, then kale and swiss chard.  

I looked out and saw four of these catching bugs in the beans.  I was quite happy.

As I watched they wandered to the sweet potatoes and began munching on more bugs.  I was even happier.  

Then one waltzed over to my strawberry bed and PULLED THE NETTING OFF!  I DIDN'T KNOW THEY COULD DO THAT!   There are no pictures of the following events.  I was too busy running out the door, screaming, waving my hands, and being obnoxious to slow down to take a picture.  A startled Scooter ran behind me barking loudly.

As I examined the strawberry bed for damage, untangled the netting and secured it firmer, Scooter decided to join me.  He plopped down on top of the strawberries, right where the turkeys had been pecking.

Scooter, I demanded, "Why are you sitting on top of my strawberries?"

Scooter replied, "Silly Mom.  I am the bravest of the brave and am standing guard so they will never return."

"You are so lucky to have me."

Wednesday, June 28, 2017

Ditch Daylilies

Today I am linking up with Clay and Limestone to celebrate Wildflower Wednesday.  I have chosen a flower which I have watched grow for years.  It is a ditch daylily located beside the road in a small town in lower middle Tennessee, USA, in zone 6b/7a.  They are commonly seen in ditches and on embankments as erosion control. This one doesn't even own a ditch.  When I first noticed it about five years ago, it was a small plant at the base of the telephone pole.  Slowly over the years, it has spread up the hill.

I don't think anyone planted it.  Why would anyone in their right mind plant a flower on the pavement beside a sidewalk under a telephone pole?  My guess is one little seed washed down the hill, found a tiny crack in the road, and sprouted.  Slowly it has spread.  It is amazing how it has survived, thrived and spread on nothing.

Hemerocallis fulva has been chosen to receive the honor of being showcased by me for the month of June's Wildflower Wednesday.  I think it deserves the honor.

UPDATE:  The story continues in July's Wildflower Wednesday, It's Too Hot and is concluded in September's Wildflower Wednesday

Monday, June 26, 2017

My Job, An Outside Graduation, part 7 of 7

This is a continued explanation of our setup for the outside graduation.  We have finished the rain plan setup in the school's gymnasium, the broken lens has been repaired and now it is time to begin setting up the outside location.  Jim gives instructions to everyone and the work begins.

"Chop chop."
Howard begins assembling the cameras.

Doug ponders as he looks for the perfect place for his camera to get the best shot.  

Jim guessed, "Nine out of ten Dougs will think the best camera shot will be in the cool under the shade tree."

Doug corrected, "Ten out of nine Dougs will agree."

Even though we are outside, taping the cables down is still mandatory.

In addition, we use landscaping staples on cables that are going across the grass.

Dustin and Ron modeling the staples

Doug using the landscaping staples.

A snake in the grass with staples.
Jim will take the power cable and connect it to the breaker box which is located in the basement of the oldest building on campus.  It appears it might have been built during the dark ages.  Since Jim is afraid of monsters, always has been scared and runs to his big sister to protect him, I volunteered to go with him way, way, way back in the basement.  He is lucky I am such a good sister.

I will also be available to help him if he sticks a screwdriver into a live wire and is shocked and can't get free.  My job will be to save his life by kicking him loose with my rubber soled shoes.  The chance that I might get to kick Jim as hard as possible is definitely worth hiking deep into the bowels of the basement.

"Jim," I asked while waiting in the dust, "When will I get to kick you?"

"Sorry, not today.  We provided a special connector that fits our truck and it was installed by an electrician into the breaker panel.  It is completely safe."  Jim cheerfully assured me.

Sigh. "Jim, it looks like you are poking your hand into a socket."

"I know what I am doing."  He assured me.

I believe him. Oh well. He probably would have kicked me back anyway.

"Now I am connecting an ethernet cable so we can stream everything to the internet for the world to see."

Who cares about the world?  Look at this place. My short attention span waned and I became distracted by everything around me. What a bunch of junk everywhere.  What could all this stuff be?  When was the last time anyone dusted?  I began to snoop.

Jim is hard to see since he is dressed in black but he is in the back of the picture.
I am sure these wires are not to be touched.  I didn't realize buildings built during the dark ages had electricity.  If they had electricity during the dark ages, would it still be dark? 

 A dusty chandelier sitting in a buggy with a coil of wire beside a box of arrows behind a broken chair.  Really!



Jim yelled back to me over his shoulder, "Follow the cable", as he continued walking.

Finally, I can see the light at the end of the mile long tunnel.  I will live!  He should not have run off and left me back there.  It was mean.  I am telling Mom.

Meanwhile, back outside...the weather is getting hot.  I help Doug cool down by fanning him.  It is in my job description.

Howard spies a cloud forming on the horizon.  He is concerned and checks the weather on his cell phone.  It says there will not be any rain.

Now he is wondering if he should believe the weatherman.  When was a weatherman ever right?

I wonder...
The graduation begins.

Dustin on Camera 1

Howard on camera 2

Ron on camera 3
You have to take my word this is Doug in the picture.  Everyone else wanted under the shade tree too.

Doug on camera 4
Jim, the boss, is inside the air-conditioned truck drinking coffee and directing cameras.

The air conditioner on the wall behind him shows the temperature in the truck to be 68 degrees! What an easy job.

Alright, alright, I will admit Jim works harder than all of us put together and I have also made fun of everyone while telling my story.  They were all good sports especially when I stuck a flashing camera in their faces while they were trying to load a jeep late at night in the pouring rain.  It was a fatiguing, but successful season.  There was much, much more to everything than what I shared.  After each show, Jim still had to edit, copy, mass produce, ship, pay bills...on and on.  He fell asleep mid-sentence one night while sitting on the lobby floor waiting for a show to end.  I let him rest.  How he kept from dropping his coffee cup while snoring is amazing.  

Everything did not go perfect, it never does:  equipment broke, rain fell, we were locked out, showtimes suddenly changed (and no one told us).  Disasters are normal.  Dustin caught a terrible stomach virus and everyone shared his workload without being asked.  Even though he was so sick he could hardly hold his head up, he did not stop working.  Clocking out and leaving never entered his mind;  family never clocks out.  The crew is family.

I found Dustin a throw-up trash can...just in case, then flashed the camera in his eyes.
"Congratulations, you have reached Jim at the crisis management hotline. We are now opened 24 hours and on weekends. How may I help you?"

Yes, that is how he answers his business phone.  Everyone knows him and is not surprised. Telemarketers panic and hang up.

Jim began his business years ago with nothing, absolutely nothing.  He bought all the equipment used and rebuilt it.  This company, his life, his passion was built from the ground up with his sweat.  Every one of his many crew members appreciates working for him because he is fair, honest and an honorable Christian man.  He hired my sons when they were young and could not get other jobs due to a lack of experience.  He was patient with their immaturity and taught them excellent business skills.  The work experience they gained was added to their resumes and it has opened many doors.  He showed them a true work ethic with his patience and kindness.  Whenever possible, he also mentors many others, not just my sons.

How does he do so much?  Well, coffee helps.  Lots and lots of coffee.

What is his driving force?  He loves the Lord and it shows in his love for others.  That is what drives him.

My little brother, Jim.
Love ya, bro.  Now get back on that phone and make sure tomorrow's work is lined up.

My Job, An Introduction, Part 1 of 7

My Job, An Introduction, Part 2 of 7

My Job, An Introduction, Part 3 of 7

My Job, A Typical Day, Part 4 of 7

My Job, Just in Case it Rains, Part 5 of 7

My Job, Ocular Surgery, Part 6 of 7

My Job, An Outside Graduation, Part 7 of 7