I wanted to try squash blossoms in a salad this year, but didn’t take on the opportunity.
This year has been the biggest gardening endeavor I’ve tackled to date. My garden, mind you, pales in comparison to my mother’s. (She lives in an 11,000 square foot school house from 1936 on 8 acres.) Much rearranging took place. All I did was dig and dig and carry rocks and bricks and tie knots in baling twine, and smile. I worked wholeheartedly, which has been helpful physically as far as getting my strength back (I had major surgery and a kidney removed in 2011 and getting strong again has been a challenge).
Freddie supervised the entire project. He assured me that there was no way to mess up. He’s a very helpful Persian Pauper, indeed.
Summer 2014 has been a summer of love.
Noi and Ming. Ming has struggled for years due to a communication disorder. Always missing cues with the gals, being raped for the first year of life by his brothers…the poor little guy. He’s finally scored! It seems Noi and Olga, fawn and white Indian runners, have taken a fancy to him. He couldn’t be luckier, as they are two of the sweetest natured hens around.
In the beginning.
Tomatillos sprang from one of the old duck pool garden beds, uninvited, and they flourished. I learned to cook chutneys and make salsas I’d never heard of before.
Other plants took over various areas of the yard. This photos shows the dog yard, which was virtually overgrown with volunteers. I give the ducks squash and tomatoes, so each year I get a jungle from plants that spring up on their own. These had to be uprooted when I moved the fence, but some good harvests were had beforehand.
Squash, pole beans, tomatoes and sunflowers.
The blossom of a pole bean. The beans grew to be purple and green.
Blackberries from the thorn-less bush.
An acorn squash volunteer.
What the store labeled a “Gypsy Pepper”.
Beans peeking from the dog yard over the fence into the duck area.
Tomatillos, and Freddie.
The giant habanero dwarfs the bell, chili and jalapeno plants.
The “not-hot-enough” jalapenos of 2014.
A do-gooder, believe it or not, a curious yellow jacket resting on a sunflower, looking for pests.
Either fatigued and napping, or dying little bumble bee on a tomatillo blossom in early evening.
A large daddy-long-legs.
For the first time in my life, that I am aware of, I was bitten by a daddy-long-legs. It was on the back of my shoulder, near the sensitive part of the shoulder blade, just above my tank top near my arm pit. Just a tiny sting, nothing more.
Bernadette, the juvenile muscovy, my hen Jing-Jai hatched after sneaking eggs into a hidden nest. Bernadette barely survived. The flock infiltrated Jing-Jai’s cage and Bernadette’s eggshell was pulverized. I sat up all night keeping her moist and warm with a wash cloth and an electric heater.
Every other day or so the flock frolicked in the garden. This is Bella.
I made a sweet, tangy chutney from the garden grapes.
At first there were five or six rows of corn growing stronger every day.
Alas, too many windstorms. Freddie’s solution was to eat what remained of his weather-victimized corn crop.
“Just look at my garden, darlings!”
Green tomatoes everywhere.
Cherry tomatoes, another volunteer plant.
Might as well use the old recycle bin for some of those intrusive volunteers.
The first honey bees of the season arrived later than I’d anticipated, perhaps because people spray poisons to kill weeds, but here she is.
Fly, shoo… Flies and mice. Both unwelcome. This little bugger washing his shitty hands. Mischievous, ready to wipe his hands on my face.
This little bumble bee was repeatedly bombarded by U.F.O. on the right.
Going off to sprinkle some fruit baskets with nectar.
Rather cute, yeah?
Freddie, forever on the prowl.
Dot-Dot, a magpie duck, fans herself after taking a bath.
CoCo, a khaki Campbell hen, likes to nest in the straw bales.
CoCo, up close.
Bernadette floats in the estate sale pool on a beautiful day.
Noi has a feather she’d like to give you.
Freddie enjoys herding ducks. They are beneath him.
Henry, the Indian runner companion of Bernadette, loves her so much. He’s so “gaga”. If only he can figure out how to get in the pool, too.
O, struggles with the koi pond. The fountain kept readjusting itself, magically, spewing water out so that I’d find the fish in the shallows. Another thing to fix.
An early harvest.
All in a day’s work.
The freezer has many beans.
What happens when you miss a bean and it keeps growing? Sneaky gargantuan bean.
One of many zucchini harvests.
Just one harvest of many.
And the sweetest part: no need for a gym membership. Cultivating a small area is A LOT of hard work.
The first discovery nibble of the season. Ah, those spoiled duckies.
More garden snacking. A bite here, a bite there. No one will notice.
Early fall herbs harvest.
And…early September we see our first frost. Time to bring the basil and a few others inside. New project: fresh herbs throughout winter. Will it work? We shall see.