Sunday, September 29, 2013

Friday Garden, Sunday Edition

I spent some quality time in the back this afternoon - got as much of the weeds knocked down as two weed eater batteries would let me.  There are still a few things growing and producing, plus the surprise that was waiting for me when I got home last month, hidden in the weeds!

I got the kitchen bed pretty well cut back.  There are a couple of non-weeds left, too:

 One Thai Hot Pepper plant, with baby peppers.

An almost embarrassing abundance of Sweet Basil!

A seriously mangy Oregano plant.

And some Sage.  Not much, but some!

The new 'deep' bed, with tomatoes and peppers living together (not next year!)

One of the "wild" tomato plants.  Blossoms, but no fruit, yet.

Potted Pepper Land... just about finished, I suspect.

More tomatoes and peppers, and the Quince stick.  Not  too sure about it - about 50% of its foliage has been brown for most of the summer...

Same bed, different angle.

Remains of the onion and garlic - a few scraggly onions, and a small bunch of Thai Hots, with green peppers.

Finally, the potted Rosemary, and the surprise!  Two years ago, the Doc planted Dill Weed.  We were surprised when none sprouted last year.  It is, apparently, called a weed for a reason, and we were expecting to to take over the kitchen bed.  But no.

I spotted this one about a month ago, as I was beginning to get the garden cleaned up.  It doesn't seem to leave a scent on the hand like Rosemary and Basil do, but when I dug it up and was sorting out its root, I definitely smelled Dill.  I thought I'd pot it to see if it will survive until next Spring.

Stay tuned!

Saturday, September 21, 2013

Thursday, September 19, 2013

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Down The Drain,...


Two years ago, when I tarped the main roof, I used some bricks to hold the tarp down whilst I was fastening it down with stringers and nails.  When I was done, I tossed the bricks over the side to the walkway.  The drainpipe for rain runoff runs alongside the walkway, and is not completely buried.  Mind you, I'm three(!) stories up, and just tossing randomly.  Needless to say, one of the bricks shattered the exposed pipe.

In the intervening two years, I have seen chipmunks darting down the hole, and lots of runoff going down the front steps.  So, last week, I go the parts I thought I needed - two coupling joints to glue in a new section of pipe, that I was going to cut from a longer section I had stashed on the side porch.  All was good, until I pulled out the pipe I was going to use.  It is heavier duty than the downspout pipe, so it doesn't fit the couplings.
The system is the drain for the second and third story roofs.  It runs down the side of the house, under the porch, then out thru an exit on the front retaining wall:

As I was sawing the street side of the pipe, it seemed to be WAY to wiggly.  To my mild surprise, I was able to pull a section out from under the porch.  Using it, I was able to cut a section off, and couple it to the upstream end:

The only way to get at the rest of the system is, of course, to disassemble some or all of the front porch.  WAY more fun than I want, need, or can physically handle right now.

So, I improvised:

And, after yesterday morning's rain (which I mostly slept through), it looked like it worked.  Next time it rains, I'm going to go look and make sure it's actually draining, and also not flowing under the steps.

Monday, September 16, 2013

International Buy A Nun... (Updated x4) (and bumped!!)

...A Book Day!

Update IV:

Time's running out!  Get out there and buy that nun a book, dang it!!

 Update III:

Got this from the Sister to whom I'd written:
Thank you so much, Lee. I can identify some Sisters who will be thrilled to receive the books.
Sister Kathryn
Update II:

My book club has notified me that two of the books I've requested have been mailed.  No word back from the convent, tho...


 Didn't hear back today, and since the day is next Tuesday, I went ahead and ordered books that I've enjoyed and though the good nuns might also.  Here's my e-mail:
Hello, Sister,
As the 'official' day is next Tuesday, I went ahead and picked out four book to be sent to directly you for distribution.  They will probably be arriving over the next week or two, which is a function of how the swap club works.  Each book will be coming from a different member, so arrival is a function of how soon each member gets to it, and how far it has to travel.
I wound up ordering three books that are favorites of mine, and one similar but different from a series I have read from.
They are:
A Letter of Mary, by Laurie R. King
The Dante Club, by Matthew Pearl
The Tao Te Ching, by Lao Tsu, translated by John C. H. Wu
The Best American Short Stories 1997, ed. by Kenison(?)
I hope you all will enjoy them!

I wondered what books to get, and who to give them to.  I suddenly realized/decided that I wanted to send them to the nuns (or the order, anyway) who taught me in grade school.  I've managed to track down the "Mother Ship" convent in California, and sent an e-mail off asking what books might be appreciated.

So, if you know (or knew) a nun, buy her a book!

(This seems to be a word of mouth/blog thing, so pass it on!)

Saturday, September 14, 2013

Friday Garden...

...Saturday version.

This is petty much what the whole back yard looked like, only times elebenty, when I got home from the hospital six weeks ago.  And I was in no shape to do a damned thing about it.  This, by the way, is the kitchen patch.  You can see some sage amongst the wild growth.

The good news is, one of the sweet basil plants had a good enough hold to be taller than the weeds.  I harvested some once before I left, so there's more to dry and use!  (I put some fresh leaves in a Subway Meatball Marinara sandwich - yum!!)

Most of the tomatoes looked somewhat like this:

That said, I got about 25-ish lbs, and put up about 12 pints of salsa roja for tamales and enchiladas.  Here's what two of the Early Girls look like:

I also have two "wild" tomato plants.  This one is an Early Girl, based on the shape of the fruit:

No fruit on this one, yet, so it's a mystery:

Not terribly successful with the melons.  Got these, and two more that are in the fridge.  I figured out that planting melons and tomatoes together is a Bad Idea - too much competition for water, so the tomato plants dried up and the melons didn't do much.  Next year, separate beds!  (Tomatoes and peppers together seemed OK, though.)

Tomatoes and peppers:

 Garlic and onion - about zero garlic, and the onions are kind of stunted.  I'm thinking that maybe I didn't plant them deep enough.  Garlic was fine when I got home, then poof! - nada.

I planted Thai Hot Pepper seeds, which seem to be doing OK (the bush in the upper-right).

Another angle on the onions and peppers.

The Rosemary was getting choked out by the weeds, so I potter her.  This will let me take her inside for the winter.  One of the nursery people I spoke with told me that we are right on the edge of the zone where Rosemary can winter successfully.

Blackberry is OK, but fruitless.

 I'm still getting some tomatoes and peppers, so I may do a little more canning.  Spent a goodly part of the day cleaning the yard up - pulled out the watermelon plants - roots were a bit entwined with the tomato, hence my conclusion about the water.  Trimmed out as much of the dead tomato vines as I could, so the plants don't look so ragged.  I'm pleased with the results, and pleased with what I learned about tomatoes and melons.  All in all, a good, productive day.

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

...about that garden!

Two weeks in hospital/in-patient rehab is NOT conducive to a neat, tidy garden.  We had enough rain to keep everything from drying up and blowing away, so that was good news.  The bad new was the rain also watered the weeds.  I was surprised we didn't get another notice from the city.  (They check to make sure weeds aren't over 6 in tall - the ultimate HOA!)  And I was in no shape to really do much of anything.

I did pick about 20-ish pounds of tomatoes, which got turned into frozen puree and 15 pint of red sauce.  The Bell peppers and serrano peppers went into the first 3-jar batch.  Simmered some chicken in it - not bad!  The rest is my chili recipe, without meat - I'm thinking tamales or enchiladas.

Anyway, it's winding down - a few more tomatoes and peppers here and there, a couple of watermelon, but not enough to get excited about.

Next year, I'm thinking fewer tomatoes,  more spices.

Friday, September 6, 2013

Check Up III

Back to see the surgeon today.  I was told I can now lift 20 lbs (I kept a straight face).  The best news is that I can take real showers, even swim if I wish.  And I can take one of my anti-inflammatory drug per day.  Took one when I got home, walked the dogs, and could feel a difference by the time we got back.  Right now, my hands don't hurt for the first time since the surgery!!

I signed up for another four weeks of physical therapy.  It's helping tremendously, and yet I feel that I need more than another week and a half.  Yesterday, Jeff brought out a balance board, at which I just pointed and laughed.  I have no real sense of balance, which is why I body surfed instead of using a board.  My left foot has roll, pitch and yaw, although not quite as much as my right.  Just got to get the left calf stretched out a bit more.  All in all, Dr. S. is happy - he told me it sometimes takes patients two years to recover to the point I'm at.

I am a happy camper!