July 17, 2014
Beekeeping, Gardening, Healthy Lifestyle, Tomato Growing, Vegetables
cucumbers, gardening, melons, tomatoes, worm poop
I do believe that I am a 6 year old trapped in the body of a 63 year old man. We have had a couple of good downpours today – I wish I could send some to my California friends – mixed with gentle sprinkles. During one of the misty lulls I went out to the garden inspect and snack….
Inspecting how the bees were doing, I am happy to report that they are doing very well. Here is where the curiosities of a 6 year old kick in. I stand off to the side of the take off and landing pattern. I marvel at the roles visible at the entrance….some bees just hang out there as guard bees preventing “robbers” from getting in and fanning at the entrance to help maintain proper hive temperature. The others that were zooming in and out are the foragers, the last period of a worker bee’s life. They are on a mission! When they arrive at the entrance from a foraging flight, it is all business and they disappear inside immediately. The foragers departing don’t display quite the same sense of urgency…. some wander around for a few moments…possibly checking out the proposed flight plan and then off they go. Others, the hesitation is very brief and then off they go. I feel such a sense of wonder, almost mesmerized, as I watch the choreographed activity!
If you haven’t had the opportunity, follow a 3-6 year old child as they wander around outside. Watch to see what they find fascinating and attempt to see it through there eyes….some amazing things are taken for granted in this natural world around us….never lose the ability to see and appreciate the simple wonders around you.
Post rain – the bees are slowly beginning to forage and defend the entrance.
Snacks…My Juliet tomatoes are such a sweet snack. I picked a large number of the little cherry tomatoes and have about a dozen or more of the Juliets ready to be picked for the kitchen. Post rain they are so picturesque! Beads of rainwater still clinging to their skins and begging to be picked and consumed. Who am I to argue! Several found their way into my mouth!
Small, probably 2 ounces, but prolific and tolerant of the Houston heat and humidity.
Going vertical….Cucumbers and yes, even watermelons. My pickling cucumbers succumbed to the nasty white flies….the Lady Bug beetles were working hard but not enough to keep them in check. I still have Straight Eight and Armenian type growing and beginning to develop fruit.
An Armenian Cuke developing.
I am growing a variety of small watermelons. A refrigerator type and growing them vertically. As the fruit develops I will have to hang a sling to keep them up off of the ground…..I can’t wait. In the background is a banana plant that should bear fruit next year. I met a Mexican worker on a pipeline job that I am supporting that gave me the corms. He grows many varieties of bananas in his yard south of Houston. It is an apple banana, Manzano Banana tree! Looking forward to harvesting!
A developing melon. Full sized will be just a bit smaller than a volleyball.
The vertical climbing vines with the banana tree in the background.
I finally got a “round to it” handed to me concerning my worm farm. We have all used that phrase I am sure….”Yeah, I’ll get a round to it.” – But we never do…..I had a coworker who had a bunch made up – they look like wooden nickels and he hands them out to procrastinators…..I received one…what does that tell you about me? Yes, I fit the description! I harvested at least 10 pounds of wet worm poop and made several gallons of diluted worm poop tea! After spreading the gathered goodies I heard some “oohs” and “ahs” as the garden absorbed the delicious feeding!
September 22, 2012
California, Gardening, mulching, Philosophical, Photography, Travel
almonds, carrots, dairy, lettuce, melons
I mean that in the nicest way. I am in the Golden State for a bit of work and then off to the coast to visit my Mom. Her to-do list has grown to two pages. I am keeping with the gardening theme as several tasks deal with re-potting and replanting! I get spoiled on my California visits….you can find a twig, stick into the soil, add water and it will grow.
Oh, there are some draw backs – this is the time of the year in and around Bakersfield when they are defoliating the cotton and the shakers are knocking the dust and almonds off the trees. The air is thick. I have also noticed that there is a familiar strong scent all over town. I grew up a little south of town near Larson’s dairy. This familiar scent reminds me of time spent across the road around the dairy….There is an earthy component in my Larson’s dairy memories but I am afraid that the proliferation of the mega dairies that have invaded the Kern County landscape have permeated the south end of the San Joaquin Valley with a scent that has gone beyond the earthy farm scent it is an odor…..it has begun to stink!
Shift gears – the good things are abundant….I drove over to Mom’s place through the Cuyama River Valley – truck loads of carrots were heading down to the processing facilities in and around Bakersfield – I passed through probably 10’s of thousand of acres of carrot fields….many just harvested and others dense with lush tops crowded into little green furry hedges. Melons lying in the fields leftover from the recent harvest, thousands of burlap sacks bulging with harvested onions waiting for the trucks to roll through. Sprinklers shooting the high arching streams of water irrigating the fields spreading across the valley floor in a seemingly endless vista. And yes, the big guys are here too – Grimway Farms and William H. Bolthouse – in the next week or two look at the label on a carrot bag…..I just drove by what you are eating now! (US based readers and maybe Canada too).
Los Osos, the bears in Spanish, is where Mom now makes here home….the cooler weather is home to the lettuce, cabbage, parsley and flower growers….I will try to shoot some photos today or tomorrow for another post….Pumpkins both large and small are peeking through the dying vines in the fields now…..beautiful, dark black rich soils contrasting with the greens, yellowing leaves and bright orange of the pumpkins! Should have stopped then but I was on a timeline to catch a sunset!
Looking across the bay in Baywood adjoining Los Osos.
Lovely evening….I was one of dozens at water’s edge watching the sun put on it’s evening show – free of charge!
August 8, 2010
darwin, evolution, melons, strawberry, wallace, worm poop, worms
I have not been very diligent with my worms this summer and was afraid they would succumb to the Houston heat. Jim's Worms, my supplier, indicates that they don't do well when the temperatures are above 85 degrees F. Well the garage, home for the worm bin, has been up near 100 deg F for a good chunk of the summer. I think I may be validating Darwin's work on natural selection( pushed a little by Alfred Russel Wallace) because I have a wiggling mass of red worms surviving/thanksgiving in this heat happily chomping away at the excess cucumber scraps, newspaper and an apple core or two.
These guys/gals – I think they are both – well read this clip "Although earthworms have both female and male sex organs, they still need to mate in order to reproduce." Probably more than you needed to know, but now you know! Their hard work has produced about 12 pounds of luscious and rich worm poop. The cantaloupes love it and they are the biggest I have ever seen - 7 to 8 pounds. We cut up a "Frankenmelon" tonight for us and the scraps went to the worms and compost bin.
Well I decided tonight that the little guys/gals deserved a treat so I tossed a mix of strawberry trimmings and cantaloupe scraps into the bin. I pulled back the newspaper litter covering the worms and tossed in the gourmet meal. The were dancing, twisting and wiggling all over. But, they tend to do that every time they are exposed to light. I think they will appreciate the change in diet…. they really do prefer fruits over other veggie scraps. They tend to congregate in those areas of the bin.
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March 9, 2010
beans, chard, dinner, lettuce, melons, peas, salad
Fresh picked today…. It doesn't get any fresher than that. Romaine, Red Leaf and Butter Crunch lettuce. I will add some store bought cucumbers, onion and bell peppers… as much as I would like to be perfect I will have to settle for close! I have also gathered in some Swiss Chard, Red and White(green) as well as some snap peas.
They are still a few weeks from really getting going. I have two varieties….. in non technical terms – the flat and the more robust meatier type. If I was better organized I would have a plot plan listing the variety by genus and species. But, alas, I am just a good ole boy that just enjoys seeing it grow and getting some real flavor from my little patch. I do keep most of the seed packs and could probably match them up from the "purty" little pictures.
The cucumber seeds are in the ground but yet to emerge as well as the pole beans. I am getting anxious but will be patient for another week before I reseed. I have some melon seeds but will hold off a little longer for them….
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