Archive for Birds

Garden Planting

So. The chickens now have a little yard. I bought this fencing at our local Home Depot. I am not sure I like it. It doesn’t close easily. It is difficult to align with the connectors on each side. Also, Rylan cannot get it closed and so I can’t really send him out there to feed the chickens. That’s not going to work, for sure. Quite obviously, I am going to have to do something different. Bummer. On the bright side, the chickens love it! They love it so much, that they have started flying over it to get out. So, I did go purchase some netting to put over it, not realizing that doves are flying down to get the bird seed that isn’t eaten. The birds are now getting caught in the netting several times a day, which is then driving the dogs insane. All of them. Which is driving me insane!!! And having to go out and get the birds out of the netting all day, is completely too much. So, something will have to be done! (I have an idea of what, but I don’t want to have to do it.)

I have been saving this topiary form in the garden shed for almost 9 years. I had 2 of them in our previous home, covered in creeping fig in our front yard by the front door. One day, after we had moved, the new owner, who were friends of ours, had them pulled out and was throwing them away. These things are hard to find, and since she is not a gardener of any sort, she just plain didn’t want them. So, I snagged them from her. YAY for me. I really don’t know where the other one went… This one looks nice right her in front of the little chicken coop. Love it! Can’t wait for the creeping fig to grow in.

My great grandma lived in a little trailer near my grandma’s house. Along the side of her trailer she had a lot of mint planted, and every time we would go and visit her, I would pick some and chew on it. Funny the things you remember. So, this spot is perfect for some mint filling in the space. If I can keep the dogs off of it. Hence, the little fence.

2 New Plum Trees, Santa Rosa & Satsuma Varieties

We also planted in a couple of new plum trees, into the same hole. Everything I have read about plum trees says that the Santa Rosa Plum is self fruiting, but that it bears more fruit if there is another variety nearby. So, since I have seen this to be the case with the previous plum tree & I had until LAST summer… We now have 2 new little trees, emphasis on the little.

Cat's Claw Vine

Trumpet Creeper Vine, Madam Galen Variety

Saturday was a full day. My son and I planted 6 new vines in the garden to cut on the reflective heat that the block fencing adds to the already stifling temperatures in the summer. We put in 4 cat’s claw vines to cover the back wall and 2 trumpet creeper vines, the Madam Galen variety, which is supposed to have beautiful flowers all summer, and is quite a vigorous vine. I was discussing this with the gardener up at Harper’s Nursery. All of the online information I have read about this vine indicates that it’s roots are a giant nuisance, sending out shoots everywhere and that it’s almost impossible to remove. The gardener at the nursery was saying that that may be true in moist climates, but here in Arizona, with our very dry conditions, and clay soil, the root systems just do not act in that way. They then showed me a mature plant of it that they have at the back of their nursery, which climbs up a telephone pole every year. He told me that every other year or so, the city comes out and has them cut the vine down to the ground, and it climbs back up with no problem whatsoever. This is the kind of vine I need on the fence surrounding the garden. I had cat’s claw until last summer, when the watering system broke and I lost everything. Even the cat’s claw died, which is rumored to never die, no matter what. I know it doesn’t look like much here in the picture, but it is dormant in the winter, meaning it loses all it’s leaves, and looks dead, even though it’s not.

Asparagus

The asparagus are a little behind this year. This picture is a little blurry, but this is the first little shoot. YAY! It looks like I need to add some soil to cover the crowns a little better.

Lettuce, Spinach, Broccoli, Cabbage

The lettuces are doing ok. Hopefully it won’t get too warm. I may need to move these over by the fountain area, where is a little cooler. We shall see.

Garden Gnome

My daughter begged for this little garden gnome a couple of years ago. At the time, I thought he was kind of ugly, but as his paint has faded, his attraction for me has grown! ūüôā I do think he is quite cute here, don’t you?

 

Peach Tree in bloom

The peach and apple trees are blooming. I just love the deep pink on this peach tree. It really is beautiful.

Well, that’s it from my little organic Arizona garden!! Happy planting!

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Preserving & Etc.

So, do you ever wonder what to do with all those jalepenos, or other peppers that your plant just keeps on producing and you can’t eat quick enough? My mother-in-law makes jalepeno jello, which you can do. I just really only have one recipe that I use that for, & I’m pretty sure I haven’t made that in oh, about 5 years. So, last week, I was looking through my trusty Ball Blue Book and came across this recipe:

Hot Peppers

1 1/2 pounds banana peppers

1 pound jalepeno peppers

1/4 pound serrano peppers

6 cups vinegar

2 cups water

3 cloves garlic

Leave peppers whole or cut into 1 inch pieces. Mix peppers together. Combine vinegar, water, & garlic in a large saucepot. Bring mixtu to a boil; reduce heat & simmer 5 minutes. Discard garlic. Pack peppers into hot jars, leaving 1/4 inch headspace. Ladle hot pickling liquid over peppers, leaving 1/4 inch headspace. Remove air bubbles. Adjust two piece caps. Process 10 minutes in a boiling-water canner. Yield: about 5 pints.

Note: When cutting or seeding hot peppers, wear rubber glovs to prevent hands from being burned.

I definately do not have that many peppers, so what I did was fill one jar crammed full of whole peppers (mostly because I didn’t feel like cutting them up). I then put 2 cups white wine vinegar (not distilled) with 1 cup of water & 2 cloves garlic, minced into a pot and continued to do the recipe that way. I didn’t even process the jar after I was done, and the heat sealed it on it’s own. Also, as I make flavored vinegas all the time, I figured the vinegar would preserve it without having to actually can it. Guess what? Today I opened that jar of jalepenos and it looked & smelled just like the jar’s you buy at the store. YAY! The jalepenos even changed color to look like the ones you buy in the jar. So, I was happy!

Also, for those of you who have trouple with your bell peppers looking as big as the ones at the grocery store, I have been doing some research on this topic. This year, my peppers have had a few problems. Mostly, I think, because I have a fungus in the soil that they are growing in, so the leaves look wilted. I have buried banana peels under each plant, because apparently this is good for them as it provides magnesium as the peel breaks down (which it does rather quickly, despite the fact that it is very thick). I have also read to do this for rose bushes. I have also given them a good dose of epsom salts for nitrogen, which has helped them a little bit. Anyway, to make a long story short, the other day, I was picking up my vegetable basket from boutiful baskets and I had done the organic one (yes, even though I have a garden, I do get other veggies, mostly for the fruit right now). There were lots of bell peppers. They were smaller ones, just like the ones in my garden. So, apparently, it doesn’t matter. So, don’t fret about your peppers. I was pretty happy when I saw that!

I let the dove out of the chicken coop this am. The dog simply couldn’t stand that there was a dove in there and was trying to dig into the coop. Ridiculous! I had my husband go out there and look at the coop and he couldn’t figure out how these birds are getting in either! It’s a mystery!

Lots of long beans came off today! I really love those. If anyone would like some seeds for these, I have been saving and drying a few in my window. You really only need a few beans for a meal. And they are really tasty sauteed with a little jalepeno. Even my husband likes them, which is saying something!

Bay leaves, long beans, peppers, & radishes

Pictured above are the leaves from the laurel bay that I am drying. Apparently, when you cook with them, you are supposed to tear the leaf a little to release the flavor. Who knew? All these years, I have been putting them into my spaghetti sauce recipe and didn’t realize I was supposed to be doing that.

Yesterday, I went to lunch with my delightful friend, Roma, who is so incredibly talented, if I do say so. And, afterward, I dropped by the fun boutique, Rustic Hutch, which is located on Gilbert & Baseline, in Gilbert. I found some really awesome candles there. I have been burning one this morning & love the smell.

McCall's Country Canning Candles

I bought 2 of them. The one above is for Christmas, & is really lovely. The one I have been burning this morning, is “Raspberry Lemon Tea” & I do believe I love it!

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It’s been a while…

So it’s been a while since I last posted. So much has been happening in the garden. Everything is growing and getting larger and starting to set fruit. It’s so funny, because every day I check the eggplant for new fruit, and have seen a few but yesterday, oh my gosh, found these ginormous eggplants that I didn’t even realize were there. That’s what I love about the garden. There is always something new happening. So, guess what we are having for dinner tonite? That’s right. Eggplant.

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Notice the double eggplant on the left. It probably had a double bloom that was fertilized.

Notice the double eggplant on the left. It probably had a double bloom that was fertilized.

Anyway, there are tons of tomatoes which is good, because soon it will be getting hot. I have been so happy with these tomatoes this year. I have several varieties, and it will be interesting to see which does the best. I just recently read an article about tomatoes and it did say that if you water them too much, they become tasteless. So, I guess there is a happy medium to watering…not too much, not too little, but just right.

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The snap peas are just setting blossoms, which is just in time. The bunching onions are some that a friend of mine gave me out of her garden last year. They have done so amazing, I can’t even believe it. I just chop some off the top and use them in salsa, kind of like chives, and let them keep growing. However, some of them are starting to flower and need to be used up, even though we have been eating salsa about twice a week and are starting to small like garlic.¬†You know you’ve had too much, when several of your kids reek like garlic when they¬†come to kiss you goodnight, or good bye to go to school. Not good, but delicious!

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The peas are growing like crazy!

The peas are growing like crazy!

And just for fun, I love this little guy. I have him set at from front door, but I think now that Easter is over, I am going to move him into the garden for a while!

The mantra of every gardener!

The mantra of every gardener!

The baby chickens are now 6 weeks old, and it¬†is starting to stay warmer at night,¬†so I thought I would introduce them to the other hens. Unfortunately,¬†it has become very apparent that 2 of them are roosters, so only one will be staying,¬†but I¬†feel so bad for her and don’t want that little hen to be alone with the bigger hens, that I have decided to leave the roosters with her until they get a little bigger. Or, at least until they start crowing, in¬†which case, they will be out of here. But they seem to be doing ok.

The new babies with the hens.

The new babies with the hens.

On a side note, the chicken in the middle, went to chicken heaven yesterday. She had been eating all my eggs and was starting to pull feathers off one of the other chickens. It was a sad day yesterday. Very sad.

I have noticed some little birdies at the bird feeder that are very pretty. I don’t know what they are, but they have red all over their head and chest. Check them out!

The birdies have found the bird house!

The birdies have found the bird house!

The potatoes are doing amazing.

The potatoes are doing amazing.

Zucchini are starting to flower.

Zucchini are starting to flower.

Just a side note. It looks like finally the black eyed susan¬†vine might be finally starting to germinate and sprout. I think it has been about¬†2 weeks since I planted those seeds. I’m not entirely sure that that is what¬†it is, so we shall see. According to the literature I have read, they only last for 3 years,¬†and they you have to replant.

I so love this time of year.

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A Close Up View

One of 5 wild parrots that frequent my father-in-law's bird feeder every day.

One of 5 wild parrots that frequent my father-in-law's bird feeder every day.

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