Saturday, September 18, 2010

Craft show season is here!!!!!

I have really surprised myself about doing craft shows.  I'm not a very outgoing person, find it hard to talk to people, but I love doing shows.  It seems I'm an entirely different person.  I'll be very busy the next 4 weeks since I have 2 weekend shows back to back, then skip a week & then my last show.  I hate missing church so much, but shows are only held on weekends.  I'll be in Crossville, TN Sept. 25-26 at the Homestead Towers Apple Festival, in Cleveland, TN for the Nillie Bipper show and at Ketner's Mill in Whitwell, TN on Oct 16 & 17.

I took some quick pictures of new pieces that I'll have at the shows.  I know they are poor quality & the true beauty of the stones doesn't come through because I didn't set up my lights or anything, but I just wanted to show off a few of them.

With being at the hospital & all, I've had to stay up til 2 AM a lot of nights working on jewelry because it's too late to get my booth fees back.  Now I've got to get busy & put clasps on. (I always make a lot of pieces, then go back & finish them later.)   Wish me luck for successful shows because financially I really need it right now.

My First Fall Garden

September has been a very tough month after my mom had complications from surgery, but things are finally settling down.

This is the first time I have seriously tried to have a Fall garden & I'm quite pleased with it considering it has had quite a bit of neglect.  Fortunately no weeding had to be done with Mel's Mix & I watered my seedlings as best I could.  The only thing I had that didn't sprout was a second planting of Brussell sprouts, they evidently didn't have enough water.

Here's the main section of my garden.  Maybe next year I'll have some paths & the area will be neater since I'll be retiring in February, God willing, & I can garden & make jewelry til I get sick of it.

The first bed has rutabaga, parsnip, carrots, onions from seed as an experiment &

The rutabaga's grew much faster than the others - the seeds were all planted at the same time, except the cauliflower.  The parsnips have been the slowest.  

This second bed has the salvaged carrots that Kujo the wolf used for a bed, Bok Choy, one remaining tomato at the end.  I used a piece of vinyl lattice on inverted fence posts for my shade cover.  It's not much to look at, but worked really well.  The fence posts lying across the boards was to keep Kujo out.

This has been mainly my seed bed.  On the left is my last cucumber crop, on the right is delicata squash, underneath are some Romaine lettuce transplants & leek seedlings.  I used cattle panel fencing over the pipe to make a trellis for the vines & made a good shade panel too.   Then powdery mildew & aphids attacked & the vines are about dead.

 This is my amazing asparagus patch - first year & what a difference the Mel's mix & composted manure made.  I'll be able to pick a lot in the Spring.  The stalks were finger sized this year, but I refrained from picking any.  I probably could have without hurting the roots, but I didn't want to take any chances.

This section is the corner at the driveway & sidewalk.  This area has carrots, the smaller ones were just recentlyl planted where I pulled out some pepper plants.   

Garlic from grocery store bulbs at the end of the carrot bed.  On the other bed in the front are turnips & in the back I have planted garlic that I ordered from We Grow Garlic.  
A great site where you can buy garlic by the bulb, not the pound.  I was able to try several different kinds:
Thai Fire
German Hardneck
Red Toch
Persian Star
Krasnodar white
                                                                                    Italian mountain red
                                                                                    Italian late
                                                                                    Early Portugese

On the left are shallots from the grocery store & Egyptian walking onions from a friend on Square Foot Gardening. 

This baby box is planted with Cascadia sugar snap peas.

All in all it has been a wonderful gardening season and I wish I had tried square foot gardening years ago.  Several things I will do differently next year regarding plant spacing.  I didn't realize how huge things would grow.

I hope everyone else has had a successful gardening season.

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Potato Onions from Southern Exposure Seed Exchange

I had placed my order back in the Spring for some potato (multiplier) onions.  They arrived today & I will be planting them in a few weeks.  I have never grown them before, so I will stagger the plantings every 2 weeks & label them to see what works best since I've heard times from Sept 15 til the week of Thanksgiving.   I'll save a few of them to start in the Spring.  I ordered them from Southern Exposure Seed Exchange

Saturday, September 4, 2010

Now it's time for jewelry!

I love the Fall season because I get to do craft shows.  I only do fairly local shows right now since I'm still working full time, but I hope to retire in February & do more.

I am doing three shows this year:
Nillie Bipper, Cleveland, TN, October 2-3, 2010
Homestead Towers Apple Festival, Crossville, TN, September 25-26, 2010
Ketner's Mill, Whitwell, TN October 16-17, 2010

I have made a lot of new pieces for the shows, but have only photographed a few of them so far & have not yet added them to my website because I'm in designer mode.  After the shows are over I'll start working on my website again. Here are a few pieces I have pictures of.  I can't wait to show you how the Fire Agate worked up! Fantastic.

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Garden Update

Well, things have really been busy lately and I am behind in my updates. 

My summer garden is practically finished.  I have 3 more tomatoes that are almost ready to ripen - they have lots of blooms, but I don't know if they will "make" or not. It has been terribly hot here - upper 90's to 100, & really humid.  I have pulled all the other vines up & destroyed.  It was really weird, but they got the blight as usual, but after most of the leaves died, they started putting out new growth like crazy & are absolutely full of blooms.

I have had fantastic luck with my cucumbers.  I have planted them on trellises at the end of 3 beds at various intervals through the summer and the last section is just starting to bloom.    I planted Boston Pickling cuke & Carolina Pickling.   The Carolina seems to be a bit longer & more slender, but both have performed equally well & I have made lots of pickles, sweet relish & even added some to my chow chow recipe.  My carrots have met with lots of bad luck (my son's hybrid wolf keeps getting out of the back yard & digs them up to lay in the cool dirt).  This has become a big issue around here.  He is in in a very large yard with chain link fencing, keeps finding a way out.  We have 10 acres and he comes to the front of the house & messes up my garden.  I still have several of these carrots growing, but haven't had any harvest yet.

Another great success story has been with the winter squash, even though I planted the first ones in the Spring.  I have Delicata, Honey Boat Delicata (Larger fruit than regular Delicata) and Sweet Dumpling.  They have produced exceptionally well & we have really been enjoying them.  The first vines are still producing and I planted 6 more plants on a trellis & they are full of fruit and blooms.

I have been cleaning up my beds & starting some fall seeds.  I also planted some grocery store garlic last week, big purple bulbs, and it is up already.  I found a great site if you want to try a variety of garlic & not have to buy a whole pound.  We Grow Garlic.  You can purchase as little as one bulb of a variety.  I ordered 10 different types to see what grows best in this area.  My order has shipped & I'm anxious to get it.

So far I have planted the following:
Carrots:  Chantenay, Jaune Obtuse Du Doubs yellow, Muscade.  They are sprouting nicely.
Leeks:  Giant Musselburgh & American Flag.  The first flat of Giant Musselburgh evidently baked because I never did get anything to sprout.  I had it in the shade on the front porch & kept moist, but no luck. Last week I started some more seeds & kept them in the house & they sprouted in just a few days. 
Parsnip:  These were planted 8/20 & no signs of anything yet, but I read they are slow to germinate, so I haven't given up on them, it has only been 5 days.
Rutabaga:  It seems they came up overnight.
Lettuce:  I have planted a few of all of these:  Red Wing Mix, Rocky Top mix (both from Baker Creek), Cimmaron Red romaine from Ron's Seeds on E-Bay (highly recommended, great service), Parris Island romaine, Red & Green romaine mix from Walmart.  I'll continue to plant them these every 2 weeks for as long as I can.
Cabbage:  Copenhagen Market, Bok Choy, Pak Choy, Premium late flat Dutch, Perfection Savoy drumhead.
Cauliflower: Snowball Self blanching.
Brussels Sprouts: Long Island improved.
Turnip: Purple top.  We don't care for the greens, but love the roots.  I'll plant them this next week.

I guess that is all for tonight.

Monday, July 26, 2010

My trip to the gem show this weekend.

Boy, did I have FUN.  There was an excellent variety of stones this year, some of my old favorite vendors plus some new ones.  I came home with oodles & oodles of new stuff.  The new Chinese faceted crystal is excellent and giving Swarovski some major competition.  They have just as much sparkle at a fraction of the cost & I love designing with them.  I took some pictures at my dining room table, but didn't have my lights set up, so the quality isn't too good, but I'm just too excited not to show you anyway.  A few of the things I got:  Stabilized and natural turquoise, natural magnesite & blue magnesite (dyed to resemble turquoise - a very cost efficient substitute for turquoise and I always mark my items as such & don't try to pass it off as the Real Thing), Fire agate, other agates, lots of fantastic citrine, different jaspers, freshwater pearls, tigereye, blue goldstone, laboradite, amazonite, smoky quartz, rhodonite, black onyx, green turquoise & lots of crystal. I was truly in hog heaven.  I have 3 shows this Fall & need to get busy with my new treasures.

Monday, July 26th. 
I haven't posted in a while, but the garden is slowing down, as expected.  My tomatoes have lasted much longer than usual, but they are finally getting the blight, plus it has been so hot that I fear none of the blooms are going to make fruit.  I pulled several tomato plants out this morning, making way for my Fall plantings.   The last section of corn didn't make it either.  The wind blew some of it over & before we could get it back up,  my son's hybrid wolf decided it would make a nice cool bed & trampled & dug the rest of it up.  He won't stay inside the fence, so I don't know what we are going to do. 

The Emerald Giant bell pepper, pepperoncini, Hungarian hot yellow & jalapeno peppers are coming in now.  The Hungarian hot is really long and definitely hot.  We picked a few green for canning, but will let the others ripen to yellow.  The Emerald Giants are very nice.  They are unsuitable for stuffing because of the irregular size, but thick-walled and very good flavor.  We were able to find some regular bell pepper plants at the feed store a few weeks back & they are doing very well, just starting to bloom.  What I don't use for pepper relish I just slice & put in a container in the freezer.  I just take out what I need for baked beans, meatloaf, whatever I need them for. 

I have been planting cucumbers at intervals & planted my last seeds today. They have done  great on the wire trellis, but I now know not to plant them on the same trellis as cantaloupe and delicata squash.  I'll stick to one type of vine to each trellis next year.  It has been so nice having a steady supply of cukes for eating (although DH won't touch them) and I've made lots of pickles:  Bread & Butter, sweet pickle relish, Dill and a very simple recipe from my grandmother.  I will post it below. 

I harvested my one & only Sweet Dumpling (delicata type) squash last week.  The squash borers got the vine & it only had the one fruit, but I will grow it again next year.  I cut it in half, scooped out the seeds & zapped it in the microwave til soft.  Then I sprinkled on brown sugar, cinnamon & a little butter.  It was yummy.

Today I decided to pull 2 of the Honey Boat Delicata.  I wasn't sure how to tell if they were ripe, but when I touched them they fell off, so I guess they were ready.  Growing on the trellis the stem doesn't dry out & the bottom of the melons don't turn yellow.  I have 2 huge cantaloupes that I'm watching closely.  They are supported by a panty hose sling & I'm watching for the color to change.  The webbing has developed, but they are still green, so I guess it will be a while yet.

I can't think of anything else right now, but I hope you are getting lots of yummies out of your garden.

Here are a few pics from today:

Tuesday, July 6, 2010


I should have washed these tomatoes, but it's late & I want to go to bed, so here they are.  There are 21 lbs of tomatoes in the second set of photos. For some reason they have started splitting, even though the soil moisture has been even.  Maybe they just grew too fast?   Regardless, I've separated out the ones with split skins & we will eat those first & I'll be saving lots of seeds to share with the folks at Square Foot Gardening forum.

The first set of pictures features my grandkids.  (Can you tell I love to show them off?)  They are very special to me.  These were taken this morning before they went back home.  One tomato was a dab less than 2 lbs, the other one just a bit over 2 lbs.

These next pictures are what I harvested tonight.  In the picture are our family heirlooms (the yellow/red ones), German pink & the small ones are Early Girl.  DH fixed a big salad for each of us tonight, mine with lettuce, cucumbers, Vidalia onions, tomatoes & homemade Bleu Cheese dressing.  The only thing that could have made it better would have been some home-grown romaine & red lettuce blend. 

An update on the orange banana tomato:  It has a really good flavor & fruit size is decent, but probably 1/4 of the tomatoes had blossom end rot.  None of my other tomato varieties had  a problem with this, so it may be a trait common to this particular one.  I don't plan on growing it again next year.

We pulled the rest of the corn in the second section tonight & tomorrow I will pull up the stalks & wait another week or two to start my cole crop seeds.  I still have one small section of corn that's only about waist high, but I noticed what I call corn worms, I think they are Army worms,  on some tomatoes today, so this last batch of corn might not make it. 

Also for the first time EVER I have cantaloupes and watermelons!  I planted Burrell's Jumbo cantaloupe, watermelons are Sugar Baby, Royal Golden, Dixie Lee, & Kolb's Gem.  I've planted melons several times before, but the weeds always grew faster than they did & the would get lost & I never harvested anything.  With the wire trellis they are up off the ground & growing like crazy & there are lots of babies.  Now, if I can just keep the squash vine borers off of them, I'll be doing good.

I planted a large rectangular planter with Giant Musselburgh Leek seeds today (From Baker Creek Heirlooms). The catalog description says:  An heirloom that was introduced in 1834, near Edinburgh, Scotland. Large, very thick stems, tasty mild flavor. Grows well in most locations, perfect for home or market, this old favorite has huge size, and is very winter hardy.  I've never grown Leeks before & hope I have success with them.

I hope everyone else's garden is doing well & producing lots of yummy veggies for you.

Thursday is expected hatch day for my other batch of eggs & I'll update you then.

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