Thursday, May 29, 2014

Jane, Dear

We all know what a John Deere is - probably the most recognizable name in tractors.  Well, the Squash House now has it's own tractor!

Meet Jane, Dear!  Isn't she just adorable?  
She has a bucket for picking flowers, veggies or apples and pears or for garden trimmings.  The seat swivels to any position as well as going higher or lower, and the tray below the seat holds all your garden tools.  When you're sitting on her you can scoot forward or backward effortlessly.  The handle pulls up so you can roll it around without bending over, too.  Both Mr. Squash and I will get a lot of use out of Jane, Dear! **Please note that this is not a John Deere product.  We got it out of Gardener's Supply Catalog.**
The other day we took a drive to one of the local farm merchants.  I think Gracie May was trying to sneak into the cooler for an adventure!

Sunday, May 18, 2014

One More Garden Post

I hope you'll indulge me while I bring you one more garden post until things are farther along early next month.
This is Bernardii II or "Bern" after my BIL as we like to call him.  I've never seen such large blossoms, let alone white and before long he will be totally covered with them.  He's very long blooming - last year he showed his colors well past the first frost!
Yesterday I did a little planting, which I'm allowed as long as I bend down and get up properly.  See the little plants with white flowers between Bern and the climbing rose?  They're called "Steppables" meaning you can walk over them and not do any damage.  Mr. Squash and I have become quite enamored with all sorts of these varieties!  I'm hoping there will be a white carpet there before long!
Turns out my Kiwi is self-pollinating.  See the little "beads"?  There are lots and lots of these baby Kiwi's growing bigger by the day!
This is the only rose from the original owner of the house that didn't freeze and die two years ago.  Before long it will be a mass of yellow and go all summer and fall.  The Allysum self sows and will completely cover the ground before long.
This is Barbara the Clematis on her new trellis.  She is named after my SIL.  Can't wait for the mass of deep red blooms to take off!.
The Allium is doing well once again.  
Peonies are just beginning to bloom out.  I'll need a bigger cage for them next year.
Mr. Squash has babied this rhody.  It was a sickly creature when we moved here 5 years ago.  She's nice and healthy now!

I continue to improve in small increments each day.  My goal is to be able to rotary cut soon so I can get back to sewing! 

Wednesday, May 14, 2014

Hood Ornament

Our spring weather is getting warmer and warmer and I'm almost beginning to feel it in my bones!  I hope those of you who've been through long, nasty winters are getting some needed sun as well!

Late yesterday afternoon I walkedinto the garage and realized Mr. Squash has a new hood ornament for his beloved Jeep! It's a rather bright and alert ornament, don't you think?
The beauty of his new hood ornament is that it can switch to relaxed mode in the blink of an eye!
Sasha was down below in the sunshine being much more stately and grand.
This year we had the bright idea to put an inexpensive screen door to the garage so the girls can watch us while we're sitting on the patio or working in the yard.  They have another screen door, but once we're out of eyesight, the mews begin!  It's nice to be so loved.
They love going into the garage, but it gets to be a pain letting them in and out all the time.  So we also had the idea to install a kitty door to the garage.  Gracie May figured it out right away.  It took Sasha a little longer but we couldn't have been happier when we watched her go out and then come back in!  Of course our inexpensive project wound up quadrupling after the cost of installation and painting, but then nothing is too good for our girls!

Monday, May 12, 2014

Oddities

Sort of a hodge-podge here today.  During my early recovery from back surgery I began to venture off the couch or my chair and do a little baking for Mr. Squash.  I remember one day thinking maybe I need to start backing off the pain pills because something just wasn't right about one set of measuring spoons.  I keep three sets in a countertop container so they're at reach at all times.

This is the newest set I got at Sur La Table last year.  You're looking at the teaspoon on the left and the half teaspoon on the right.
Turn them over and in the same position - enlarge the photo by clicking on it!  Do you see what I see?  The teaspoon is marked 1/2 teaspoon and the half teaspoon is marked 1 teaspoon!   Thank goodness it wasn't the pain pills!  I got a good laugh out of this yesterday when I was making a carrot cake! **EDIT---I guess the joke is on me!  Did you see Lisa D's comment?  She said she thought the larger spoon said 1/2 Tablespoon - and she's right!  I got out some stronger reading glasses and all the spoons from the set and it really is a half Tablespoon measure.  It's also now in the trash.  I rarely look at the spoons as I know which shape is which.  I can only imagine the mistakes I'd make with it, so better to be safe than sorry!  Thanks for seeing this, Lisa!
Yesterday was a busy day around the Squash House.  Here is Mr. Squash planting our tomato crop.  There must have been haze that we could not see as it was a sunny day for the most part.
A wide view of the perennial garden.  
A closer look.  I just marvel at the fact that there was nothing here shortly after we bought the house.  We had the drip system re-worked this spring which means I'll now be able to fill all those empty spots!  Shhhhh...don't tell Mr. Squash - he has to do the heavy planting for me this summer.
I was actually able to do some work myself.  I planted jalapenos in the bed on the left.  Beans will go under the white trellis as soon as the soil temp hits 75-80.  It was only 70 today.
Aren't those pyramid trellises great?  A local nursery is closing and everything was buy 2 for the price of one!  I saw them after we had paid for other things and just had to go back to find out if they were in the sale category as well - YES!  They're missing their finials, but I'm sure I can find replacements.  They will hold bird house gourds.  I pooped out before I could plant the seeds today.  The bed to the right is sugar snap peas that I planted with Mr. Squash's help.  

So many of you enjoy my garden posts, so I'll update them periodically during the summer.  

Wednesday, May 7, 2014

A Fruitful Year!

This will be the 5th summer that Mr. Squash and I have lived on the dry side of our state.  Each year has been an eye opener in terms of gardening.  The first year we went crazy and planted about a dozen tomato starts.  The bounty from those plants could have filled a large dump truck over the course of the summer!  We had no idea our soil was so loamy and fertile!  We learned to scale back (well, maybe not so much on the tomatoes) each summer.  We had not given fruit much thought (except for blueberries) until about the 3rd summer.  I have always wanted apples and decided to go for it!

This is the first year our two semi-dwarf apple trees have actually set apples!  Here is just a teeny portion of the apples on our Ginger Gold tree!  Each branch is just loaded!  These apples make the best apple pie - and believe me when I say I have tried dozens!
Here is my beloved Honey Crisp!  They're my favorite eating apple and I have no less than one, and sometimes two a day!  The period between about now and summer's end when they aren't coming out of Chile or some other foreign country is the worst for me!  I go through serious Honey Crisp withdrawal!  It doesn't have as many sets as the Ginger Gold, but I'll take what I can get!
I couldn't resist a second photo of more Honey Crisps!
We also bought an espaliered Pear tree.  It has Bartlett, shown here...
...Red Bartlett in the middle, and Anjou, which I guess I didn't get a photo of on the bottom row.  Each row is just filled with pears!

Know what this is?  It's a Kiwi!  I'm not sure what it takes in terms of pollination.  Will have to look it up.  So far I haven't seen any flowers, so she may need a mate.
Our Hidcote table grape has already set lots and lots of clusters.  It's in it's 5th year.  We took the red grape out because it must have been mislabeled at the nursery - the fruit was tiny and had a multitude of seeds in each grape.  I've ordered a new red table grape which should arrive any day now!
Here are Mr Squash's nine blueberry plants. He tends to them lovingly each year and they give him back bushels of love!
Last year we bought a Brazelberry container raspberry.  Something new!  It produced quite a few tasty raspberries last summer and this year it looks like there will be an abundance!  Strawberries are to the right.

Since I am pretty much out of commission for planting a lot of veggies this summer we're going to stick to simple things like lettuce (which is already in the ground), green beans, peas and tomatoes.  A dear friend gave me a seed packet of Birdhouse Gourds which we will plant on new trellises.  

Hope you enjoyed the tour!


Monday, May 5, 2014

Squash House Archives

Hello everyone!  I'm happy to say I am getting back to blogging after being away for almost 6 weeks.  Where was I?  I was home recovering from major back surgery and still am, but getting better and better as the weeks roll by.  I have a long road ahead of me, but everything is on track and Mr. Squash and I are quite pleased.  I'm sorry I didn't mention what was going on - it was hard enough to wrap my mind around it, let alone many others.  So, enough of that!

The other day Mr. Squash was doing some yardwork for me when he happened upon a good sized piece of very old ironstone pottery.  Every since we moved here we've found pieces of this and that when gardending.  I save it all and thought it might be fun for you to see what we have!

 Here is all of it, including the little tin dish.  The Squash House was built in 1948 and many of the surrounding houses were built in the late 1800's and early turn of the 20th century.  One block up from us and directly across is the original farmhouse for the property.  We have been told they had pigs and other animals along with some crops.  
 Mostly we find pottery and also this early marble.  Occasionally we'll find a square head nail or something old like that, but I haven't saved them.  I love to try and figure out what each piece used to be. The larger piece is the most recent that Mr. Squash unearthed.  It appears to be ironstone and the "knob" must be part of a larger knob to a serving dish.  I can imagine Mrs. Farmhouse bringing a hot bowl of stew out to Mr. Farmhouse at lunch in such a bowl.  I think the little tin might have been an indvidual pie server or perhaps part of Farmhouse Daughter's play things.  I'm pretty sure Farmhouse Son had something to do with the marble (wink).
 I think this is Mrs. Farmhouse's favorite teacup.  She may have sat on the porch on a warm spring evening with it in her hand!
I also do believe the Farmhouse family was very fortunate to have some Christmas China!  Perhaps it was a good wheat crop that year, or maybe even Mr. Farmhouse suprised his Mrs. with this one year when the pig prices were high!  

So, do you look at old things like this and create stories around them?  I think they will become a permanent part of the Squash House and should we ever move, they will be passed down to future families who live here.  Also, if we come across other archives, and I'm certain we will, I'll be sure to give you a peek.