Yeah, I'm blogging about this. (You haven't read it yet.)
Danny mowed the lawn one day, and in doing so, discovered a bunny home right in the middle of the yard. They were really little, and scattered when he mowed over it. One little guy got nicked by the mower blade:
Well, suffice it to say he didn't make it. He didn't suffer too long, but the "nick" was just deep enough to kill the little guy. Danny and I both felt bad, but there wasn't anything we could do.
Its siblings got away, however, and we spotted a few of them along our woodpile. For rodents, they're pretty cute.
We filled in the hole, but have found it partly dug out. We keep trying to fill it in and stamp the dirt down. We really don't want any sprained ankles!
I'm not afraid to post before pictures. I mean, we're all so used to seeing gorgeous images of neat and tidy spaces, both indoors and out. However, we all have those nasty places we don't want people to see. Oh, c'mon, am I the only one? I'm not the best house cleaner, and the yard--well, that suffers even more! I can barely remember to remind the guys to mow and weed-whack. When Fernando starts to make a stink, I know it's time to get on the guys to do it.
Anyway, this particular post picks up midway through the cleaning process. Here's the progress at the end of the last pick-up session:
Looks pretty good, huh? Well, along that back fence are random piles of wood that haven't been moved to the new, official woodpile yet. So, that's what my guys were doing below:
Now, I have to be honest with you. We created this stack of wood during the last clean-up day, and today, we had to do things a bit backwards. You see, once we got to the bottom of the old pile along the other fence side, we discovered (and remembered) railroad ties that were keeping the wood from rotting right into the ground and soil. So the project became--move the new woodpile wood out of the way, move the railroad ties to the new location, then replace all the wood on top of the railroad ties. Not the best planning, but it wasn't a super-huge project and the guys got it done.
Below you can see the railroad ties along the bottom of the pile.
We placed huge logs at the end of the stacks, and we plan to cut them once we get hold of an axe or something. My dad has something we can use...
Thomas and Danny work on the stack.
You can see all the mess and random wood piles along the fence on the right.
Danny worked on picking all the wood up, then weeding as much as he could.
Now it's looking pretty good!
Below, all the wood is stacked, all neat and tidy and ready for this winter and our fireplace!
But, the project is not done. This (below) is the very back corner (see, I'm still not embarrassed!), and stacked back there are the leftover boards from our hardwood flooring project. We had reclaimed the hardwood from the church behind our house when they demolished their very old building and built a new one to its side. This remainder is piled every which way, and awaits sawing and stacking. Our problem lies with the sawing part.
My Dad, the fabulous man that he is, has a power saw of some sort (don't ask me what kind), and we'll probably have him bring it over to get the rest of this section of yard all spruced up. But that's a project for another day!
I made it halfway through summer! I was still gardening, even through this extra-busy summer. And we never even went on vacation. Life is just that way sometimes.
I really, really enjoyed my veggie garden this year. I had never grown squash, or even zucchini, before, and I was amazed at how fast the plants grew, and that I even had any squash on the vines! Here are a couple of huge butternut squash growing:
I planted only two jalapeño plants, but they produced prolifically and I've made poppers several times now. I don't use a recipe; I just mix some shredded cheddar and cream cheese, and mound a bit in each jalapeño (cut lengthwise and seeded--they were hot this year!). I bake them at 400 degrees for 10-12 minutes, and they're good to go. Yum!
In the below raised box, which is 4x12 (that's feet, y'know), I planted my three little squash plants right in the middle. They took over the bed, and have made their way around the mulched pathways surrounding it. Isn't it glorious? :D
I should've harvested my garlic earlier (early to mid-July), but life got in the way. The stalks, below, are dried and brown, and once they get that way, grab a trowel and carefully dig up all the bulbs. I lay piles and piles of bulbs out in the sun for a few days to cure, and then I bring them inside.
Once they're really cured (feel free to wait a week or so!), separate the cloves, peel all the garlic, and freeze them in Mason jars in the freezer. When you're ready to use one (or more), pull it out, wait a minute or two for it to soften, then mince it into whatever dish you're preparing. Yes, they will get "mushy" out of the freezer, but in my experience they've been very flavorful and perfect for mincing in soups, sauces, and stews. Oh--and when my guys have a sore throat, they mince and spread them on toast or a piece of bread and eat it right down. Whew!--it's strong, but effective.
This year, I froze only about 1.5 quarts' worth of garlic. I had a lot more last year. Hopefully it'll last all year again! If you want to know how to easily peel all that garlic, visit this blog post where I show you how.
See the below? That's a garlic "flower," and they are the seeds you'll use for next year's garlic crop. I cure these right alongside the cloves, then I separate them and keep them in a bowl until early autumn. Once I have a space set aside in my garden, I plant them. Lots of them. They take really well, and as soon as spring comes the next year, little garlic plants are popping their heads up, and they've got a great start to the season. I've even dug them up and transplanted them at that point (in the spring), and they've still done well.
Finally, enjoy this overview of my super-late-last-day-of-July garden:
It seems that everything is quick nowadays. *sigh*
Life has overwhelmed our little family. Jacob has returned to school, Danny is making the daily commute downtown to school, Thomas is attending daily football practice and weekly games. Joseph stays busy at home with me--well, when I'm here, anyway.
Needless to say, I blinked and summer was gone. Here is a little tour of my July tomatoes.
Unlike green peppers, jalapeños, and other green veggies, tomatoes are easy to spot among tangles of leaves, plant stakes, and other obstacles.
Looking for red.
A lovely harvest of red!
After harvesting my tomatoes, I took some crushed eggshells and mixed them into the soil around each plant. The calcium in the shells helps deter blossom-end rot, and even though it was already mid-summer, I figured it couldn't hurt. I simply tossed the shells into a bucket and let them dry over several days. Once dry, the shells are very easy to crush--though I did use my garden gloves since the edges can be sharp!
I also double-checked to make sure the plants were staked well, and added extra garden tape around weaker areas. This garden tape (below) was given to me, but can be found at any garden center. It's soft on the underside, and utilizes Velcro to stick together. I cut the length I need, wrap it around, and secure the end onto itself. Easy!
If you're really frugal, you could save each piece of garden tape and use it again the next year. Hmm, I might have to try that. I don't think the Velcro wears out that quickly. I think I just gave myself another autumn garden project...!