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Or Sunday, rather. We bought an upright planter thingy and Toby painted it with water sealant and then put it together for me yesterday. Then Sunday morning we hit the shops and bought a couple of extra tall pots, plus dirt, rocks for drainage, and seedlings, then I spent the day getting that all set up.

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Bug Rachel, not Writer Rachel!

We've got something that looks like these on our tomatoes now, and have lost 2 tomatoes already. Suggestions? :) I did just go out there and squirt soapy water (the 1 tbsp hand soap/1 pint water ratio) on them just to feel like I'd done something.

I think the crape myrtle bark scale crisis is over--we ended up cutting off 3 of the worst-loking limbs and spraying soapy water all over the rest a few times, and we haven't noticed the white stuff spreading any.

(But yay...finally getting more tomatoes! There are several little green ones starting to grow, and we'd like to actually eat them! There's also 3 jalapenos hanging off the jalapeno plant...need to look up when to harvest them.)
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Remember how Sora feels about the white fluffy carpet in my office? (If you don't: he hates it and does his best not to step on it.) It's not just that carpet--he doesn't like our brown bathmats, either. We recently got a cat mat, which has two different surface textures and a ball attached to it. He's adopted the mat as his own, but...

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Also, our first harvest!

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Jun. 8th, 2010 06:07 pm
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The strawberry plant with which I'd replaced the one I killed had produced a very tiny strawberry that I was watching ripen in secret, and I was going to pick it and present it to [ profile] myrialux today as a surprise...

...and it was eaten by pillbugs! Augh! *goes to google how to discourage pillbugs*


Jun. 5th, 2010 04:51 pm
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We trekked up to the Keller Farmer's Market this morning and purchased 18 pounds of grass-fed, dry-aged beef from a local rancher. [ profile] myrialux seared a package of the short ribs, and they've been slow-cooking in a low oven all afternoon and smell HEAVENLY.

The unfortunate part? They won't actually be finished cooking until tomorrow. :) It's a two-day recipe - okay you CAN cook it in one day, but we usually do it over two days - prepare the short ribs the first, then cut up the onions and potatoes and braise them with teh ribs the second.

We're also changing it slightly - I bought some spicy ketchup (that is far more tangy than spicy) from a guy at the local farmer's market a couple of weeks back, so we're using that instead of the tomato paste and vinegar in the recipe. The paprika we're using is a smoked sweet paprika, which we found tastes really good in it the last time we made it.

Something else I bought today at the Keller farmer's market was a mesquite olive oil. There's actually a farm in Texas that grows olives, and makes olive oil in several varieties. They had little tasting cups for it, and wow the mesquite stuff was good - it's basically smoked olive oil. :) It'll taste good when used to marinate meat or brush on it for searing, and [ profile] myrialux thought we could probably come up with a Texas bruschetta using it.

After we got home, I went outside and carefully dug around the roots of my potato plants and harvested about ten potatoes! All small, but hey. There probably won't be any more potatoes this summer, since the heat's now hit, but I'll plant more this fall after the temps go down. I dragged [ profile] myrialux outside to help me put bird netting over the tomatoes, and unfortunately right then I got slammed with a migraine from overheating. A cool shower and a Relpax didn't help much, and I eventually took another Relpax (if your migraine gets better and then gets worse within 2 hours, you can take another one), and I think I finally kicked it.

Anyway, it's close to time to take the short ribs out of the oven, drain the liquids, and put them all in the fridge until tomorrow, and after that's done we're heading off to A-Kon to hang out with friends.
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Just went outside to check on the garden and found four caterpillars hangin' out on the dill. A bit of Googling makes me think they're black swallowtail caterpillars. As Toby's not that fond of dill, we haven't been eating on it much, so I'm happy to let the caterpillars have it and turn into butterflies. :)
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Things That Scared Sora Today (well, yesterday actually, but who's counting?)

-- A sock
-- The April 21-27, 2010 issue of Fort Worth Weekly
-- A stationary, silent Roomba

We went to Lowe's today and picked up bricks and tomato cages. Bricks because we have this fountain on the side patio which is a bitch to keep clean, because there is no drain and no connection to any water line, so it collects rainwater, vegetation, dirt, and, if you don't want to keep the pump going, mosquito larvae. So we got the lawn guys to come and clean it out, and then threw a large tarp over it. The bricks were to weigh the tarp down so it doesn't get animals or water under there. It now looks like we have a large dark green pyramid on our patio.

I watered the plants after that, then attacked the front yard with pruning shears, getting rid of whatever it is in the bed of azaleas that's sending out long shoots. And the 2.5' tall dandelion stalk in the rose bed. And then I was hot and overheated and had a bad headache, so I took a cool shower to try to cool down, and took a nap.

Later on, went back out to the garden - 13 of the 16 potato pieces I planted have sprouted, and they're shooting up like mad. There are two teeny tiny baby tomatoes on the tomato plants - one on each - and three pea pods on the pea plants. I don't think we'll actually get enough peas mature at the same time to supply two servings, though. :) I picked a pod, opened it, and we ate the four peas inside. Very sweet and good. (I'm fascinated by7 the way the pods form - when the flower withers, it seems that two leaves next to it knit themselves together around it to form the pod. Odd, that!
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Plants: not dead yet!

The peas are, for the most part, thriving, much to my surprise. Nine seedlings came in a compartmented plastic pot-thing, and I managed to break or injure several stems while pulling them out, so I was not optimistic. But most of them are actually growing! I need to get pea-stakes of some ilk, since I may actually need them.

Strawberry: I see nine (nine!) teeny little green baby strawberries! And it's madly putting out blossoms, too! So I think the next step is to find some bird-netting to protect it from the birds. XD There is also something that finds the leaves delicious: two leaves are decorated with lots of half-moon cutouts on their edges.

Tomatoes: Both plants are thriving, and one is starting to put out little blossoms. So it looks like I may need to get a couple of tomato cages. (Sensing a theme here? Not bothering to get equipment that I might not need, back when I first got the plants? XD)

The onions are lengthening, the basil has finally decided it's going to grow and is doing so with gusto, the cilantro is ebullient, and my sweet cayenne raised from seed has deigned to put out another leaf. The chives aren't doing much at the moment, and the bell pepper and dill are pretty much as they were when I planted them, and naturally the potatoes are still bare patches of dirt with, I expect, rotting pieces of potato buried in them.* But overall, successful so far!

* I find being pessimistic about this sort of thing increases my enjoyment greatly when something actually doesn't die.

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