Friday, June 30, 2017

The March of The Canada Geese

They looked so regimental today.  I caught the resident family of Canada Geese marching from one grazing area on our back lawn to the reservoir's greenery.....
With a parent in the front and one behind, the seven teenagers marched along from one grazing area to the next.  They are nearly full grown at this point, but still pretty much ordered about by their parents.  Not one of them wanders off alone.  I expect they will be flying soon.
Have a Good Day.

Thursday, June 29, 2017

My Container Garden is Doing Fine.

I am enjoying my container garden this year.  I had to cut back on gardening but having tomatoes in pots is fine with me.  I don't have to struggle as much with the garden efforts.
L to R: Patio, and two Better Bush maters.  All have yellow blossoms on them and each day I shake their branches at least twice so the pollen can disburse and make little tomatoes.

This one is Red Pride, the last of my four tomato containers.  It was the smallest, but its quickly outgrowing the others at this point.
We've had just enough rain so that I rarely have to water these.  They are keeping quite moist most of the time but of course, here in Maine, we don't have the blistering heat they have in the south.  That also means our warm-weather veggies take longer to come to harvest.

My favorite assistant gardener above, my corgi Penny always joins me.  She knows the routine; check out the maters and shake their limbs before going back indoors. 
These are L to R: Patio, two Better Bush and Red Pride on the right.  As you can see, all are very healthy with dark green leaves and sturdy branches very capable of hosting lots of tomatoes.

Have a Nice Day.

Tuesday, June 27, 2017

The First Family Geese Are Now Teenagers.

 I hadn't see the Canada Geese Family for several days and wondered how they were doing.  Then it rained today, I mean it came down in buckets.  The First Family were out on our back lawn grazing.

They are really large and have their feathers now and their colors.  I'd say they are teenagers.

Here's one in front of his Mom and they were weaving their long necks back and forth and conversing together.   As you can see, baby is nearly as large as his Mom.

That's Dad on the right continuing his job as security guard.  He stands so rigid and keeps watch over his brood.

As you can see in this closer view, they are all nearly all in their colors and all feathered out, with the exception of a couple that must have been the later hatchlings in the group.  Still a lot of gray on them.
Have a Nice Day.

Saturday, June 24, 2017

I Have a New Insulated Bag

Howdy friends.  Those that know me know that I have to shop with the Parks and Rec bus every week since giving up my car.  That meant a long trip, along pretty country roads which I love, but lengthy.  I bring a good book to read between stops or while sitting waiting for others to shop at other venues along the way. 
When I buy my meats, they need to stay on the bus for nearly 3 hours before I get home.  How does one keep frozen foods frozen and cold meats cold?
You get a good Insulated Bag.
And from what source do you think is best?
For me it was a no-brainer.   L. L. Bean.
I have to admit the cost is high and I needed the large one, not the small or medium.  I like to get my meats in 3-lb minimum packs and with buying them only twice a month, there had to be room for several packages.
Here she is folks......
This is my partner in shopping.......She measures 20" Wide by 14" Tall by 7" Deep, so a very good size for my purposes.
I chose red and white so she will stand out when sitting beside other shopping bags on the bus.
The cost is well worth it.  Reading reviews about this bag I was very  pleased that it keeps foods frozen for long periods of time.  Just what I needed.   And everyone knows that L. L. Bean stands behind their products 100%.
I have a few other items from L. L. Bean that are terrific so I know this was the best choice for me.
Imagine my surprise when I asked a friend if she could get this bag on her employee discount for me and the next thing I knew, it was on my doorstep with an early Merry Christmas greeting.
Thank you K, I appreciate this more than you know.  I am already thinking about what I can give you for Christmas in return. 
Thank you, thank you, thank you!

Have a good day.

Monday, June 19, 2017

Interesting Day With Sunshine Rain

The day began sort of hazy really early, then turned warm (86*F) and sunny.  I watched a huge snapping turtle trying to find a safe spot to lay her eggs at seven a.m.  She was settling into a hole she made under the rose hedgerow, when the fire trucks showed up.  I guess she didn't like the palaver which was only 30 feet from her chosen spot.  She left and wandered further along.  She was huge.
Here's the hole she dug under the hedgerow, and then abandoned it. 

Here's the group that showed up beside the reservoir.  They come to drain their hoses and flush the pumpers, from several town around us.  This is a popular spot for many of the firefighters around our area.

More waited across the road for their turns.   The pathway is ours that leads to our back patio from the sidewalk near the bridge.

And even more.  It was like 'old home week' for the firefighters today.  They were here for several hours.  They arrived at 7 in the morning and at noon they were still here.

When the rain came pouring down, while the sun was still shining, they all got into their rigs and took off.  I'm sure they must have been finished with what was needed by then.  They usually don't take that long to clear the systems.  They even put up a marquee to keep out of the sun which you can see in royal blue in 2nd photo.

I was quite happy today to find that one of my Better Bush Tomato plants has yellow blossoms starting.
That means more tomatoes for me this season.  The other two have yet to show blossoms, another Better Bush and Red Pride.

Have a Good Day.

Sunday, June 18, 2017

My First Tomato Blossoms

Its so great to see the first of the tomato blossoms, those lovely little yellow heads bobbing in the wind.
This above is Patio and she's lush and strong and beautifully green.

All my tomato pots are looking good.  My constant companion and harden helper, my corgi Penny, surveys my small container garden with me.

Today I want to scissor-cut more grass to set aside to dry out and brown so I can add more grass mulch around my plants. 
I gave Patio a tablespoon of Miss Pauletta's Perfect Tomato Food yesterday since she's blossoming.  From now on I will add the same every 2 weeks.  I'll let you know how this 'Food' works for me.

Happy Father's Day to all who helped raise a child of their own to nieces and nephews to a neighbor's child needing mentoring.
Have a Great Day!

Thursday, June 15, 2017

Recipe for Miss Pauletta's Perfect Tomato Food

The following recipe is a personal growing mixture developed by Miss Pauletta who shared it with the folks attending the Homestead Clinic held yearly.  If you've ever followed Appalachian Homestead with Miss Patera  (You-tube channel), you'll find that lady also has superb tomato plants each year.  She gives this recipe a 'thumbs up' all the way.
For Robust, Healthy, Tasty Tomatoes from you own garden, try this.


3 Cups Good Compost
1/2 Cup Epsom Salt
1 Tablespoon Baking Soda
3 Cups Wood Ash a.k.a Potash
1/2 Cup Bone Meal
2 teaspoons Boron
1/2 Cup non-fat Dry Milk

Mix these well all together and set aside for use during the growing season.
1)  When transplanting your young tomato, add 2 T. of this mixture to the planting hole and stir together.
2)  When the first baby tomatoes start to form on the plant, add 1 T. to the soil around the plant and stir it in well.
3)  Then every 2 weeks from that point on during the growing season, mix in a Tablespoon of mixture around each plant.

Another growing and disease-fighting point she assures will help, make sure no part of the tomato plant touches the ground from the very beginning.  Cut away any branches that are tipping down to the ground.  Cut away any branches and leaves that are close to touching the soil around the plant.  Its the soil around the plant that can trigger tomato diseases so easily.

After transplanting, be sure to mulch around the plant except for the stem area where you need it free to water the plant.  Use dry grass clippings, straw, or bark chips. 

Another strong point, make sure there is enough room between your growing plants so that air  can freely circulate around the plant.  Loss of air circulation breeds spores and fungi.

Watering is also highly essential.  Self-watering cones like those from Garden Supply, can regulate the amount of water your plant is drinking by giving it only what it needs and never letting it suffer from lack of moisture.  Try   and look for Aqua Cones.
                        Above:  An Aqua Cone at work with its feeding spike buried in the soil.

I just learned of this tomato food recipe today and wish I had the makin's before I transplanted my own babies.  But I did add Epsom salt and powdered milk to my hole along with some granulated sugar, before transplanting and I removed all the lower branches in order to bury my plant another 4"-6" deeper than they were in their starting pot. 
I also never water from the top but rather I add the water around the base of the plant.  Its enough that natural rain waters the whole plant, I don't wish to add to the chance of fungi developing.
My plants are both staked and caged so they can remain upright while they are growing.

I will be making up a mixture for myself today.  I have most of the ingredients except for boron and bone meal.  I'm sure I can get the bone meal at my local feed store and maybe they will also carry garden boron.

I hope to see my Patio tomato looking lush like this soon....

and my Better Bush boasting fruits like these.
 and then there's
My garden this year consists of only container plants but its still my very own homegrown garden.

                                       Have a Good Day                                                              

Another Warm Day in Maine

We enjoyed another warm day in Maine, not as hot as yesterday (90F) but in the 80s today.  Still, wasn't too bad.  We get a nice breeze off the river most of the time.

I had a new experience with shopping.  I took the Parks and Recreation Van.  It took a long time, but I met some nice new folks and the trip along Maine secondary roads to pick up others, was so beautiful.  We passed 2 dairy farms, a sheep farm and a horse farm and another place with a horse in a paddock.  The pastures are lush and green.  The trees in full leaf.  Just gorgeous for traveling in an a/c van.  The driver was very agreeable with taking us to any shop we desired as long as it was within our town limits.  That means most of us shopped at what I like to call "The Shopping Mile" where we find so many stores including 2 grocery chains, pet shops, banks, the P.O., Lowe's, Home Depot, Walmart, a couple of drugstores, Goodwill, Dollar Tree, fast food places and just about anything one wanted.  I only needed to buy from 2 stores so I brought along a book to read in between gathering others that shopped at other stores.  The driver was very kind and after checking with us to see which stops were required, seemed to have a great handle on what stores to stop at first and when to pick up the shoppers.  There were 7 of us passengers.
My stop is the first for picking up, then there are the other folks along the way and our driver drove right up to their doors.  Being the first ones, that meant we (a neighbor and I) were the first ones on the van and the last off.  The trip took 4 hours. 
Its a nice way to spend time, chatting with others, riding along lovely roadways, getting to shop where one needed. 
Our group are the Wednesday morning bunch so every Wed. morning I can take the van to shop wherever I need be.  I think I'm going to enjoy this experience and also enjoy the socialization.

By the time I got home (one p.m.) the dog needed her quick walkie.  She was very good.  Crated with the a/c going and a fan also.  I leave the TV on so she thinks I'm home and won't get antsy about being alone.  I checked with a neighbor and he reported she did not cry and whine or bark so that's a good thing.  She's very good about being quiet in her crate and seems to enjoy it.   I leave her crate door open at all times when I'm home and I sometimes find her snoozing in her crate during the day.  I think its a safe den for her.

Anyway, I was hungry by then so made myself an Italian sandwich for lunch and took out frozen pizza dough from the freezer for later.  Suppertime it was homemade pepperoni and hamburger pizza to fill my tummy.

I put some olive oil in a small bowl and add garlic pepper to it.  Then I brush the edges of my dough with this mixture.  It makes a tasty crust, one I will eat.  I'm not a person that enjoys hard and crusty foods so this concoction makes the edges palatable for me, and tasty. 
Here's one of the pizzas.  I have enough left over for another meal or two.

Here's the 2nd pizza I saved for tonite's snacking while watching TV.
 I'm going to a bean supper tonite in our Gathering Room here where one of our residents will speak on his service during WWII.  He's 95 and very alert, active and still driving his car.  I sometimes wish I had his energy.
The Bean Supper is to raise funds for a charity event happening in Boston soon.

Today its a sunny day but cooler, after a nite dropping into the 50sF,  thank goodness, and they are working on the dam.  I can watch them thru my windows as they progress.  I can now view a new, much shorter waterfall into the reservoir. 
The new plan will manage the waters better.  I imagine when the reservoir is at capacity, this shorter water fall disappears and the larger one beyond takes over.

Along the reservoir, the walls are being replaced after much wear and tear.

This above is what a foot-long Italian Sandwich looks like.  This one I've filled with only my favorite items: oodles of cooked sliced ham, lots of Land 'Lakes American Cheese, sliced tomatoes and onions, and good Olive Oil with salt and pepper.  I rarely add the usual green peppers, olives and pickles.

Have a good day.

Monday, June 12, 2017

The Baby Geese Are Babies No More

Wow, Canada geese sure grow fast.  The First Family is grazing on our back lawn as I type but I caught some pictures.

Here they are not far from the container garden, grazing on the new grass.

They are still in fluff, but amazingly large.

I was happy to see there are still seven youngsters following Mom and Pop around.

Another view with the river in the background. 

It was another scorcher for us today, hitting 90*F but again, a nice breeze flowing off the river to keep it a bit more comfortable.

Have a nice day.

P.S.  They are done grazing and are now heading back to their nest area on the other side of the bridge.  That yellow streak is just a sun shadow thru my living room window.
Mom and Dad are herding them together for the long stroll back home.

A few moments later all nine geese disappeared in the tall grass on the other side of the dirt road.

Good nite.

Sunday, June 11, 2017

We Had a Very Hot Day Today.

Actually, too hot for me at 90* F.  I was happy to not have any gardening to do outdoors today.  Though it was hot, the wind was really blowing in our garden beside the river.  It kept it from feeling overly hot.

Yesterday I made a batch of peanut butter balls, also known as buckeyes.
I like using the one-inch scoop for uniformity. 

I can pretty much make them the same size.

This time I dusted them with some powdered sugar.  For Xmas I like using the colored sugars in red and green for their festive look.

Two of my neighbors gave me jars of peanut butter so I shopped for the rest of the ingredients to make these.  I shared with my neighbors.  They both love them and helped contribute to the recipe

One of my gardening friends on a gardening forum is shipping me a Sun Gold tomato plant, like the one pictured above.  I was a bit upset when my online shipment had to be cancelled due to weather problems in Oregon this late spring and a Sun Gold was not going to be in my garden this year.  A gardening pal heard about it and wanted to share.  I should get the plant in a couple of days.  I hope it survives the travel thru a hot weekend in post offices on the East coast.

Thank you Rock, for the offer.  I'm crossing my fingers it arrives in good shape.  I have found the perfect spot for it in the flower garden and happily I have some rich potting soil set aside to help it get started on its growth.  This plant won't do for a container, growing up to 8-10 feet tall and very productive.  The flavor is so sweet and wonderful.  I've grown them before. 

Have A Good Day! 

Friday, June 9, 2017

My Contairer Garden Today, June 9th.

I was surprised when I got to my local grocery store and they had some tomato plants for sale.  All very healthy-looking, too.  I had to indulge since I had one large pot being wasted on a thyme and 2 lettuce plants.  So I came home with it and have since transplanted my little garden.
This is Patio Tomato in its pot when I bought it.  Its a good size and in a larger pot than some of the other varieties they had for sale.

Notice the size difference of Patio compared to the two Better Bush tomatoes to its right.  Its off to a good start.

Here are the four tomatoes I will grow this summer: L to R: Patio, two Better Bush and Red Pride on the right.

I had to transplant my Lemon Thyme and two leaf lettuces into my shallower pot in which they should do well.  Lemon thyme is an annual so won't winter over like English thyme would have.

                      Some of the flowers in our garden here, Siberian iris around the birch tree.

                                                        Here's a lovely mauve Iris.

And this lovely deep purple Iris.  I adore Iris in any color and to see such a colorful display in our garden this spring makes me smile.

                                                       Have a Good Day!

Thursday, June 8, 2017

More Photos of the Geese Families

I got some pictures early last evening while the geese were strolling along our garden's edge.
This is what I now call the First Family with their 7 balls of fluff growing quite a bit.  They are very caring of their brood.  See the wild rose bushes that line the edge of our back lawn.  They are just coming into bud and bloom. 

This is the 2nd family now being raised nearby.  This goose only has 2 little ones and the other parent is nowhere to be seen.  They seem to be hanging out with the First Family but not too close, maybe for the security of the Daddy who keeps watch over his brood.

I wanted to show you how my Penny rolls over when we come indoors so I can rub her underpinnings and feet and legs dry with a towel before getting on the elevator.  I don't want to bring a wet dog into my carpeted apartment.  She does this roll-over when I ask her, and she seems to love the rubbing, especially her tummy.  And she waits for me to not only get the front paws wiped, but the back ones as well before getting up.  She knows the routine.

Have a Good Day.

Wednesday, June 7, 2017

There's A 2nd Mamma Goose With Babies

Imagine my surprise when I looked out the window and saw a second mamma goose and her brood.  Her clutch is younger and there are only 3 or 4.  I couldn't count them in the tall grass.  But she's very caring and watching over them.  I don't know where their daddy is, but he wasn't on this stroll.

Its difficult to see her babies hiding in the grass.

Here's a view of both families.  In the foreground is the newer mom with her little ones.  The original family are in the back along the dam wall.

If you look closely, you can see the older and larger clutch behind the weeds. 
That's how I realized there was another Mamma.  I saw her first with her babies on the dirt road and thought to myself, 'Goodness, they look smaller than they did a day ago."  Then I realized my mistake.  They are different clutches.

Another look at the First Family.  They don't seem to mingle together, these two families but the 2nd mamma is getting good security moving with the first family as they graze.  I wonder where her mate is or if he's met his end before now.  You never know with Mother Nature.
It will be fun watching both clutches grow up.

I got out this afternoon and transplanted my 3 tomato plants and my lemon thyme.  My order from Territorial Seed was cancelled because they could not get it shipped in a timely manner due to the bad weather they suffered in Oregon this spring.  So I made do with the 3 I bought locally.  I'll take pictures tomorrow.
Have a good day.