Fall harvest in July

I spent several hours at the farm yesterday in an attempt to tackle the weeds.  At least to the point that I could find my plants.

I raided Ms. M's garden for 19 cucumbers of which I will be making lots of bread and pickles.
7.75 lbs of potatoes
almost 3 lbs of onions
1.35 lbs of beans 




The pumpkin plants were on their last leg and all I had to do was touch the pumpkins for them to fall off.  Can you believe that they are ready...IN JULY!!!

I showed Wilson last night and his comment was "We have had really weird weather this year."

I have to agree.  Otherwise, why would I have these cutie pies already?!?

Another 5 minutes please

Do you ever have one of those mornings where you lay back down for "Just 5 more minutes"? Thinking that the 5 additional minutes would magically whisk away the overwhelming pre-coffee incoherence. That possibly you can slip back, just briefly into that wonderful dream where you are sleeping at a luxury hotel, on a cloud of pillowy softness, a gentle sea breeze is billowing in from your private patio and floor to ceiling windows, and a butler is waiting in the wings with a platter of the world's finest chocolate. You know the one.

This morning was one of those mornings. 5:20 rolled around and I was out of bed just long enough to decide that I needed "just 5 more minutes." Well my 5 minutes ended up being 51 minutes. OOPS!

Now this 51 minutes could have turned out to be a lot more had it not been for my husband. On a normal basis, he would have come into the room and either gently shook me or spoke softly to wake me up. Not this morning. As I sleep soundly in my luxury hotel on a pillow soft bed, just about ready to wake to select my morning snack from my platter of chocolate, I am suddenly awakened by a loud, stern, "Ruth!"
That is my name.

Not a random name.

Given to me by my parents to honor my great grandmother, whose name is also Ruth.

I didn't like the name growing up but that is a different story.

Anyway, as I jump a mile out of my pillow soft bed, away from the chocolate into reality, I snap back at him "What!?!"

"It's 6:11" he says in an accusing tone. After all he has been up well before 5:20 and here I am enjoying another 5 minutes.

Grumpily I replied, "You scared the crap out of me!" GRRR.

Then I realize its 6:11 and I better bust a move to get ready. Thank goodness for my husband for waking me from my slumber. Who knows how many pieces of the worlds finest chocolate I would have enjoyed.

After all, it goes straight to the hips.

Wordless Wednesday - Colors of my garden

Tonights harvest

Grand total
 1 lb 3 oz beans
14 oz onion
6 yellow squash (2 not pictured as I gave them to my parents prior to this picture)
9 cherry tomatoes
8 hot peppers
a LOT of Swiss Chard
1 zucchini
6 cucumbers

I am having a garage sale this weekend.  My portion is being donated to my brother-in-laws memorial scholarship fund.  I am thinking about selling some of my harvest and/or baking breads, zucchini and cucumber to sell. 

I need help, please identify this plant

I need help.  When I say this my husband would readily agree that indeed this is true.  Usually before he even inquires what I need help with. His sarcastic answer usually originates in reference to my mental stability.  At least I believe he is being sarcastic.

Anyway, a long long time ago, sometime around April, I planted herb seeds in my herb patch.  June came a long and nothing, nada, not even a sign of life from the seeds that I planted.  With the exception of my lovely, well behaved, eager to please basil.  I love basil.

So after I decided to venture out and purchase herbs, what do you know, something decided to show its little head.  Decided to make an appearance. Apparently it didn't want to be left out.

My problem is, I have no idea what it is.  The plant does not resemble any weed that frequents my garden or that I have seen in these parts. In hopes it would produce a recognizable scent or taste, I let it grow.  Yes I have tasted it, both the leaves and the seeds.  Far as I can tell it isn't poisonous.  I'm still here.  I have reviewed my seed envelopes and scoured the Internet.  Nothing.

The plant has given me absolutely nothing to work with as well. Barely any taste and it is odor free.

So I am asking you my garden friends, what in the world is growing in my herb patch.

Here is the plant in it mysterious glory.  It stands about 2 feet tall. 

The stalks, stems, branches, what ever they may be, are covered with smaller leaf type flower things.  Don't you love my descriptors. 

At least I didn't say thingies.

Here is a wider shot

Please help me identify this mysterious plant. 

Thank you kindly.

Frugal Gardener out.

How to build an inexpensive rain barrel...rain collection

I have been wanting a rain barrel for a very long time.  In fact it was on my wish list for my birthday.  Although I have desperatly wanted one, the cost always outweighs the want.  The suckers are expensive!  I find it difficult to spend $100-$300 for a plastic barrel with a hole in the top and a valve at the bottom. 

Maybe there are extra special features that would justify the cost, I simply haven't found them yet.

So I decided to make my own.  Total cost under $25. 

Here are the tools that I used:

  • A drill 
  • 8 stainless steel washers  
  • A screen (I used screen taken from an old window) 
  • A tape measure or ruler would work just fine
  • A sharpee 
  • Carpenters knife 
  • 4 stainless steel bolts (always use stainless steel to prevent rusting) 
  • 4 stainless steel nuts 
  • A brass faucet and some sort of bulk head fitting or connector to attach the faucet
  • All weather sealant or plumbers putty.
  • Gaskets to fit around the connector 
  • Optional items, large washer to offer stability to the faucet and screens for the connector.

***Side note.  The connector that I used is located directly under the washers in this picture.  The hardware store where I purchased these items did not have the exact connector I needed in the plumbing section.  They did have a plastic connector in the electric section what would work just fine.  I love improvising. 

Most importantly, a garbage can with lid.  This one cost $13.

The idea is to have the down spout rest on top of the lid of the garbage can.  Where the downspout will rest, an opening will be needed for the water to enter the barrel.  Begin by marking and cutting the area that you would like to place the opening.  This is where the ruler or straight edge will come in handy. 

The design of my lid limited the areas that I could effectivly place the screen.  I decided to place it diretly in the middle.  

Ok, I know it isn't pretty but it is all about function here not aesthetics.  Anyway, I left the center cross to help support the screen that I would be placing over the opening.  The screen will help eliminate debris and bugs from entering the water.

Next pre-drill the holes for the bolts. I drilled 4 holes for each corner of the screen.  For ease in assembly, drill or cut a hole in the screen in the exact bolt hole locations.

Place the screen over the opening and line up the drill hole locations.  Next place a washer on the bolt and push or screw into the hole location.  Secure on the other side with a washer and nut.  I suppose you can place the screen on the inside as well.  I was just worried that a piece of unnoticed debris may weigh it down and cause the screen to gap and leave exposed holes.  Again, it is all about function and not aesthetics.  

At this point, the top is complete.

Moving on to the barrel.  You will want to cut a hole towards the bottom of the barrel.  Use the portion of the connector that will go through the barrel as a guide.  I used a utility knife to cut the hole as the drill didn't want to cooperate.  The hole looks crude but works just fine.

Now place the connector through the hole.  At this point you may want to use some sort of plumbers putty or all weather sealant to seal around the hole.  Otherwise, once the barrel becomes full, the pressure from the water may cause a small drip around the opening. 

Screw the faucet on and what do you know, You have a rain barrel.

Now all I need to do is finish the green house and install a gutter to utilize my new rain barrel.  We have had a very wet summer so I'm not in a hurry to have it installed. 

If you create your rain barrel, I would love to see your creation or improvements on what I have shown.

***Update 1 year later- My husband added some additional plumbing tape around the thread and gaskets to help seal  around the connector.  We have the garbage can about 3/4 full of rain water and we haven't seen a drip around the opening.  I can't tell you how incredibly wonderful it has been to have this.  Also, I have noticed no increase bug activity around it.  I believe the wire mesh on top has helped to prevent any insect gathering or breeding.  Also, we placed bricks in the bottom of the barrel to help weigh it down when the water level is low.  We placed the barrel in a high wind area and we haven't had any trouble with it blowing away.

Weeked Update

I have had a very productive weekend.  I have celebrated my birthday, straightened up my garden, made an incredible amount of bread, canned a double batch of pickles, made a rain barrel out of a trash can, the list goes on and on. 

My garden has been busy this past week as well.  Growing like mad, tomatoes turning red, pumpkins growing like they are on steroids and my peppers are finally showing signs of life. 

The roof is on the green house and the frame for the exhaust fan is up.  The hubs has been busy as well so very little has been done with the greenhouse.  Weather has played a role in that as well.  Either we are under a heat advisory or it's down pouring. 

The broccoli is finally coming in.  Seemed to take a while this year.

My green beans have almost covered my homemade trellis.

The tomatoes on steroids are now taller than my 6 foot privacy fence.

This is my mystery squash.  I do believe it is a pumpkin.  Otherwise it is the largest acorn squash I have ever seen.  We are talking mutant acorn squash size...if it is.

The Cherokee Purple tomatoes are looking beautiful and plentiful.

And in one weeks time, the giant pumpkin has grown from the size of a small softball to almost the size a a Frisbee.  I can't believe how fast this thing is growing!!!

Amazing what happens in a weeks time!

Last nights harvest

What your seeing here folks is last nights harvest.  It consists of the following items.

6.5 lbs of green beans
2.5 lbs of onions
12.5 ounce Cherokee purple tomato
3 heads of cabbage
1 zucchini
3 cherry tomatoes
A large branch of dill
9 red chilis
1 jalapeno
1 branch of seeded cilantro for coriander
20 head of garlic

It has begun.

Cucumber Bread recipe

From what I'm reading on other blog posts, no one is having an overload of cucumbers this year. ;)  Well just in case you may have one or two stragglers and are looking for something other than making pickles, here is a recipe for Cucumber Bread that I received today.

Thank you Ms. MD, supplier of the Inexpensive dishwasher detergent recipe for this recipe as well.   She is full of great ideas. 

Cucumber Bread recipe

3 eggs
2 cups sugar
2 cups grated, seeded, peeled cucumbers
1 cup vegetable oil
1.5 teaspoons vanilla extract
3 cups all purpose flour
1 cup chopped nuts (optional)
1.5 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon baking powder

In a bowl, beat eggs.  Beat in sugar, cucumbers, oil and vanilla until well blended.  Combine the remaining ingredients and add to cucumber mixture.  Beat until combined.  Pour into two greased 9x5 loaf pans.  Bake at 350 degrees for 60-65 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean.  Cool for 10 minutes before removing from pans to wire racks. 

She said that her kids absolutely loved it and it is similar to zucchini bread.  She will be freezing some for later.


My recent business trip

This year has been a unusual year for me in the sense that I have traveled a lot.  Every month I seem to be going somewhere new.  Not that I'm complaining as these travels have allowed me to meet new people, experience things I have never experienced and most of all see things and places I have never seen.  These travels take me away from my family, friends and garden but overall I believe build my character and allow me to become a better employee as I become familiar with various territories.

Anyway, my most recent trip took me to Murfreesboro, Tennessee for the first time.  I was in Nashville two months ago but never made the trip to the exact center of the state which is in fact Murfreesboro.  I love Tennessee.  I love how respectful people are, calling you Ma'am everywhere you go.  I love the southern draw and the loss of words this draw creates.  Prime example instead of the "How are you?" you will hear "Ha Yew?". Gentlemen tip their hats, say thank you and open doors.   I love it. Makes me smile. 

For some reason, this trip surrounded me with military people and places.  It almost became a theme.  I have a soft spot for anyone who is or has been involved in the service.  Along with their families, they have sacrificed more than many of us ever have to or will know.  Having heard some of their stories through the years has allowed me to realize that we have very little to complain about in our everyday lives.

I must share that I had the opportunity to speak with a Gulf War veteran several trips ago.  She pulled at my heart strings and taught me an incredible amount of things about the treatment of Veterans.  She said something that will always stay with me and that is to never say "Welcome Home" to a returning Veteran.  Many times, the Veteran doesn't know what this means.  They have become so accustomed to their recent routine while deployed and in some cases, returning home can be scarier than staying in their dangerous conditions.  We have heard of prisoners being released from prison, only to commit a crime so they to return.  That is because they were used to prison, to the routine, to the noises.  I believe this is very similar to what some of our Veterans go through.

From now on, I say "Enjoy the weather."

My military surroundings began on my connecting flight between Memphis and Nashville.  Several gentlemen from the National Guard were returning from their 6 month stay in Iraq.  I had the pleasure of being seated next to one of these gentlemen.  A 6'5" very proud single father of a beautiful red headed little girl of which in her 5 years he has only been able to see 6-7 months.  This day, he was returning from his 3rd tour to Iraq since 2005.  I couldn't even imagine how difficult it must have been for him to miss out on those precious years. Yet he had no complaints even though he was obviously tired and weary.  It was an honor to meet him.

My second day in Murfreesboro, the show I attended ended at 3 so I decided to visit some historical sites that were surrounding me.  My site of choice was the Stones River National Battlefield.  Just a couple miles from my hotel, everyone mentioned it was worth seeing.  As a matter of fact, my hotel and many other business were built on the battle grounds.  Click here for a link to their site.

I am by no means a Civil War buff but decided to visit anyway.  Here is a description that summarizes the battle. "A Hard Earned Victory:  The Battle of Stones River began on the last day of 1862 and was one of the bloodiest conflicts of the Civil War. The battle produced important military and political gains for the Union, and it changed forever the people who lived and fought here."

I began my visit in the National Cemetery.  Again another first.

I have never seen a cemetery like this where all of the similar tombstones are carefully spaced an exact distance apart as far as the eye can see.  I didn't know any of these soldiers yet I couldn't help but be touched. 

I came across several of these grave markers.

No name, no location, just a number.  Maybe this person is lucky in a way, he received a marker while thousands did not. 

The cemetery was peaceful and calm.  Almost the feeling you would have if you were sitting near a lake on a wooded lot.  Not the feeling I normally would associate with a cemetery of this magnitude. 

My next stop was at the visitors center where I watched a short video, read some of the quotes from the war and saw some of the recovered artifacts.  I then ventured out to visit the battlefield.  Initially I thought I would exit my car to see the hidden sites that can only be seen by foot. However after I started to drive through the area, a lump rose in my throat and I became incredibly uncomfortable so I decided to leave.

I think the magnitude of what transpired in this location effected me.  80,000+ troops all in a line just shooting at each other until the winner was determined by how many were left standing at the end of the day.  Must have taken an incredible amount of courage to wake up in the morning, if they slept, to know what lay ahead of them. 

So not all things were military. I certainly had to take advantage of a local eatery while there and decided to wake up extra early on Wednesday.  I heard of a place called the City Cafe in the old down town of Murfressboro.  If you are ever in Murfreesboro, this is an absolute must stop.  Established in 1900, this restaurant is one of the oldest still operating in the city.  Built on a quiet street right in view of the pre Civil war courthouse, I felt as if I had just entered the movie Forest Gump.  All of the buildings had the cute little canopies.  Benches and chairs were outside the stores for the old gentlemen to sit of which they were.  It was so quaint and welcoming.

I entered the restaurant only to be greeted by Brenda the waitress at the front door.  She was the sweetest lady I met the entire trip.  All of the regulars, old farmers, lawyers, an officer and even the Sheriff were gathered together for their morning joe and a biscuit or plate of eggs.  Brenda knew these regulars like they were family, even offered to pick up some pain medicine for one of the older gentlemen.  Oh but the best part was that Brenda, a proud gardener, had brought in fresh tomatoes from her garden to accompany every ones breakfast. This restaurant absolutely made my day.

On my flight home, what do you know, I sat next to another military person.  This time, a gal of which I was at least 15 years her senior.  Instead of coming home, she was being deployed to Germany for about 3 years.  At 20, the last thing I was thinking about was having to be away from my family for such a long period of time let alone in another country.  Makes me wonder how this will shape her through her years as an adult.  I wished her an uneventful tour and good beer. 

I think this trip concluded my travels at least for a few months.  I wonder what the theme for the next one will be.

Green beans harvest

The green beans are ready for harvest!!! I planted a colorful selection this year.  Kentucky blue, Royal Burgundy, wax as well as by rattlesnake pole beans.  I haven't had the chance to can or freeze any as they are gone faster than they can come in. 

I have a feeling that statement wont be accurate by the end of the week.

Speaking of the Rattlesnake beans, this is what they look like.

These beans are going crazy in my garden.  The vines are producing an enormous amount, the beans are flavorful and the unique coloring makes them very interesting to eat.  Well to me anyway.  My green bean loving 3 year old refuses to eat them because of their markings.  And here I thought she would love them.  I guess that just means more for me.

Pumpkin madness

I am growing giant pumpkins for the first time this year.  We thought these giants would be fun for the kids to watch grow.  Although these giants almost didn't happen as I was ready to thrown in the towel.

I started the seeds indoors around February and they were doing fantastic.  I thought I was in the clear but one day, all 3 plants decided they had enough of being cooped up indoors and in retaliation offed themselves.  Even though early, I planted more seeds out at the farm towards the beginning of May.  They never came up or if they did, were taken during the mothers day frost.

So I gave it one more shot. I planted 3 seeds at my home towards the end of April.  I figured if they didn't come up then it wasn't meant to be this year.

Eventually the plants came up and grew and grew and grew.  Then just a week ago, look what I found. 

I hand pollinated it just to make sure it would grow.  Grow it has! I'm surprised with the rate it grows.  It's must have taken lessons from my zucchini as it seems to get bigger overnight.

This is one week later.

Although you can't tell from the picture, the pumpkin is larger than a baseball.  A small softball if you will.  I should start placing a ruler next to it to track its growth.

My kids are starting to show a lot of interest in this.  Wait until it's larger then the two of them.

Basil Pesto

My basil is beautiful this year.  Large, full, plentiful.  So of course I had to make basil pesto.  It's fairly easy to do and incredibly tasty.

Here is the recipe I use

Fresh Basil Pesto Recipe


2 cups fresh basil leaves, packed
1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan-Reggiano or Romano cheese
1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
1/3 cup pine nuts or walnuts
3 medium sized garlic cloves, minced
Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
Special equipment needed: A food processor


1 Combine the basil in with the pine nuts, pulse a few times in a food processor. (If you are using walnuts instead of pine nuts and they are not already chopped, pulse them a few times first, before adding the basil.) Add the garlic, pulse a few times more.

2 Slowly add the olive oil in a constant stream while the food processor is on. Stop to scrape down the sides of the food processor with a rubber spatula. Add the grated cheese and pulse again until blended. Add a pinch of salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste.

Makes 1 cup.

2 cups of fresh basil leaves, packed is a lot of leave.  After I plucked the life of my basil plant to near death, I felt as if I should at least offer it mouth to mouth to help it recover.  I didn't and it is doing just fine.

Anyway, pesto isn't the cheapest thing to make.  The cheese and the pine nuts can be quite expensive so this is more a treat than a regular addition to our meals. In our house, since a little goes a long way, we will have left overs.

I freeze my left overs but not in large quantities.  I spoon the remaining portion into ice cube trays.

Once the pesto is frozen, I will take the cubes out of the tray and place them in a freezer bag until I need one, two, or three.This allows me to easily remove an individual, portion size quantity and use it without having to thaw or chip away at a larger block.  I wouldn't want to waste any of this tasty treat.

The Greehouse project, weekend progress part 2

This post has been a long time coming.  My busy life continued to shove it aside.  Finally, I am able to add part 2 to last weekends greenhouse activities.

Besides paint we also were able to install two sheets of polycarbonate along the west wall of the greenhouse.  We weren't sure how to begin and the last thing we wanted to do was to mess up a $70 panel.  I told the hubs to measure twice, if not three times before cutting.  I was sweating.

So cutting the panel wasn't as easy as one would imagine.  Sure it's hollow plastic, but tough, hard plastic.  The first cutting attempt was done by a utility knife.  This was a fruitless effort.  The plastic was too difficult to cut.  The hubs broke out the power tools at this point .  Using a jig saw he cut away the parts that were too tall.  He told me to make sure to pass on to anyone that may be using a jig saw to go nice and slow as you cut.  I love his input.  The cut was not even but he assured me that it wouldn't matter once he covered it with trim. 

Once the panel was cut, we taped the ends with clear, all weather,  4 year warranty tape that was provided to us from Farmtek.  The tape is intended to keep all of the rain and debris from entering the openings in the panels.  Easy enough to do.  I forgot to mention that before the tape, we removed the protective liner off both sides of the panel.

After the cutting and taping was complete, our next step was to mount the panel to the frame.  We thought this would be the most difficult step.  That if we were to mess anything up, this would be it.  Boy were we wrong.  All we had to do was hold the panel in place, make sure that the screws were at least 3 inches from the side, pre-drill the hole and screw in the provided screws.  Easy peasy lemon squeezy.  Before we knew it, the first panel was up.

We were pumped!  We went from one extreme where we were completely nervous to the other extreme thinking that we were pros and the rest would be a breeze.  Off we went to prepare the second panel.

This is where we met the devils spawn.  The panel channel.  This is the part that is used to connect the two panels together.

Here is a pic for you.

See the seam.  The ugly, nasty seam.  We could have hid the seam along the frame but that would have wasted a tremendous portion of the panel. Portions that could be used for cold frames.  So I opted to place the seam off center.  I figured since the channel was clear, it wouldn't be too noticeable.  Well the thing is that you must place a clear, all weather sealant inside the channel to help seal it.  Easy enough. After that was done, we installed the channel on the mounted panel.  This required my husband to stand on a chair to prop the channel in the air and slide it down the panel.  The channel doesn't just clip on, oh no, it slides on and then when you think you have reach the bottom it will pop off a corner and you must start all over again.  Then if you are unable to slide it you must use a wedge and coordinate with one person to gradually push the panel in the channel.  Coordination is not my thing so you can imagine the comical positions we had to put ourselves in to make the channel cooperate with us.  By the time we managed to wedge the piece into the channel, the clear all weather sealant was smudged everywhere.  Ugg. 

I had to break out the big words.  You know the ones.  Fudge buckets, piss pants, shoot.  All was better once we started to screw the panel to the wall.  We felt as if we had accomplished something incredible.  And to me, it was.

This weekend, we will make friends with the roof of the greenhouse.

5 Years

This week has been incredibly busy.  I spent my days making sure our company distributor meeting ran smooth which took up 30 hours Monday and Tuesday.  Tuesday night, when we finally walked into the house at 10:30 pm, my bed was literally screaming my name.  No joke, the neighbors called the police because of how loud the bed was screaming.  Even the counting sheep were getting annoyed! 

Ok, all kidding aside.  All I wanted was to do was to lay down and that I did.  Still dressed with the exception of my shoes, I literally crashed into my bed, dead asleep before my head hit the pillow. 

The next day I was equally exhausted and ended up falling asleep in the lazy boy at approximately 8:30 pm.  Very early for me but very needed.

So while all of this was going on, I was also collecting all kinds of thoughts and ideas as to what I should and eventually will blog about.  My list is a mile long but for this post, I must dedicate to something, well someone rather. My husband.

Ok yes, this is one of those mushy posts so if you would rather read about green beans growing or how to prevent tomato rot, now is your chance. Quick, switch to another post or scroll down to the end.  But for those of you who may be slightly interested in something a little off the gardening subject, feel free to proceed.

Tomorrow is our 5 year anniversary and quite honestly I couldn't be happier.  5 years ago tomorrow we were wed outdoors, on a very hot 95 degree day.  Our wedding lasted less than 10 minutes which all of the attendees I'm sure appreciated.  My uncle sang, our guest brought their beach chairs, and all of the girls were barefoot. It was awesome.  But that very hot, sweltering day, I married my best friend, the person that completes me. 

Still today, he is my biggest supporter and my cheerleader. He levels me when I become moody and emotional. This will be the first and last time I admit I get that way. He provides a listening ear.  He also makes fun of me every chance he gets but still tills my garden when my back is out.  He is my best friend (BFF as we call it).  He has taught me how to laugh, helped me create a sense of humor, and not to take life so seriously.   Most of all, he boosts my confidence and still tells me that he loves me every day. 

A lot has happened in our 5 years.  We have experienced pure joy with the birth of our daughter and we have experienced pure sorrow with the sudden loss of his brother.  All of this making our relationship stronger.  We have a lot of years ahead of us together and I'm looking forward to each and every day with him.

The end.  You can stop scrolling now.

Wordless Wednesday - The Farm Sunset

My birthday

My birthday is coming up in a week and 1/2.  Dare I say that I will be 35...already.  Really, where has time gone. 

As I was painting yesterday, it occurred to me that 35 could very well be my middle age although I hope not.  But then I thought, why does math have to be so cruel.  I mean, when I was 25, doubled it is 50.  Now 10 years later, I have to add 20 to the end result.  Just doesn't seem fair.  Does this mean I am on the verge of a mid-life crisis?  Should I go out a buy a 2 seater sports car or do guys only do that. 

I know I'm getting my dream greenhouse and consider that an awesome birthday gift even though I don't expect any gifts at all. 

But this year, since it is quite possibly my middle age year, I do secretly wish for a couple of things.  Reasonable, practical type things.

Canning Jars and lids
A Worm Farm
A Rain Barrel
A Pasta Maker
Seed pellets.

Ok so they are no longer a secret nor do I expect to receive anything as my biggest birthday gifts are when my kids tell me happy birthday and give me a hug. 

What more do I need.  Well lids for the canning jars but that is it!

The Greenhouse project, weekend progress

What a weekend!  I have so much to write but instead of making this post a chapter book I will break it into parts. 

My weekend began early as I took part of Friday off from work.  My intentions were to power wash the frame and south wall of my greenhouse and purchase the paint for the walls.  I managed to complete both and power wash the deck as well.  The weekend was off to a good start.

Saturday morning, in order to beat the summer heat and to take advantage of the time that the hubs would be home before his softball tournament, I dragged myself out to the greenhouse to paint at 6 am.  By 9:30 I was done with the primer and then had to call it a day.  I was dying to get at least one coat of paint complete but my 3 year old came down with a fever and needed lots and lots of mommy cuddle time.

I was happy to oblige.

This morning rolled around and I woke up early again to tackle the paint.  It was dark and the clouds were heavy.  Mother nature seemed to have alternate plans.  I took a deep breath, kept my eye to the west and the paint brush and I teamed up to work at lightening speed in hopes to beat the rain.  Thankfully the rain was very light and for the most part, I painted right through the occasional drops. 

To be quite honest, I was hesitant about the color.  I thought it was too light, too minty, overall too bright.  The more I painted and the more the paint dried, it grew on me.  I think mostly because the fresh color made everything seem so clean and refreshing.  Calm and happy.  Exactly what I was going for. 

A couple other things I managed to accomplish were:

Ruin my favorite flip flops,

Rip my pants. Not just tear but rip. Right in an area that would have been offensive to the neighbors had I not had a privacy fence.

Drip massive amounts of paint in my hair.

But in comparison my husband took one for the team. The uninvited guests inhabiting my garden didn't like how close he was to their pad so one of the bullies let him have it.  Right on his ring finger.

All of that aside, this has been a very productive weekend and I am very pleased with the results.

So here it is folks, the before and after.

I think the last time this stall was painted was in the 50's.  Brown was the color of their choice.  Frugal Gardener green is its color of choice now.

I do believe the color is a little lighter than the Vanilla Mint that was chosen but after 6 hours of painting, it is here to stay.

In part 2, I will highlight the installation of 2 panels (whoo hoo!!!), a couple things we learned and why I think the panel channels are direct descendants of the devil. 

Vertical Potato Box part 2

I left on vacation last week.  Before I did, I made sure I filled my vertical potato box close to the top of the plants.  One week later, when I returned, I found that the potato plants had grown.  Not just grown but GROWN.

1 week = 1 foot. Holy Moly!  (The weeds and tomatoes decided to do the same as you can see)  Since this picture was taken, I have added another round of pallet boards and filled it with barn hay.  Honestly, the urge to remove a board to take a peak is becoming irresistible.  Curiosity kills that cat so I will wait...maybe. 

Some of the plants are starting to flower so all I can do is assume that little potatoes are growing just as fast as the plants.

My neighbor "Wilson" is also conducting a vertical potato box experiment.  He is growing his in a large plastic bin and filling it with saw dust.  You can see from the shadows how tall that plants have become.

"Wilson" was on vacation at the same time and look what happened to his.

He went right out to get more saw dust.  

We must have had some fantastic garden weather while we were gone to encourage this steroid type growth.  In my opinion great garden weather isn't always great outdoor human weather. Regardless coming back home to all of this wonderful growth was awesome.