Sunday, July 29, 2012

What's the Plan Now?

What's the plan?  That is the the next question we face.  

As much as we would like to think we prepare, this summer confirms that we're not in control.  Until this morning we haven't had a drop of rain in weeks, and today isn't a good soaking rain, just a gentle spot rain here and there.  It isn't enough to save the garden, the bushes or provide nourishing moisture for the failing crops.

What many people don't realize is that the drought is more than a slight inconvenience to summer activities or a hobby garden next to the patio. The impact to our lives can be enormous, outside of grocery store produce.  The farmers here are selling off their beef now because there isn't anything to graze them on.  They are feeding their cattle the same hay that was supposed to sustain them through the winter.  This will cause a glut of cattle to hit the market resulting in lower prices now.  That might sound good on the surface but think of the ramifications.  In another year, beef will be sky high, and anything made from beef byproducts.  

Corn, wheat and soybeans are suffering.  Ears are barely producing and the cost of harvesting these poor ears may exceed their profits.  Some are simply plowing their fields under.  With less corn in the market, prices will rise.  This isn't just your basic canned corn or a few good ears on the bbq or roasted edamames.  This affects your entire supply chain from food to clothing and industrial applications.   

Non Food Uses for Corn
Adhesives, cardboard, charcoal (a binding), plastics, medicines, distillation, cosmetics, pet foods, sweeteners, ethanol, oils, hypoallergenic bedding and even tattoo inks! It's not only about eating the kernels but about the starches, oils and fibers. What does end up in the produce section of your local grocery will likely be affected by transportation costs.  Barge traffic is affected by low river levels with some ports completely closed to commercial traffic.  Now you're looking at potentially rail along with trucks running on diesel which is at a premium.

What about wheat?
Again, paper products, construction materials, fuels, medical supplies, health and beauty products, textiles and other industrial applications.  

Everything.  Think about everything that is soy related from the flour to seeds, hulls and oils.  The list is too numerous to mention but again encompasses food, construction, medical  and textile applications.

Now that we know these crops are used in making plastics, cardboard and adhesives, think about packaging.  Everything you purchase in a package may be affected.  Manufacturers will have to pass on higher costs to consumers - this is already happening so think of what costs packaging will add.

Prices will rise.  Income isn't going up too quickly.  
How much more can you cut back?
So, what's the plan?
I don't have the answers - I'm trying to figure it out.  

Can, dehyrate and vacuum seal where you can.  Watch for sales on canned goods, dried beans and pastas. Put up some shelves in your basement if you have room and store what you can which you find a good price.

Personally I would warn against freezing too much.  It's fine to freeze some of your stock pile but in times of high heat there are also chances of power outages.  For anyone who has not gone for a week or better without power, it's a battle to keep your perishables safe.  One the members of our blogging community discussed the recent outages when powerful storms came through their area shutting down power for an extended time.  People lost food that had to be frozen or kept cool.  Pantry items were consumed, store shelves depleted.  Then how do you restock unless you have ample funds, not to mention the extra costs associated with maintaining your household during these outages.  Their power company is currently sending shut off notices to those that fell behind during this time and can't afford  the payment arrangements the company is demanding.  Some of these are folks that struggle paycheck to paycheck.  Working folk that just need a break.  

Not all dinged and dented cans are bad.  Check the USDA dating charts  to see what is not acceptable, everything else should be ok.  Don't let expiration dates fool you either.  They are generally Best By dates and I know some of the guidelines for food panties allow for a year past expiration on vegetables such as green beans but no allowance on any baby formulas.

I discussed Early Crops  but neglected to look at drought tolerant crops.  From what I have pulled off seed catalogs and the internet:  black eyed peas (cow peas), millet, sorghum, spinach, collards, mustard greens- some of the same early crops I found.  Tomatoes, surprisingly, are drought tolerant.  I found a discussion that speaks about a method where you intentionally do not water them until their leaves start to turn yellow.  It forces the plant to concentrate on fruit production rather than vining.   Beans, if I could keep the darned deer away, tolerate drought well, particularly pole or snap beans with a short growing season.   Also squash, which might explain my success this year even if I did battle the squash bugs.  Deep rooted vegetables reach water where shallow rooted do not.

Using grey water is a good alternative so long as you watch your detergents.  Accumulating additives can damage your crops more than the water is helping.   I have seen some posts where plumbing (from sinks) is disconnected, allowing the water to run into a bucket.  You would need to move this water immediately if humidity is a factor, again being cautious of what you are putting down the sink.  Mulching where advised - not for squash. Drip hoses rather than sprinklers will allow your water to be placed exactly where you need it rather than spreading it over grasses and weeds. 

Shop resale shops, particularly the ones that use proceeds to help the poor and hungry.  There is no shame in purchasing second hand items especially if those purchases allow the organization to collect money for utility bills, food and rent for those in desperate need.  Many sell items for $x.xx per BAG!   One stay at home mom that I knew installed shelving in her basement.  With six kids and very limited income, she knew she had to score some great deals to outfit the kids.  Well, with six children spread over five ages, she purchased whatever was in the resale shop in several sizes.  She folded them and placed them on the appropriate size shelf.  Somewhere along the line Someone will be able to wear those jeans or this T-shirt.  Brilliant.
Seek out fabric sales at your local quilt shops, fabric store or on line sources.  Many are reduced down to $4-6 per yard, far less than the $8-12 for new lines.  Those same fabric were all the rage just a few months ago and will look just a nice made into tops, skirts or home decor.  Many second hand purchases can be repurposed cheaply into wonderful items.  Check Totally Tutorials for some great ideas shared by our blogging friends!  

Conserve what you have--don't waste.  Be cautious with your purchases. If you need a critical product, stock up on it just in case.  What will it hurt?  If everything works out just fine, you got a great deal on something you needed anyway.

For guidance and mercy.  For ourselves and all those in need.
As we have seen, we are not in control. 

What's Your Plan?
I'd like to know, maybe it will be my plan too.

Friday, July 27, 2012

It's a Little Warm Here

It's a little warm these days, temperatures in excess of 100 degrees is unusual for our area.  While the reported temperatures have hit 108 some areas have exceeded this, in fact, my  Jeep registered 109 just yesterday.   It's starting to affect electronics as well.  My dash lights were dim in the middle and  dials were not working correctly.  Can I use that excuse if I'm picked up for speeding?  (LOL)

We've hit the point where no matter how much we water, the heat has stressed the plants too much.  Bushes and trees weep, leaves withered and fading.  I'm not sure if we'll get anything more out of the garden if we don't get rain soon.  I can't keep up watering everything we have and if push comes to shove, the permanent bushes will win out over tomatoes especially since I have so many dehydrated and canned.

 I will say we have a bounty of acorn and spaghetti squash, thanks to a little duct tape for removing the squash bug eggs.  I can't believe how much I like acorn squash with butter and brown sugar. I guess they are mostly mine, the hubby likes a plate of meat with meat side dishes and perhaps a meat pie for dessert!  

I can't believe I'm saying this but I hope we have lots of snow this winter to replenish what we have been lacking.  The wells in some areas are not keeping up.  We're lucky ours is deep.  I hope you all are keeping cool.

St. Louis is seeing some unbelievable heat this summer: On Wednesday, the city hit 108 degrees, says Weather Underground meteorologist Jeff Masters. "This marked the 11th day this summer in St. Louis with temperatures of at least 105 degrees," he says, "beating the old record of 10 such days in 1934."

There was some relief in St. Louis on Thursday: the temperature didn't break 100.  
Twenty-four people have died from the heat in St. Louis so far this summer.

Monday, July 23, 2012

Kitchen Gadgets

I've always loved kitchen gadgets, nothing better than the kitchen section of a mail order catalog.  I thought I'd introduce you to some of our gadgets.  I'll bet you all have some too!

The scale was manufactured by Wm Enders Oak Leaf of Walden, NY and patented in 1906.  We really use this scale and it works well.  This was from my grandmother's house and now it sits on our counter.  We set things on top and the arrow points to the weight.  There are no digital readouts that glow in the dark.  

The timer- hand wind and listen for the ding, just once so don't miss it.  The advantage to this timer is that I can go outside and take it with me.  What can be better!  Our new oven display lasted all of about 8 years, after the warranty ended of course.  This is a nice dual oven with convection option too.   Our new motto is the fewer electronics, the better.

The Ecko high speed beater- what power outage?  None here, crank and beat.  Normally we use a whisk and I do have a very nice Kitchen Aid mixer that we purchased years ago.  The Kitchen Aid was expensive but very well worth it as far a gadgets go.  We have attachments for grinding and sausage stuffing too. This manual model will work in a pinch though, so we made sure to keep it as well.  It really says high speed beater!

The egg slicer, could it get any more simple?  Perfect slices every time for salads or just packed in my lunch bag accompanied by fresh tomato and cucumbers with a little ranch dressing on the side.
The can opener.  We gave up on electric can openers years and years ago. They became dull, the dropped the can or opened only a portion of it.   This is a pretty fancy one for us, it has handles-with grips!  Normally we used one that would fit in the palm of your hand with a small key type winder.  The one in our emergency bag doesn't even have that, it's a military type - my husband always calls it a John Wayne opener. 

We opted out of the pretty granite counter tops because cast iron is our cookware of choice.  Instead, we chose a very sturdy tile that will stand up to heat and heavy cookware.  

We rescued this cast iron piece from a flea market- completely covered in rust. After some clean up it is just perfect and a great pot for frying smaller quantities.

This old Griswold dutch oven is from my husband's great aunt.  It's been in the family since 1926.  In 2012 it continues to be one of the most used pieces of cookware we have.

To accompany our gadgets we also have some awesome cookbooks that have been passed down through the family.   Some early 1900s, some fun 50s/60s, novelty and themed plus enough church cookbooks to fill a library shelf!   Of course Julia Child's Mastering the Art of French Cooking has the place of honor next to the wine rack along with The Joy of Cooking.

The Boston Cooking School Cook Book  (this edition 1927)

My dad was a gadget type of guy too.  He always tried to give mom something super great and every time she returned it.  One year it was a combination meat slicer and something I can't quite remember, but it was really cool.  Back it went.  Another year it was an AM/FM clock radio/light/alarm combination that probably massaged your back and dried your hair too.  Well, I might be exaggerating just a little.  But back it went.  All the good stuff, back when these sort of things were not the norm! 

It's good to have the old standbys though, the "through thick and thin" items that are proven.  

What gadgets are your favorite?

Thursday, July 19, 2012

A Sticky Situation

I've decided that we can learn some lessons from the squash bug- Don't get yourself into a sticky situation.

I've been battling the pesky demons all seasons and found success with the duct tape method.  Every day I walk to the garden with a mega roll of duct tape which I fashion into little "bracelets".  I turn over as many leaves as I possibly can, examining them for eggs, nymphs and adults.  Eggs are easy, just press the tape, fold and go.  The nymphs are not too bad either.  I catch most as very recent hatchlings so they don't move much.  I end up with a wiggly blob of legs on the tape.  Fold and move on.

The adults see me coming but I'm fast.  I bring the tape from above and behind them.  They aren't ready for that.  They perch on a leaf or climb a vine- in plain sight.  They take chances and think they are indestructible.  Even if you get one, hundreds are awaiting the hatch.  They think they are the Borg- resistance is futile. 

Then I bring down the tape.  It doesn't take much, you barely have to apply any pressure. They hang from the tape, legs kicking in the air trying to grasp anything that might release them, but it's too late.  I fold over the tape and give it a little squeeze.  Another one bites the dust.

My husband says that I'm probably the nightmare adult squash bugs warn their nymphs about- the Freddie Krueger of the garden.  The little ones tremble when it's time for bed, grabbing a firefly as night light.  Mom bug has to check under the leaves, just to make sure the hand of tape isn't hiding beneath their beds.  Be good kids, or Sticky Hand will get you.

It's good advice.  Don't get yourself in a sticky situation.

Duct tape link from On Just a Couple Acres

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

It's Just So Pretty

It's just so pretty I really hate to eat it- but we will.

This is why it's all worth it
Fighting the deer
Battling squash bugs
Fencing against little diggers
Praying for rain.

May your harvest be bountiful.

Monday, July 16, 2012


Tomatillos- a first for us.  
The plants are at least five feet tall and have begun producing the husk covered fruits.  This is the first time we have grown them so I'm not sure what to expect. We planted   If all of the flowers turn into fruit we will have a bumper crop -- of salsa!  

It looks like the husks should turn brown but the fruit should preferably remain green, although they say some let the fruit turn colors too, it just changes the taste.  

The hubby has been googling recipes- he's a salsa lover but prefers his hot while I need mine ultra mild.  He mentioned chili verde with pork.

Anyone have some good recipes?

Saturday, July 14, 2012

To Survive Until Spring

What would it take to survive until Spring?

The Scenario
It's the dead of winter and snow is falling, a good thing following the summer of the great drought.  You need to find more dry wood to keep your family warm.  You didn't cut enough last fall of course, last winter was almost non existent.   The economy has gotten worse, if you can believe it.  Few jobs, food prices are through roof and who would have planned for these power outages?  Utility company and municipality bankruptcies?  This never happened before.  Rations are starting to run low, even after stocking your pantry better than most.  How will you make it to Spring?  

I looked at our garden in this year of excessive heat and drought.  I wondered, how would we have survived if it were 200 years ago, without Wal-Mart, grocery stores and fast food restaurants.  Even 100 years ago we would not have had the the ability to turn on our hoses for instant water.  What if the harvest had been poor the year before as well?  We need Food, Clothing and Shelter, the basics- add fresh water to that too.

What keeps us alive?
The cities  will have serious problems, not only food but potentially riots and widespread disease.   Even in the rural areas it would be bad, especially in more populated areas. There won't be enough wildlife to support the amount of food that would be required, especially if people had to do tasks manually. Clean water might be a luxury.  Unless you have spent mega bucks on preparedness, your food supplies would run out pretty quickly, and what about those that had not prepared at all?  

What should I plant? 
I ordered the Botanical Interest seed catalog and with sharpie in hand checked off the seeds that produce the earliest crops.  I have a garden center that stocks this brand so I purchased a few packets locally.  Anything they don't have I can order.  I want to select heirlooms when there is a choice.  Our volunteers from last year are from heirloom seeds. Don't choose Genetically Modified (GMO) from any seed catalogs.  I don't think Botanical Interests has any GMO.  I needed to plan against time- what crops come in the earliest or last through the winter without canning or freezing?  Just in case.

I stumbled onto parsnips, which I have never tasted in my life.  From what I have read, these are slow to grow and best harvested after a frost, even better if overwintered which allows the starches to turn to sugar.  They can be eaten in soups, stews, mashed, roasted and in stir fry according to the package.   They require some depth that I don't have with my rocky soil but we have come up with a possible raised bed plan that is cheap and easy.     That's a good start. 

  • Potatoes, an obvious choice.  They can be stored and can overwinter.
  • Radishes mature quickly and are easy as pie to grow.
  • The Redeemed Gardeners discussed ramps at his post here.  The earliest of greens and one that sustained early settlers. You can purchase the plants but the source I checked was not shipping until fall.
  • Collards- mine overwintered and and became larger every time I picked some.
  • Spinach at 28 days- I chose Bloomsdale which is also good in the fall.
  • Sorrel- one of the earliest greens.  According to the package it can stay green down to 10 degrees F.
  • Swiss Chard- I can't get this to stop growing, even when it wilted!
  • Buttercrunch lettuce- keeps going and going.
  • Cress- sow before the average last frost- Early!  
  • Zucchini of course, not super early but the Baby Round matures in 45 days.
  • Peas, if the deer don't get them
  • Catnip- I can't forget the kitties, can I?  Plus we can make tea.
  • Maybe not early, but a treat-  Watermelon Moon and Stars- if I can get it to grow this had the best reviews. 
I have identified a bed of purslane and several other edible "weeds" but I hesitate to taste anything I am not certain of.  I did purchase some purslane seeds, just in case it doesn't come up next year.  I also have my herb garden.   For longer season vegetables we have tomato seeds from heirlooms so they will come up next season and of course several bean varieties- which I have yet to eat thanks to birds, deer and beetles.

We are well stocked for normal times.  We dehydrate, can,  freeze, vaccum seal, hunt plus have some canned goods and dried beans on the shelves when we hit a good sale.  If things change, well, what's normal suddenly changes.  There would be a lot of adjusting to do so my theory is to practice now, while we're ok.  We might not cover all the bases, nowhere near, but we might be more prepared and less panicked if something did change our normal way of life.

What would you all grow?
How would you survive?

Thursday, July 12, 2012

It's Picking Time!

Thank you rain!  It's harvest time at the old Usher place.
Between fighting the squash bugs, deer, raccoon and skunks we actually have some veges!  Now you might wonder why we picked some green tomatoes.  They are heirlooms and the side you can't see is much more red.  We find if we leave them on the vine they ripen too quickly in parts or the critters get them.  They will mature inside and most likely be dehydrated into pretty little translucent wagon wheels.  

The basil is growing pretty tall, the more I pick the better it gets.  I've saved spice jars, dehydrate most of it and have fresh for whatever we might be making for dinner.  Sage, cilantro and stevia are in the Excalibur now, all dried out and ready for the jar. 

 We've got several squash despite the dreaded squash bugs.  Thank you On Just a Couple Acres for your Post on Duct Tape.  It works!!!!!   I pulled most of the eggs off, even near the veins, and stuck nymphs at various stages right to that tape, folded the tape and now they are gone!  Pretty cool.

Do you see the egg?  I told my husband I thought our new girls were producing but we weren't sure.  It's typical for us to get a few misshapen eggs at first but there have been none. I have several that are quite smaller than our normal eggs so I still thought I was right.   When I washed a particularly nasty one this evening, it squashed in my hand- softer shell.  Yep- I think it's our new girls.

A coyote tried to get the girls the other day.  My husband heard a terrible commotion and looked out the window to find it pawing at the cage we have for the chicken yard.  In the middle of the day. Fortunately we've got it locked up pretty tight so he couldn't get in.  My husband went down there and chased it off- next time it won't be so lucky!   

Linking to FarmFridayBlogHop

eBook Pioneers -

One of our fellow bloggers has started a new company, eBook Pioneers.  I am not well versed on this but I know a couple of people that have published books or novelettes for eReaders.    I asked him if he would say a few words about his service.  Please take a few minutes to visit his site at this link

eBook Pioneers is just a company that makes eBooks. Publishers and
self published writers both need someone to take their print books and
make eBook versions of them. This is not as simple as it sounds. It
generally means taking some kind of word processor file such as a Word
.doc and turning it into an HTML page. An eBook is essentially an HTML
web page, but it requires special formatting and a certain amount of
knowledge of the various eReaders on the market to do correctly. 

Self publishing is all the rage now that digital distribution has become
free and easy via sites like Amazon; Barnes & Noble; KOBO; and iBooks,
but in order to publish books at those markets it requires uploading
special files that an eReader can read. And while there are some tools
on the market for converting things like Word .docs or .pdf files into
mobi and epub files (the two files that are used by eReaders such as
Kindle and Nook), not one of them is easy to learn or works very well.
Very few people can manage to output proper eBook files with them even
when used correctly. Most find it very frustrating trying to figure
all this out for themselves. 

Making PROPER eBooks really means making all the internal files by hand using HTML and XML markup along with CSS style sheet language where you have complete control of the process. Publishers seldom have anyone on staff who knows anything of the procedure either. It's one thing for a typesetter to make print books. But what do they know of computer markup languages? So this is where companies like mine come in. Just send us the manuscript and we'll make the eBook files (epub and mobi) for you.

If you have any questions, you will find contact information plus FAQs on his site.

Sunday, July 8, 2012

Foyer Finish

Welcome to our home- Foyer Finish Project.
We built our own home, moving in 11 years ago in September.  There are definite advantages- much lower cost and more control.  We were able to build a much larger home than we could buy in town since we eliminated the middle man costs plus materials were at builder's prices. It was probably a 20% savings in cost.  Not only that but for what we were going to have to spend to get something just slightly larger than our one bathroom place, we would have spent around $250k.  There were no yards and square footage would have been much smaller than what we could build just outside of town.  Our plan was to invest out here and then sell after the children left and we were close to retirement.  Then we would build something smaller for cash where we would have better land for gardens, some animals and outbuildings. 

Conversely, there's no time table to complete the finishing touches but we're one step closer!  The house is a reproduction of a Beaufort, NC home from the 1700s called The Beaufort with modifications inside.  We changed it even more extending the kitchen to meet the dining room and relocating the bathroom to the storage and utility areas that would have been in the garage.  We enclosed that to be in a hallway so we'd have a mudroom and deep freeze area.  We designed the trusses to accommodate a real attic, with walls and flooring for storage.  It's accessible by drop down stairs in our bedroom that actually work like steps.  You can walk them instead of climbing like a ladder.  We also eliminated the first floor rear porch, making it part of the great room.  We have a deck behind the garage instead.  We also replaced the whirlpool tub with a salvaged claw foot tub which allowed us to extend the master bath shower for more comfort.  

The foyer had not been trimmed.  My husband is a very good carpenter so he can do this all himself.  For those that read the lumber post, this wood is purchased, not made from our cedar trees.  

He stained the wood.

Painted the base coats and made the cuts.  I"ll admit I hated the green at first- it was very green, like a crayon, but it darkened up after a few coats of paint.  I do like the yellow which also extends into the hallway.

The front rooms are the "formal" rooms, in keeping with tradition.  The dining room has been done for awhile so the foyer was next.  There is a front living room that we call the library which will be the next project.  It is a place for the computer printer, the ham radio, the piano, reference books and nick nacks.  

Taylor was a big help too, fetching tools and lending an extra hand.  
We still need to fill the nail holes, touch up walls with a final coat, hang pictures and bring in the front hall tree (an antique piece from my grandmother's home).

He did a wonderful job with the dining room.  The paint is a burgundy with a high gloss white oil paint. The foyer colors go well with the rich burgundy.

At the end of the day, the guys' reward.  Beer and BBQ ribs.

I'm not sure where are plans are now with the economic changes but I think we're better off out here, outside of town even if we spend a little more in transportation costs.  Things get completed a little more slowly and we do all the work ourselves so maintenance costs are minimal.  Taylor enjoys the freedom of being able to walk the gravel road up to Papa's house, run through the woods, drive the four wheeler or spend a lazy day on the river with Grandma and Pops.  

Mark this project off the list.

Friday, July 6, 2012

Wednesday, July 4, 2012

July 4 Table Topper Quilt

This is a half square triangle table topper using Americana colors.  Blue and white on the top with a red, white and blue striped binding.  It's laying on a chair so you'll have to excuse the the odd angles.

The back is a nice floral red, white and blue.

Now don't look too closely.  I'm a novice at doing the actual quilting!
I've tried free motion quilting on my machine but I need to work on getting the right foot on it so I opted for a straight stitch here.  I struggle understanding how to stop and start with my machine because I didn't make straight lines all across the quilt.  What do I do with my tails?

I'm not the best at binding but with more practice I'll get there.
Now I have a mug rug to finish hand sewing the binding to the back.

Then I can get on with my new BOM  Amish with a Twist plus finish up my 12 month BOM mini blocks with Thangles.

Embarrassed to Death

This is all my husband's fault, he embarrassed my tree to death.
A few years ago I bought a non-bearing flowering cherry tree, non-bearing because it would sit by our courtyard and the front porch of our WHITE house that has WHITE handrails.  I didn't want birds staining up my patio or porch rails, but I did want the pretty flowers.

Non-bearing!  He said why don't I go out and buy some non-bearing tomato plants too?  Maybe get some non-bearing pepper plants? 

He's ridiculed my tree publicly on Facebook and somehow it knew.
It couldn't hold it's head up any longer.
It began to weep sap.
The leaves curled and turned brown.
It had no purpose in life.
Embarrassed to Death.

Before, in all its glory.

Monday, July 2, 2012

Doing the Rain Dance !

Woo Hoo!
My husband called me at work- it was RAINING!!!!!
Big rain too.  It raised my fountain level by at least an inch and it filled up the previously empty top level (see photo below)  I also ran into a storm on the way home- lightening, wind and hail.  No hail at our place but it sure made driving difficult, you couldn't see the lines in the road.

The temperature dropped about  20 degrees.  It was 90+ when I left work and 69 by the time I got home an hour later.  We are so grateful for the rain. I would have done a little happy dance had I been home.

Above is the little birdbath THIS YEAR. Even with constant watering.

This is what it looked like LAST YEAR.

The only thing that is flourishing are these unknown plants that are growing in my hosta bed.  They are green so I've let them be.  Sad, isn't it.  I have no idea what either of them are.

The garden wall, so dry and lacking color except for the wildflowers.
This is the fountain.  The pump quit working so there was no water in the upper level, until today.  Now it's full!

The spaghetti squash is doing well though, see the two hiding beneath the leaves?   I've been scraping off squash bug eggs every day.  

This is a butternut squash baby.

The dry, shriveling woods-- tinder dry.

A few cukes have come in- great in salads or just with some Ranch dressing.

Somebody is desperate.  They ate the leaves plus half of a very hot pepper.  They can have it!  It's so hot I won't even try to dehydrate them.  I remember burning my hands last season.

Deer and beetles are munching on the beans.  We found some more stuff to sprinkle around which must smell bad to animals and the deer haven't been back for a couple of days.  Now that it has rained we may need to apply it again.  I can't smell it at all.

Tomatillos are liking the weather.

I left the prickly horse nettle on the edge of the garden bed.  The bee is enjoying it and I'm hoping the bean munchers take a good bite and get scared off!

Most of the plants are laying over due to the wind but they will pop back up in no time.  Let's hope we get another round or two of showers.  We need several inches to get us back to where we should be.