TODAY WE WILL PLAY: WHAT IS THESE VEGETABLES?
THESE ARE ROMA TOMATOES. THEY ARE DOING WELL. NEED A TRIM, BUT SUCH IS LIFE.
THIS IS A CHEROKEE PURPLE HEIRLOOM TOMATO. DOING QUITE WELL.
DON'T WANT TO SPRAY FOR BUGGIES, BUT MAY HAVE TO SPRAY.
THESE ARE JOAN CRAWFORD AND MERCEDES MCCAMBRIDGE BOTH FURIOUSLY OVERACTING IN THE 50'S WESTERN, "JOHNNY GUITAR."
(I OFFER THIS MERELY AS AN EXAMPLE OF HOW I CAN STILL TELL THINGS APART, DESPITE MY ADVANCED AGE, RIGHT DOWN TO THE FACT THAT JOAN HAD ALL HER CLOSEUPS SHOT BACK AT THE STUDIO TO CONTROL HER LIGHTING AND MAKEUP, WHILE MERCEDES HAD HAD TO HAVE HERS SHOT ON LOCATION. BIT OF A JARRING EFFECT, BUT THE MOVIE IS SO DAMNED WEIRD YOU JUST GO WITH IT.)
(ADDED NOTE: THE CREW WOULD APPLAUD MERECEDES' SCENES OF OVER THE TOP HISTORONICS JUST TO PISS JOAN OFF. AND JOAN WAS PISSED. JUST LOOK AT THAT LEFT EYEBROW!)
OKAY, NOW WE COME TO THE MEAT OF TODAY'S PONDERINGS:
WHAT IS THIS VEGETABLE?
IT IS SUPPOSED TO BE AN ACORN SQUASH. IT WAS GROWN FROM OUR ACORN SQUASH SEEDS. AT LEAST I THOUGHT IT WAS. BUT IT DOES NOT LOOK LIKE AN ACORN SQUASH.
IN POINT OF FACT, THIS PLANT, AS WELL AS HIS BRETHEREN AND SISTEREN, LOOK A LOT LIKE ZUCCHINI. AND ONLY ONE PERSON IN THE HOUSE LIKES ZUCCHINI, AND THAT IS BECKY.
THEN AGAIN, I'VE NEVER SEEN A ZUCCHINI WITH RIDGES LIKE THIS -- RUFFLES HAVE RIDGES, AS DO ACORN SQUASH, BUT I'VE NEVER SEEN A ZUCCHINI THIS SIZE WITH RIDGES.
I'VE NEVER SEEN A ZUCCHINI ANY SIZE WITH RIDGES.
IF I HAD MY WAY ABOUT IT, I'D NEVER SEE A ZUCCHINI.
THIS IS A CUCUMBER. IT IS NOT A ZUCCHINI, EVEN THOUGH ZUCCHINI'S OFTEN TRY TO PASS THEMSELVES OFF AS CUCUMBERS AT GROCERY STORES AND FARMER'S MARKETS.
KNOW YOUR CUCUMBERS!!
THIS TOO, IS A CUCUMBER.
BUT THIS ... THIS I JUST PLAIN DON'T KNOW.
CUTTING INTO ONE TONIGHT TO FIND OUT.
BOTH FURIOUS AND BITTERMAN ARE CONVINCED WE HAVE A STRANGE ACORN SQUASH HYBRID.
(I HATE IT WHEN FURIOUS DOES THAT WITH HIS EYELIDS, CREEPS ME OUT.)
MR. BITTERMAN HAS VOLUNTEERED TO BE THE TASTER THIS AFTERNOON.
THE QUESTION SHOULD BE SETTLED BY DINNER TIME.
One of the great things about letting people know you're a gardener is that they're likely to take the extra zucchini off your hands, plus, come your birthday, they'll often give you new gadgets and gee-gaws for your garden.
Mr. Bitterman tried to convince me that this was to keep me from having to kneel in the rocks, but knowing my mother, it's really a kneeler so I can catch up on my Baltimore Catechism while waiting for harvest time. (Maybe she meant me to use it to pray for the tomatoes to just, plain grow, given the poor results of last season.)
On the other hand, given my rather sketchy relationship with the Almighty, asking him to help in the garden, rather than do something important, like, create world peace, might just result in a burst of celestial temper. One never knows. (This from the guy who used to spend 11:00 Mass out in the church parking lot reading a copy of "Harpo Speaks" I had hidden under the seat of the car. If I didn't get it then, I'm not sure I will.)
On the other hand ...
(Note: This is not what WILL happen, merely what COULD happen...)
Mr. Bitterman came running in a few minutes ago with exciting news, which he delivered in his rather high pitched, Dolly Parton impression.
"Look, Porter! Flau-hers! And yew can only get them in boxes of Breeze!"
Despite the fact he was referring to a 1968 Breeze Detergent commercial (where you got a flower covered dishcloth in each box) starring Dolly and Porter Waggoner, I did have to admit, it was a good impression of Dolly. His fur didn't help, nor did his rather obvious male attributes he refuses to cover up, but he had the voice down square and the giggle broke me up.
What he was in fact referring to was the presence, if not omnipresence, of flowers all over the tomato plants in both gardens. It was truly spectacular. And, with a little rain, no hail and a bit of luck, we might actually have a bumper crop this year.
Disappointed that I didn't react immediately to his spot-on Dolly, Bitterman trooped noisily into the TV room and turned on the Tube.
After a few minutes he wandered back out.
"Nothing on worth watching?" I asked.
"There hasn't been anyone on worth watching since Shari Lewis died," he replied.
And to this, I had to agree.
It's likely for the best that I was out of town (the country) for a week in June, as I wasn't able to helicopter parent over the tomatoes and peppers. When we left, they were newly planted and doing just fine. By the time we came back, they had dug in and made themselves known.
It was actually pretty impressive.
This season is much more planned out than last year. We rebuilt the soil with Cow and Compost, along with BOSS and a number of deep plant fertilizers. We also went for bigger tomato varieties this year, as I really didn't have enough for homemade tomato sauce. I'm hoping for better yields come August.
The sweet potatoes have been planted in the barrels this year. I don't know if they need more room to spread out, but they certainly have enough depth, which I figured (guessed?) would be more important. Half the fun of this business is learning as I go. Given the cost of the plants, the fertilizer, the new soil and the barrels themselves, I'm guessing (figuring?) that each potato (potatoe?) will cost $14.55.
The lower garden is doing very well. It's holding most of the smaller "from seed" tomato plants as well as the heirlooms and hybrids. So far, this season, we've only lost one plant, a tomato that gave up the ghost after little if no struggle.
Didn't stop me from feeling bad for him, however.
(I'm reminded now of that line from "Oh, Brother, Where Art Thou," with Baby Face Nelson shooting cows: "Oh, George. Not the livestock." I always feel pain pulling a plant or seeing an animal pass on. Always have. Couldn't watch "Lassie" because I was more worried about the chipmunks trapped in the forest fire than the people. Hmm. Just another thing to talk to my shrink about come next visit. Two more visits and I get a gold star while he gets a new Beemer.)
On the north forty, the cucumbers and acorn squash are going gangbusters. The squash is grown from our own heirloom seeds held over from last season's bumper crop. The beans are growing as well, in the right side of the picture, though slower than they grew indoors, where they took over much of the kitchen (still haven't found the cat who fell asleep next to them on the kitchen table).
If we're going to be using pesticides, both Furious George and Mr. Bitterman are insisting on hazmat suits. Furious loves his and refuses to take it off, even to sleep, while Bitterman seems to think that this open mesh design makes him look like a refugee from an episode of "Jersey Shore."
AN INFUSION OF LADYBUGS IN THE BUTTERFLY GARDEN
AMAZING RESULTS -- GIVEN THAT SEEDS WERE MERELY SPREAD
IN A RATHER WILLY-NILLY FASHION.
(AIN'T NATURE GRAND?)
ANOTHER LADYBUG. I'M TOLD THEY BITE.
(AND YET, IN 65 YEARS OF DEALING WITH THEM, I'VE YET TO BE BIT.)
A WONDERFUL PLACE IN THE EVENING FOR A GLASS OF WINE.
(DEPENDING ON THE TRAFFIC. IT IS, AFTER ALL, HARLEY SEASON)
GREAT THING IS ...
AS THE EARLY BLOOMERS FADE, NEW GROWTH APPEARS.
IT'S A HAPPY PLACE.
WE CALL IT "NORA."
CLOSE UP OF A LADYBUG.
PERHAPS THE BAT-SHIT-CRAZY NEIGHBOR IS RIGHT.
MAYBE THEY DO BITE.
MR. BITTERMAN AND FURIOUS GEORGE LOVE "NORA," MAINLY BECAUSE ALL THEY HAVE TO DO WITH HER IS TURN THE WATER ON EVERY OTHER DAY FOR FIVE MINUTES AND PULL A WEED OR TWO. (WHEN IT GOT OVER GROWN A FEW WEEKS BACK, THEY WERE NOWHERE TO BE FOUND, LATER CLAIMING THAT THEY GOT LOST ON THEIR WAY TO WORK THANKS TO ALL THE DETRITUS IN THE BASEMENT.)
AFTER WATERING, THEY CAN USUALLY BE FOUND HAVING AN ADULT BEVERAGE IN ONE OF THE ADIRONDACK CHAIRS, OR GNAWING ON A PIECE OF WHATEVER THEY FOUND IN THE BAT-SHIT-CRAZY NEIGHBOR'S VEGETABLE GARDEN. HE DOESN'T KNOW WHO TO BLAME FOR HIS LACK OF VEGETABLES.
I BLAME THE LADYBUGS.