It's been a summer, friends. It has been a summer. Noah's Flood in May and June, with two unicorns dropping by the back gate to ask if Mr. Bitterman knew from which pier the Ark was departing. We had wind. We had hail. We had torrential downpours.
Thunderbolts and Lightning, very very frightening me.
Mr. Bitterman returns to chewing odd South American leaves after claims that he just met two unicorns.
Then, July/August got damnably hot, which was uncomfortable to me, but things actually began to grow -- pumpkins, as you saw from an earlier report, cherry tomatoes and chiles, both Hatch and Oaxacan.
Still, everything was really late. Which I think will be my excuse for this season, especially if we get an early frost or one of those damned September 1-foot snows. (Please, please, sweet saint of hobby farmers, give me til October.)
So far, this is it. three chiles and a handfull of Sweet Hundreds.
I sigh, because I refuse to cry over this ...
Blubber a bit, maybe ...
But certainly not cry.
As regular readers of this report will recall, we were way behind the eight-ball in growth earlier this season. It was cold. It was wet-wetterson. It was heaven for hail stones, more hail stones than I've ever seen before, from more hail storms than we've ever had before. No climate change, my ass!
And then -- the pumpkins decided to grow. And grow with a vengence. They fill Asta, the newest, smallest of the gardens (built specifically for them), reaching out across the yard, reaching up into the grassy portion of the yard, reaching across to the other gardens. (Nora is particularly hard hit by the Great Pumpkin Invasion.)
The above is a tomato plant that is suddenly sharing space with the pumpkin plant that is in a garden three feet away from it. This is a roommate situation that no one asked for, at least as far as I know. The Sweet 100s are holding up the tomato frond, which ...
... if you look carefully, is shoosting out the backside of the tomato neighborhood, between the cherries, the Romas and the Beefsteaks. (None of which you can tell apart anymore as I have planted everything too damned close again this year.)
Later in the day, while weeding (actually, while watching Becky and Mr. Bitterman weeding), I tripped and fell into the great green depths of Asta's pumpkin patch. This is what I could see from my vantage point.
This is what Furious George could see from his … he snapped the photo then ran off to ship it to The National Enquirer, hoping to grab the cover with the headline "Bones of Lame Local Celebrity Found in Pumpkin Patch." (It seems they love him there, ever since he sent in the story "Amelia Earhart Lands in Littleton After 80 Years Lost in Worm Hole.")
Our own little Margaret Bourke-White.
(Next Stop: "Fox and Friends.")
After finally seeing the fruits of my labors on Saturday -- scratch that -- OUR labors I've been instructed to say by Mr. Bitterman and Furious George, the produce is not only growing, but growing quickly. Good thing, too, as we've only got a few moments left in the "Short as Moody Stuffed in a Five Gallon Home Depot Bucket" Colorado Growing Season.
One of the medium Hatch Chiles completely snuck up on me. I was thrilled to see him, or her, or them, or ... hey, look over there!
A number of the larger tomato varieties have grown … well, larger. I actually think we're going to have enough for a few batches of homemade sauce this fall.
Yet another pumpkin has appeared. (Damn! Those things are suddenly everywhere!) I must admit, I did get a bit carried away in the final planting (after the fourth hailstorm) and now the vines are going everywhere, including, out of the yard and onto the bike path. (I got a nice new Trek carbon fiber bike out of it when I was pruning the vines. I have no idea where the rider went ...)
And, the pumpkins I noticed on Saturday have somehow already doubled in size.
Meanwhile, the Oaxacan Chile I was so jazzed about growing has continued to grow … Although:
I did find this little shit, a Japanese Beetle, on one of the leaves. I carefully pulled him off and tried to put him in a plastic bag, but in that moment between closing my hand and opening it, the little bastard had disappeared. He is the first JB I've had in the vegetable garden in years. (A few have popped up in the Butterfly Garden.)
Furious George decided it was time to go to war with the Beetles, so he dressed appropriately and strode up and down the yard, going into the house for regular bathroom, TV and beer breaks, never noticing that he had stepped in Dog ... uh ... well ... Excreta ... and was now tracking it through the kitchen. He said he'd clean it up once peace with the pests had been declared. He was figuring that would be by November, 2023.
So, while he was busy mopping the kitchen floor, I attacked the garden with some deucedly professional looking Veeblefetzer Brand "Don't Get This Shit in Your Eyes" Pest Spray. I'll spray it on this afternoon and likely discover by the 4pm News that it has just been declared a possible Carcinogen due to Intensely Radiological Contamination by some obscure government agency that had to withhold its report because funding was cut to the bone so Melania could get a new shoe closet in the WH.
Not that I'm bitter, mind you.
Yes. As the caption tells you, that is a photo.
One of the great frustrations of this growing season has been that everything has grown and yet nothing has produced -- until now. (Holy St. Jehoshaphat of West Covina! It's a punkin!)
I've been really worried about the bee situation, to the point of thinking of keeping bees -- imagine the comic possibilities there -- but the little devils have been up to good, rather than no good, and we have finally got some produce: pumpkins, cucumbers, oaxacan and Hatch chiles, an acorn squash or two, and tomatoes. We got baby tomatoes! The following picture ain't one of them.
One of the pumpkins out of ASTA decided to wander off into the pine tree. Digging around in there we found a fine little fellow just growing away. :30 left in the Colorado growing season and he decided to show up. Well, what the heck. I'll take him.
As for tomatoes -- the Sweet 100s are really taking off.
They're all over the place -- making NORA a very successful garden this season. (The elephant garlic is also doing well. For a Spring planting, I think I'm about ready to harvest, though I do believe I'll simply replant in the fall for next season.
More Sweet 100s. If these make it (through the oddball and destructive weather patterns), Becky should have lil tomatoes for school lunches through October. Below is my most exciting find. (Anyone who knows me realizes I get easily cranked.)
These are what I was really waiting for: the Oaxacan chiles have produced fruit. This year, like the garlic, will mainly be a year to gather seeds, but I'm really looking forward to using some of the fruit in various dishes this fall.
The chiles and the tomatoes -- from the front: Oaxacan, Hatch Mild, Hatch Medium, and the sweet 100s. (There are other tomato plants in there, but figuring out who is what can be a rather daunting challenge right now.)
By the way -- all the bare spots you see are early season hail damage.
As you can see, now that they've taken off, we've got some beautiful plantage going.
A novice (non-union) farmer decided to take up a rake and join with the simian frivolities in the yard yesterday. Sadly, her attempts to join in where thwarted by a 2nd Great Ape Rebellion of the season.
Furious George would hear none of my arguments for letting Devon do a bit of hoeing and weeding, neither of which Furious will ever do ...
While Mr. Bitterman simply screeched at Dev until she gave up the hoe and went back to drinking on the porch. Where she was quickly joined by Furious George and Mr. Bitterman.
Despite the convivial drinking, we have been grieved by the union steward (Furious), and shall appear before Judge J. Wellington Souse' on Wednesday. (That's Soo-say)
We will keep you up on details of what could be the Trial of the Century. (Until, of course, The Great Orange Circus Peanut gets indicted.)