Welcome to Growbox Hill

Welcome to Growbox Hill
Welcome to Growbox HIll!

Thursday, August 21, 2014

Plans and plans..

It's the 21st. Been rather nice the last couple days, and we have been getting in some rain during the night hours, so I haven't had to water and the garden is coming along right fine to boot!

While out gardening the other day, my sister discovered one lonely cucumber growing in amongst all the squash. I'm not sure what it is, I have to trace the vine back. But it's large and lovely. And since it's the only one it's pretty likely it's pure seed. Yay!

Did another round of pruning. This time under the cedars right outside my office. I started out by cutting in the second year round for the chocolate mint and pineapple mint. And then it just kept going on from there, heh. To my delight the toothache plant seems right happy where I planted it so next year I will fill in that area of the bed with more of them.

Been taking pics over the last few days, decided it was time to post a bunch of them up.

This is what the giant collendar looked like a few days ago- made stuffed squash and squash casserole since then. A lot less squash in it now, and a ton more tomatoes.

The pickens from the other day when I cleaned out the potato bags. Every day it's a handful or two of pickings :)

This weirdness is something I cut out of the grapevines while cutting back growth on the north side of the property. Those crazy looking pod things are called galls- usually due to bugs or injury. Who knew, right?

The tomato jungle. Next year, more support considered prior to planting, lol.

The little squash bed. The zukes are putting out just the right amount of squash for the household. And enough that I'm planning on making another batch of ginger citrus zuke marmalade- it's been renamed ginger citrus caviar, lol. The stuff is crazy ass good. The buttercup squashes are finally producing a couple squashes that didn't abort early- must be because of all the good rain. But also means I should be watering more when it isn't raining.

The dog run, all agrown with various veggies and looking great!

The north stall has now been cleaned up of debris and the nasturtiums corralled by buckets of glads. I am pretty sure those are too small this year for blooms :( But once they start blooming they should look great!! At the far end you can almost not see the little histada shield bean.

The center run where the potato bags used to be. For sure need to do potatoes in bins next year. it was a huge mess for what we got out of it. More glad buckets for penning in the nasturtiums.

Got one of the huge spaghetti squashes growing into the center stall and just tucked straw up under it for support. Heaped up all the floor straw into the end for now till it's time to build the next raised bed. Then all that spoilt straw will be lovely to use.

The hops are not doing too well, I think I'm underwatering those too. But in the right corner you can just see yet another huge spaghetti squash being supported on a while bucket. The monster vine on the left is my Long Island Cheese squash- I have three growing and signs of more blooms! Eye of the goat is the vertical grower.

Don't look to bad considering what a lazy gardener I am. Right in the center is one of those Long Island Cheese squashed growing away nicely.

Cleaning out the area outside my office.

Almost looks like it's supposed to be something now- going to be planting in some lilies on this side.

The beds look neater. Chocolate mint on the far right, then pineapple mint. A large grouping of toothache plant in the center, though it's hard to tell. This area will start looking nicely plush next summer. And the mints at least will be in their final growth area, just needing trimming and a little weeding. They are already being very effective at choaking out weeds.

Cutting up like this will help with air flow under the trees. And man, I cut out tons of kudzu, wild grape, and wild raspberry vines.

Cut out a whole heap of branches that are destined for the firepit too.

The keyhole looks neat. But the scrap is building up. Time to get a burn permit!

And the freshly cut out alley on the north line of the property. A good bit of this was super overgrown, but now we just need to keep it mowed open.

So now I'm off to get more things done :) 

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Great yard days

the 14th...

It was an absolutely lovely day today.Sunny and cool in the upper 60's. I got out around 11 and mowed up the whole front yard. I offered my sister mowing the rest of the yard. While she was mowing I went around the yard and did a lot of trimming.. a few truckloads worth. All the little tree bits and such that have gotten out of hand over the last season or three and I seriously needed to attend to.
The entire white fenceline is cleaned up except for the compost/bee corner. That's it's own project, lol. 
The wild grapevine choked tree in the front corner is now cleared of vines and pruned a bit back. Opened up and cleaned up around the traffic sign.
The raspberry bed around the utiltiy pole- whew. That was a mess of old canes and unruly new ones. Got all the old canes trimmed out and all the new ones woven in contained behind the mooring lines.
Extra mowed down the arch drive and cut down all that tall stuff around the trunk where the arch drive meets the easement drive. That was a thing- but now the area looks so much better! I think I want to go ahead with some sort of light setup on that stump and plan in a serious bed of nasturtiums in that area starting next year.
A new mowing keyhole down by the pond was made today, as well as a little drive through path on the north side where we dump our non-composting weeds.

Tomorrow we need to walk out around the back 40 and see how truck driveable or not the trek is. I would like to drop todays trimmings in the way back corner. Want to walk out the north fenceline to see what needs to be done to get a footpath in order. I think eventually we will need to figure out a whole pondside path too, lol.

It's the 17th, and man we have been busy as hell out in the yard! Lots of pruning and cutting. Got the veggie beds attended to- to tomatoes now have been cleaned up and re-supported as necessary.
The whole potato aisle of the dog run is cleared out and cleaned out- we even got a couple pounds of potatoes out of those sloppy bags! Enough encouragement to do it again, only using hard sides containers like garbage cans. Those would be mobile and sturdy. Got the whole mess of nasturtiums dealt with in the other bay of the dog run. Picked the very first of my Histada Shield beans and those are shelled and set to cure. There's enough otherwise on the vine that I'm pretty sure I now have a crop batch amount of seed maturing.
Cut in a whole new path on the north side of the yard and combated a grave vine overgrown rose tree to do it. My sister attended to the long overdue lilac, and I think it will be much healthier for the cutback. One of the darker lilies will get planted in there, and will need to attend to the violet patch more between the lilacs and the pine too. And now we have a full mowing lane back there again, discreetly tucked back. That's our general dumping ground for weedy crap that can't go into the compost area. Eventually we will just keep going right down the fenceline entirely I think.
We will end up running a whole walking patch all the way to the back corner- it was widely groomed at one time so a bit of effort should see at least a footpath cut back in again.

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Freaking Awesome weekend!

I had a really great weekend! Went and worked at the faire this weekend, and I was a busy bee the whole time :)
Got to hang out with some really great friends. We were there on Friday to help out with the RESCU rally, and I wasn't needed so much, so I got to hang out with a friend at the bakery and sling some dough around. It was good to putter around the kitchen.
On Saturday and Sunday I got to hawk- and it was really fun! Made some sparkley to wear while out there, and it was rather grand. My bellows were probably the loudest unamplified sounds in that section in a while, lol. Every time a show broke up on the stage across from us, I would holler out. It felt rather good to do it too. And I'm happy I quit smoking at the beginning of March.
It was really cool to handle so much pewter out on the street too- I picked up and carried around some really cool pieces! Got to do parade on Saturday, I always enjoy doing that. My face is almost sore from smiling, and arms tired from super-waving, it's great. Like a super happy workout right in the middle of the day. 
Got to make a bunch of new friends too- some of it is a blur I met so many! But a lot of faces and folks I look forward to seeing again :)
I received a pair of absolutely lovely earrings as a late birthday present. They are tiny delicate blue winged hummingbirds made of pulled glass. So absolutely lovely I was stunned at first- then immediately put them in my ears, woot!
I laughed a lot this weekend... A LOT!

I sort of got a commission for some jewelry this weekend. It's sort of an artwork for artwork barter sort of thing. One of the gents I work with is a stunning artist of the drawing kind. I asked him to draw a killer bee for me to hang in my living room. And he said yes, just because he's cool like that. Later on that night, he was able to get a beaded spider he absolutely loved- and I understood his happy because of my happy over beaded spiders. So I offered him to do a beaded pin mount for him in return for him drawing up my bee artwork.

So... on to Grobox Hill....
The whole garden has done wonderfully while I was gone! Apparently we got in a nice couple hour long gentle soaking rain early this morning. I checked all the plants. Radish and dill seed are popping up. Albino beet and Little Gem lettuce are not. Rainbow Lights swiss chard is regrowing back really well. Early Contender bean has most of the seed spots sprouting up really well. The peas not so much.
I have several ball squashes to pick, and a few Roughwood Golden Plum tomatoes.
In general, need to do a lot of picking, picking up, and such to do.

Unfortunately, while I was gone this weekend.. Someone came onto the back 40, and cut down many branches along our back corner. It created a full sized vehicle tunnel in our tree path. Not sure who it was, but we know who it likely is. So tomorrow my sis and I will get back there and stack up the cut down branches in the gate spot, and string up a no trespassing sign. And a sign that the new property is under new ownership, please contact us. I'm hoping that we can have a friendly conversation about it. I'm not too opposed to horses and four wheelers coming through. But full sized vehicle path is a no. And folks cutting down like that on my property without permission is a no as well.

The lawn needs a serious mowing as well. It was lovely to pull in and see all the little yellow flowers, but the yard is looking pretty shaggy as well. The first five hardy hibiscus plants are doing really well in their bigger pots. I'm looking forward to planting them in next spring, and starting new seeds for their plant in. I think I want to plant them in along the easement side of the street line. We still have my sisters lovely purple smoke tree to plant in, and I think I want to cultivate in that front corner quite a bit to go along with that. Depending on what we got going on for lilies in the bins, I would love to plant some of those around the smoke tree. I still haven't planted in the 5 two year lavenders, and those might switch back down to the trimmed cedar again. Set those in with another set of bin lillies.

Another day, another entry :)
It's Tuesday, weather is in the 60's and it's been drizzling on and off all day. A nice watering in sort of day for the plants. It stopped dripping for long enough to get out and pick some veggies that needed picking.

That's a big collendar full of squashes! The littlest ones are the size I'm supposed to pick the ball squash at. But I had a few grow like crazy while I was gone.

The first pickings of the Juane Flamme tomato. They are a lovely orange.

Not much for bean pickings yet- only 4 plants are producing. About a third of this is what I picked before I left for the weekend, the other two thirds I picked today. This batch is now in the fridge in a greenie bag.

I also set up five trays of the dehydrator with all four batches of banana peppers I've picked. I gotta say, I love the greenie bags, they really do store the veggies much longer than they would probably last otherwise.

Last week we smoked a bone in ham, it was about 10 pounds, at $1.29 a pound. I like to make every penny count if I can- and fortuantely I can use up every last scrap of the whole thing. We had a dinner for four the night we smoked the ham, and mom had a ham sandwich with it while I was gone. Today I broke down what was left.

On the left is three pounds of chunked ham. I will package it up in pound bags for later eating. On the right is the ham bone, it's a pound and a half. This will be getting made into pork stock tomorrow. I typically get three pints plus of pork stock out of a good ham bone. I'm glad I got dried celery on the shelf- I will for sure be using it to make stock tomorrow.

The is the fat scraps from two hams. I froze the scraps from the last ham I made, and I figured I had enough with two hams to render a nice batch of fat. This is raw, right at the beginning of cooking. I used about a cup or so of water in the bottom of the crock pot to help prevent sticking or burning till enough fat has rendered out so it self cooks. I started it around 2:00, and should take a few hours.at 5 PM, they were only half rendered down and really starting to burble up.

Made up a batch of chicken stock the other day. Today I peeled off the fat layer and dropped it into the chicken fat bin in the freezer. Ended up with seven 2 cup bags of stock for the freezer, yay! A packet of chicken meat from the roasted chicken ended up in the freezer too- this was after a dinner for four.

Since I had so many ball squash, I decided to try a freezer experiment. Seared summer squash packets. I sliced the balls about 3/4 of an inch thick, seasoned them with Italian herb mix, salt, and pepper, then seared them off in olive oil. Then they got laid on a drip rack to cool off. Sliced up an onion and a handful of banana peppers. Dotted the bottom of the stack with butter. Stacked together six slices, tucked the onion under and on the slices, then laid out the pepper bits on top. A goodly sprinkle of minced garlic on top. then folded up the packets. Now they are labeled and in the freezer, and in a bit we will pull them out and see how they cook up. They are kind of bulky as individual packets- but if they are good I will put them into the camping/cookout file- and then see if I get good results making a solid family sized packet.

Apparently I saved this entry instead of publishing it.. oops.... Publishing now :)