Thursday, October 25, 2012

Putting the garden to bed.

We recently spent an afternoon in the garden cleaning things up, pulling out spent plants and weeding.  We've pulled our supports out to store for the winter, and have gotten rid of anything that's not in good enough shape to use again next year.  We still have a bit of work left to do, such as spreading fresh pine needles in the walk ways, finishing up some weeding, and pulling out what's left of plants that are still currently producing, but the vast majority of the work is done.

In addition to cleaning out the garden areas, fall is also a good time to update your garden notebook with information about how well plants produced, or any additional problems you may have faced during the year.  While we're pulling our hair out over some particular difficulty, we all think we'll remember the problem(s) that we faced, but by next year, things won't be as clear.  It's much better to jot anything down now that you may have forgotten to put in earlier in the year.

So now's the time to hop on out there, get things all cleaned out, written down and ready for next year.

I've linked this post with the Farm Girl Friday Blog Fest.

I've also linked with the Homestead Barn Hop.

And with the Backyard Farming Connection Hop.

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Sunday, October 21, 2012

Keep a gardening notebook.

I've always flown by the seat of my pants with regard to my garden, but since we added so many beds this year, I decided it was getting beyond my ability to just remember where everything has been planted.  I also thought it would be a good idea to consolidate all the tips and miscellaneous information I've collected that deal with things like spacing, companion planting, pests, or other problems, and planting time tables.

It's fairly simple to construct your own.  I wish I could add pictures of mine, but our main computer is down right now, so you'll just have to use your imagination. :)

I bought an inexpensive, three ring binder and used dividers that have pockets on them to mark the sections.  I use page protectors for everything so the paper is protected if I decide to take it out in the garden with me when I'm planting. The reason I use dividers that have pockets is so I have a place to stick notes, or articles if I happen to be out of page protectors.  That way they are already organized and ready to file after my next trip to the office supply store, instead of sitting on a desk, or in a drawer somewhere.

I have the following sections in my notebook:
Garden plans - I literally draw the layout of the garden (you could use graph paper) and
                        write in where things are planted.  I write notes on the back of the "map".
                        Things like, how a particular variety performed, or whether or not you
                        saw a benefit from a companion planting.
Tips - This is where I store charts for crop rotation, spacing, and compainion planting.
Pests - Info. on pest problems and organic solutions/suggestions.
Other problems - How to diagnose, and organically treat other problems that you may
                          run into, like fungal diseases or nutrient deficiencies.
Articles - Sometimes I run across an article that covers a wide range of information, which
                          makes it difficult to file in any one section.  This is where those go.

I've seen many people talk about keeping a gardening journal and I can wholeheartedly agree that it is enormously helpful.  If you're not already keeping one, it'd be a great idea to get one ready before the next planting season.

I've linked this post with the Farm Girl Friday Blog Fest.

I've also linked with the Homestead Barn Hop.

And with the Backyard Farming Connection Hop at Simple and Joyful.

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Sunday, October 14, 2012

So, lets try out the title of Grandma.

That's right.  Congratulations to my lovely daughter Ri and her hubby, who are making me a Grandma!!

We've know for a couple of weeks now, but were respecting their wish to keep it fairly quiet until they made the announcement at church.  Since that happened this morning, I'm free to shout it to the rest of the world.

Yay!!  Grandbaby number 1.  I expect to have a lot, but I'll let them start with one. :D

We're all extremely excited, as you can probably tell, and I will certainly post updates.  I can hardly wait, but now that I'm older, and not the one who's pregnant, I know it will pass rather quickly.  So, I'd better decide what I'm going to sew, knit, or stitch for the baby and get to work on it pronto.

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Saturday, October 13, 2012

Oh, the peppers!!

While the garden was, for the most part, pretty challenging, and not as productive as I would have liked it to be, one of the things that did great was the peppers.

We've had peppers to eat, peppers to give away, peppers to use in canning and peppers that (unfortunately) went bad because we just couldn't eat anymore peppers.  I did get worried at one point not too long ago though.  I had told most of the girls that I wanted to leave the cayenne peppers on the plants to turn red so I could dry them, but then the one person I didn't tell was the one out picking a couple of weeks ago, and she picked all the long green ones.  I was afraid the others wouldn't have enough time to finish growing and turn red before it turned off cold.  My fear was unfounded.
This is only a portion of the string of peppers.  It's quite long.  We just use regular thread and put the needle through the green cap, close to the top of the pepper.  If you ever wanted to do it for decorative purposes, you could string the peppers closer together, but I wanted them to dry as quickly as possible, so Bre left spaces between the peppers.  Once they are dry, we'll be able to grind them up and store them in an airtight container.

I've linked this post with the Farm Girl Friday Blog Fest.

I've also linked with the Homestead Barn Hop.

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Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Do I need blessing, or am I already blessed?

We were at a wedding just a few weeks ago for someone very close to our family.  It was a lovely wedding, but unfortunately, not without a bit of drama preceding the ceremony.  When I intervened in an altercation that was underway, merely to point out that it wasn't the time or place for such a display, I understandably ruffled a few feathers.  Thankfully, the participants went their separate ways, but I did receive a rather pointed look later on in the day from one of them in particular.  This made me a little wary when, just as we are about to leave, this person approached me.  I won't go into details, but this was a very odd encounter.  It seemed as though she felt the need to pray for me, which I wouldn't ordinarily balk at, but given the previous events, and her, ahhh, unusual manner, I wasn't as thrilled as I could have been.  She encouraged me to relax and said that I needed to be blessed because I had so many girls.  I assured her that I had already been blessed by having those girls.  In the end I just let her say her prayer so that I could leave without making another huge scene, but I was not at all comfortable with it.

So what do you do when someone wants to "bless" you, but you aren't certain of their heart?  Many times these people do not mean any harm, so it's not a problem to humor them.  At other times, the person may make you feel uncomfortable.  And worst of all are times when you seriously question their intent.  Most of the time I will allow someone to pray for me; as I said, people usually do so with the best intentions.  Occasionally, if I feel uncomfortable, I try to excuse myself from the situation if I can do so gracefully.  If not, I will do as I did on this occasion and allow the person their prayer, excusing myself as quickly as possible afterward.  I certainly won't allow something that's making me uncomfortable drag on very long.  And last of all are the times when you get a really bad "vibe" off the person offering to pray.  In those cases it's best to excuse yourself as quickly as possible.  For the most part, these are usually people you don't know anyway, so although you risk offending them, you probably won't see them again.  If you do, and get to know them, then you can always apologize later if necessary.

People have all sorts of beliefs, and if they are determined to pray for you they will, even if you don't stand around while they do it, and there are weird people in the world who give you the creeps when they approach you offering to pray.   But, my God is bigger than creepy people and misguided prayers.  When in doubt, pray while they are praying - louder, if necessary to get your point across.  Finally, I would add that you need to take into account the age of the person offering the prayer.  Older people may be suffering from some sort of dementia which can make a well intended prayer seem confusing or uncomfortable.  In the end, the age of the person who wanted to pray for me this time is partially why I allowed the prayer instead of excusing myself beforehand.

So, do I need blessing, or am I already blessed?  Of course the answer to that is, both.

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