Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Not All Caterpillars Are Created Equal

Two months ago I posted a picture of my newly planted tomato plant that had been eaten by a dreaded "tomato horn-worm".

I almost missed him ... he was so camouflaged that I allowed him to grow fat while eating all my tomato leaves!

Here's a CLOSE-UP in case you still missed him ...

I thought that sad little tomato plant was ruined ...

I even posted on a garden forum and asked if it would
re-grow leaves or would it be better to start over with a new plant and I was told ...
"Start Over"!

Well, since the theme of my new year is "HOPE,"
I decided that I would replant this little struggler into a different spot in my yard and see what would happen .....

and here it is today - with lots of leaves, lots of flowers
and EVEN some new tomatoes coming on despite our intense heat!!

           So imagine my concern when I went out to check my garden
           this morning having just examined my dill plant a week ago ....
                                           which looked like this:

                                                  But today looks like this:

                                                        Need a close-up?

          My 1st instinct was to swat them off the plant thinking about all those
                        leaves and beautiful flowers they were devouring ...
                     but them I realized - these are MONARCH caterpillars!!

                                                         Go Ahead -
                                                  MUNCH AWAY!
                                   Psalm 27: 13 "I am still confident of this:
                    I will see the goodness of the Lord in the land of the living.

Saturday, June 23, 2012

Shoes on the Porch

(Photo from Pinterest)
What do you do with your shoes on the porch?
I can't help it - the backyard gardens call to me when I get up in the morning
... and when I get home from work
... and after supper when the sun is going down ....

and every time I head out the door, I seem to have on a different pair of shoes.
I think it'd be a good idea to have "garden" shoes

or at least change from my good shoes and put on a "garden" pair to step off the porch ....

No matter what shoes I've been wearing, I try to take them off at the door when I come in the house because invariably, I've stepped in some dirt, walked thru a puddle, or picked up some grass in the soles.

Before long, I realize I have a pile of shoes by the door
- waiting to dry or be cleaned off.
I found some cute photos on Pinterest of shoes on the porch
- somehow these look more interesting than mine do
(from http://shannonfricke.blogspot.com/)

Maybe it's the dog or cat hanging out with the shoes that makes it cute .. or the decor?

Do "critters" lurk inside my tennis shoes? Have spiders slept there at night?

I really do need to find a neater way to keep them on the porch instead
of in a random pile -

and I'd love some suggestions to make them look cuter ..  minus the animals :-)

Saturday, June 16, 2012

My FAITH & My Garden are Growing!

One of my favorite quotes is "who plants a seed beneath the sod, and waits to see, believes in God".That's me! Last year at this time, with the encouragement of family & friends, I had faith that all those little seeds I was planting would sprout, that those seedlings I was planting really would produce blossoms that would become vegetables, and that in my little plot of a backyard, I could grow a garden that would give me more pleasure than grief.
And take a look - MY FAITH IS GROWING!

Here is what my backyard looked like a year ago when I first moved in ...

a big square rectangle of grass with one small "eyebrow" garden"
(that's my term for the growing space in the corner.of the yard)

notice the grass under the window on the left -
there was no flower bed there when I moved in

                              and there was a pathetic looking bare patch of weeds
                                             under the lone tree in the yard
                                      with the bare roots of the tree exposed
                     (and there were no petrified wood pieces to define the space)

                             (with one stray sunflower from a birdseed dropping)

              here was my cinder block garden when it was first built in late March ...

                              and here it is now producing vegetable and flowers

..                                      what's a garden bed without flowers!


                                    now, a year later, this is what I get to look at
                           when I step out onto my back porch in the mornings...
                                      It's still a long way from being finished
                          since I have to be frugal and can't do too much all at once
            and it's certainly not as beautiful as those gardens I see in magazines but ...

Hebrews 11:1 says "Now faith is being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see". These verses are speaking about Jesus & knowing for certain that His words are true - even though we face hardships & failures. But it applies to other areas of our life as well and as for me and my garden, I have the pics to prove it!

Thursday, June 7, 2012

Garden Produce - a "snacks" worth!

The one thing I'm learning from gardening this year is that I won't gain any weight or need a bushel basket to collect my vegetable bounty!
Almost 2 months ago I planted the following starter plants in my cinder block raised bed:
3 tomato, 4 okra, 2 zucchini, 2 yellow squash, 6 cucumber, 1/2 pkg of green bean seeds, and a lot of flower seeds (these were just to make it pretty!)

Maybe I was overly optimistic - I envisioned not needing to travel to the local farmer's market or needing to peruse the produce isle at the grocery all summer.

I finally did my 1st "picking" .... and I got
3 cucumbers and 3 beans ... and 2 green tomatoes!

I guess I wasn't thinking too well - or maybe I just haven't given it enough time - or maybe a small vegetable garden is meant just for "snacking"!
There is a zucchini coming along nicely ...

.... and a couple of okra are on the plant
(it turns out that I bought purple okra!)

I don't have enough to eat a whole meal from all of this .. 
but looking on the bright side:

I've gotten lots of exercise hauling blocks and dirt and bending and stooping;
I've gotten a suntan working out in the yard during the heat of the day;
I've gotten over my fear of squashing tomato hornworms,
and to top it all off -

it's been a LOT of fun!