"Don't judge each day by the harvest you reap but by the seeds that you plant."
Robert Louis Stevenson

Friday, June 25, 2010

Lace Cap Hydrangea (Hydrangea macrophylla). A Full Strawberry Moon Tonight!

Today I am sharing a few pictures of my Lace Cap Hydrangea.  I have had these plants about three years now, I purchased one gallon plants from Buena Creek Gardens, a local nursery.  I relocated them to a new bed and they are a bit leggy this year, but the flowers are beautiful and the plant is loaded with buds.

I planted these in my pink garden, along with some succulents with similar colors. These are looking so pretty at night with the full moon coming, they are glowing in the moonlight.

I added four new darker pink plants just last fall. I am happy to see the blooms on these already.  These are about two feet tall now.  I think as they grow larger the flower heads will spread out a bit more.

Enjoy your weekend gardening friends!
We have a full moon this weekend and I read that we have a Lunar Eclipse also.  I love a full moon!

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Vegetable Garden Update, Sage Plants, Morning Doves, Thai Basil

Look who I found in my garden this morning!

Two Baby Doves.  I was walking along the top of our bank and almost stepped on them.  I slowly backed away and went for my camera.  All the pictures I took look the same because they never moved!  They match the pine needles; there are some dead branches are the ground near them that they may hide in when need be.

I harvested some Patty Pan Squash today, second time in less than a week.  This plant is next to the bird bath and receives extra water from the overflow from our feathered friends bathing. 

Tiles are 4 inches across.  Perfect size squash!
Picked some more onions; I am not going to dry these, but will keep them in the refrigerator. 

Also in this picture is about a dozen Banana Legs Tomatoes I picked; these are a yellow paste tomato.  I picked these green because the bugs are moving in! 
This one is called "Debarao" an heirloom Red plum tomato, the plant is loaded with fruit.
Above is Dr. Lyle an heirloom Pink Beefsteak.

This is Estiva a hybrid from France.  The plant has already given me red tomatoes.  It is an early variety that I will repeat next year.

Purple Calabash an Heirloom Tomato

Thai Basil Plant, I love the purple flowers added to the top of my salads, they look so pretty.  If you add these flowers to white wine or white balsamic vinegar, it will turn it a pretty lavender color.

Sages I planted in the Spring look wonderful. I will dry some to use for Thanksgiving Day.

Monday, June 14, 2010

Owlet Update, 3 Owls in the Tree

I finally was able to get a few good pictures of the 3 Owlets. I hope you can see them. There is one on its own in a bunch of pinecones and then two are together in one photo. Enjoy!

Look how sweet he is with his head turned sideways. 

Can you see him?  This is the smaller one.

This picture was taken the first night they arrived in March 2010.  This shows the two of the three owlets and one parent.

Parent on lower branch with two owlets over to the top right

Sunday, June 13, 2010

Tomato Progress Report, About Face Rose and Rose Sugar Recipe

The cage is doing a great job at keeping the vines in check.  Next year I will make another one of these to use in the other raised bed.  I also am including a few volunteer tomatoes that came up under one of the orange trees.  One is a current cherry tomato and not quite sure what the other is yet as the tomatoes have not formed.  I have at least 23 plants and have added some cuttings so I might be at 25 now! 

Check out my earlier posts when we first planted our tomatoes in this homemade cage.
8 plants here. 2 Brandywine, a Debarao Red Plum, a Victoria VFFN Hybrid Red Paste, Puple Russian a plum shaped purple black tomato, Dr. Lyle a Pink Beefsteak, Heirloom Carbon a black salad, Erica D'Australia a large red Beefsteak.   Also have Anaheim Chili Peppers, Green Onion, Basil varieties are Lettuce Leaf, Thai, Cinnamon, Lemon and Licorice.
Sprite a  Red Cherry Tomato on this end, also Estiva a new hybrid from France which is a red salad tomato. Heirloom Cherokee Purple tomato and a Green Zebra.  Shallots in the middle and a small round Heirloom Zucchini Plant, rounds out this full bed!

A Purple Calabash Heirloom tomato and a Pineapple Tomato from Burpee seeds.

Small Red Salad Tomato with the new Red Cage, I think this really is helping.

Volunteers! There are about six, some to the left and right of this one.

Golden Sweet Hybrid Yellow Grape and Sun Grape a Hybrid Red.

6 Heirloom Pickling Cucumbers, a German Johnson Tomato, an Early Girl VF Tomato, a large Tomatillo on the right and 4 Straight Eight Cucumbers are all in this bed.

Patty Pan Squash a volunteer in the herb garden.  It looked so healthy when it came up that I went ahead and kept it here.  It gets lots of water from the bird bath and I am sure the birds are keeping it picked clean of bugs.

This is a golden paste tomato called Banana Legs.  The plant is only about a foot tall and is loaded with tomatoes. 

A few of the Onions I havested this morning and 4 Pickling Cucumbers.  I also had about a dozen yellow pear tomatoes, but they did not make it to this picture.  Hand to mouth!

2005 AARS Grandiflora Rose
"About Face"
This rose blooms continuously throughout the summer.  A real workhorse.

"We bring roses, beautiful fresh roses, dewey as the morning and colored like Dawn."   -Thomas Buchanan Read

"Rose Sugar Recipe"
Alternate layers of somewhat dry rose scented geranium leaves and sugar in a clean glass jar.  Cover the jar and set aside for several days in a cool, dry place.  The sugar will absorb the scent of the leaves.  Remove the leaves before serving the sugar.  This is lovely sprinkled on fresh strawberries and served along with some good Greek Yogurt.

Thursday, June 10, 2010

We Have Barn Owls In Our Tree!

I was cleaning up the patio late Friday evening when I heard the first familiar shriek from a nearby tree.  The sun had already set and I could just barely see the dead leafless tree in my neighbors' field where the sound was coming from.  I dashed in the house for the binoculars hoping to get a good look at what I hoped would be the Barn Owl.  Sure enough there were two adults in the tree.  Lots of flapping of wings and more shrieks; this along with some flying back and forth to another nearby tree.  I could hear what I thought must be their Owlet's from one tree, calling back to the adults.  I kept looking through the binoculars hoping to see them fly from the nest but could not get them in view and I wasn't really sure which tree the return calls were coming from.  This went on for several hours and it was about 10:30 pm when I finally went in the house.

Over the next few evening's I continued to hear the efforts of the parents to get their fledgling's to fly and checked a few times, but never saw them.

Late Monday night I heard shrieks again, this time it was so much closer.  I carefully opened the sliding glass door off the master bedroom; oh my gosh I thought, they must be in our pine tree!  I quickly went to get my husband Tony.

We both stayed there, in the darkness listening to the adults call for the babies.  I remember thinking how lucky we were to be a part of this.  We heard the flapping of wings and what must be the young ones landing in the tree.  I couldn't believe it; I was thrilled to think that they had brought the family to our tree.  I thought about this all evening, and how special I felt that these beautiful birds were so close to us.  Owlets in our tree!

I forgot about looking for them the next morning; then last evening we both heard the Mockingbird chattering at what I thought was probably a neighbor's cat in the backyard.  I went out on the patio to investigate and could not find anything around the house.

Then I remembered about the Owls, I looked up and saw what seemed to be a small Barn Owl.  I hurried in the house to get the binoculars and to get Tony.

 I began searching the tree and discovered another larger Barn Owl.  Tony went inside after this second sighting thinking that was all there were.  I stayed out and kept searching the tree only to discover another one!  I went back to the screen door and called to Tony "there are three Owls." "Wow" was his response, but he didn't come out to see the third one.  Back I went to the tree with my binoculars in hand.  Searching, searching…one more Owl!  Back to the screen door I go to tell him. "Tony we have four Owls in the tree!" "Wow" was his reply; still not coming out to see them.  Again I go back to the tree; looking up I notice some fluttering and see that one of the adult Owls had moved to another branch, there I see all three smaller Owls with this adult right above them.  It was almost as if she wanted me to see she had three babies; more than likely she was protecting them from my intruding gaze.  The other adult was on a nearby branch watching me.

Back to the screen door I go and call out “Tony, we have five Owls in our tree!” This time out he came. “Five, WOW that is incredible." Now I am thinking well hell yes that is incredible, how many people can say they even have two Barn Owls in their tree, and we have five!

They are still here this morning, but they are hiding the babies so this is the best picture I could get at 6:00 AM. I will try to take a few more photos this evening.  I feel like a Grandparent!

This picture is of the two adults. The Owlets are to the right under a lot of thick branches. I can see them, but was not able to get a good photo.

One of the Owlets (added June 11)

This photo is of Our Visitor last year. I like to believe that it came back with its family this year.

It seems to me I’d like to go
Where bells don’t ring nor whistles blow;
Where clocks don’t strike and gongs don’t sound
And I’d have stillness all around—
Not real still stillness, but just the trees’
Low whisperings, or the hum of bees,
Or brooks’ faint babbling over stones
In strangely, softly tangled tones.
Or maybe a cricket or a katydid,
Or the songs of birds in the hedges hid,
Or just some such sweet sounds as these
To fill a tired heart with ease.