Monday, May 24, 2010

The Veggie Gardens

This is the second year to garden. I now have two gardens. One is called the little garden because I fenced off a small area in the backyard and the other is called the big garden because we tilled up a 20 x 40 foot space between a shed and hay pen then fenced it in with 6 foot wire panels. We tried to set our own fence posts but kept running into rock so we hired a guy to drill the holes. The fenced garden area was expanded to more than twice the original size, i.e. more like 57 x 40 feet. The extra will be tilled up next year. One thing at a time since 20 x 40 is a lot to get into shape for the first growing season.

There are five, huge zucchini plants in the little garden.

So far, one zucchini. :D I've been told by an experienced gardener that once the squash starts producing that some people make midnight runs to neighbors' front doors to leave squash. Hmmm, of course, he did not say he was one of those that made the runs, but it does cause one to wonder.

Unlike last year, the tomato bushes are flourishing.

I have tomatoes! I changed some things when planting and the weather has cooperated. I've been told that if the temperature goes over 92 degrees that the fruit will not set. Last year the temps were way over 92 degrees about this time of the year. So far, I think we've only had one or two days with temperatures in the 90's. There are seven tomato plants, two are roma with the rest being a variety so I can see which ones grow best in my soil, etc.

I started with three, big, recycled molasses pots for cucumbers; however, something ate the plants in two of the pots. But, you'll see the flowers in the background so it looks like I'll be having cucumbers. I really need to plant some more cucumber seeds but have been too busy getting the big garden ready.

The snow peas are blooming and climbing. I'm really excited about getting this vegetable. Love snow peas in salads or in stir-fried dishes.

While fresh, green beans are not a particular favorite, I'm trying to learn to like. The green beans are flowering.

Aha! I took exception to paying $1 or more for ONE green pepper, so I planted some seeds. Look close and you'll find one tiny sprout. I bought some transplants which will be in the ground by tomorrow, Tuesday.

The herb garden is lush. The cilantro is flowering and was told this morning that cutting the flowers off will extend the life of the plant. Where are my scissors?

Being from Texas, there isn't a black-eyed pea I don't like, a/k/a cow peas. It is a first time try along with the green peppers and snow peas and I'm not sure if these are doing well or not. They haven't climbed the fence yet.

The big garden is truly ready for planting. After spreading 6 yards of compost and retilling, we dropped some corn in the ground 3-4 weeks ago. Four or five plants came up. I've been told that corn is hard to grow around here. But not to be discouraged, I reworked the entire garden area, started rowing up, and then we had a "gully washer" of a rain last week. Well, what to you know, more corn plants started popping up. Too late because I had to finish the rowing up what had been dug up again. Anyway, according to the Farmer's Almanac's moon planting guide, today and tomorrow are good days for planting corn. Seeds went in this morning. I plan to defy the notion that "corn is hard to grow around here." Stay tuned to see if I have to eat my words. :D Hopefully, I'll be eating corn.

Until next time, God bless.

Sunday, May 23, 2010

Straight Out of the Camera Sunday

It is Straight Out of the Camera Sunday, a meme from Murrieta 365. Anyone is welcomed to participate. There are two rules: 1) photo must have been taken by you, and 2) no tweaking. Cropping is allowed.

The photos below were taken at the Lady Bird Wildflower Center and have been cropped.

For more SOOC, go here.

Until next time, God bless.

Friday, May 21, 2010

Brenda's Photo Challenge

The theme for this month's Brenda's Photo Challenge is Flowers. I'm into wild flowers right now; some I know the name and some I do not.

Taken at the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center in Austin, Texas.

The cone flower or echinacea with flowers from the red yucca in the background.

Wine cup.

The agave is about to bloom....just not yet. When it does, I'll post. If I'm feeling flush with a few extra coins in my pocket, I get agave nectar for a sweetner. It is a wonderful substitute for sugar and can be used in baking, coffee, on cereal, anything that calls for sugar or the artificial stuff. I used Sweet 'n Low for years until I had a health threat. I haven't used an artificial sweetner since; it is either honey or agave nectar at home, or brown sugar when out and if available.

Found these delicate flowers when I stopped to photograph the agave.

And these too at the same spot along side the road.

Go here to see more flowers.

Until next time, God bless.

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center, Part II

I did not take as many photos of the flowers as I did of the art. I'm to go in June to the Wildflower Center and will concentrate on the flowers a little more.

I love this one -- excuse the odd background but it is the result of jpg optimizing the photo so it will be easier to load. I plan to seed echinacea in my own garden if not too late for summer; otherwise, next year I hope to have these flowers all over the place. :D

I gave it the old college try to find the name of this butterfly, but, alas, couldn't. I saw several of these around the Center.

I'm sure I have the Prairie fleaban and phlox around my place. You can bet that I'll be out looking within the next couple of days.

Horsetail is a very primitive perennial plant, thought to have been food for dinosaurs, and invasive. An entire courtyard was filled with cattle tank-like ponds. I have one or two unused cattle tanks around and may just fix up a water garden or two. I did not want to install a pump and found that there are underwater plants that can be planted on the bottom to keep the water clean and oxygenated. I tried putting some plants in the water tank that the cattle use; they ate the plants. One goldfish survived the winter and he keeps the mosquitoes down.

This vine is a climber and the flowers were high up on a trellis. Looks to be a great flower for butterflies and hummingbirds.

Look close and you'll see two eyes staring at you.
Until next time, God bless.

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Sculptures at Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center

As mentioned in the previous post, I attended a meeting at the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center in Austin, Texas. Gad, would you believe this was my first visit?! I kept thinking I wanted to go but somehow could not find/take the time. The meeting was the perfect push I needed.

University of Texas football is big here in Austin. Compare these 1920-30's uniforms to those being worn today. I'm guessing at the uniform years; it might be a 1940's.

Beautiful and unusual sculptures are every where.

I'm kind of a straight up and direct girl. I haven't the foggiest idea the meaning behind this one but think it is great.

Not sure if these are just ordinary ants around the garden or perhaps a native Texas ant protecting its territory from the invader fire ant. :D

Recycled bicycle rims? Whatever, I like this.

Thought this was kind of cool and think the plants below will ultimately climb the tepee structure. If I ever get industrious enough, we have plenty of cedar around here for me to make the same type of structure. If cedar is not available in your area, bamboo poles would probably do.

This one is really neat.
There were many more pieces of art which when I return next month for another meeting at the Wildflower Center, I'll take photos of those I missed.
Until next time, God bless.

Sunday, May 16, 2010

Intercessory Prayer Networks

I have been deeply concerned about the direction my country is going. Sometimes I am overwhelmed by the corruption, the crime, the lack of moral compass, the greed by government and private industry, the bias from the news, and the list goes on.

Last year, I recorded "Transformations," a documentary on TBN. The documentary highlighted four cities on three continents that were virtually unlivable. A small group of people in each city came together to pray as instructed in II Chronicles 7:14. After a time, all the cities and townships turned around, crime was reduced, corruption decreased, and the land came back to life. People were able to walk down their streets at night without fear of being killed, beaten or robbed. Where one town had four jails, it now has none. Where the land was barren, it is now the vegetable garden of America. BTW, there is also a "Transformations II" documentary highlighting four more areas in the world with testimonies of the results from intercessory prayer by small groups coming together to pray for their communities.

Taking a cue from this documentary, two friends and I started meeting last summer on Friday mornings to pray for our country. I just knew other people were doing the same but had no idea who they were or where until this Saturday morning. I attended an Aglow meeting at the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center in Austin. The speaker was Pastor Thomas Schlueter of the Prince of Peace Church in Arlington, Texas, and the coordinator of The Texas Apostolic Prayer Network. At long last I found one of the groups praying for my State of Texas, its cities, its counties, and its border. If a call is made to TxAPN or even if no call is made but trouble or a natural calamity befalls an area of Texas, emails go out from TxAPN to a list of intercessors who, in turn, have intercessor lists of their own, ad infinitum. An entire network of intercessors begin praying for those in trouble.

In addition, there is the Heartland Apostolic Prayer Network that is working to get chapters like the TxAPN in every state. HAPN partners with Reformation Prayer Network which has chapters in every state. If you are interested, I hope you will visit each of these websites and get connected to other intercessors.

Until next time, God bless you and God bless America.

Saturday, May 15, 2010

Straight Out Of The Camera Sunday

It is Murrieta 365 Straight Out of the Camera Sunday. There are only two rules: 1) photos must be taken by you, and 2) no tweaking. Cropping is allowed.

I think this wildflower is a coreopsis, also known as tickweed.

Two sculptures at the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center in Austin, TX. Needless to say, it is an interpretation of the University of Texas football mascot, the longhorn. The sculpture next to the longhorn represents a tackle in probably a 1920's or 30's football uniform. More on this sculpture in another post.
Click here for more SOOC Sunday photos.
Until next time, God bless.

Saturday, May 8, 2010

Straight Out of the Camera Sunday.

It's Murietta's 365 Straight Out of the Camera Sunday again. Everyone is invited to join in, and there are only two rules: 1) photo must have been taken by you, and 2) no tweaking allowed. Cropping is allowed and is not considered tweaking.

The Canon 70-300mm IS zoom lens arrived Thursday and I've been playing around with it the last couple of days to see what it (and I) can do.

This is a scissortail that has taken up residence in the bur oak tree. He/she has taken offense to my windows and my husband's truck windows. I found a hanging thingie with mirrors which I put in the same tree; however, he pays no attention to that and prefers to attack the house windows along with the truck's. I even moved the truck to the far side of the drive circle -- the scissortail found the truck and resumed attacking the windows. Actually, I can hardly wait until I get a really, really good close-up of a bird or any kind of wild animal. :D

This is an heirloom climbing rose -- do not ask me the name because it was bought many years ago and I've forgotten. :D I have a terrible memory when it comes to plant names.

This was taken at the 300mm setting -- it's a barn swallow's nest tucked in a corner of the porch. We have another nest on the front porch. I drew the line when a barn swallow tried to build a nest on the upraised garage door since the mud blobs hit the trunk of my car. Besides, I have no idea how a nest would have made it on the thin, metal strips on the inside of the door. The nest was knocked down before completed with a broom handle. The babies leave a mess below the nest, but I can live with that if I don't have to walk through it every time I walk out the door. A good spray nozzle on the hose takes care of the mess.

Don't forget to pop over here for more straight out of the camera.

Until next time, God bless.

Thursday, May 6, 2010

Artichokes, Tomatoes and Spaghetti

The Pioneer Woman has the most delicious spaghetti recipe that is a favorite with my hubby. This spaghetti dish was on the menu for today.

Get a pot of thin spaghetti going. Add some olive oil to the water in addition to salt, then sprinkle with olive oil after draining.

Saute onions and garlic, add a drained can of artichokes and diced tomatoes with juice, and simmer for about 10 minutes.

Add a little chicken broth, nutmeg, heavy cream, salt and pepper to taste. I used half & half because it was on hand, but I've also used skim milk.

Drain the spaghetti, put in a container, pour the sauce over it, add some fresh chopped basil and chives, then top with freshly grated Parmesan. Hubby dove in. A bowl of Bluebell Homemade Vanilla ice cream and chocolate syrup will be dessert.
Go to the The Pioneer Woman link above for the correct measured amounts.
Until next time, God bless.

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Drill or Not?

A lot of people think we should stop drilling for oil. Beside gasoline, heating oils, etc., which of these products are you willing to remove from your life style: your Iphone, a heart valve, go back to ice chests for refrigerating food, stop wearing shoes, draw water from a central source instead of having it piped in? Take a good look at this list. You will be surprised how many products are manufactured with an oil by-product. I was.

Products Made From Oil

Heart Valves
Transparent tape
Vacuum bottles
Rubbing Alcohol
Epoxy paint
Oil filters
Hearing Aids
Car sound insulation
Motorcycle helmets
Shower doors
Refrigerator linings
Electrical tape
Safety glass
Salad bowl
Rubber cement
Nylon rope
Ice buckets
Hair coloring
Toilet seats
Denture adhesive
Movie film
Fishing boots
Water pipes
Car enamel
Shower curtains
Credit cards
Golf balls
Fishing rods
Plastic wood
Soft contact lenses
Trash bags
Hand lotion
Shaving cream
Paint brushes
Fan belts
Paint Rollers
Model cars
Floor wax
Sports car bodies
Dishwashing liquids
Unbreakable dishes
Hair curlers
Ice cube trays
Electric blankets
Tennis rackets
Drinking cups
House paint
Rollerskates wheels
Guitar strings
Ice chests
Life jackets
TV cabinets
Car battery cases
Insect repellent
Typewriter ribbons
Cold cream
Plywood adhesive
Artificial turf
Artificial Limbs
Beach Umbrellas
Ballpoint pens
Nail polish
Golf bags
Vitamin capsules
Fishing lures
Shoe polish
Petroleum jelly
Faucet washers
Food preservatives
LP records

Saturday, May 1, 2010

The Brenda Photo Challenge

Circles are the theme for this week's Brenda Photo Challenge.

A circle within a circle within a circle within a circle and within a circle.

A camera filter lens.

For more circles, go here.

Until next time, God bless.