It’s the little things that get me excited

This photo is a story-

first, there’s a 35 pound watermelon. Yes, that’s 35 ACTUAL pounds of melon. I don’t know how I am going to chill a melon that large. I am probably gonna have to get some sort of washtub or something and 40 pounds of ice.

In this photo is my 50 pound bird dog and my finger, because I was so ridiculously excited that I shot this photo with my phone, something I almost never do, so I was kind of a clumsy dork about it.

Thanks, Neil, for the seeds. I have five more of these melons, too, btw. I think we’re going to have to throw a watermelon and homemade ice cream party this weekend.

Country living… it ain’t too fast, but it’s not too bad, either.

Poop hauling

Spring is upon us, and Mrs. Dog and I have found a goldmine of good dirt for the garden. Some friends have taken over an old stable and way back in the back there was a large hill that was covered with brambles and thistle. After looking around and trying to figure out where the old stable muckings had been dumped, they realized that the large hill was the old dumping spot. SO, you take horse poop, wood shavings (what they cover the floors of stables with), old hay, pile it up and let it rot for ten years… you got some good, black dirt.

We hauled two truckloads of it away yesterday. We were able to fill up all of the raised beds (which were behind the house last year, and are in front this year. They are going to be spice and flower beds.) We already have turnips, collards, cabbage, cucumbers and snow peas sprouting in the main garden. We didn’t quite get all of the second load unloaded yesterday, so I am going to try to side-dress everything that is already sprouting today with the rest of that amazing black dirt.

I am hoping that next weekend we can get two more loads and spread it as mulch in the main garden. Lots of earthworms in that dirt, which means that we’ll get some aeration in the soil and all of the nutrients one gets from good dirt. Best of all, of course, is that it was free.

I don’t remember if I posted this in the middle of last summer or not, but here’s one day’s haul from last year BEFORE the kick ass dirt got introduced into the equation:

Making salsa 1

Making salsa 2

That yella pepper there? It’ll hurt ya. yessir. I grew a couple hundred of those habaƱeros, last year. A normal human being can only eat about fifty of those in a whole year, so I made hot sauce. I am going to make more this year, I hope.

Anyone who wants a bottle of garlic/habaƱero/sweet potato hot sauce, let me know in the comments, and email me your surface address. I will hopefully have a couple dozen bottles of that to give to friends in a few months.

Garden Update

Several folks have written me asking me for an update on the garden, so here goes:

There are plenty of tomato blossoms and about a half dozen green tomatoes, but the only red tomatoes as of today are the cherry tomatoes. We are trying to be patient…

There is plenty of mature basil and lots of younger plants. I am planning on tossing some basil leaves and some of those cherry tomatoes in olive oil tomorrow night for supper.

Knee high corn is the avarage, though I have a couple of plants that are thigh high. I edge-dressed all the rows with hot compost just less than a week ago, and the corn put on a nice growth spurt with all the rain that we have been having.

Also dressed with hot compost on that same day were the other plants that can take it without burning: pumpkins and gourd squash. They also put on a growth spurt and I have huge yellow flowers on the pumpkin vines and slightly smaller flowers on the squash vines.

I have green beans that are ready to eat on my bush bean plants, and I have runners three feet long on my runner bean plants. The black-eyed peas are doing so well that I am wishing that I had planted more.

Collards are about ready to have their outer leaves picked and the cilantro is looking about ready for the same. I went out and bought cilantro (cough, cough) last night before checking the garden for plants that were ready to give up a couple of leaves. I am kicking myself.

The true over-acheivers of this year’s garden are the durn potatoes. They are about three and a half feet tall and a couple of them have white flowers, which means that if I decided to later in the week, I can dig around the edges of the plants and get new potatoes. Potatoes are ripe and ready to dig when the plants droop over and turn brown. They had a cool, wet spring, which is good for growing potatoes down here.

We transplanted some watermelon plants when we found them at the vacant lot where we get out peanut shells. (Tom’s Peanut company dumps all of their shells in this big vacant lot.) Three of the four made it and we have foot-long vines off of two of the plants. We even have a little baby melon about the size of a grape- it’s covered with little spines like a fresh cucumber.

Okra is coming along- it is threatening to be an underachiever, along with my sweet potatoes, my onions and some of my peppers. On the other hand, we have some nice looking cayenne peppers. I am looking forward to drying those and grinding them for sprinkling on stuff.

I have a digital camera and I would post pictures…. but I don’t have anywhere to set up the machine that I have that has the card reader on it. SOON!