A personal record of what's going on in my Northern Michigan zone 4 gardens. I use raised beds and grow organically. Nothing fancy--just trying to garden with nature in mind.

Saturday, September 27, 2014

The Year From Hell

Hubby and I have had a year---one of THOSE years that has to come around every once in awhile just to remind you of how wonderful your ordinary life is.   I have never mentioned in my blog what we've been going through simply because it was getting to the point it was starting to sound unbelievable. And yet--it kept getting worse.  We'll just summarize by saying we lost a couple family members, a long time friend, and a LOT of medical issues for hubby and myself. Yea. One of THOSE years.

So imagine my delight when we got the "All Clear" from our doctor. We could travel!  Hooray!!
Arrangements for a housesitter were made, we figured out how to tote my arsenal of pills (and a method of taking them!!) with, friends were alerted that we were coming, and off we went.

First stop--of course--was our beloved Upper Peninsula to see our friends Dot and Don. We shared a couple days of laughs--it was terrific. I miss them so much.
 The color up there was pretty terrific as well.
 And of course, it included many MANY treks through swamps ...cuz that's just my favorite place!
A U.P. swamp---my favorite thing!
After a couple days-we headed into Wisconsin stopping at Copper Falls State Park for a few hours of hiking.  We met a couple ladies from Tomahawk and enjoyed their company immensely.  There sure are a lot of fine people out in the world.
Hubby and Moi by the falls

Another "new to us" park was Interstate Park on the Wisconsin/Minnesota line.  Wow!!

If only pictures could really capture the "awesome-ness" of this view

Me--on the Summit Rock trail--Interstate Park, Wisconsin side

  And then, by the fourth day............The Year from Hell FOUND US.  Seems that, despite the fact that "hey--we're on vacation"--it doesn't mean you can play around with eating foods you were told you should NEVER EVER eat again.
And Sue Went Down.  Big time.

We are thankfully back home. Hubby did a great job breaking several sound barriers to get me home to MY doctor.  But there will be no trip. No seeing my son or grandson --the main point of this trip.
No hooking up with a certain fellow blogger that I met a couple years ago and really miss.  No careening down logging roads in search of adventure. Nothing.  And I am to say the least devasted.

That's what is going on here.
I will be taking a break from blogging and trying to get back on track.
I will miss you guys and all your wonderful posts.
I will be back---when I can be the "Smiling Sue" everyone knows.

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

September 2014 End of the Garden Season

Sept 1 -- 4/10" rain.

Daily harvests always include Chandler blueberries, Mokum carrot thinnings and a variety of tomatoes for fresh snacking

Sept 4 -- 2/10" rain

Sept 5 --7/10" rain--early morning. Lost power from 4 am until 11 am
              6/10" rain late morning/early afternoon.  Flood warnings for the area.
              Took a few hours this afternoon to just "sit" by an area lake and see what we could see.
              It's amazing what you hear when you sit long enough. At first, there appears to be nothing,
                but as the creatures forget about you driving in, they begin to appear. It was wonderful. I
                  could have sat there for hours.  It was a great break from harvesting.

Sept 6-9  Back to the grind. Harvest Harvest Harvest. Ugh. I'm so tired of the garden.

A few of the Danvers and my second head of cauliflower.  There's still one out there to go.
Sept 9   --Don hauled 5 loads "Donkey Doo".   

Sept  10  4/10 inch rain
Sept 11   3/10 inch rain
Sept 12   7/10 inch rain   High temp 49,  low temp 43

Sept 13--pulled rest of Danvers--prepped for the freezer. I have 11 bags of carrots....not nearly enough.  I shouldn't have wasted space trying out St Valeroy and Dragon.  Will stick with tried and true from now on,

Sept 14--  FIRST FROST last night---low of 30 degrees

Sept 15  Started tearing out garden. First to go--the tomatoes.   Emptying water tubs, pulled acorn squash ( I got 6),  harvested more carrots and blueberries.  Blueberries weathered the cold just fine but I am just about out of them.

I have one more cauliflower to harvest , lots of kale and Mokum carrots left for fresh eating, but basically, the garden is done. The freezer is filled to the top and a winter of good eating lies ahead.
The flannel sheets have been put on, the soup pot is back on the stove for the season and I have lists of books to read.  

Today we  packed the bikes up for a long ride on the White Pine Trail, followed by an afternoon of hiking at a local trail.  The weather was a perfect 65 and sunny and we took full advantage of it.
It's nice to have freedom again.  The garden no longer is top priority. Now is the time to kick back and enjoy .
The garden is mostly empty now. Just a few potatoes remain to be dug and one more tomato to pull out.
I will be doing a Winners/Losers and summary-but that's for later when the weather turns bad.

Happy Fall, everyone!

Monday, September 1, 2014

August 2014 Part Two

View from the driveway to the door  Aug 23

Aug 18--Discovered corn stalks torn down in the garden.  I'm guessing a coon--simply because the ears
   were "husked" neatly on one end, as if the devil was checking if they were done yet.  Sigh.  I guess I've
    lucked out in previous years but now that one coon knows it's there, I'm sure it's not the last I'll see.
              Also noticed a nice surprise---a couple of pie pumpkins were ready.  These will be my only
               pumpkins due to the cold.  They were grown in a tub.  The Howdens that were planted in
               the ground got frosted out June 13 and the replanted ones never matured.                                            
August 18  Harvested 2 small Sugar Pie pumpkins
Aug 19--Dug one full bed of Yukon Gems-excellent yields and despite the few I stabbed with my digging
          fork--flawless.  Gave the Trash man 5 pounds--his bad back made him give up his garden this                           year . So sad.  I hope I never reach that point. Life without a garden--unthinkable.

Aug 20--1/4 inch rain last night
              Blueberry harvests continue, though I am not freezing any more. We have plenty.
              Picking about a half pound of Mokum carrots daily for fresh eating.  Crisp and juicy!
              Getting lots of kale and chard still.
              Matt's Wild Cherry and Yellow Pear tomatoes trickling in. Not enough to get excited, though
Kale and Celery bed

Aug 21--Went out first thing this morning to pick, and was greeted by disaster.  The coon (I'm assuming) ripped open all the fabric covering the Patriot blueberries .  He tore a large hole at each bush and helped himself to berries.  Just yesterday , like an idiot, I thought how nicely the fabric held up this year and that I
could reuse it next year.  Jinxed myself on that one.  It's in shreds and worse yet, the bushes are fully exposed to the marauding birds now.  Guess the Patriots will be done soon.

Aug 22--CORN!   Oh yum!  Only 4 ears ready-but it's a start!
              First Slicer tomato---Jetstar (ugh)

August 23--Harvested 66 of the onions that were toppled over.  The rest were left to "mature".
                   They were huge this year--most of them baseball sized.  I let them sit out for the day, and
                     have moved them to the rack in my "shop" to dry for a few weeks.
Onion Harvest  August 23 

August 25   Received 1/2 inch rain. Humidity is awful!
                  Racoon (?) returned and destroyed most of the corn.  I found 6 large ears he missed, so
                  brought those in.

August 27--Blueberry harvests starting to slow down.  Will go to every other day picking
                  Don caught a HUGE coon in the live trap.  Hopefully that's the only one.

August 28--Spent the afternoon grinding up garden waste for composting.
                   Dug second bed of Yukon Gems--yields continue to be impressive.  No flaws or scab.
                   Harvesting celery on an 'as needed" basis---using fresh for potato soup base for freezer
                   Everbearing strawberries putting out a fresh batch of berries. Tasty!

August 29--1/4 Inch Rain
                   Mini Bell pepper harvests begin. Cute, but too seedy for me
                   First Brandywine tomato---worth the wait---so ugly and yet so delicious!!
1st Brandywine. Incredibly tasty!

August 30--    Rain--and even some thunder  --1/4 inch this morning, 3/10 inch this evening
                       I found four more ears of corn that the coon didn't get--Hooray.  Sure is tasty!

August 31--Surprise visit from friends  Pat and Lorna of Goshen, Indiana.
Pat and Lorna are celebrating 52 years together.  They are so sweet and still so in love--a true joy to be around.

End of the Month  Summary--Rain--an incredible 5.05 inches.  Everything LUSH and beautiful.
                                              Hottest day--August 10--82 degrees
                                              Coldest--the 15th and the 28th  hit lows of 37 degrees
                                              17 sunny days
                                              14 ears of corn this year (better than LAST years 12 ears)
                                              Green beans, potatoes, garlic,and onions are stored for the year
                                              Still have to do carrots and apples for storage
                                              Chandler blueberries still producing, Patriots left for birds, BlueRays
                                                 have been pruned up
                                              There's still mokum carrots,kale and chard producing like crazy
                                              2 Hearts of Gold canteloupe on vine--don't know if they will ripen in time
Cleome on the east side of the house