Friday, August 13, 2010

A plague of frogs on our house

Actually, it was just one tiny little tree frog trying to escape the frog-strangling rain we had Wednesday night. The little guy just showed up on the glass pane in our front door. I would like to say that my photo captured him in the brilliant moonlight, but that's just the reflection of the flash.

Report card for summer garden

It's time for a play-by-play critique of my summer garden:

Tomatos -- B -- Plenty for the season, but plants had too much bottom growth. Should have pruned better.
Onions -- C -- Tasty and green onion but never matured.
Turnips -- B minus -- Not bad in early summer, but a little on the small side..
Radishes -- B -- Tasty, even a little too tart.
Yellow squash -- B -- All the plants made it through the summer.
Zucchini -- C -- Plants not very productive, but fruit was good.
Cucumbers -- A plus -- If U.S. went to a cucumber-based economy, I would be rich!
Bush beans -- F -- Learned my lesson.
Sweet corn -- B -- Ears weren't very pretty, but they had a good taste.
Okra -- F -- didn't make.
Sweet peppers -- C -- Small and few, but good taste.
Hot peppers -- C -- Okay, but what do you do with them?
Cantaloupe -- F -- no shows.
Watermelons -- D minus -- small and bland tasting.
Pumpkins -- D minus -- not any better than watermelons.
Raspberries -- B -- enough for a pie or two and tasty.
Blackberries -- D -- only a very few.
Muscadines -- C -- still coming in but not productive.
Sunflowers -- A -- birds (and coons and squirrels) will have full tummies this winter.

I'm not sure if I will plant a fall garden. I should spend my time improving the soil for next year. And . . . it's only 13 weeks until the average first frost.

Construction complete --Hurrah!

In July I told you about a construction project at our house to repair the built-in gutters on our back porch. Gutters would seem to be a simple repair, but not when they are built-in.

The galvanized gutters on our front and back porches are 7-inches deep and are constructed out of metal that is 24-inches wide. The downspouts run through the large support columns on each end of the porch. The metal on our back gutters had failed and had been leaking into the soffit and facia. The caused damage to the 6 X 12-inch header running 40 feet across the porch. The construction crew actually had to jack up the porch, build a temporary wall and then replace the header. It was major construction. Each piece of the new galvanized gutter had five bends to it. This type of gutter is used commercially but is rarely seen in residential construction.

Happily, we are back together and better than before. I had them replace the 2 X 3-inch galvanized downspouts with 4-inch PVC pipe. This also resulted in a new trench and outflow pipe to the side yard. The photo above was taken a couple of weeks ago right after the header had been replaced.

I spent two weeks doing the final trim work, screen replacement and painting.

Let it rain.

Monday, August 2, 2010

It's nice to have a neighbor with an apple tree

Our neighbor, Angela, is staying with us for a few days, so we decided to lighten the limbs of her family's apple tree. Angela, 14, not only furnished the apples but she made and rolled the crust which turned out pretty enough to be in a magazine. Angela said she learned to make pie crust in the Girl Scouts. I told her I learned how to eat apple pie in the Cub Scouts.

This is a good year for apples in Deerfield. The deer are filling their bellies at all the orchards. They even got a few little apples from my puny trees.