Saturday, July 19, 2008

The best carrot ever!

Although it's a little early, I couldn't help but dig up a carrot.  The zucchini and yellow squash are growing like crazy, if anyone has some great zucchini recipes pass them on!  My pepper plants are blooming, so hopefully I'll get some purple peppers soon.  My pea plants didn't make it, but then I'm not a very attentive gardener.

Sunday, June 1, 2008

Photo, in case you didn't believe me...

Here it is! My first green Bean!

My first Green Bean!

I thought all was lost after the hail storm, but my garden is still growing, my plants are still quite small, but I picked my first green bean today.  It was very exciting to actually grow something for the first time in my life :) 

Thursday, May 15, 2008

Monday, May 12, 2008

Hail Hail, the Gangs All Here!

The HAIL finally came! Friday night, around 10:00 PM we finally got the Mother's Day Weekend Hail storm I had been waiting for. . .the destroyer of gardens. . .the golf ball event. . .it always happens. I was beginning to think the forecasting and my lopsided belief in it had been wrong. But then we cruised in to the weekend. Everything was looking good and splat! We got word on the evening news that a major storm was headed towards Transylvania County. It started to become more ominous outside around 9:45. MK headed outside to move the horses from the upper pasture to the barn just in case. She asked for help moving them. I finally consented to move my rump off the couch and help. We got outside and bam! The lightning and thunder and rain came. Denver and Tina, in the upper pasture, got scared and ran away from us--knowing for sure that we were going to stick them in the barn.

MK was persistent and insisted on chasing them around the pasture. I said "let em take their chances with the lightnin. . .I ain't gettin hit for no stubbern horses". MK caught Tina and Denver followed in her wake. We were leading them to the barn and in to their stalls, just locking their stall gates when it started. Hail, quarter size hail this time--not golf ball--thank our lucky stars. . .I'm thinkin. . ."Cliff was right, there goes the garden".

Within seconds the noise became deafening in side the barn. Tina and Denver went crazy--moving around in circles trying to find a way out of their stalls. MK and I were certain they were going to kick their way out. In the meantime, Troubie and Sunday, who we had been trying to coax in had heard the ungodly noise from the barn roof and had run far far away to take their chances being pelted by hail and lit up with lightening strikes.

MK and I got more and more nervous--the horses were going insane and we couldn't keep them settled. We began to say "whoa whoa" at the top of our lungs. Then suddenly a microburst of wind came through the windows of the barn and it felt like everything was going to blow apart. Our adrenalin shot through the roof--we looked for places to hide feeling certain that #1 a tornado was coming and #2 the barn was about to blow in a thousand pieces.

After a couple of minutes things started to subside. We sang "Farmer in the Dell" to Denver and Tina thinking they might like that little diddy. They didn't seem to like it much. Then after a while the hail stopped and the rains calmed to a slow steady rain from the downpour it had been. We started to call, whistle and shout for Troubie and Sunday. . .all the more hopeful that they hadn't broken down the fences and run off in the storm. A caring neighbor, hearing our plight started to shine a spotlight over the pasture. No Sunday and no Troubie in sight. Finally after about 5 more minutes of this, I loaded into my car, turned on the high beams and drove slowly down the driveway. I caught sight of them near the end and they were heading for the barn.

They got to the barn when I did and we decided to give everyone a night time portion of hay. After all, they earned it. We were all terrified but lived to tell the tale. I looked to the porch of the farmhouse thinking that surely our loved ones, safely ensconced inside would wonder where we had been for 45 minutes and want to see if we had made it through alive and "how could I help/anything you all need?". Boy was I mistaken. NO one was on the porch greeting us. Hardly anyone looked up from their magazines when we walked in the house. They all carried on as if nothing had happened. We tried to tell the import of our tale. . .no one seemed to understand. . .'oh well--we made it, the horses made it and oh. . .the GARDEN made it!

Saturday, May 10, 2008

Horse Show Today

Sadie. Julia and Mary Kay all competed in the horse show at Keystone camp and represented Hidden Springs proudly! I look forward to seeing pictures/more video posted soon, but think that everyone should be proud. Sadie rode Denver in several English events and MK rode him in a Western one. I have to admit Sadie had him under better control than I did and they looked great! Julia entered Troubie in quite a few events, including several jumping ones. He's just learning, but it went well. It was quite a big day and it got started off with a big scare. Troubie loaded in the new horse trailer right away and we thought things were off to a smooth start, but he rose up on his rear feet and put his front feet waaaay up in the hay bin and got his hoofs stuck and freaked out. It was traumatic, but Amy and LD eventually got them unstuck and got him backed out safely with no major injuries. Then he and Denver both didn't want to load, so it took awhile, but we finally had success. Anyway, post pics and reports from the show!

Monday, May 5, 2008

Julia in a horse show

We are so proud of Julia! She was in a horse show at the ag center Saturday. We all went to see her and she did so great job in her first show! It was Trouby's first show, as well. We hope Amy/Jason will post pictures soon. There is another show coming up at Keystone this Saturday and we are hoping she is able to ride Trouby and Denver.

Sunday, May 4, 2008

BBQ Dry Rub Recipe

LaDonna's Dry Rub Mmmmm Mmmmmm Good

Boy, after search and searching for the perfect dry rub, LD outdid herself this evening. We ate a feast like Queens. I purchased some incredible country cut ribs at SavMore.

LD's Dry Rub
1 cup of dark brown sugar
1/2 cup of paprika
1/3 cup garlic salt
2 T garlic powder
1 t HOT mexican chile powder--like habenero
1 T cayenne pepper
2 T black pepper
2 t oregano
1 T cumin
1 T salt

Once the dry rub has slathered for two hours on the meat, add honey to suit.

Friday, May 2, 2008

May Garden Log--Countdown to "Night of the Locusts"

May 2, 2008

I haven't been able to write for a couple of days and it has been non-eventful in our garden thus far. Things continue to grow. I believe we are behind the frost scares. No hard frost last week. We are getting very good growth on most new plants and Kate has been weeding, MK watering. What have I been doing? Working. What else is new?

I started weeding the berry patch today which is in need of serious attention. I plan to post some great pictures of this area and the bushes are loaded with blossoms so far. I will have to spend some very good time there this weekend to get it up to speed.

We want to finish grouting the garden tiles for planting this next week also and that area will finish taking shape. I will post pics when all is completed and to that point.

On another note, Julia is riding Trouby in a show tomorrow at the AG Center and he looks absolutely stunning. Amy washed him today and shined him all up. His coat is magnificent and gleaming in the sunlight and his tail is beautifully braided although she assures me that this is just to be able to more easily comb it out in the morning. He looks so beautiful and I hope to get some very good pictures of him in the morning. Julia rides about 10 AM and it promises to be a memorable event.

The Asheville Citizen Times today had a scarey headline story. One more month to the 17 year locusts returning. 21 years ago I was working at Fox Ridge State Park in Illinois when the locusts came out. Ugh. It was awful. They covered every square inch and when you got out of your car they flew at you and hit you in the face. It gives me nightmares.

Sunday, April 27, 2008

exhausting weekend!

Planting Early

I couldn't quite figure out how to get the pictures lined up... we'll have to add more as spring moves along of the pups and the plants as they mature. It will take a while for us to show all the people and animals and plants that share this property. The more the merrier, it is a fun place to be. MK and I tilled a few times, and raked, a sure way to help prevent against weeds. I planted on April 16, the day after tax day, an unprecedented early. This is supposed to be a mild spring, so I crossed my fingers and went for it. I heard you are okay to plant when the apple trees bloom. Everything has seemed to survive except for the cucumbers. The seeds starting sprouting after 7 days and are now coming on full force. I got starts at Lowe's bad idea I guess from what I've read on the web. Their plants are not very hardy. Buy from a local nursery is the best bet. It is all a learning process. We spread some hosre shit, but this fall we'll have to add a whole lot more. Maybe sand and lime and peat too, then let it rest for the winter. We'll just have to see how the season goes... I do like variety, lots of variety. And as things mature we'll have a chance to plant again this summer and try even more things. It is the best way to know what works and what doesn't. Anway, I'm excited for all the food coming this way. It has been so beautiful out here this spring. It is great to get the chance to work outside. I saw a gopher yesterday yikes...

we have lots of fun on the farm

Saturday, April 26, 2008

The Garden Log

My sister Sue is famous for keeping a running diary for the past 45 years or so. It contains mostly detailed factoids like: "Dec 3, 1981. . .it rained 5 inches today and boy did we need it". Having that running record has been a beautiful thing because we have found through the years that if the family is having trouble remembering a time period; an event; what exactly was happening when; the date of the big storm in 1977--we can ask Sue and she can dig out the answer from the belly of one of the diaries.

MK had the idea of keeping the garden log so that when our good friend Carol says something obscure to us like "plant your corn when the oak leaves are as big as a squirrel's ear" and I promptly forget two days later and ask everyone who was in the room. . ."was that corn, tomatoes or green beans, because the oak leaves are bigger than a squirrel's ear right now?" we will have the accurate record. So with that in mind. . . .BTW the answer was corn and apparently we need to plant it now. If you wonder about the truth of this, check this out:

April 26, 2008
The garden has been planted for 1.5 weeks now. We got lucky--no new frost. Routinely at this time of year we have one early May or late April day of hard hail during a spring storm and everyone's beautiful plantings get destroyed. Not yet this year, cross our fingers. Today, it rained as much as 3-5 inches in some areas around us--some just 2 miles from our house. It was torrential rain--but it went right around us and we did not get a drop. So MK watered the new plantings for about an hour. She has the pump set up from the stream again so watering is a breeze--just turn it on for about an hour and go back and move it, then turn it off. Wouldn't a timer be amazing? Temp today was mid 70's for the high. Bright sunshine.

I need to get the cantaloupe in the ground on the back hill by Charlie.

April 27, 2008
It rained hard mostly all day today and massive storms were around Greenville. Areas of upstate SC had inch size hail. This is what I fear this time of year around here with planting early. We usually get 1 hail storm that wipes everything out. Cross our fingers. More storms tonight moving through with the cold front but hopefully no hail.

April 28, 2008
The garden grew alot overnight. We had a pretty gentle rain through the night but the official word today was that we got 1.2" the most for any area around here. Seemed like the sprouts just popped right through and they are all doing pretty well. We are still concerned about the cucumbers and may need to replant them as Kate mentioned.

April 29, 2008
These are "cross our fingers" days. We have lots of these in the mountains as spring weather is so unbelievably unpredictable. It is always something to wonder when the next big freeze is going to come. I have heard that it is tonight and hopefully if it happens, it will not be a hard freeze because we could easily lose alot.

There have been many years in the past 8 since we arrived in Brevard, that people who planted in April, lost everything. Cliff, our next door neighbor, is a staunch prescriptionist of "DO NOT plant before May 15, except for 'cold weather crops'. He believes that most will be lost if you do because too many things can happen. We had the garden ready this year--I say "we". I didn't, but take credit anyway for all the hours of hard labor that Kate and Mary Kay did day after day to get the soil ready, the manure tilled in and the weeds raked out. Kate spent literally hours raking until everything was silky smooth and free of weed seedlings. That time has already paid off, as she alluded to in her post.

I remember last year, Mary Kay and I went to Leicester to look at Denver and then buy Denver, around this time of year. He was a looker. Anyway, there was this incredible, beautiful and well-progressed garden on the corner next to his pasture. We went back in late May and everything that was growing so nicely at Mother's Day, had been unmercifully destroyed by a hail storm a few days later. It looked pitiful. Everything was gone. Those people had obviously planted their crops in early April and had experienced everything right up to then. Then, poof. They lost everything. That is how it happens here in the mountains. Year after year. We are crossing our fingers at Hidden Springs tonight. Praying a few little prayers that the frost don't bite too hard and the little sprigs of green remain upright by tomorrow afternoon.

Reading this though, I went to check the temps posted for lows tonight. Frost entirely possible but was confronted with pictures of the Virginia tornados. Aren't we lucky? Those towns look like blown apart popsicle sticks--nothing remains. We are so fortunate that nothing like that happens here.