Thursday, July 10, 2014

Summer Happenings and Garden Notes for 2014

I can hardly believe we are almost halfway through Summer.  I keep thinking we just finished the end of the school year. With everything that has been going on in our lives, my sense of time has been thrown off... or is time really going faster?

Steve built me some raised, square foot garden beds this Spring. I am loving them. It was Nathan who inspired us to try the square foot gardening method this year, and I am really glad he did; it is the nicest way to garden that we have tried. The Square foot method is wonderfully efficient, and the raised beds are high enough that I don't have to get down on my knees to work, which I am very thankful for. Steve built the beds mostly out of  material we had on hand, or our neighbors were getting rid of  such as wood pallets, scrap wood, and tin from an old shed.  He did buy a little lumber and screening material, but it is always nice to be able to use what you have at hand.  He built the beds grasshopper proof, which has been the only thing that has made it possible to grow anything.  If I haven't mentioned it yet this year, we are in the midst of a hostile grasshopper take over around here...(perhaps you have heard me moan about this before).  They have eaten everything down to the ground.  Last year in my garden notes, I wrote that I was very hopeful that they wouldn't get everything... but let me amend that assessment by saying: "they ate EVERYTHING".... so .....Steve made a frame and screens for my beds, which has made it difficult for those bad boys to get into my garden (not impossible mind you… but very difficult). I have found that I have a  little bit of a killer instinct when it comes to grasshoppers; I have no squeamishness what-so-ever, in squishing, sqashing or smashing them in any way necessary... via hand, foot, boot, flip flop or garden hose.  And not only that, but I have noticed that the dogs are of the same mind, and have become imitators of John the Baptist in the eating of locusts (minus honey).  I am very happy to have them contribute to the farm work and family budget in this way.

Steve used pallets to build the frame work for the beds, and lined the inside with some old used tin roofing material that he cut to fit.

We got the beds situated, filled, and planted.

We filled the bottom with branches and twigs, which will help provide structure, substance, and keep moisture intact....

...then the guys brought compost over in the Backhoe and dumped it over the branches; after that
they mixed up some of Mels 3 way mix of Vermiculite, Peat Moss and Compost (the compost is from the lovely mountain of composted horse manure we have been composting for a couple of years now).They mixed it up next to the manure pile, and brought it over in the backhoe.  

Its was great having Nathan around....

We had such a good time with him... his friendship, help and enjoyment of being home with us gave us such a blessing.

Here are my Snap Dragons eaten to the stems by grasshoppers.

We got our garden beds nicely prepared, and used twine to measure off our square foot areas. Then we planted seeds and plants.

You can see how the grasshoppers got in here and started chewing everything up in a day and a half before we got the screens on.
But the screens are up now.

We planted about 2 weeks ago... which was, of course, late in the season for us, but we hadn't had a chance to get it all done before.

 Steve put chicken wire on the tops for structure, and then plastic over that to protect from hail, and to keep those veggies warm on the chili nights.  The plastic can come down around the frame, which will help to give some extra growing time in the fall and early winter.  

The herbs and veggies are coming along nicely now.

We enjoyed our Fourth of July, how about you all.  We went, as has been our tradition, to the Pueblo West Parade...a highlight and truly one of the funnest things we do every year.  We  also got a chance to go see the movie "America" on Sunday.  It was excellent.... go see it if you get the chance.

Because we were in the midst of sorrow from the loss of Mom and all that was happening in June, we post-poned Steve's birthday.  The same was true for Father's Day.  So I made a special dinner for him this week.  A meal of favorites his favorites.  He opened presents that had not been opened previously and we had a cozy night. He's not easy to buy presents for these days.  He doesn't want very much.. but, he always appreciates the sweet gifts everyone gets for him or sends to him, and he enjoys the blessings of his family and all that they do to honor him... and he is a such a blessing to me... I thank the Lord, and celebrate in my own heart, for his birthday.

We had a wonderful visit when Nathan was here.  What a fill up to our heart-tank that was for us. We enjoyed having Nathan's brother in law (Himilce's brother), Matt, here for a couple of days, and love knowing the he is living close to us now... only a couple hours away (as opposed to 3 days away), which makes us feel a little bit like a part of Nathan and Himilce are close by also. The picture above is Nathan and Matt.  Nathan and Steve are working on a project that requires aerial video, so they were able to do a little of that work together.....and have a lot of fun in the process, more on that another time, but enjoy the pictures below. 

Nathan is bringing the drone in for a landing... and Steve is getting ready to catch as is it comes down.

What male; young or old doesn't like to work with remote control airplane type apparatuses?

Hope you are all enjoying Summer as it gets well underway.  I would love to hear what everyone is up to for the summer.

For more info on Square Foot Gardening Check out this article.


  1. So happy to see that you are back and starting to get in the summer-swing. I have been praying for you & your family. It's hard when we lose our Mom. It's such a blessing when we know they are with the Lord & we have a caring, loving family to be 'there' for us! My heart's been with you.
    Also, sweet that your son was able to came.
    Summer is cool for us this year, keeps our lawn accounts going, so we have no lack of work. :)
    Then every few days we sit down and do a out of the blue, picnic, grill out etc to enjoy and savor the season with our children!
    Blessings & Prayers~

  2. I know...summer is just flying by for me too! Your raised and nearly grasshopper proof garden beds are the best! Way to go!

  3. I had a quiet moment to sit down with some coffee and enjoy this post to the fullest Mom. I loved every tidbit of it. The pictures of Nathan, Mat and Dad were so nice. Wow, do those beds look fancy Mom! But I still want to see them over FaceTime :)

    I love you!

  4. I love your raised beds, the extra height would be nice. I have two raised beds and they are low, have to get on my knees, not as easy anymore.

    I have never had to deal with something like grasshoppers eating every thing in the garden. Great idea to cover them with netting. The most so far that we have is potato bugs and like you I have no problem squishing them any way I can.

    Glad you son was able to be home, it is a precious time when our children can come home to visit. Also happy to see you are starting to be able to enjoy your summer after all of the sorrow.

    I always enjoy your comments, would be nice to live close enough to meet in person.

    Have wonderful weekend.


  5. I was blessed this fine morning to have it to myself and what better way to spend it then getting on to your blog mom!

    I can't get over how lovely your garden is. The raised beds look beautiful in the stain color you chose and I really admire the way dad built the whole structure. Having the screened in with the plastic is the way to go I think!
    And what you already have started growing is all ready looking like a Japanese garden or something. It is lovely.

    I am so glad you got some pictures of Nathan also. That was a treat seeing him.

    I sure love you so much
    ~ Marie