Sunday, June 26, 2011

The great bean attack, and some other ramblings

First, let me brag a little bit to my southern friends, the ones that wonder why on earth I would want to live so far north. Check it out. It was so hot even the thermometer was sweating.

We are getting some heat but yet no rain. The golf course needs rain and so does my garden but most of all the farmers are saying if don't get a lot of rain soon (like now) they will have no crops to harvest and this makes me sad. For them it is their livelihood whereas for me I can always do another year without garden fresh organic cucumbers.
Lets have a look at my garden, my garden report isn't all great this week. There was an attack.....on my beans. Someone was attacking my beans. I couldn't find any bugs, they must have ate and ran. I have beans in 4 different beds and they attacked 2 beds, the other 2 are fine.

 So I gathered up some chewed up leaves and went to my local greenhouse and asked for advice, I was told it looks like grasshoppers. Apparently they are very little right now and hard to see and don't make that sound yet (you know, that sound they make) She had a big bag of  'stuff" there that would scare them away and told me you had to wear gloves before even opening the bag, I decided that if you need gloves to handle the bag I don't want it on my beans. So I did what we all do when we want to know something....I goggled it. I learned that the best way to keep grasshoppers away is get chickens.....I sure would if I could, some of you already know that in my fantasies and dreams I have 2 chickens in my backyard but in real life the town bylaws say I can't....and don't even get me started on what the neighbors dogs are allowed to do and yet are legal to have (that's a whole different post) is where I found my info   So I had to try the flour method. It says to lightly dust the plants in the morning when they are covered with dew and not to do it when it is windy. When is it not windy here? And I did not have an empty salt shaker and there was no dew this morning so I made my own dew with the garden hose and used a sifter as my shaker and as you can see it did more than 'lightly dust" It looks like a snowstorm came through here. Eat that grasshoppers! I will defend my garden from now until the fall with whatever it takes. If this doesn't work I might even put on some gloves and get some "stuff'.

Now, on a happier note, there was a new batch of compost a few days ago. This is always exciting for me because I have struggled with m y composting recipe for a long long time (years) Things started looking up when I got a second bin last summer, now when one is "cookin" the other is being filled, it seems to work much better and faster. I now get 2 batches of compost from each bin a year. One batch from each in the spring and one batch each in the fall.

Compost bin 1, I love this, bought it at a yard sale many years ago (about 7 I think) I like that it has drains in the bottom to collect the compost juice.

Compost bin #2, check out the beautiful brown compost that just spilled out the bottom, nice and soft with no big lumps except for a mango and avocado pit once in awhile, I don't think those things ever decompose. 

In hopes of  Saskatoons, pie, jam, cobbler, crisps....summer goodness

Geraniums are my favorite, they are easy to multiply and winter fairly well indoors. I have a friend who bought a $4 geranium 20 years ago and still has it, it looks like a small shrub now. 

The green wall is moving....slowly

These squash have a huge job ahead of them, they are to cover this arbor

This pumpkin needs to learn that it is to climb up this stick to get to the wire fence
The shade  bed is starting to look a little greener

I love that I get a wiff of lilac as I walk through my gate when I come home from work...such a nice welcome home. 

Potatoes....fresh baby potatoes soon....I hope

Can you smell them?

Tomatoes in the greenhouse

Looking a bit knobby.....means they are organic and not modified I guess

They (whoever they are) say you can't grow eggplant up here but I don't always listen to them (whoever they are) So I  had to try it out for myself, so far so good.

Drumroll.......there will be a peony this year. This peony has not had a flower in about 3 years in the front  yard  (too much shade) so I moved it to the backyard last fall and it like it there.

The 3 sister garden bed is coming along, squash, beans (the non attacked beans) and corn

This itty bitty little green thing is teaching me patience.......asparagus 

This funny looking geranium has only got about 7 leaves on it but has 2 big bunches of flowers on it.

There are high hopes for many strawberries
I was all proud that my strawberries were letting out many runners, I was thinking this was a good thing and then I read online somewhere that you are supposed to cut the runners off until after you have picked the strawberries, if you don't cut them off the plant focuses more on producing more plants and less on producing berrries...achhhh! Will I ever get it all right? So I rushed out in my housecoat (I was reading this at 4 am) and cut off all the runners and now I am watching like a hawk for new runners with my clippers in my hand. How on earth did my grandmother and mother ever garden without the internet for information way back when? No wonder the old party line phone system was always so busy.

look what I found at a yard sale, I have always wanted one of these. A little outdoor fireplace

My lunches for this week is chickpea stew, only I didn't have chickpeas so I put in soybeans, rice, last year's green beans, fresh radishes on a bed of spinach...always. I made a banana loaf for my morning snack and bought a bag of organic apples for my afternoon snack.......I sound like a kindergardener having 2 snack times, but hey, I eat a lot. I have never been one of those girls that can survive on a slice of sticky white  bread and half a grape.
And...speaking of apples, remember the apple tree I bought a few weeks ago? I picked about 15 little wee apples off it the other day. The lady at the greenhouse told me not to let it have apples this year, this was almost painful for me, tiny little hopeful apples getting plucked off and thrown in the compost pail. So sad. I also have dreams of picking my own apples (along with having chickens) The first time I picked apples was in Mexico in my aunt and uncles apple orchard and it was such a thrill, it still thrill me when I pass by an apple orchard. There is just something so magical about a big red apple hanging from a branch and it's edible right there, no prep needed, pick it and eat it.

This is a picture of myself and my child picking apples in my aunt & uncles orchard in Cuauhtemoc Mexico, this was before I had a digital camera, not before they were invented (I am not that old) just before I had one.
My daughter eating cactus jelly...very carefully with the tongs and knife so as to not get any prickles, she looks like she is concentrating very hard on her task, it's a delicate procedure.

Since I was digging through the archives I dug out this oldie as well. Trinidad at wrote about a cactus fruit she used to eat in Mexico and I thought maybe it was this cactus fruit. This picture was also taken in Cuauhtemoc, we would hold on to the red ball which was covered in prickles with a pair of BBQ tongs and then slice the top of the ball off with a knife and then scoop out the jelly with a spoon and eat it. It was full of little seeds almost like a pomegranate but a little smaller, it was so good. My aunt said back in the day when they were poor they would make jam out of the jelly. I have no idea what this stuff is called, if there is anyone out there that can tell me please do.

Since I am digging through old photos and bringing up Mexico memories I will leave you with a little Sunday nostalgia; there are 2 songs that you hear in Mexico all the time. The first one is Las mulas de Moreno which is rather a silly song but has a very catchy chorus and beat, I could never really figure out what the song as about because it goes from throwing lemons out the window to feeding chicharrones to the ducks to a drunk guy watering his machete and sharpening his horse, I always thought it made no sense because I must have lost something in the translation but it really is just a silly song......I think. You won't be able to help it but sing along.

Here are the lyrics in English;

If you want to go get 
The mules of Moreno
If you don’t want to go on foot
Saddle the horse

What do you think? Fine, fine, fine,
Very good, very good, very good,
Very very very very goooood

I got up by sincho
I went through tambojo
When I made it to cojinsillo
I ran into the plumber

What do you think? Fine, fine, fine,
Very good, very good, very good,
Very very very very goooood

I have my caravan
Full of chicharrones
That I throw at the ducks
My love why are you sad?

What do you think? Fine, fine, fine,
Very good, very good, very good,
Very very very very goooood

In a tub of water
I found the drunken guy
Giving water to his machete
And sharpening his horse

What do you think? Fine, fine, fine,
Very good, very good, very good,
Very very very very goooood

When I passed your window
You threw a lemon at me
If I through the lemon back
Why is it even necessary?

What do you think? Fine, fine, fine,
Very good, very good, very good,
Very very very very goooood

In the edge of that valley
I have a goat tied up
If the goat should get loose
What a beating I would give it

What do you think? Fine, fine, fine,
Very good, very good, very good,
Very very very very goooood

If you want to enjoy
The mules of Moreno
Take them by the stream
So that no one will see you

What do you think? Fine, fine, fine,
Very good, very good, very good,
Very very very very goooood

With this I say farewell
To the ranch in San Francisco
Until another year
Swimming through the desert

What do you think? Fine, fine, fine,
Very good, very good, very good,
Very very very very goooood

The second song is an old love song that has been sung by Enrique Eglesias and Pavarotti, it is usually sung by a Mariachi band with the whole crowd singing along, I don't know who the original artist is, the song is Cielito Lindo. Until I goggled it today I didn't even know what the name of the song was I always just called it the ay ay ay song.

Here are the English lyrics ;

Through dark tresses, heavenly one,
a pair of deep brown eyes,
lower as they approach,
a stolen glance.

Ay, ay, ay, ay,
sing and don't cry,
heavenly one, for singing
gladdens hearts.

A bird that abandons
his first nest, heavenly one,
then finds it occupied by another,
deserves to lose it.

That beauty mark you have
next to your mouth, heavenly one,
don't share with anyone but me
who appreciates it.

If your little mouth, my dark girl,
were made of sugar,
I would spend my time
enjoying its sweetness.

From your house to mine
there is no more than a step.
Before your mother comes,
heavenly one, give me a hug.

Cupid shot off an arrow,
heavenly one,
And though he was playing,
I was wounded.



Contessa said...

You wrote a novel not a blog post!! Thanks for keeping us so up to date. You garden in wonderful, hope the pests have stopped invading the beans. Yes I can smell the lilacs, such a wonderful perfume. I love the old photos. Do you speak Spanish fluently?

Mary Klassen said...

No Contessa I am still not fluent in Spanish, even though I went to Spanish immersion school in Peru a few years ago. I wish I was. I do know enough to make myself understood (and to make a fool of myself),for the most part I can communicate fairly well, my grammar however is far off and I have a problem with the 14 verb tenses. I don't study enough when in Canada.