In the Garden This week – June 1-7

I haven’t shared any photos of our garden the last few weeks, and thought now would be a great time to do so.  We were outside Monday evening and the light was just perfect and all of our plants looked so good that I just couldn’t help but pull out the camera and snap a few pictures.  It’s fun to see the changes over the season.  I hope you agree.

Tomato Plants

Currently, my favorite plants in the garden are my tomato plants.  We have 14 in varying varieties, and they are all producing really well.  The best production so far appears to be Romas and Cherries, but there are tomatoes and blooms on all 14 plants, and they are just looking so green and lush.  I couldn’t help but take this picture of all of them in rows.

Roma tomatoes on the vine

Roma tomatoes on the vine

Cherry tomatoes on the vine.

Cherry tomatoes on the vine.

As you can see, I’m getting some beautiful cherry and roma tomatoes this week.  These pictures were taken after our tomato harvest that day, where we got about 8 tomatoes that were fully ready.

Recovering jalepeno plants

Recovering jalepeno plants

Probably one of the biggest improvements I’ve seen in the garden this year are our jalepeno plants.  A few weeks ago, most of these plants had lost their leaves.  They were still producing fruit, but had mysteriously lost almost all of their leaves.  They were just twigs in the ground with tiny peppers coming out.  After some good pest prevention and organic fertilizing (more on that later) they’ve made a drastic recovery in a short amount of time. There are even some new flowers!

Bell Pepper Plant

Bell Pepper Plant

So far, we’ve only got one bell pepper growing on the 3 bell pepper plants we purchased, but it is getting pretty big.  It’s supposed to be a red bell pepper, so we’ll see what happens! So far, it’s bigger than the peppers that came off our plants last year, and it’s not even starting to turn red.  One of our bell pepper plants we assumed was totally done for.  In fact, even the main stalk had turned brown and drooped away from the stake holding it up.  Then, suddenly, it turned around! It’s now green and growing again.  I’m optimistic for later in the season.

Baby Carrots

Baby Carrots

Okra starts

Okra starts

We planted okra and carrots from seeds back at the beginning of May (or end of April? I can’t remember).  I didn’t weed around that area from the point of putting in the seeds until this past weekend, because I was paranoid about actually pulling up starts.  I wanted to be sure I could tell the difference before I started yanking.  Needless to say, in Southeast Texas, those weeds went rampant before I got to pull them up.  When I finally had a few hours to dedicate to wedding, I was shocked to see just how good this section of my garden looks.  In fact, I realized I have room to plant a lot more carrots! This week I’ll be mulching around the okra and planting new carrot seeds, but for now, I’m just enjoying how clean and well kept it looks.

baby orange on the tree

baby orange on the tree

baby lemons and blossoms

baby lemons and blossoms

Baby lemons on the branch

Baby lemons on the branch

My citrus trees are also doing pretty well.  Our crop won’t be nearly what it appeared when we first started getting baby fruits, but since I didn’t expect any fruit this year, I’m still happy.  As you can see in this last photo of the lemon tree, we keep getting little babies that turn yellow and fall off.  The same thing happened on our orange tree, even after we fertilized (although I believe we did that pretty late). Our lemon tree also lost a lot of it’s leaves when we transplanted it, but what is still there looks healthy, and as you can see from the second photo, we’ve still got some green lemons getting big!

Figs!

Figs!

We also have a new addition to our backyard garden this week.  2 Fig trees! This is the smallest of the 2, a Texas Everbearing fig tree. We also bought a Celeste fig tree that is much bigger (about the size of the lemon tree), but it also lost a ton of leaves when we transplanted, so it didn’t look pretty enough for a photo this week!  Hopefully it recovers quickly.  Both trees were loaded down with fruit when we bought them, so fingers crossed that they get ripe for us this year.

Mimosa tree: a pleasant surprise

Mimosa tree: a pleasant surprise

Some Pink Oleander Blooms

Some Pink Oleander Blooms

And, finally, I just wanted to share some pretty pictures from around the yard.  I’ve had so many pleasant surprises this spring.  Whoever lived here before us must have really loved to spend time in their yard at some point before they got too old to handle it (this was an estate sale, so I can actually say that). We’ve found some gorgeous plants and flowers that I didn’t recognize until they bloomed.  As you can see, we have a beautiful Mimosa tree in the back corner of our yard.  We also found a huge Oleander bush along the fence line as well.  And yes.  I’ve read the book White Oleander, and do realize that these plants are poisonous.  We have no intentions of ingesting any part of the plant, and Pistache believes that the fairies will not come to our yard if she harms any living plant, so she doesn’t play with it, either!

So, that’s it for this week! I hope you enjoyed the “stroll” around our garden.  I know I sure did.

Advertisements

Leave a comment

Filed under Gardening, In the Garden

DIY Wind Chime for Kids

As a stay at home work at home mom, my days require a lot of creativity in order to keep Pistache busy while I keep busy.  I aim to do at least one cool thing a week that’s out of the ordinary, because she’s such a crafty kid.  Plus, I feel like since I run a business based on craftiness, it’s important to pass that on to my daughter. This week (honestly, a couple of weeks ago, but I had to work out the details), she requested that we recycle some of our grocery store cans into something fun and “rainbow colored.” I love this kid.  She’s awesome, if I haven’t mentioned that before.  Our result?

Tin Can Wind Chime

Ta Da! A tin-can wind chime!

Once I worked out the specifics on how to turn a collection of tin cans into a wind chime, it was really pretty simple.

Materials needed:

  • approximately 8 tin cans, cleaned of labels and glue
  • Paint in “rainbow colors”
  • Twine or string
  • 1 old embroidery hoop (or other circular item, preferably recycled)
  • hammer
  • nail
  • hot glue

Once the cans were cleaned, I just let Pistache go to town painting the cans.  It’s a kids’ craft, so I didn’t think it needed to come out pristine!  I wasn’t thinking, though, and let her use her usual paints, so a lot of it washed off in the rain.  I think a coating of clear spray paint will help in the future!

We let the cans dry for a few days, and then took a hammer to the tops, in order to create a hole.

DSC_1524

(Don’t worry, I was right there. No fingers got smashed during this project).

After all of the holes are punched, we carefully threaded the string-cut into differing lengths- through the hole and tied a good knot on the inside.

As an added precaution, I also put a dab of hot glue on the top to keep it extra secure.

DSC_1528

Finally, we attached each can to the embroidery hoop with another good knot and added two more strings across the top in an X pattern to hang the wind chime.  The final result really is pretty colorful and fun, and Pistache is incredibly proud of her newest project.

Leave a comment

Filed under Crafting with Kids

More Coop Work

I don’t know about everyone else, but I feel like we’re constantly doing work to our chicken coop.  Every time I think, “Yay! We’re done with the coop! I can post the final update on the blog,” I find something that needs to be changed.  Sorry, guys.  You may never see a completed coop picture.

However, I can show you an updated picture of the run, because we’ve done some serious work, there!

Door added to the run

Door added to the run

The most noticeable things we’ve changed about the run are that we fenced it higher up, making it more secure. We also added a door, since we can no longer climb over the fence.

New door to the run

New door to the run

The door was really simple to construct.  It’s just chicken wire and some old fence posts.  We don’t have it latched with anything right now, but it’s heavy enough to keep our dog out and chickens in, and we don’t have much of a predator problem right now so we’re not in a big hurry to change that.

In addition to those changes, we also made it more secure at the bottom, because we found where either our chickens or the dog had pulled up a bit of wire, creating a hole at the bottom of the fence.  We did this with some simple metal camping stakes, and it has held up pretty well so far.

Some of the changes I still want to make are:

  1. Make the fence even higher, since the girls are still flying over it very easily.
  2. Cover the top, because we keep forgetting to lock them up at night, and I’d feel better about that if I knew they couldn’t get out of the run.

Over all, some pretty simple changes are coming this weekend.  I *think* we’ll be done after that.  At least for a little while.

So far, the ladies seem to like it a lot in there.  They are constantly grazing, and come running up every time I walk by.  They love to hide out under the coop and enjoy the shade.  Now, if only I could find a way to make this entire run mobile, I’d be one happy chicken owner!

Enjoying their yard

Enjoying their yard

Leave a comment

Filed under Chickens, Self Sufficience

Let the Harvesting Begin

I can’t believe the day finally came.  It always seems to take ages for the first harvest, but today, I picked the first ripe veggies from my garden (not counting the occasional green onion clipping).  It feels so good! I just can’t wait to put these goodies to use.

first harvest

 

Today, I had a jalepeno pepper (or at least it’s supposed to be jalepeno…that’s a pretty light pepper!), 2 cherry tomatoes, a green onion clipping, a cucumber, and another handful of berries.

So far, the garden is doing better than we could have hoped.  As long as all the peppers and tomatoes hanging on our plants right now ripen, we’ll be doing loads better than our garden last year!  Hopefully, we’ll be harvesting more veggies in the next few weeks, but I’m so excited to already have ripe food straight from the garden.

3 Comments

Filed under Gardening, Healthy Eating, In the Garden, Self Sufficience

A Day of Handmade Beauty

As most of you know by now, I am a big advocate for green beauty products.  Because your skin is the largest organ, it’s not only important to watch what you put in your body.  It’s just as important to watch what you put on your body. So, basically, you can eat organic produce and grass fed beef all you want, but unless you change your skin care routine, you’ll still be putting all sorts of unwanted carcinogens in your body daily.

Sunscreen, whipped body butters, lip balm, and chapstick with sunscreen.

Sunscreen, whipped body butters, lip balm, and chapstick with sunscreen.

On that note, this weekend, I biked (5 miles, whoot!) over to my cousin’s house and made all sorts of goodies for us to share.  The sunscreen and chapsticks are a new experiment for both of us this time, but I have been using her whipped body butter for a few months now.

In fact, until I switched my skin care routine a few months ago, I had horrible, horrible acne.  Like, the deep, painful, ones all over my face that left scars.  Now, I use an organic face cleanser from a local store called Down to Earth, a gentle astringent, and some of this whipped body butter twice a day.  Poof! No more cystic acne! Don’t get me wrong, I still get tiny white-heads due to hormonal changes, but it’s nothing like before.

The best part about all of these are, I know what every single ingredient is.  There isn’t a single ingredient hidden in my new skin care products that I didn’t put in there.

If you’re interested in making your own products, trust me, it’s not hard.  If you can cook by following a simple recipe, you can do this, too.  In fact, we followed the recipes over at Wellness Mamma to the “T.” We just added our own scent combos to make them more enticing.

So, this weekend, I encourage you to go out and try some recipes of your own.  You may surprise yourself by how much more you like the stuff you make! I mean, isn’t that how it always goes?

 

 

Leave a comment

Filed under Go Green, Natural Bath and Body

The Chickens Have Left the Building!

No worries.  I didn’t get rid of the girls.  I just finally got them out of my house and into their new home! Technically, this happened more than a week ago, but you know how life gets, especially with out of town guests and an impromptu beach vacation!

DSC_1262

First day in the run, checking out their first offering of scraps

They seem to really enjoy roaming around in their chicken yard, and we’re trying to get them interested in kitchen scraps.  They still seem to enjoy the food, more, so I don’t know if we just haven’t found a food they like or what.  We’ll keep trying, though!

Enjoying some shade under the coop

Enjoying some shade under the coop

They really seem to enjoy the area under their coop, and run under there whenever they hear a loud noise. However, as of yesterday, they have started going back into their coop on their own at night, which has made our bed time routine much easier! Before, they went under there at night and we had to crawl in and move them into the coop.  Not fun.

We’d eventually love to give them a chance to free range in our yard, but our puppy, Scout, has got to learn first that they are not toys.  As you can see, she’s very, very interested!

First day in the run, Scout wants in, too!

First day in the run, Scout wants in, too!

Scout still wants in, today! But she's happy just watching.

Scout still wants in, today! But she’s happy just watching.

Until then, they can enjoy the grass in their separate yards. We also hope to make a second, mobile run soon, so that we can put all of their pecking and scratching to use for us in our future (and current) garden beds.

And…one more picture of the ladies doing their typical activities in the run, just for your enjoyment!

They still don't care for the scraps.  Hmm...

They still don’t care for the scraps. Hmm…

Leave a comment

Filed under Chickens, Self Sufficience

In the Garden: This Weekend

This weekend, we spent a lot of time in the yard (again).  It’s the story of our lives now that we’re home owners.  However, I just love this time of year with everything coming into bloom and surprising me. I thought I’d share a few more pictures for you, since everything is coming alone nicely.

Baby jalepenoThe most exciting development so far (because they’re new to me) are our baby jalepenos! I just photographed the largest one, but we’ve got at least 5 that are definitely going to grow, and several more that are little green nubs right now.  So cool!

Tomatoes

 

cherry tomatoesAnother exciting update is the wide array of tomatoes we have growing in our garden right now.  Last year, we only got a few small cherry tomatoes out of our garden, but this year I see little green tomatoes on all 14 of our plants.  We have cherry, roma, and big boy tomatoes, so I’m very excited to see what sort of crop we’ll get this summer! Hopefully we’ll have some to can.

first baby cucumber

I remember in last year’s garden, I sat around and watched our plants for days, studying and figuring out why I wasn’t getting a crop.  With the cucumbers, I even pollinated them myself! This year, however,  I vowed to make my garden less stress and more fun.  I haven’t done a thing other than my original fertilizing and using better soil (and watering).  Still, I noticed a baby cucumber yesterday! The one on the right should turn into a cucumber.  It’s grown considerably from what it looked like before.

magnolia blossom

And, since this is my favorite tree, I had to share one of my first Magnolia tree blossoms. I’ve been waiting on this for about a week because I knew it was coming.  Our tree may be a little worse for the wear, but I still love the flowers (and smell) that it produces in the late spring! I can’t wait to see the whole tree covered in blooms.

 

 

 

 

Leave a comment

Filed under In the Garden