Saturday, May 29, 2010

Mr. Potato head says, "The rumors of my death have been greatly exaggerated"

The rumors of Mrs. Potato Head putting the beat down on the famous Mister have been grossly exaggerated.


You see, my potatoes, yeah about them, they aren't well, dead. Remember how I was swearing a blue streak over the @#$#%#$ cutter worms? Well, they, well, are back!  No, not zombie potatoes!


Um, yeah...



I haven't touched them, no water for a few weeks, never paid them any mind. And Poof! There they are. Nature, you can pollute it, burn it, insult it, but still it thumbs us in the eye. I. Have. Potatoes!! :)

I'm glad they aren't zombie potatoes. But then again, would they even eat brains?
I must ponder this.

Maybe they would sort of hobble around groaning, "photosynthesissssss". That would be really annoying.


In other developments, our tomatoes are growing like crazy. Here is just a very small sample of what we have growing...




And finally, a little help from Mr. Hand for size reference...


They are covered with them. Each day this week, I discover a few more. last count, 25! That's just the good size ones, I'm not even including the teeny tiny ones.

My dreams of authentic gravy maybe a reality!

In the mean time, today, I put in some summer veggies..

Summer Squash...




And lastly, peas and pole beans...


I know, it's just dirt. But in (hopefully) 10 days, stuff will be a sproutin'!

but yeah, it's still dirt.

In the mean time, I will leave you with this very colorful photo of my very Significant Others fermented veggies. :) Beets, turnips, garlic (from our garden) and cabbage.


I grow them, she makes magic. :)

So, that's it for now.

Coming up soon, my next and hopefully last, major project for the yard (for a while): a new clothes line. I will post some other things in the mean time to keep you coming back for more.

Remember, say it with me now, Green is Good. No, not zombie green, sheesh, that nature stuff.


Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Berry berry interesting...

I have been at a dearth for titles. I feel...ashamed. I will do better. Don't beat me.

This is just a quick one.

Here is the first of many more blackberries to come!



Yum-alicious? What the h@ll is wrong with me?


Even though it's past 7:30 pm my time, I'm a gonna have me some cereal and blackberries!

There are a ton more on the bush, I should be getting about 5 to 6 times this amount very soon.

Oh!!! oh!!! I. HAVE. TOMATOES!!! Like a few dozen! I know, WTF? No blossom drop for me this time!!! Now, I will be doing something with those tomatoes that I have been wanting to do for many many many years. I will be blanching them and making homemade gravy!!! (Sauce for you none North Easters).

I will keep you updated!

Remember, as always, Green is Good!

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

That's a nice pair of...totes!

Come on, give me break, I have been racking my brain to come up with a title for this massive posting.

For weeks I have been teasing you all about the update regarding the instillation of my water totes.

I don't know about you, but when I think "totes" I'm thinking either really cheap rain gear or a little plastic shopping bag that carries x-mas presents that no one wants.

Or even worse, a monty python like character assaulting you on the street, "my my now, isn't that a darling little tote you have got there, what do you carry in it? Heads?"

So the word "tote" really doesn't adequately apply to these things. I'm thinking something along the line of HUGE $$@#$er @#$#er's!!

Just get a load of them in this first photo.


That's quite a step up from the blue demons.

The question that sticks out like a really bad hair cut is: how did they get there?

I want to say one word to you. Just one word.


Oh, wait, that's not it.


Type in "totes", "barrels", "rain barrels" or any combo and you will get a bunch of hits.

I found a guy that had quite a few and the best part, he would deliver!

He was nice enough to drop them right next to our side yard fence. It was up to me after that.

First, I had to dig away some old dirt that I had piled there when I installed the original pad for the blue demons.



I had to remove the fence and drag them through. Yes, drag them. They fit with a clearence of about 1" total. That's 1/2" on each side. I really really really didn't want to remove the fence post. The slats were bad enough. But they were in rough shape and needed replacing, so I killed two birds with one stone. The fence and myself.

After getting them both in the yard...


I had to empty out the old ones...


There seems to be something very private about this photo. I feel I should look the other way or something.  (Noticed the newly repaired fence behind it).

After the blue demons exhausted the last of their...water.

I had to clean out the new totes. There are two kinds you can get: Industrial strength or food grade. Industrial strength can carry anything from petro products to agent orange, so needless to say I opted for the food grade type. But that is also kind of "iffy".

Let me ask you a question, do you consider grade?


I know. Sort of a toss up. The ingredients reads like a chemical dictionary.

So upon popping open the top hatch, I was greeted by the sickly sweet aroma of Lemon Berry Squeeze.  The other was called Polar Blast. Who the heck comes up with these names?

Marketing Genius: so kids what does this taste like?

kid #1: doody.

kid #2: my mouth hurts

kid 3#: I'm seeing spots.

Marketing Genius: Okay, thanks kids.

The kids march out.

Marketing Genius to the other Marketing Genius: it's blue. What do you think? Polar Blast?

Other Marketing Genius: Sound good to me. Let's see how it mixes with Gin.

Next, I moved on to the stone pad.


Pretty rough looking. It's seen a lot of weather over the time they have been in that spot. Rain, blazing blazing heat, lava flows, ice and a little snow.

So I dug...and dug. Squared it off, poured in some sand as a good base for expansion and contraction and stared putting down the new pavers.


Now the thing was, when I started this crazy @ss project, the sky was clear. Not a freaking cloud in the sky. Of course, about half way through, the sky gets a little dark.


There is a very special place in H E double hockey sticks for weather people. Those of you who are old enough remember that the weather "forecast" was originally called the weather "prediction". You can change the words, but the same thing remains, they don't have a clue.

So, what started out to be a project that I could take my time getting finished, suddenly turned into a sprint. Cripes!!

Yes, I want rain, but on my terms!! Oh, when I rule the world...

Grumble, grumble, swear, swear. @#$#@%!!!

Okay, so I get the pavers down.

I had just enough cinder blocks for one tote.


Because I was going to get the balance of them later that day, but since the rain was threatening, I couldn't put them all down. Rain was a coming and I wanted it. Gimme! Gimme! Gimme!

That's 25 cinder blocks. They need to hold a whoooooooole lot of weight.

You have to remember, 1 gallon of water weights 8.8 pounds, now multiply that by 375 gallons and you, ah...well, let me tell you a whole heck of a lot of weight!!!

Okay, fine. Hang on. um...8.8 times 375...uh carry the one...square root of pi...the area of a dog run with no dogs...Holy crap! 3300 pounds!!! That's just over 1 1/2 tons of freakin' water!!!

And I have two of these bad boys. THAT'S 5 TONS OF WATER.

I was having these fears of one of them bursting and flooding my yard. I now feel my fears are founded in reality. LOL



So there it is. It was able to take on water now.

I quickly adapted the downspout to funnel the on coming flood of rain I was about to get.

The sky was dark, my friends. It was angry. Any moment, it would open up and fill my new monster...tote. (that just doesn't sound right).

I waited...and waited...and freakin' waited...screamed at the sky. You @#$!Q$%^@#$!@#$!!! ARRRRRRGGGGGG!!!!



The next day I trucked over to Home Desperate and picked up the balance of the cinder blocks. I hauled the other...tote, into place. They were almost ready to go.

First I had to adapt the spigot.


That's a two inch opening. I got a 2" PVC adapter to a female non-threaded adapter end. Then attached a 2" to 3/4" step down. And finally, a brass 3/4" to garden hose adapter.

Here's what it looks like...


The best part about these...totes, is that they come with a ball spigot. So no more dealing with leaky brass adapted spigots.

So both of these babies were sitting and waiting for...$%!$#%#@ rain.

However, I didn't have to wait long. That night a massive storm rolled in around 1:30 am. It arrived with what I would like to call an artillery shell right in our backyard. The clap of thunder was so loud, not only did it wake us out of dead sleep but it shook the whole house. It was one of those storms. The kind where I keep one ear open to gauge the sound of the wind. There is that certain sound the wind takes on when it goes from, "oh, this is a fun intense storm", to "holy crap! Run for shelter!". It got close a few times.

Anyway, around 5:30 am. SO wakes me up, to switch over the down spout. We hadn't put in the over flows yet. So in a ragging storm, I'm tramping around in my yard, in my mudders (boots), boxer shorts and rain coat. (I know, nice image). All the while slipping and sliding around on snot like mud, trying to keep my balance. And, of course, I'm trying to divert the down spout while rain is pelting me in face. I discovered that the down spout wouldn't reach the other tote!!!! #$@$%@!!!! ARRRGGGG!!!

So, when frustration meets lack of sleep and the want to get more sleep, desperate inspiration kicks in. I had some old pieces of down spout and a bucket. I propped the current downspout on the bucket and attached the extra piece of "pipe". It was just enough to reach. The water was just pouring off the roof. As tired and muddly as I was, I was delighted.

So the next day (it happened to be Saturday), with the help of my much more significant other, we put in the over flows.

After explaining to her in explicit detail as to how to glue PVC together, we put it all together.

Due to the nature of the size of the...totes, I had to reach in through the top opening to put in my piece of PVC while SO attached the other side.

And due to the very weird and strange angle and placement of the overflow, I had to contort my body just such to reach just far enough to complete my end of the task. However, because it was such a bizarre set up, I sort of hurt myself. No, not like that.

But like this...


Basically, cheese grating the inside of my arm as I reached into the tote. Lovely, isn't it? And this is a few days old, you should have seen it when it was fresh! Yummy!

So after all of this insanity, here is the final product...


I transfered some of the water into my back up barrels (you can see one on the right), but both of these tanks...oh I like that, tanks...were filled to the brim. The best part is, when I attach the hose and open the spigot, the water pressure is amazing.

MONSTER TANKS. I have just officially christened them.

But, Suburbandweller, what of the Blue Demons?

Oh they are still on the job.


They will now be doing time as the barrels for my drip system. :)

So through all the torture and expense, what it worth it? Yes. absolutely.

This wasn't a cheap endeavor. Each of the totes cost 160 bucks. Then there is time installing and the little things like, the paver bricks, cinder blocks, sand and PVC fittings. Oh and fence slats (in my case).

But come the dead of summer, when we will, no doubt, be going through yet another drought situation, we will have water on hand. After last summer, I refuse to use city water when the free stuff falls from the sky.

Even though our garden will be larger this year as opposed to last years, we will still have enough water on hand. Last year, I had to refill my barrels twice. This year, with everything full, we will have almost a 1000 gallon capacity. That puts us over our use last year by 175 gallons. We should be in good shape with proper management.

Well, there it is. Whew!

Remember, green is good, sometimes, not cheap, but certainly, in the long run, very good.


Wednesday, May 12, 2010


Argggg....fooood...(shuffle shuffle) shuffle) toe)....

You know we are kind of like zombies really, instead of yelling, or more apt, groaning, "BRRAAAINNNNNSSSSS", we yell, "I'M HUNGRY!!!"

We all then march off to the supermarket, line up with our edible consumer products and proceed, robot like, through the line. Grab, scan, bag, grab, scan, bag, etc...Then once at home, out of the site of the general public, we tear into the food like we never saw it before. GIMME! GIMME! GIMME!

I mean, honestly, what really separates us from zombies, well besides the brain thing?

Zombies are just trying to live just like us, they just can't grow brains on trees...yet...Mooohoooohahahahahahahaha!!! (that must be said aloud in a menacing way).


Thankfully, I don't have to invade malls, raise from the grave or have half dogs as pets (name the movie reference and win nothing!) in order to feed myself my daily requirements of brains, um, food.

Even though I do the zombie food supermarket hop, I also, as you all know by now, well, the 3 of you that actually read this thing (and if I don't include family, well that goes down to -5), grow a small portion of my own.

And as one season winds down another starts, things are changing.

I wrapped up the last of the onions, which I realize I have to try and plant a little earlier next year. They were, for the most part; golf ball size. I have to try for mid September this year. And besides, they take forever to grow. 6 months if you are lucky!

However the garlic did very well. Of the 36 "wedges" I planted, I yielded 27 full bulbs. 4 were green garlic. That means they were stunted and never grew to full fruition. (one of my favorite words), and the remaining 5 were no shows. Just didn't grow. >shrugs<

Here is my yield.

garlic 2

They now have to hang for 3 weeks to "set". Right now they are really soft and won't do you much good. Can't wash them, can't peel them, nothing.

So in 3 weeks I'll post the results. Actually, I'll post my test garlic, that I pulled 2 weeks ago, next week.

Once it's ready, we press and freeze them.

Next up on the hit parade, the beets finally were ready. Here is the last pict of them in the ground.

last beet in ground

Hard to tell from this angle but the leaves are about a foot tall and the beet itself is crowning. It's best to pull them when they are about 1 1/2" to 2". Any bigger and they get tough to eat, like brains. Not that I would know anything about that...

Ah hmm. Okay.

Both the turnips and the beets have fast growing times, 45 days.

I didn't get a pic of the turnips in the ground but instead got a group shot.

onions turnips beets

The itty bitty onions are actually really sweet. This was the very first group we harvested. We've had a bunch since. We are fermenting the beets and turnips by making some Kimchi. It lasts a good long time, great for the digestion, very nutritious and spicy!

Up and coming is the zucchini's or as I like to call them; zooks.

Here they are still on the plant...

zook blossom

Still small, but we were still able to harvest on early one. I love the color of the flower.


I needed something to give scale, so I called on old George. I looks like sometime mid next week we should be getting about another six.  In about, 2 weeks we should be completely sick of them. LOL They just keep producing until you can't take it anymore, go postal or the cold weather comes in.

Our cucumbers, or as I like to call them; Kooks, are doing just fine and I'm hoping in about another month, we will be able to harvest some to make pickles.

kook flower

They are now just starting to vine up the little caged teepee I built for them.

For some reason, I have the worst luck with tomatoes, go figure. Well, at least this year, so far, we only had a few blossoms drop but most are hanging in there and we actually have one whole freaking tomato already. I know...throw the confetti...

tomato flowers

And finally our blackberry bushes...

Black berry blossoms

Pretty pretty flowers (I'm parapharsing Bill Dauterive of King of the Hill. Merle, you know what I'm talking about)

This photo is about a week and a half old. The bushes are now covered with early blackberries. I can't believe how many there are. I think we will be able to make a couple of jars of jam from just one bush. 

So that's really about it this time around. I just wanted to make a quick update before any more time passed. 

And on a side note. My potatoes bit the dust. They were doing well until some little #@%$#$%% cutter worm went to town on the leaves. Ugh! So, I start over. This time it will be sweet potatoes. 

Coming up for next month will be pumpkins (yes, I will be trying for the tri-fector this year: seeds, pumpkin pie and jack o'lantern), Summer squash, pole beans and string beans. 

So until then, stay lean, mean and green. 

Green is, most certainly, good! Cheers!

(I know, I know, you were all expecting a blog on the water totes, well hang on it's coming. we just need water to put in them. Oh yeah, that. Please send go rain vibes this way, we need it. I just hope this isn't a harbinger of things to come. I can't deal with yet another blazing surface of the sun summer again, but then again, that pesky climate change. sigh).