Karma's When I Feel Like It Blog

July 31, 2014

Gone Tomatoes

Filed under: 66 Days of Summer — Karma @ 7:39 pm
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For yesterday and today, days 41 and 42 of summer, I present you with tomatoes!
A vegetable garden can change a bit when you are gone for a couple days. As I perused my cucumber and zucchini plants to see if anything needed picking, I noticed a bit of red out of the corner of my eye.


The first of my early girl tomatoes were beginning to ripen.

That one in the upper left of that photo, looked like it would be ready to eat very soon. And today it was!
First of the season

I sliced it up and ate it with my dinner. Nothing quite like the first garden fresh tomato of the summer.
Dinner tonight

May 29, 2014

Hey Bud!

I mentioned in this post how bummed I was that I had barely any lilacs this spring. While that is still true, it appears as though my bearded irises are planning to make up for the lilac lack!
iris buds (1)

I’ve got lots of iris buds. I counted over 50 when I took these pictures!
iris buds (2)

I’m thrilled with the abundance of buds. They should be opening any day now. This blog will likely be flooded with their photos in the near future.

The peonies are budding too – and the ants have definitely found their way to that sweet scent.
peony buds

I guess you can’t call them buds, but the vegetable garden is under way as well. Despite a minor injury to my ankle that I suffered at Zumba class Saturday morning, with some help and some bribery of the teenagers in my life it is all planted. I got my girls’ and daughter’s boyfriend to do the clearing away of last year’s garden debris. Then I was able to comfortably scoot around and do the actual planting.
veggie garden (1)

This year I’ve planted 2 types of tomatoes, yellow bell peppers, jalepenos, cayennes, zucchini, cucumbers, broccoli and eggplant. I’ve never had a heck of a lot of luck with eggplant or bell peppers, but I decided to give them another try. Some little critter has already nibbled the leaves of the of one of the eggplant seedlings, so we’ll see what happens there.

I did plant all those annual flowers I showed you in my last post too. Those were mostly for containers, so that was easy, pleasant work.
dahlia hello!

I’ve been contemplating some kind of photo challenge too. As I told you at the beginning of the year (or technically at the end of last year) I’ve been trying to focus on the simple joys this year. There have been some rather trying events for both me and someone very close to me over the last couple weeks that, while I cannot discuss them here, have affected me deeply. They have left me feeling bereft of joy at times and attempting to seek it out wherever possible. I’d like to have a joy-themed photo hunt for June. It wouldn’t be a Karma kind of hunt if I just left it at that, though, would it? You awesome bloggers so often inspire me. Would you do me the favor of leaving some joyful comments or ideas or links? I think I could come up with just the thing with a little help from my friends!

June 22, 2013

Want to come have a look around my backyard?

Filed under: Uncategorized — Karma @ 9:33 am
Tags: , , , ,

My summertime hangout
I spend so much time here each summer – happy summer, by the way! – I thought I’d show you around a little bit. I haven’t really “prettied” things up for you all that much, I hope you don’t mind. You might notice the bits and pieces of a life lived here in suburbia if you poke around some.
step down, have a look around
Come, step down off the deck. The garden is doing nicely. I was worried about it for a while after the wet, cool, spring we’ve had, but these last few days of glorious sunshine and perfect temperatures have given me hope all will be well.
garden looking good
I did some weeding on my first day off from school for the summer. So far so good. I planted tomatoes, cucumbers, hot peppers and summer squash this year. Kinda funny story: I decided to cut back a little on the amount of plants I plant this year – figured spacing them out would keep them healthier. I decided not to grow squash at all since they always get away from me and grown into giant clubs before I get to eat them. I came home from the garden center and realized I had purchased yellow summer squash instead of cucumbers! Oh well! I planted them anyway.
tiny yellow summer squash
I did go back and buy cucumbers.
cucumber plants
Summer without fresh cucumbers would be like summer without fresh garden grown tomatoes!
early girl tomatoes
Anyone who knows me knows that would be simply unacceptable! I was thrilled to find these little early girls when I had a look around the other day.
Hot peppers are on the way too:
hot peppers on the way
Here’s the little table that holds my gardening supplies. Some of the stuff here is new, some of it old. I found a pair of scissors here this spring that apparently spent the whole winter outside!
my garden work table
Let’s head out the gate now and look around the rest of the yard. Hubby crafted this new gate for me since the old one had rotted away. I installed the new length of garden fence it is attached to myself! (You can see it in the picture of the whole garden up above)
new garden gate
If you look to the left, you’ll see the remains of childhood past.
Of childhood past
My girls spent many wonderful hours playing here. I do miss those days. Teddy does occasionally make use of the space.
Collie cave
Just past the swingset, you’ll see a large bushy area of daylilies.
A swarm of daylily plants
Years ago my mother’s friend gave me a few daylilies that she had removed from her yard. This is what has happened from the planting of maybe a dozen plants! They will be in bloom next month sometime.
Farther down the fence, you can see where hubby has had to make some impromptu repairs. The fence is actually our neighbors’ but we do use it to help keep our dogs fenced in. The various strong storms of the last few years have taken their toll on this fence.
fence repair
I’ve randomly tried different varities of flowering plants along this fence. Wildflower mixes, plants that didn’t make it in other parts of the yard, cast-offs from neighbors and friends. Some have survived some have not. I’m often surprised by the little flowering jewels I’ve found along the fence.
Still blooming after all these years

Hidden jewels

Looking across the yard from the fence, you can see the expanse of lawn that I mow. It takes me about an hour and a half to do my whole yard. You can see another beloved object too:
The still-loved tire swing
The tire swing. Every now and then, someone still jumps on for a little swing. Friends of Meghan’s stopped by the other day to say hello to the dogs and then spotted the swing. A group of high school seniors all had to have their turn on the tire swing.
Heading back up the yard, you’ll encounter the pool.
more work to do
As you can see, it isn’t in great shape. The liner ripped over the winter and has to be replaced. Hubby and I will be at work on that nasty chore this weekend.
Past the pool, back near the deck again, are the raspberries.
after a strong pruning this spring
I gave them a good pruning this spring. It seems to have done some good. The crop of berries looks much more promising this year than last year.
almost raspberries

Come around by the buttefly bushes (also strongly pruned back this spring!) and you are back at the deck.
zooming butterfly bushes
It looks to be a glorious summer. I can’t wait for all my favorite season has to offer! Ahhhhhhhhhhhh!

May 28, 2012

Feeling Accomplished and Tired!

Here we are at the end of a glorious 3-day weekend – (thank you service people who made it possible).  I made use of every moment and accomplished plenty in that time span.  Some of the accomplishments were enjoying time with friends and relaxing on my deck, but those are important too, right?

Memorial Day weekend is planting weekend for me.  It is always when I have the time to plant my veggie garden and generally have no more worry of a hard frost in this area.  Tomatoes, hot peppers, cucumbers, summer squash and zucchini make up this year’s patch.
That took most of my day yesterday, a sunny day with the temperature around 90 degrees. I continued today (after mowing the lawn this morning before it reached into the 90’s again this afternoon) with my traditional row of marigold “sentinels” at the edge of the garden.
You know, I was under the impression that the scent of marigolds was supposed to help repel critters who’d like to get their paws on what the garden has to give, but not two hours after I finished planting those marigolds did I find a chipmunk happily digging away and stuffing his cheeks right next to one of those marigolds! Curious, eh?

I also planted my herb bucket with basil and parsley after mercilessly hacking away about half of the chives that have a tendency to take over the whole bucket.

I started filling some of my containers with annual flowers as well, but those don’t look too impressive yet, so I’ll save those for another day.

Another color of peony opened this weekend too:

While in one of those quiet moments relaxing and appreciating on my deck, I caught sight of a bird I’ve been wanting to photograph for a while now:
This gentleman was fairly high up in my oak tree, so I wasn’t entirely sure at first that I was seeing a Baltimore oriole. But then he turned his backside toward me, and that made me sure I wasn’t just seeing a robin with a really dark head and a really bright chest!

And so, dear readers, I’m quite tired as I type this late Monday evening, but it is a good kind of tired.  Memorial Day weekend was all that I could have asked for and I truly appreciated it.  How was your weekend?

July 28, 2011

Stuck in a Whirlwind

I’ve had better weeks.  I try not to use this blog space to complain, but please forgive me as I vent a bit about what happened to me over the past few days.

On Monday, the dreadful heatwave that had plagued most of the country had finally broken in this area, so I decided it was time to finally get out and mow the lawn.  I was trying to get it done quickly as it appeared that rain was eminent.  I was nearly finished when zap,zap,zap, OUCH!!!!  I had run over a yellow jackets’ nest in the ground and gotten stung several times in my hand and elbow.  I ran, swearing like sailor, into to the house to run them under cold water and make up the paste of baking soda and water to salve the stings.  To add to my indignity, upon sitting down to catch my breath for a moment, I discovered one yellow jacket had made the trip inside with me…in my shorts!  I was stung an additional three times you-know-where!

Tuesday dawns bright and sunny, comfortable temperatures.  Just a few errands in the plans for the day: Sarah having a friend over for a sleepover, getting my haircut, driving Meghan to and from the library where she was volunteering to help with a children’s art project.  It was the first time I had seen my hairdresser since the tornado on June 1st, so we were chatting about where we were and what happened.  Sadly her house sustained some damage.  We commented on what a nice pleasant day we were having that day.  I left the hairdresser’s and drove to the library to pick up Meghan.  I browsed books while Meghan finished up and noticed the darkening skies.  I hadn’t heard any thunderstorm warnings that day, but I had been busy puttering and cleaning and going about my business.  A huge clap of thunder rumbled outside and I could hear the screams of a few shocked children.  Meghan came out of the room where she had been working and I remarked we should try to get home before the storm opens up.  We live about 5 minutes from the town library, so I thought no problem.  It was gently sprinkling as we walked out to my car.

As I turned off Main St. to Springfield St, the skies opened up.  Torrential downpours and marble sized hail pelted my car.  Visibility quickly reduced to virtually nothing.  I saw blurry tail lights of the cars in front of me, and then nothing but a gray sheet of water across my windshield as traffic came to a standstill.  At that moment, a tree fell directly in front of my car, grazing the hood and grill as it went down, and another fell directly behind my car, tapping the bumper.  We were trapped.

I started trying to make phone calls.  Tried my husband first.  Couldn’t get through right away.  I tried 911; nobody answered.  I called directory assistance to get my local police department’s alternate number.  They told me to stay put in my car, they were getting dozens of calls and would do their best to get to us.  Hubby got through, told him what had happened, but by that time there was no way for him to get to us.  We were stuck in a triangle of streets that had all been blocked by trees and downed telephone poles in a matter of minutes.

And so we sat in the car and waited, not knowing what to do.  Were there downed wires? Was it safe to get out of the car?  Were more trees going to fall? Was it safe to stay in the car?  I opened my car door several times trying to  look around in the driving rain to determine what the dangers might be but I couldn’t make a decision.

When the rain finally let up somewhat, another trapped motorist stopped to check on us.  He told me there was another tree dangling perilously close to the roof of my car and that we’d better get out.

This is what my car looked like when we got out:

It was still drizzling at the time, and another family invited us to sit in their car with them while we waited for the firemen to try to get to our area.  I thanked them and sat for a while, now soaked to the skin.  Feeling restless, I got out of the car and walked around a bit, wondering exactly what our situation was.  Other people were out doing the same.  There were about half a dozen cars trapped in the same general area with us.  Finally, we heard the chainsaws of the fire department on one side of the fallen trees.  Four firemen came through to check on people and assess damage.

They confirmed what I suspected.  We were really stuck.  There was no where for the cars to go.  Trees had fallen in all three possible directions of travel (for any locals who could be reading this, I was stuck on Springfield Street at the intersection of Faculty St.).  I’d been in contact with my husband who had been offering to drive as far as he could and then hike to trade places with me, so that he would wait with the car and I could take his truck home.  I didn’t like the idea not knowing what the situation was like beyond my immediate area, fearing he would end up stuck somewhere and leave my younger daughter and her friend home completely alone.

After we’d be stuck waiting for over 2 1/2 hours trying figure out if a way would be cleared that evening, I made a decision after talking to a fireman.  I asked if it was possible to get to our town hall on foot, which I knew was only a few hundred yards away, and according to my husband the road was clear at that point.  The fireman said yes, as long as you were careful to walk on the edge of people’s yards and stay away from downed wires.  I called my husband and asked him to pick us up at town hall and Meghan and I made a wary trek under and around fallen trees and telephone poles.  My poor car was abandoned for the night.

After trying multiple times to get back to my car the next day, we finally made it back and hubby tried to assess the damage.  The grill was cracked and the radiator appeared punctured.  The car started but the temperature soared quickly as I drove it to our local autobody, where it now sits awaiting an insurance adjuster.

Meghan and I are fine.  Maybe a bit shaken up, but no damage to us!  I wish I could say the same for my garden.  The driving hail made the garden appear as though someone attacked it with a machine gun:


Some of the veggies are even scarred:


My geranium which recently looked like this:

now looks like this:

My yard is loaded with fallen branches, hail-shredded leaves and a lawn flattened by the small lake that passed through, but with the exception of my car, we sustained no damage.  Meghan and I are feeling very lucky and thankful considering how close to being hurt we really came.

Rumors of another tornado hitting this area are unconfirmed; funnel clouds were reported but official weather-type people are yet to determine if there was touchdown.  Strong thunderstorms with hail and 50 mph winds were confirmed.  I don’t know what the whirlwind I was stuck in the middle of was actually called; it doesn’t really matter, it was scary as hell!

Power was out again for about 30 hours.  It happily came back on last night.  I will be dealing with the task of figuring out which food in the fridge is still good and what has gone bad.

As I said, I’ve had better weeks.  I’m hoping it is going to get better soon.  This weekend I will be attending Big Summer Potluck 2011.  It is an east coast food blogger event, for which I am tagging along with my sister.  We are leaving tomorrow morning, so this will likely be my last blog post until Sunday evening at the earliest.  I hope your week was better than mine and that a wonderful weekend is on tap for us all!  (Thanks for letting me vent!)