Sunday, July 19, 2009
I was out in the gardens this morning, spending a little time admiring the flowers and giving everything a good soaking drink. As I did, I sought out the weeds that so easily entangle my plants and try to pull them down. I'm speaking mostly of Creeping Jenny, but there are other weeds that try to disguise themselves as the very plants they stand beside.
A couple of days ago I did a major weeding project. I called it "Garden Chemotherapy." No, there wasn't any toxic chemical dousing of weeds, but the Gardener did her best to pull the undesirable weeds without pulling too many of the desirable plants. Much to my dismay, several healthy, growing flowers were yanked out with the pulling of weeds that simply had to go. I couldn't allow those nasty weeds to stay and go to seed and further infest my flowers.
The lilies are blooming in full force now. Deep crimson, pink, yellow, and white.
This tough favorite, Black-eyed Susan loves the heat of mid and late summer.
For the first time ever, I planted potatoes in raised bed boxes. I had intended to put them into a field garden, but the plot I wanted plowed was so terribly wet, that there was no way a new bed good be made for them this past spring. I had the seed potatoes in hand so Hub built me a couple new boxes and I planted the potatoes. They have grown into monstrous plants and I'm just hoping that means monstrous spuds underneath. Since the plants are now blooming, I know that I can rob a few "new potatoes" from them and replant them to continue producing potatoes.
I dug up about 4 plants in all and as you can see, some of my spuds were nice and big and some were not much bigger than quarters. I can't wait to fry a few for supper and toss in my fresh herbs of chives, parsley, thyme and rosemary.
We've had a very cool summer thus far and just today the mercury is climbing to a whopping 98 degrees. This is excellent drying weather for the haying, but it keeps the Gardener busy with dragging the hose around the yard. I really don't mind though. I have water!
Damselfly eating mosquitoes and gnats
On another note, I've been reading a book that I highly recommend for those of you have have an interest in how families lived during the Great Depression of the 1930's. This is the true story told by the author, Mildred Armstrong Kalish, about her life as a young girl living on an Iowa farm. The family grows their own vegetables, milks the cow, sews clothing, treats their own illnesses and they never blink an eye about the hard work required to sustain themselves through hard times. In fact, it was a way of life for them even before the Depression hit. The book is entitled: Little Heathens. It's a fun little summertime read.
As I was reading Little Heathens, I came to a part where Mildred had developed an infection in her foot due to the bare footin' that the kids did back then. When she showed her mother her sore, aching foot, she sprang into action to treat it. Part of the treatment involved wrapping the foot with strips of old sheets that were saved. This got me to thinking....do people today even have rags and old sheets to cut up anymore?
In the age of the paper towel, and even the recycled paper towel (!), does anyone have a rag stash that they go to when it's time to clean the bathroom, to dust the furniture, to tie up staked tomato plants, to polish boots or to bandage a sore foot? I do, but then this is how I was raised. You saved old towels, cut the good part out of cotton shirts and T-shirts, and we saved few threadbare bed sheets for rags. I know it's nothing glamorous and nothing to be proud of, but I think a good rag stash is a necessity and a nicety all in one box. You might find the perfect pieces of shirting to make a doll blanket. You'd never want to dry the dog with a "good towel" and I like to have "raggy towels" at the mud room sink for washing up when coming in from outdoor work. You might need an old towel to bring home a new puppy or to make a bed for her. I like to use T-shirts cut in strips to tie my tomato plants to stakes as they grow. Old diapers make excellent cleaning rags too. You need rags to stain or oil furniture, to use at the shop for checking and changing oil. I've seen a rag temporarily stuck into a gas tank when the gas cap was lost. You need rags to clean up the dog puke so you can toss it out when you're done. I cut up old denim jeans and patch the knees and seats of jeans-worth-saving. I cut some denim to take to the barn to patch an eye when a cow has an eye infection. I also like to make jean quilts which my kids all request before leaving home. I have one in progress right now.
If you haven't got a rag stash, you really ought to start one. It's easy to do. Just go through your drawers and closets and set aside the old worn-out clothes and the thin towels and sheets and then cut them into useful niceties. Rags. A basket of multi-colored rags can look charming sitting in a corner. Call it rustic!
It's Sunday. Take time to rest, to enjoy the flowers, to drink some lemonade, to sit in the shade and throw the ball to the dog, play with your kids, laugh with your husband and then tonight when the sun goes down, look up at the stars and thank God. He made you too.