Friday, August 29, 2008

Deer, rabbits, raccoons, what else?

Instead of a garden I think I have a wildlife preserve.

Today I came home from work and chased a raccoon out of the garden. He had the biggest green tomato in my garden in his little paws and he dropped it and raced away. I didn't get his picture but I got a crime scene photo, with the evidence he left behind.

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Finally, it is raining

We've had a mini-drought for the last 2-3 weeks, just a sprinkle one day last week, and no other rain at all. While sunny days are quite pleasant, they're not really very good for the garden. I've watered some, I installed a new soaker hose along some of the rows, but my cucumbers have really had it, and probably aren't going to survive.

The tomatoes are going great guns, but the rabbits are nibbling them. The eggplants look good but I've yet to see even one blossom on them.

Saturday, August 09, 2008

Family reunion at the farm

It's been a week since the family reunion and I finally feel recovered enough now to write about it! Yesterday we got a beautiful card from a cousin - she said that when they woke up the next morning it seemed like a beautiful dream. Such a nice way of putting it, I felt exactly the same way.

We had nearly perfect weather, 80 degrees, low humidity and not a cloud in the sky, and lots of fun. Approximately 70 people showed up and we had boat rides on Lake Katherine, Gator rides through the orchard, 4-wheeler rides, tractor rides, hayrides, and rides in Maybelline for the youngest ones. We had water balloon fights (that got a little out of hand) and fireworks in the evening. We only had one accident that I know of, and it was fairly minor.

There are some items that were left in a box I've dubbed "Lost-and-found" - a kid's purse, sandals, a pair of sunglasses, and a plate....

The sweet corn in the field wasn't quite ready, DH had to go find some at a farm stand near Grand Rapids (he had to pay $4.50 a dozen! But it was great, very sweet) the morning of the reunion. Our own home-grown corn is finally ready now, a week too late, the neighbor called last night and said it was just about perfect. They're picking it and putting it in a box on the corner in front of their house on the corner for sale to passers-by. DH also called a friend in Muskegon and told him he could pick some and take to the Muskegon Farmer's market, so it won't go to waste.

It was wonderful to see the cousins we haven't seen for a while. Little Samantha, only six months old, was there, all the way up to cousins that were near 90. I only wish I had had more time to socialize.

The family tree paperwork got splattered by the water balloons, and some of the cousins brought their family photo albums which were just beautiful.

The food was a big feature, one cousin brought cabbage rolls which were a big hit, plus she helped with making pierogis. It seems like rolling out the pierogi dough and filling the pierogis is one tradition that brings the family closer together, to each other, and to our roots. She also brought along Ukranian-style batiked eggs which were absolutely gorgeous.

It was a lot of work to set up and prepare the food, and the site, but it was worth every bit of it. We had lots of help from the young cousins and others who came early. The bush green beans I had planted were ready this week, and we picked and processed nearly five bushels, in between baking pies and buying the meat, setting up the grills and the awnings, and so on. I fixed a couple of green bean casseroles, had plenty of raw material!

After all the excitement was over, I mentioned to DH that if we do this again, we'll really need to hire some help so that we have time to socialize instead of running around like crazy getting things ready. I also suggested that we did a good enough job to go into the agritourism business - we could do it once a week - and he just looked at me as if I had lost my mind.

We got back Sunday night late, and headed back to work Monday. Monday night we were too exhausted to finish the unpacking and both of us took a nap. Tuesday after work we started the unpacking and putting things away. Poor DH had to take a business trip mid-week, and so instead of returning to the farm this weekend we decided to stay home.

I didn't have time to even go find my camera to take a picture during the party, but luckily lots of others did. I'd love to have pictures sent by those that were there, I'll post some of them here.
My garden here is a disaster, with two weeks of neglect, and little rain during that time. The weeds have taken over, and the cucumbers did not grow up the trellis as planned but are instead sprawled all over the ground. There are lots of green tomatoes, and I picked the first few red ones already. There is a weird bug on some of my zucchini, I am not familiar with it. The racoons and deer and groundhogs have been in the corn, I am sure there is no salvageable corn. But the Swiss Chard looks great! and the green peppers will be ready soon.

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