Friday, November 25, 2011

Last Garden Harvest and Working on the Patio

Hi everyone. Thanksgiving once again has passed us and for me it was a time for reflection on the past year and thinking about all the things that I have to be thankful that are in my life. Because of a recent event, I reflected much on how grateful I am to have had such wonderful parents. It's so sad that many kids of today's generation will not experience the love of parents as I have. The normal stuff such as food, clothes, shelter are other things that I am grateful to have. I can't ever remember going hungry unless I wanted to go hungry in my life. I've always had a car since I was 15 years old. I've been able to purchase and maintain a house since the early 70s. I have truly been a blessed man.

I am thankful for the health that I have because without health I could never be able to do what I feel is my calling in life, which is helping others in need. I am thankful for the family and friends that support me during the down times and rejoice with me during the good times. I am especially thankful for my blogger friends that I have acquired over the course of the last couple years. You are the best encouragers ever.

What are you thankful for?

The last of the harvest came on October 21st. The tomatoes were small compared to earlier in the year but with the weird weather they just kept getting smaller as the year progressed. The green peppers started out slow and really didn't start producing until the hot weather of July was over. Then they kicked in and produced prolifically until the cold weather killed the plants. This batch of green peppers now resides in the freezer to be consumed when the cold winds of winter are blowing outside.

Mesclun salad mix still surviving after several mid 20s night time temperatures. I am starting to like the tough rugged nature of this salad mix. Chuck informs me in one of my comments from the post about the Mesclun salad mix that a Mesclun salad goes for $10 in Chicago. I've eaten at least a $100 worth of salad and as you can see it hasn't put a dent in the plants. It appears that there are four different plants in this mix. I have no idea what their names are but here's a picture of the different plants.

Now you probably will be saying, "Hey I only see three salad leaves and one carrot." You would be correct. The fourth plant in the salad mix is the normal yellow leaf lettuce that I'm accustomed to seeing. Unfortunately there were only two plants and I ate them. The calendar says that the carrots should be ready but as you can see they are just a bit small. They are quite tasty though. The leaf on the left by the carrot just looks mean and tough doesn't it. It's the one that seems to be the bully of the mix and has taken over almost entirely. Ha, I suppose it's the one that has the most nutrition. I keep eating as much salad as I can until the cold temperture finally puts an end to the experiment. I would count the Mesclun Salad mix experiment a great success .... well that is after I finally got over the weed look of it. My family and friends couldn't believe that I would actually eat such a nasty looking thing. It just proves the old saying to not judge a book by the cover or in this case a plant by its looks.

Ok, let's move on to the backyard patio. I've been attempting to get as much done as I can before the extreme cold weather and snow set in. Some will remember the slow progress I made during the spring and summer months. It seems that things have a way of getting me side tracked. There has been a little bit of a set back in the progress but nothing that will keep it from being finished .... eventually. :0)

Two years ago a retaining wall was built for a friend of mine who was selling her house and needed some curb appeal. About 30 blocks were left over from that project and took up residence in my side yard. Being the conservative minded guy that I am (cheap), I thought it would be just the thing to use for the retaining wall of my backyard patio. So the first layer was dry fitted on the buried concrete block foundation. After the dry fit, the blocks were removed one at a time, the top of the foundation was cleaned with a wire brush, construction adhesive was applied, and the block was set in place. Twenty four blocks for the first layer were glued in place. A trip to Menard's was supposed to be to gather up about 25 more blocks to make another layer but instead it only brought disappointment when the blocks needed to match the others had been discontinued and the replacement blocks were not compatible. So I had to pull up the other glued down blocks and replace them with the new design. The old blocks will be used for the fire ring so it won't be a total loss.

So life goes on at the Urban Ranch. Things get built, progress is made, and all is well with my soul.

I would be interested in hearing about any projects that you have in progress.


  1. Salad is sure some tough stuff---I just pulled the last of mine last week and we've had 8 weeks of freezing(low 20's)nighttime temps. I just got tired of dealing with it. If it weren't for the upcoming (and very late, I might add) snow, I'd be curious to see just how long that lettuce would have lasted in the coldframe.

  2. Boy, that was one big haul of peppers....and tomatoes in October, lucky you! I have had lettuce over-winter under 4 feet of snow. Maybe you should leave some of it in and see what happens.

    Hopefully you will get a little more of the fire pit done before the really cold temps set in....if they ever do!

  3. Oh, dear! I'm sorry you had to take the blocks out and replace them. My peppers didn't do much until fall, either. I have enough in the freezer to last until next summer now.

    I was waiting for the temps to cool before planting a fall salad crop, but then, I ended up not getting any planted. I have grown what you showed, but don't remember what they are. One may be a kind of mustard green.