Monday, July 29, 2013

What's up with Summer?  
July has indeed been an interesting month for Nebraska.  It's been hot, dry, record lows, and definitely surprises in the garden.  The first of the month brought many 90+ degree days with very little rain.  The average moisture for this month is 3.95 inches of rain.  So far the moisture for July is .38 of an inch.  It has caused the yards in the neighborhood to start turning brown.  Unlike last year, the temperatures have been moderate ranging from the high 90s to last week's record breaking low of 49.  Something is definitely up with nature.  It makes for interesting times for gardeners that's for sure.
I just couldn't pass up a chance to install a ceiling fan for a good friend of mine.  You ever notice I have allot of good friends.  They would still be good friends even if I couldn't do things for them.  That's just how they are.  I get truly blessed being able to help them out.  Here are all the necessary things to install a ceiling fan.  There's all the parts; there's all the tools; there's the instructions; and most important there's the cup of coffee.

Another ceiling fan installation success.  I've been installing ceiling fans just about since they were invented.  Today they are much easier than 25 years ago.  It's just a bit more complicated when the wires coming out of the ceiling are four and only three are needed as it was in this case.  Well, careful observation on how the ceiling light was wired was a must to be able to correctly wire the fan/light.  A little extra time to make sure all wiring was correct and all worked just like it was supposed to work.  My most complicated installation was when an installation had a remote control for the fan and the light instead of the chains.  No I take that back.  The most complicated was my own bedroom ceiling fan that had a separate switch for the fan with a rheostat speed control.  That was before plug in ceiling fan wiring.  After a couple hours of sorting through a rat nest of wires the fan worked great and has worked great for a couple decades. Nice!!

I'm afraid I've gone and done it again.  I've waited way too long before tackling the weed problem in the back yard.  Yeah, the birds seem to keep the fence line supplied with Mulberry trees seeds.  It's amazing how fast land will revert back to the wild without human intervention.  I always promise myself that next year I won't let it get out of hand like this again.  (big sigh)  Nature waits for no one.

Several hours work with weed pulling, mattock wielding, axe chopping, and tree pruner lopping makes a big difference, don't you think?  Ha, I bet you didn't even know there was a bush in there did you.  Not to be daunted, there's allot more fence line to cleanup.  The raised bed you see here half under the bush will be taken out.  It was a bad idea to put it there in the first place.  Four other beds not in this picture will provide the table with fresh garden produce.

What do you see here; an out of control garden bed maybe; a bug ridden cabbage patch perhaps; a total disaster attempt to garden perchance?  Nope none of the above.  I consider it my most successful garden experience of the year.  These cabbages started from tiny little seeds way last February.  They grew to tiny little shamrock plants.  After the weather broke here in late late Spring, they were poked into the mud and forgotten.  Terra Nova Gardens took all efforts to get the soil prepared and planted.  Never have my efforts to grow cabbage turned out good.  Every time the plants would shrivel up and pass away peacefully in the night.  I suspect that's the way a night shade plant would want to go but for me, it was a bit frustrating.  So now I hate to really touch any thing and just marvel at how they have grown among the worst of conditions without weeding; without watering; and without really any attention at all.  Maybe I've just been loving them to death in the past.  What do you think? 

The tomatoes are still producing green tomatoes.  I have learned one thing this year.  Tomatoes need to be started under the grow lights a little earlier than the end of April.  Next year it will be the beginning of March. 

 This is the best surprise of the gardening year.  Last fall as some of you will remember, I dumped almost 600 bags of lawn and yard waste from the fall grass and tree leaf neighborhood cleanup on Terra Nova Gardens.  Apparently there was more than just leaves and grass in some of the bags.  Two zucchini, three pumpkins, and two of these squash plants came up volunteer.  So far the harvest has been three zucchini and two squash with more to come.  It's been an absolutely wonderful surprise.

 I foiled those dirty little night critters this year.  Last year I checked the sweet corn on a Friday and found that it wasn't quite ready the way I like sweet corn.  By the following Monday the thieving little buggers stripped the entire patch.  This year, even though it was not quite what I like, I beat them to it.  I saw evidence that they had been nibbling around the outside so I picked every thing that was within a tolerable eating range and left the unripened ones for them.  At least I got a few ears of corn to eat this year.  I have another batch of corn that will be ripe in a couple weeks but this has volunteer pumpkin vines growing through the corn.  I've heard that the vine plants will keep the raccoons and possums  away from the corn so we will see.  The critters don't like the feel of the leaves on their feet.

Have a great week.  Be safe until we meet again.


  1. That's some serious weeding! Wow! Hope you have a machete for jobs like that. When my yard reverts back to nature... everything just dies and it becomes hard clay. ;) Okay, maybe a tumble weed or two.

    1. Yeah, we do have some serious weeds here in Nebraska. I have an arsenal of tools for weeding but really the best way to deal with those monsters is right after a rain when the ground has dried a bit so as not to be muddy but it's still not dried out completely and just grab a good grip on them and pull them out root and all. We have clay here to but most times it's covered with a few inches of good top soil. My big garden (Terra Nova Gardens) used to be the Missouri river back in the 1920s and river boats paddled their way over the top of where my garden now resides. The Corps of Engineers changed the course of the river for flood control back in the 1930s. The big bank you see with all the trees in at the top of my blog used to be the river bank. All that to say that the soil in Terra Nova Gardens has black rich top soil about two feet deep. Nice!!

    2. Wow, two feet of black top soil... I have dreams of things like that but I've never seen it here. Sounds like you picked the perfect garden spot. Very nice indeed.

  2. Pretty nice to get produce with no work. You really have good volunteers this year. I've always had lousy luck with cabbage. Yours look good. Glad you got some corn!!

  3. I've always had better luck with volunteer plants ---I think you might be on to something with "loving them to death"!

    Ma Nature is really see-sawing the temps around here too. We had a week in the upper 90's (unheard of here) followed by this week, where morning lows hover in the upper 30's/low 40's. I feel silly weeding in the early morning in my winter coat. And , the tomatoes need sweaters!

    Glad you got corn and foiled the little buggers.

  4. With all you have been doing in the garden and for others, have you had any time to work on your water supply for Terra Nova. You had started to dig it out some and cover it, but you have not given an update on that project in some time. I have not even taken time to pull the weeds. I just reach in the pile and pull some tomatoes, peppers and onions to eat. I call it jungle garding Ha HA. Have a great gardening day friend.

    1. Frank, I haven't really worked on the water supply. I suspect I really won't get to that this year. With my newly found supply of used fencing, I plan to focusing on getting the North Terra Nova Gardens entirely fenced in before the snow flies. That's about four months down the road. That would be about 150 feet of fencing to ben installed. And, well, you know me too well, I do love to help others. So if I don't get the fence up this year, there's always next year. I have been using the spring water to water the plants but I've just been dipping it out with a five gallon bucket. Hopefully in a few years I'll have a good gravity feed watering system in place. It all sure keeps me busy and tired at the end of the day. Just the way I like it.

      Have a great day.

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