2016 Journal

As the year goes on we will post videos in our 2016 Journal but also check out the Journals of years before for some fun informative videos and also check out the Live Streaming of our garden and also photos of the seasons that we also have taken.

Broad Cam Video Streaming Server Live 1

This is good point to let you know that all the rain and snow melt that hits the roof of our house is funneled from the downspouts to the goldfish pond, so the pond gets a fresh water source and when it gets filled it overflows to the orchard to water the trees and feed the trees from the fish waste nutrients. As an organic and a green family it is a easy way of creating some great fruit.


The last of the Brussels sprouts , cabbage, and rutabaga are harvested first week with the warm up for a day. We have been making soup with all the cold veggies cabbage, Brussels sprouts, onion, rutabaga, turnips and broccoli. The one thing I learned this year is that you can grow Celery in the house. After planting 4 celery starts in the rain garden last spring I dug them out with the roots just before a snow in Nov for Thanksgiving I put them in a bowl with water to keep them fresh for Thanksgiving to make dressing. To my surprise the celery kept growing just bare roots in water in the kitchen window and as we have used it the celery still grows, not as thick stocks but just as flavorful. The month has been seed catalogues and strange weather warmer than usual and less snow.


The seed catalogues are showing up daily and the fun is just about to begin.

Feb.. 21st

The weekend was in the upper fifties and I got a lot done, raking the front and back yard and putting the leaves in the garden and mulch them with the mulching lawn mower. I also put the clear plastic cover over the garden to start warming the ground up for the 1st week of April to start planting onions, broccoli, cauliflower, cabbage lettuce, kale, turnips, rutabaga, kalirabi, greens, radish and potatoes. It may snow a couple more times but the ground will benefit by the sunny days the cover will insulate.You can see the plastic cover on the garden from our live streaming the front and back yard clicking on our link.

March 6th

Spring is here, we have had 3 snow storms and in between 50 and 60 degree days and the Iris's in the rain garden are poking through. The last snow Thursday and now today almost 60. The plastic on the garden helped melt the snow faster as the sun warms up the ground it keeps it in at nite and melting the snow that fell on it. Today I tied up the broken branches from the winter and the ones I pruned this winter. The city picks them up and are shredded and used for mulch on the city's landscape. We still have frozen Brussels sprouts, raspberries, goose berries, black berries, cherries, pumpkin, turnips, and canned peaches, pears, plums, tomatoes, peppers, and fruit cocktail. They will pretty much last until the new fruit and vegees are to be harvested. The great thing about the fruit is there is little or no cost once we have fruit bering trees so all the fruit is as easy as picking off the trees or bushes. Everyone of our fruit trees cost less than thirty dollars and paid for themselves the first fruiting year. The compost we put on them is free it blows in with the wind, the leaves in the compost bin. We are organic we use no herbicides or pesticides and no chemical fertilizers. More often the birds and squirrels effect the amount of harvest. The hard and fun decisions of what to grow this year, the catalogues have been coming fast and furious, we will go mostly with organic seeds and plants because they will do best in and our organic invironment.We will have to visit Traders Joe to get a bag of their variety potatoes much cheaper than buying seed potatoes at a nursery and do the same in growing them. We also will see if they have any interesting tomatoes we can buy to use for salad and the seeds from them to grow this year.

March 13th

Spring is here for sure the birds have set up their nesting sites , looks like a pair of robins, cardinals, blue jays and a couple different sparrows. The hawk comes to the yard on a reg. basis now, most likely feeding his young, roosting on our swing waiting for a unsuspecting squirrel to visit the feeders. If you go on our live stream about half hour before day break you can hear the chatter of the birds in the yard and lasts for about 2 hours. I put in five of our goldfish in the pond to test the water sort of speak, we did lose all our goldfish last spring to a blue heron. The irises are really coming up now . The Purple Globe Stickers are also up by the house where the micro climate is great for flowers. We got our Purple Pansies which we do every year and planted them in our front yard planters to put some color in the yard plus give the neighbors some positive signs that spring is well on the way. One of my locals who are moving dropped off a turning compost tumbler for me because they are not in the need anymore. This is one of the basics for gardeners is pass on tools, plants, and seeds to other gardeners as it is a great way of passing of your love for gardening.It's been raining on and off all week so it looks like a good start to spring. I planted a bing cherry to replace the ones that didn't survive last year. I have one already which needs a second for pollination. the buds on the fruit trees are starting to swell, flowering in a couple weeks or so. Still trying to decide on what seeds to buy and what to try new this year.

March 20th

Today is a cool sunny Day so I spent the afternoon attaching the old windows that I have saved when we put new doors on the house, I attached them to the raised bed to create a little sun box to get the tomato plants that I will plant in the raised bed a better spring start. I will slide the windows out when they are no longer needed to create a warm growing bed, which here could be as late as June. Started to fill the compost tumbler with leaves blowing in and kitchen compost. The buds on the fruit trees are swelling slowly which is good because you don't want them to bloom to early here where you can get a frost to May 20th or later. The plastic on the garden is warming the ground very well and it will be ready to plant the first week of April. Daffodils are breaking through as well as the tulips. The cherry tree I planted is showing sighs of life it's buds are swelling. The lawn is starting to green up now with some regular warmer days.The goldfish are doing well in the pond so next week I will put the rest of them in the pond when I will start up the pond filter. It was a mild winter so it should be interesting how spring arrives this year as the plants wake up. Still deciding on seeds but picked up some onion starts, yellow and white.We have some potatoes starts we got at Trader Joe's where we will buy more because you can get a good variety without paying allot and give an idea on what you like.

March 28th

The week was average a little cold, a little warm, a little snow, and a little rain. The ground is warming up nicely the garlic and horseradish are up. Did some more leaf mulching from the leaves blow in with the two rain and snow events. Put most of the goldfish in the pond and started the pond filter. The plum and apricot trees will be first to bloom as usual. No blooms on the Daffodils or Tulips yet. We picked up some potatoes starts from Trader Joe's a lot cheaper than at the box stores plus you know they are organic. Got most of my seeds too beans, radish, turnips, rutabaga, pumpkin, kale, parsnips, snow peas and carrots. Started to look over the seeds I saved from last year and fun to try these as I plant the gardens flower and veggie. The ones I most want to try most is the Milkweed seed to create an even bigger Butterfly Garden. Filled up the compost tumbler with the last of the flower garden cleanup. Our Christmas tree we planted seems not to even know it was in the house for a week and then put in it's new home.

April 3rd

Took the plastic cover off the garden and as last year it warmed up the garden and dried it out so I could rotertill . I rotertilled and then planted the potatoes and onions. It was another wild weather week with snow yesterday and 60 degrees today. The blossoms are getting bigger and probably next week the plum and apricots trees will bloom. My wife's friend from work had purchased a green house for their backyard but it was a little too big for the space so she gave it to us . We will give them fresh produce from our garden as a Thank You. It is one of those snap together ones which has the poly carbonite glass which is really awesome. It will take a good day to put it together but well worth it. I can't wait to get to growing and experimenting this fall and winter on extending our harvest. I will also plant this week plant turnips, radish , rutabaga parsnips, kale, and lettuce.

April 10th

Once again we had a little rain, a little snow, a little cold and a little warm. I planted turnips, beets, radish, rutabaga, snow peas, beans, and sunflowers. I did a few of the containers for the south side of the house so when i have tomatoes plants I can get some early plants and late harvest. I will have to do a cement pad for the green house so I will wait for it to get a little warmer to make sure the cement sets up good. None of the fruit trees have blossomed yet and the strange weather continues to slow the blooms but that is OK because the later the blossoms the less likely to be frost damaged. The Tulips and Daffodils should open next week 60's all week. We got a good rain on a couple days so it should get the seeds, onions, and potatoes a good start. I ordered 10 Giant Sequoias from a Midwest grower that has climatized them to the midwest, so I got them this week and planted all 10 in the yard. Each year I try to do things that is not a regular. This is the fun part of gardening doing things off the norm.

April 17th

This week was very nice mid sixties almost all week and 70's on the weekend. Planted Lettuce, Kale, Cauliflower, and Broccoli Starts. Rototilled the area for making the Butterfly Garden Bigger and will plant the saved Milkweed seeds just before it rains this week. The Apricot trees are the first to blossom with Plum tree right behind. The Daffodils are almost all booming and the Tulips are ready to this week. the last of the leaves mulched up. The rain garden has also come alive, Irises are showing some good growth. Still the trees still taking their time to blossom which is good , this is Illinois we could have a deep frost yet. The Robin follows around after me to see what I have stirred up to feed it's young. Did some more tree trimming of branches. The raspberries, gooseberries, blackberries and rhubarb have come alive. The peach trees look to have blossoms on all of the them. The GRAPE HYACINTHS are always first to bloom have put on a show this year.

April 24th

A nice week about average, everything I planted 2 weeks ago is up and it is warm enough for beans, pumpkin and Milkweed to be planted. I planted some tomatoes seeds and plants that I put in the planters on the south side of the house for faster germination and the plants( from a nursery) so I get early Small (cherry, pink, pear and krim) tomatoes, my wife loves to snack on when she gets home from work. The peach trees are starting to bloom. The Magnolia also started to bloom. A purple wisteria in rain garden also blooming. The pear trees will be next to bloom. The tulips also blooming. Some signs of evergreens growing, any day now a burst of growth. The goose berries also blooming. The Old Rose bush has taken off , no sign of life of the purple rose. The crabapples are starting to get close to blooming probably next week. The butterfly garden has come to life and I planted Bee Balm. The rain garden has also come to life and the Peony is still alive maybe it will get bigger this year. Also planted shade flowers under the Red Cedar trees..

May 1st

The week was cool and wet, lots of rain and the garden is doing well. Potatoes are starting come up, the onions are taking off in this cool weather as the lettuce. The peas are thriving and the cold weather vegee starts like broccoli are responding well too, but as usual a rabbit or two has sampled the menu. I planted two sweet cherry trees for the others to have pollinators. The Giant Sequoias that I planted seem not to know they came from Michigan (a midwest supplier that have climatized Giant Sequoias to the Midwest) and are doing well. The Purple Cloud Haze Plum Trees in the front yard are blooming. The rain garden has really come to life with this rainy week. The Pear trees are in bloom and now all the peach trees are all in bloom which is usually not the case as we have 5 different kinds of peaches.With this rain the evergreens are starting to break buds, we have 20 different kinds of evergreens to have fun creating the U. P. We are hoping to have a good Walnut production this year for us, not only the squirrels, they are young trees so it may a couple more years for Walnut utopia. The tomato plants by the house in planters are growing in this microclimate , it's amazing what planters on the south side of the house will create for you while you wait for summer.The raspberries, blackberries and goose berries all doing well. Garlic and horseradish doing well. The peach tree that started by seed (stone) last year has survived and showed signs of a good start. The Butterfly garden is coming to life.

May 8th

Another nice week a little cool but sunny. The garden is doing well and this week I planted corn, fancy squash and pumpkins, carrots, cucumbers, cantaloupe, watermelon and spinach. The cantaloupe and watermelon is away's a try but often not enough hot weather to get any yield but always fun to try. This is part of gardening where a little money is all you need to try different things. The evergreens are bursting their buds as is the red bud. The pear, crabapples, and cherry trees are in bloom. The front yard the purple haze is almost in full bloom. This is our purple theme front yard. It has 2 purple crabapples, 3 ornamental plums, 2 sand cherry's a redbud and 2 purple magnolias. The squirrels and chip monks have dug up and eaten about a quarter of the pumpkin and squash seeds I planted. The blue heron got about 2 thirds of the goldfish. Time to go to the pet shop for some more little feeder goldfish used to feed various animals, we just pick out the interesting looking ones for about thirty cents a piece and put them in the pond and by the time winter is here and we bring them in they are about 6 inches long. The nut trees are coming to life, hope we get allot of nuts. No sign of buds on the apple trees. The rain garden and butterfly garden are doing well but no sighs of milkweed plants yet, but a little early. The raspberries are doing really well as is the blackberries, gooseberries, and rhubarb. The grape vines came to life and strawberry plants are getting bigger. The ferns have made their presence known. The Japanese maple is coming to life as is the Nine bark. The old rose bush is still doing well probably out live us all. The purple rose bush is alive.

May 16th

Planted more corn, sunflower and pumpkin seeds which is a never ending dance to have enough seeds to germinate before the squirrels, chip monks and voles eat them all. Picked up some corn starts too just in case the animals win. No sign of blossoms on the apple tree yet. We have little plums, pears, peaches, gooseberries and apricots. The cherry trees are still blooming. The Front yard is a sea of purple and we will post the video shortly. The garden is doing well and we will be having lettuce, green onions and young garlic next week. Some of the sunflower seeds have escaped being eaten and are dotted through the garden.The raspberries have taken off as is the rain garden. No sign of Milkweed but Joe Pye Weed is coming up. The Evergreens have burst into life with all this rain and my Giant Sequoia starts have begun to grow. We have had carpenter bees in our wooden swing for years and it is fine because they do a great job along with mason bees.

May 22nd

I planted the corn starts in the area where the corn seeds where planted no signs of corn or pumpkins good chance the chip monks and squirrels got allot of them. This week is going to get warm and rain allot so to see if I can out smart them I will plant more corn and pumpkins and with 4 days of rain they may escape to germinate. We had our first salad and green onions with fresh young garlic shoots. The apricots are plum size already.just about everything is done blooming. The tomatoes by the house have some flowers already showing that the micro climate of the sunny south side of the house will do wonders early in the year. All the cold weather crops are doing great. The rain garden is doing great Iris are blooming. The butterfly garden is slow to be alive but it is warming up now. So far the goldfish are still there, no sign of the Blue Heron. The evergreens have burst into growth. The Magnolia is still blooming even though it is small yet. The cactuses (midwest native) have come to attention and are loving the new spot on southwest side of the house in sandy soil in this hot micro climate. The raspberries have multiplied and are growing well.

May 29th

The Butterfly garden almost over nite has come alive with the Milkweed plants that are established shooting up out of the garden also in the rain garden, no sign of the seed milkweed plants yet. Also the Joe Pye Weed has come alive. The peaches and plums are growing fast , although the apricots are disappearing again with the squirrels. We are using lettuce, radish, turnips, kale, onions and garlic. The pumpkin seeds are starting to come up. More potatoes plants are breaking through. The corn starts are doing well and very few corn plant by seed have come up, so the squirrels and chip monks got most of them. The evergreens are in full growth mode. The Giant sequoia Trees have all survived and are growing. The tomato seeds I planted are now all growing so I should get 2 or 3 hundred little plants to plant around the yard. The fun part is that they are from last year collected from the garden to grow this year plus some a couple of varieties we bought at the Trader Joe's and saved those seeds. The best fun is to just see what type of tomato is produced as I really don't try to label them other than when I saved them it was a tomato I like or was odd color or shape. It has been a warm spring so everything seems to be doing well so far. The rose bush is doing well and also all the ferns in the rain garden that match well with the 2 Dawn Redwoods in the rain garden. Sunflowers are coming up all over the garden as usual as a few escape the birds last year and came up this year. This year we actually got some mammoth Sunflower seeds to plant to see if we can save some Sunflower heads for winter like we did before.

June 5th

The raspberries have really taken off , it will be a good year for raspberries but it looks like gooseberries will be a small harvest, but OK because it has been great for many years and we still have some from last year. The purple rose has made it and is blooming with 2 roses. I transplanted the 2 Chicago Hardy Figs we bought. One was put in the ground and we will put the compost barrel that sits on the ground right next to the fig so their roots can grow under the compost and be a little more protected during the winter and feed very well during the summer. The other fig tree we put in a container to bring in during the winter. We also have mulberry this year, I will pick and put them in our juicer for antioxidant drink. The cactuses are growing well they may bloom this year with this heat. The globe purple sticker flowers are doing well too by the house. We planted kalirabi and leeks starts. Also bought some peanut plants for fun and know they grow because my neighbor would feed the squirrels raw peanuts and the plants would come up all over the neighborhood . The broccoli has heads on them but not ready to pick yet. Some of the goldfish disappeared so the Heron must of stopped by. Cucumbers and beans are up , looks like some of the beans disappeared with the corn seeds. A few of the watermelon seeds have germinated so it has been a warm spring.The Tomato plants by the house are flowering an will have tomatoes soon.

June 12th

The garden is doing great we have harvested the heads of broccoli and they were great. The peaches are growing fast and the raspberries are numerous. The tomatoes plants by the house have tomatoes. I transplanted more of the tomatoes plants that I grew from seed many went in the raised bed. The kiefer pear tree has many pears not so much on the bartlett trees. The walnut trees have more nuts this year but is enough to have the squirrels leave us some which they take before they are ready. The butterfly garden is doing real well milkweed and Joe Pye Weed but no sign of the milkweed from the seeds I planted this spring. The rain garden also doing well. It has rained just enough and been warm enough to have a great growing season so far and the plum tree is at its limit of plums. The cherry trees should be first for some stone fruit. The Giant Sequoias are growing and also the fig trees. The rose bush is blooming and the sticker globe flowers are doing great and the cactus has taken off .Basically I have tomatoes plants all over and the fun is if we get good hot summer see the variety of tomatoes that we get.

June 19th

It's been a warm week and we got some rain too. The corn will be knee high by the 4th of July. The mulberries are ripening and I just eat them as they ripen. We ate the last of the broccoli heads so we will wait for the the little heads to grow back. Did some weeding and pruning trees. The goldfish are still there so maybe the Blue Heron chicks have fledged. It has been another warm week and everything is growing well plus some rain. The rose bush is in its peak. The first purple cone flowers have appeared in the rain garden. Plums and peaches are getting big. The goose berries are almost full size but not allot of them. Lots of lettuce yet with the consistent rain it hasn't bolted yet. All the evergreens grew hugely well once again idea conditions this spring. The white radish are really hot but good with salt. All the vine plants have started to vine out , it should be interesting what is produced considering I planted a wide range of types and allot to have some of the seeds get by the feasting of squirrels and chip monks.

June 26th

The summer is in full force the corn will be knee high at the the 4th of July. We are harvesting snow peas, kale, turnips, lettuce, radishes, onions, garlic, and another head of broccoli. The Tiger Lilies are blooming and the Black Eyed Susan's with a few more Purple Cone Flowers. It's the beginning of the show in the rain /rock garden. The plum tree is dropping allot of it's plums because the wasps have lay ed eggs in allot of the plums and the tree is shedding them. I have to rake them up and put them in the compost bin to heat them up to kill the larvae to stop the life cycle of the wasp for next year. The cherries are starting to be eaten by the birds before they are ripe . The Saturn peach tree has a few more peaches than last year. The Mulberries are good and I have a completion with the Robins I think they have the edge. I continue to plant tomatoes plant starts I grew from seed where ever there is a spot. If it stays hot this summer a good chance of great harvest of the tomatoes and fun part to see what the seeds produce. The Butterfly Garden is doing well , the Milkweed is doing well with the Joe Pye Weed. The Tomatoes plants by the house (south side) all have tomatoes and should have ripe one any day now.

July 3rd

We are almost in Drought conditions, we haven't had any rain in 3 weeks of any help. I have watered the plants and trees that can't deal with the stress easily. We have had a good crop of turnips and are cooking them and freezing them for winter, they go great with blended in mashed potatoes. We are eating the mulberries right off the tree and raspberries are ripening and they are great on ice cream. We are going to dig up the garlic, it is ready.The lettuce is starting to bolt in the garden but the lettuce in the planters under the peach tree should hold until we can make BLT's .The rain garden is doing great It is just starting to bloom. The condensation from our air conditioner goes to the sump pump where our sump empties into the rain garden. So even it is hot and dry the rain garden does get some water. The cactus loves this weather. Green onions are growing into bulbs so a little rain would help. The butterfly garden is doing well. The plums became a victim of the wasp laying eggs in the fruit so very few plums this year . We do have canned plums from our bumper crop year so we still will have plums to eat. The peaches love this weather so they growing fast. We have allot of green tomatoes . The nuts are falling off the trees or being tossed by the squirrels but they are not ready yet. We have cherries but just enough to eat. Corn is tasseling. The figs are doing well in this weather, Figs on both trees. The pears are growing they seem not to care what kind of weather. We have a good amount of snow peas and beans are starting to produce. We had to fill up the Goldfish pond for the first time in years because of the Drought. Sunflowers are doing great.

July 10th

The raspberries are doing well and great on ice cream. My wife comes home from work and heads for the raspberries. I like to eat the mulberries because every day there is more ripe ones that lasts for awhile like raspberries. Drying the garlic and got a few more turnips. The tomatoes are starting to turn . There has been little rain but the corn and tomatoes are doing good. Picked some more snow peas but are at their end. The beans are now starting to produce. The cherries were feeding the birds so far but we have frozen from years before. The nuts almost there the shell is hard but nut is still jelly like yet . Hopefully the squirrels won't sample so many we have no mature nuts like years before. We have blackberries not allot but a good start they are coming back from the hard winter 3years ago. The pears on the Bartlett are few but on the keifer pear large amount for canning. the plums are few left just enough to taste off the tree because the wasps laying eggs in most of the plums. I raked up the dropped to try to control next years out come. I put them inn the compost tumblers to kill off the larvae (heat) in the the plums. Green onions still growing yet. Getting secondary broccoli and going to tie up the cauliflower so the sun doesn't turn the head yellow brown color. The rock garden is blooming but not yet in the butterfly garden. The cactus is doing well, it loves it's new location southwest side next to the house.

July 17th

The ground is really dry a few drops of rain, it is getting really dry, cement hard. The good news is we had our first ripe tomatoes, had a second week of raspberries to eat, more broccoli secondary florets, some more radish and turnips, green beans starting to produce, a few more snow peas, mulberry tree still producing, few blackberries starting to ripen and some goose berries. The walnuts still too early, the squirrels continue to pick and test them, too bitter yet. We check the ones that fall to see where the stage in ripening. The rain garden is OK but it needs a little rain to put it full bloom.The butterfly garden is is in a still life painting until it rains. The corn has stopped growing needs some rain. You know its dry when the weeds in driveway cracks are dead, good time to pull them out. The cauliflower is shaded by the sunflowers so they are still growing and I tied them up to keep the head from turning yellow in the sun. We still have lettuce potted under the peach tree with no direct sun . The kale is doing well but the onions look to be dying back, soon to harvest. Peaches and pears seem to progressing normally. I will let the rest of the snow peas go to seed so I have seeds for next year. The parsnips from last year are going to seed so I will have seed to plant next year. The squash vines were doing good but the lack of rain has them in suspended animation. We have tomato plants all over yard but if we get no rain they will languish. I will water them to save them if need be, but rain is what they need. The lack of any rain has put much of the yard in to suspended animation. Had to fill the pond it had dropped down to half full.

July 24th

We had rain , couple inches, the garden came out of it's drought induced stupor. We had our first ripe tomatoes, purple cherokee. The corn is being eaten by a racoon probably even though not ready. The squirrels continue to test the nuts and they are close to being ready still bitter. The butterfly garden has been revived. The rock /rain garden has turned purple and yellow, great look. The purple globe stickers are blooming and are right in front of the front yard camera and fun to watch the bees buzz around for live streaming video. the raspberries are done good crop. The gooseberries are done a little crop. The gooseberries and rhubarb need to be moved this fall because there is not enough sun any more do to the evergreen trees love their spot and have grown tremendously but we love it because the wind break and privacy. The peaches are still doing really well. I spotted some cucumbers and we have 2 pumpkins growing in the raised bed. The sweet potatoes vines are doing excellent in a deep potted pot. The fig trees are growing fast . Lettuce has popped up from seed we spread over each fall and often grow in heat of early summer. We had a variety of beans. We have had some blackberries, few but oh so good. The onions are still growing so we will let them go and some of the potatoes have hung in there. It was 92 today and it is a hot summer with little rain so far.The cauliflower is still growing in the shade of the sunflowers with second harvests of broccoli florets.

July 31st

The drought continues so I harvested the onions and potatoes where their tops dried up. We had some beans and cauliflower to harvest too. There is a few blackberries yet hear and there. We are having tomatoes every other day, so they are producing. The corn is being eaten probably by a raccoon . It is not even close to ready but because of the drought food is sparse. The reason for all the nuts being taken by the squirrels is because our neighbors nut tree which is at least fifty years old, had a off year, no nuts so the squirrels are hard up for anything that looks good to eat including small undeveloped pears and peaches. The mulberries are almost done but it good to have those to eat right off the tree. Saved some of the beans for seed that got too close to mature seeds. The frogs have showed up at our pond , two so far, that is good indication that it is really dry. They sit by the solar light at the pond at nite and pick off the bugs. I rototilled the area where the onions and potatoes were so I can plant some lettuce, radish, spinach and onions for the fall. I pulled up some more turnips and parsnips and cooked them up and froze them for winter. The fig trees continue to grow well. The two pumpkins are growing well. We got five little cucumbers just after the rain , maybe some more coming. The milkweed came to life after the little rain last week and the rain/rock garden is almost at it's peak, purple, white, yellow and orange. The positive news the crabapples are being ignored. The cactus's are doing well.

Aug 7th

The drought continues, I dug up the rest of the onions and potatoes except the few still growing by the cabbage. We had our First BLT's with cherokee purple tomatoes and purple hue lettuce. The tomatoes are doing well in this heat, tomatoes every other day. The peaches are staying small waiting for some rain to grow. The butterfly garden is blooming full force and milkweed have pods now. The rain garden is just past peaking but still very impressive. The cactuses are doing great . The sunflowers have once again brought goldfinches. They are such a talented bird. The pond has another resident, a third frog has arrived. The new visitor, a pair of hummingbirds checking out the sunflowers as they are probably heading south. A harvest of a couple more cauliflower heads, beans, blackberries, radish, second growth broccoli florets and we picked enough beets to can a couple quarts of pickled beets. The kale is doing well and the lettuce is still OK in the shade. What has really done well is the grapes they are getting much bigger now. The nuts are all gone taken by the squirrels and they are taking pears and peaches that aren't close to being ripe. I opened up the compost barrel that I have had for years and not emptied for a year and got 6 wheel barrels compost. The pumpkins continue to grow.

Aug 14th

The drought continues, we had a few sprinkles but that was it. I pulled up all the corn stalks that where left ,the racoon ate most of the corn or tasted it before it was ready. I rototilled the area for re seeding for try of some fall vegees I will use the corn stalks for our Halloween display. We canned 2 quarts of pickled beets and tested the peaches, peeled and canning a pint. They will be ready this weekend for allot of them on the tree by the patio. We picked some more secondary broccoli florets, beans, radish, tomatoes, blackberries and last of gooseberries. Found another small cucumber. We had more BLT's. There is 7 plus frogs in our goldfish pond , it has a fountain which broadcasts the water but frogs can smell the water too. Possible rain this week but our weather forecasters are not known for their being right. The butterfly garden is doing well and also the rock/rain garden where as they are local plants they are used to midwest dry July and August.

Aug 21st

The rain finally came about 1 1\2 inches which will really help the peach tree which ripens later . We canned all the peaches off our Elberta peach tree and got 10 quarts of peaches. We kept a few to eat all week as they are fully ripe when we can them so they taste so much better than the store varieties. We also canned our first quart of tomatoes. The beans took off with the rain so we had beans, cauliflower and some more secondary broccoli florets. The grapes are starting to ripen so we just pull a couple bunches a day until they are all ripe then we juice them. The butterfly garden is doing well and the pods of the milkweed are full size. The Joe Pye Weed is almost done blooming and we have a few new milkweed plants. The tomatoes are producing good. the Magnolia is doing a second bloom after I put compost under it. The rain helped but is too late for some things. The beets started to grow again but the rutabagas went to seed. All the cabbage and kalirabi started to grow again. Also picked a pumpkin the vine died out. Another week of BLT's is a good week.

Aug. 28th

The rain has been coming and almost has brought it to where the garden has lost all its cracks . The peaches have starting growing again and probably be canned this weekend. The grapes were really good and have some left in the frig. The birds found them at the end there. The tomato variety is again fun to experience from last years seeds. So far plum red, plum yellow, yellow reg, yellow cherry orange shade yellow reg. red cherry, a variety of Cherokee purple, Reg red, dark brown red. Picked some more secondary broccoli florets, a cauliflower head and more beans. The spinach, snow peas, and lettuce is coming up on our second harvest. The pears stated to grow again too. Did some pruning of trees. The butterfly garden and the rock/rain garden have been revitalized. The two pumpkins where picked , not big but still a good addition to our fall and Halloween display. The frogs are still here so we need some more rain before they head back home. The goldfinches are daily since all the sunflowers are just past their peak . The crabapples are just about ready but I like them before they are ready and eat 2 or 3 each day.

Sept. 4th

We tasted the figs that we had on our Fig trees and they were good, not many the first year but really good. I canned 4 quarts of peaches , 2 quarts of pears and 2 pints of tomatoes. I picked the rest of the peaches and will can them after the holiday. Picked some more beans and broccoli florets and the last head of cauliflower. The frogs are still here as it is going to be hot all weekend. The tomatoes are producing well which always the best part of gardening so versatile. The butterfly garden has pods on the reg. milkweed and the swamp milkweed is just forming pods. The rock/rain garden is still going strong in this hot weather. Having a few crabapples each day, it brings me back as a kid sampling the neighbors crabapple tree. Did some more tree pruning. The snow peas I planted a couple of weeks ago are up and seem to be doing ok.

Sept 11th

We got some more rain and we canned 5 more quarts of peaches. We had some more beans and broccoli florets, plus the tomatoes continue to produce well. Also picked allot of the kiefer pears that I can reach without fruit picker and ladder and will can them this coming week. Did some more pruning of the trees. The cabbage has come back to life as the beets and kalirobi . There is still crabapples on the tree and eat a couple each day. The rain/ rock garden is fading fast as is the butterfly garden but the milkweed pods have not popped open yet. The frogs continue to stay at the pond but some have headed back home. the gold finches have still secondary sunflowers to eat yet but they have made fast work of the main flowers.

Sept 18th

We canned 5 quarts of pears and will go to the next level by use of ladder and fruit picker because our kiefer pear tree is about 35 ft tall and the big ones are high up and had another week of growth with a good rain. Picked some more beans and some broccoli florets and tomatoes. We got some good rain so the fall is not far behind. There is a couple frogs left so soon to be back home in their own pond. I had a few of crabapples just a few left. We also canned a quart of tomatoes. It is the year of the yellow tomato. Most of the tomatoes I grew from saved seed from last year are yellow . I don't label the seeds just plant allot of saved seeds and this year allot are yellow. I trimmed some more trees. With the rain the cold weather veggies are coming to life.

Sept. 25th

Canned 4 more quarts of pears with use of a ladder and fruit picker. There is a few more pears high up but with a good rain storm most will come down. The cold weather veggies are doing great with the good rain and cooler temps. Did some more pruning of the the trees. The tomatoes are still producing but not ripening very fast. The cherry tomatoes are still ripening . Composting most of the sunflowers they have run their course. Evergreens have enjoyed this regular rain. One frog sighting the rest went home. The last of the crabapples have fallen off just a few.

Oct 2nd

We canned almost all of the pears, 5 quarts . The pumpkin display has begun we do it big for Halloween so we got only 2 pumpkins, do to the drought so we will seek a big variety of pumpkins and squash for our display at our local corn maze. The rain came again and the cold weather crop is growing again like summer never happened. We have cabbage, beets, parsnips, broccoli, radish, kalirabi and rutabaga. The tomatoes plants are still producing but only ripening when it rains. The sweet potatoes vines are still growing so when Thanksgiving nears we will dig them up which is in 2 potted plant holders for our tomatoes on the south side of the house. The swamp milkweed went to seed so I collected the seed, still waiting on reg milkweed pods to crack open. Did some more pruning of the trees. Fall has arrived and I will put up the Green House we received from my wife's friend at work next week. The frogs have gone home to their pond and to hibernate.

Oct. 9th

Canned one more quart of pears and one more quart of tomatoes. The weather has been really good no sign of frost yet. We get rain regularly and the code veggies continue to grow. I pruned some more branches . had some more tomatoes with this good weather. Next week I will put up the green house my wife received from a friend from work. I am excited to have one. Saving some more swamp milkweed seed but waiting on the Reg. Milkweed pods to pop open. I spread some more purple globe sticker and purple cone flower seeds. The purple flower that is in rain /rock garden that blooms now is blooming and as of yet I I'm not sure what it is but is welcome since my wife's favorite color is purple. It might of been something we planted and forgot or it blew in. In the beginning we tossed a variety of seeds in the rain/rock garden and this may be one of them.

Oct 16th

Well I just finished putting together the Green House we received from a friend of my wife's from work, it is great . It is 8ft by 10ft greenhouse that fits perfectly on our side yard. I have a camera pointed at it so we can and you can see what is happening as we put tomato plants from this year to extend the season and in the spring I can start seeds and have starts for the spring with a huge range of seeds to try for the first time. I will put one of the fig trees in there too. This week still a nice fall week , we picked more broccoli florets , beans and tomatoes. The cold weather vegees still growing like beets, cabbage, kalirobi, broccoli, parsnips, radish, rutabaga, and some carrots. The sweet potato vines continue to grow in the potted container tomatoes on the south side of the house. A video of the greenhouse to be posted later.

Oct. 23rd

Put a bunch of the potted tomatoes plants in the greenhouse to see how far we can extend the season. The weather has been mild, the leaves on most trees are still on the trees. Picked a little more broccoli and beans . Still some tomatoes to pick, enough to keep my wife for her snacking on the small ones. The cold weather vegees love the cold nights. Had eaten two pears that had finally let go at the top of the kiefer pear tree. We have 8 big pumpkins in the front yard. The goldfish pond needs to be skimmed of leaves every other day. The fall and Halloween are a fun time. I am going to put a large face thermometer in the greenhouse facing the camera so I can see how well the greenhouse is slowing the season.

Oct 30th

It has been a warm week for lat Oct, and got allot of rain. We are still getting tomatoes from the garden potted on south side of house, raised bed and the greenhouse. The root vegees are doing good including rutabagas showing some size. Next week is going to be another warm week for first week of Nov. No frost yet so it is still a nice fall. Still allot of the trees have their leaves. Raked allot of them in the garden and when the the garden gets killed off I will mulch them with the lawn mower and if the soil gets dry enough this fall I will rototillthem in. The squirrels are trying eat through the pumpkins.

Nov 6th

The day was 70, warm for Nov. The green house got pretty warm, the tomatoes plants seem to be doing really good so far in the greenhouse. All the cold weather vegees are doing good , I picked some more tomatoes and broccoli florets. Mulched the leaves in the front yard into the lawn. Raked some more leaves into the garden but most of it is still growing so I pile where I can. Most of all the trees are dropping their leaves except the kiefer pear, it is always last to drop its leaves.

Nov. 13th

The weather is still a little cooler but still no frost so we still have tomatoes plants in the garden, in the raised bed, potted planters and in the green house. Picked a bunch of cherry and pear tomatoes most from the greenhouse. The cold weather garden is doing well as seen in the video my wife created . Most of the leaves have fallen and been mulched in to the the garden or into the lawn. The sweet potatoes vines are still alive and doing OK . Can't wait to see if they did well in planter on the south side of the house this summer. We will find out Thanksgiving week. We will have all the veggies we need for Thanksgiving like tomatoes, onions, turnips, parsnips, carrots, cabbage, beets, and broccoli. My wife already made some pumpkin pies, my favorite, she uses egg nog. Put a big face thermometer in the green house and today it got up to 70 degrees and 80% humidity.

Nov. 20th

The weather has changed and has killed off all the tomatoes plants in the raised bed and garden by the house and most of the greenhouse tomatoes plants. The temp. dropped to the low 20's at nite and for 2 days it barely got to freezing. The good news all the cold weather vegees bounced back so the garden continues. I picked all the green tomatoes and froze them and will use them in making enchiladas and burritos this winter.

Nov. 24th

The Thanksgiving dinner featured our tomatoes for salad, onions in the dressing on the ham, pickled beets, turnips in the mashed potatoes. The cold weather veggies continue to thrive and this weekend will be in the fifties.

Nov. 27th

We put up the christmas lights in the greenhouse with Frosty the snowman just out side . The greenhouse is on the side yard so it will like his ice house. It is a warmer day for Nov. so the cold weather crops are still growing. We have been lucky this fall for only one real winter blast so far. We will take out the goldfish out of the pond this week. The seed catalogues have been arriving regularly. We will for this year again dig up a spruce we bought small and is now Christmas tree size and have in the house for a week and replant it on Christmas day in it's new location. This has worked out well this is the second tree we will have grown up and relocated it with little cost .The original cost of $ 5.99 . All the leaves are down so they were mulched into the lawn. Check the video 2014 journal as we videoed the planting on Christmas Day.

Dec. 4th

My wife brought in kale to make chicken soup. We dug up the rest of the beets and made pickled beets, 4 half pints. Also brought in 3 big turnips to put in mashed potatoes. We will have to bring in most of the rest of the cold weather veggies this coming week because an Arctic blast is coming later this week. Also dug up some carrots that had been missed . Dug up the gooseberry bushes and relocated them around the garden. The four main bushes had sent out new bushes and now we have 10 bushes . The runners will take a couple of years to be full producers. They were moved because the spruce trees shaded them almost completely as they grew up. We also today got our first snow of the year and we did a video because it was that quiet wet snow that just makes everything gorgeous. It will be posted here as soon as possible.

This is the Video of first Winter Snow of the season It was Dec. 4th and it is worth seeing because of the beauty.

Dec 11,18 25th

The parsnips and turnips were mixed with mashed potato's, it makes mashed potatoes so much better. Got a first taste of the canned pears, not as sweet this year but good. Brought in the fig tree we put in a pot to see how they do as a house plant and the other as landscape fruit bush. We also had some pickled beets, very good, one of the home canned items always better than anything you buy. Hy wife ate the last of the tomatoes we had picked before the frost and also used a couple of quarts of tomatoes to make spqgetti sauce. I use the canned peppers and canned tomatoes for making burritoes. My wife made a couple more pumpkin pies from the pumpkin she got from the Jack O Lanterns. The tree we were to dig up for our Indoor Christmas tree was not to happen as we had a deep freeze that made impossible to get a small enough ball of soil to move which will be in the learning category as we have had few Decembers so cold to freeze the ground so fast so deep. But in the spring we will relocate it as it is already to go and we can make the ball smaller to move. Next year I will dig our next tree up in late Nov. instead and put in a rubbermaid tub and bring it a week before Christmas as usual. We bought a cut Christmas Tree and will mulch in the garden in the spring. The seed calologes contine to arrive can't wait to try out our new greenhouse to start seedsand get abigger variety of vegee plants to plant in the ground for agood start and varieties that are not grown around here at nurseries at all.


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