I am overdone right now. I am so completely out of spoons it isn’t even funny. It’s definitely summer in Texas.

Mr B and I got out in the garden Thursday and tag teamed the weeds and grass. He ran the weedeater while I crawled around pulling weeds and grass by hand in the places he couldn’t run the weedeater. Then we picked blackberries. Then I worked 10 hours yesterday, and it was stupid hot.

I have been handed a reminder that, no matter how normal I have felt since the antidepressants started working, my body still has limits; and that there is a very heavy price for pushing those limits.

Who knew?

I’ve been struggling to get flowers to grow around the edges of the vegetable garden to attract pollinators. I’ve planted seeds, sprouts, bulbs…. all to no avail.

However, the newest compost heap seems to get overrun with bees every time I dump a new supply of melons and fruits in it.

I would never have guessed it was that easy to attract pollinators to my garden.

final note: I wandered around the garden yesterday evening, and I’m seeing the effects of days without sufficient water. I’m going to have to get out there tomorrow and do some gardening to try and get the dead bits pruned out, and get some grass pulled up so it will quit choking my actual veggie plants to death. I’m going to need lots of sunscreen, a big floppy hat, and lots of water.

Mary Mary Quite Contrary

How does your garden grow?

Well, since you asked…

Thanks to working four days in a row this weekend, things got a little out of control. I have so much food to preserve, and nowhere to put it once I do. I’ve been making jam like mad to try and clear out some of the freezer space so that I can put vegetables in there.

I’ve also got the neighbors bringing me vegetables from their garden, and I’m having to come up with interesting ways to use those, since I am already running out of space to store food.

I suppose it’s better to have this problem than the opposite one of not enough food.

Weekly Progress Report: The Saturday Edition

I’m tired. It’s that time of year, when heat/pollen/dust all work together with my COPD and anemia to leave me really tired. I’ve been doing my best to power through it, and most days I do OK. Some days, I just stay my happy ass on the couch and allow myself the luxury of rest and healing (since my back and hip still haven’t healed from the great septic system debacle because I’m mostly on my own with the fucking garden).

Sunshine got a new compost heap containment fence put up. I took this week’s “backdoor fruit” and put it in there. Now we can let the original compost heap turn into compost so that we can use it in our garden next spring.

As soon as it quits raining, I’ll be using some of the leftover roll of fencing to make trellis for my new beans to cling to for support as they grow.

roll of wire fence for beans

I have beans and things sprouting up all over the place, and they are going to need some support.

We got the tomato plants tied to stakes so that they don’t die under the crushing weight of their fruits like my snap beans are trying to do because they had no support for so long.

staked tomatoes

Yes, I know. Our garden is growing in the middle of a field of grass. Mr B has been too preoccupied with moving dirt to create a place to build a shop, and hasn’t been back to the garden with a tractor since he created the extra rows where we planted beans. I’ve got enough on my plate with work, household chores, and preserving what DOES manage to grow in the middle of that field of grass; I can’t be everything all the time. Maybe after we get the house finished, Sunshine (and perhaps even Biff) can help more with the garden.

We are out of room in the freezers. Thank heaven Mr B’s mom has offered to trade us her large chest freezer for the small one she donated to us a few months ago. Now, if I could just get someone to take the small one to her and bring back the big one, I could get started on some serious reorganization of our already frozen vegetables and blackberries. The situation has gone well past the point of being dire, and is only going to be exacerbated by all of the fruit I’m going to freeze this week to make jelly or syrup or something. Eventually, I’ll be pulling the fruit back out of the freezer; until then, I get to teach myself to play an awesome game of tetris.

It’s been a busy week out here in the middle of buttfuck nowhere. And it looks to stay that way through Thanksgiving at least. I’ll eventually get it all figured out, or get some help, or something. Until then, I’ll do the best I can.


Food Security

I spent my day yesterday picking and preserving blackberries, zucchini, yellow squash, cucumbers, snap peas, and broccoli.I was shocked at how large some of the zucchini had gotten in just a couple of days since the last time I walked through the garden.

big ass zucchini

For reference, that’s an 8″ chef’s knife and a pair of size 8 wolverine shoes.

Today is shaping up much the same. Mr B and I went out to the berry patch this morning and picked a few more pounds of blackberries. Several sections of the patch have played out and gone dormant, so I’m guessing the whole thing is probably about to wind down. I’m in the process of freezing today’s haul right now.

I also went out to the garden and found a couple more yellow squash that needed to be harvested, some more broccoli to cut, and more snap peas to bring in.

This afternoon, I will be attempting to make some baked snap pea crisps.

I’m also rapidly approaching the point where I must actually make an attempt at learning to can food. We are running out of space in the chest freezers, and some of this stuff can’t really be frozen anyway.

So, as I process and store the fruit and vegetables I gathered today, I will be researching canning for dummies so that I can get Sunshine to take me shopping for supplies. I’ll also be digging briars out of my hands and arms. Those fuckers are little, and look like scabs from old briar wounds. Well, until they rub against something and dig in a little further. I may never get my hands and arms wound free.

I guess it’s just more proof that simple living isn’t that easy.

Three Hours

Somewhere along the way, Sunshine and Mr B got it into their heads that the goal for us all was to have a three hour workday.

As nice as it sounds, I don’t know that it’s a very attainable goal. There’s no way I could consider myself having a three hour workday, even if we took all the hours I worked in the last year and divided it by 365 (and this isn’t even taking into consideration the hours I worked at an actual job in the last year).

Today alone, I have:

  • spent two hours picking blackberries
  • spent around an hour in the garden harvesting squash and turnips
  • spent another hour and a half (and still counting) blanching and freezing squash
  • spent a bit of time freezing blackberries

Still on the agenda for today:

  • go back and help Sunshine and Biff pick the other half of the blackberry patch
  • clean up the mess I made blanching and freezing
  • finish freezing blackberries and squash
  • water the garden and the compost heap
  • empty the compost bucket into the compost heap
  • help cook dinner
  • and whatever else Sunshine comes up with to do

Now, during the winter (late December through early February), there might be some days that are delightfully idle, but I don’t know that they’ll make up for the activity packed days that go on from late February through almost Christmas.

I don’t know where Sunshine gets his ideas, but I think I’d rather not smoke whatever he was smoking when he came up with that three hour workday shit, because that’s just delusional.

final note: what’s the difference between illusions and delusions? Illusions are the ways I try to fool you. Delusions are the ways I try to fool myself.

Growing season

Growing season is fairly long here in Texas. We live under oppressive heat for much of the year, and our winters are relatively mild. Every few years, we see a hard freeze that lasts a few days, or an ice storm that shuts down the entire world.

Our climate means that things can be planted almost anytime and they will sprout and grow and make flowers and fruits and vegetables. We are in the midst of the vegetable gardening season, and we have things starting to produce all over the place.

Apparently, Mr B planted some corn. On top of the lateral lines for the septic system.

I have more itty bitty squashes and zucchinis.

I have teeny tiny tomatoes.

teeny tiny tomatoes

I have more cucumber plants that I didn’t know I had planted.

cucumber plants

I have unidentified things growing in little mounds. The mounds mean that they are not weeds, they’re something I deliberately planted.

And Mr B got out there on his big orange dirt mover and made me some rows for planting beans and peas, which Sunshine says he’ll help me plant when he gets home.

I’ve also done some research into how to do the four sisters companion planting thing the Native Americans have done for centuries, and will be having Sunshine help me plant corn, squash, beans, and Rocky Mountain Bee Plant for a fall garden.

I still don’t enjoy all this planting and harvesting and blanching and freezing; but I still find comfort in all of the repetition, so I guess I’ll keep being the one that does the majority of the gardening.