Grit Blogs > Adventures of Old Nebraska Dave

Last Garden Harvest and Working on the Patio

A photo of Nebraska DaveHi everyone. Thanksgiving is upon us and for me it's 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 the recent event, I reflect 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 this year?

Last of the harvest  

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 pepper 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 after freezes  

Here's the 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.Mesclun Salad Mix  

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)

Applying the adhesive  

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 block was 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.

Everyone, have a great Thanksgiving and we will talk again after I recover from being stuffed. We going to the Red Lobster this year. It's not quite a turkey but maybe they will stuff a flounder or a crab for me. :0)

mary carton
11/27/2011 5:42:15 PM

Dave, my Uncle, his family & Grandmother came from Chicago to visit when we were kids. My cousin, a month younger than I, went out to the milk barn to watch the cows being milked. He came back in and asked his Mother if that was where his milk came from also. They had trouble getting him to drink milk after that. That was over 50 yrs ago, so the citified started a while back.

nebraska dave
11/26/2011 9:26:26 AM

Mary, I have lived in the big city of St. Louis for about seven years. I moved back to the biggest city in Nebraska but nothing like St. Louis and promised myself never to move away from here again. This is home to me. Although the metropolitan city has about 500,000 people most still have the midwest farm mentality. Of course the younger generation (30 and below) has lost quite a bit of that. It's a sad thing to see the kids become citified and know nothing about where food comes from. My grandson wanted to know from what part of the chicken does nuggets come from. :0( He didn't even know that a french fry was made from a potato. He turned seven last October and I hope to get him out in the garden this next year to get an education about plants and growing food. The way this world is headed it just might be of value to him in the future. Since he likes corn on the cob, I'll let him plant and watch the corn grow. Then the harvest and eating will mean a lot more to him. Don't you think? I'm glad to hear that family and friends have rallied around you while you recover from your knee surgery. I hope that your recovery is quick and without any complications. I hope you had a great Thanksgiving and a wonderful weekend.

mary carton
11/25/2011 11:01:13 PM

Chuck after visiting my Grandmother & Uncles in Chicago, I knew I didn't want to live & work in the city when I graduated from Auburn. I've been offered some good paying jobs at hospital labs, but I live in a great area in NW Alabama and even though I live in the country on part of what use to be the family dairy farm, it's only 5 minutes from town. The cost of living is low & the hospital I work at offers cardiac surgery & neurosurgery. Our open heart surgery is rated one of the best in the state. We have a great musical heritage in the area and there is always something going on musically or some type of theater. You go into one of the Mom & Pop grocery stores for a gallon of milk and spend an hour talking to people you know. I don't take that for granted. You tend to fuss after the work you put into a garden doesn't yield veggies, but I did get corn, tomatoes and cucumbers. I’m thankful for my family, wonderful friends, great co-workers who even my Mom considers family. I had knee surgery last week, & I haven't lacked for a meal. My 3 hooligans are thankful they have a good home on three acres with all the mice, birds, bumblebees and rabbits to chase. They are thankful their lives are now free of the abuse of the past, except when I yell at them to stop digging up a tree after mice.

nebraska dave
11/25/2011 9:26:02 PM

Sheryl, my consensus is the same as yours. Most of the folks that responded to that question had family and friends some where in the answer. It sounds like you had a house full of folks with a table full of food. I am also very thankful that the good Lord forgives my goofs as well. Wow, grandchildren doing dishes? You truly are a blessed woman. I don't do Black Friday. I know there are extreme deals that can be had but it's usually stuff that I don't need and that most of those out there don't need either just want. I am so past wanting more stuff. Thank you for your thoughts and I know from losing a spouse 10 years ago that time smoothes over the hurts and the memories eventually start bringing smiles instead of sadness. Thanks for leaving a comment and I'm glad you had a great Thanksgiving. May you have many more just like this one.

11/25/2011 7:32:37 PM

I look forward to seeing your latest post & hear about your projects. You asked what we are thankful for, so here's my news: Our oldest son, his wife and their 3 children, my mom and one of my brothers came for Thanksgiving this year. As we sat down to eat, I asked everyone to tell at least one thing they were thankful for over this past year. Everyone said "family" and then added more. There were good comments from the ages of 11 through 87, then my husband said the grace. Personally, I'm most thankful that the Lord forgives me when I goof, that He stayed His hand on my 87 year old mother this past summer and early fall (was a rough time for her) and for all the rest of my family. We enjoyed turkey, homemade dressing and noodles along with homemade hot rolls, mashed potatoes, sweet potatoes, green bean casserole, relish plate, deviled eggs, cranberries, pecan, pumpkin and apple pies. My grandchildren even did the dishes. The son and his 11 yr. old went deer hunting, got a nice 8 pt, put Mom in the truck and took her up to the barn for viewing the deer, then warmed up leftovers and more eating. A wonderful and blessed day. All this madness I see on the news tonight over the Black Friday incidents across our nation could be disillusioning, but there still remains a lot of good-have to focus. You remain in my thoughts as the healing process continues, and especially at this time of year. I lost my dad on December 13-it takes time. God bless.

nebraska dave
11/23/2011 11:28:09 PM

Allan, it sure is aggravating when the designs and patterns change on building materials. It's like the manufactures force a person buy up more than needed material just in case it can't be found again. Luckily I didn't have much of the wall built before I realized the problem. The old discontinued blocks won't go to waste which is my main concern. How did you resolve your block dilemma? Have a great Thanksgiving day.

joshua barmore
11/23/2011 11:51:21 AM

Always going to grow something. Just about to start picking Butternut Squash and have turnup greens going wild like your salad! LOL

allan douglas
11/23/2011 10:11:40 AM

Looks like fun! LOL I went through that matching-blocks-discontinued thing once with a retaining wall for my Mom. We went as far as the budget would stretch, then when more finds were available we went back only to find the the blocks we needed were no longer available. Best of luck on your project and Happy Thanksgiving!

nebraska dave
11/23/2011 10:01:52 AM

Josh, Thank you for being a faithful reader of my blog posting on the GRIT Website. I'm glad that you are enjoying the adventures that happen around the Urban Ranch. Now that you have been brave enough to post a comment feel free to continue to comment about what your thoughts are on what I've posted. I am so glad to hear about your daughter's successful surgery. Health really is everything. Isn't it? Without health life can really be stressful. I'm so glad that your family is now experiencing good health. The Bayou state is one of my favorite states for food and friendly country people. Have a great day. P.S. Do you plan on a garden next year?

nebraska dave
11/23/2011 9:53:14 AM

Cindy, I've gone past seven a month ago on the mesclun salad mix. It's kind of a macho thing to eat a tough weed looking salad. :0) I would not have believed it a couple months ago, that's for sure. It's really not all that bad once I got past the look of it. This whole experimental fall garden thing was purely by accident. I thought I was planting the well know Simpson yellow leaf lettuce. Little did I know that I would be on a gardening adventure. It turned out pretty good after all. I still wouldn't pay $10 for a mesclun salad mix salad though. Of course I suppose everything in Chicago costs more than my smaller midwest town. Bradley and his mom are going to the see the Muppet movie while I on the other hand have to head down town to the government office to pay the bill for the city repair of the sidewalk in front of my house. It just doesn't seem fair that it belongs to the city but the home owner has to pay to have it repaired. Oh, well, I just had the "life isn't fair" talk with my daughter again this morning. Have a great Thanksgiving Eve Day.

joshua barmore
11/23/2011 9:14:25 AM

I have been reading your post about the urban ranch for awhile now. I can truly say I have enjoyed everyone of them and read most of them more than once. I have decide to finally start commenting on peoples blogs, to show that there are still positive people in the world. Nebraska Dave, I am thankful the Awesome Lord brought my 1 year old girl through heart surgery in September and she is doing GREAT! She was 16 months old when she had surgery done and will never know it happen, until we tell her. So, I am super thankful for the health of my kids and family this year. I am Blessed Beyond Measure. Happy Thanksgiving from the Bayou State.

cindy murphy
11/23/2011 8:11:38 AM

Dave, I think I've mentioned it in a comment on another post of yours, but your Mesclun experiment really does crack me up. It must be the Mom in me; I just told Shannon (or maybe it was Shelby) the other day, that it's a scientific fact that at takes at least 7 times for a person's tastebuds to adapt to new foods. Maybe that's a scientific fact I just made up, but it sounds good in an "eat it; it's good for you, and if you try it, you'll grow to like it" kind of way. If I would have said to you the same thing about the Mesclun mix a couple of months ago, would you have believed me? (I should probably have the kids read your posts as proof that they'll grow to like certain foods if they just give them a try.) Cool thing about growing your own foods, I think, is that you tend to eat things you'd normally pass by in the store or farm market...and discover that you actually like them. Happy Thanksgiving to you and your family.

nebraska dave
11/22/2011 11:23:03 PM

Chuck, having been raised and lived most of my life in the midwest, I forget sometimes that even if we don't live in the country gardens can be grown. My five raised garden beds produce a lot of vegetables and are just a few steps out the back door. It's hard for me to imagine that some folks in large cities don't have that capability. My life has been exposed to hundreds of acres of tillable land. I definitely hope that you will have a place to grow your own food someday. Thanks for stopping by and leaving a comment. Have a great Thanksgiving.

nebraska dave
11/22/2011 11:22:34 PM

Mary, I am sorry to hear about the lack of green peppers this year. If it hadn't been for the last month before the freezing weather, I wouldn't have had any either. It seemed like the peppers produced a whole season of peppers in one month. I was giving them away by the sack full. That mesclun salad mix doesn't look too pretty but it actually tastes pretty good for a late salad. I can't believe it's still alive and doing fairly well. I think a couple more temperatures down in the teens and it will finally be finished. I going to enjoy it while I can. Have a great day remembering this year's garden. Or not :0)

nebraska dave
11/22/2011 11:22:12 PM

Mary, I am sorry to hear about the lack of green peppers this year. If it hadn't been for the last month before the freezing weather, I wouldn't have had any either. It seemed like the peppers produced a whole season of peppers in one month. I was giving them away by the sack full. That mesclun salad mix doesn't look too pretty but it actually tastes pretty good for a late salad. I can't believe it's still alive and doing fairly well. I think a couple more temperatures down in the teens and it will finally be finished. I going to enjoy it while I can. Have a great day remembering this year's garden. Or not :0)

nebraska dave
11/22/2011 11:16:06 PM

Mary, I am sorry to hear about the lack of green peppers this year. If it hadn't been for the last month before the freezing weather, I wouldn't have had any either. It seemed like the peppers produced a whole season of peppers in one month. I was giving them away by the sack full. That mesclun salad mix doesn't look too pretty but it actually tastes pretty good for a late salad. I can't believe it's still alive and doing fairly well. I think a couple more temperatures down in the teens and it will finally be finished. I going to enjoy it while I can. Have a great day remembering this year's garden. Or not :0)

chuck mallory
11/22/2011 9:48:50 PM

I'm being real when I say that. I always think it's kind of amusing when people in rural areas say how "bad" their garden is, because the truth is, people in the city pay big money (like Chicago) for vegetable "treats" that you can harvest every day. I can't wait for the day when I have a rural place and a garden because I will know that bounty is an expensive feast in Chicago! Even if it's "meager" to you now! I'm certainly jealous of your green peppers...

mary carton
11/22/2011 9:39:53 PM

Dave my peppers really started putting on about the time the frost hit, so in other words, I didn't have any. One of those greens look like one of those sticky tall weeds we have around here. Happy Thanksgiving

nebraska dave
11/22/2011 4:54:40 PM

MW, yes it is good to be well. I like your turkey sign. After the 19 degrees, the Mesclun is still alive but just barely. It still will make a good salad but it's really starting to show the wear of cold weather freezing. Now I'm really interested in just how cold does it have to be to kill Mesclun. I suspect with a little protection this stuff would be a great candidate to extend the growing season. Thank you for your kind words and always leaving a comment. The world is big, grand, and glorious but some times it just throws out some lemons. You know what is said about getting handed lemons. From reading your blog posts I think you have made some great lemonade over the last couple years. Be blessed my friend.

mountain woman
11/22/2011 12:34:38 PM

Dave, so glad to read all is well with your soul. That's more important than anything. Also this turkey loving person is glad you are going to Red Lobster. I have a sign on my gate that says "Turkey With Attitude; Eat More Beef" but seafood is great too :-) I'm envious of your late growing garden and the fact you still got a harvest. Loved the picture of your mesclun salad greenery. As to being thankful, I'm thankful for your friendship and really thankful for everything. It's a big, grand, glorious world and I'm thrilled to be a part of it. Thank you for a most wonderful post.