Summer time and the living is easy?

Reader Contribution by Nebraska Dave
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The weather outside is really nice here in Nebraska.  We are having upper 50s or lower 60s at night with lower to mid 80s during the day.  The rains have continued with regularity up until this week.  This will be the first week without rain if the predictions come true.  The gardens are growing gang busters and so are the weeds.  All about that in a minute.

I thought first of all in this post I’d talk about a couple tips for GRIT posting that I’ve been using for many months.  Some of you may have been wondering just how does old Nebraska Dave get those paragraph breaks in the comments?  When I write a comment, it’s written in my email application or you can use notebook. Any text editor will work.  When the comment is complete just copy and paste into the comment section of the post you are leaving a comment.  The paragraph break will paste into the comment section.

The next tip is about completing the post in one sitting.  Wouldn’t it be nice to be able to save the half written post and finish it another day?  Well, you can.  When pictures are uploaded into a post they stay on the website even if the post is lost.  Once again if a half written post is selected and copied from the HTML mode of the post into an email or any text editor it can be saved.  Then the next time the GRIT post application is opened up just copy it back into the GRIT post app in the HTML mode.  Switch back to the normal mode and every thing is back just the way it was when work on the post was stopped.  It works really well if a post can’t be finished in one day or a break is needed to attend to other needs.  Like right here.  I just took a couple days off from this post to help build an entry way flower bed which involved retaining wall blocks but more about that later as well.

Another thing that has happened to me that may have happened to you is having a post just disappear in the middle of writing it.  That every happen to you?  It mostly happened to me while I’m in the process of uploading a picture.  I’ve gotten in the habit of copying the HTML code over to my text editor before uploading any pictures.  So if it should happen to disappear, all I have to do is paste it back in the post generator and I’m back in business without any Oh (expletives) involved.

Now I understand that the blogging will change again for the better so this information may be outdated after July 12th.  We will have o see won’t we.

So that’s it.  A few GRIT blogging tips that have helped me eliminate anxiety in my blogging.  I hope they have been helpful. Happy blogging everyone.

The weather finally warmed up but the rains continued up until just this week.  This has been the first week that hasn’t had at least a couple days of rain.  It looks like this whole week might be a dry week.  The garden had to be planted muddy.  Seeds and planted were just poked into the mud.  They have really done well with all the rain that followed.  In my area we getting double the average rain fall.  Temperatures are unseasonably cool.  We are running upper 50s or lower 60s at night with day time temperatures in the lower 80s.  Not that I’m complaining mind you but it’s just not the normal for this time of the year.

When getting my garden ready this year I ran across this little clump of wild onions.  I wasn’t brave enough to try one as a sniff told me they would be probably have a really strong flavor.  I found a couple more clumps not too far away from this one.  Because of the rains, weeds have been doing really well and I’m so glad that I dumped all the mulch on the garden last fall.  It has worked wonderfully well with weed control.  The weeds that manage to sprout up through the deep mulch, pull out ever so easy.

 When I was cleaning up the raised beds at Terra Nova Gardens I came across this mother of all dandelions.  It was huge.  The wooden stake in the ground is a two foot stake and hammer on the ground is a standard size hammer.  It’s resting peacefully in the compost pile now.  As you can see by the messy beds and paths my garden is still a work in progress.  I expect it will take another couple years before I get all the fences built, bushes planted, and spring developed.

 I have written about this rose bush in other GRIT posts but I just have to mention how wonderful this rose bush is this year. It started life way back in the 1960s when the house was built. It resided right to the left of the front door in front of a big foundation bush. The foundation bush was removed and the rose bush was dug out. A few months later a sprout popped up right behind the green panel which was then a some what grass area that seemed to always be scarce on grass and other wise muddy. This area was dug out; the rose bush was again cut down; sand covered the area; and two inch thick plain patio blocks laid in the sand. The next year the rose bush once again popped up right in front of the green panel which at that time was the edge of the patio. For two years the little rose bush that wouldn’t die was cut off; mowed down; and dowsed in stump killer. It would get pretty sick but just wouldn’t die. The old very cheap patio was dug out and the poor man’s patio was built which once again covered up the rose bush after chopping it out. This time a retaining wall as built that had cement blocks buried a foot below the soil line. One year went by with no sign of the rose bush but the second year up popped a sprout outside the retaining wall which you see in the above picture. Another year of mowing off and spraying with brush killer came to no avail so I threw up my hands and said, “OK, I give up. If you want to live that bad, I’ll let you live.” This is three years down the road from that day. Each year the little rose bush that wouldn’t die kept getting stronger and stronger until this year it burst forth in bloom. It’s been a tough journey for this rose bush but I expect it will be here long after I’m gone. 

This is bed one and bed three of the sweet corn.  I’ve been trying different ways to plant the corn.  The first bed was planted through the 2X4 inch garden wire laying flat on the ground to prevent wild turkeys from scratching the seeds out of the ground and eating them.  It did indeed prevent the turkey from scratching out the seeds but it was a night mare weeding the corn through the wire. The second which is not shown here was planted in rows without wire 32 inches apart.  It has sprouted and grown and is much easier to weed. The 4X25 foot patch shown here had the mulch removed with the wire laid flat on the ground after the corn was planted.  It was much easier to plant and the plan is to be able to lift the wire up and put sides on the 4 foot wide wire to make a cage rather that having the wire on the ground flat.  I expect in the fall when clean up time comes the flat on the ground wire is going to present an issue with getting the corn stalks out of the wire.  I spent a full day cleaning up the weeds after this picture was taken so the garden looks much better now.  I just wanted another patch of corn planted before the planting window closed.  I really wanted two more 4X25 patches but realistically I don’t see that happening with the fence building so far behind.

Last year at this time I was almost picking the first tomato from the garden.  This year I celebrate the first bloom.  It looks like the first tomato this year will be the end of July at best or even into August.  Of course last year was a very different spring.  The temperatures were up in the 80s by the beginning of April and all the frost was out of the ground with most planting completed by the middle of April.  This year planted couldn’t even begin until the end of May.  Everything is about a month behind last year.  The plants are looking really good and hopefully we won’t slip into a flash drought again like last year.

This I’m calling “Project Flower Bed”.  Last fall a friend of mine bought a new house in a nice development.  She wasn’t exactly pleased with the landscaping of the front entrance to her house.  I told her we could fix that and a plan was hatched to beautify the entry to her house.  Winter passed and wet spring began.  The bush was pulled out and the rocks were hauled away before the rains of spring came upon us.  All the month of April and May and most of June the rains continued making working on the project impossible.  Finally the rain stopped and the sun dried the clay mud pit.  She convinced a contractor working on the house a couple houses away to chomp out a big bite of dirt to get us started.

This project was finished after two long days of hard work, four Advil, two Alieve, two gallons of water, two long muscle refreshing showers, and a day of rest.  My handiwork was the block walls.  My friend designed the project and placed the finishing touches with mulch and flowers.  It really turned out great and the way it’s anchored and glued together, it will outlast the both of us.

Well I better get this posted before it becomes a book.  I hope and pray all is going well in your garden.  Until next time drink lots of water when working in the heat.  Take frequent breaks and seek the shade as much as possible.

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