Topsoil and Wind

14 04 2009

Today was topsoil day. Wonderful guy that he is, AJ hopped into the truck and went to pick up the soil. I set about getting Oasis2 ready to fill. I’m not crazy about the name “Oasis2”. Once it gets some personality I will have to come up with a better title. For now I will shorten it to “O2”. Hey, I kind of like that…

Oasis2-Beginning

The soil has arrived. Hmm, that doesn’t look like very much. I hope it’s enough.

Truckload-Soil

With the truck backed up and ready to unload, AJ sprung a change on me. He offered up two tires we had sitting around. I guess these are $250.oo tires with a little life on them, but nothing we can use anymore. So, at the last minute I tried to incorporate them. Now that it’s finished I know how I wish I would have configured it; but you know what they say about wishing…

Ready-to-fill

We got the truck close enough that we were able to walk the soil over by the shovel-full.

Oasis2Filling

Within 45 minutes the bed was full of this gorgeous, rich soil. There was exactly enough and not a scoop more. Sorry compost heap, I’ll have to go with plan B on that.

Oasis2-Filled

The shoveling went so fast because we were racing this weather system approaching from the West.

Ominous-Weather

The first band chased us inside right after we filled the bed. We waited for the big gap in the middle and then went back to work.

Radar

From back to front, left to right: cucumbers, lima beans, pole beans. watermelon,

broccoli, super giant productive cherry tomato plant, musk melons,

lettuce, carrots and more eggplant. Actually, I thinned out the lettuce from The Oasis and transplanted many of them throughout O2.

Oasis2-Planted

The weather co-operated and I was able to add the gravel mulch.

Finished-Oasis2

This super tomato is supposed to get up to 6′ tall and produce over 600 cherry tomatoes in its lifetime. It’s so small and cute now, but I know it will become a monster. I’m sure I’ll be sorry I planted it in the middle of the bed, but gardening is so much more exciting if you mix it up a bit!

I faced the dilemma of how to support the plant once it begins to take off. I looked around for something with which to fashion a tomato cage. I just hate those utilitarian metal ones. Bamboo…plenty of bamboo everywhere, but how to hold it together? Then I remembered something I learned from my best friend Kris’s mom, Karen. Karen owned a flower shop and was a talented florist and designer (still is, although she is now retired).

One day we were enlisted to collect grape vines. I had no idea why, but Kris and I had to cut and yank down a huge mass of the tangled tendrils from her grandmother’s fence. This was a grueling and painful task, and we were covered with cuts and scratches before it was done. Afterward, Karen showed us the fruits of our labor. She grabbed a handful of the feisty vines and skillfully wound them into a beautiful wreath. I was always impressed with the fact that both of Kris’s parents were entrepreneurs and so creative. The wreath idea popped into my head when I thought about the tomato cage, so I went out on the back lot and cut some grape vines.

Tomato-Cage

AJ helped me secure them. The whole thing looks a little crooked, and I will probably straighten a bit and eventually add another ring towards the top, once the plant grows up a bit. I really like it, though. It works perfectly.

Tomato-Cage-CU

I hope the big tomato plant in The Oasis inspires the cherry tomato. The big tomatoes are bulging out everywhere. If you look closely you will notice that one is starting to turn orange. I’m hoping that we will have vine ripe tomatoes within a week. I still feel guilty about dogging the flea market tomato plant when I first got it. I think these are “spite tomatoes”.

Big-Tomatoes

After we finished up the wind began to blow. It has been blowing steadily around 25mph all afternoon with gusts up to 45mph. The new plantings are really taking a hit. Now I wish I would have waited for this front to pass before subjecting these babies to the elements. Tomorrow I will survey the damage and see how everything fared.

Even as the wind howled, nature gave us a gift; the most brilliant, apocalyptic looking red sky in many moons.

Red-Sky

Glad that portion of the project is finished. There is still a lot to do. I must cut and install the bamboo fascia; and will likely run out before I’m done. But the plants are in, and if this wind ever lets up they should start growing fast.

Tomorrow is going to be an exciting day. I think I’ll make you wait to find out what is in the works, but I will give you a hint: There are chickens, worms, mushrooms, heirloom plants and tie-dyed shirts involved. Check back tomorrow evening for the lowdown.

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Saturday in Review – Spring is Springing

12 04 2009

Guess What This Is

These have been growing on my neighbor’s fence since we have lived here. Only yesterday did I realize they actually make fruit. I thought it was a mythical name, but they really do exist. If you know what it is, leave a comment. Otherwise, I’ll make you wait until it drops to the ground and I eat it.

Mystery-Fruit

AJ Builds Bamboo Wind Chimes

Add whittling to AJ’s list of skills. Today he carved up some of the green bamboo into what is sure to be the best looking and best sounding set of wind chimes in Brevard County.

AJ-Cutting-Chimes

AJ-cuts-chimes

Chimes-Cut

My Walk Around the Neighborhood

The weather was beautiful. We weren’t able to get the soil for Oasis2, so I used my energy to check out the neighborhood. Sadly, a few more people have leveled the sand dunes and destroyed the scrub habitat for their cookie cutter stucco houses; but there is still some natural land left.

Gopher Tortoise Butt

He was looking out when I approached, but got shy and showed me his butt when I went to take the photo.

Gopher-tortoise-butt

Prickly pear blooming

I accidentally broke down a neighboring cactus; so I brought it home to plant. Prickly pear fruit is so good.

Prickly-Pear-Bloom

Prickly-Pear

Deer Moss

This stuff is increasingly rare; but I know of a few patches where it still thrives.

Deer-Moss-Patch

Deer-Moss

Carpenter Bee

This guy was miffed about my invading his territory. He buzzed me for a long time; often hovering inches in front of my lens. Unfortunately I am not equipped for shooting fast moving insects.

Carpenter-Bee1

Carpenter-Bee2

Black Racer

Nature was bold today. I heard a rustling and looked over to see this snake emerge from the brush. It was preoccupied with its search for food and didn’t seem to notice me at all.

Black-Snake-2

In this shot the black racer was so close I could have reached out and grabbed it. Unfortunately, I was not equipped for photographing snakes either. Sorry for posting blurry shots.

Black-Snake-1

Back Home

Synchronized Cat Rolling

Llami and Smokey are on the same wavelength.

Cats-Sleep

Cats-Roll

Dinner From the Garden

The lettuce is finally growing. I know I should thin it out and let a few plants grow large, but I can’t bring myself to do it. Instead, I plucked the outer leaves from all three varieties (Bibb, Romaine and Oak Leaf).

Bibb-Lettuce

Lettuce

Not sure if AJ realizes he ate weeds for dinner; but I also put some Purslane in our salad.

Purslane

This is all you will hear from me for a couple of days, unless something spectacular happens. I have housework and work work to get done before the weekend is over.