I've actually got three updates!
First: My blue jay has been free for a week now, but he is spoiled rotten and so funny. I am still his mother and even though he is free, he follows me to the chicken house and wherever I go outside - and he still wants me to feed him. This morning when I was in the garden picking beans, I knew he was in one of the trees close-by because we "talk" to each other. But I guess he got tired of waiting for me to go back up to the cabin to feed him because he flew down onto the bean tower right next to my hand and opened his mouth, flapped his wings and demanded food! Well, I didn't have any of his favorites (scrambled eggs and strawberries), so I grabbed a ripe tomato and picked it apart and he ate that. When I walked back up to the cabin, he followed and then wanted a "real" meal. What a spoiled brat! When will he become independent? Probably when I stop feeding him! Here are two pictures of me feeding him that Mike took, while he was still in the cage part time and in the "feeding tree":
Second update: My garden is producing a lot of tomatoes, beans, okra, peppers and the eggplants are just kicking into gear. My zucchini and cucumbers are history. Bah! Oh well, I really have my hands full with all the other veggies and so far have either been eating or freezing them. My kitchen has been taken over by tomatoes! The super ripe ones are in the fridge until I can process them and the ripening ones are sitting on all windowsills and empty spots. If I let them get ripen in the garden, a creature will eat them, though I've not lost too many. I've not canned anything because I like the taste of frozen produce better and Mike has several generators if by some chance the power goes off here for any length of time. So I'm going to cook down some sauce and freeze it and maybe freeze some cut up tomatoes too. Some of my heirlooms this year are honkin' big!
Here is the biggest one so far, one of my purple heirlooms, still ripening. Not only are they big, they are sooooo good. I eat 'em like apples, though they can be a little messy - and one this big would be too much!
I have discovered a new nasty bug on my beans though - the kudzu bug that is invading the southeast US. Heaven help me; these guys are nasty. I guess I'd better keep up the neem spraying.
Here are some bean pictures, beginning with a view into a bean tunnel and seeing the purple pod beans hanging down. It makes the ones up high so easy to pick.
And a close-up of the beans themselves since they are so pretty.
The purple pods turn green when you cook them though.
Here was my kitchen a few hours ago... tomatoes getting washed in the sink and the others waiting their turn. They are organically grown, but I rinse them to get rid of any bugs hanging on and all the diatomaceous earth off. This was from this morning's picking. I have a lot of peppers, but let some ripen up more on the plants so I have time to process the ones I've already picked. The red ones are ceyenne peppers.
And here the tomatoes are out drying and the rest are in the sink for a rinse.
Anyone want some tomatoes?
Here are a few garden related pictures, starting with my white epplant... that looks like a chicken egg at this stage.
Below shows my sunflower plants getting close to blooming in front of the bean tunnels, with the garden in the background. The pile of stuff in the foreground is all the wood shavings and chicken poo we took out of the chicken coop a few weeks ago when we cleaned it out.
My pepper plants are the only veggie that hasn't had bug or other issues.
1. Mike and I want more money to do more things! We also want to move his shop closer to Atlanta where more "normal" people live and that will be an expensive move. I won't go into too much detail, but trust me when I say that the people here in this small town are very... odd (I am being charitable here). A large portion of them are on food stamps, medicaid and some sort of welfare (I know that's all old terminology, but I can't remember the new names for those services) and yet they all hate that "socialist" Obama. And they are very open about why they hate him... because he's black (only that is not the word they use). Mike hears it almost daily at his shop. These people are not disabled or old; they are LAZY. When Mike called to see how difficult it is to get food stamps and other programs - just out of curiosity, the person on the phone said it was super easy and they don't even check the information you give them! I like having a safely net for people who really need assistance, but I don't like seeing it abused like it is here. So... Mike would much prefer to do business where people have more drive and ambition - and money - among other things. The people here seem to think he should do work for them for free; it's mind boggling.
2. If the company move is successful closer to town, we are even talking about moving ourselves as well. While we love our little cabin and view of the mountains and acreage, we seriously don't like the backwards thinking around here. It feels very oppressive and we both feel way out of place. But that is way up in the air right now.
3. I'm ready to get out and about again. Even though I am in introvert and like some alone time, I've had way too much of it here and would like to be around other people a bit more - and dress up and look pretty again. And, I tell ya, working at a desk will seem like a vacation after battling with so many garden issues this year. And I won't mind not having bug bites all over my arms either! I can put some of my other talents back to work and interact with normal people (as opposed to the racist ones who live here in Dogpatch) and use my brain in different ways. I will miss interacting with the chickens and kitties during the day, but I'm actually looking forward to getting into a schedule again and not always be wearing work jeans, t-shirts and no makeup. The company is closer than the one I retired from, but it's not far from Atlanta and the people there have teeth and appear to have aspirations and are working hard to achieve something in their lives. So unlike here. I start on Monday!
In the meantime, I am trying to get the little blue jay to eat on his own by leaving food in a bowl that hangs from the tree where he usually eats since I won't be here during the days soon. Sometimes I see him eating out of it, so I know he can; he'd just rather sit back and be fed.
So that's what's going on here. I will try to respond to comments and emails before the weekend is over so don't give up on me. But for now I must go process a whole slew of tomatoes before they rot in my kitchen!