I planted both wax beans and Royal Burgundy beans again this year - one packet of each. Then C planted another half row. As always, beans are (in the short term) the most productive veggie in our garden. Wax beans are also one of my very favourite summer treats. But the darned things must be picked every second day. I stagger picking them - wax one day, and burgundy the next. Over the past four days, I've picked four 6-quart baskets of each.
I've made four pints of dilled beans and started four more. And I've been sharing the wealth. I wish some of my neighbours would come and help themselves, but only one couple does. Yesterday I took a whole lot of stuff to the lady from whom we bought our farm. She's widowed and some of her grown kids tend to take advantage of her. She's always full of good cheer, though, and shares the veggies I give her with her kids, friends and neighbours. Apparently, she barters fresh veggies for the services of her hairdresser. I dropped some more beans off with her today before stopping at three other friends to share with them. The first couple wanted me to look at their garden and tell them why their beans weren't producing. They will be soon. They were just slow to get the seed into the ground. Then we had to chat about the pros and cons of planting earlier. The next stop was an old friend who has been ill. She was a bit lonely and apprehensive about her pending retirement from our local library after more than twenty years service. I'd have liked to spend more time with her, but I need to get more pickles put down and some housework done before heading up to see Mom Wednesday. My last stop was at the home of my very best friend. I love her dearly, but once we get talking, we never seem to stop. Fortunately for the state of my house, she wasn't home. I left some veggies with her husband and took my leave quickly.
After I finished picking beans this morning, I decided to pick a bouquet of flowers from my cutting bed. That was a bit tricky. There were a lot of honey bees plying their trade. I've been worried about the health of the bee population here. Their numbers have been declining steadily over the past few years. That's one of the many reasons we've chosen to garden organically. I'm hoping the large numbers gathering pollen this morning are indicative of a healthier hive somewhere in the vicinity. It was fascinating watching them crawl across the sunflowers a mile a minute, avoiding each other in the process. Another sign of a healthier environment is the large number of toads hopping around, but I haven't seen any frogs in our garden this year.
I'm not sure when I'll be writing my next blog entry. I'm taking my mother to the hospital to have a scope administered on Thursday. It's an out-patient procedure, but I'm not sure how hard it will be on her. I'll stay with her till she's comfortable being on her own again.
Behave yourselves in my absence and have fun in your gardens.
Well, I had a most satisfactory visit with my new physician yesterday. Having a doctor who's younger than my eldest child is a bit disconcerting, but she seems more than competent and is definitely a sweet-natured little thing. I probably could have bullied her out of ordering a mammogram, had I tried. I haven't endured that particularly nasty form of torture for a very long time and I'm certainly not looking forward to the procedure, but I guess it's for my own good. She also ordered some blood work which I don't mind, and prescribed a topical therapy for my poor old knees. It was expensive, but seems to provide some relief. Apparently, the effects get better with time. I hope so. I hobble around like a 90-year old.
I didn't get my planter potted up yesterday, so I did that this morning before I went to the farm. This is the first time I've started flowers from seed. Usually I buy strong, healthy annuals from local nurseries. Mine look pretty spindly. I'm sure they'll fill in quickly, but I'm an impatient old woman.
I tidied up my holding bed. I don't know how I managed to double plant one row, but I corrected that by moving some clumps of irises to a different area. Then I moved more volunteer sunflowers into a second row and planted more seeds. It's strange how one's tastes change. There was a time when I thought sunflowers were coarse, ugly plants. Now my only problems with them are (a) that I need big heavy vases complete with rocks in the bottom to ensure they don't topple over; and (b) that they drop pollen like crazy, leaving a yellow mess on my tables. But I love their cheerful faces enough to bring them inside on a regular basis. I plan to plant some more tomorrow. They're great for attracting bees early on, and blue jays later. I also planted a row of calendulas for cutting later on. What curious seeds!
Speaking of birds, I must comment on their particular dislike of me. Kindly old ME, who never does harm to any of them! We have tons of resident barn swallows. Now, I admire and value those voracious little supersonic flyers, ( Their aerial acrobatics are a sight to behold and each one eats about 850 mosquitoes per day.) but do they return my affection? NOT!! They dive-bomb me on a regular basis, and I KNOW that this chubby old body doesn't resemble a mosquito in the least! Barn swallows are not alone in their aversion for me. My mom feeds hummingbirds all summer. Whenever I visit, one of my chores is to refill and rehang the feeders. You'd think those miniature helicopters would be grateful, but no. They, too, reward my generosity by using my head for target practice, swooping up and away at the last possible moment. The blue jays sit atop my sunflowers in the fall and scold me mercilessly while gorging on the seeds. Surely, they ought to be grateful that I plant their feast. Only our robins seem to have any regard for me at all, and then only when I've turned the soil and they've grabbed a hapless worm or two.
After I played with my flower plants and seeds, I turned my attention to the veggie bed again and got a row of wax beans and a row of Royal Burgundy beans planted before heading home. There's frost in the forecast tonight. Can't the weatherman read the calendar? It's June, for heaven's sake! I'll have to be up before the crack of dawn tomorrow to spray down some of my tender plants.
Enough ranting and raving for one evening! Happy gardening, everyone.