Thursday, August 31, 2006

Glad Colors!

In addition to plenty of delicious fresh veges, our vegetable garden has produced a wonderful crop of gladioli this summer...planted by my hubby. I picked the last 2 blooms today. But there's one more that hasn't opened yet.

Glads are so photogenic! And the colors are so amazingly vivid.

I found a dreaded Japanese beatle on this lovely white bloom.

Isn't nature amazing?....such gorgeous creations!

Each new bloom seemed more exquisite than the last. But they are all glorious!

Naturally, I took lots of photos, so I made a collage of some of them, to show you the array of colors.
There are more in the flower gardens, planted a bit later. Hopefully they'll bloom soon, and add some bright color to the fading summer blooms. Posted by Picasa

Monday, August 28, 2006

House Guest

We've had the pleasure of a house guest for the past several days. His name is Bailey, and he was born last year in our barn.
Sandy and Wes, who live next door, adopted him when he was quite small, and now he's grown a LOT and has developed into a very handsome cat under their loving care.

While Sandy and Wes went camping we kitty-sat. After they dropped him off, he immediately wanted to go outside and meet all those potential new friends he could see when he jumped up and hung from the spring on the screen door!

Surprisingly, he was an instant hit with our barn kitties. They're a friendly lot :) The kittens especially enjoyed him, except when he played a bit rough occasionally.
He had to be on a leash in case he decided to run away. It was trial and error before I found the right spot where he couldn't get tangled in the cosmos planted outside the back door, or break off pieces of the container plants on the back patio. The plants suffered a few casualties in the learning process, but nothing major.

His mother, Sheba, seemed particularly curious about him. I couldn't help but wonder if she somehow remembered him. She played with him a lot, which was rather unusual behavior for her. She's usually more sedate, and just a tad stand-offish.

Toby missed him when he was indoors, and would sit on the front porch railing, looking imploringly at the door as if to say, "Can Bailey come out and play?"

Bailey would sit by the door watching, and 'talking' all the while, as if asking to go out. He's quite a talker, like his mother, Sheba. They both make a pleasant little trilling sound.

I let him out quite often, but we had a rainy weekend and a cold Sunday, so he had to stay indoors some of the time.
He has extra toes on both his front and back feet. See how huge they are? Sheba just has the big front feet.

He amused himself (and us) quite well in the house, and didn't get up to too much mischief. One night however, while I was on the computer, I heard him playing on the staircase behind me. When I looked to see what he was up to, I found he'd ripped off a small piece of wallpaper and was batting it up and down the stairs...having the time of his life! I had been meaning to paste that corner of wallpaper down for several weeks....before the grandchildren's next visit. I thought it looked like a tempting thing to pull. Apparently Bailey thought so too.
That'll teach me to procrastinate!
I think it can be patched...

This afternoon Wes and Sandy came to take him home. He seemed pleased to see his 'people' again, but I think he'll really miss his new friends. I know they'll miss him too, but probably not as much as his substitute 'people'.
We enjoyed having a house cat again, if only for a little while, and got rather attached to the little guy :)

But right now it's dinner time...and that's the all-consuming thought at the moment, I'm pretty sure. I'd better get myself to the barn!Posted by Picasa

Thursday, August 24, 2006

Phenomenal Phlox continued!

Blogger decided that was enough photos for one post, but I'm here to tell it that I AM NOT finished! Other days I've let it have its way, but today I'm fighting back!

I spent way too long deciding which photos to post to let it boss me around today!

A clump of my original pink daylily found a home at the top of this garden. I either never knew the name, or lost it years ago. It looks exactly the same as Catherine Woodbury, so that's what I'm calling it from now on. Strange that I didn't notice the resemblance when I picked out CW at Hawthorn Hill Farm in July. Apparently I'm not very observant!

Dallas Star, one of the new lilies, is close by, amongst the gloriosas.

This was the first garden we dug when we moved into the farm house. The garden was much smaller to begin with....we keep expanding it over the years.
It has hundreds of daffodils blooming in the spring which I periodically dig up and divide.

And there's the little fence garden at the bottom of the driveway.
Now Blogger, I'm done, so you can go and bother someone else!
And I need to go out and do some work in those gardens because the sun is shining and it's a glorious day!
Hope you're all having a great day! Posted by Picasa

Phenomenal Phlox!

Phlox (paniculata) are one of the stars of the summer garden. They give us a nice long season of bloom.

There are three different colors in this garden, and more spread around in other gardens around the yard.

I love this pale pink with the red eye. It combines beautifully with the Cerise Queen Yarrow (achillea).

This Monarch butterfly apparently likes it too.

The red phlox is a wonderfully bright shade which really livens up the garden.

Malva (Mallow) and petunias are planted at the top of this garden, among other things, and gloriosa daisies are spread throughout.

This Black Swallowtail settled on the Mallow just long enough for me to snap a quick shot. I chased it for quite a while before it cooperated!

I prosaically call this the driveway garden, since I seem to lack the imagination to come up with a more interesting name :) Posted by Picasa

Saturday, August 19, 2006

The Fruits Of Labor

What could be more rewarding than enjoying the fruits of one's labor?
This is our first ripe tomato, picked on August 9th. I'm sure our Southern friends have been eating them for weeks and weeks now. They taste SO good!

We're enjoying delicious beans, both pole and bush types, as well as yellow summer squash, both red and green lettuce, mesclun mix, radishes, parsley. Cukes yet to come. Some things were a wash-out due to the early rains, and had to be replanted. Would you believe we have NO zucchini?!!! Well, we do have some small plants (finally) that have survived both too much rain, and too many bugs. Maybe we'll have some zucchini before a frost kills them! We're usually begging friends to take some from us, but this year others have shared theirs with us :)

Another view of the vegetable garden. The space in the forground has just been cleared of mesclun mix that had grown too big...and weeds, which had grown huge! They really got ahead of us with all the rain we had in June and July.

My hubby planted gladiolus in the vege garden. They had to grow really tall to escape the weeds! We're still working on the weed patch to the left. The flowers looked pretty, in spite of the weeds. I planted them as a seed mix last August.

This is the little back patio. The containers and window boxes have done very nicely this summer.

The front porch is looking colorful too. You can see here where Ross and Kylie finished off the porch with these beams overhead a few weeks ago. Now it all needs to be stained.

This is the side porch. I found that trellis at a craft show and have finally decided on a home for it. I planted my new Regency clematis by it. I'm really pleased with the way these window boxes have filled out. They each have one ivy geranium, 3 petunias, and some alyssum. There's also a white million bells plant in the two on each side of the steps. Oh, and a vinca vine in all.

The coneflowers are looking lovely. They certainly give us a long period of bloom, along with the gloriosas. Both are rudbeckias.
The dead oriental poppy foliage is not so attractive!
The bumble bees really love these flowers, and in the fall and winter the birds love to eat the seeds.

And finally, my hubby planted sunflowers amongst the sweet corn, to give the birds something to eat. They look pretty in the field. And we're enjoying a bit of sweet corn too!
It's pouring rain here today and has been a very gray day. We actually need the rain, believe it or not. It's amazing how quickly the ground dries out. I do hope the sun comes out again tomorrow though. One rainy day is enough! We've had a lovely sunny week, with mild temperatures....perfect weather for gardening.
Hope you all have a lovely weekend.Posted by Picasa

Wednesday, August 16, 2006

VBS - Fiesta!

It's Vacation Bible School (VBS) week at our church and we're having a Fiesta!

Our theme is Mexican.

Here are the four amigos who made the scenery and did the decorating (with a few other helping hands)....feeling (and acting) really silly in these HUGE hats :)

That's me with another helper who had to be coaxed into the picture...he's a character.

I'm a team leader and there are 5 kids in my group. There are several teams of mixed ages, each with a leader. There's also a team of preschoolers. Here we're off to do crafts (tonight we painted VBS 2006 T-shirts)....which follows the Bible lesson. This lesson is acted out each night by a "Bible character" (and sidekick) and is a fun way to "hear" the Bible stories.

Next we play games. All the activities tie in with the Bible lesson each reinforce the Bible point. These points are listed (well, a one-word reminder is listed) on the sign I'm standing next to up there....
Each team is making a blanket (just tying a fringe on a premade blanket actually). These will be sent, along with a Spanish pull-out found in the back of our workbooks...a little spanish version of our workbook. This contains our Bible stories for each night, plus activities. We also have a penny competitiion between the boys and the girls (boys are winning so far, thanks to a young man who brought a backpack loaded with pennies! And of course, he spilled them :) The money will be sent to Mexican children, along with the blankets and books.

Each night we watch a new episode of the adventures of a chipmunk named Chadder. He gets into some dangerous situations for a chipmunk, but always manages to triumph over evil, with a little help from his friends :)

We also have a life-size Chadder. Now that's one big chipmunk! The littlest kids are especially enthralled by him (who is actually a 'she').

We sing some really neat songs which really get us moving. We do actions and sign language along with the words. One of the best things about the opening and closing is we get to make lots of noise (at given moments). Whenever the song leader uses a Bible point in a sentence (e.g. Jesus is our friend) we have to throw up our arms and yell, "Viva!" It really keeps the kids listening because they LOVE to yell that out :) All in all, it's a fun week, enjoyed by children and adults alike. And hopefully we'll manage to plant a few seeds in little hearts.Posted by Picasa