Blackberries Galore!

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We’ve been enjoying these lucious beauties for most of the month of June and there are still more coming in now that we’ve turned the corner into July.  We originally started out with a number of blackberry plants, but have only this one good one that has established itself well.

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Every year this bush has gotten bigger and produced more berries.  This year’s harvest has been very abundant!  We planted four new bushes this spring to replace others that didn’t make it.  I hope that they will grow to rival this one in the years to come.  They are all planted along the pool fence, and I envision the whole back side of the fence being heavy laden with blackberries someday!

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We like to eat blackberries right off the bush while we’re out swimming.  We also have been keeping a big bowl of them in the refrigerator to snack on throughout the day.  And of course, I also used some to make my Grandmama’s Blackberry Cobbler for dessert one night – Yummy!

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I thought about canning some blackberry preserves, but we may eat them up before I get around to it.  I have always loved blackberries and am so happy to have them growing outside my back door!

Have a lovely day!

Blessings,

Nancy

Garden Plantings

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Storms are rolling through our area tonight, but I am thankful for the rain to water all of our little seeds planted in the gardens. I planted the seeds on Sunday, and thanks to the rains we’ve had the last few days, a few little plants are starting to peek through the soil already! I spotted some little radish and cucumber plants earlier this evening!

Here is a picture of our patio garden right after planting. Last month we planted the tomato and pepper plants, so they are already well established. Joining these plants (once they come up) are cucumbers, which will grow up the trellises, bush green beans, and radishes –

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There are already little tomatoes and peppers growing on some of the plants!

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Across the sidewalk from the patio garden is our herb garden. Already growing in this garden are Rosemary, Basil, and Lavender. In recent years the Rosemary that I planted some years back had grown into a giant bush, taking over most of the garden. Jeff cut it back quite a bit this spring, which gave us room to add some new plants. I planted some Oregano, Lemon Thyme, and Cilantro around the edges of the garden. Maimie was my garden helper for this section – she kept me company and was very curious about what I was up to –

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The big garden out in the yard is now planted with seeds, too, joining the onions that have been living out there since February. The square raised beds contain yellow squash, zucchini, onions, and okra. Some not so friendly fire ants have moved in and built a mansion in one of the boxes, so I planted the other half of the box with okra, and will figure out how to evict the residents as soon as possible. The long rectangular bed is completely planted with sugar snap peas –

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Here’s a picture of the peas before I covered them with soil. Not very straight lines, but I probably mind more than they do, and they will grow just as well if nobody tells them!

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The onions are doing rather nicely in their little bed –

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All around the edges of the big garden are little hills – about four per side. In these hills are planted watermelons, pie pumpkins, jack-be-little pumpkins, and orange and white large pumpkins – each to its own side. It will look so pretty when the vines are grown and are trailing around the inside of the fence this summer –

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Speaking of the fence, I love my old rustic garden fence! Although someday I’d love to have a permanent, more stable fence around this garden, I do love the look of this one – and it helps to keep the chickens out of the garden –

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While I was planting the big garden, David decided to plant a little pumpkin patch of his own. He used a small area of soil by the rose garden for his garden. He dug out four holes, filled them with garden soil, and planted jack-o-lantern pumpkins. He then filled up the watering can and gave them all a good soak. I was proud of my little gardener! Here is his plot –

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Our forecast is for showers into the early part of next week, which should really help get the gardens off to a good start. I’ll probably be outside checking on my little seeds every day, eagerly anticipating all the little green shoots coming up out of the soil.

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Are you planting a garden this year? I’d love to hear what you’ve got coming up too!

Blessings,
Nancy

Porch Weather

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Porch weather is upon us again, and I am trying to make full use of it before the heat of our Texas summer arrives and I’m driven back indoors!

As I sit on my front porch, I can hear various different birds singing their spring songs, and the wind blowing through the trees, who are becoming more and more green every day. Someone down the lane is building something. . . I hear the tap…tap…tapping of a hammer. Possibly our next door neighbor preparing a new pen for their growing flock of chickens, ducks, and bunnies. We have a chicken project to begin soon, too! – cleaning out Jack’s old pen and setting it up for the chickens we plan to start raising this spring.

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Our irises are blooming off of the left side of the porch, and many of the rose bushes in the rose garden are showing colorful flowers as well.

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I purchased these new perennials last weekend to plant here by the right side of the porch, joining the daisy that already lives there. Hopefully, they will come back each year and bless us with their beauty.

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Jeff planted some lovely Petunias and Impatiens in pots on the front porch. The pretty pink Impatiens are right next to me on the table between the rockers. I really love them!

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There are bags of soil, compost, and peat moss piled up by the driveway, waiting to be mixed and poured into the new raised beds in the big garden in the side yard. I will post pictures of this year’s gardens in a forthcoming post.

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The temperature here today is 82 degrees. We are expecting rain in a day or so and a drop in temperature to the 60’s. Porch weather at it’s finest!

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I hope you can get outside and spend some time enjoying spring in your neck of the woods!

Blessings,
Nancy

Our Lovely Rose Garden

The roses are in full bloom right now in the rose garden. I am enjoying their beauty as well as their lovely aroma. As I sit on the porch, I can smell their sweet smell and it is truly a blessing. I think that there are more blooms this year than ever, but maybe I say that every year? No matter, I am, as usual, bowled over by the sheer blessing of this rose garden, planted by the previous owners of our house – and ultimately a gift from the Lord. Here are a few pictures that I took the other day as I wandered around in the roses.

My Mom brought us a beautiful Knock Out Rose bush on Easter this year, which we have planted in front of the front porch, where we can see it from the rockers. It should grow into a nice size bush and bring me joy for years to come – thank you Mom!

One of my favorite things about having a rose garden is when my children bring me roses like Anna did on this day ~

Have a lovely evening!

Blessings,
Nancy

Pretty flowers around the yard ~

I took a stroll around the yard with my camera and snapped a few flower pictures. The rose garden is in full bloom and looks and smells wonderful! These roses were all planted by the original owners of our house, and they are such a blessing to me. Here is a small sampling ~

We have planted various annuals around the yard as well – pretty Vinca on the front porch ~

Pink Impatiens on the table between the rockers on the porch ~

Another on the porch rail ~

A mixture of pretty flowers in a pot right outside the porch rail ~

I planted this assortment in the ground by another section of porch rail ~

In the herb garden there are a few little flowers planted amongst the herbs ~

Although gone now, Sarah took some beautiful pictures of the Irises when they were in bloom a few weeks ago ~

And the bush outside the kitchen window (I really need to learn it’s name!) that is all bloomed out now, but has kept my dish washing view lovely up until recently – not to mention the joy of watching all of the butterflies that were attracted to it ~

Jeff planted bright pink geraniums in the hanging baskets around the porch this year ~

David just brought me this pretty pink rose from the garden – it is resting on my journal until I take it in and put it in water on the kitchen windowsill – such a blessing ~

Have a wonderful day!

Blessings,
Nancy

Harvesting Blackberries!

Our blackberry bushes are producing enough blackberries this year to be worth it all! This is our fourth year of investment – the first year, everything died – the second year they survived, but produced nothing (expected) – the third year (last year) they gave us a handful of berries (also expected) – this year they have finally started really producing.

We have been out several times “pickin’ berries” this month ~ the kids love to pick berries and it goes much faster with their help.

Most of the berries we pick end up in the refrigerator to be eaten at whim, but I also made a blackberry cobbler one night with our fresh picked berries. I used my grandmother’s recipe, which I will share with you in another post. Next year I hope to have enough berries to eat, cook with, and freeze for the winter. I’m hoping to make some blackberry preserves, too – this year or next.

Blessings,
Nancy

Okra Fresh From the Garden

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Our okra plants have really taken off this year. They have always been a good crop for us, but have done especially well this year. Maybe it’s that dose of fertilizer that Jeff gave them a little while back ~ or maybe it’s the “organic” fertilizer left by the two barn cats who, for awhile there, were using this garden plot as their litter box. No matter what the cause, these plants have gotten huge and are producing okra for cutting daily.

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Here is what I do with them once cut. They usually gather on the kitchen counter for a few days until I get around to slicing them. Then I get out my cutting board and knife and start slicing.

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Now, I only cook okra one way around here, and that’s fried ~ I do not care for the stringy mess that comes from the other ways of cooking it, but fried okra? – well, I grew up on that. Remember I do live in the South. So, during the summer, I keep a Ziploc freezer bag (gallon size) in my freezer, in which I have placed a mixture of corn meal and flour (no measuring here, just mix some together). As I slice the okra every few days or so, I place the slices in the freezer bag and shake it all up to coat it well.

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I then place the bag back in the freezer until next time. As the bag fills up, I have ready-to-go okra waiting for me to fry up with a meal ~ especially good with fried chicken and mashed potatoes or corn on the cob (don’t ask me how our corn crop went this year 😦 ).

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Blessings,
Nancy