Tag: tomatoes (Page 1 of 3)

Weekly Overview May 3 2016

backyard tomatoes



Outside My Window… My tomatoes are doing great!  The one plant on the left has several tomatoes already set.  Last year we had so much rain, I wasn’t able to plant tomatoes until June and then it turned hot!  I’m hopeful that we’ll have some ripe tomatoes this year before the summer heat stunts the plants.





I am thinking… how much fun it is to use my new-to-me computer and new desk setup.  The computer is lightning fast, the graphics are great, and I now have shelves for my monitors and a raised shelf for my keyboard & mouse.  No more boxes!  I will post a picture later in the week.

I am thankful for… Earbuds & Spotify.  Bill is working from home today and works seems to consist of several conference calls.  He sometimes uses headphones, but he’s not today.

From the kitchen… A mug of hot Sweet & Spicy Tea.  It’s chilly outside today (& inside – I don’t want to turn the heat on!) and so a warm mug of tea seemed necessary.

I am wearing … Blue sketchers, blue jeans, a blue pullover, and a teal cardigan.

I am hoping… that it warms up enough and I get my work done inside so I can go out and play in my gardens.

I am reading… a couple of books.  A Cold Day for Murder by Dana Stabenow and The White Princess (The Cousins’ War, #5) Philippa Gregory.  Gregory is a favorite of mine and I’ve read most of her books.  Stabenow is a new author for me.  I don’t often read mysteries, but I am enjoying this so far.

I am busy creating… An afghan for myself!  I’m so excited.  I spent a lot of time experimenting with colors and I am really happy with the way it is turning out.

I am hearing… Running For You, by Kip Moore, in my earbuds and Bill and others conversing in the background.

Around the house & garden…  The garden is coming along.  I’m picking lettuce (2 kinds) and Swiss chard biweekly.  Next year I will plant slightly less Swiss chard, as I can’t eat it fast enough and the freezer is full!  The house needs a good cleaning, but its spring.  The outdoors beckons.

In other news… My part-time job seems to be expanding a bit, more responsibilities, more hours.  It’s all good.

One of my favorite things… The mug I’m drinking my tea in, a gift from a friend.  It says, “I’d like mornings better if they started later.”  That’s always been my feeling!

Our Weekly Overview… 

Monday: Bill had a going away luncheon for his old boss, so he drove in to the office yesterday and was gone all day.  David was home, and I was glad he was, as I had a ton of computer issues and work issues, many of which he was quite helpful with.  Somehow my profile on my new computer became corrupted.  Bill spent a couple of hours in the evening rebuilding my profile and today all is well!

Tuesday: Bill is working from home. David has work, so he’ll head out around noon.  I’ve got more websites to convert for work, and today was also payday, so I need to pay some bills.

Wednesday: Bill may be working from home all week, he’s not quite sure.  David has Wednesday off.  I’ll continue with my website conversions and then try to clean up my paperwork table in the office, deal with some things that have piled up.  Maybe we’ll go out to supper at Mellow Mushroom to celebrate the April birthdays, since that got put off last weekend.

Thursday:  Bill working at home (I think) and David to work.  More of the same for me – housework, office work, with some gardening thrown into the mix.  The pool needs scrubbing and cleaning.  We’ve ordered new filters – hopefully they’ll have arrived so we can do a good job this time around with the vacuuming.

Friday: Bill working at home (I think) and David to work.  Homeschool chat with friends.

Saturday: & Sunday:  Errands, if I don’t get them done earlier in the week.  Pool cleaning.  Yard work.  The usual – nothing special planned.  I’d like to get back to the Perennial Path Plant Farm in Denton and pick up a Texas Magnolia.  I plan to put one right outside my office window – it will be bright and beautiful to look at from the office.  Sunday is race day in Kansas, so we’ll watch that.  Or rather, I’ll watch & crochet and Bill will nap.  It works.

Here is picture thought I am sharing …

backfence plants


This section of the back fence still needs working up, amending, and planting.  As you can see, I have plants ready!  There’s a geranium, several chrysanthemums, six hostas, and some calibrachoa plants.  Plus two hanging baskets to fill and hang!

Gardening in Texas

I mentioned in yesterday’s post that our new house has gardening space. So far, my gardening has been rather unproductive. If we had to survive on what I’ve produced, well, let’s just say we’d have been dead long ago!

Last spring was unusually wet, cool, and cloudy (15 inches in May is wet!), so the strawberries planted the last week of April died a moldy, wet death. The summer was conversely hot and dry – we had 1.3 inches of rain from July 4th to the end of September. My tomato plants grew spindly and slowly and were covered with spider mites. In the raised bed that had held the strawberry plants, I planted zucchini, crookneck and patty pan squash, which produced about 5 squash total before the squash vine bore decimated it. At that point, I gave up until fall.

In September I planted spinach, Swiss chard, beets, and lettuce from seed, along with Swiss chard plants and tomato plants. The plants look great, but for various reasons (hot sun, insufficient moisture on the top of the soil, etc.), only a few of the seeds came up. The lettuce looks good, some Swiss chard is trying, and I’m going to replant the spinach and beets this weekend after it gets a bit cooler.

I may actually get a tomato!

Tomato Plants

A tomato

And in the raised bed, I have a beautiful crop of marigolds (along with the Swiss chard and the few straggling spinach seedlings).



And the butterflies love them!


Gardening in a new location is always a challenge and I have a lot to learn about gardening in Texas. I’m looking forward to the challenge.

Cowboys and Tomatoes

What do cowboys and tomatoes have in common? Nothing that I can think of! I just needed a name for this post.

Soose commented on my Empire Ranch Roundup post, asking for more details on the calf roping demonstration. We came upon the demonstration towards the end of it and only watched about five or six minutes. There were three cowboys on horses with ropes and their job was to cut out (separate) one calf from the three or four in the pen. The goal is to do it as quietly, peacefully, as possible. If you’ve ever been to a rodeo, or watched one on television, you know that is not the goal at the rodeo. A rodeo is a competition, so speed and accuracy in roping the calf are what counts. In real life, keeping the calves as calm as possible is the goal, as it is when you are working with any animals. Calm animals are easier to work with and decrease the danger possibility. Calm animals also keep the other animals calm, which will make the job just that much easier.

So, the three cowboys selected the calf they wanted to rope. They maneuvered their horses around until they had the one calf separated from the others. Each of them had a lariat and one at a time, one would throw the lariat and attempt to put it over the head/neck of the calf. Eventually one succeeded and then another cowboy roped the legs. I wasn’t really able to see how this was done, with the crowd in front of me, but the end result was that two cowboys had ropes on the calf and the calf was on the ground, stretch out so that it was pretty much immobile. These were pretty tamed calves, being used for demonstrations, so it didn’t protest much, but even if it had wanted to, the calf would not have been able to move much.

The third cowboy jumped off his horse, went over to the calf, and, if it had been in a working herd, the calf would have been branded or perhaps medicated for an injury or whatever needed doing to it. The two cowboys responsible for keeping the calf immobile kept their ropes taut, but not so taut as to cause injury or harm to the calf. They waited until the third cowboy was back upon his horse before they loosened their ropes, thus freeing that calf, who quickly was on his feet and back over to the “safety” of the herd, or, in this case, the other calves.
While this was all going on, each of the three cowboys were miked and they explained to the audience what they were doing and there was also a fourth cowboy giving a narrative, so there was a lot of explanation to the crowd. Most of what was told to the audience was familiar to us, as former dairy farmers and having years of experience working around animals. The one thing that was new to me was the fact that the two cowboys waited for the third to get back on to his horse, as a courtesy and safety measure. If they released the calf before the cowboy was seated, it could have charged the cowboy and his horse, possibly injuring one or both.

And that is about the sum of what we learned at the Empire Ranch Roundup. Bill thought we would have enjoyed it more if we had gone with another couple who was more into “doing” events like that, or who were more interested in the topic in the first place. Me? I had absolutely the most fun on our hour long wilderness drive in the solitude. We had four vehicles and one four-wheeler pass us on the road during that hour. Bill always pulls off and lets vehicles pass him when we are on excursions like that. He knows at any moment I’m going to want to hop out of the car and take pictures! He’s so sweet.

Believe it or not, I am still picking tomatoes!

fall tomatoes

They are small, and not extremely flavorful, but we are eating them to the tune of about two a day in salads. It has gotten close to freezing a few nights recently, so they are ripening much more slowly. And these are supposed to be “beefsteak” tomatoes!! Cool weather, less sunshine, and plants dying back equals small tomatoes.

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