Competition Update

The 2019 Garden Competition is going strong. The harvests are not as big as we had hoped, but we are happy with what we do get.

So far, Jake has taken the lead in the biggest harvest with his summer squash. Jake is second with his cucumbers and I in last place with mine.

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Jake is also the front runner for most oddly shaped.

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Joe’s homemade refrigerator pickles are delicious. They are “sugar free” and he even used a “secret ingredient” to give them that extra spice.

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Jake made squash cookies which forced us to split the Best Recipe category into two: sweet and savory.

Jake will be making squash pickles for his savory entry and Joe is waiting for his pumpkin to grow so he can make a pie for his.

 

Although he has rearranged, lost and buried much of his gnome village, Jake still has the Best Decorated category locked as well as the Biggest Plant with his massive squash.

Joe’s garden has been hit hard by drought and cat attacks, but he’s still in the lead for Most Colorful.

My harvest has not been as plentiful. I am last place in every category. But…I am hopeful that my watermelon will save the day and get me the Biggest Fruit trophy. Although, Joe is determined to take that title with his “experimental cucumber”.

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Grrrr…

The kiwi vines are thick and green,
hanging heavily on the wires,
Small fruits hide, camouflaged
in their dense, jade spires.

Smiles of surprise and delight
with every precious find.
Each new bunch of grape-sized
fruit brings thrills to heart and mind.

Steps falter, a gasp escapes,
the cold grip of dread replaces
the bright hand of happiness
that just filled our faces.

Tiny iridescent blights of death
crunching on thick leaves.
My heart fills with angry woe
at these loathsome insect thieves.

That these horrid bugs dare
to threaten and cruelly waste
our long-awaited first harvest…
leaves behind a bitter taste.

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First Taste

The first taste of his radish,
brought big smiles to Joe’s face.
He savored it a moment,
then spit and gagged…with grace.

Jacob’s find was better.
A snap pea, sharp and sweet.
The crunch was loud and crisp,
a taste that can’t be beat.

They each pulled out a carrot,
the root was thin like hay.
“Oh boys, you won’t have carrots
until another day.”

They pulled some weeds and chattered
about their garden dreams.
It took just one small veggie,
now they work as a team!

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Revenge

This poem is a collaboration with my nieces and my two boys. Enjoy!

Mean old Bully Bertha,
our clueless, speckled hen,
was mean to Cyclops Jenny,
our one-eyed little friend.

While Jenny planned and plotted,
Bertha pecked and picked.
Our Jenny’s plan was simple.
“I’ll get that mean ol’ chick!”

When all the hens were sleeping,
she shuffled through the hay.
Her evil laugh was quiet
as she approached her prey.

The only sound big Bertha made
was a squawk of great surprise.
Then Jenny made the final blow
and pecked out both her eyes!

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Hardy Kiwi

Tiny, rosebud flowers
grow on every vine.
Hiding brightly in the green
waiting for their time.

So far, every bud we find
is female through and through.
Just like squash, we need
a male to pollinate them too.

Is this the year we eat one?
Will fruits grow big and sweet?
Or will we lose each tiny bud
to beetles we can’t beat?

Tiny, whitish flowers
grow thick on the vine.
Hiding softly in the green
waiting for their time.

Stage One: Planting

The 2019 Garden Competition is well underway.

Our first step: Get the beds ready and plant the seeds we got from our field trip to Spence Farm.

Then, we took a trip to Big R. I gave the boys each $30 to spend on their garden. They had to decide how much they wanted to spend on flowers, vegetable starts and garden decor.

Jake, who loves gnomes in the garden, spent more on decor, but he did buy one pack of tomato starts, some corn and a few flowers.

Joe, who loves bright colors and flowers, spent the majority of his money on an assortment of blues, purples and pinks. The only vegetable start he bought was corn.

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We were at Big R for almost two hours. All in all, it was a successful trip. The boys picked out their own plants, decided how much to spend in each category, and purchased from the cashier.

Even though we had talked about sales’ tax, Joe was a little disgruntled when the total came to more than what he had figured. He even re-counted his purchases to double check. The cashiers were very patient and made the learning experience a lot of fun.

It was a great outing for all of us and raised some interesting questions and discussion about all the different types of taxes…more on that in a future post!

Let the Competition…Begin!

It’s been a l…o…n…g winter. Each time the weather headed toward warmth, a cold front would whip in and send everyone huddling inside under a warm blanket.

But, this morning, I saw a male and female cardinal eating at the milk jug bird feeder Joe made. The sun is shining and the weather is blissfully mild.

Spring (fingers crossed!) is finally here.

The cold, dreary weather has not kept us away from our garden plans. Nope. We’ve been in full-on planning mode…with a twist.

Joe, Jake and I are dividing the garden and raised beds this year and creating our very own dream garden…on a budget.

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We each get a raised bed.

We each get a section of the garden.

We each get to pick, plant and perfect our very own garden plot.

And we are all pretty competitive.

We are reviewing what we know about plants and fertilizers. Learning what growing zone we are in and where each plant will grow best.

Thanks to Minecraft, the boys are already learning about fertilizers. Joe is particularly excited to make his own bone meal as he uses it to grow wheat and other food in his Minecraft world.

Er, we’ll probably just get that at the store, buddy.

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The boys helped come up with a few award’s categories. Daddy, of course, will be the impartial judge.

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The weather is fine, the ground is thawed and the chickens are almost through the garden.

Let the competition begin!

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Cyclops

We have a one-eyed chicken.
She’s tiny, gray and white.
Smaller than the others,
full of fear and fright.

The bigger hens don’t like her.
They treat her with disdain.
They block her from the shelter,
and leave her in the rain.

But I know her little secret.
Her brilliant plan, perhaps.
While the others mock and scorn her,
She gets all the kitchen scraps!

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Skunked

We got lazy with the hens
and didn’t lock them in their pens.
For a time, there was no harm.
Then, the girls raised the alarm.

One buff chick was in the cage,
pacing back and forth in rage.
She gave an angry shout
when we finally came out.

We heard rustles, angry cries.
Puffy feathers, beady eyes.
Then, we saw the little punk…
a big, striped, stinky skunk!

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Garden Season 2019

Looking back through last year’s blog posts, I find that I’m late to the planning this year. Usually, I have started my seeds by now. Or, I am getting ready to start my seeds.

But this season is different.

This season, I’m not as excited or “up to” starting the garden or planning the projects.

This season, I feel that there is so much on my plate.

I’ve started a few new (ad)ventures.

I signed up for a Steemit account where I’ve been linking back to my blog stories.

I registered an account on ACX, an Amazon/Audible narrating site, to start recording audio books. I’ve accepted three offers so far and completed one project.

And, even though the boys have become more and more independent learners, I’ve started planning more, doing more and taking more field trips with them.

In short, I feel like I don’t have the time to focus on the homestead along with everything else I’m doing.

But what about my boys? They are excited about the garden. They are looking forward to running in the swales, picking strawberries and growing celery and carrots.

And…I’m finding that their excitement is contagious.

Get it together girl, there’s a garden to plan.

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