Friday, July 31, 2009

Its Friday, Y'all!

Yep, it is Friday. I just made myself a Pimm's cup and decided that it was time to do some blogging! I made my Pimm's cups by filling a glass with ice, filling it 1/3 of the way with Pimm's, and 1/3 of the way with ginger ale; then I topped it all off with cranberry juice and a lemon slice. Yummy!

I am enjoying a short break from all the rain we've been getting. The last time I blogged about my garden, we'd had two straight weeks of heat indexes above 100F with no rain. This time, we've had rain for a solid week with tempertures barely reaching 93F over the past two weeks! It has definitely been a welcomed change, but we really are getting tired of the rain. Chip and I are dying to get our new kayaks out on the water, but rainy conditions do not make good paddling conditions. I promise I'll post some kayak pictures if we get out this weekend. Weather permitting, we are going to paddle up the Yazoo River on Sunday afternoon.

On the garden front, things are going pretty good! I think I'm proudest of some of my containers this year. On the brick patio in the backyard, I've got two containers. Begonias in a strawberry pot and a yucca with purple heart. Both look great. I'm sure that has something to do with all the rain we've been getting.

The perennial garden has filled out beautifully! In the spring I had pink creeping phlox, 'Homestead Purple' verbena, purple irises, and Carolina jessamine. Now that it is late summer, I have lantana, 'Becky' shasta daisy, and echinacea 'Sundown', 'Sunset', and 'Ruby Giant'. The lantana is doing better this week than it has done in the past two years. Blame it on the rain I guess, because it just exploded in blooms this week.

My rose garden isn't looking too shabby either. I've got one more shrub to move from my house in Oxford: Evelyn. I've got a great place for it since one of my junipers decided to bite the dust. Perfect - I say - because I don't really like the junipers anyway. The spot I have is in the front of Golden Celebration. I think this should be okay since Evelyn is only supposed to be 4 ft x 3 ft.



Golden Celebration:

And Ambridge Rose is still hanging on even if she isn't blooming right now. The roses are flanked by 'All Purple' Mexican bush sage. I love this plant! I divided it early this year and it has multiplied just like I hoped it would. It fills in with beautiful green foliage all summer, then in September it puts out long, purple blooms. Just perfect. If you look closely you can see the lamb's ears that border my rose garden and the snail statue that keeps a watch over the entire bed.

In the spring, I divided my shasta daisy and moved some Russian sage into the middle of all that Mexican bush sage. I think the Russian sage is too short to thrive here, so I'll probably move it again. I am thinking that next year the shasta daisy will pop up vigorously and will keep right up with the Mexican bush sage. We'll see. Remember my gardening mantra: There are no garden mistakes, only experiments.

I've gotta update my banner with that!

Sunday, July 12, 2009

Kayaking: Our New Obsession

Chip and I both really love being outside. And we enjoy doing things together. For the longest time, we've been looking for outside activities that we could do together.

I have the gardening bug, but Chip isn't into it, and I consider that a good thing. It means I don't have to share my gardening space with anyone. We tried biking for a while, but we couldn't really agree on that either. Chip likes the challenge of trail riding, and when he rides he wants to come home muddy and bloody. I'm more of a road riding gal. I like long, peaceful rides where I can take in the landscape.

Earlier this year, we started thinking about trying out some kayaks. We have both been canoeing many times (never together) but are newbies to kayaking. Chip's stepdad has a small kayak, but he didn't have anyone to paddle with. One of Chip's co-workers is really into it, too; so we planned to meet their group for a short paddle a few weeks ago just to see if we enjoyed it. We met up in Vickburg on a Sunday afternoon to paddle on the Yazoo River. The Yazoo River runs into the mighty Mississippi River about 2 miles south of our put-in spot.

We put in at the boat ramp near the Yazoo & Mississippi River Pumping Station in downtown Vicksburg. At this point, I was getting a bit worried about our choice of paddling spots. The Yazoo is deep and wide enough for barges to run in. Since I'd never been in a kayak before, this river was definitely intimidating. So I did what any wife would do - I made Chip put-in first!

There were eight paddlers in our group. Chip, me, Chip's stepdad, Chip's co-worker, the co-worker's brother and son, and two other friends. We borrowed boats from Chip's co-worker, Brian. Once we got some instructions from the experienced paddlers, we got in and started paddling around in the Yazoo. It was actually the hottest day on record so far this year, but on the water we didn't even notice.

We paddled across the river to an "island" in Louisiana owned by Chip's co-worker. Then to a couple small lakes and to the larger Centennial Lake (link takes you to a Google map). From the smaller lakes, you could see downtown Vicksburg up on the bluff. We got some great photos from this vantage point!

Kayaking is definitely an activity we can agree on! We paddled about 3-4 miles in 2 hours. We went at a leisurely pace. We chatted and shared stories. Some people went faster, some slower. It was fantastic! We were both amazed that the wild river - complete with big fish, alligators, snakes, and spiders - was right there for us to take advantage of. As long as the gators keep their distance, I'll be fine!

I gave in and purchased two boats this week! For me, a Wilderness Systems Pungo 120. For Chip, a Wilderness Systems Pungo 140. I can't wait to get them and take them to all the local waterways - the reservoir near Jackson, Sardis and Puskas near Oxford, and maybe even the Okatoma in south Mississippi. We are so pumped!

Wednesday, July 01, 2009

Scorched in Mississippi

We are scorched here in Central Mississippi. Daily highs have been upwards of 96F everyday for close to 2 weeks, hitting (and sometimes exceeding) the 100F mark on June 23, 24, 26, 27, and 28. And not a drop of rain. It is definitely summer.

Veggie Garden Update

Better Boy tomato: I've got 5 tomatoes, but none are quite ready yet.
Big Mama plum tomato: Not a single tomato yet!
Black Pearl cherry tomato: 3 or 4 fruits, but none are ready yet.

Eight Ball zucchini: We harvested 3 before the squash vine borers ate the entire plant. Ginger, mine look as bad as yours!
Golden Crookneck squash: We harvested 5 before the squash vine borers got the whole plant. It is a shriveled mess. I plan to pull them up this weekend and start over with new seeds. Any suggestions on the second round? I've read that I should cover them with row covers until the flowers form. Does that work?

Honey Bun cantaloupe: So far so good! Two healthy vines. Will the squash vine borers demolish this vine, too? I have some Organocide that I can apply to these. Maybe I should go ahead and give them a preventative spray.

Jolly Green cucumbers: climbing right on up the trellis!
Lemon cucumber: This cucumber plant was a passalong from Ginger. I'm really excited about it! I sampled a few lemon cukes at the farmers' market last summer and they were excellent.

Burpee's Tenderpod bush bean: 2 to 4 leaves on these little guys.

Not too bad! But as always, I'm scheming ways to fit in more raised beds. Ha! I would love to grow watermelons and purple hull peas. We'll see!