In the Garden

The first round of tomatoes didn’t fare so well during my absence, so a few days after I returned from Scotland I went to the Greenhouse and purchased a few plants to replace the ones that were dying or stunted. They had a hard time at first in the extreme heat, but soon after our days were filled with rain and some cooler evening temps and the tomatoes have been thriving since then. Except for the flea beetles and my homemade organic insect spray. It was close to the miracle recipe I used last year only I think I went a little heavy on the clove oil. That’s how to burn your plants, folks.


The plants that are doing the best in the garden this season are the mint and sunflowers — thanks entirely to me being lazy and not cleaning out the bed after last year’s harvest. That’s most likely the reason for the flea beetles as well. Learn from my mistakes.

I’ve got a ton of mint and all these big sunflowers that are very close to blooming and if that’s the most I get out of my garden this year, I’ll be thankful because it smells nice and sunflowers make me happy.

Also in the garden – peppers (jalapeno and bell), lemongrass, dill (it came back to life!), and chives.



This is Clare, eating bermuda grass that’s growing up in the sides of the garden. It’s her way of helping.

Over on the west side of the yard next to the shed I have my butterfly garden. It’s grown quite a bit since I planted it last year and it’s served its purpose in attracting pollinators and covering up the dilapidated part of the shed.



There’s sage and bee balm and echinacea and zinnias and coreopsis and sunflowers.



I noticed the leaves of echinacea withering, looking lacy, and turning brown. Investigated further and found a few plants covered in frass (that’s fancy talk for insect poop). This was terrifying thanks to my long struggle with pests, but instead of jumping the gun and spraying it with insecticidal soap I turned to the internet and found that I’ve got a nice little colony of Silvery Checkerspots.



It would be nice to see them make it to adulthood, but for now I’m just happy that my butterfly garden is doing what I wanted it to — attracting butterflies and giving them a good place to lay their eggs. Even if they are making an absolute mess of my echinacea. That’s why I planted it!


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Sunday Morning Coffee

sunday morning coffee

Happy Father’s Day! I won’t be seeing any of the paternal figures in my life today, but I know they’re all having a great day.

Observation and a question for my coffee drinking friends out there. On occasion I try to buy local coffee or at least coffee from small roasteries. Across the board my experience has been that even the darkest roasts require much more coffee for a strong, flavorful cup. So I end up paying about twice as much for small batch coffee and on top of that I have to up the number of tablespoons of whole beans by 1/2 or sometimes double. What gives? Is this a common characteristic of small batch roasts or have I just been unlucky? Either way, I’ve got Kicking Horse back in my cup today and I’m happy again.

But how is it the middle of June already? I’ve got a baby shower to attend soon (and Misti’s busy reading and getting ready for baby), plans to paint the kitchen and a piece of furniture, shopping day with Mom this week, lunch plans with former work pals, and I need to figure out a day soon to pick blackberries. All of that on top of my regular work (which is pretty peachy). Gah! I did get my first ever in my life BONUS this week and that was a welcome surprise.

  • Horchata! (Have you ever made it, Jolene?)
  • I love it when Kim gives us a little look into her kitchen.
  • Need to do a garden update, but for now I’ll let you know that my pest of the year is the Flea beetle.
  • 5 Lessons for Writers from A Fault In Our Stars — I haven’t read the book and as of right now I have no plans to do so (spent enough time teary-eyed and sniffly in the middle of Lurlene McDaniel novels as a pre-teen), but this is a concise piece with valuable information.
  • What should I prune now? — I fail at pruning regularly. There’s this wicked spot right up against the study window that is bound and determined to one day grow into the vine covered storybook forest it knows it is destined to be. We fight. Really violent, bloody stuff. There are rosebushes and rogue vines and these spiky weeds and burrs and it’s ugly. I went away for two weeks and the thing staged a takeover. So this link is mostly for me and my terrible pruning, but maybe it’ll help you, too.
  • A drive through the lower 48. Who’s with me?
  • Elements of a Good Front Porch from Ashley (guest posting at The Noshery) — After the kitchen, my next plan is to spruce up the front porch.
  • 5 Things To Do While Everyone Else Is At A Book Conference — It’s that time of year. This also works for writing and blogging conferences. Does anyone want to host a readathon with me?
  • Donna highlighted this quote recently and it’s one of my favorites. When I was little I told my mom I wanted the line about being a good friend and a good writer on my headstone.
  • 10 Tips for Creative Solo Travel
  • Chel’s post about seed buying reminded me that I need to get the rest of these sunflower seeds in the ground. And once again, I need to do a garden update.
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