Thursday, August 28, 2008


It's been my motto for this week. 

I started my last semester of nursing school on Monday, and even though I know this is going to be a difficult semester, I'm ready for it. Word around campus has it that a majority of the senior class always fails their first exam (which for me is on Sep 8th). I plan to be ready for it, as well as the other five exams I will be taking over the next eight weeks during my critical care course. So if you don't see or hear from me for the next two months, just know that I am tucked away somewhere reading everything there is to know about how to fix really sick people. 

This motto of mine is also has something to do with the recent rain we have been getting, especially since I now have a way to capture it and put it to use whenever it's convenient. I put some gutters up last Saturday with some much appreciated help from Archie, and on Tuesday went out and bought a rain harvesting barrel. That 2" of rain we got in the medical center yesterday filled it up till it was overflowing (past 55 gallons!)

The cooler cloudy days and rain has also given the garden a nice chance to really grow, and everything has nearly doubled in size since the last pics I posted. The corn has sprouted, the tomatoes are looking greener and have been sending out new shoots, the okra is growing like crazy and is starting to put out tiny buds, and the peas are starting to take over my little side garden. The cucumbers I planted never sprouted, so I am guessing it's due to old seed. I think I will plant some snap peas there in the next couple of weeks. I am also going to try spinach and some of Pa Pa's elephant garlic.

I took these pics with my phone so sorry if they came out a little hazy...

Rain harvest barrel in place (still needs to be painted to match the house)

Peas are busy growing after the recent rains

Sweet corn is sprouting all over the place!

Tomatoes are looking greener than ever

Okra is on it's way

Sunday, August 17, 2008

a random bushel of hay

I stopped at the local feed and lawn store on the way home from Costco today and randomly bought a bushel of hay. I have been wanting to lay down some mulch around the tomatoes and figured hay would be a cheap way to do it. Mulch helps by preventing weeds, helping the soil retain moisture, and by keeping the soil temp out of the extreme - not to mention it looks good too. So now I have some mulch around my tomatoes, 99% of a hay bushel left on my porch, and a car that now needs to be vacuumed. I think it's safe to say that I won't be needing to buy any more mulch for quite a while!

Saturday, August 16, 2008

fall garden is underway

Fall tomatoes! Now which is which?

Side garden

This pic is an update on the poor guy in the last post... looking better!

The 4X12 raised beds

Corn hasn't sprouted yet

The okra is loving the heat

Gideon helped with the Saturday morning honey-do's

I decided to give the blog a face-lift to celebrate my newly planted fall garden. I am growing three different kinds of Tomatoes: Better Boy, Cherry, and a grape-tomato variety called Juliet. I planted two of each, and then forgot which was which so we won't know until they start to set fruit (how fun!). I have a variety of Okra called Cajun Delight which is busily sending out new leaves every couple of days. It looks like they have been planted too close (okra gets really tall and wide) but Abbey's grandpa (from henceforth known as Pa Pa) showed me a way to do this by cutting off a stem every time you harvest an okra (you know when to stop when you can't reach the tops of the plants anymore). I also devoted half of the other raised bed to a super-sweet corn variety called Gotta Have It, and after tasting some of what Pa Pa grew I must agree. I think I will have around 50 or so ears of corn in about seventy days, so we will have to have a corn-roast party at our house and celebrate before the raccoons do. Party details will be closer to harvest-time. In my side-garden I have a black-eyed pea variety called Early Contender which has done well despite the abuse I have put them though last week (see the previous post). Also in the side garden I have planted some Cucumbers called Sweetest Yet, and they should be hanging all over my energy meters and time warner cable boxes soon. 

In a month or so I have been thinking about planting Snow Peas and Spinach in the second half of the raised bed with the corn. I have also been thinking to interplant some elephant garlic cloves that Pa Pa gave me. Garlic is a pest and disease-free plant, and it can help keep bugs out of the garden if you juice it up and spray it (I hear it also keeps away vampires). Garlic is different from most veggies in that it grows during the winter. You plant it in the fall, and harvest in the spring.

I also must recommend a blog that I ran across by accident. Skippy's Vegetable Garden can be found in the continuously updating column on the right. She puts up new posts almost daily and takes really great pictures. I tried copying her picture-posting style for this post, we will see if it works.

Stay tuned!

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Warm Sunny Days in Moderation, Please

This past week I burned my fledgling plants by accident with an organic fertilizer that I did not dilute properly. Seedlings that were already struggling to survive daily through the drought and heat were now subject to the near-toxic solution in my sprayer. It did not take long to realize what I had done, but it was too late to prevent any further damage. Healthy green leaves turned a crispy brown color before falling off. Entire seedlings fell over and have since turned into tiny shriveled-up twigs. Some leaves turned black around the edges, clearly signifying my caustic mistake. All was not well in the garden.

In an attempt to enrich and vitalize my plants in this time of stress I instead made life that much more difficult for them. Too much of a good thing had become deadly. 

You can take anything that was meant for good: fertilizer, TV, rain, wine; and in excess it is a poison, it is a flood, it is an addiction.

The balance of moderation is the story of life. The warm sunny days are only good because of the cold rainy ones, and vice versa. Thus everyday is good.

Life goes on, and often times is stronger due to hardship. If a plant is not killed by the drought, it will survive afterward having deeper roots. If it's first three leaves are not completely scorched away because of the bumbling gardener, then it will send up three new ones (praise the Lord).

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

Dr./ Nurse (Extern)

The patients arrive via ambulance and by the time they get settled in their room they have had a small army of people pushing and prodding them, removing their clothes, and quizzing them about their allergies and emergency contact information. Most of the time I am one of these people, busily striping them of their dignity and sticking monitor leads to their chest while they try to explain to every new person who walks in the door exactly what happened. 
Then the army efficiently communicates with each other using a blend of english and latin, along with some code words thrown in to completely confuse the patient. Sometimes I come back for one last question, and sometimes I don't come back at all. Sometimes I come in for the first time after everyone has gone, and this is when it usually happens: a case of mistaken identity. It happens to me a few times a day, when I walk into the room and am mistaken to be either the doctor or an RN. For a split second I appear to be one of the smartest guys in the building, and I have come to save the day. 

Only three more shifts in the ER until I begin my final semester, and 128 days until graduation.