Saturday, June 28, 2014

north carolina: cooper's creek trout pond

since g didn't catch anything the day before, i knew we'd need to schedule some more fishing time for the next day.  we found cooper's creek trout farm on the net and decided to give it a go.  after my near death experience on the tail of the dragon, i had told everyone that i wasn't driving again until i went home, but i ended up driving to the trout farm.  it wasn't too bad until the last turn off.  a three and a half mile one lane road straight into the mountain.  i was so not impressed.

but the fishing was sure impressive if you want to be in and out in ten minutes.  oh my goodness.  i had to laugh.  the fish were less than a foot apart in an approximately two foot deep clear pond.  it was like "fishing" at the school carnival where you throw your line over the cardboard partition and feel a tug on your clothespin in approximately ten seconds.  i'm not even kidding.  it was that fast.  here is riley pulling her first one in.  she was so excited that she forgot the reel and just ran for it.  ha!

g was told we had a three fish budget.  this was not a catch and release establishment and at $4.80 a pound and an average fish size of two pounds, well the math is easy.  mama can't afford it!

the millmaester having a nap attack.

Riley's $20 quota.

g's $30 quota.

where's froggie?  big BIG froggie!

hello cutie!

afterwards, we stopped in town for ice cream.

milli vanilli thought the chocolate was yum . . .

and that she may as well try the rainbow sherbet as well.

we took the trout home for uncle greg to clean.  we sure weren't going to pay extra for that!

uncle greg accepted payment in fried trout and home made French fries.  g grilled ours with salt, pepper, and orange slices.  man it was good.  the orange slices didn't flavor it intensely the way lime does (which we didn't have), but i think it helped keep it juicy.  major yum.

next up . . . natahala outdoor center . . .

Friday, June 27, 2014

north carolina: boat houses

i lived in north carolina a few years and i tell everyone that it is god's country.  if you're a nature lover, then north carolina is the place to be.  it has beaches (okay, they are not florida beaches, but still), mountains, and practically the whole state is a national forest.  i love it.  i mean, look at this view.

while we were there visiting my sister and her family on vacation, uncle greg took us out on the boat.

the perpetually happy millmaester was not amused by her safety device. 

growing up in florida, we called floating vation homes "houseboats."  here they call them "boat houses."  upon closer inspection, i totally understand the distinction.  these are not boats outfitted with all the comforts of home, these are little tiny houses dropped onto floating palettes.  way cute.

this is the one we visited.  next year, my sister promises we will grill out on it.  i can hardly wait.

she says that last year they were grilling out and the fella in this boat house, deciding it was bath time, jumped in butt naked with his bar of soap and bottle of shampoo.  dinner and a show!

the kids had fun swimming.

sunny smiles and happy days.

i'm really so proud of them.  i never would have done this as a child.  i had a powerful fear of water that i couldn't stand up in and they definitely can't stand up in this.

but goodness, what an amazing place to swim.

then uncle greg and g went off for a little fly fishing while the girls puttered around the boat house.

they didn't catch anything, but had great fun.

hello duckies!  sorry we only had fruit chews to give you.

next up, the trout pond . . .

Thursday, June 26, 2014

garden journal: warning! photo heavy!

whew!  i'm finally caught up with all my gardening blogging and able to share in real time.  sorry for the massive photo overload, but I've been busy and my plants are in overdrive mode!  tis the season!  now lots of gardening notes ahead as i had a major "duh" moment this morning and realized that this is a great space to record all my gardening notes so that next year i can look back and move forward quicker.  i'm already realizing that i need to get my sorry "i hate cold weather" butt in gear a lot earlier next year, so that i am prepped to jump on the spring wagon as soon as it arrives.

the bell peppers are definitely my super stars at the moment.  so lush. 

and so fruitful!  did you know they grew like this?  i confess, i did not.  mine last year were one hit wonders, but this year i have been diligent about watering and fertilizing.  they are rewarding me with peppers all the way up the stems!

i do have one of the four plants that was puny to begin with.  it developed spots on the top leaves and i nipped that section off.  i haven't decided yet if i should pull the whole plant out.  i'm keeping my eye on it.

i have spaced out the tomato section.  the cherokee purples were starting to wilt.  initially, i moved them in a panic thinking they were diseased and would affect my other plants.  then, thinking further, i realized that the weather had finally hit the 90s here and perhaps that variety just can't handle the heat.  i have taken to watering them twice a day and they seem to be doing better.  it is just sad as they were the most gorgeous of the lot before they got sunstroke. 

i also noticed in the move that two of the Rutgers were much more puny than their counterparts.  i suspect that they were crowded in the corner and not getting enough sun.

i'm also worried that my tomatoes aren't going to produce any more.  they all have right at two tomatoes on them right away.  none of them seem to be ripening, however, and none of the flowers seem to be making more fruit.  my dad always says tomatoes are difficult.  hmmm . . .

and nasturtiums.  oh how i adore nasturtiums.  but i don't seem to grow them very well.  the leaves turn yellow so quickly.  do they like a certain type soil?  food?  too much water?  are the yellow leaves just normal?  i did finally notice one little bloom this morning, so there's that.

two thumbs up for the hillbilly garden.  i think the sunflowers might be blooming next week.  the zinnias are lovely and haven't even gotten any leaf fungus (knock on wood).  the snapdragons have started blooming!  hurrah!  g transplanted his dunecraft brian the brain flower out there and it's doing well.  i'd like a couple more short things in the front.  i may try to transplant a couple of the johnny jump ups that have reseeded.
the snapdragon stems are rather tall and spindly.  a couple bent in last night's rain, so i clipped them to bring in the house (and check out that cool lighting!  didn't even notice that was happening when i snapped the pic).
morning glories have popped out of the ground.  a classic example of something i should have planted a month or more earlier.  it seems to be enjoying the trellis i saved from last year's clematis purchase.  reduce, reuse, recycle!

i have a love affair with bumblebees, so i'm way excited that they love my coneflowers so much.  i counted five on them the other morning.

i need to think up a name for this garden.  maybe the salad garden?  although it doesn't really look like a salad garden at the moment, but that was my intent when i cleared out the holly.  currently, it has raspberry, foxglove, marigold, sedum, and clematis in it.  and i did just sew a row of lettuce seeds.  i need to grab some spinach seeds the next time i'm out.  i know it's not the right time to plant those things, but i thought i might as well try.  lettuce seems to grow so quick and i can always harvest the baby leaves.  i'm hoping to start another row in a couple weeks to keep the production cycle going.

i got the wild marigolds transplanted and they're doing great.  i had to water them three times a day fro the first few days, but i didn't lose even one leaf.  yay!  i also finally planted the ones i got from the high school ffa sale back in early may.  i think it's funny that the purchased plants are so stunted (from being in the tiny pots so long) and blooming crazy while the wild ones are so think with foliage, but i was beginning to doubt if they would actually bloom.  i have finally started seeing a few buds on them though.

this is one of the clearance clematis.  it's vining up the wall and already has a bud!  i'm way excited.  i love clematis.  i'm hoping to score more on clearance, but i can't go shopping again until after vacation #2.  the other one, well, i'm just not sure if it's going to make it.  it only has one branch with semi-living leaves.  i keep giving it pep talks, but so far nothing positive is happening.  also wondering if these will come back next year.  i think they will.  the ones i had last year did not, but they were in small pots.  i think (i hope) that in the ground they will make it.

clearance hydrangea is doing well.  i snipped off all the awkward leaves as i saw lots of new growth anyway.  I've found that the clearance plants have often been in the pots so long that they're starting to drape over the sides instead of growing up as they should.  then when you actually do plant them the stems are laying on the ground.  not good.  best to just give them a good grooming so they can get back on the right track.

the clearance foxgloves are also having a second little summer blooming after a good trim.

and this is my pride and joy.  i scored two raspberry bushes for only $2.25 each.  i got them in the ground right away (that doesn't always happen in my world) and they are doing so well!  both of them have put out additional blooms which are turning into berries.  i confess, i know nothing about raspberries.  i just thought they would do their thing in the spring with the rest of the berries and then be done till next year.  do they bloom/berry all summer?

here is a little awkward spot.  it's part of the big section that i want to turn into a perennial garden.  alas, i still haven't acquired the truckload of dirt.  current story of my life, "i need more dirt!"  i built up one small corner with the bagged dirt i had just so i could throw some more clearance plants in the ground.  now i'm not sure i like the placement, but i didn't really have a lot of options.  i think i can move some of them this fall when i get more dirt.  right?  also, i need to plant the potted stuff.  mostly i don't know where.  i've since discovered that the blueberries need a higher ph, so i have to figure out the chemistry of their soil.  gardening is a science!

i got two more tree circles tidied up and planted.  more impatiens ( a different variety) in this one . . .

and vinca in this one.  did anyone else call this periwinkle?  that's what we used to call it in florida.  i've never seen this color before.  stunning.

and now i feel like i'm airing my dirty laundry here, but in the spirit of keeping it real, these are the strawberry transplants.  the roots were greatly disturbed and there wasn't much i could do about that.  then i went out of town and they didn't get watered quite as much as i would have done (only once a day as opposed to three times a day).  i told homer they were struggling, and he suggested the newspapers.  i think it helped a great deal.  wish i'd known about it at first, but next time i will!

plants are so resilient though!  i believe these are actually going to make it.  all nine of them.  i've since gone out and pruned some of the brown off and i can see even more green at the root base.  fingers crossed for a lovely strawberry patch next year!  i plan on mulching them with straw as soon as i find the time.  or maybe that is a good job for g.  i think i'm onto something . . .

i know i said i probably wasn't going to bother with planting out here in the field next year, but i've changed my mind now that the wildflowers are blooming.  why have all this land if i'm not going to cultivate it?  i hope to widen it to the fence line this fall and mulch it with this mushroom mulch that my neighbor has been telling me about.  sounds like a plan as long as i can get tiller access.

hello, beautiful!

cucumber!  cucumbers!  i was my cucumber would be a one hit wonder, but today i saw three more pinkie finger width fruits hidden under the leaves.  hurrah!

honeydew.  the jury is still out on its productivity.

watermelon.  and even more doubtful endeavor, but at least it was free.

the corn patch is well on track to be "knee high by july" and is in desperate need of weeding.

and look what we found in it!  potatoes!  three plants!  i had totally forgotten that we'd thrown some old potatoes in the soil.  nature is so awesome!

and a final peek at the deck.  i couldn't resist snapping a pic as pepito isn't as prone to laying amongst the flowers as chichi is.  I've finally gotten all the pots filled here.  i counted $39 plus tax.  i'm thinking that's not too bad.  that's about half off the regular prices.  i'd like to do better next year though.  anyone have suggestions for overwintering the geraniums and/or saving seeds from the annuals?

linking up with the delightful mamasaurus and "how does your garden grow."