Friday, March 18, 2016

Garden Post (Mostly), Third Week of March, 2016

Now that some of you are sufficiently tired of me talking about God, here is a post mostly about the stuff that grows out here.  I won't apologize, mind you, I'm just saying what I know and feel in my heart.  If you don't know and feel the same in yours, I don't mean to be tiresome about it.  It's just part of who I am, if you know what I mean.

Soooooo, all that said, here we go. 

This is the quince tree.  Cydonia oblonga.  Not to be mistaken for the flowering quince bush, Chaenomeles speciosa.  The seed for this tree was sent to me by a woman in Tennessee, who said her husband loved to go out under the tree with a salt shaker when the fruit was ripening and eat several right off the tree.  The fruit are pear-like in shape but unusual in taste, like a tart rose-scented apple, as near as I can describe it.  This is the first year I've had flowers on this tree, but I had a Quince bush growing at The Osage House that made fruit sometimes and I assume the taste of bush quinces and tree quinces are very similar.  Many quince bushes never make fruit.  Mostly they are grown for their flowers. 

Information on The Internet is that the fruit is "analgesic, anti-inflammatory, antispasmodic, astringent and digestive. A decoction is used internally in the treatment of nausea, joint pains, cholera and associated cramps."
These are Nasturtiums.  They take awhile to germinate.  The three pots in the front have just recently sprouted in the paper towel and were only planted in soil yesterday morning.  One is just now beginning to emerge.  The four in the back were the first to germinate and they've been up for probably a week now.  Nasturtiums don't come up very well for me when direct-planted.  At some point they always seem to get too dry, and then the seed just dies.  So I do it this way, and plant them in paper cups.  They have a long taproot that is easily injured so they do not transplant well.  Being in a paper cup solves this problem because they can be planted cup and all while the taproot is not paying attention.  Heh.

I intend to plant these under my fruit trees, as part of the "Fruit Tree Guild".  I have gradually been laying down big rocks and interplanting perennial plants into the spaces between them -- Comfrey, Iris, Red Clover, Tansy, Yarrow, etc.  The rocks help hold back the bindweed and Bermuda grass and slow the evaporation of moisture.  Things planted in between the rocks are partners in the weed control process and they can send their roots under the rocks to benefit from the moisture and the shade from the sun.  And I like how the rocks and plants look under the trees.  I grow the Nasturtiums there every year, or try to, because they remind me of my dad.  I wish you all could've known Dad.  Dad didn't have a very happy life.  But he loved his garden, and found peace in it.  He had some good memories from his childhood having to do with his grandmother, too.  So every time he discovered something that fell into one or both of those categories, he would go into what I call "Quiet Delight", and it was always a joy for me to watch.  He experienced it when he discovered the potatoes in my potato bowl in the kitchen were sprouting, and asked if he could have them for his garden.  Of course I said, "You sure can, Dad".  He stood there and examined each potato with such care.  I walked up beside him and hugged him and said, "You can have them ALL if you can use that many," and then he grinned at me and started carefully loading them all into the paper bag I handed him.  He loved going for drives when it was persimmon or wild plum season.  He watched his little Paw Paw tree closely every year and ate the one or two fruits that made it to maturity with his pocket knife and a great deal of gusto.  And when he found Nasturtiums growing along one side of my house, many years ago, he nearly had a Quiet Cow.  Took out his pocket knife and began cutting off leaves to take home and put on his sandwiches in the days that followed.  I have been the grateful listener of his memories of his beloved grandmother, "Lizzie" Hufferd Dalton Stimpson, and it strikes me that his relationship with her was very much like my relationship with my grandsons.  As the grandmother, you fill in the gaps that your single-mother daughter cannot or will not fill, and you build a bond with your grandchildren that blesses them, and you, with memories that color who you are for the rest of your life.  Hubs and I gave our grandsons the best years of our lives, and I have never been sorry.  Ever.

This is Horseradish.  I bought a small crown at the Garden Club Plant Sale a couple of springs ago.  I was lucky to get it as it was the only one there.  Our ancestral grandmothers had this plant in their herb gardens, and they processed it the hard way: by grating.  Worse than onions, eye-irritation-wise, I'm tellin' ya.  HERE is how to process it using today's methods.  There's a tip in the comments about storing the tightly-closed jar in the refrigerator upside-down to make it keep longer.  I wonder if it was pressure sealed with the FoodSaver and kept in the refrigerator, might it keep longer?  HERE, from the same source, is how to make it into a sauce.  Horseradish is an acquired taste and I kinda think you might have to have a little German heritage to actually like it. 

Remember that year that I took cuttings from some bushes that were growing on an empty lot, after I'd gone and bought Spiraea japonica at WMT and was disappointed on finding out that japonica was not the tall, arching variety I remembered from my childhood??  (You need Spiraea prunifolia for that) So now I have an "assortment" of Spiraea bushes.  The japonicas are not blooming yet so this picture is just of the prunifolias.  The first cuttings I started had single flowers.  The starts I got from a woman whose garage sale I visited later on that same summer are the double.  The doubles are closer to the camera in this picture.  I got some starts of my mother's bushes that whomever bulldozed the house I grew up in just ran over, willy-nilly.  They were also double and now I don't know which are which, but the starts I got from the woman at the garage sale were dug up with some root attached, and the ones at my childhood home were in pretty sorry shape and might not even have survived. 

These are the double flowers.

These are the singles.  Both pretty in their own way.

Forsythia.  "Free gifts" from  They can be invasive and I really didn't want them, but I think out here around the Hackberry trees they can do whatever they want to do. 

This is the first year that my Redbud trees have bloomed.  Some were free plants from ArborDay.  Others were volunteers I found in the garden, some of my neighbors have Redbuds, which accounts for the volunteers.

This is the first year my Crabapple has bloomed.  I got it mixed up with a flowering bush that makes red berries in the fall that are not edible except by the birds.  So when I saw those red berries, I was really disappointed because I had thought they were going to be the Crabapples.  I didn't realize that was not even the right plant until this spring when the REAL Crabapple tree bloomed.  So it's all good.

They look a lot alike, but as you can tell, the bush that makes berries, a piece of which is in my hand in this picture, held up against the CrabApple flowers has smaller flowers and leaves that are more glossy but otherwise pretty similar. 

This is the bush.

This is the tree.

The Sole Survivor of all those pine trees we planted.  Wait.  I think there's one more somewhere.

Bartlett Pear.  I canned several quarts of pears from this tree last fall, and we have really enjoyed them. 

Wild plums.  The tall tree is a maple and it's too tall and too close to the carport.  Every time we get a lot of wind, some of it breaks.  We'll be removing it this summer.

I was glad to see this show up.  I think it's the perennial red poppy from some seed Glenda sent me.  There are Dame's Rocket plants in that spot, as well, and the two bloom about the same time.  The red and purple look really pretty together. 

All three little bitty pieces of rhubarb roots came up.  I hope I can keep them going long enough for them to become perennial here.  This year I put them in the herb garden near the office door, where they'll get afternoon shade, and where I can watch them.  They don't seem to like the heat of our summers here.



Onions, from seed wintersown.  Also some wintersown Yarrow and Feverfew.  When they are big enough to separate, they will be transplanted.

Nanking cherry.

I had kind of an unsettling call yesterday.  The fellow on the other end of the line said that he was from the Internet Service Provider that I originally was using out here, except that about a year later they got bought out by another company.  So not the same name, and he had the old one.  That was the first thing that seemed strange. 

Then he said that he understood I had some questions about how to stop Windows10 from installing and said he could send me an e-mail telling me how or, if I wanted to, I could give him remote access and he'd do it for me.  This didn't really match, either, because I'd just talked to my ISP the day before and they said there wasn't anything that could be done.  I told him I wasn't at my computer at the moment but said it would be ok if he wanted to send me an e-mail, or just tell me his name and I'd call back and ask for him when the time was better.  He kind of changed the subject and rattled off a phone number really quickly that I didn't catch, but I thanked him and hung up.  So I called my ISP and asked them if this could be a phishing call and yep, they thought so.  The question that begs to be answered is what data did this guy have if he said he was calling from the company that was bought out three or four years ago?  He had my phone number but didn't seem to have my e-mail address.  And I didn't give it or any other information to him.  Would he know I'd been wanting to know how to stop Windows10 because he was guessing or had he read my blog?  And if so, how did he get my phone number?  It's an unlisted land-line and I don't think I've ever entered it anywhere on the internet.  Although I've sent it to friends via e-mail.  It's creepy.  The only other person I've talked to about this is a tech where I bought the computer, and why wouldn't he identify himself as being from there?  I'm grateful that he didn't, because I might've bitten on that one, except that I might see a red flag because it'd just make more sense to bring my tower in.  What else is creepy is that both guys I called the other day gave me to understand they didn't think Windows10 was a bad thing.  But when I told this guy I guessed I'd just let the upgrade go ahead and happen, he got kind of excited and said, "Oh, no, you don't want it to do that.  We've let it do that to some of our computers and it's messed them up so bad we can't even USE them!  What the problem is, is that though the Start button is back, it brings up a touch screen menu, and if you don't have a touch screen monitor, you can't use your computer."  Later on, when I told the guy from my ISP that, he said, "No!  None of that is true!"  Then he said he was using a desktop computer at that very moment that had Windows10 on it and that most of their computers had been successfully upgraded.  Without touch screens.

I've had people call me before saying they're from "Windows" but they have accents that sound like they're from India.  THOSE I'm wise to.  And I haven't heard from any of them in a long time since I started praying for God to help them find jobs that will allow them to respect themselves, while they're with me on the phone, long and loud, while they're saying, "Ma'am?  .....Ma'am?"  Heh.  If these are the same people, they've become more sophisticated and have adopted middle-America geek-style accents. 

I've been dinking around the Internet, and I've watched several tutorials.  Seems like the biggest issue is not so much incompatibility as it is the prospect of being out-and-out spied on by Microsoft.  Of course, when are we NOT spied on, that's what I want to know.  I blog because I like to.  I don't do anything that's any big secret and if I did, I wouldn't put it out there on the Internet anywhere, regardless of WHAT operating system I was using.  Like I've said before, I have made a few Internet friends I'd miss terribly if I didn't have Internet access.  But if this gets to be too big a hassle I'll just get off the Internet.  I think I can keep the upgrade from happening if I uninstall the little program that opens it and gets the ball rolling.  That's KB3035583.  Microsoft re-installs it every time, but if I keep my computer off the Internet, they couldn't do that anymore.  Then those people for whom I have snail mail addresses might get a letter --- remember those? --- from me now and then.  Some people have said that Microsoft needs you to check a box saying you accept their terms and if you say "no", they won't install the upgrade.  But by then, have they already destroyed your current operating system?  Not sure I want to find out. 

I'm just getting grumpy about this whole thing.  Getting so I don't even really want to blog anymore.  I don't feel capable to do something totally foreign to me, like install Linux, and I lost my computer guy when he took a regular job somewhere and quit doing computer tech work.  I have a neighbor, though, that would probably be a good one to talk to.  Maybe he can steer me in the right direction. 

Comment Moderation will remain "on" for the time being, just in case. 

I wanted to share this with you, having to do with food waste. 

Somebody had a big sale on boneless pork loin some time ago and Hubs stopped by and bought some on a day that I was not with him.  He had them slice the loin and put only four to five slices per package.  I bet they just hate to do that and I'm surprised they still will.  But anyway.  They wrapped these in white butcher paper and when I unwrapped one of the packages, my gosh, WHAT a lot of fat! 
So after I pan-fried the slices, I trimmed off the fat and chopped it, then put it back into the skillet with some water and simmered it for several hours.  I actually should've processed the fat in the pressure cooker, it would've taken only about an hour.   As you can see, this yielded a full cup of clean lard and a cup of pork-flavored broth that I can use next time I cook beans or whatever.
This is now Friday and I'll post today.  We are experiencing a cold front and there will be several early mornings that will be below freezing, starting with Saturday morning.  It's VERRRRY windy now and out of the north, but overcast and about 50º expected for the high.  There's a 70% chance of "showers", which is a good thing when freezing temps are expected.  Today I'll dump some more wood chips on top of the potatoes that have emerged from the ground, bring in the rest the tomato plants I've been hardening off, and cover the little onion and herb seedlings that are in the ground.  The fruit trees are on their own.  Generally a cold spell will thin out the fruit yield but not eliminate it, and that's not always a bad thing.  But if we get to 26º or below, we may lose the whole crop.  And such is fruit tree growing in northern Oklahoma.  You just have to expect it.  If you get a good harvest from your tree only once, at least you've paid for your tree and for the dormant spraying that you have to do to protect it from the insects and disease.  Usually, I get a harvest one year out of three or four.
The asparagus is up and ready to pick.  I don't usually get very big crops but Hubs hates it and it doesn't freeze well, so by the time it's done, I'm satisfied.  Now's also the time to start digging Walking Onions.  (Zone 6) I've left some with several neighbors and have a couple more batches to dig and deliver before I'm through.  They need thinning out, anyway.  Jerusalem artichokes will probably be next but I don't usually share them because people don't know what they are.  Sometimes I'll give away small batches and tell them how to cook them but I don't know that they don't just end up in the trash.
This is about all I have to talk about this time, so I'll sign off here.  Till next time, Rock On....  xoxoxo

1 comment:

  1. Every time I see the Bridal wreath shrubs I have plant envy. :-)

    It is wonderful to see so many flowering trees that you have, and new growth popping up all around you. It must be so exciting.

    Happy Spring and Happy Easter dear Ilene ~ FlowerLady


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