Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Murder mystery, and watermelons, etc.

Murder mystery first. A gal from Indiana posted an inquiry on about a cousin of hers who was, as she noted, convicted and executed in 1946 for a murder he did not commit. Well, Barry and I took that as a challenge to find out what happened. We've been to Frankfort to the state archives, and researched the appeal of the case; we've been to Somerset and copied newspaper accounts of the crime, the trial, and the execution; we've been to Nancy (near Somerset) to photograph the grave stone. End result -- reads like a Perry Mason mystery. The guy and his accomplice both participated in the murder, but conflicting testimony in today's jurisprudence would not have gotten either of the parties executed. Unfortunately, we're working with 1946 standards and rules, and, yes, the man was executed, his partner receiving a life sentence. We're willing to do genealogy and historical research for anything or anyone! Gives us something MORE to do. Interesting case though.

On a brighter note, it seems that Barry's gardening skills and Kentucky's soils will grow about anything. Again this year, the front garden has gotten away, and is growing so fast, the squash vines will soon reach the Tennessee border. The compost we made last fall and winter didn't fully kill all the seeds, so wherever Barry used the compost, we have vegetables sprouting up. In the slash pile behind the carport, we have tomatoes and potatoes. In the herb garden, we have squash and melons. In the window boxes with the petunias we have more tomatoes. And this little gem... Yup, it's a watermelon, growing in the driveway -- crushed rock, and who knows what soil, if any, is underneath it. Right now it's about the size of a softball, but with another couple of weeks of growing time, it'll fully grow and ripen.

Barry has the second crop of broccoli started, and those will go in the ground in another couple of weeks so we'll get a fall crop too. We haven't bought vegetables in a grocery store since April 2008!

The cucumbers were grown as an experiment on 4 foot high fencing. They are free of bugs, and are growing so well we've already canned 6 quart jars each of dill and bread and butter pickles, with more to go. The peppers -- he picked a 5-gallon pail full just to get the weight off the plants -- and we made green pepper relish, another 7 jars.

The onions are doing quite well; we have about a dozen drying now, and will either try to keep them or will freeze them -- YES, we found directions on how to freeze onions and peppers! Slice them the way you want them, arrange them on a tray in the freezer, then when frozen, pop them in freezer bags.

We're gonna have to get a second freezer.

Monday, July 13, 2009

For Pushpa

When Pushpa asked me to send her some pictures of the garden, I thought, if I send her the ones I want, it'll take her days to read the email. So I remembered -- "Hey dummy, you have a blog website, why not post them there?"

Well, here they are, Pushpa.

Amaranth -- it'll produce an edible grain, but I think it's just a beautiful shrub in the meantime.

Back garden -- early crops are out, waiting for fall plantings of cool-weather vegetables. At least a peck of red potatoes out of just TWO hills! Enough strawberries to eat AND to freeze. Beets, chard, collards, broccoli, cilantro are among other occupants of this garden.

Crepe myrtle -- it looks BEAUTIFUL this year, and will bloom well into September or October. The previous owners trimmed it way back apparently quite frequently, but we want it to grow its own way -- it may eventually reach to 15 feet -- right now it's about 5.

Cucumber trimmings -- we're growing cucumbers on 4 foot wire fencing this year -- this is just ONE of the tendrils Barry cut off because they're growing SO well he had to thin them out. We've already picked enough to make 8 quarts of pickles (see pic below). This is the side porch -- most of which is now freshly-painted.

Cukes on wire fencing -- they grow upright so they don't have those yellow spots from being on the ground; and they are CLEAN! We tried them on nylon netting, the kind you use to keep birds out, but they just grew over it and dragged it down. But the wire fencing is a GO for next year!

Front garden -- note the single lonely sunflower (there are actually several, but only this one shows in this picture) and the amaranth. This is where we plant the warm-weather crops. Tomatoes (3-4 types), corn (2-3 types), melons (3-4 types), cucumbers, green peppers, string beans. And this year, amaranth an the occasional sunflower. That's a white pine tree on the left -- we actually PAID MONEY for it down here. But then the trumpet vine which grows wild here, Barry paid money to get up in Maine. Go figure.

Front garden 2 -- looking back toward the shed. Pink shrub in the back is the crepe myrtle. Shot includes as well, the east end of the house, where the white porch is.

Grapes -- no, not for a winery, just a few for eating. It looks like we installed telephone poles, but these will give the grapes 7 or 8 wires on which to spread.

Kiwi -- actually Chinese gooseberry, growing on the south side of the shed. The vines get up to 25 feet long -- these are growing along a 16 foot deep shed wall.

Sage in blossom -- an older pic, but haven't posted anything like it yet.

Barry making pickles -- 6 quarts of dill, 6 quarts of bread and butter. I insisted he use the larger cucumbers, and unfortunately, they didn't fill the jars up quite enough and left lots of space, so he ran out of brine. I'll wise up next time.

Finally, a photo Barry took of me and my grandson, Gannon, at the Maine Mall. He's always smiling, and even his eyes smile. He's SO cute!