A night with Ike…

That was one wicked wind storm last night.  It sounded like Marine One was landing on our front yard, repeatedly, for several hours.  The power kept flickering.  Branches fell out of trees and blocked the roads.  I found a rather large tree branch on the hood of our car this morning.  No damage, thank G_d, but a whole lot of people in northeast Ohio woke up to damaged cars and houses this morning.  My poor tomato plants did not survive the wind storm.  They were ripped into bits.

Just sitting in my living room, hoping and praying that the power wouldn’t go out during the Steelers/Browns game, I wondered how in the hell anyone in Texas, especially Galveston, rode out Ike in their homes.  Frightening.  I often wonder why anyone would choose to live in a hurricane plagued are or a tornado prone area or along a fault line.  I don’t think I am as tough as those people.  Perhaps I don’t have the fortitude to deal with those things.  Then again, I deal with Lake Erie winters, so I am somewhat tough.  Right?

At this very moment I am listening to a local talk radio program where the host is taking calls from people perplexed by the sudden increase in gas prices.  Of course they are blaming the oil companies, not the huge range of factors caused by the hurricane.  I find that frustrating.

S’s mom and dad are planning to visit this coming weekend.  We are going to take them to the Yankee Peddler festival on Saturday.  Mrs. S has been nagging us to take her for about four years now.  I don’t think that Mr. S is looking forward to it at all.  When we took them to a county fair last summer, they practically jogged us through the whole thing, all the while complaining about the smell of the animals.  Seriously, we were in and out of the Cuyahoga County Fair in a little over an hour.  Now, there won’t be animals at the Yankee Peddler, but it is still pretty much just a huge craft fair.  When we have gone in the past, we usually stay about four hours.  I am willing to bet that this year we do the whole festival in two hours.

Tina Fey on Saturday Night Live as Sarah Palin was priceless.  However, the rest of the show was horrible.  Maybe they used all the funny on the opening skit and that is why all the rest of the skits lacked the funny.  But I am pleased t report that S and I watched Baby Mama (Tina Fey and Amy Pohler)on Friday and it was funny.  I feared that it was going to be one of those movies where all of the funny parts were in the advertisements, but no.

I checked out my stocks this morning and got a little ill.  But then I made the decision not to look again today while there is the Lehman uproar.  I already feel better.  Things ebb and flow and I usually resist getting too caught up in the whirlwind of financial prognostication.  Today should be no exception.

Finished reading Fleeced  by Dick Morris this weekend.  Not a very good book.  Too shallow.  And I got the impression that some of his “down with the tyrants” rants were hollow.  I don’t think he really believes half of what he wrote in that book.  Total waste of my money and time and for that I should slap myself in the face, because I have alwasy avoided his books in the past.

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One red tomato…

I have an update on the upside down tomato experiment

On the Grape Roma plant we have five tomatoes, one of them is now red enough to pick.  On the Beef Stake plant, there is one lonely tomato and it is tiny and green. 

My next door neighbor went the traditional route with his tomato plants.  It looks like he has about five plants and they are all hanging heavy with the tomato fruit.  Only two or three of them are red though.  I am jealous.

Upside down tomatoes…

It is all the rage this year…  There are infomercials selling kits for upside down tomatoes and ads in all of the gardening magazines for kits and blog posts on making your own kits.  I’m not usually one to fall for fads but this one intrigued me.  I have a difficult time with tomatoes because the squirrels take them as soon as they get to a good size.  The plants get unruly and I hate tomato cages.  But this whole upside down thing seemed to be a good answer to at least some of my tomato growing problems.

I did not purchase a kit because they cost $19.99 and you really can make your own.  I got the idea from a blog which recommended using those big 5 gallon buckets for big plants.  But I didn’t want to hang those from my house, so I used coffee cans.  S and I are rabid coffee drinkers, so we have a ton of old cans around the house.

I turned the coffee cans upside down and cut half-dollar sized holes in the bottoms.  The holes have to be wide enough to feed the plant down through, but small enough so that the whole of the plant doesn’t fall through.

I bought two tomato plants from the Wal-Mart Garden Center, one regular Beefstake and one grape sized Roma.  I took them out of the store pots and fed them down through the holes that I had cut.  I then filled in the rest of the coffee can with potting soil.  I also added some organic fertilizer.

I had drilled some holes around the top rim of the can and S tied twine through the holes so that we could hang them.  I put two nails into the side of the house and we hung the twine from them.

I chose to hang them on the driveway side of the house because it gets lots of sun all day long.  S was feeling a little snobby when I hung them and insisted that my hillbilly creations be hung toward the back of the house so the neighbors wouldn’t see them.  I complied even though I thought she was being ridiculous.

What is kind of neat about the upside down tomato contraption is that the plants still want to grow up toward the sun.  So they curl upwards.  Since I started with a more mature plant I don’t have to worry about it as much.  But if you start with a really young plant you have to make sure it doesn’t try to grow up through the hole in the coffee can.

Another neat thing is that you have the top of the can full of soil and nothing in it, so you can plant other things in it.  I chose chives.

We already have two yellow flowers on the Beefstake tomato plant and the start of some flowers on the Roma.  I cannot wait to watch them grow.

Around the garden…

We took a lot of pictures this weekend, mostly of the garden and the various things we are growing.

This is my favorite, the pink coneflower

And our little bush roses are doing really well after a bit of a rough start…

The sage in my herb garden has had some wicked growth.  We’re going to put some aside for the Thanksgiving turkey and stuffing…

And this is my garden nemisis

We are fighting the good fight with the blood meal, but when it gets washed away by heavy rain, the bunnies picnic on our garden.

Blueberry update…

The blueberries are ripe and ready…

Last year the three blueberries that grew and ripened were eaten by animals.  This year we picked them and ate them.  I think we ended up with 10 berries this time around.  Someday I hope to get a bowl full of berries from this bush.

Our front garden…

This is not at all what I intended.  When I removed the old shrubbery and put in new arborvitae bushes, I intended to mulch around them and watch them grow.

But S had other ideas.  She emptied an entire box of mixed seeds in the dirt around the arborvitae.

The arborvitae are still in there and I assume they are doing well…

And here are some of the flowers that S is pretty fond of…

Watching the grass grow, day 40…

Previously posted: Watching the grass grow, day 13…

Okay, so I didn’t give weekly or even bi-weekly updates on the Scott’s PatchMaster grass seed.  But it has done fairly well.

Here is a picture of the previously bald spots from today, day 40.

The previously bald spot that was behind the lawn chair filled in better than I had expected.  I actually cut it last week and it handled it well.  The previously bald spot in front of the lawn chair only filled in spottily.  To be fair, the birds were picking at that oval quite a bit.  They probably took off with half of the grass seed. 

I suoppse I can now recommend the product since it worked really well in the one area.