July 15, 2011
At the time we built our home twenty-three years ago, we had been breeding and showing Longhaired Dachshunds for about ten years. We also had two small children, Drew and Mary Kathryn who were ages 8 and 4 at the time. We had been very successful showing our dogs but decided raising our kids was more important than finishing another champion, so we hung up our leashes and retired our remaining dogs to just being our pets. Having quite a few dogs when we moved in, it was decided that the back yard would belong to the dogs until their time had passed. As the number of Dachshunds dwindled over the years they were replaced by our son's Rhodesian Ridgeback 'Jade', our daughter's Rat Terrier 'Susie', 'Duncan' the rescue smooth mini Dachshund, 'Boomer' the rescue Rhodesian and 'Belle' my dad's "Dingo looking dog" I inherited when he passed away.
July 6, 2011
It's time again for one of my favorite oriental lilies "Casa blanca" whose name also brings to mind one of favorite movies of the same name. This lily has one of the most beautiful fragrances . It is much stronger and more pleasant than any of the other oriental lilies in my experience. The flowers are big and beautiful and really stand out in the garden. The only negative aspect of this lily is it's short blooming period which is common with most oriental lilies.
Botanical name: Lilium Casa Blanca
Botanical name: Lilium Casa Blanca
Attributes: A fragrant, large Oriental hybrid lily that is easy to grow and tolerant of summer heat. It is a hardy perennial bulb that can be grown outdoors in zones 4-8(Peninsula Zone 7) and is very disease-resistant. Casa Blanca lilies usually grow 3 to 4 feet tall and hold up well without staking. (Mine were reaching for the sun so I had to stake them.) I think I will move them to a full sun location before next season.
My other favorite oriental lily is the "Stargazer " oriental lily. While not as fragrant as the Casa Blanca in my opinion, it is still a truly beautiful lily and a great addition to any garden.
From the garden:
I am really bummed about my tomatoes. It appears that wilt is rampant in all my SWC's (self watering containers) which has me somewhat mystified. Typically wilt in tomatoes is caused by lack of water or by vascular wilts Verticillium and Fusarium which are caused by soil-borne fungi that invade the tomato plants through injured roots. The fungi then spreads into the water-conducting tissue in the stem and blocks the flow of water to the foliage. Foliage of the affected plants turn yellow, then wilts and dies. I'm mystified because with the SWC the water should be consistently wicked to the root system of the plant. Secondly, the soil in the containers was garden and flower soil bought at Lowe's, so I would imagine that it would not contain any fungi. I am resolved that the container tomatoes are a lost cause at least for this year until I can figure out what I did wrong. What tomatoes I harvested were very good, I'm just not happy with the production. I still have quite a few tomatoes in the garden that are doing ok without any signs of wilt but are already about four feet tall and kind of spindly in my opinion and are just now starting to set flower. I have a soaker hose that I use to water them and usually water them 1-2 times a week as needed. I am concerned that they may not be getting enough hours of sunlight. Anyway, live and learn. Thus are the woes of a farmer.
I have been harvesting the "Rattlesnake Pole Beans" the past couple of weeks and they are delicious in addition to the red okra which although limited in quantity is still very good.
The eggplants are doing well in the SWC's .
Finally, meet the newest addition to the family. "Thumbs" She is a polydactyl kitty with six toes on both front feet. Looking at the pictures you can see how she got her name.
July 3, 2011
The first time someone asked me if I had ever had tomato pie, I thought they were kidding. Who in their right mind would ever think of putting tomatoes in a pie? I must admit the thought of a tomato pie seemed repugnant and I'm sure my facial expression further confirmed that "this shall never pass my lips". However, my wife can be very convincing at times and finally persuaded me to just try " a brownie bite" a ploy often used on our kids to get them to try something new. I could not believe how something so terrible sounding could be so good. If you like tomato sandwiches (which I do) then you are going to love this pie. It is ridiculously simple to put together and only takes about 45 minutes from start to finish.
Use a regular deep dish (9 in) pie crust. Bake at 350 for 5 minutes, let cool.
While crust is cooling, peel and slice several tomatoes and place on paper towels to absorb moisture.
Add tomatoes to cooled crust along with sliced (or diced) onion (Vadalia works great) if you want. Sprinkle with salt, pepper and sweet basil. Sprinkle a little regular flour to absorb moisture.
Continue layering tomatoes......
Mix 3/4 cup of mayo, 1 1/2 cups of shredded cheese of choice (we like sharp cheddar). Spread
on top of tomatoes.
Bake at 350 for about 35 minutes or until brown.