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Re: everybody outside today?

Cyndi, your garden sounds so much more productive than mine has been
this summer, but then our drought hasn't helped a bit.  The rain this weekend
is the first really good rain we have had since early June, and this year I 
just not been able to carry water - nor can we use the hose in a drought for
fear of problems with the well.
What has been good until just the last few days before the rains came has
been beans.  I have had really good beans since early July.  The tomatoes
have been so-so.  All the leafy things - lettuces and mustards - pooped out
very early.  Squashes were doing pretty well until a couple of weeks ago 
when they just dried up.  Cucumbers were only about half the usual size,
which I also attribute to the drought.  Peppers never really got a start this
year.  Some okra, but we never get a big crop up here.  But beans, we have 
had in profusion.
What I did harvest this weekend was the quinces from my flowering quince
bushes.  This is the first year in several that they have done well, but this
year was a good crop, and I now have eight glasses of very pretty jelly.  
One of the quinces is grown from a seed I filched from the botanical garden
in San Francisco in the late 1960s.  It has a stunningly brilliant blossom, 
new foliage is usually red until it unfurls fully.  The other is a rather 
'Japanese' quince with pink flowers - pretty but not in any way exceptional.
The jelly made from their fruit has a rather delicate, but quite tart flavor. 
like it both on toast and as a glaze for roast ham.

I am extremely grateful for the rain that is lingering to refill the pond and 
the ground for my trees and shrubs before the winter sets in.  It was so dry
until the rain began on Saturday that things were looking awful.  I had 
intended to get out and start fall cleanup even though there has been no 
really cool weather.  We had hoped our son would be down from upstate
to bring us a load of firewood and help with getting houseplants in before
frost.  Because of the rains, he didn't come (not really surprising - that son
has never been very dependable or predictable).  Now we will have to figure
out some other way to get big plants in.  There are three very large hibiscus
and several other large containers that we are just not able to handle any 
We will either find someone to hire to help us, or just have to give up on 
of them.  Of course I have been threatening to do that for several years now 
maybe now's the time.

In a message dated 10/11/2005 11:55:47 AM Eastern Daylight Time, 
cyndi.johnson@edwards.af.mil writes:
October here is almost always gorgeous and so it was this weekend, it was in
the 80s. Great gardening weather, too bad I didn't do any. For the second
weekend in a row I managed to tweak my back so that I can't move very well.
Last time it faded out just in time to go to work on Monday, great huh?, but
this time it's taking a lot longer to go away. I can't tell if it's from
overdoing at my yoga class last week or if I've pinched a nerve somehow, it
doesn't hurt in the same place as two weeks ago. So Saturday I tottered
around doing laundry, Sunday we went to a little local festival where I
walked very slowly, and yesterday I did manage to get into the vegetable
garden and get a lot of peppers. 
Picking without bending at the waist is tricky but I did okay, although at
one point I stepped into what I thought was a bare patch in the middle of
the plants and it turned out to be a huge hole! There is either a very
active gopher or a small rabbit out there. But I had to do something, first
frost is in about 3 weeks and the peppers are still good. Zucchini is
producing still and my tomatoes have come back to life. No chance they'll
ripen but I'll get plenty of green ones. The cantaloupe died all of a sudden
last week, don't know what that was about - one day there was a huge patch
of leaves and ripening melons and the next day, dead as could be. Maybe the
gopher? I picked what was salvageable and the chickens will eat the rest. 
In the ornamental garden, all the salvias are blooming - especially the
germander sage (salvia chamaedryoides, I think). The russian sage (not a
salvia) is really starting to get invasive, I'm going to have to be ruthless
about pulling it this winter, but the bees are having a great time on it. I
have asters, roses, still some blossoms on the crepe myrtle and a couple of
the lilacs got confused and have put out a few blossoms. The gaillardia and
coreopsis would be blooming, if I'd deadheaded at all this year. Mostly what
I have is weeds. Next year I will have my work cut out for me to clear all
Anyway after I got all those peppers I figured I'd do some canning, I can
stand up while doing that. I roasted and peeled them, then pickled them. I
got ten half pints and would have had a lot more except I ran out of jar
lids, so it was roasted peppers with chicken for dinner.

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