In the garden- time for art

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Phoenix survival tip:

Drink plenty of water and repeat to yourself:

” The cost of living is low and the Winters are spectacular.”

 

June in our garden has been a little intense. Too many hot days. Then around my husband’s birthday (June 8th) we had a cold front come in for a couple of days. Now , it’s nothing like cold fronts from the middle part of the country, no, there was no frost with this. Still was nice all the same. It was like a warm Spring day with a cool breeze every now and then, it was wonderful.

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I opened all the windows and doors in our home to air things out some. We are all much happier with the windows open.

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I hate being shut up in the summer months. You can not survive here without air conditioning it seems. When I was a little girl we could not afford air conditioning in our home, so we relied on an old swamp cooler.

I remember sitting in front of a fan with a spray bottle to keep cool because the swamp cooler wasn’t enough sometimes. I didn’t know what it was like to live in a home with air conditioning until I left home at 18 and moved into a home that had it.

There were so many times my aunt who lived part time in that home I moved to (she had another home up north that she went to during the summer) would yell at me or anyone else who forgot to “ Shut the doors, the air is on.” that was a hard one to get used to because with swamp coolers you have to leave all doors opened a bit, a small crack to keep the air flowing through the house. In that case there was a lot of yelling of “ leave the door open a crack the cooler is on.” it is rough here in the desert.

Eventually, I did catch on to things. Where I lived as a child we didn’t have a dishwasher. We lived on a dirt road, and we hung up all our clothes on a clothes line outside.The only place I had ever traveled to was to the beach in California.

As soon as I officially became an adult I would not realize the places my life would take me. Places in Europe, Mexico and even central America. Pretty far from that dirt road I grew up next to. If every young adult traveled to a different country and culture in their 20’s then I believe the world would be a much nicer place. People just need to get to know each other, to learn new things, try new foods etc…ignorance is what separates. Anyway, that is an adventure for another time, this post is getting too long as it is.

So what’s been going on with our garden, not a whole lot. This is summer in an Arizona desert after all.It is hot everyday and not a  lot survives out there.

Some more of our cactus bloomed. The larger cactus were in bloom early one dawn morning. They are night bloomers, most cacti are. Only out for a tiny time, but what a treat they are. I call them my giant flowers from the night. The year I was sick and needed surgery was the year this cacti bloomed like crazy. My husband and I were amazed at all the flowers we got at that time. Such a beautiful gift it was. Oh, and the surgery went okay. Not something I like to address but I thought it was important I guess to share that with you all . It’s another great example of the gifts that we receive everyday and if we just look for them they are there. Right now with the way things seem to be out in the world, this added detail from our garden is something I think someone needs to read out there in the blogosphere right now. I almost lost my voice there but in the end I was okay and still can speak. All along God was sending clues that everything was going to be okay. Sometimes we become afraid to share those things we can not see and explain because we will be looked at as crazy I guess or even worse we will be hated and attacked for those beliefs of ours, so sharing this is not an easy thing but someone needs to read it. Stay strong, it will get better.

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We also have night blooming Jasmine in our garden but that poor plant is struggling right now, which is so sad because I have had it for years. If you ever come across Jasmine grab it up for your gardens because it is such a treat to smell that fragrance late at night. I sometimes will go swimming at night and the whole back garden smells of Jasmine.

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Our quail were moved back outside. The extreme temps are gone for now, if and when it goes to a record temp day we will bring them back in again. They are messy and they do poop a lot. Sometimes I forget to mention the ugly work involved with chickens, birds and gardens. It isn’t always pretty flowers and soft baby quail.

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In the morning I get up before the heat , usually around 5 am to rake up and clean bird poop everywhere out in the garden. The whole family takes turns with these dirty chores.

When we have to bring the quail inside our Arizona room, which is sort of like an indoor green house, we always have the birds enclosed in large plastic bins or boxes lined with paper to clean up easily. The white quail are more suited for the hotter temps so they are okay.

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This month the white quail started laying eggs. We have special scissors to break open the eggs. I made scrambled Quail egg tacos that morning. Added chopped onions, red and green peppers and mushrooms. Top it off with guacamole and salsa.

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We sold some chickens this month, two for $40 which is cheaper then what some are selling for right now in the city. There is still a high demand for egg layers.

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Our peppers are still producing but sadly no tomatoes, even the ones in our grow tents inside, and now I am noticing the other seeds we planted are also struggling. The peppers we have had from generations of seeds we had in our seed library. We all know what’s going on here, just like our water being taken from us and resold in plastic bottles that only pollute the planet more…starting to look more and more like the seeds we normally could rely on are dying off each generation that grows and this is not a bee problem. Such evil, to take away the things every human being on this planet should have access to. Everyone should have access to water and food, there is enough on this planet to feed everyone as long as greedy scientists stop messing around with what God already created. Might have to leave this part out…some sarcastic humor I guess. Again, some  may think the lock downs, along with everything else have finally made me snap…nope, this is just my anger coming out with all the poisons and greed I see all the time. Too many chefs in the kitchen as they say and they have really messed things up for us all.

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Our potatoes are still surviving but barely, but our squash did not make it. I will be using some of their leaves for some garden art projects. There is some squash growing in with the potatoes too. This is also Arizona heat, our weather plays a big part in everything dying too, can’t blame everything on those old conspiracy theories out there, some of this is just common sense that we do live in a desert after all.

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This is all we got from our squash seeds we planted.

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It got way too hot, way too early this year for our Sunflowers . This poor little gal never had a chance to seed. I love giant sunflowers in the garden. Hopefully we will be able to grow some next time.

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All these plants dying off just adds to a lot of clean up. The chickens are enjoying the piles of plants I have to clean up. Nothing gets wasted in our garden.

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My art in the garden kept being pushed off week after week, to finally having a break in the hot temps to have it. Remember I wrote I was going to set up an art table for the neighbors and their kids so they could stretch their legs and get out of their locked down homes to do some art outside, well, finally we had an opportunity to do that.

I also started on my little red wagon miniature garden, although I have a feeling I may have started too late because we are going into the hotter months where nothing survives out there really. At least I will be able to make my miniature houses for the wagon garden.

My propagating plant nursery lost some plants. I had to replant and add new plants to it . It was such a mess. I make my husband laugh sometimes because I will switch the words propagate and propaganda, it’s a dyslexic thing I believe. I will say “ My plants are dying on my propaganda shelf.” then at the last minute I will catch myself… “I mean propagate shelf.” and we both laugh.

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Remember for Mother’s Day I wasn’t able to get new plants because we were still in our lock down here. This month the dollar store had tiny succulents for sale. I was so happy, I love these little plants, although sadly they do not love me. The summer heat and the inside cold air conditioning wrecks havoc on them and they never survive but I still bought a few to take home for some propaganda…just kidding, there is no brainwashing of my plants.

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Mostly in June, in our garden, we hang out in the water, trying to cool off and relax from the stress life brings. Boy are we needing some of that now.

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One of our neighbors usually signs her little girl up for local swim lessons at the city pool just down our street, which is officially open now but with the numbers going up in our state she will not be joining that crowd. I told her I will leave our pool gate open and unlocked between a certain hour so she can have it free to teach her preschooler how to swim. If not my pool then the neighbors next to us as well as the neighbors next to her house have a pool and we all share everything with each other. We are all keeping up with social distancing, well most. There are a couple neighbors who just refuse to believe it is that bad, they are not really changing their lifestyle much but we still all help each other out. Our pool is the only pool with mature trees all around so I told her there may be days where it is like swimming in a pond out in nature but it is still kept clean.

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I have a fun little Diy project for this tiny toy sailboat coming up.

Almost forgot the best part of these monthly garden updates…flowers. Believe it or not, we are still getting some blooms. We have third generation marigolds growing in our garden now. I guess all non edible plant seeds grow well but anything we need to feed ourselves with is always a challenge to grow.

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Look how well my third generation spider plants are doing.

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Came from this plant here.

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And look at this, the pomegranate tree we bought from a local farmer here from cuttings from his tree is actually producing something. If I could go back in time, I would grab up as many edible plants seeds as possible. Now days, it is a bit of a challenge to find some but they are out there. Sadly, I worry each year that goes by, the harder this will be. Start collecting and teaching your children about plants and how important they are.

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For what our garden doesn’t produce we buy. Produce is pretty cheap in our state, for now that is. Okay, this post is seeming a little bitter, need to turn that around…just a long week I guess and it is showing up in my writing. I just hope none of this stuff I am addressing right now is actually happening, seems like some wicked science fiction movie we are all stuck in. Just too many things I guess happening where we question everything and I mean everything. That includes the prices of our food, the seeds we buy, even what’s in the foods we ingest. Our trust levels are at an all time low right now I fear and this is worldwide.

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At the farmers market we loaded up on all kinds of fruits and veggies to can and dehydrate. We bought a huge bag of peppers to dry for only $1. My husband makes a powder from garlic, peppers, and avocado seeds in place of salt. He grinds the avocado seeds into a powder. Research how beneficial these seeds are when added to smoothies and sprinkled on things we eat. We are all tossing things that have great benefits to our bodies.

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Peppers drying outside in our garden wheelbarrow. We have a dehydrating machine but this old fashioned way works too for anyone who does’t have the machine.

I have to make sure to fill the water dishes outside twice now, the little birds everywhere are drinking up that water fast. This always happens in the summer. Sometimes, if lucky a little finch will fly into the tree branches above and provide us with some musical entertainment for a bit or a white winged dove will watch us from the edge of the pool all the way off at one end waiting for food or something. I am still trying to get a photo of those finches that visit me. I am starting to believe they really are camera shy. And, yeah, they are still flying up above me where ever I am in the garden, chirping down at me loudly, then they fly off. Almost feels like they could be angry and swearing at me in their tiny bird language. I still do not know what the heck is their problem or what they are saying. If I had to guess I think it would be “ Hey, scat, this is our garden.” poor little boogers, if they only knew.

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That’s it for this month. How are all of you doing in your gardens? Happy gardening adventures everyone.

 

22 Comments Add yours

  1. Gersom Clark says:

    You are right, Cheri! Having those feathered pets is not all that cute, there is poop for one. But then again, there are so cute and thank you for sharing their photos and stories. The japanese quails seem to be a good breed. That taco, with all its ingredients, is so yummy! I fell hungry and craving for tacos at 1:14AM PHT. Well, I shall dream of tacos now.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you, your comment made me smile. You should make those tacos, they are really easy. Just get some corn tortillas, warm them up and add the scrambles eggs with diced green and red bell peppers, cooked diced onions and diced mushrooms. Then add whatever topping you like to that. We love salsa and avocado because living in Arizona they are easy to come by. Sometimes I will add a little melted cheddar cheese if we have some on hand.

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      1. Gersom Clark says:

        You make me real hungry for tacos. 😄 I’m currently eating tortillas…the pringles kind. 😅 What is missing in the pantry is my favorite mushroom and wait, also the real tortillas. I’ll just dream of it tonight or early dawn; yes those melted cheddar cheese, oh, what we missed in this quarantine. And avocado too. These shall be in my list of food to eat in this new normal. I’ll check the online stores tomorrow or later today. Thank you, Cheri, for reminding me of this dish and its very yummy😋 ingredients. 🙂👍

        Liked by 1 person

      2. Oh my, I forget sometimes that not everyone is open out there. We were able to do some early morning shopping with our masks own, rubber gloves, gels and alcohol spray, plus glasses of course. Here in our state we opened up last month on Memorial Day. Then two weeks later our numbers and hospitals started filling up and now more people are going to the hospital and also dying sadly. Mostly we stay in too, but when we do try to get fresh fruits and veggies for the week it is a whole process of taking all items to the back garden work table, disinfecting and soaking in dish soap for some items and others we remove from packages after wiping down and leaving in UV sun rays for awhile. This is probably why dairy is not a big item in our home at the moment but if we do get some we wipe packages with Clorox wipes. And of course wash our hands like crazy, even some bottles of food get washed and dry outside. Seems extreme but Arizona is one of those states that is getting record cases now because some people are not taking this seriously enough. We, I believe are going a little over board but this virus thing is a little freaky. Anyway, if you need a tortilla recipe here is a link to one of my older post on that:
        https://ourlittleredhouseblog.com/2018/05/05/diy-flour-tortillas/
        Hope you have the ingredients on hand. We all have to be a little creative with our new normal’s that for sure. Have a great weekend.

        Liked by 1 person

      3. Gersom Clark says:

        Yes, Cheri, we heard about the news on the spike of cases in the US after opening. 2 weeks actually is the incubation period and chances are, here, that will be the case after opening or lifting the restrictions. Same thing here in the house, I have to wear a mask and/or face shield, nitrile gloves, shower cap or handkerchief, and cooking/industrial eye glasses (most of the times I forgot to wear the glasses) before meeting the delivery guy or girl. We had all our groceries, fruits and vegetables, meat and eggs, medicines/vitamins, “new normal” stock, and other supplies delivered by online shops and pharmacy. The distance is at least a meter between them and me. Almost all transactions are cashless. After which, the hygiene protocol proceeds; throwing used masks & gloves and cleaning shields and glasses. We also cleaned all items with (bubbled) soap and throwing the outer boxes (e.g. cookies, flour mixes) if possible. We watched the outside with CCTV cameras. That is the new normal. Thank you, Cheri, for the recipe. Yes, we will be innovative. GOD bless you and your family!

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      4. We are both living in the same world, cleaning everything up the best we can. Although my husband and I still go out about once or twice a month to shop for fresh food now. The delivery services have mostly boxed meals and they can get expensive when ordering things online. It wouldn’t be so bad if we didn’t have to worry about violence out there with the tension media has stirred up and now even our little escape up north to Our Little Red House is closed down for awhile since the wildfires started. I have a day of rest today, a day to be thankful for the good things in our life because they are there. sometimes we forget. Gratefulness is something everyone could work on. Oh, and being kind to others. Have a beautiful Sunday and God bless you too.

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      5. Gersom Clark says:

        Great is the Triune GOD’s faithfulness to your family, Cheri, in spite of all the obstacles, whether man-made or natural hazard, you manage it through. You have home grown resources like fresh eggs, meat, and so on. Hopefully, things will get better in the days ahead. Media does that. Greatful indeed to GOD who sustains us whether in the US, Ph or other parts of the world. Likewise, Cheri, a blessed week ahead. 🙂

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      6. Amen, so true. Stay safe and I will keep you all in our prayers. Lots of praying going on during these times and also thankfulness as well.

        Liked by 1 person

      7. Gersom Clark says:

        Likewise, Cheri, I will pray for you and your family. True, prayer is actually powerful. Every day is a grace from GOD. GOD bless.

        Liked by 1 person

  2. Tanya says:

    I had a rose bloom in the middle of December one year. Nothing ever blooms in December here. That’s how I knew hubby and I would be ok.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Love this story, I believe those are signs too. That is unusual to see a rose bloom in December what a treat that must have been too.

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  3. Oh man, I feel terrible not having stopped by for such a long time and see I have a lot of catching up to do!
    Glad to hear you’re still standing strong, although it can’t be easy in the heat you’re having to endure permanently!
    We had 95 degrees today and if it were up to me…..that’s enough for this year 😉
    We don’t have AC, but that’s on purpose….I don’t like it and it’s a no brainer if you live off grid anyhow.
    I don’t know how you did it though….with or without AC….although I have to admit your pool looks inviting 😉
    The amount and variety of plants you have is mind blowing to me! So beautiful…and I’m sure a lot of work !!
    Well, I hope you don’t loose faith in humanity and I’m sure some things that will come out of this, will be for the better. At least I want to believe this.
    Take care, big hug and stay safe

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I was going to look you up on your website or Instagram (wasn’t sure but think you are there) wanted to make sure you were all okay. We have air conditioning here in the city but when I was a little girl my home did not have it. Up north at Our Little Red House we don’t have air conditioning but that is a much cooler area here in Arizona. We can’t get up there at the moment because of the fires. The whole town is in the set mode when it comes to the fire reaching them. We do a system here called ready, set, go when the wildfires start in our state. This is why we are all on edge right now. To think that Our Little Red House up north might burn is just too much to think about but it is more important that our friends that live up there permanently are safe as well as their animals. My family is safe and well, we are all together so any material items don’t matter but it is still sad to think about, so far the fire was blocked the back way by one of our lakes. Some friends have horses. I do not want any buildings to be burned and we are all just hoping and praying that this fire ends soon. We had riots here not to far from our home in the city and buildings were damaged and windows were broken but thankfully no one got hurt. There are more shootings happening in our city so we stay in from outside at night. There is a tension here in our country and I fear the closer we get to our election the worse things will get. We are all okay, keeping our distance when out shopping, wearing masks which is mandatory now in our city…everyone has to wear them now. Everyday I try to stay positive and do something fun, sharing some of those things on this blog site. What strange times we live in but it is not all bad, there are good people everywhere. You guys stay safe over there. I am so happy to see your comment, lets me know you guys are okay over there in that part of the world. Big hugs back to you both from us all over here in Arizona.

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  4. Glad you had a couple cooler days out there. We didn’t have air conditioning when I was younger either but we didn’t have the oppressive heat you all have there and if we did it was for a shorter time.my dad put large fans in the windows to pull the air in. I had never heard of a swamp cooler until I started researching ways to cool off a house with all roll out windows two months ago. When we would visit family in the south they would tell us to close the doors because “the air” was on too.

    It was nice you offered some encouragement to those who are struggling with worries right now. Kind words are very much needed right now.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you Lisa. I am hopeful that we all can all make the changes this world needs right now to heal what is broken at the moment because something is broken. There are more good people then bad, and the good people need to start speaking up to let us all know they are there. Fear is such a terribly thing but who’s to blame anyone, just have to find our courage and compassion.

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  5. I forgot to add that my garden doesn’t seem to want to grow this year, but we will see. Maybe it’s like the old saying “a watched pot won’t boil.” Maybe a watched garden won’t grow.”

    Liked by 1 person

    1. You know, I think you might be on to something there. Words of wisdom.

      Liked by 1 person

  6. Love your propagating plant nursery!
    We do all container gardening in 20 gallon containers. We’ve had yellow squash and zucchini, sugar snap peas, romaine lettuce, a little broccoli and some cabbage so far. Our tomatoes, mini watermelons, mini cantaloupes and cucumbers are blooming and starting to produce, but it will be awhile before they are ready.
    Praying the fires die out soon!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I would love to visit that garden you have growing. It is so hot here now that are garden looks so sad. Our corn is growing though and we always have peppers too.

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      1. I can’t even imagine what it’s like to garden in your climate.

        Liked by 1 person

      2. In the summer, not so fun. In the Winter, again, not so fun, because we have to bring everything inside at night because of freezes. The only good times are Fall and Spring.

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