Saturday, June 13, 2009

Drumroll Please!!

I've been meaning to post about this for two weeks, but haven't found the time or the words. Or maybe I was just afraid that if I put it out on the World Wide Web, I would wake up to find it had just been a dream...
Hubby and I put down earnest money on a new house!!!!!!!!!!!! After looking at houses for months and months and convincing myself we would never actually move, I am shocked at how quickly a decision was made when the right house came along. We are going with the builder/home/neighborhood I eluded to before. We both loved the layout of the house, the garage is to die for and the backyard might be big enough for a new HUGE garden for me and just maybe a pool. Apparently Cervelle Homes has not been hit by the housing recession I keep hearing about in the news...they've got so many houses on order they won't even be starting ours until NOVEMBER!!! They said their process takes about 5 months to complete a house, so we won't get to actually move into our new home until next spring, likely in March or April. But STILL! We're getting a new house!!! A great big, beautiful, brand new home! I am so thrilled I can barely stand myself.
I am also thankful that we've got some time before the house will be ready. Our current home is STILL suffering from damage caused by hurricane Ike. TWIA is still refusing to pay for the proper repairs. Even once we get a new roof, Hubby and I want to replace some, if not all, of the siding and repaint this house. So, though I desperately want to move like yesterday, it is good that the new Butler abode will not be ready for a while. Not to mention that the new place is quite literally more than twice the size of our current house, so I think Hubby and I are going to need to do some shopping. :-)

Our new home!!!
You'll have to excuse the following mess. I was having a very hard time downloading the floorplan off the builder's website...

Half the downstairs...
The other half...don't ask me, I don't know why it did that...

Hubby is beside himself with excitement over the new garage. It's four cars with a "barn" style room over the entire area and a porte cochere (covered parking for wifey who refuses to park in the garage). You have the option of having the room above the garage finished out or trying to do it yourself. Hubby and I actually somewhat enjoy house projects, so we've opted to finish it out ourselves. We're thinking ginormous guest suite. There's almost 1200 square feet above the garage which is not that much smaller than our current house!

So that's the good news! I'm sure I will bore you with ad nauseam talk of furniture and cabinet/counter/tile choices over the next few months. On the plus side, maybe I'll shut up about my garden. ;-) Actually, I wonder where the graph paper is...I want to start laying out the veggie garden for the new place... ;-)

closing note: I tried one of the spicy bread and butter pickles before it went into the canner. YUM-O!!! I am so terribly impressed with myself. If you're a fan of bread and butter pickles and want to give them a shot, lemme know!! :-)

A Flyby Posting

Hubby and I had corn tonight from the garden. He thinks we let it stay on the stalks too long as it was somewhat chewy. Another lesson learned. I'll be ripping the used up stalks out of the ground tomorrow and putting in some new ones. I'm determined to get some corn!
Other things are growing like crazy right now. I'm currently making my first ever batch of PICKLES!!!! We got quite a few cucumbers off the plants this past week, and I don't want them to go bad. The recipe I'm using says I should come out with about 4 pints. We'll see. My very first pickle attempt ever is Spicy Bread and Butter pickles. I am a pickle fanatic while Hubby can live without them, so there's a good chance that if they're edible, I'll be offering you some. The cucumbers are still growing like crazy, so I'm sure this will not be my only batch of pickles this year. I plan to try a couple different recipes and find one I love.
The newly planted green and wax beans are doing very well. They're probably about 4 inches tall already. We've had a bit of a dry spell down here, so I've been watering them at least every other day. :-( The squash plants are also doing well so far.
I know I've promised an update (and we've got some really exciting news), but the timer is going off on the pickles. Told you it was a flyby! I'll try to post more tomorrow.

Sunday, June 7, 2009

Some Changes in the Garden

Sorry it's been a while. Life has been hectic, especially the last week. I have been taking tons of pictures, intending to update the blog, yet haven't found the time to actually do it.

Last weekend, I FINALLY got around to doing some of the replanting in the garden. The green and wax beans had given their all and it was time for them to come out. I went ahead and took out the snowpeas too since we'd only gotten about 1 1/2 cups of pods from it and the plant was really starting to look miserable. The temp here in southeast Texas has been in the nineties lately and snowpeas REALLY don't like the heat. The lettuce plants had all gone to seed, so they had to be ripped out too and put in the compost pile.
What a mess! The snowpeas are the tall brown things at the front of the pic. The lettuces in the back have clearly gone to seed and need to be ripped out. That cabbage was also attacked by caterpillers while we were in the Hill Country for our anniversary, and needed to come out.All the way on the right are the cucumber plants. Beside those are the green and wax beans. We got a LOT of beans from these plants and they had stopped flowering, so we figured they'd given us their all and took them out.

One of the principle ideas with Square Foot Gardening is that you never plant the same "crop" in the same square two times in a row. You want to give the soil a chance to recover whatever nutrient that particlular plant leaches from the soil before you put any back in that spot. So, here's what went where with the new plants:

Where the green and wax beans were, we now have carrots and radishes planted. Radishes in particular aren't normally a summer plant, but the cucumbers create a lot of shade, so I'm hoping we can trick the plants into thinking it's not really summer. :-)
Where the lettuces were, we now have more green beans and wax beans. The great thing about the beans is that they'll not only grow in the summer, but you can plant 9 bean plants per square foot. So, in a three foot by one foot space, I have 27 bean plants!! YUM YUM YUM!!!
Since the last cabbage was eaten by bugs and the snowpeas needed to come out, a LOT of space was freed up in the one bed. Since I figured I might never get that kind of square footage again, I broke down and planted Yellow squash and zucchini. Squashes take need roughly 9 sq ft EACH to grow and produce, which is why I wasn't planning to plant any. I only have 33 square feet total and I didn't want to commit that much space to any one plant. So, I gave each plant about 6 square feet, so we'll see how it goes.

The two big spaces are where the squashes are planted. That lone plant on the left is the one carrot I managed to grow so far this year. :-) The three squares up front are the green and wax beans. To the right are some strawberry plants and the corn (still going strong with six ears growing).
It was hard to get a good pic of the other bed... in this pic you can see the empty squares to the right of the cucumbers. Next to that are the onions which are still growing like gangbusters, the marigolds which apparently LOVE the soil and have gotten stupidly big, and some of the herbs. I got tired of fighting a losing battle to keep the cilantro contained and from going to seed (it grew new flowers every single day), so I ripped it up and planted some new seeds. Hopefully we'll be back in cilantro within a month or so.

This last weekend, I had enough tomatoes to make some homemade spaghetti sauce. We got roughly 2.5 quarts of sauce, which we've already gone through. :-)
We also managed to harvest two of these:
Bell Peppers
And six of these:
Yesterday, when I went out to water and weed, I also saw three of these guys and picked them (these grew in about 4 days, I kid you not. They were barely more than flowers last weekend and now they're five inches long!!):
YAY!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! PICKLES!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

I noticed this morning that the squashes and beans are already sprouting. Guess there's one good thing about the heat down here. Seeds germinate quickly! :-)

And now, I leave you with a funny pic from this past week. Hubby was laying on the couch in a spot Rion normally considers his. Daddy's head did not deter my boy at all! He just sat right down on it! I threated Hubby with murder if he moved before I got my camera. Knew you guys would appreciate the giggle! ENJOY!!!

I've got a lot more to tell you about, but this is a long post and I need to start being productive today. I'll try and get in a mid-week post in the next few days so I can catch up with all the news and info. :-) Have a good one!