Weekly Dose of Baby E

I skipped last week, so technically this is a double dose. E and I have been working hard on our garden, preparing everything for spring. He has been a good little helper (for the most part). It is really cute to see him studying everything I am doing in the garden. I even caught him a couple of times putting little bits of dirt into flower pots, just like he saw me doing. 🙂 I can’t wait until he can actually help me!

Below: he was sleeping while I worked on pruning our grape vines. When I heard him wake up via the baby monitor, I brought him outside with me. He was a little sleepy and confused but still happy.

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Below: teasing his “sister” Stella (our toy poodle), who was being camera shy that day.
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I am trying to teach him to be gentle with the plants. He was being gentle with my nasturtiums. I cannot say that he was this gentle with some of my succulents unfortunately. BY0A1608

Below: I love this little patch of wild weeds in our backyard but my husband hates them. Apparently they are getting ripped up soon and replaced with artificial grass (part of a huge backyard makeover project that we are starting this weekend…SO EXCITED!).
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Our Summer Fruit Harvest: Not a Bumper Crop Year

summer fruit harvest

If you have been following my blog for a while, since I was just on Tumblr and before I started this WordPress blog, you may remember how we had quite a large selection of summer fruit that I was able to grow and harvest last year. I worked really hard all spring prepping our garden for the summer season, and it definitely paid off. This year, things were quite different.

Since I was laid up all spring, I was not able to put the same prep work into our garden this year. As a result, the production rate significantly declined on all of our fruit trees and vines. The photo above shows pretty much our entire summer harvest (with the exception of a few berries that I have eaten as they have gotten ripe). It is pretty disappointing.

The first problem with the garden this year started with the peaches. The local birds attacked all the peaches on the baby tree in the backyard, so we still have not had a chance to sample the peaches from that tree yet. The peaches on the mature tree in our front yard are absolutely amazing, and I was really looking forward to them. When I got really sick a little over a month ago, the peaches were just about due to start getting ripe. When we got back from the hospital, all I wanted for some reason was one of those peaches. When my husband went to get one, he noticed that they were all gone. Someone or something had taken every last peach on the tree while we were at the hospital. My money is on someone since animals know better than to take unripe fruit, and all of the peaches were definitely not ripe at the same time.

The raspberries, blackberries and apples all produced a bit of fruit, but way low quantities in comparison to last year. The good thing is there is always time to improve for next year!

Last year we had this same problem, and I totally wish I had the chance to take some preventative measures this time, but I got overwhelmed by the whole new-mom thing. Something eats almost all of our grapes. We have 5 or 6 individual grape vine plants, and the basket above was our entire harvest for the season. I’m not sure if it is the squirrel, birds or the raccoons, but someone gets them before we have a chance. I’m definitely going to try putting netting over them next year.

The most disappointing problem of all this year was with our fig tree. We have a huge, mature fig tree in our backyard. Last year I canned as much fig preserves as I could, but a lot of them definitely went to waste since canning out in the patio with the barbeque was a huge pain (our kitchen was still in the middle of being remodeled last year at this time). I was really looking forward to trying out a whole bunch of things with the figs now that we have a kitchen. Last week, I saw that the majority of the figs were ready to be picked. I put it on my to-do list for the week, and planned to get started preserving them and trying out some new recipes. The day I went out to pick them, I discovered that every last fig had been eaten by a swarm of enormous beetles. I was so disappointed, especially since I had just seen tons of them on the tree the day before. I am 100% committed to organic gardening, so I don’t want to use a pesticide next year to prevent this from happening again, but I don’t quite know what to do to prevent that from happening again. Maybe I should harvest the figs just before they are ripe? Anyone have any tips on growing figs organically?

What Happened to the Garden?

For those who have been following my blog for a while (or have browsed through my older posts here and on Tumblr), you may be wondering what happened to our garden since I was laid up for so long. Between the miscarriage just before E, my long pregnancy bed rest, and my difficult postpartum recovery from my symphysis pubis dysfunction, our garden has been very neglected for about a year now. My husband had the overwhelming burden of taking care of literally EVERYTHING while I was laid up. In addition to his long hours at work, he had to be responsible for all of our shopping, errands, laundry, cleaning, cooking, and caring for me. Considering I could not even bathe myself for much of that time, the load on his shoulders was quite heavy. Somewhere in the midst of all that, he also found the time to finish our kitchen remodel, remodel the baby’s room, and deal with all the stress of getting that house in Texas sold. Worrying about our yard was not high on his list of priorities.

At one point, my husband brought up the idea of hiring a gardener to take care of things while I was laid up, but I hate that idea. It may seem weird, but I can’t stand anyone else messing with my plants. We tried that when I was in bed with pneumonia for over a month (about two years ago), and they pulled out most of my herb garden, claiming they thought it was all weeds. It is bad enough that someone dug up and stole a bunch of my plants here while I was in the hospital after E was born. I would have been pretty mad if even more had been dug up or mistreated.

Surprisingly, our front yard held up relatively well considering the total neglect. It was looking very embarrassing for quite some time, but I am glad that the majority of my plants survived. Buying drought tolerant and native plants really paid off! This past weekend, we spent as much time as possible getting everything more in order both in the front and back yards. We pruned dead growth, trimmed and shaped plants, pulled out tons of weeds, cleaned up lots of pine needles, relocated plants that were running out of space, dug out plants that did not survive, fertilized everything, worked in compost, and added new wildflower and grass seeds. It was a lot of work but so worth it. These pictures were taken at the end of our cleanup. They will be a good reference point to see how quickly everything starts to perk up!

Lately we have been trying to stick by our weekend rule of one day of projects for the house and one day of something fun. E will only be little for so long, and we don’t want to look back and realize we didn’t enjoy this time because we worked too hard on our house. We made an exception to that rule this weekend since we were all enjoying bring outside. E even joined in a little in the Moby wrap (Instagram pic at the end).

Pictures of the back yard will be coming soon as well…as soon as the baby naps long enough for me to finish pulling out the last of the weeds. 🙂

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