End of the Summer Garden

This year’s garden wasn’t especially pretty but we did get a lot of food out of it:  cucumbers, tomatoes, lettuce, green beans, carrots, kale, onions, cabbage, chard, pumpkins, potatoes, summer squash and a nice assortment of herbs.  Not a lot of tomatoes, though.   Still yet to ripen:   apples and corn.  All the fruit-  cherries, raspberries, and apricots-  were eaten up by the birds, I think.  Somebody ate them and it wasn’t me!   We didn’t have gophers this year but that little white butterfly that lays gray eggs on cabbage-family vegetables which hatch into voracious green worms-  we had plenty of them.   The grape vine was very pretty but never had any grapes.  Maybe next year.  Here’s a few photos: pumpkinsgrapevine

A Good Smoothie

Chard, bananas, carrots, frozen pineapple, flax seeds, a kiwi and an apple.

Everyone in the Blender!

Bzzzzzzzz

Bzzzzzzzz

4

Blurry but tasty!

Image

The July Massacree

Someone recently asked me about my chickens and my “chicken blog” and I realized I hadn’t updated Xenia’s Garden since June! One July  night while we were out of town some animal-  a skunk or a raccoon or maybe it was an inter-species conspiracy-  invaded the back yard, killing Ruby,  my Rhode Island Red and all three lovebirds, who were sitting on a nest of four eggs,  just about ready to hatch.  They almost got the guinea pigs, too.  My daughter came out to the back yard that morning to check on the animals and found blood, feathers, smashed eggs,  and what was left of Ruby.   The villain snatched her off her roost as she slept. We cleaned up the mess and fortified the chicken pen.  We got four new chicks and a parakeet (Mr. Peeps) to replace the lovebirds.    The little hens are nearly grown and get along well with the two hens from the origianal flock,  Rita and Rhonda.   Rhonda is still alive, by the way, but she has a “pendulous crop” and hardly lays any eggs.  She’s still my favorite. Here’s the new girls:

Louise, Rhoda, Goldy and Daisy

I found a very useful web site for the Saints of the day:  Eternal Orthodox Calendar.

Today the Church commemorates St. James, the brother of the Lord.

Feverfew Tincture

I have always had migraine headaches.   They were never severe enough to get prescription medicine but I went through quite a few bottles of Exedrin for Migraines.  I had always heard that the herb feverfew,  a daisy-like plant that seems  related to chamomile,  made a good preventative.   I ordered a pack of seeds from Seeds of Change,  planted them,  and now I have large flowering feverfew plants all over the yard as they reseed prolifically.  It is a very pretty plant!   I originally ate the leaves but now I make a tincture of the leaves and take a spoonful each morning.  I learned how to make the tincture from Mother Olga at St. Xenia’s Skete.   I am not a doctor or a medical professional or an herbologist and I’m not prescribing or even making any suggestions but I can say that I hardly ever get a migraine anymore.   It’s not a remedy to take if you are in the middle of a migraine;  it’s something you take everyday to reduce the frequency and intensity of migraines.   But again,  I am just telling you a story and not making any suggestions or offering advice!  You might be allergic to it, for all I know.  Be careful!

Here’s a lovely feverfew plant in the backyard:

Feverfew

Harvest leaves before the flowers form,  if you think about it soon enough.  Otherwise,  go ahead and pick a quart jar full of clean dry (DRY) leaves,  leaving out flowers, buds and stems.   Now take a bottle of  CHEAP VODKA and pour it over the leaves,  cover,  shake good,  and leave it in a dark-ish place for a month.  Give it a good shake when you think about it.  After a month,  strain the dark green liquid into a clean jar and there you have it!  I take a spoonful each day but I am not making any suggestions or prescriptions or offering advice for any of you folks!

Brewing

Finished Tincture

Remember, you didn’t hear it from me.

Today is the first day of the Apostles’ Fast.

Saints Peter and Paul

Possibly the Best Video on the Entire Internet! With Subtitles!

REVENGE

The readers of Xenia’s Garden know that the authoress is a tender, animal-loving soul who loves all creatures,  even rodents.  However,  the Hated Gopher crossed the line the other day when she  absconded down the gopher-hole with a morning glory plant that was just of the verge,  the very cusp,  of forming a lovely vine that was supposed to climb up the trellis I had just made for this very plant.  I was able to forgive the two full-grown zucchinis,  the pumpkin,  the entire lettuce patch,  the row of onions,  the spinach, the green beans and the kale but this was simply too much.  This creature had crossed the line.

I went to the hardware store,  looking for some form of Gopher Death.  There was a small crowd of people standing around in this department and an eavesdropper would not be faulted for thinking he was listening in on battle plans for the Invasion of  Normandy.  I joined in,  handing products down to the man in the wheelchair who was attracted to a sonic device that promised to scare the gophers out of the yard.  “But into my neighbor’s yard,”  I observed.  “I  don’t want to do that.”   An employee,  a handsome freckled youth,  was reading the warnings on the side of Gopher Poison.  “It says you shouldn’t use this product around vegetables.”    A wiry middle-aged man spoke up:  “Nuke ‘em all!”  and spoke with affection about his shotgun.

I settled on this thing:

It appeared to be a large mouse trap.

I brought it home,  read the directions,  and set the spring to test it out.  I gingerly inserted a pencil which resulted in a loud SNAP and a busted pencil.  It looked plenty lethal.  After searching around for the perfect gopher hole (I found a good one where there used to be a large green bean plant) yesterday I set the trap in the entrance.

And this morning….

Not Quite Eden

Flo as a Toddler-  RIP

About a month ago I was sitting in my backyard in the morning sunshine.  The veggie garden was flourishing,  the flowers were a riot of color, mostly purple,  the hens were laying well and a nice assortment of biblical birds (doves and sparrows, mostly) were visiting the feeders.  Mrs. Rabbit and the Farm Dog seemed to have made peace and things seemed just about perfect-  Edenic,  in fact.

But I soon realized that it’s not time for Eden yet on this earth.  The first clue was an invasion of gophers.  One by one,  my vegetables began to disappear:  A whole row of onions,  an entire patch of lettuce,  my entire zucchini crop as well as the cilantro and chard.   The corn,  green beans, tomatoes and most of the pumpkins are still unmolested but I am not too hopeful.  Every morning I go out to let the hens out of their coop and survey the latest predation.   The gophers chew the roots off at ground level,  leaving a wilted plant that will soon disappear down the gopher hole.  Very sad.   I have replanted everything in pots on the patio.

Then two of my hens fell sick.   Flo died but the other ailing hen-  my favorite Rhonda-  looked to be at death’s door for a week but thanks to many answered prayers she has recovered.   I had suspected Flo was poisoned by nibbling foxglove but I thought she was getting better,  but nope.  Rhonda looked to be next but I found some remedies on the Internet and I think she’s ok now. She has always been a little lop-sided and I guess she’s a special-needs hen.

So,  it’s not Eden,  no matter how much love, affection and attention I put into my garden and my animals.  Things still go very very wrong.

Genesis 3:18  “Both thorns and thistles it shall grow for you…”

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