Sunday, August 21, 2016

August gardening tips for April

Every year my blog goes in a very specific cycle.

I love gardening, I hate gardening, I love gardening, I hate gardening. 

Rinse. Lather. Repeat. 

It's true though. Mastering the art of gardening in Kansas has not been an easy task. Now after 4 years of gardening in the prairie, I feel as if I am not one step closer to truly understanding how to garden in this space. 

Oh well. There is always next year. And next spring will undoubtedly bring about so much hope for tomatoes that my heart pretty much bursts from excitement. 

Right now? Right now is is August. And in August, I hate gardening. Things are not going well. (Although, Kansas decided to give up a break this weekend and give us a preview of fall. My windows have been open for over 24 hours. It's a miracle). 

It seems as if every week I go into the garden only to completely pull up something because it clearly so sickly nothing will happen. (We also got 2 1/2 inches of rain in a short amount of time on Friday, which is part of there reason why things are going so badly in my garden). My zucchini, melon and eggplant have all been ripped up because of either weird things caused by rain or bugs.  It's sad. And my tomatoes, which were looking so good just a couple of weeks ago still look fine but actually aren't producing like they should. This is probably because of all the rain. And actually, it might be my worst tomato year to date. I've only canned 3 pints and made sauce twice. (I also have plenty for my lunch salads). So really, it's fine. My energy for canning this season has not quite been there. But it is so maddening. I have 7 tomato plants but only the produce of what would be 1 plant. This happens every year. I am not sure what I am doing wrong. Ugh. 

Ironically, the tomato plant that is doing the best is the lucky number 7, which came up on its own, is not in a cage and was never on the soaker hose pipe line. It's doing great! So I guess the lesson here is plant stuff in the ground and do nothing...? That doesn't seem like a smart plan though.

I decided to "bottle up" my garden frustrations from this season into my blog. That way I can try and remember what not to do when spring comes again and I get seduced by flowers and tomato names.  

1. Do not plant cilantro. It's not worth it. Since I don't grow it from seed, it is not cheaper than buying it from the store. It also grows way too fast and never seem to need it before it goes to seed. 

2. Only plant begonias in a hanging basket. You might remember this spring I got sucker punched by begonias. (They are my favorite). But the only ones that did well were the ones in my hanging basket. The wind completely destroyed one and I am not sure what was the other potter's deal.

3. Plant herbs in the flower bed. I have a "flower bed" right next to the garden that ideally will be filled will herbs and perennial flowers. That's the goal anyway. The soil is awful and needs some work. However, I had basil come up there by itself and hope it will keep it up over the years. I also had basil and rosemary in pots on the porch. They did not do very well. 

4. Do not plant squash. This one is going to be hard for you, Anna, but remember, it makes more sense to buy it at the farmer's market than to try to deal with it in the garden. It's not in the stars for you to grow squash in Kansas. Maybe try again in another state. 

5. Plant zinnias in a more sunny spot.  I do have some lovely zinnias this year, but they would be doing so much better if they had a tiny bit more sun. 

6. Ask your landlord to ease up on all the fall/winter/spring tilling. I have the best landlord in the world. He takes really good care of this house and it's property. However, he gets a little too gun-ho when it comes to tilling the gardening in the off season. I mean, I get it, it looks nicer than all the grass and weeds trying to come up. But the more it gets tilled, the more the soil has the opportunity to blow away in the winter. I do not want this. 

These are the things I need to remind myself in April. Hopefully next time around, I'll be less frustrated. One can hope anyway

Sunday, August 14, 2016

Jenna & Kevin

After spending my entire weekend editing while binge watching the Olympics/The Great British Baking Show, I finally have Jenna and Kevin's wedding photos up on the blog. Check them out.

Sunday, August 7, 2016

The end of summer

Okay, summer is definitely not ending. (I should know. I talk about this in basically every blog post I write). But because youths are getting ready to go back to school and I've reached my gardening exhaustion (without the satisfaction of lots of produce), summer must be about over.  I guess if you would take the heat out of the equation, this would be true. After all, I have maxed out my vacation days until the Christmas season and lap swimming over the noon hour at the Newton community pool officially ended for the year on Friday. Major bummer.  Everything, except the weather, is telling me that it should be fall, y'all.

Nope. No such luck.

I guess this is a good thing. I haven't made popsicles yet this summer. I have plenty of time left to make that happen.

Although I am happy to report that it was fairly cool here this weekend. I actually had the AC off for most of the day yesterday. (Sure it was overly humid, due to the rain we got the night before but hey, I grew up in Illinois. I've been prepare for humidity my entire life).

Anyway, it is hard to jump back into normal life after vacation, especially when the world around you is telling you that the end of summer is near and the heat apocalypse should be almost done for the year. Again, no such luck. That's basically how my week went.

It's been really hard getting back into the grove of life this week since last weekend Levent and I were in Goshen, IN for my cousin's wedding and to visit his best friend's and family. Despite the over 24 hours of driving and one dead car battery, it was a really relaxing weekend. Plus we got to see both of our sets of parents. (Because I was the photographer for my cousin's wedding, I failed to take any pictures on my phone of the people we actually visited. Oh well).
The wedding venue
I finally got to take my date to a wedding :-)
On Sunday, we hung out with Levent's parents. After lunch we walked around the calendar gardens. And, of course, I ran into one of my co-workers and his family. Actually, his wife is in the background of this picture, which I didn't realize until after I took this photo. Sorry for being a creeper, Emily! haha)  

Fried guacamole at the Evil Czech Brewery
I told Levent that I could almost be convinced to move there due to the fact that the only time we ever visit Goshen is in the summer when it is so lovely in northern Indiana. I mean, they have cool evening breezes and everything! I even got to wear a sweater! What a life! This is, of course, not a real picture of this place year round. But it tricks my brain nevertheless, especially when we end up back here in Kansas.


I do love being home. Since I have some work trips coming up, right now my home game is quite excellent, lots of lying about on the couch, editing wedding photos and watching every Olympic event NBC airs. This is the life. Levent and I even found away to make those activities (well minus the photo editing) into a social event. On Friday evening, my cousins, Heidi and Hayden came over for supper and to watch the opening ceremonies with us. It was so fun.
 That's pretty much it. Now back to the Olympics...

Wednesday, July 27, 2016

Kansas in July

It's the worst.

It's that point in the summer when it gets unbearably hot and you realize that there are still TWO ENTIRE MONTHS left of this hellish nonsense. (Yep, that's right. September in Kansas is still summer. You're going to be hopefully disappointed if you think that's when fall weather starts. Believe me, I have to remind myself of this every summer).

I fully admit that since I do not have Kansas blood, I am a complete wimp when it comes to this weather. (My Kansas-born friends are like, "eh whatever" and go out in it anyway. And also manage to grow things in their gardens besides weeds. It's impressive). Thus I have "cabin fever" tendencies in the middle of the summer because I do not want to be outside when it's 90 degrees at 9pm. Forget it.

I've been kind of down in the dumps pretty much this whole month. (Can't you tell?) There is a mass shooting almost on a daily basis in this country and don't get me started on any of this Trump nonsense. Ugh. What a mess. So there's that.

My leg stuff continues, although it is slightly lessened. Finally, going to the chiropractor 3 times a week is starting to pay off. However, my inability to exercise like I wish I could continues to make me grumpy and feel unsettled. (I actually paused my gym membership this month).

Anyway, all this to say, I haven't really been in the mood to blog recently since all it would've been was additional grumbling about the previous topics.

But, as usual, there have been good things. In the greater news (I am mean, Michelle Obama is a rock-star as a politician and as a person. She makes me want to be a better person and advocate) and in regular life. I mean, I did get to be in North Carolina (my favorite state), hug my entire family and spend significant time at the beach.

Back on the home front, Levent and I "celebrated" the 4th holiday by hanging out with friends, eating and drinking yummy things, playing corn hole and watching fireworks. (Fireworks in Kansas still blow my mind (no pun intended). Growing up in IL, the 4th of July was pretty controlled since it was illegal to buy and sell large fireworks. Here, it's free reign. For real. The firework show we watched was just someone's personal fireworks. I spent that 3 day weekend listening to the Hamilton Soundtrack and making a berry cake, which I think is the best way to spend this time of year.

In other news, I probably went to Wichita too many times this month. (This is only a problem because I tend to spent too much money when I go). I continue to learn more about this city and the more I do, the more I love it.
New juice bar in ICT
Lunch at Tanya's Soup Kitchen. Always a good choice. 
It is that time of year when my garden takes a turn for the worst. This is happening, but I have been able to harvest and even can some tomatoes. They are the best looking tomatoes I've ever grown. I am very pleased with them. Since tomatoes are always my most desired summer produce, I will be happy if this the only thing I end up harvesting in bulk.

Finally, even though it's been really hot, it has been raining off and on this summer. Meaning that my gardening watering has been at a minimum. That's awesome.
These are my good things. But I really would be lying if I didn't say that I am already excited for autumn.

Sunday, July 17, 2016