Gardening With Rabbits

The rabbits! I wish I could hate them. They’ve done awful things to my garden this year…snuck through fencing, chewed flowers down to nubs, eaten all the beans. I understand now why Mr. McGregor was so upset when he spotted Peter.

But I also can’t help but find these garden visitors cute. Even endearing. Especially when Pepper lures them out of hiding with raspberries and snaps beautiful photos like these.

Don’t you just want to reach out and stroke that fur?

The rabbits have become so tame, they lope right up to the porch while I’m sitting there reading.

They rustle around in the front flower beds, looking sweet while they nibble the flowers stalks. (They’re nibbling my flower stalks!!!)

I don’t know what to do other than sigh and accept it for what it is…and plan to put up stronger fencing in the vegetable garden next year. Below, you see the stunted carrots I pulled up last week – kept from reaching their full potential by the rabbits who lopped off the majority of their leaves. (The carrots were still tasty, if tiny.)

Another small vegetable I grew – though this one was stunted by bad placement, not the rabbits.

The bulk of the pumpkins and butternut squash are nearly ready for harvest now. I’ve picked a few already and baked the season’s first pumpkin pie yesterday.

And, the morning glory transplants have finally engulfed the fence.

They took a while to get started, but now they’re going strong.

If you’ve gardened this year, I hope you’ve had a good season. I feel like I learned an enormous amount this year. Maybe you feel the same.

From the dining room table, turning in early so I can do some reading before I fall asleep,

Mrs. Smythe

Ducks In The Pumpkin Patch

I had no idea when I planted the back garden that it would become a haven for our poultry. The birds love hanging out in the pumpkin vines. They trail in and out of the leaves, finding bugs and even nibbling on the pumpkin leaves from time to time. The chickens do pick at the pumpkins. I’m not thrilled about that – but I can’t get too upset when I see them enjoying the area so much.

Plus, the leaves provide good cover against hawks.

Ginger noted today that sometimes the birds completely disappear in the pumpkin patch. You won’t know they’re there until you see one of their heads pop up like a periscope. It always makes me laugh.

Here you see Ponyo – the largest of our ducks. I wish you could see the pretty teal feathers she’s gotten in her wing area, but you have to be in the sun to see them. Trust me – they’re lovely. And that’s Lilo in the top photo. She has matured into a nice chocolatey color. I don’t have any good photos of Pearl to show you – I’ll have to work on that. For now, enjoy this little look into the ducks’ happy pumpkin world.

From the dining room table, getting ready to make a batch of spaghetti sauce,

Mrs. Smythe

Tomato Season

For weeks and weeks, there had been nothing but green tomatoes on my plants. Now, suddenly, they’re ripening like crazy, and I have almost more than I know what to do with. If you’re in a similar plight – and even if you aren’t – here’s a recipe I found the other day for Tomato Herb Bread. It’s surprisingly good – especially toasted! I did make one change to the recipe – I used 3 tablespoons of sugar rather than a quarter cup. Otherwise, I did everything as directed.

From the dining room table, enjoying a pleasant run of cooler weather,

Mrs. Smythe

More About the Sunflowers

I think after this year, I will always try to grow sunflowers. The border I planted on the north side of the pumpkin patch has been a delight to watch this summer.

From my kitchen window, I can keep tabs on them. They change every day. Now they are beginning to open, one by one.

They have grown much larger than I expected. I bought a packet of Mammoth Sunflower seeds from Lowe’s as an afterthought this past spring. The package said projected height for the plants would be 7-12 feet. I didn’t expect mine to reach twelve feet, but CPT A measured yesterday, and the tallest is 11.5. Amazing!

I have loved seeing all of the bees enjoy them. And, as the seeds develop, I look forward to the birds visiting too – at least, I hope that is what will happen. We have squirrels and raccoons, too, so I suppose there’s always the possibility something larger will become interested in the seeds.

I’d love to experiment with some of the other varieties of sunflowers as well, but that will have to wait for next year. That’s one of the best things about gardening – there’s always something to look forward to.

From the dining room table, with Mr. Wa clamoring for his morning treat,

Mrs. Smythe

Tending The Sunflowers

The mammoth sunflowers I planted in May have really taken off! We think the one nearest to the house has hit nine feet. And, while that one seems to be done growing, the other nine continue to ascend. I don’t know if they’ll reach the fabled twelve feet advertised on the seed packet, but they’re coming a lot closer than any sunflowers I’ve ever grown before. It’ll be fun to see where they finally top out.

From the dining room table, enjoying an afternoon rainstorm – a pleasant change from all our heat,

Mrs. Smythe