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Friday, October 26, 2012

Haunted Garden Halloween Hop

My blog today is part of The Wild Rose Press Haunted Garden Halloween Hop. You can win prizes and enjoy fall, Halloween and have a little fun. You are now trick or treating on my blog. Read on, leave a comment and you could be the winner of the treat - candy of course! BE SURE TO LEAVE YOUR EMAIL IN YOUR COMMENT!!

Part of the garden last March
A month later, rows and planted (all by hand)

I'm supposed to write about something fall related and with all the harvesting done and fall clean up in full swing, the timing is good. I thought I'd share some of the highlights of our past year becoming prairie dwellers and small farmers.





It's been one year this month that Frank retired, we bought a home on acreage in Paulden, Arizona and had no idea what we were in for!

If you haven't been following my prairie posts from the beginning, you might not know why we embarked on this new lifestyle. In the first post, I explained it. And then the farming began. So here goes:


January 2012

What do you do for retirement when the main financial contributor to the household has been out of work for three of the last five years - thanks to the not quite a depression of the last several years - and your retirement accounts have been cut in half due to the same state of affairs? I ask this question knowing so many others have found their life to be in the same fix. Do you work until death do you part? After considering that, we said no.

Two years ago, in the midst of wondering what the last half of our life would be like, my son, Lance, called and proposed we join forces, create our own little commune. Oh, I liked that - always wanted to try that life style way back when. After considering the pros and cons of living under the same roof as our son and his lady, we came up with a plan to do just that.

Peppers, peppers, peppers


June 2012
Farming is not for the faint of heart or weak of limb. Although, Lance is the lead in the vegetable garden and does ninety percent of the work, the other ten percent leaves me exhausted at times.

So now we can add Blister Beetle to our list of pestilent visitors which includes frost (killed eighty tomato plants, damaged the potato plants, froze off the flowers from the peach trees, apricot trees and blackberry bushes), wind which threatened our baby pepper plants and tomato plants, tiny black bugs that nearly destroyed all of our spinach, broccoli and rendered our radish tops really ugly.


Geared for battle
I've been the messenger of death lately - or actually the hand of death. Waging war against weeds is an endless effort, and today I got serious. I took the weed eater to the garden. The heck with hand-pulling in this heat.

July 2012

I'm so excited about the garden today. We're seeing even more vegetables make it to our table and promises of more to come.

August 2012

It's windy here most days at least by mid-morning. But one evening the wind blew so hard we feared for the veggies.

Meanwhile, several things are ready to harvest and we're getting overrun with veggies. We have fourteen more grocery bags of peppers, patty pan, and zucchini sitting in the kitchen waiting to be blanched and frozen. In the fridge, there are bags of purple green beans and okra waiting for the same fate. (side note here: I love okra, the slime factor when blanching it to freeze can make me gag)

September 2012
Harvesting continues. With lots of sneezes and wheezing. Neither Christie or I were bothered during the typical spring allergy season that plagued us in Phoenix. But August and September have been miserable if we work too long in the garden.

That's a single tomato plant
Frank is wondering if he really is retired. Working the farm, keeping up the house and all that goes with it - not much time for the front porch rocker. And right now with all the crops coming in, none us of are twiddling our thumbs. Lance is now calling his dad Pickle. He's getting pretty good at canning pickles and relish.

October 2012
These final harvested veggies aren't pretty. They're survivors, and I'm sure they still have plenty of nutrition. 

To celebrate the fall harvest and the Halloween season, I'm giving away candy - trick or treating blog style. And not just any candy but See's Halloween chocolates. Leave a comment between October 26 and the 31st and I'll enter your name in the drawing. Check out these other blogs during that same time period and see what goodies they're giving away. Good luck!

http://christineelaineblack.blogspot.ca/
http://debbie-peterson.blogspot.com/
http://decadentdecisions.wordpress.com/
http://donnamichaelsauthor.blogspot.com/
http://ginger-hanson.blogspot.com/



48 comments:

  1. Hi Brenda! I've tried to build my garden nearly every year since I moved into my house and I never seem to get it right. My main source of trouble was the groundhog that took up residence under our back deck! He even ate my morning glory's this year!

    tricia (at) triciaschneider (dot) com

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    1. We've done battle with a few gophers! Those underground rodents can really cause you trouble!

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  2. Now I remember why I didn't want a garden this year! LOL Congrats on your farming success and determination, Brenda. I'll see your Sees and raise you a Wild Rose Press gift certificate!

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  3. Wow, Brenda. This is a side of you I didn't know about. (We met at the RT Conference, I think...right?) You guys are probably so tired at the end of the day you couldn't possibly get on each other's nerves. And you're probably the healthiest you've ever been, eating all those veggies. Good for you! You know, I grow lettuce on my boat when we're cruising the Inside Passage. Good lettuce is hard to find up in those isolated reaches. One year I got an infestation that ruined the crop. Most years, it's a wonderful to have fresh lettuce aboard.

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    1. Hi Rolynn. We met at the Desert Rose conference. Thanks for dropping in. Lettuce on a boat?? That sounds very exotic. If you check back, tell me where the inside is. Fascinated.

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  4. Your tenacity in dealing with Mother Earth is really paying off and I'll bet it's the best exercise program you ever enrolled in. What an amazing transformation you've made! I've started a small veggie garden several years in a row but so far no luck. Got to bribe the garden fairies to help next year!

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    1. You're right about the exercise. But now that it's all harvested, I'm going to have to actually "think" about getting exercise!

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  5. I envy you getting to grow your own veggies.... I love patty pan squash but it is so expensive in the grocery store. Enjoyed reading about your garden...since I live in a condo my garden consists of 2 strawberry plants, a basil plant and a tomato plant. All grown in pots.
    JFWisherd(at)aol(dot)com

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    1. Sounds like you're doing pretty good for apartment gardening, Jackie. I love patty pan too and haven't even seen it much since I was a kid.

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  6. I love having my own garden but sometimes processing the veggies and canning can take its toll on a person. Have a happy Halloween!

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    1. I know exactly what you mean! Thanks for coming by.

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  7. Have read all your blogs but sure enjoyed the recap!! What a year it has been for you :) Congrats on all those hard earned spoils, both edible and readable!!

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    1. Nancy, I've enjoyed having you around for the ride. Take care my friend!

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  8. Out of work-- My husband was out of work for three years. He's just now getting contract work (drafter) and bringing in some cash flow. It's been a real struggle. So I can relate.

    Congratulations on you farming! I'd love to grow my own veggies, but a green thumb I do not have.

    Nice giveaway. Sees candy is my favorite. :)
    Happy Halloween.

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    1. Oh, I feel your pain. Frank was management and never got back to it. So deflating. But he's enjoying retirement. My son has the green thumb and the adventurous nature to tackle the land. I've been his worker bee. He told me I can outwork him! Happy Halloween to you too.

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  9. We had a very hot and dry summer this year in Ontario and many of the crops dried out and died. Now it's raining almost every day. Go figure.
    Very interesting posts, Brenda. Best of luck to you and hubby.

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    1. Thanks, Christine. Thanks for dropping by.

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  10. I've been following your farming adventure, Brenda, and I'm in awe, especially over dealing with the garden in July. I planted a garden here in Phx the first year we arrived. I yielded two tomatoes and one miniscule strawberry. We poured a cement slab the next year. ;-)

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    1. It's been a trip, Mackenzie. LOL on the cement. I think I'd do that in Phoenix too!

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  11. What a terrific adventure! I tried a tiny garden once and snails ate my lettuce seedlings in about two hours Sheesh. Best wishes always.

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    1. Oh, I hate those little slug creatures. We had them in Minnesota and I battled them every year. Haven't seen them here but we have plenty of other creatures to battle. Thanks for stopping by.

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  12. What a terrific prize. Please enter me. I am a regular to your website. jrs362 at hotmail dot com

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  13. I have a couple small flower gardens and the weeds are endless. LOL. Thanks for the giveaway.
    Sue B
    katsrus(at)gmail(dot)com

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    1. The weeds finally won in our garden at the end. I had to give up. Still could find the veggies! And you're welcome!

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  14. We plant a garden every year and this we we had a lot of problems with critters, a groundhog, squirrels which ate the broccoli plants, something ate the melons. It is very frustrating to the say the least. Thanks for the giveaway.
    skpetal at hotmail dot com

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    1. Hi Jean. Really hard when you try to do it organically. For some reason, those critters are just rude.

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  15. Thanks for sharing a recap of what you grew this year
    :)

    BeckeyWhiteATgmailDOTcom

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    1. Your welcome, Beckey. Thanks for dropping by.

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  16. I'm a TERRIBLE farmer. I can't even garden straight. :)

    I do, however, pretend that I'm a farmer's wife...I just shop at the local farmers market then take their harvest home with me.

    Each year I put up tomatoes, relishes, and grape jelly & juice. Chow chow, or pickled veggie salad, is also a big favorite in my house.

    Thank goodness for the talented farmers in Pennsylvania. They keep my Ball jars full and my family fed. :D

    Cheers, Ash

    Ashkrafton@gmail.com

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    1. Ha! Love your inventiveness, Ash. At least you like to can. I prefer to let others do it here. I did enjoy making tomato jam.

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  17. Lol at messanger of death with weeds! I only have small flower gardens but there's something very satisfying about yanking weeds. Please enter me kathrynknightbooks at comcast.net Happy Halloween!

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    1. It is physical therapy to yank those weeds! I will enter you, Kathryn.

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  18. Farming is definitely not for the faint of heart. I grew up on a mixed grain farm here in Canada and my mom always kept a massive garden as well as an orchard. I loved seeing the fruits of our labors stacked on the shelves and piled into the freezer in the fall!

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    1. Hard work but definitely satisfying, Karyn. The orchard is proving to be more challenging. Hopefully we can get them through the frosts this year.

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  19. I used to wish that my family was a farming family, but I've since changed my mind, haha. It looks to be too much work for my liking. The most my family has ever done was to plant a very small vegetable garden with a few tomato, cucumber, and bell pepper plants.

    Thanks for sharing that and for giving away a treat! Have a happy Halloween! :)

    Crystal Craig
    craigcrystal at ymail dot com

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  20. Crystal, I can't deny it's work. Not for everyone. Keep planting tomatoes. So good for you! Your welcome and good luck!

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  21. Wow! I've got a tiny veggie garden, so it's interesting to read about things on a larger scale. Preserving those veggies must be quite the undertaking!

    Happy halloween!

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  22. Hi Brenda

    Oh I envy you your 'acreage' though I know what hard work it is. I'd love to have my own land - to keep my horses on actually, instead of having to travel to them every day! We only have a very small garden and our attempts to grow vegetables weren't as successful as past years, neither were the flowers. I think the fact it was cold and miserable most of the summeer had a lot to do with it! When it wasn't cold and miserable it was raining. Ah well, there's always next year!

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    1. I'd love to have horses but that is really a lot of upkeep. Can't ignore them like you can plants now and then!

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  23. Thanks for the awesome giveaway!
    natasha_donohoo_8 at hotmail dot com

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  24. Brenda - This blog has been the most fun to stay in contact with. Your one year journey has had it's ups and downs but you have all benefitted from your hard work and labor. Enjoy your time off for it will be planting season soon enough. ;^)

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    1. Thanks, Jody. Glad you've had fun with it too.

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  25. I forgot my email, but then again, you know where to find me.

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  26. Thanks to all of you for visiting me today. The winner of the drawing for the Halloween candy is Jackie W. Congrats, Jackie!

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