Sunday, July 27, 2008

Busy, busy, busy.

The past few days have been pretty busy.

Yesterday evening, I took a bunch of crappy pictures of seeds and put them into my etsy listings so that people could get a better idea of what the seeds look like before they get them. I know, when I first started growing from seed, I was shocked regularly when new seeds arrived and they didn't look like your stereotypical, clip-art seed.

I contacted the Georgia Market Bulletin, a Georgia Department of Agriculture newsletter, and asked about putting an ad to my etsy shop directly into my advertisement. They said that that wasn't allowed, but it was completely allowed to put my email address and forward interested buyers to an online shopping cart. It won't be up until next month, but I think it's worth a try for free. I'll see what happens after the first month and go from there.

I've also started writing up articles, I guess you could call them, about how to grow seeds. There's been a discussion about adding more info to listings, and I've decided that putting a link to additional info would look better than having a larger, cluttered listing with it all in there. The first is about growing tomatoes from seeds and is now in all of my tomato seed listings.

Cleaning and collecting seeds has been a large portion of my days, recently. Basil, tomatoes, nicotiana, etc. I can't wait until my ladybell seeds are ready! They're lovely and delicate and I'll be adding even more of the lovelies to my gardens next year. This is a great time of the year, for me, and I love the bustle of collecting and preserving things that will burst into life next year.

Outside of my plant world, both of my patients are doing well. I'm researching a new impulse sealer for my new shop, which will, hopefully, reduce the time and effort needed to create each envelope and mailer so that I can make them more affordable for more people. I'm really excited about that.

Thursday, July 24, 2008

Calming down.

Things have settled down a bit, at least, for the moment, and I've been able to spend some time outside. I got another gorgeous Black from Tula that I can't WAIT to eat. I just pulled off a couple of handfuls of Red Zebras, Super Snow Whites, and Black Cherries, too. I love the larger cherry tomatoes for their munchability and easy addition to salads and antipastos. Yum!

I've got an unnamed coneflower of some sort growing in one of my beds. I thought it was going to be a Green Wizard, but I lost the labels on a bunch of stuff I started over the winter. It's pretty, regardless. :)

Monday, July 21, 2008

So much fun I can barely stand it.

I took a bit of blogrest, as you might be able to tell. The dog had another bloat experience and we ended up having to do surgery. Then, two days after we got her back (Saturday), I got to make a trip to the ER in an ambulance with my SO. Everything is alright, but there is such a thing as having too much fun! Phew.

I've been involved in the beginning stages of the EtsyOrganicTeam, and that's actually been a lot of fun. We're still working on criteria, membership, etc., but I think it has the potential to be a really great thing! Check out the flickr group that's been set up, if you're interested in organic products or are interested in joining the team. The more the merrier!

Hopefully, it'll be a calm week. I've got 30 items in my shop, which is a constant surprise. I opened my etsy shop on kind of a whim. I listed a few things and forgot about it until I got a notice in my inbox. It seems funny to think that I've made over 50 sales and now have two pages of listings.

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

The Story of a Pepper

Every time we got to New York, there's a great little Italian place we go to that has a dish made of hot cherry peppers. It's absolutely divine, and we always make sure to freeze a couple of containers to carry home with us. We got home, August 04, and I was completely craving the stuff, so I thought we'd hop over to the store and pick up a couple bags of cherry peppers and make it ourselves.

Well, needless to say, we didn't find them. We've been searching for a couple of years for the real thing, with no success. We found them pickled in a jar, but the only thing we could reliably find were the sweet cherry peppers.

Being the gardener that I am, I decided that it would make a lot of sense to grow them, so I began searching for seeds. I ordered seeds and was very excited about the entire thing. When the first pepper was ready, we picked it, took it inside, sliced it up, and tasted it. And were disappointed. It wasn't hot and tasted more like a bell pepper with a bit of spice. Yuck.

And so it continued. I ordered seed from a couple more sources, made a handful of trades, and got nothing close, until the last trade I made. I got one plant out of about 25 seeds, and I blamed it on being sent old seed or poorly stored seed. The single plant was spindly, puny, and produced one pepper after 4 months, and it wouldn't have survived, had it not have been one of about a million plants in my pepper patch that year.

We were in the kitchen, doing our daily slice and shrug, and we got to the puny pepper, as we called it. It was what we'd been searching for! This pathetic little plant produced the single pepper that was what we were searching for. I took all of the seeds, sowed them, and waited.

And waited and waited and waited. Out of the 20+ seeds I sowed, only three showed their faces. Very poor germination, and I was pretty disappointed. The plants were less than robust, but they produced alright. Far from enough to grow the massive amount of peppers I craved.

And then I got to know, the sweet pepper gene isn't dominant. I wonder if I could breed a sweet pimiento to this pathetic hot one and get something better.

Needless to say, I'm currently at F bazillion, and the three current plants are loaded with peppers. I think we've found a winner! It's still a pretty puny plant, but it's better and the pepper hasn't lost any of the heat, taste, or texture of the original pepper.

Four years and three thousand peppers later, it's the plant I've been wanting. I'll probably play with the crosses some more, but I'm satisfied with the current result. Next year, I'll plant a large plot and have a handful of other generations going on the patio, and my dream of handfuls of peppers will have come true!

Saturday, July 12, 2008

Up-potting and new bloomers.

I got this Althea Lavender Chiffon about a year ago as a single stick and it's decided to bloom for the first time this year. If it weren't patented, I'd be all over sharing it, but alas... It's a lovely double and very unique looking. It's now a y-shaped stick with a handful of branches, but it's absolutely covered in buds! The flowers are about 1/3 of the height of the plant, so it's very impressive.

It looks a lot like the single Rose of Sharon I've also got. The petals are more ruffledy and the flower is a bit wider, but it's otherwise identical. Except for those little fingers in the center! ;)

I hate patented plant material and would never have bought it on my own. However, it will have a home in my garden for quite awhile.

It also appears that I waited waaaay too long to up-pot my lemon grass plants! I'm ashamed to say that they were pretty root bound and more than ready for new pots. I up-potted two for myself into 10 gallon pots and will be dividing the other plants up to offer in trades and on etsy, so keep an eye open, all of you who like Thai cooking!

Thursday, July 10, 2008

Tool review and little notes

For my birthday, my awesome mother got me this awesome tool. I went out and took some pictures of it yesterday, and I decided to post a review on it today.

The tool in question is a DeWit Half Moon Hand Hoe. I love DeWit tools, and there's not much else to it. I've visited their factory (who does that???) and have an assortment of their stuff, but this handhoe is probaby my new favorite.

It's well-balanced with a long neck. I'm pretty clumsy and have terrible visio-spatial skills, but I can wield this hoe like an extension of my arm. That's quite an excellent thing when you're not interested in crawling through expansive beds that can't really be compressed without damaging the plants.


With this lovely, I'm able to sit on my stool and hack away. The small head makes it ideal for whacking around in between plants. For those of us who have limited mobility, it's an even sweeter deal, since not having to squat or kneel can mean actually being able move the day after a rigorous gardening session.

When the blade starts to lose its impressive edge, you're able to regrind and sharpen it without voiding the product guarantee/warantee.

What else is going on in my little world? MORE RAIN! The Weather Channel says that we've gotten only 1.5", but there's been an 8" increase in my collection pans -- without the funnel on. It looks like we're going to get more rain tomorrow, but I'd be very thankful if we got a couple of days to dry out so everything doesn't rot. Please?

Also, I got a little plug for my other shop, fluffnfixings, here.

Wednesday, July 9, 2008


I don't know whether the drought is officially over or not, but the weather is acting like Georgia weather again. We've had storms for three nights in a row and afternoon showers for a week or so. We've gotten a total of 8" over the past three days, and things are so green and happy again! Of course, I'll have to deal with split tomatoes, but I'd much rather that than a dead, brown landscape.

Here's the cat from last night -- around 2". My barrels are getting close to full!

Monday, July 7, 2008

Doggy update

I would like to thank those of you who commented on my yesterday's blog with well wishes. My girl is doing great today, but is currently a bit angry that I'm not allowing her playtime today. She'll be really angry by the end of the week, but I'll feel more comfortable letting her run around like a crazed beast next week after her guts have had a chance to settle down a bit.

Today, we were featured in an article in the Storque by LittlePies, an awesome seller of dog goodies and treats.

Sunday, July 6, 2008

Eugh, save me from this madness.

My dog, which has made a guest appearance on this blog, decided to put me through the wringer last night.

She's been, apparently, jumping over the gate, into the cat room, eating all of the cat's food (and we have to leave a lot out for the cat or she won't eat it), and jumping back over. We all know cat food isn't good for dogs, but I would advise you to move your cat food now, if your dog can get at it! :)

Last night, I noticed my dear, dear dog acting lethargic and noticed that she wasn't interested in food, at all. She was also drinking huge amounts of water. She came over to me in the middle of the night to tell me she felt badly when I noticed that her ribcage and abdomen were distended. I tapped them and it sounded like a drum.

I don't think I've ever been so scared in my entire life. Having grown up with big dogs, bloat (GDVT) is one of my greatest fears, and this was a nightmare. There's a veterinary clinic that's regular operating hours are after hours of a regular vet's (I think this is the one time I've loved living in an urban/suburban area), so I called to let them know I had a bloating dog and was on my way over.

I gave her a bit of hydrogen peroxide, as recommended, and we headed out. Half way there, she threw up, and I don't think I've ever been so relieved. She'd thrown up nine times by the time we got to the vet's, and it was all cat food. She had eaten probably 5 cups of cat food. They did an x-ray, anyway, but she'd lost about 16" around by the time we'd gotten to the vet.

So, it's back to soaking her food. The cat food is placed out of her reach (and mostly out of mine), and I will be putting in a taller gate. She's pretty much back to her old self, but she'll probably be laying around and coughing (puking so much is pretty tough!) for a couple of days. My SD will be on vacation for a couple of days, but I'll managed. :)

Make sure to read your Merck and know the symptoms of bloat, if you've got a large dog! It could save your pup's life.

Thursday, July 3, 2008

Kind of a fun look at my shop

2121 views. 21 listings. And...I turned 21 yesterday! It's all about the 2 and the 1 today, I guess.

Wednesday, July 2, 2008

A busy Etsy day

Today, I spent most of the day working on Etsy.

The photos I sent off to be printed have returned in multiples, and I posted the first picture on in my shop, today. I only had a few samples printed, but I will be adding those over the next few days. I'll see how much interest there is and go from there.

This morning, however, was dedicated to my new shop! I noticed a few months ago that people were interested in fused and salvaged plastic mailers, so I decided to open a new shop dedicated to them. I've been making mailers out of salvaged plastic for years and never thought that there might be people interested in buying them. I spent a few hours yesterday making them in a couple of different sizes, and a few more hours were spent today photographing and getting the listings together.

That'll be another wait-and-gauge-the-interest area, but I'll probably continue making up a stock of them just to make a dent in my ever-growing plastic scrap collection. The pictures above shove a large plastic mailer (left) and some fused plastic mailers (right).