BALCONY GARDENING MID JUNE

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IMG_3527I must say that I am very pleased with my balcony container garden this year. Though I believe I have created a monster that will need a machete this fall for both the black and green elephant ears. They both are heavy feeders and like to be well watered. You can understand this with both, as when you plant 1/2 to 1 pound bulbs you get what you plant. The young leaves are huge!

I am looking forward as they grow, to take more close up photography of them as they both have striking textures and veining. The passion flower vine is growing like a weed, now that the Grackle has started leaving it alone, I am sure he/she heard me say that it was soon to be a dead Grackle and poof like magic stopped nipping out the top 4 inches of each vine.

IMG_3522The black eyed susan vines really grow faster than I thought, they don’t appear to be doing much, however they really are they are blooming towards the outside of the deck, (I think they are intimidated by the size of the elephant ears planted directly behind them) The nasturtiums are still growing and blooming heavily, though the older first leaves of the plants are yellowing, I believe as I thought when I planted them that they will last until probably mid July when they will succumb to summers heat. That will leave a color void on that end of the balcony, however this will give the Salvia Guaranitica more room to bush out and the vivid orange of the IMG_3524nasturtiums will be replaced by striking cobalt blue.

The geraniums are growing slowly, I believe as the night temps have just recently begun to stay in the mid to upper 60’s at night, I am sure as soon as the night time temps hit the 70’s they will spring to life. My heavenly blue morning glories and cardinal vines are entwined and growing up now approximately 8 ft tall, the cardinal vines now have immature buds forming, alas none for the morning glories yet.

IMG_3528Now the Phaelenopsis orchids to my utter amazement almost all are setting flower spikes and getting buds on them now. I am going to still trim off the old roots and repot them hopefully this week.

 

A surprise came to me about a week ago, a garden space to plant a vegetable garden, after a very long 4 year dry spell of unsettled living and no canning or freezing what so ever. This is indeed presents a welcome relief. When you are used to home canned foods, store bought just does not cut it. This summer I should be able to can tomatoes and V-8 juice as well as green beans, I am already planning on going to the Mennonite orchards for peaches, pears and apples. I love homemade apple butter and plan of making several turns of this, in the fall. I use the 18 quart roaster oven method which requires no stirring and comes out perfect every time. Here is the recipe for this method.

APPLE BUTTER TIME!

 

If the garden produces well, some lima beans from the garden for the freezer. I also have cauliflower seed to plant for the fall crop, these will be transplanted to the garden the end of July first week of August. My primary interest with it is for canning Mixed pickle consisting of Cauliflower, Carrots, Bell Peppers, Lima Beans, there are so many variations to this recipe. some even include corn and peas. However it is a great way of eating more vegetables rather than just cucumber pickles.

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MY 1996 TOYOTA CAMRY XLE

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IMG_3576I wanted to take this opportunity to express my sincere Thankfulness and Gratitude for the benevolent generosity of all that donated personally and through the GO FUND ME campaign. With out your help and support a car to replace the one that died in the January accident would never have been possible.

Having been on a fixed income for the past decade, has  made savings a near impossibility. This 1996 Toyota Camry with just 117,000 miles on it could never have even been a possibility for me without the love and support of friends and strangers alike. Amazing the car came to me on my birthday May 30th!

I just want to tell you all how much I sincerely appreciate what you all have done for me in giving me back my freedom to travel once again.

I also want to thank Carolyn Garber and Diane Bowman, for the many trips they made to Elkton from Broadway and Rawley Springs, Virginia to pick me up and take me to medical appointments every two weeks since January. Without them I am uncertain where I would be today. Thank You Carolyn and Diane! Thank you both for your sincere friendship over the past 25 years. You both are the best friends anyone could ever wish to have!

MAJESTIC CLOUDS

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There are some days when you walk around looking at things to inspire your to take pictures, the sad thing is that nature is all around you, there are always things to photograph, yet like the mountains that surround me, which are fixed, and always there do not seem to change at all, even though everyday the trees and plant life do change. The skies above the mountains are in constant change, you just have to learn when to finally stop, from second to second the clouds unfold before your very eyes, and yet they seem to be the most ignored.

I have lived on both sides of the Shenandoah Valley of Virginia, the West and the now the East, and yes actually in the middle. I have found it to be amazing at the difference in the cloud structure as they pass over the mountains on the western side crossing to the eastern, however here in Elkton, VA the clouds seems to explode in billowing majesty as the bank up next to the Blue Ridge, almost every day or every second of everyday they just explode in beauty against the bright blue skies.

The one thing I need to learn to do in photography is capture the dramatic effects of how brightly the sun enhances the textures and the deep blue skies behind them, the effects never comes out as vivid as I would like to portray. If anyone has suggestions please share them with me. I was using a polarizing filter when shooting these pictures.

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Sometimes the clouds can look like mountains themselves with sky and clouds above them.

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I did not realize that I had got a picture of a bird in the clouds until I downloaded the images.

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Of course we all know what this is, the moon! The two shots made with each of my two lenses.

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BALCONY GARDENING END OF MAY

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I do not really have much to write about today, just wanted to show off my balcony garden. I will let the pictures do the talking for the most part. I am just happy to have this little slice of heaven right outside my kitchen door.

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Nasturtium Blossoms with an extension tube on, should have used the tripod but was too lazy this morning.

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These are the nasturtiums planted in the container with the Olla watering system, everything planted with this Olla is huge and it is only the end of May!

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The picture above shows all the Black Eyed Susan vines, passion flower vine, and a cardinal vine, I will admit that I am having a problem with a Grackle bird wanting to nip the tops out of my vines and salvias for nesting materials. though he/she has helped the passion flower vine by nipping the top 4” out, it now has 8 new lateral vines shooting up at each leaf juncture. I would rather he/she leave that for me to decide. so I will be purchasing several rubber snake to place strategically around to entertain the Grackle.

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Most of my geraniums in full bloom, they will be rewarded with some Osmocote time release, and Super Bloom fertilizers as soon as I can get to Lowes for them.

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My Phaelenopsis orchids, this one did not initiate buds until the end of winter, and in time to be set outside where he seems to love the climate, all the other three, suffered from bud blast, due to lack of humidity over the winter and almost bloomed and then dropped them all. I need to get a humidifier for the apartment next winter. I am hoping to do a step by step post on the repotting and root trimming of the 3 orchids not in bloom, very soon. These geraniums seem to love the bottom shelf of the orchid stand.