Beauty or beast? Or both? I found this fungus growing near a fence line nestled in a bed of Poison Ivy and Virginia Creeper. It measures about 8 inches across and was really quite beautiful. My good camera (with it's good lens) is out of commission right now, so I couldn't get a good close up of this pretty growth.Another angle showing it's spiral-like structure.Cooper is taking his evening water cooler break and asks if you'd like to see our fancy new hose-holder.This is the redneck version of one of those fancy hose holders. It cost a lot less than the ones advertised in "Front Gate" and works just as well. This is Tennessee, you know. But .... as the song says, "A country boy can survive."Cooper poses with our entire back field watering system. The horses seem to appreciate it, but you won't find it in "Dressage Today" or any such respectable magazine. Probably not even on Craigslist.
Turning now from the watering system, let's go and see how the garden grows. I'm trying mulching this year, and have chosen two different kinds to see what I like best. (Gardening is one big experiment, you know.) The tomato bed is mulched with black, water-permeable fabric, and everything else with straw. When I put down the straw I thought that I will end up either patting myself on the back, or kicking my own backside. As it turns out, I'm doing both - kicking myself for the abundant crop of straw grass that began growing, and congratulating myself because it was incredibly easy getting that grass up and the straw is really keeping the weeds down. Of course, the fabric mat is really the cat's meow.... once you get those holes for the plants cut just right. The drawback to mats is that you can only use it with transplants and not seeds. Of course.
This is a view of the cucumbers (Don't you love the little bird's nest on the cage? I do.), tomato/pea/bean bed, and the pumpkin vines. I took these photos just over 24 hours ago. Since then we've had 2 big rains, and - I kid you not - those pumpkin vines have grown a full foot!!Another view pulled back a bit from the previous one. Here you can also see the zucchini plants, carrots, peppers, and radishes. In the background on the fence line is the pole bean bed.Max taking the Veggie Garden Promenade.This year I've decided to grow some cooking tomatoes in hopes of putting up my own spaghetti sauce. Goodness knows I get enough oregano and basil, so I might as well throw in tomatoes and go for it. These Romas should do the trick.This is the Cherokee Purple tomato. It was developed and cultivated by the Cherokee Indians in this area, so I figure this one ought to be pretty hardy since it's in its own native environment. It's an heirloom naturally, and is supposed to be quite sweet. A huge storm this evening knocked it over,though, so I hope its root system is okay.Here we have cucumber blossoms and tendril. I just thought it was a pretty picture. There are baby cucumbers, but I couldn't get a good shot of them. The squash also have babies, and the bush and pole beans have begun to produce. I only got two good dinners out of the peas, which was terribly disappointing. Peas love cool weather and we had very, very little spring this year. We literally went from cooold winter to hot, sticky summer - very unusual for us.Banana peppers! This is my first try at growing them. I got the tomatoes, peppers, and some herbs at The Tasteful Garden and have been so pleased. Everything else - beans, spinach, lettuce, cukes, squash, pumpkin, peas - came from seed and have done just fine; but starting tomatoes and peppers from seed indoors is just not working for me. I don't have the right lighting system, and it's just easier buying these vigorous, organically-grown transplants.I think that by Saturday, those peppers will be in a salad, and by Monday we'll be having squash! Gardening is a heck of a lot of work, but the rewards are delicious