Tag Archives: Homesteading

Plant Identification – Can You Help?

I know some of my readers are gardeners and plant lovers so today I am asking for your help to identify a plant that my husband so lovingly brought home for me.

Before I show it to you I want to share the cute story of how it became mine. During a recent visit to the farm store my husband noticed these unique plants in the garden section out in front of the store. There were three of this particular plant and the sign said $5.00 each. My husband selected one of the plants and took it inside. As he was walking in another man with 5 of those plants in his cart had just finished paying and was leaving the store. He stopped my husband and said “I just bought all of those. You can’t have that.” When my husband explained that there were three left outside the man showed him on his receipt that he had paid for the five in his cart plus the three that remained (including the one my husband had in his hand). He had paid half price for all of them.

Not to be deterred my husband pleaded with the other man “let me have just one. I want to give it to my wife. She would love it.” Eventually the man relented choosing the smallest and least healthy looking of the bunch and handing it to my husband. My husband handed him $5 (full price) and wished him a nice day.

I love the plant almost as much as I love what my husband did to get it for me. The problem is that there was no tag in the container telling me the name of the plant or anything else about it. Thus I’m asking for your help. Do you know the name of this plant?

I did a quick internet search for “plants that look like caterpillars” but only came up with photos of caterpillars on plants.

Other questions I have are: what are the growing requirements for this plant – does it like full sun or partial shade? Does it require a lot of water or just a little? I’m also not sure if it would be best to plant it outdoors this fall and see if it will survive our winter or if I should over winter it in the house and plant it out next spring. If you are familiar with this plant please tell me what you know about it.

2021 Garden Update

It’s been quiet here on my blog lately. Have you noticed? I have started several posts (like this one) but just haven’t felt much like writing. I’m not really sure why, but it could be several things combined. It’s been a strange year – the weather, national and world events, and things that have happened in our personal lives. We have had a lot of things keeping us busy, and in the past 5 or 6 weeks three people that we loved have passed away. It is likely these things that have given me pause. It’s been time to reflect and contemplate rather than write. I will probably write about some of these thing in future posts but for today I’ll just finish up my 2021 garden update.

You may remember that we started out this gardening season, late May/early June, in a drought but by the end of June that situation had begun to correct itself. It continued to over-correct throughout the rest of the summer. Having too much rain has probably been our most frustrating gardening experience thus far because there is just nothing we can do about it. If we had too little rain we could water the plants, and if we had had problems with bugs or diseases we would try to find (organic) solutions.

Normally Swiss chard, beets and green beans are among the first vegetables we harvest and eat. This year we have no beets or Swiss chard and only a handful of green beans after my husband replanted them in during a mid summer dry spell. The beets and Swiss chard that he planted at that time did not produce. 😦 Corn, squash and melons were also duds this year – some of the plants grew none of them produced fruit to harvest.

Despite all of our gardening woes and worries we did harvest some fruits and vegetables. Thus far we have enjoyed potatoes, green peppers, banana peppers, jalapenos, cucumbers, tomatoes and one egg plant. I have made boiled potatoes and garlic mashed potatoes; jalapeno and banana pepper poppers, cucumber salad (with onion, dill and sour cream) refrigerator dill pickles, veggie omelets (with tomato, green pepper, yellow pepper and jalapeno) and fresh salsa on taco night. We’ve also been enjoyed fresh tomatoes just quartered up with a sprinkle of salt and pepper and my husband had his favorite tomato sandwich (sliced tomato on white bread with mayo).

Oh, we also harvested okra but I can’t really say we enjoyed that very much. LOL!

Jalapeno Poppers
Refrigerator Dill Pickles

A week ago Saturday I finished canning tomato juice. I ended up with 41 quarts of juice which I will eventually cook down into 10-12 quarts of sauce. I have also have made about 4 quarts of sauce so far. Considering that we originally had around 100 tomato plants in the garden our yields this year were low.

This year blueberries were the star of the show. Despite getting hit with several nights of freezing temperatures this spring while they were blossoming, then suffering drought conditions followed by all the rain, and having their leaves eaten by gypsy moth caterpillars our blueberry crop was nearly the same as it has been in recent years. I have many quarts of blueberries in the freezer for pies, pancakes, sorbet, and to add to my banana bread. I might even make a batch of blueberry jam. 🙂

Apples are another crop that out-preformed our expectations after our late season frosts/freezes. Even though they mostly came from one tree (we have seven trees) we ended up with about three milk crates full of apples.

While they may look flawed on the outside, beneath the skin they are beautiful and quite tasty.

They make wonderful apple pie and apple sauce. Thus far I have made pie filling for 4 pies (3 in the freezer and 1 that we ate) and canned 20 pints of apple sauce. I’m still working at it and will probably end up with enough filling for 4-6 more pies by the time I’m done.

Last but not least we harvested some grapes. During the summer we discovered that the grapes had black rot, a fungus that will quickly destroy a crop. We did some pruning to allow more air flow and sprayed them thoroughly with copper sulfate. These actions saved most of the crop. Earlier this month, as the grapes began to ripen we weren’t the only ones to notice. Birds became frequent visitor to the vines and the grapes began to disappear. Last week we decided it was now or never, so we picked the bunches that still remained. We harvested about 5 pounds of grapes which I turned into juice. It only made about 3 pints of juice but it complements our breakfast nicely.

While our plans for a wonderful garden with lots of produce to preserve did not come to pass this year, I remind myself the God doesn’t always give us what we want but He always gives us what we need. For this I am thankful.

Thanks for visiting. Did you grow a garden this year? How did your garden grow?

Mushrooms, Mushrooms and More Mushrooms

The clouds hung low and the air was thick with moisture when my husband went to open up the chicken coop this morning. It’s yet another day with rain in the forecast. Upon his return my husband announced, “we are all going to turn into mushrooms!” I quickly replied, “at least you will be a fun guy (fungi)”. We both had a good laugh and he had given me a great opening for this post which was already in the works. 🙂

Mushrooms are not something that I am knowledgeable about other than to know that identification can be tricky and many wild mushrooms are poisonous. Thus we never consume wild mushrooms. I do, however, find it fascinating how they suddenly appear in random places, their spores having been carried by the wind, then waiting until conditions are right for them to mature. It’s not unusual to see wild mushrooms pop up in around here but some of the mushrooms we have seen lately are unusual.

Here are some photos I took over the weekend.

Thanks for visiting.

Hidden Pictures

Who’s hiding in this picture?

Can you see it?

(Keep scrolling)

How about here?

(keep scrolling)

There it is. Isn’t it cute?

This baby deer spent 3 days hanging out in the area around our barn. When my husband first encountered it he or she was lying on a stack of lumber that my husband had left on the porch of the barn. We were inclined to think that it was abandoned, or more likely orphaned, because of it’s close proximity to the barn where we spend so much time. Also because it was there for so long. After those three days it was gone, so it now seems as though momma came for it, and more than likely it is now tagging along behind her.

Too Much of a Good Thing

Last week, when I took you all on a little garden tour, our gardens were doing well. We had gotten some much needed rain and did not anticipate having to water anytime soon. Now we have gotten too much rain, and our gardens are suffering .

June 27, 2021

It is called wet wilt. The ground is simply too wet for the plants and they are basically drowning.

June 27, 2021

We have lost significant amounts of tomatoes and peppers and the entire row of green beans. Today we noticed that the cabbage and potatoes have also taken a hit.

June 27, 2021

On June 27th, when we first discovered that we were losing plants, my husband removed all of the straw mulch in order to give the ground an opportunity to dry out and prevent further damage, but with showers and storms adding water to the ground each day there has been no chance of that. We now have about five dry days in the forecast so hopefully the worst is over and all is not lost.

While this is discouraging we must remember –

Do Not Worry
(Matthew 6: 25-34)25 Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothes? 26 Look at the birds of the air: They do not sow or reap or gather into barns—and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they? 27 Who of you by worrying can add a single hour to his life? 28 And why do you worry about clothes? Consider how the lilies of the field grow: They do not labor or spin. 29 Yet I tell you that not even Solomon in all his glory was adorned like one of these. 30 If that is how God clothes the grass of the field, which is here today and tomorrow is thrown into the furnace, will He not much more clothe you, O you of little faith? 31 Therefore do not worry, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ 32 For the Gentiles strive after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them. 33 But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things will be added unto you.34 Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Today has enough trouble of its own.

As soon as the ground dries up some we will be placing some of the lost plants. My husband was able to find some tomato and pepper plants at a garden center and he also bought more green bean seeds. 🙂