Missouri or Bust
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 This is just a small sampling of the life around the yard.

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Because of building the shop and lack of proper power tools, I hadn't had time to put in a vegetable garden. In April we got some herb plants and I put them in a planting bed in the back of the house. It was still pretty cool and we got a freeze one night that killed of the Basil.

Danny tried getting the old rototiller going that had been left in the barn. He got it to run but it has a bad banging sound inside the engine and the throttle linkage was screwed up so he didn't think it was worth fixing. I didn't want to miss having a garden this season so I took some time on June 29 and ended up digging the vegetable garden bed by hand. I started in the area that the former owner had used the year before but the bulldozer had moved all the topsoil off and it was just clay. I then moved to the lawn in back of the house where the soil is much better. I had to dig out all the sod and amend the soil. It was so hard to do with hand tools that I only dug where I put my plantings and left the sod as walkways. I got a head start by buying starts of tomatoes, zucchini, melons, and peppers. I planted seeds for beans, corn and carrots. Danny wanted cucumbers but I ran out of energy to dig up another bed.

The Zucchini plants grew rapidly and I had some nice zucs in less than 2 weeks. Then, either the excess rain, the squash bugs or something else killed them off. Currently, we have cherry tomatoes andI picked my first Better Boy tomatoes. I've had a couple handfuls of beans and the peppers have flowers and large green fruit. The corn is about 4-1/2 feet tall. (the neighbors is at least 6'). We had a wind blow by the other day and knocked over all the corn. I had to prop it back up and cross my fingers that it will be okay.

I don't know what to expect of the local fauna. I put up a fence but can only hope it will deter the possums, raccoons and birds from wiping me out. I think a lot of people use electric fencing. Next year, I hope to get a earlier start and, using power machinery, make it bigger and better.

A couple of the neighbors have been kind enough to bring us some of their excess crops. Hubert and Marquita have dropped off numerous delicious cucumbers. I thought they gave us too many but I actually ran out. And Jack Dowell brought a bag of fresh corn, squash and onions.This week we got some fresh corn from the Jones'. I almost wonder if I should bother with my own garden when everyone else has so much to get rid of. Nobody has offered any home-grown tomatoes though, and there is nothing else like them. I can hardly wait for mine to ripen.

I have been waiting to see what comes up in the planting beds around the house. I'm not familiar with the plants around here so there are a lot of weeds this year. But there have been some lovely surprises as well. Peonies, Lilacs, Bleeding Heart, Irises, Tiger Lilies, grapes, fruit trees and wildflowers. We have one nectarine tree in back that seems to have every disease know to trees . I have eaten a couple but have to be careful to eat around the bugs. There are 2 young peach trees in the front. One produced a batch of small fruit that was eaten by critters before we had a chance to sample them. I was able to get the crop off the other tree just in time. We got about 10 nice peaches. They were not the tastiest peaches by any means, but it was fun to have home-grown fruit. We have several Catalpa trees that grow like weeds around the house. It is a tall, fast-growing tree that has giant cordate leaves and beautiful flowers in May.

The previous owners' daughter planted the backyard with hundreds of bearded iris. I was anxious to see what would come up and was disappointed to find that 90% of the plants didn't produce flowers. I don't know much about growing irises and don't know why they didn't flower but the neighbor said that herbicide had been used on them the previous year. Danny hates mowing around them and there is every kind of weed growing with them in the rows since id didn't get around to weeding them early. We will have to figure out what to do about them. The iris and lily plants by the shed produced beautiful flowers this year.