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Did you travel out of town for the 4th of July?  We normally don’t.  But before you start to feel sorry for us, I would love to share with you what we did this 4th.

We spent it with my sister and her family on their farm, which is located just 5 minutes from our house.  Their farm is a fun place to visit with dogs, chickens, a pet toad who lives with the chickens, fruit trees, nut trees and a vegetable garden.  I love sharing their farm with you all.


So we started out our evening with an all-American meal of hot dogs, chips and watermelon.  I brought Rice Krispy treats with both milk chocolate and white frosting on top.  After we ate, we went outdoors and watched the kids play.

American meal

we started out our evening with an all-American meal of hot dogs, chips and watermelon

In the distance, we could see a thunderstorm brewing, but it didn’t look like it was going to hit us.

American meal

As I usually do each week when we visit, I decided to check out the fruit trees and vegetable garden see what was growing.

American meal

The green fruit that you see above are grapefruit that will be ripe this winter.  Other then watering deeply (3 ft. deep), there is nothing to be done for citrus trees this month.

American meal

There was a single kumquat hanging in this tree.  Later the tree will be covered with them.

American meal

I love growing gourds and have 4 big ones in my own vegetable garden.  But, there are 3 large ones growing in this vegetable garden.

watermelon

Both the watermelon and gourd plants are growing like crazy.  It is probably not a good idea to plant these plants close to each other.

Effie, Lucy and Flo

The chickens, Effie, Lucy and Flo were out enjoying the early evening along with us.

frost-damaged tree

Do you remember the frost-damaged tree that I wrote about a few weeks ago?  Well, look at how quickly it has grown!

nephew Oliver, my son Kai, my daughter Ruthie, my nephew Finley and my daughter Gracie

My nephew Oliver, my son Kai, my daughter Ruthie, my nephew Finley and my daughter Gracie.

The kids were getting very excited about seeing fireworks.

proud American citizen

Gracie may have been born in China, but she is a proud American citizen ๐Ÿ™‚

Notice her shirt?  Gracie just loves Sonic the Hedgehog and couldn’t believe it when we saw this t-shirt at the store the other day.  It didn’t matter to her that it was in the boy’s department.  She used her allowance to buy it.  She wears it everyday until I tell her that I have to wash it ๐Ÿ˜‰

Finally, it was dark enough to set off the fireworks in the front yard.

proud American citizen

I don’t know who was most excited, the kids or my brother and brother-in-law who were going to set them off.

proud American citizen

We started off small, with sparklers.

proud American citizen

My daughter, Rachele, and I were happy to just watch.

proud American citizen

Some of the fireworks were a bit loud for Gracie.

proud American citizen

We had such a fabulous time watching our small firework show that we didn’t even venture into the backyard where our town’s firework display could be seen.

How about you?

What did you do this 4th of July?

pumpkin

Can you figure out what is wrong with this picture?

I can see two things.  First of all, my son is holding a pumpkin from our vegetable garden in July.  Definitely not the normal time of year for seeing kids with pumpkins.

The second thing wrong with this photo is that my son is in a wheelchair.  He needs the wheelchair as he recovers from hip surgery.  We go back to the doctor this week and Kai will hopefully be able to stand up and start physical therapy and get out of that wheelchair.  I don’t mean to complain about the wheelchair…it has made our lives much easier and Kai can really get around very well in it, but I yearn for the day when he will be able to run around again.  You can read more about Kai’s story here if you like.

 Once Kai can stand and walk, he no longer will rely on us to carry him – I actually threw my back out last week picking him up and still cannot pick him up.  We are looking forward to his doctor saying that he can walk again ๐Ÿ™‚

Okay, back to the pumpkin….a few weeks ago, I wrote about “An Escapee From The Garden” which featured our pumpkin plant that decided to grow outside of our garden.

Back in March, my daughter, Gracie planted the seeds….

plant pumpkins

 They took about 7 days to germinate and then quickly began to grow.  *Now, we realized that the time to plant pumpkins for the fall is in June, but the kids really wanted to plant pumpkins early, and so we did ๐Ÿ™‚

pumpkin plants

Being rather new to vegetable gardening, we did not realize how large the pumpkin plants would spread.  Pretty soon one of our plants decided to venture outside of the garden…

outside of the garden

Shortly afterward, we noticed a little pumpkin forming – outside of the garden, of course.

pumpkin plants

It grew quite quickly…

pumpkin plants

This morning, I stepped out into the garden and this is what I found…

pumpkin plants

And so, we are probably the only people in Arizona who have a pumpkin gracing the top of their kitchen table in the month of July.

We planted new pumpkin seeds this month in hopes of getting pumpkins in time for fall.

On my way back inside from the garden, I noticed another escapee from the garden…

watermelon plant

Our watermelon plant decided to copy the pumpkin plant.  Next month may bring watermelons forming outside of the vegetable garden as well.  Oh well, we have plans to expand our garden this fall ๐Ÿ™‚

I hope you all had a wonderful 4th of July celebration!

Well, I have to admit, that in the past, I did not truly understand the allure of vegetable gardening.  Sure, I had to grow my own plot of vegetables in college for my horticulture class – but that was for a grade.  I also dutifully helped people create their own gardens, but I never had one for myself.  

That was then, and this is now….I am completely hooked on vegetable gardening!  Each morning, I go out to see how my plants are doing and the kids hurry home for school and check to see if there have been any changes.  Their favorite thing to do is to find the newly ripened cherry tomatoes to eat – they never make it to our salads.

vegetable gardening

Vegetable gardening

I just love this view outside of my family room window.  I can see the tops of my corn just over the fence and my flowering Palo Verde in the background.  The Palo Verde flowers are providing a nice layer of mulch for my garden.

At first, it seemed like it was taking a long time for my small plants to begin growing.  I celebrated each time a tiny seedling germinated, but it seemed to take a while for them to really get going.  But, that is probably because I was watching them so closely every day, which reminds me of the saying “A watched pot never boils.” 

That is where pictures help to provide a healthy dose of reality for me.  Below, is a picture I took of our little garden, just two weeks after planting from seed….

vegetable gardening

Vegetable gardening

*The transplants in the seed trays were for an upcoming service project and I also gave some to my mother for her garden.

Now, I know that I did not organize my plantings very well and probably have done quite a few things wrong, but that is what is fun about gardening.  You can learn so much just by doing.  For example, you should have three rows of corn in order for them to pollinate each other.  Since I do not have that much corn, I will have the kids help with the pollination, so they can learn even more about how things grow.

That is where pictures help to provide a healthy dose of reality for me.  Below, is a picture I took of our little garden, just two weeks after planting from seed….

vegetable gardening

*The transplants in the seed trays were for an upcoming service project and I also gave some to my mother for her garden.

Now, I know that I did not organize my plantings very well and probably have done quite a few things wrong, but that is what is fun about gardening.  You can learn so much just by doing.  For example, you should have three rows of corn in order for them to pollinate each other.  Since I do not have that much corn, I will have the kids help with the pollination, so they can learn even more about how things grow.

Below is a picture taken two weeks ago of my tomato plant in the right back corner and there is such a difference.

vegetable gardening

You can see above my tomato plant has grown quite a bit in just four weeks and I have pumpkin growing in the foreground ( I realize that we sowed the pumpkin seedlings too early and will probably have pumpkins this summer, but the kids were so excited to grow some right now).

Now, come see the garden at just six weeks after sowing the seeds.  I must admit, that I am a little bit proud of our garden ๐Ÿ™‚

vegetable gardening

The corn is now taller then the fence and I can see the corn flower starting to emerge.  

vegetable gardening

Our single tomato plant is growing so beautifully and produces quite a few tomatoes for us.  I will be planting a lot more tomato plants next time – maybe give each of the kids their own plant.

vegetable gardening

Our climate is ideal for growing watermelon and I cannot wait to see the flowers start to appear on our watermelon plants.

watermelon

The  flowers are starting to appear on our cucumber plants.

cucumber

I love the large leaves of the pumpkin plant.

pumpkin

My tiny oregano plant is starting to look more like a little plant then just a couple of leaves.  *This is a macro-view and the plant is actually still quite small.

oregano plant

You can tell that I have already started to use some of my basil ๐Ÿ™‚

basil

My sunflowers are starting to grow tall.

And I can see that flowers are almost ready to appear….

sunflowers

Some years, it seems that we go straight from winter into summer and skip over spring.  But this year, we have had a lovely spring, but now that temperatures are climbing into the 90’s, I have covered some of the garden in shade cloth (the corn are too tall and do not require shade).  This helps to protect the leaves and vegetables from becoming sunburned.  

My daughter, Ruthie, is so proud of our little garden and made me a sign for the garden for Mother’s Day.  She cut it out of wood (with her dad’s help) and painted it for me.

our garden

Thank you so much for letting me show you how our garden is growing.

I will post another update soon, probably as soon as I see some flowers.

Have a great day!