Tuesday, August 17, 2010

keeping time

Well, there's two ways to look at this darling. Two ways. I can look at these tiny excuses for watermelons and feel like a complete failure for growing something so weak that it could barely entertain a flock of egg birds. Or, I can look at these tropical fruits I managed to conjure out of yankee dirt on a brand new farm and be proud to turn them into vitamin C enriched eggs. To a farmer they aren't much. But to a chicken....that is one huge watermelon.

Tonight I'm taking the chicken's point of view. A little kindness for the attempt is a recipe for better sleep. I've scolded myself enough about the garden, the meat rabbits, the slow fence progress, and other things. I think I've had enough self-admonishing for a while. I have to keep reminding myself no one is keeping score.


Blogger The Bunny Girl said...

I'm sorry to hear you're out of sorts Jenna. When I miss my family very much I make a batch of my mother's chocolate chip cookies in hopes of making myself feel better. Who can say no to a cup of milk and a cookie? If that doesn't work have a beer, and give your mom a call. I hope that you will be able to see your family soon!
Faithfully yours,
The Bunny Girl

August 17, 2010 at 11:29 PM  
Blogger Dayle said...

I got ONE watermelon out of 6 plants this first year.....but mine got tennis ball size and rotted! What are we doing wrong??????

August 17, 2010 at 11:37 PM  
Blogger Jenna Woginrich said...

oh i'm not out of sorts in a bad way, just out of sorts.

August 17, 2010 at 11:38 PM  
Blogger The Bunny Girl said...

Oh well, I think you should have a cookie (or a beer) anyways. :)

August 18, 2010 at 1:29 AM  
Blogger Lynda Halliger Otvos (Lynda M O) said...

I found this year that kale reseeds itself and comes up without any prompting at all-makes me feel like a right good gardener. That said, the strawberries bloom into their second crop and the sunflowers open with their petals brushing the queen palm fronds ten feet off the ground.

You, Jenna, rock. No one, ever, will be as hard on you as You. See if you can't break that habit b4 you get to be 50, too, ok? Hugs (for you) and an ear rub for all three dogs.

August 18, 2010 at 3:16 AM  
Blogger doglady said...

I am amazed with the heat that we've had your melons didn't do better. Perhaps the soil needed some amending or they needed more water. By next spring, you'll have great hen house, sheep, and bunny amendments. This year I used BioPhos Beneficial Bugs made in Presque Isle ME, when I planted seedlings. The growth and sturdiness of the plants is amazing. I just used it on some started in the spring root bound broccoli seedlings that I put in for a fall crop and they took off sprouting all kinds of leaves.

August 18, 2010 at 7:14 AM  
Blogger svelteSTUFF said...

COOL! Your watermelons look JUST.LIKE.OURS!!
(we haven't picked ours YET - we're STILL HOPING!!)
...now about the cauliflower???

August 18, 2010 at 7:41 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I've been the same way recently. I really screwed up on growing beans (there is a first for everyone), and I just kept banging myself up over that and other little things.

But way to look on the bright side. I need to have a chickens point of view.

August 18, 2010 at 7:58 AM  
Blogger Gail said...

Gardening is. Well, a learning process that seems to begin anew every spring! It certainly begins a new when you change locations. You, Jenna, need to stop comparing this year to last year. Last year was your second (or third) year at that location, you'd had much more time to do all the things you need to do for good gardens. Think about your first year at the old place instead. Anyway, who knows why something does really well one year and crappy the next? I don't

August 18, 2010 at 8:03 AM  
Blogger Sense of Home Kitchen said...

That's the way gardens are, one year your peppers remain small and bitter (last year) and the next they are hugh and sweet (this). Weather has a lot to do with production, it is not always the gardener.

Plus, there is always next year. It is like a big experiment. At least you have chickens to feed them to, my flops go into the compost pile.


August 18, 2010 at 8:39 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I'm looking at those watermelons, and the chicken in me says, "Oh YEAH!! Bring it!! MMMM!" I have a tiny little patio garden with a dozen containers full of things that feed (not the seven family members, but) two ravenous guinea pigs! I can't get the family to eat a salad and throw some warm-from-the-sun cherry tomatoes on it, but the cavies? They'll turn circles and leap in the air for them!

That's what I call giving thanks.

August 18, 2010 at 8:51 AM  
Blogger Mountain Walker said...

Yup, our garden is a sore sight too. Enough rain and cool weather in the spring to think we really lived in Seattle (nothing germinated....I had to replant almost everything) then scorching hot days make for sorry food production. All I can say is thank goodness we don't solely depend on the garden to feed us through the winter. We'd starve!

August 18, 2010 at 8:54 AM  
Blogger Margaret said...

If anyone is keeping score you are way ahead! I didn't even try watermelon, but have only eaten one zucchini so far.

August 18, 2010 at 9:16 AM  
Blogger Tara said...

My watermelons looked exactly the same, and I'm in Texas, where they should be a no-brainer. I have no idea what happened. Meanwhile, my cantaloupes in the same bed did beautifully. It's true - you just never know from year to year what you're going to get. As for everything else - yeah. Sometimes it's like that.

August 18, 2010 at 9:17 AM  
Blogger Unknown said...

Jenna - I think the earlier comments are the same as I am thinking - some years you just cannot explain it. I planted four tomato plants this year - two Roma's and two Mortgage Lifters. The Mortgage Lifters are doing terrible - few blossoms, small ugly fruits for the rest.

The Romas are going gangbusters and taking over everything around them.

You might find that watermelon doesn't work in your garden. Last year I did summer squash. I got a lot of squash, but it was not worth the effort of fighting off the bugs and powdery mildew. This year I did Walthem Butternut. I've got a ton of squash, minimal bugs (I can actually handpick them off), and no powdery mildew.

Just keep on experimenting. You could try canning those tiny watermelons into a pickled watermelon of some sort (the Ball book has several recipes).

August 18, 2010 at 9:28 AM  
Blogger Anna said...

Melons are hard -- some years are good, some are bad. Sometimes we have to remind ourselves that just getting up and planting the seeds (or baking the bread, or making food from scratch, even) does count for something. Even if we always strive to do more and better, it is important to give ourselves credit for what we have done and for trying. And happy chickens mean a lot, too!

August 18, 2010 at 9:33 AM  
Blogger Kris said...

Jenna, you are so right! What a great way to turn lemons into lemonaide. Or in your case little tiny watermelons into chicken feed. And just remember you have only been a homeowner since what, April? I have lived on my 3 acres for 6 years now and STILL have tons to do. So you really have made ALOT of progress in a very short time. You should be very proud of all your accomplishments. I am.

August 18, 2010 at 9:56 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

It's been an odd weather year, which means it's been an odd garden year. I've had similar problems.

Don't sweat the small stuff, hang on the ALL the things you HAVE accomplished.

Some things are out of your hands, no matter how very capable your hands are.

Blessings. Cut yourself a break.

August 18, 2010 at 9:56 AM  
Blogger Laura said...

ya shouldn't be discouraged for what doesn't work out, but see everything you have done. Anyone would be proud. I have been gardening for several years and I always have failures.

August 18, 2010 at 9:59 AM  
Blogger Helena said...

I agree--the chickens will love them. :)

Don't be too hard on yourself. I look at all you've accomplished and am inspired to keep making changes a bit at a time. We are always our own worst critics.

August 18, 2010 at 10:34 AM  
Blogger miz hannahlu said...

i have felt the same sense of guilt and failure this summer staring at the seed packets of squash and bean that never got planted, the flat of heirloom paste tomatoes and tomatillos that DID get nurtured to little plants but now,inexplicably,aren't inspiring me to transplant them in the ground (it's August in Northern California,but still...) There are the onions the size of cherries the kitties dug up,the potato vine that rotted from the inside out, and the Fruitless Tomato Monster which is taking over an entire raised bed. I could beat myself up over the leathery kale that i can't bring myself to eat,but instead i choose to serve it grandly to my hens. And choose to convert my negative spin into a positive one- one where a novice gardener, battling depression, has the best-fed chickens in town. And the most amazing meringue cookies to boot :)

August 18, 2010 at 11:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I'm currently meditating on the one small salvageable tomato that I hauled from my containers this year, and trying not to be harder on myself for not taking better care or growing something better. But, I know more for next year now, and I'm planning to have two bites of deliciousness from it, so I guess we'll see. It's so easy for most people to be hard on themselves, but I hope you can give yourself a bit of a break and focus instead on what's been learned and accomplished which, from reading your blog, is a whole lot.

August 18, 2010 at 11:17 AM  
Blogger Funny Ernie said...

Hey, that's what my melons look like and I'm in the NW! Actually, mine are even smaller. It's a sad year for melons apparently.

August 18, 2010 at 11:38 AM  
Blogger psmflowerlady said...

I like your attitude! Maybe I need a few chickens. My from-seed Mortgage Lifters never really did much, so I finally bit the bullet and went and bought a little pack of yellow grape tomato plants (4). I kept 2 and gave my neighbor two. Keep in mind that I consider these 2 plants the pride of my small garden. Last week, I "harvested" about 6 grape tomotoes. I wanted some on a salad yesterday and there were only 4 more. This morning, I found two brown lunchbags FULL of the grape tomatoes from my neighbors plants that I had given him. I'd like to blame my epic fail on climate, soil or just the dang plants, but with his success just feet from my door, I'm thinkin it's pretty much all gardner-error. Live and learn. I do think MY tomatoes tasted better than his - just sayin.

August 18, 2010 at 11:42 AM  
Blogger SouthernHeart said...

What I see from my vantage point (way out here in Oregon) is a BRAVE young woman with a pioneer spirit. Actually, you've gained a lot from the farm's first garden - insight into what the land needs for next year. Life is a series of ups and downs and, hopefully, a lot of growth for each of us. My goodness...you've accomplished a lot this first year as a full-fledged farm owner...just remember that!

August 18, 2010 at 12:17 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I attempted zucs this year in a big pot, and the plants bloomed beautifully just as the weather changed in a fallish sort of way with too cool nights. Sigh, now my plants are shutting down. I'm struggling to find the magic to high-altitude gardening but I take heart by your encouragement in your book-- that not everything goes well and it's a system of trial and error (and in my case, errors!). Sounds like there are a lot of farmgirls that can relate!

August 18, 2010 at 12:45 PM  
Blogger Sue said...

One woman. Working a full-time job. Buys her first farm. And is frustrated she isn't doing more, faster, better in the first three months of living there.
I don't know whether to laugh at you or hug you. I want to do both -- because I have the same voices in my head often.
I have to listen to them kindly, nod and pat them gently, then tell them it's all going to be okay and it's time for them to quiet down now. But it sounds like you've figured that out yourself. Silly voices. It's all good.

August 18, 2010 at 12:53 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Sheep will eat squash. Do you suppose they'll eat watermelon? Chickens will eat almost anything, even each other.

Have you opened those little melons? Maybe they're good and sweet inside. Maybe you picked the babies and you just need to be patient for a while.

August 18, 2010 at 2:15 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...


August 18, 2010 at 2:26 PM  
Blogger Denise said...

Well they look perfect if only bitty. By the way my pie pumpkins that we talked about did OK. I am cooking them right now and will freeze the pulp to make pies with. The first year and I only got four off of all those vines. The large hubbard squash did squat. Tomatoes did horrible but blueberries and grapes did great. Just the year I guess. You are not alone!

August 18, 2010 at 3:58 PM  
Blogger heather said...

i live in los angeles...first thing i thought was, "my GOD, those are the biggest figs i've ever SEEN!"

a season or two ago on 'top chef,' one of the contestants, a new jersey-ish guy (no offense meant to new jerseians (??)) regularly said, "it is what it is...whatever whatever." it drove me nuts at the time, but i'll be darned if i don't hear myself saying it--out loud and to myself--regularly.

August 18, 2010 at 5:15 PM  
Blogger Renai said...

"No one is keeping score"

Just reading that helped me relax immensely. I just spent a weekend with several people who love what they do every day and feel that they have found their path in life. I feel like I am being left behind, and it's hard to stay positive sometimes!

Thank you!

August 18, 2010 at 7:20 PM  
Blogger Unknown said...

Don't feel bad, at least you have honey! We killed an entire hive this year from inexperience . . .

August 18, 2010 at 9:09 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

maybe it wasn't the year for your garden ... but the honey ... remember the honey!

August 19, 2010 at 1:19 AM  
Blogger Rob said...

Hi Jenna, I found your blog when brousing and after seeing your melons I thought I would drop you a line of encouragement. The way I see it is that when dealing with nature you're always going to be challenged so what you have, how ever small is better than what you started with. I've been gardening nearly 40 years and still haven't achieved perfection and I know I never will but you can have fun trying so don't give up on your melon growing or anything else. All the best, Rob.

August 19, 2010 at 5:31 AM  
Blogger Andria Crowjoy said...

Heather's fig comment cracked me up!

I'm willing to bet that you, like me, have known some old gardener whose site and produce looked and came out perfect every year. Trust me, when they started out their gardens looked just like ours. This is us, on the learning curve!

August 19, 2010 at 8:47 AM  
Blogger psmflowerlady said...

As I read the comments, I couldn't help but laugh @ the mail commenter who wrote "after seeing your melons". What a hoot! Maybe I have a sick twisted mind, but I can't stop thinking about how "showing your melons" will increase your male readership - especially since you showed 3.

August 19, 2010 at 11:33 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

This is my first year at what I would concider, successful gardening. The kate and brussel sprouts were devoured by white cabbage moths, and my squash was infested by vine boring moth. My lettuce either rotted or bolted and my shitake mushroom kit gave one mushroom before starting to decay. Still I had fresh greens in the spring, and handful of zucchini, a small acorn squash, and many blossoms in the freezer waiting to be soup. I haven't given up hope on my small watermelons. One after months of no progress is finally starting to creep along in size. Still rather small. even if it just gives a few mouthfuls of fruit, I will pack it in a lunch and be thankful. My tomatoes are doing great and I have hope for my pea seedling that were seeded after pulling my zucchini. Keeping a gardening journal has helped to keep positive. I note my problems successes and list ways of improvement. if you feel this year is done, start focusing on what you can do for next year.

August 20, 2010 at 8:31 PM  
Blogger maryelizabethroche said...

They're watermelonettes!
Don't be sad ; )

August 25, 2010 at 5:59 PM  

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