I suppose it has been a week since the last vegetable harvest, at least for the pole beans. Today I walked away from our garden at Farm Chastain with enough beans for the family, 3 ears of Silver Queen corn, and one of Silver King. I also picked a cucumber for Martha and some squash for this week. The corn was a little early to be picked but it sure was good. I think it has another 10 days of fattening up to go, but I ran across several worms which made me nervous so I went ahead and picked some for dinner. Picking the green beans is a challenge for sure, they are super healthy so there is a ton of foliage to get through to find the beans.
I am most proud of the corn. If I were to be stranded on an island it would be a must have for me. You can also see a yellow pepper in the picture above. It needs a couple of days to sweeten up, but also looked in danger of getting eaten up out there, so I went ahead and picked.
We had two watermelons growing nicely only to come back today to find them totally rotted out. Not sure what got to them, but they were super nasty. I'll spare you that picture.
Over the past few days I have taken several photographs of the moon as it made it’s way towards tonight’s SuperMoon status. We were traveling over the weekend in Palm Beach, Florida giving me the opportunity to get a great shot of the moon in a dark sky over the ocean. The photo below was taken Saturday night.
This next photograph was taken last night with my iPhone over the Publix back in Atlanta at the Chastain Square Shopping Center. “Don’t forget to dot the ‘b'”. Based on the number of likes it got, I’m not sure many people realized it was the moon above the ‘b’ in Publix.
This morning the Sun was not going to be out-shined by the Moon, so it put on it’s own show at sunrise thanks to the haze of smoke covering Atlanta right now due to wildfires in the North Georgia Mountains and the North Carolina Mountains. Here is a picture of the sun this morning as it rose. Typically you wouldn’t be able to get a clear shot like this without glare.
Finally this evening the true SuperMoon came along. The day was full of haze, blue skies muffled and gray as the wildfire smoke moved across Atlanta. This evening was no different and I almost abandoned the photo trek all together. Convinced by my friend Lily to try it anyway I headed to Tower Place in Buckhead to see if I could get a good shot with a building in the foreground. It wasn’t happening, at least when I needed it to. Last night it seemed to rise earlier, and tonight I just didn’t have as much time. After walking around for 45 minutes with no moon, I headed back to the car (after being chased down Peachtree Road by a lunatic screaming “come here bitch-ass” at me). I drove closer to Lenox Mall and decided to check out the roof top parking at Pirch above Dick’s Sporting Goods. While it wasn’t a great spot, it did turn out a couple of pictures of a ghostly blood orange moon rising above the trees looking east.
It was clearly affected by the haze, and much darker than usual, so I proceeded to head back to Chastain Park to see if I could grab one more picture on the way home. I got several pictures of the SuperMoon as it continued to rise over Chastain Park.
Once I got home I snapped a couple more from the front porch, probably the clearest shots of the night.
This weekend over Fall Break we made a quick trip up to Highlands North Carolina. On Saturday morning we strolled up to Sunset Rock to get the kids out of the house before lunch. The trail head is located just past Mountain Fresh and only takes about 20 minutes to hike. There is parking across the street from the Highlands Nature Center on Horse Cove Road. Sunset Rock offers a stunning overhead view of the town of Highlands. In the morning the sun behind you provides beautiful light over the town, highlighting the fall colors.
In the evening the sun sets perfectly over Highlands. Below is a picture taken in November of 2015 over Thanksgiving.
Over the past couple of days I have noticed some of the green beans getting pretty big in the garden. This morning I picked a couple of handfuls of beans and two pretty red tomatoes. Tomorrow night I believe we will be having green beans, tomatoes with basil and a cucumber for dinner!
After picking a few of the straight eight cucumbers this summer I have realized mine are not going to resemble either of those descriptions. A straight eight cucumber is supposed to be long and straight, about 7-8 inches. The first fruit was really fat and short, and while I waited on it to grow, it turned yellow and became compost food. This time I picked it when it looked about right, just not straight or eight. Here is the picture I got of it. On the right side you can see it oozing from the fresh cut. Click on the image below to see the hi-res version on my website.
Based on some articles online this shape is due to a lack of bees getting their pollinating on. I have definitely noticed a lack of bees this year for some reason or another.
Cat photography has never been on my radar. I didn’t have a cat growing up and have pretty much been scared of cats my entire adult life. It’s not an unwarranted fear, they really seem to hate me. Showing houses I have had cats just walk up and bite me on the ankle, leap across the room and shred my mls paperwork, just harassing me. They love to be in my face, almost certainly aware of my fear.
Well this week we got a cat. We adopted her from our neighbor who fostered 5 kittens since they were found about two weeks old under a neighbor’s back deck. Her name is Poppy and she is pretty unbelievable! We are 4 days in and everyone in our family is in love with her, including Cody the Goldendoodle who was also adopted about 6 years ago; maybe he feels a connection with her…
I’m excited about the opportunity to photograph her as she grows from a kitten into a cat. Her markings are really beautiful, and something I assume sets every cat apart. One thing I really like are the five stripes down the back of her head and neck. What made her jump out to me at first was her white paws and the white splotch on her chest. We almost named her Boots because of her white paws, but after a slew of name ideas and changes we landed on Poppy. Watching her play around the name really fits her, she loves to pop around chasing her tail, shadow or whatever has her immediate attention.
The Matthews back yard garden is starting to produce fruit in the way of tomatoes, cucumbers and squash. Below are some pictures of the progress. We are still waiting on the zucchini and green beans to start fruiting. Not pictured below are the bell peppers which are starting to change from green to red, and now have a purple tone to them.
At Matthews Farm, 2016 will be the year that I defeat the squirrels and chipmunks. Each year my garden has grown bigger and bigger, and each year more critters come out to enjoy the harvests the night before I come out to pick the fruits of my labor.
This offseason I decided to build real cages around each raised bed, and my strawberry & carrot bed has a hinged top as well. The other bed cages will be organic, as in they will grow with the crops as needed. I plan to build trellis’s for the tomatoes, cucumbers & squash, and keeping those caged in will be an ongoing process.
Below are lots of pictures of the evolution of the garden, the planted crops, and some early seed bloomers (pole beans) that will grow in a bamboo teepee. I am also quite proud of the set of sawhorses that I built thanks to direction from familyhandyman.com.
I’m looking forward to a summer full of fruits and veggies from the back yard!
Rudy the Elf on the Shelf is happy to have a Christmas tree to hide in. Photographed while watching U2 play in Paris. As I type this they are teasing Burning Down the House with a cool lady moving in mysterious ways.
In October we took a trip to Turks and Caicos to celebrate the women in our lives. We stayed on the north side of Providenciales in a private home called Villa Palmera. Looking out over the infinity pool into the Caribbean Ocean you can see clearly through the water with coral spread out among it and waves crashing across the reef in the distance. We had a great time paddle boarding out and snorkeling along the coral. On the next to last day we stumbled upon a lemon shark about a half mile out from the house… we quickly returned home.
Here are several pictures looking out away from the house over the course of several days:
And here is the picture from our Delta airplane as we were flying away from the islands. You can see the reef that envelopes the north side of the island.