carolinainmymind

can't you see the sunshine….

How’s the garden looking?

Well, thanks for asking. It still looks pretty good. Here, Hurricane Dorian was no worse than a thunder storm. We have had some thunderstorms this summer that caused some damage to the garden but nothing awful. And we have had some well spaced rain, but still I felt like I had to do way too much watering.

The tomatoes are still producing although the plants look rather sad.








I did finally get some green beans

The front needs some work. When the weather finally changes I will be moving some things around. I hope to plant daffodils in the new bed where the crepe myrtle is. It has done well and even managed a bloom. Next year should be a good year for it.

That’s how the front looks. Look for a later post about the deck.

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Fixing the icemaker

This might be a little dull. This is basically a ‘how to’ for me to use the next time I need it.

Our kitchen is not large. It was hard to pick out appliances. I had to do a lot of shopping online with out touching, opening…that sort of thing. The fridge was especially difficult because I wanted fridge on top, freezer on bottom, not French door. We ended up with a European brand, Blomberg. It is great. Very quiet, which is important since we sleep right next to it. The only thing, there is a design flaw. The ice maker.

Many Europeans are not big on ice. So an icemaker is an afterthought for the manufacturer. A month or so after delivery, the icemaker in our beautiful fridge was frozen solid, not ejecting ice, water overflowing in to the ice collection tray. The manufacturer replaced the fridge. This happened TWO MORE TIMES!!!!!!. In November 2017 we got our third brand new fridge. Every time I pointed out that the power supply had been cut before this happened. When the power comes back on, the icemaker automatically refills without emptying the already made ice. That water either freezes and makes the cubes too heavy to empty or just runs right off into the collection bin.

Well, we putted along just fine, no power outages until this summer. So out came the repair man again. This time he fixed it and showed me how to fix the problem, rather than replacing the whole fridge. I knew it was only a matter of time with all the thunderstorms we have been having that I would have to fix it by myself. I decided to take some pictures this time and write a few notes so it won’t be as much of a guessing game for me next time.


Turn the power off. This screw has NOTHING TO DO WITH ICEMAKER. DO NOT UNSCREW! Blue and white connection does not need to be pulled out! Disconnect. Pull ice maker out. Thaw. Re-connect then put ice maker back.

Push the ice maker back. And slide off

And here’s the way to rehook the wiring!

This was not hard to do. Certainly worth doing, considering what a repair service call would cost.

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Elephant Ears Again

We recently suffered through our second long stretch of 90+ degrees heat. Finally it was broken by some rain.











Needless to say, I was fasinated by the water collecting on the leaves. I am also fascinated by the size of this leaf.



It measures 28 inches long by 22 inches. Not as big as this one that we saw in the greenhouses at NC State.



That is my friend Roy standing beside it, to give you an idea of the size of the leaf.

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Tomato Update

It has been a good year for tomatoes. Unfortunately, I did not pick tasty varieties or varieties that appeal to my taste. My plants are producing though.

These are the plants on the front porch. Taken 7/10/19. The far left plant is the one I am growning for NC Tomato Man. Those are green beans behind the tomato plants. The green beans are on pots below the porch. The early and long heat wave effected the green beans. Pretty plants but no beans.

Close up of the ‘experimental plant’.

That is a teaspoon. The three yellow ones are from the trial plant. The big (Yes, BIG) one is Bendigo Drop. And the little ones which are smaller than blueberries are Mexican Midgets. They have the most flavor. The Bendigo Drop might have a good flavor but I can’t leave them on the vine to ripen because the city wildlife keeps sampling. At least I don’t have to deal with deer!

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How’s the yard looking?

Very well, that is so nice of you to ask… Except for a difficult 10 days of 90 degrees plus dry weather in MAY, it is been a fairly decent Spring. A good bit of rain. Sometimes too much. But more or less spread out.

The bee balm is being a little pushy, but the day lillies held their own. I’m real pleased with them and the blue salvias.

The butterfly bush has finally gotten settled in (only took two years!). It is doing well this year.

This is where the ramp from the deck ends, at the back of our condo. The hydragenas in the pots were $5 half dead ones from Lowes. They have perked up and are about to bloom again. My friend, Jim, gave me the vinca in the two pots in back.

Here’s the deck. Doesn’t it look great! It is so nice to sit out there. Guppy now sits beside me in the blue chair. I’m waiting until she starts expecting her own glass of wine….

I finally figured out something to do about the ugly telecommunications post.

I relocated some of the elephant ear forest and the flamingos… much nicer looking than the ugly box.

I am aware that we are fortunate to have this space, the time and the means to be able to indulge in something that is just pretty. It does provide me with a huge amount of enjoyment and the activity that I look forward to every year.

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I have tomatoes

This is an update to my tomato experiment. The expirmental plant that I am growing, a teensy yellow, has fruit. I think the fruit appeared on 5/20 but I could not see it for all the leaves. A few more have appeared since then.

I am a little concerned because this is supposed to be a drawf plant (I thought). So far it is the tallest plant of the group.

Twenty eight inches now (5/25) full of blooms.

The gardenia also burst forth this week. There are two in our courtyard.

This one gets much more sun and was just full of blooms. The summer like heat wave that we are having sort of did them in. They are fragile flowers.

Blooms are just now opening on the other side of the courtyard. Guppy stops each morning to give these a sniff.

My “imported from Oxford” vinca arrived this week. (Thanks Jim). Those were the last plants I needed. I am finished planting for the season. Unless of course a hydragena falls in my lap.

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Tomato Trials

This year I got my tomato plants from the NC Tomato Man. https://www.craiglehoullier.com/ He is a very interesting individual. A lot can be learned from him.

I only have room for three plants in pots on the front porch. The best place for full sun and safe from lawn care folks and their weed eaters.

This is planting day, 05/05/19. The one of the far left is the experimental one. A freebie plant as long as I report back about it. The one on the right had just moved into that smaller pot so it needed to wait a week or so before planting in the big pot.

Again 05/05/19

Now 13 days later

A lot of growth! There are blooms. I don’t think the first one set fruit because we had some nights with temps in 40s and 50s. Too low to set fruit. But I am hoping for this week.

All three plants are doing well. As are my green beans which you can’t see yet.

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Way too much time on my hands

This is the fence to the back courtyard of our condo.

Notice the attractive paint job. On the street side it is painted red. And on the right side (not pictured) it is also painted red. Either he ran out of paint or was interrupted and never came back to finish it. He being Ott. The man who lived to the right of us a number of years ago. He was Dutch. Loved to garden. Many of the plants and the good quality of our soil are thanks to him. This was most probably his paint job. The fence on the other side of the building is not painted.

This spring marks the second year of us living here. The second year of me having to look at this. I decided to do something about it. It took several weeks to complete the project. First the fence had to be washed since it had green something growing on it. I figured I would never match the red paint so I bought a nice charcoal grey. I only painted the back. And not the fence posts. (would have needed a ladder) Next year our building is scheduled to be power washed. I am thinking I will ask that the fence be power washed too and offer up the paint to have the whole thing painted. Until then this is how it turned out.

I added some shelves for plants. Because I never have enough plants.

It was time to replace the pansies. Red and white impatients were the choice.

The Amaryllis from winter 2018 (as an indoor plant) made its reappearance.

There were enough impatients to scatter a few in the Elephant Ear Forest and add some color there. In another week or so some of the hydrangeas will be blooming.

Overall, I think I have made the corner look better.

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Dressing the Deck

It is one of my favorite times of the year, Spring. We don’t have much outside space. I do my best to fill it all with plants and flowers. I am doing more foliage in the big planter this year.

The new whoop dee do elephant ear is hidden in there. It is a more upright variety. The one on the left side of the picture will eventually sort of droop over. The new one remains more vertical. It will be interesting to see how it does.

In March, inside, I started elephant ears bulbs that I wintered over. The pots are not real pretty but the price was right, free from the agricultural recylcing bins at the State Farmers’ Market. I have been using them as a protective border for the new hydrangea bed that I started. My friend Jim gave back to me the hydrangeas that he provided a home for when we moved to Italy. The one that was in a planter under the tree that was cut down needed a new home too. It made sense just to start a nice bed in the back shady area.

After they grow a bit and if I buy some more mulch I might regroup my elephant ear forest.

The elephant ear forest and hydrangena bed is that darkish area above the terra cotta pot on the deck. You can just see the begonias peaking over the deck railing. They are doing well and will be a nice display in another week or so.

Look for another post about the tomatoes. I do know how fortunate I am to have learned to love plants and to have the means and the ability to be able to do this.

I seem to have lost spell check again. Sorry.

 

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Things that fall from the sky

We’ve been having a lot of rain. And reliably warm temps have arrived. It is so nice to be able to walk outside without having to bundle up. I would say that spring is safely here, in Raleigh. All the rain brings a clearing of the pollen from the air and things from the recent re-roofing that was done on our building.

Oak tree tails

They’re everywhere. Coming out of the downspout

Along with roofing nails

This is the haul after the last rain. Are there any nails left on the roof doing what they are supposed to be doing? Note the pollen too. Ahhh, Carolina in the spring.

The dogwood was very pretty this year, Each rain storm more of its blooms drop.

We are still mourning the recent cutting down of our cherry tree. Right around the corner there are three planted close together. I imagine I am in Japan when Guppy and I walk through there.

So glad that spring is here. Have a lovely and safe holiday, whatever kind you celebrate at this time of year.

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