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Today I got a chance to sit down and go through the pictures of the harvests I’ve made so far.  We put in the first raised bed February 21st, the second raised bed March 26th, and the third raised bed April 10th.  All the tomatoes went in the raised beds, as well as spinach, broccoli, carrots, onions (white, yellow and red), squash, jalapeno, Cajun bell and cayenne peppers, a couple of cucumber bushes, okra, mint, snow peas, regular peas, green beans and turnips.  We dug three rows in the ground and planted watermelon, cantaloupe, cucumber vines, pumpkin, corn, peanuts and okra.

I’ve decided the yield on the corn isn’t worth the space and effort.  I’ve planted both early as well as regular corn, get one or two ears off each plant, then the plant croaks once the single harvest is done.  I’ve tried it two years and can definitely say I won’t be doing corn again.  The peanuts were more for the novelty than anything else, but they’re not ready for harvesting yet so I can’t say how well they’ve done.  The cucumber vines love in-ground rows and produce much more than the bush cucumbers in the raised bed.

As far as the tomatoes, we planted cherry (Sweet 100), Yellow Pear (heirloom), Italian Ice, Golden Jubilee, Tangerine, Parks Whopper, Mortgage Lifter, Cherokee (heirloom), Brandy Boy, as well as a new variety called Super Sauce, basically a Roma tomato on steroids (as large as the giant Brandy Boy tomatoes).  After evaluating their production, I will no longer grow Golden Jubilee, Cherokee, and probably Brandy Boy.  While those three have excellent flavor, they just didn’t produce well.  Huge tomatoes are great, but when you only get 2 or 3 total on a bush, it takes up too much real estate.

As of August 2nd, I have harvested the garden twenty-eight times so far.  The totals are as follows:

Watermelon:  2 (still producing)

Cantaloupe:  4 (still producing)

Cucumbers:  20 (still producing)

Golden Jubilee (one bush):  4 large tomatoes

Cherokee (two bushes):  4 large tomatoes

Super Sauce (two bushes):  7 huge tomatoes, still producing

Brandy Boy (three bushes):  9 large tomatoes

Mortgage Lifter (one bush):  25 medium tomatoes

Tangerine (three bushes):  27 medium tomatoes, still producing

Parks Whopper (one bush):  34 large tomatoes, still producing

Sweet 100 cherry (one bush):  252 tomatoes, still producing

Italian Ice (three bushes):  344 tomatoes, still producing

Yellow Pear (three bushes):  535 tomatoes, still producing

Those last three numbers are not misprints.  All three are small, cherry sized tomatoes.  The heirloom Yellow Pear are shaped like pears and have fantastic flavor.  Italian Ice are cherry sized, but are sweet cream butter in color when ripe.  They have great flavor, just a tiny bit milder than the Yellow Pear.  All three of the small ones are great on sandwiches, in salads, etc.  The larger ones I use in the same way, except I also can those to use during the fall and winter in soups, stews, etc.

So, as of August 2nd, I have harvested a grand total of 1,241 tomatoes…and still counting.  Have I mentioned I LOVE those raised beds?  ;-)

I kind of dropped off the radar for a while, and even though I am minimally superstitious, I didn’t want to jinx what was turning out to be a fortuitous turn of events.  Heck, I didn’t even let our son know what was going on, lol!  But now that they’re safely home, I can spill the beans.

As some of you may know, two of our cats passed away recently.  One cat, Ginger, had become my hubby’s little buddy and he was particularly devastated when Ginger passed.  Hubby had been allergic to cats when he was younger and had only in the last few years gotten to the point (from repeated exposure) where he could pet and hold a cat without breaking out.  Hence, he had never really bonded with a cat…until Ginger.  Mr. Ginger was not intimidated by the big guy at all, he just hopped up right into his lap, looked him square in the eye and started doing biscuits on his chest.  Ginger tolerated me as well as the munchkin, would give us enough love to keep us happy, but he was definitely hubby’s cat, following him around, sitting on him while they surfed the ‘net together, snuggling up against him in bed, etc.  Ginger was a Turkish Angora cat, and if you do a search for the breed they give a very accurate description of their personalities–highly intelligent, more dog-like than feline, strong-willed, inquisitive, loves water, very devoted.  It was those traits that made Ginger so special.

Hubby mentioned to me that he would like to get another cat, preferably a Turkish Angora, to become part of our family soon.  He missed that special interaction he had with Ginger, and though he knew nothing would replace him, he had now become a cat daddy and wanted another companion.  So, I started looking.  I had no idea Turkish Angoras would be so darned hard to find!  There are breeders up north, as well as some in California and Florida.  I really didn’t want to go through a breeder if at all possible, preferring to adopt/rescue one that needs a forever home.  That said, I couldn’t find one Turkish Angora within 300 miles of us.

We kept looking, went to local adoption events, looked through websites of the Humane Society, Animal Care Services, etc.  None of the cats “spoke” to us.  I was beginning to lose hope and thinking we’d have to go with a breeder, which meant having the cat flown down given the distance between us and the breeder.

Then, as I was doing a last cursory search through Adopt A Pet, I see they have not one, not two, but three Turkish Angora kittens listed approximately 170 miles away from us at a rescue shelter.  They also had a Maine Coon, and the munchkin fell in love with the picture.  After a short consideration, hubby said we could get one of the Turkish Angoras and the Maine Coon.

Right after we got back from a mini vacation to the beach, adoption applications were filled out, many phone calls and emails ensued, and we set up a date to make the trip.  Three hours one way, another three hours to get everything squared away (getting to interact with the cats, paperwork, vaccinations and microchipping), and three hours to get back.  The plan for the Maine Coon fell through, unfortunately.  Even though she was a gorgeous cat, she was a little on the wild/feral side and would have been a handful for several months–not conducive to a kitten’s safety.  The munchkin decided herself that particular cat was a little too much to handle and opted instead for the sibling of the Turkish Angora.  So, we are now the proud forever home to Blake and Angelina.

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They’re four months old, have a grayish streak on the top of their heads which apparently will eventually disappear (some Turkish Angoras are born with this and is called a ‘kittens cap’), and have beautiful gold/green eyes.  Blake is smaller than his sister, is much more loving and hasn’t met a human or animal he doesn’t like–he walks right up and says ‘hi’ right away before starting to rub against you.  Angelina is a little more skittish, but she finally crawled into my lap and let me pet her.  She’s larger, and is very protective of her brother.  If you take him out of her sight she starts meowing, trying to find him, and as soon as she does she sniffs him from head to paw making sure he’s all right.  Besides their sizes, the only other way to tell them apart is the fact that Blake is slightly cross-eyed, but it definitely hasn’t slowed him down at all.

Angelina:

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Blake:

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Hubby’s happy:

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