The garden

Back on March 25th, I posted pictures from the 24th of the new raised garden box with five small tomato bushes planted.  The seedlings I had planted were too small at that point to transplant, so I picked up the five plants to give me a head start on the season.  One of those five was a bush called Juliet, which yields oval shaped grape tomatoes, about double the size of a standard grape tomato.  Two of those tomatoes, sliced in thirds, will cover a sandwich, and the flavor is excellent!  So far I have harvested 69 Juliet tomatoes.

From March 25th:

May 6th, with the seedlings planted and before the torrential rains:

May 11th:

May 26th:

May 29th, ten Juliet tomatoes:

June 1st, six Juliet tomatoes:

June 2nd, eight Juliet tomatoes:

June 3rd, three Juliet tomatoes:

June 6th, one Fourth of July tomato :

June 7th, fifteen Juliet tomatoes:

June 8th, six Juliet tomatoes and one Mortgage Lifter tomato:

June 10th, twenty-one Juliet tomatoes and two Fourth of July tomatoes, as well as two A Grappoli D’Iverno tomatoes (Grape tomatoes from Italy):

The Juliet tomatoes are very firm, very meaty with a hearty tomato flavor.  If you can find this bush in your area, I highly recommend planting it.

The A Grappoli D’Iverno tomatoes, grape tomatoes from Italy via the Baker Creek company has an incredibly outstanding flavor, well above and beyond anything I’ve tasted in a grape tomato.  I highly recommend this variety.

The other seedlings are coming along well, Rose De Berne, Sioux, Bonny Best, Costoluto Genovese, Yoder’s German Yellow and Dad’s Sunset, all from Baker Creek Heirloom Seeds.  Every seed I’ve planted from them has germinated, and I’ve decided I am going to buy seeds solely from them in the future due to better performance above and beyond the norm.

Here’s hoping your garden is starting off, or going, well–happy gardening!

He now has eight lives…

It’s been a week out since the ‘incident’, and I’ve recovered enough to post about it.  We’ve lived in this house for six years, and of the multiple cats who have shared our lives during that time this has NEVER been a problem…until now.  A view of our upstairs balcony:

Yes, this was from Christmas a few years back, but you can see the basic construction.  From the top of the balcony railing to the hardwood floor below is approximately 14 to 15 feet.

The newest members of our family are two Turkish Angora cats, which we adopted from a rescue shelter as kittens.  They are now approximately 14 months old…old enough to know better, you’d think.  Blake and Angie are brother and sister, she’s always been the protective one of her little brother, as well as the more adventurous one…until last Friday night.  Blake is my cooking buddy, my snuggle buddy, Daddy’s little man.  Turkish Angoras are very human or canine-like, and very much like to be in the midst of any and all activity.  He sleeps with us most nights in our bed, and Friday night was going to be no exception.  I headed upstairs, called Blake and he came running.  I was getting some medicine for hubby’s allergy symptoms when Blake decided to jump onto the balcony railing, lost his footing, and fell to the hardwood floor below.  He didn’t land on his feet.  Angie and I both raced down the stairs to find Blake below, dazed and obviously hurt.  I thought he was going to die in my arms.  Every shallow breath he took there was a horrible clicking sound, and he just kind of collapsed in my arms.

I screamed for Bill, and within minutes he got his shoes on, the munchkin got the carrier, and Blake was on his way to the vet emergency room.  Almost four hours later hubby walked back through the door, and most importantly with Blake moving in his carrier.  After tests and x-rays he was diagnosed with a pulmonary contusion on his right side, but luckily no broken bones.  They gave him medications to improve his lung function and sent him home with a few days’ worth of pain medications along with strict instructions of five days’ worth of bed rest, restricting him to the carrier if necessary to keep him quiet.  I broke down crying when we took him into the office and let him out of the carrier, and I was able to hug and kiss him before he went straight for the cat bed.  You don’t realize how much you love the little fur babies until something like this happens.

Restricting him to the carrier wasn’t a problem–he did this voluntarily.

While he was recuperating, I was fretting about what to do about the balcony…how was I going to block/restrict the tree dwellers?  I did multiple searches on the internet, but ultimately the best advice came from one of Jackson Galaxy’s episodes of My Cat From Hell.  To prevent a cat from jumping over a fence, or balcony, install fencing angling in at a 45 degree angle.  The cats won’t climb/jump over it.  Okay, but how the heck do you do that with an indoor balcony?  Hubby and I are brainstorming, considering base brackets, angle brackets, different types of material to create the 45 degree angle, etc.  Most things we were coming up with cost a lot of money, but when it comes to keeping our furry munchkins safe, we’re willing to do what we needed to do.  Emergency vet visits cost in excess of $300…we were considering it an investment for the future, not only monetary-wise, but health-wise.

I went to Lowes, multiple web sites, etc, but hadn’t found something that would work perfectly.  Blake was still content in his carrier the third night, though we still hadn’t found a solution…until I went to bed.  That night I had a dream; rarely do my hair-brained dreams result in a solution, but the following morning I woke up and immediately thought ‘that might work’.

Making a quick trip to Lowes, I spent approximately $20, about one tenth of the amount we had been considering, and voila!

Some polyresin hardware cloth, a few gate hooks and eyes, as well as zip ties and twine created the safety zone you see above.  It’s not the most attractive option, but it’ll keep our tree dwellers from flying off the second floor balcony to the hardwood below.

Blake is now off the pain meds and is back to sleeping in our bed.  He’s still moving a little slow, but is showing more and more signs of his playful self.  Angie has been keeping a close eye on him and has been ecstatic to see him getting frisky again.  They love chasing each other up and down the stairs, through the bedrooms, down the halls and around the landings.  He’s back to running a couple times a day…soon he’ll be back to full throttle again.