An Update On Our Nesting Doves

The pair of doves that nested on our patio hatched a pair of little ones and cared for them 'til one morning we woke and discovered that they had all flown away. There was no sign of struggle or anything sinister; they had just packed their little birdies up and flew the coop, so to (conveniently) say. 
 We miss seeing them every morning and hope they all survive wherever they went. We hear their coo on occasions in different parts of our yard, so know that they are still around, just not on the patio anymore.  If we locate them, you can be sure we will take more photos, but for now, here is a short video...'baby pictures', if you will.  
They grew so fast that before we could remember to film them again, they were gone.  They were a joy while they were here, though, and we wish them well. Sighhh...so here we are, empty nesters...they did leave us that to remember them by.


Asparagus Beans in a pot __?___ Yards Long

When life hands you a bunch of yard long beans what's a poor Cajun man to do?
Drag out da ol' black iron pot, whack them up into little pieces and smother them down to the point ya can barely tell they are beans, das what.  First ya grab some bacon pieces and whatever smoked sausage ya have on hand and throw that in the pot.
Once that renders down some, toss in a couple chopped up onion and some Cajun seasoning.
  As I have mentioned before ,the salt from the seasoning draws moisture out of the onions and speeds up the cooking process.
Once the onions have cooked down a little.
 dump in a big pan of yard long beans and a little more seasonings.
Cook them down,
Until  they are totally 'smothered', looking nothing like beans at all; then they are "done".
Then, dish them up with salad and a steak and call them supper.
They were very good; slightly different from our normal snap beans, and in our opinion a wonderful addition to our back yard garden.  This was our first dish with them and we plan to try them several other (maybe less cooked down) ways, and we will let yall know what we think, but so far we are thrilled to at how productive they are, and live up to our friend, Todd's endorsement.  I have noticed that several of yall are commenting that they look thinner than regular beans, but I can't help but wonder if they just seem that way because they are so long.  Once "whacked" up and sitting in the pot they look pretty normal to me. ( 'Course I 'm not sure I'm the right spokesperson for "normal".)


Yes!! We Have Some Bananas!

  As I have oft said before, the problem with living in a semi-tropical environment is the 'semi' part.  Two winters ago, we had one of our rare hard freezes, which (temporarily) killed all the banana fronds.  If you look back  in our blog, (somewhere) you will see that I had to whack our dried brown banana palms down to the ground, in hopes they would start over.  Well, they came right up again, growing vigorously, like they do, and grew all year with most of them managing to survive all the way through last winter.  Here, in sunny South Louisiana, it takes the bananas two years to mature, because our growing season is not quite long enough for them to complete their cycle of bringing bananas to 'fruition'. 
  The other day, Peggy excitedly called me to come look out the back door, where she was pointing out a huge banana flower we had somehow overlooked.  
   To me, they look for all the world like a big purple ice cream cone hanging from a stem, and, right now, I'm kicking myself for not taking a picture right then.  That was July 3rd, and I never got around to taking a picture of the flower 'til yesterday, the 6th. A lot has happened in just those three days.
As you can see, the flower already started opening, exposing the first of the tiny little green baby bananas. See 'em? They have some kind of little yellow bloom on the end of each one.
Yall help Peg and me remember, and I'll try to take a picture a week or so, from now, to show yall how the bananas are progressing. We'll have to go look, now, through all the thicket of banana palms back there, to see if we don't find some more  bananas! For now, though, yes, we got some!


Our Yard Long Beans...Seriously.

  Our good friend, Todd, mentioned to us, last year, that he had grown some 'yard long green beans' aka "asparagus beans", and that he and his family loved them.  He told me that they grew all summer and were easily maintained.  Well, even tho' we'd never heard of 'em, we are always looking for stuff that withstands our hot, humid summer heat, so this sounded to us, like something that we needed to try. 
   With this in mind, we ordered them online. To make room for  these "yard long beans",  in mid-June, when all of our pitiful, paltry producing pea vines had dried up, we unceremoniously dragged them off the trellises on either ends of our main garden box, where they were clinging tenaciously by their dried tendrils, with their few inch long offerings, that they were trying to pass off as peas in a pod. Promises, promises. 
  Now, carefully, with one eye on the birds, who were sitting above our heads on the electric wires, closely observing our endeavors, and who had sneakily feasted on every cucumber seed (and new little cucumber seedling) that we had planted in the Spring, (in the same spot we had planted those lying peas) we  planted 12 of these beans along each end of our 4 ft wide raised bed garden. 
   What to our wondering eyes should appear, only a few scant days later...these beans jumped up outa the ground, looked around and began vining and crawling to the top of our eight foot tall trellis, then began reaching out long 'feelers', as if to say, "Is this all ya got?" in the way of things for them to climb on. "That's it," we said, "That's all the room we've got for you...go for it." So they did. Before long, we noticed lots of double flowers. 
Hmm, that was curious. We wondered what they were planning to do with two flowers. From these 2 flowers sprouted 2 beans.
Which grew,
and grew 'til the trellises were full of green "icicles", hanging from top to bottom. Green beans. Some actually are about a yard long; no kiddin'.
Well, me and my sidekick,  Beaux went to picking them and this is the rough video Peggy made of my silly self doing it.
Once we got them picked ,we decided to clean and cut them into lengths that fit in a ziplock bag and we managed to get 4 fat bags full. (no, we didn't blanch 'em...just stuck 'em in the bags and froze 'em...never had a problem with doing it this way before.)
We will see what the Summer brings. The only other thing we've seen take off like this, were those volunteer butternut squashes.  Now, we see that, since these beans have run out of trellis, they are grabbing onto the okra stalks, which are trying to grow tall. When they are about eight feet tall, they will display a beautiful flower,  which then will be replaced by a light green okra.  Since the okra aren't growing fast enough for these eager beans to climb onto, they have wound themselves around the fence, as well...anything they can get their ...tendrils onto. If they start eyeing one of the trees, and decide to make a run for it across the lawn, they will learn a very hard lesson, the same way Peg and I learned our lesson with the squash. We're really not complaining, tho', cuz it appears that we will have no shortage of these 'cool', hot weather beans. 
  Now, I wonder what recipes our good buddy, Todd, came up with for all these yards and yards and yards of asparagus beans and how he easily controlled 'em from taking over the garden.  The okras are impatiently waiting to hear.


UPDATE on the Squashy Garden

This is an update to the "squashy" post about Peggy's "Shade" garden, and The Invader from the Compost Pile, who took over 'the world'! (Cappy and Pegody's World, anyhow) 
 Those of you, who read our ramblings, surely remember our recent post about the "volunteer" Butternut squash that took over Peggy's new garden bed, as well as a chunk of our back yard play area.
We deliberately planted all kinds of things in our regular raised bed gardens, then worried and prayed and sweated and toiled over all of them, and for all of that, they did manage to give us a few measily bits of produce. We didn't complain. Now, meantime, here comes this interloper, uninvited, who not only pranced all over Peg's 'shade' garden, but then hogged the whole thing, and meanwhile, while we kept a jaded eye on it, as to its intent, it started making tons of squash.  This was last month; it's still producing big luscious beauties!  These volunteer invaders are, far and above, the best producers in our whole yard. Now, we are casting a jaded eye on our regular raised garden beds, wondering their intent. We have some bell peppers, who are...well, I suppose, doing the best they can. We got no cucumbers outa da deal this year at all...not one, for all our efforts. We got a few green beans.
    Now as far as July, one of the hottest months down here in the south, we are not sure about the squash. The heat does seem to be hurting their lush leaves and stems, so they are slowing down a little bit in their zeal, and maybe a little disturbed that I had to take back some of my lawn with the mower. 
    They do have a little competition from the far raised bed, too.  The yard long ('asparagus') beans are starting to produce, (they are a new item for us) and the longhorn okra stalks are slowly working their way up to the sky, where, from there, they will (should) put out some beautiful flowers, followed by the long, pale green okra. Getting a little ahead of myself there, and that will all be for another update, later on. 
So, getting back to the point, here is a "squash picking video" from our THIRD picking.
This was our first picking:
 And this our second.
By the time we took this picture it became obvious that my ol' digital camera had finally had it, so we retired it and went with a new video/still camera for future stories.  It made the video and the following pictures of the last picking,
and one of the many meals we got from some of these, now, Wonderful volunteers.
As the Summer starts and, sadly, the squashes begins to retreat, we are happy to report that this invader didn't "squash" every thing in the garden. A few things survived the onslaught, like this lavender chiffon hibiscus, that Peggy has been daily uncovering from the shady squash leaves, and has just bloomed next to the croton, which has increased it's size four-fold. I didn't think this was possible, but our Rosemary, didn't make it this time. Next time we'll have to be more diligent with another 'her'.

As the uninvited volunteer withdraws, as quietly as 'he' came, who knows what else may be hiding under his large squashy leaves?  The giant Invader from the Compost Pile had his day in the sun. And to this we say, "Well done...you are welcome back for dinner anytime."