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HOME RANGE: Notes on Literature, Nature, Working Dogs, History, Martial Arts, Other Obsessions and Sundry Annoyances by Henry Chappell

A Mixed Report

Looking good. Blackeyed peas and beans are another matter. Some critter or other has pretty well destroyed seven beds of young vines. Has to be a climber because I use chicken wire all the way around the inside of my wrought iron fence. The clipped stems look like roof rat damage, and there was a three-foot rat snake in the garden the other day and I doubt it was there for the scenery. I hate roof rats. They're all over the suburbs. Cate, my cur-dog, is a fine rat catcher but she'd tear my garden to shreds hunting and chasing. I'll try traps. Wish I could recruit some more snakes. The neighborhood hawks and owls really ought to get busy. Onions and peppers looking fine.

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Hail Damage

Two hailstorms and a late frost have been rough on the Chappell garden this spring.

The second hailstorm of the season hit last night. Golf ball-sized hail did a number on the family garden, never mind the roof, garage door, and my daughter and son-in-law's Honda.

The plants in the photo are my second planting. A late frost and the first hailstorm destroyed all twenty-six plants. Those in the foreground are Early Girls, an indeterminate variety that produces well here in North Texas, where the big beefsteak varieties won't set fruit. Even though several of the plants were effectively topped by the hail, I should be able to coax out suckers to replace the damaged main stems. In the other bed, I have an determinate variety - Bush Early Girls. Those tend to come in all at once and are tremendously productive. The plants then go into decline. Although they're just as tasty as the indeterminate version, we can most of them because you just can't keep up otherwise. Such damage as these plants suffered will probably translate into lost tomatoes.

Little black-eyed pea plants and pepper plants came through fine. Cantaloupes, cucumbers, and beans aren't up yet. I may have to cut back the damaged onion leaves.

We'll see. Boy do I feel for real farmers.

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Early Summer Progress Report

Chappell Family Garden - 2013
Here's a shot of the family vegetable garden from about a week ago. Bumper crop of tomatoes and cucumbers. Good crops of black-eyed peas and peppers. Pole beans just so-so, much to my vexation.
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Spring Color

Found this beauty just inside my garden fence. A black-neck garter snake - I think. Herpers, what say ye?

Notice the bulge. Toads, lizards and baby snakes thrive around my compost bins, much to my delight.

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