Monday, June 30, 2008

Off to the Lakehouse!

We're off to the lakehouse this week! It's only 20 miles from home, but it's a great vacation spot. We won't have any Internet access out there this week (there's not much access to anything), so I won't be posting till we get back. I'll take lots of pictures of natural Florida to post for you. See you in a week!

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Woe is Me

Gardening with dogs (especially labs) seems to be a woe is me situation. I recently bought a rubber mulch ring. You know, the ones that go around the trees and stay put. We've been wanting to try it out, but they're kind of expensive - $12 for the small one. I finally bought one and put it out Thursday evening around my baby grapefruit tree. The grapefruit tree is being strangled out by all kinds of weeds so this seemed perfect.

Looking back now, I should have known better, but at the time I didn't think aything about the dog bothering this. Friday afternoon I head outside to check on the new pest control methods (chickens - more on them in a later post) and Tebow has eaten, EATEN half of the mulch mat. I called my mom and she said "what did you expect? It's like a big chew toy." She was right and I should have known better.

I also just finished reading Marley and Me which is all about a destructive yellow labrador. It's like Marley was reincarnated as Tebow. The book was really enjoyable and it made me laugh and cry.

Today, I found a great blog posting on vegetable gardening with dogs. I can totally relate to In My Garden's blog. Here, she relates how Sophie, her yellow lab, steals tomatoes from the garden.

"She used to make a beeline for the tomatoes or tomatillos or strawberries as soon as we let her outside. She stole more veggies than the deer, groundhog, and rabbits put together. So we fenced in that garden."

Sound familiar? She also talks about some of the dangers for dogs like these in the garden. I'm thinking about that mulch ring. I haven't seen any bits and pieces of it around the yard, so I'm guessing he literally ate it. We'll have to wait and see what comes out the other end. Yuck.

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Trees, Trees, and More Trees

When we were shooting video segments a couple weeks ago, we did a whole day with Dr. Ed Gilman who is our resident tree expert. He's been working with trees a long time and is world renowned in the arboriculture field. We shot seven segments with him in a span of 6 hours. It was pretty impressive work.

Here, Dustin the PhD student, is climbing the tree. He's going to demonstrate co-dominant branching in trees and pruning safely while Dr. Gilman narrates from the ground. Bob shot a lot of b-roll of Dustin while he was climbing the tree. You can barely see Dustin up in the tree.

Dr. Gilman's watching Dustin to make sure he's following all the correct safety procedures.

Here Dustin has climbed out on the limb to make a pruning cut because of a mistletoe infection. As you can see, the branch is above Dr. Gilman's head so the cut shouldn't be made from the ground. It's a safety hazard. Dustin demonstrates how to prune with a tree saw.

Chris, the farm manager, is demonstrating use of the Air Spade. It's basically compressed air that they blow at the roots of the tree. This loosens the soil and reinvigorates trees that are starting to decline. A certified arborist should do this for you and it's really fun to see!

Chris is really going to town now. There was dust everywhere!

This shooting day was a lot of fun. I felt right at home since I grew up on an orange grove - all the trees at the tree unit are in a straight line! It was also very practical information for homeowners about trees. While a lot of stuff that was demonstrated needs to be done by certified arborists, the homeowner will now know some of the tricks of taking care of trees.

Thursday, June 5, 2008

Tree Mayhem

Remember the maples I planted a couple weeks ago? Well, Tebow has taken one out - just like the real Tebow takes out defensive tackles.

Here's the damage. He actually managed to chew the tree into two parts. This is what was left in the ground. In the last week, he's managed to pull this part up also.

The culprit on the right.

This is the rest of the damage. He's chewed up some of the cushions on our patio furniture (granted it was old, but we did sit on it). And, pulled out the pots that were in storage under the porch. My yard is currently a mess!

Last night, as we were eating dinner and watching him play in the back yard, my sister realized that he was playing with a green plum tomato! From my garden! As we were watching, he swallowed it and then went and retrieved another one of off a plant.

This morning, Kaity's eating breakfast and screaming that there's a squash in the yard. Sure enough, he'd gotten a rather large squash off of a vine and it was laying in the yard as a chew toy. He has plenty of his own chew toys (mostly bones), but those won't do.

As we're leaving this morning, I realized he's got one of Kaity's sandals! It was the sandal from last summer, but she could still wear them and often would to the sandbox in the back yard. I guess she left them out there last time and he's eaten them into little, pink pieces. I told her she could pretend that her jellies were sandals (which they really are, but not to her).

Everyone keeps telling me this phase will pass. He's such a good dog, but, boy, is he destructive!

Wednesday, June 4, 2008

My Garden Helpers

I'm often joined in my garden by my helpers. They're not always helpful, but they're always fun!

Tebow - the garden destroyer (More on him later. He's in trouble again.)

Good, ole Max

Kaity and her "pony"

Kaity showing off the garden

Vegetable Bounty

Our vegetable garden has been amazing this year. We keep eating squash off of it. Cooked in multiple ways, but mostly with milk and cheese. Mmmm.

We're trying sweet potatoes for the first time and we've planted watermelon right next to them. These pictures were taken a week ago and, since then, they've grown together into a mix of vines. My husband has decided that I'm spatially incapable and so I've planted everything much to close in the garden. We have enough plants in there for a garden four times the size of what we have. In my defense, the seeds and seedling plants are so small when you plant them - I'm always amazed at how big they actually grow.

This is my brother-in-law's sad excuse of a vegetable garden. It's actually supposed to go back to his house in Jacksonville and this is just the transporting container. We're getting cucumers off of it, though!

One day of harvesting!

Tuesday, June 3, 2008

Note to my readers: So, I've been really lax. Between shooting for a week, catching up on e-mail, Memorial Day vacation, and the end of the school year, blogging hasn't been a priority. But, a lot has happened in the meantime. I'll try to do better this summer.

Here's the post (which my computer ate) with pictures from the video shoot two weeks ago.

Here we are at the UF Bat House. It's the largest bat house in the southeast containing more than 150,000. We did a segment on making bat houses and bat benefits. I spent most of it under the tree so as not to get pooped on. It only worked partially - guano does not taste or smell very good. But, my kids thought it was hilarious that mommy got pooped on by a bat.

Here, Sam the Soundman is trying to catch the squeaking noises that bats make. He stood there like that for a very long time.

Felder Rushing is giving us a demonstration on some good, ole Southern yard art - inside out tires. Bob, the producer, is getting a close up here. My job during all this was to stay out of the shots.

Dr. Cichra is one of our fisheries experts. He's telling Walter about putting in a tub garden at home. He had so much cool stuff that he inspired me to put in my own pond, but I'm saving that for a later post.

This is a picture of the cool jib (or jig - I can never remember what it's called). George operated it. It allows him to get really wide shots and do a lot of cool angles. But, it's extrememly heavy to move and takes three people to break down.

This kitty kept interrupting our shoot. He/she lives at Kanapaha Gardens and is very friendly. Too friendly for a video shoot when she's rubbing against people's legs while they're on camera.

Walter's dumping in the mosquito fish that Dr. Cichra brought. Mosquito fish are great because they are native, eat mosquitos (hence the name), and are more camoflaged than goldfish.

Another cool picture of the jib and George.

I tried taking some bird pictures while at Kanapaha also. I'm not very patient, but this one of a female cardinal came out okay.