Copyright © 1997-2009 Demand Media. All rights reserved.
Can you believe it? Two weeks ago it was cold and snowy here. This evening, C and I enjoyed asparagus fresh out of our garden!
We've had several warm sunny days, so I stuck my overgrown tomato seedlings in the ground. I've been hardening them off for the past few days and nights. I'm well aware that we're likely to get another frost or two before summer sets in to stay, but I always put plastic ice cream buckets (scrounged from a local restaurant) with the bottoms cut out over my 'maters to protect them from the winds that seem to blow constantly at the farm. If we get a frost warning, I have several old blankets on hand to throw over the buckets. One of my seedlings was about eighteen inches long, so I had to get them into the garden. As I've mentioned in the past, I plant tomatoes horizontally. I lay the seedlings down inside a trench 8" - 10" deep and turn the tip up. The stem develops a long, strong root system that can absorb the moisture and nutrients from the soil even during dry spells. Last year I amended the soil with crushed egg shells and didn't have any problems with blossom end rot. It may simply have been a coincidence, but I did it again this year as a precaution.
On Sunday, I did some weeding in my shade bed and transplanted some strawberry plants from their old bed (that had gotten very weedy last summer) into a fresh plot. I've still got several more in a pail waiting to be put into their new home. That's tomorrow's task. I continue to be amazed at the soil in the shade bed. I used the 'lasagna bed' method to create that bed and the spoiled straw and compost have created a thick layer of rich soil.
C is frustrated because he's still very weak and can't play in the dirt as long as I can. I keep telling him that he'll get stronger bit by bit now that he can get outside and get a bit more exercise, but I don't think he believes me. It's not going to happen overnight, but I'm certain he'll begin to get a little stronger day by day. We both have to remember that we're getting older, too. I set up C's gravity chair close to where I'm working, so we can chat and he can enjoy the outdoors.
I've got a few aching muscles tonight, but they're good aches. :D
I hope each of you are enjoying your gardens as much as I am.
As promised, here are some photos of my spring bulbs. I'm a little disappointed in them this year. I dug them up and divided them last fall, so they're not as established as I'd hoped. There are lots to come yet, though.
Newly planted pansies in memory of my mom. I like their happy faces.
Lungwort always fascinates me with both pink and mauve flowers on the same stem
The bright yellow daffodils make me think of sunshine. (Long overdue this spring - sunshine, I mean.)
One lonely little double daff. I've no idea where it came from.
These tulips open fully on bright, sunny days, and only partially when it's overcast.
Finally, some of my hyacinths.
I really like my inexpensive little digital camera, but I have problems seeing the image when it's really sunny. Any tips??
Finally!! We've had a couple of nice, sunny, mild days and I've been able to work on my flower beds. I cut a lot of stuff back and dug out a pile of dandelions.
My work was cut short by a visit from a friend who lives on the west coast and whom I seldom get to see. We had a lot of catching up to do in a couple of hours. What a treat! We talked non-stop the whole time.
I had intended to photograph my spring bulbs and post the results, but that will have to wait for another day. It's raining now.
There's still a lot of weeding and mulching to be done, but I'll get there, little by little. This old body isn't as resilient as it used to be, so 'little by little' is a good way to tackle my chores.
It's snowed here off and on for the past two days. The ground is so wet, it doesn't last, but I'm really looking forward to some warm weather. I shouldn't complain, though, because in cottage country (about 200 miles north of here) the rivers are at the highest peak in living memory. Many people living in those areas have been evacuated from their homes. The nightly newscasts show photos of homes where the water has crept up three or four feet beyond the floor. Having lost our house to a tornado twenty-eight years ago, I know how devastating the loss of one's home and property can be. I think, though, that cleaning up after a tornado and starting fresh can't be nearly as difficult as dealing with the aftermath of a flood.
Two of my close friends have suffered the effects of the disease commonly known as shingles (herpes zoster). I've seen how difficult it's been for them to manage the pain, so I decided to get the vaccine to prevent it. It was a strange experience. I made an appointment with my doctor, assuming she'd have the vaccine on hand. Not so. She gave me a prescription and sent me to have it filled at a pharmacy. It took the pharmacy some time to prepare it so the pharmacist gave me a pager. I wandered around the store till the pager sounded. The pharmacist gave me two items: a small box containing the medium necessary to mix the vaccine, and a freezer bag that contained the actual vaccine. I was instructed to return IMMEDIATELY to the doctor's office where a nurse mixed the two together and injected me. Then I had to return the insulated container to the pharmacy. In four to six weeks I should be relatively safe from the disease, at least for the following five years.
As predicted, the ice didn't last long after the storm. In fact, I can't even see any more snow. Yesterday was fairly mild, so I was able to spend some time cleaning up the flower beds around our house. They were very messy because I was still recovering from my knee replacement last fall when I generally tidy up before the snow arrives.
I cut my spireas way back while the lady who cleans my house raked and turned some soil. I'm afraid she's got a lot more enthusiasm than expertise and she dug up a couple of chrysanthemums, some black-eyed susans and a clump of lily of the valley. I can't get too upset with her because she's a marvellous cleaner and most accommodating. We replanted most of the stuff she uprooted, but even if it doesn't survive, at least my property looks a lot tidier.
The temperature went way up today and we got thunderstorms and high winds. There are reports that a small tornado touched down about twenty miles northeast of here. Thankfully, no one was injured and the only damage was to hydro poles and one barn. The temperature is plummeting again and snow flurries are predicted for Saturday.
Never in my seventy-two years on this earth have I witnessed an ice storm like the one that arrived (literally) on our doorstep Thursday night. We awoke to find everything in sight coated with ice. The ice on our porch, steps and walkway was more than an inch thick in places and we had no power. The temperature was mild enough that there was a thin coat of water over the ice making it extremely slippery, so we were prisoners in our home till I scattered ice melting salt as far as I could. Then I'd wait till it worked its magic before going out with a spade to chop it up and shovel it onto the lawn. After that, I'd walk as far as it was safe to go and scatter the salt as far as I could throw it. I repeated this procedure until 4:00 p.m. when I could reach my van. The power came on briefly at 12:15 and stayed on long enough to boil the kettle and make instant coffee - our first of the day. The electricity was on and off intermittently till 4:00 (just as I reached the van) and has remained on since. We went to a local restaurant for dinner and found that many of our friends and neighbours from the outlying area were still without electricity. The restaurant was packed with people who were unable to cook in their own homes.
The area to the southwest of us was hit even harder. The town where my mother-in-law and my step-daughter live is still in the dark and the power there may not be restored till Tuesday. The ice on the power lines became so thick, it broke pole after pole. The hydro crews are working non-stop to erect new poles. Fortunately, the man who owns the apartment building where my mother-in-law lives has a powerful generator, sufficient to keep the furnace going, but not enough to allow the tenants to cook food. My step-daughter has a wood stove, so she can stay warm. None of the gas stations in that area has power, so transportation is limited.
Despite the inconvenience here, I'm grateful that the outage hasn't caused any injuries or deaths to my knowledge. Milder weather is on the way, so everything should be back to normal shortly.
It looks like we're in for another batch of ads from unscrupulous spammers. Truthfully, I don't know what they hope to accomplish. I wouldn't purchase any of their products because of their tactics. I'm grateful to our moderators who get stuck with the job of removing the trash. It must be very time-consuming and annoying for them.
No new car today. We had freezing rain early this morning, then a snow storm. The school buses have been cancelled virtually everywhere within a 100 mile radius from here. Everything within sight is white again. Not a good day to try to adjust to a new vehicle. I'm a nervous driver in my old age.
There's a darling little clump of snowdrops blooming in my front bed. Some nasty moles or voles made a mess of my lawn under the snow, but I'm hoping my kitty will take care of them in short order. Spring's finally on its way!!
I take delivery on my new Toyota Corolla Thursday morning. I have to send my poor old caravan to the great wrecking yard in the sky. The undercarriage is rusting badly. It's dragged me around for the past thirteen years, so it doesn't owe me anything, and I'll be sorry to see it go. I have to clean all my shopping bags, etc. out, so I'd better get cracking at that. It's a nice day to be outside. The birds are chirping happily outside my window.
Well, most of my seeds germinated. I had to replant two tomatoes and two peppers. Most of the tomato seedlings have been potted up and are happily ensconsed in my mini greenhouse inside my patio doors. The peppers are slower, so they won't be ready for potting up for a few more days.
I started snapdragon seeds, but don't know if I'll do that again. The seed is finer than coarse sand. Apparently it's slow to germinate, so I have to exercise more patience than I usually do.
I'm getting tired of snow. It's snowed almost every day since my last entry. The banks along the roads are about three feet high, with the piles adjacent to driveways at least five feet deep. The current forecast indicates no more white stuff for the next week or so; but, of course, forecasts can be changed at any time.
I was in Toronto for a provincial conference involving municipal councillors from Sunday, February 24th till Wednesday, the 27th. I wasn't sure I'd get home Wednesday, because there was a bad storm that closed several roads in this area Tuesday evening. Fortunately, our roads maintenance crews were prepared and the drive home was not difficult.
C has had the last of his chemo treatments before going onto the maintenance regimen. He's gained six pounds over the past five weeks and is beginning to feel stronger. He plans to start using my treadmill on Monday. We'll see how that goes.
I'm going to start my tomatoes and peppers tomorrow. No vine crops this year. Too many infestations of cucumber beetles, and I won't use pesticides.
Best wishes to all and happy gardening to those of you in warmer climes.
Weather forecasters predict Toronto will get 15 - 25 cm (6 - 10 inches) of snow over night, together with strong winds. We live very close to the highest point in Ontario (about 80 km or 50 miles northwest of Toronto), which means we may get even more. The snow will be accompanied by high winds that will likely result in severe white-outs. Fortunately, I don't have to go anywhere. But I have friends with reservations to fly to the Dominican Republic. I'm hoping they're able to get away before the storm hits, but it's not looking promising for them. I've stocked up on groceries and hope that my family and friends stay safe till the storm subsides.
Take care,everyone, especially those of you who live in the path of the storm.
Copyright © 1997-2009 Demand Media. All rights reserved.