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We have been having just about perfect weather lately! I haven't gotten to spend as much time in the garden as I like, though, been putting in more hours for work. My sweet potatoes came about 2 weeks ago, I got them in and they are surviving, but haven't really taken off yet. The tomatoes and zucchinis seem to be doing the best - I already have some little green tomatoes:
ong my back fence, I have some shepherd hooks that I hung bird houses on. This year, I thought I'd hang up some flower baskets instead, but one of the houses is staying - a bird built a nest in it:
It was kind of difficult to get this picture. The eggs aren't much bigger than jelly beans. I think it might be a family of little wrens. This is the first time one of my bird houses were actually used by the birds!
More to come later, Happy Gardening!
It's another beautiful day, it's supposed to get up to 80* here today! I plan to get out and do what I can before it gets that hot. I have pots and hanging planters to get done today.
I've spent the last couple days wrestling with soaker hoses, I've finally got them all laid out the way I want them, only to discover that the main distributor water valve is broken. I either have to find a way to fix it or go get a replacement...I suspect it will be the replacement option, I'm not sure it can be fixed
Here is a photo of my bird bath that I put in my rain garden. You can see that the mint just took over. I want to save some, but I will rip most of it out. I have peonies and irises planted behind it, those red lilies are called "magic lilies". I want to get some low-maintenance perrenials to plant around it, any suggestions?
It is SUCH a beautiful day today! I plan to take advantage of it...
since my last update, I finished planting the vegetable garden, except for the sweet potatoes, which are ordered. So, this year we are growing:
green beans, peas, snow peas, beets, carrots, sweet and hot peppers, assorted varieties of tomatoes, eggplant, yellow and green zucchini, butternut squash, cantaloupe, and "koshaw" winter squash. I never tried that variety, my cousin mailed me some seeds. She really liked it, I have no idea what it looks like, but I love surprises, should be fun.
We also have rhubarb and asparagus. The asparagus seems to be dying out. We had planted it several years ago, it probably reached the end of it's life span, so we should get a few more crowns and plant them before it all goes away.
This year, I think I will revamp the rain garden. It looks terribly messy - the mint pretty much took over the entire area. I put in a birdbath last year, I think. Maybe I can find an old picture to post. I'm having trouble with space on my hard drive, so until I address that problem, I wont be able to post any new pictures on my blog.
Time to get outside and enjoy the sunshine! Happy gardening!!!!!
Geez, it's been SO LONG since I last visited this site. I'm not sure what happened, life just got busy, lost my password, etc.
Anyway, I missed blogging about my garden, so here I am! The season is pretty much just getting started here. We are having a relatively warm spring, it's just been a bit wet lately, just when it's time to get to planting (figures!).
Yesterday was the opening day of the season for our local farmer's market. I bought another rhubarb plant there. The one I have is the green variety, the new one looks pretty red. I LOVE rhubarb and pick it as quick as it grows, So hopefully, by next year I will have enough to keep me happy. Last year, I made orange/rhubarb jam, and it's got to be my new favorite.
Today I planted a flat of tomato plants and a flat of peppers. I have both hot and sweet peppers, and a few different varieties of tomatoes. Yesterday I planted peas and beans. If the garden hadn't been so wet, I would have gotten those in sooner.
I had blogged about bunnies in the yard before. Well, we have one brave big bunny that frequents the yard - in spite of the two dogs we have. I am planning on planting marigolds in the garden. I had heard they discourage rabbits, so we will see. I like the flowers in any case.
Good to be back! Happy Gardening!
It's hard to believe it's been nearly a month since my last blog. We have been so busy, time is just flying by. So much for my intention to blog weekly.... We've had birthday celebrations, graduation parties, and lots of get-togethers of one sort or another. We've spent time away from home and up at the property. Have you seen those commercials with the tag line "life comes at you fast"? Well, that's what it's been like around here. I have managed to keep up with the vegetable garden weeding for the most part, but the rest of the yard needs some attention.
The vegetable garden seems to be coming along very slowly this year. I think the neighbor's trees are getting large enough to shade the vegetable garden for too long during the morning, and the other neighbor's trees shade it for much of the afternoon. I don't think moving the garden will help much, if at all. I guess we just do the best we can with what we have.
We got the corn planted a couple of weeks later than I would have liked. It probably won't be knee high by 4th of July, but it is ankle high right now:
We have it planted in a different area than we planted it last year. We will mulch the area when the corn gets a bit bigger.
I thought I had a terrrible germination rate with the peas and beans, and couldn't understand why. Then I discovered a bunny in the area. Where there is one, there is often more. I had to re-sow those areas until I ran out of seed (for the beans, I still have some peas I plan to sow later). I think the rabbits moved in when the neighbors moved out. The family next door lost their home to foreclosure, and the bank hasn't been taking very good care of the property. It LOOKS abandoned. Hubby decided to take it upon himself to cut the front lawn, but the back yard is an overgrown mess of tall grass and brambles where there used to be a garden and raspberry patch. A perfect habitat for bunnies. And they have been using my garden as their favorite grocery store....
My little lettuce patch is pretty decimated as well, and the beets look pretty scarce. I re-sowed both areas to try to fill in the bare spots. The spinach is doing pretty good, ready to bolt soon, though. We have been eating spinach salads, and I made chicken florentine one night for dinner.
The broccoli, cauliflower and cabbage seem to be doing the best right now. I have heads forming on these:
The tomatoes, peppers and eggplants all seem to be languishing - they are surviving, but growing VERY SLOW!
The sweet potatoes came at a good time. They had been on order, and we had plans to go out of town. They arrived just a day before we were to leave, so they were put in when they were supposed to be. They are doing pretty good, but haven't taken off wild yet. The potatoes on either side of them are doing really well.
Of the squashes, pumpkins and melons, the pumpkins seem to be doing the best, though the zucchini isn't far behind. I found one plant that was attached by a borer. Hopefully, the rest will be o.k. I have been watching, but once attacked, there isn't much you can do.
Last year, I allowed some of the lettuce to go to seed, to collect some seed for planting this year. The result is that here and there, I have some volunteers:
As they get big enough, provided the bunnies haven't beaten me to it, I've been collecting them and using them.
Another project I've been working on is revamping the rain garden. I have a lot of work to do there yet. I planted a few more perrenials there, and have been working on re-doing the edging, and mulching some spots. What ever else gets done there this year is going to be sweat equity, there isn't much money in the budget for decorations and things.
Up at the property, we've been working on getting the yard area cleaned up. The previous owners really let things get kind of neglected. We have the yard looking a lot better now, and hubby even took down a few dead trees, just him and his chain saw. There is a problem in the area with tent caterpillars. We went through and disposed of the nests we could reach, but next year, we are going to have to get up there a bit earlier in the spring, and may even have to resort to chemicals, as much as we dislike doing that, or else we could have 20 bare acres instead of 20 wooded acres. Those pests eat EVERYTHING.
more to come later, happy gardening!
Well, it's been a busy couple of weeks. I spent a week up at the property cleaning and fixing and planting a little flower plot. I took a before picture, an in-process picture, but wouldn't you know I forgot to take an after photo. So, If my plants are still alive when I go back there next week, I will try to remember to take the after photo.
I am at home this week to take care of a few things here. I think my garden got watered while I was gone, but it sure didn't get weeded! I spent some time today weeding and mulching. Here's a run-down of how the veggies seem to be faring...
I have to sow some more peas and green beans because the germination seems to be pretty spotty.
I am still waiting for the sweet potatoes to arrive, and I sure hope they come before I am supposed to leave again! The white potatoes seem to be taking off and doing well.
We have been enjoying our asparagus, and I plan to get some rhubarb tomorrow. It will be a little while yet before anything else is ready.
I planted an assortment of squashes, pumpkins and melons, and most of them seem to be pretty happy where I put them, and most of them seem to have grown a bit while I was gone.
The tomatoes, peppers and eggplants seem to be languishing, though. It hasn't been all that hot, and we've had several overcast and drizzly days. Those all seem to do best when the sun shines and the weather heats up.
The broccoli, cauliflower and cabbages all seem to be growing well. Broccoli and cabbages usually seem to do well for me, it's cauliflower that seems a bit difficult to me. We've grown it a couple of times before, but with limited success. I'm hopeful it will be different this year.
The spinach, beets and lettuce are sprouted, and big enough to tell them apart from the weeds, so weeding that area is on my to-do list for tomorrow.
As far as flowers go, the lilacs are done here (they were just starting up north at the property when I was there) and the lily-of-the-valley are just now blooming. I love their scent, and plan to get some for a vase tomorrow.
It seems we will have plenty of peonies this year. I started out with 2 bushes, I don't know the cultivar's names, I just refer to them as the bright pink ones or the faint pink ones. The blooms are the double pompom style. Last fall I split the bright pink ones (I think, if memory serves) and put the splits in the rain garden. All 3 new spots look like they are going to have blooms, although the stalks aren't as tall as they usually get. The original spot has shorter stalks as well.
The rhododendron is blooming right now. It is situated right in front of the bay window. Earlier this week, we had the bay window replaced, and I was afraid the workers were going to drop the new window assembly on top of it. They crushed a few of the topmost blooms, but all in all, it survived. That's one tough rhody, it survived some pretty harsh ice damage this last winter.
While the rhody seemed to fare o.k., the same can't be said about some of my other flowers. The workers were trying to be so careful not to damage my flowers, They were tiptoeing through my tulips, daffodils, hyacinths, and lavender, all while trying to balance and place a 8 x 4 ft. + window, but the window is heavy and expensive, so I told them not to worry too much about the flowers, they were all perrenials that should come back anyway. (and probably a whole lot less expensive to replace...) So, they REALLY stopped worrying and pretty much trampled the entire bed after that. Oh, well, there is still mums and a few lilies that didn't seem to be trampled there. Otherwise, they did a great job. I love the new window.
Oh! I finally got a couple iris blooms! Last year they were weedwhacked by my "thoughtful" neighbor before they could bloom. I gotta get out there with the camera tomorrow and take a few images for posterity...
I need to remember to take more pictures up at the property. When I was there, walking in the woods, we spotted some trilliums, wild columbine (?) and a really pretty wild flower I tried to look up in my sisters field guide. I THINK it is a yellow ladyslipper. There were a few others I couldn't identify, too. Hopefully, some of them will still be in bloom when we go up there next week. Hubby has plant shut-down vacation time, and we plan to have a party for my mom's birthday. She is turning 70. It's a surprise party, and we will be busy doing all the last-minute things that need to be taken care of for that, so I probably won't blog again until afterwards once we are back home.
Geeze, where to start? A lot has gone on since I last updated my blog, and I've been so busy. My goal is to update my blog about once a week, but it seems I usually don't get to it that frequently. But I do try to pop in and read all the other blogs and forum threads.
Well, before I get to the garden happenings, a few other notable events merit mentioning...
My 1-year old grandnephew is recovering from the flu. The tests haven't come back to confirm if it was the swine flu, but his doctor is pretty sure that it was. So far, none of the rest of the family (his parents or siblings) have had it. At any rate, it was a mild case. He had gotten a flu shot in the fall, and even though he didn't get the same strain that the vacination was for, the doctor thinks it might have helped to keep the virus in check. He was also treated with Tamiflu (spelling?). Boy, that was one expensive shot, too.
2 of my neices, who are sisters, work for a Waffle House in Indiana. They were both working the overnight shift one day last week, the only two employees on duty, and they got robbed. No one was hurt, thankfully. And the robber was apprehended shortly afterwards.
This was the first year in about a decade that I actually got to see my mom on Mother's day. She lives over 3 hours away, and I usually call her, of course, but spend the day with my mother-in-law, who lives much closer. This year, we needed to bring some things up to the property, so we spent the night at my sister's place, and both my sister and I made Mom a nice Mother's Day brunch. (it was brunch vs. breakfast, because a few family members who shall remain nameless have trouble getting their behinds out of bed early enough...LOL!) My mother-in-law wasn't forgotten, though. We visited with her later in the week.
Another member here mentioned in a blog or thread that they were wondering about using a trashcan for a composter. When I read it, I thought I would respond later when I got a couple of pictures I could show them, but I didn't get around to it promptly, and now I can't remember who it was and where I read it. Hopefully, if they are still curious, they will see this blog. Here is a picture of our trashcan composter:
We cut the bottom from the can (for easy removal of finished compost) and drilled holes in the sides for ventilation. We keep the lid on it, and stand it on the piece of platic sheeting you see in the picture. We add the material in from the top, and sometimes we stir it up. When we need to get finished compost, we tip the can and see what we have in the bottom.
I use a piece of hardware cloth as a screen to separate the finished compost from material that needs to "cook" a while longer. In the picture above, I have it setting in my cruddy rusty old wheelbarrow. This can was filled to the top in the fall, and wasn't stirred up all winter, and I got about a 4 or 5 gallon bucketful of compost once I screened it. During the summer, it makes compost faster, because we check it more frequently (and I'm sure the weather helps, too). Just thought I'd share our composting experience. BTW, because we keep the lid on it, there really isn't much odor unless / untill you lift the lid. And then it's not too bad.
In this picture you can see some of the stuff we got started. In the smooth-raked area (I call it a block) I have spinach, lettuce and beets planted. The wire is to discourage the dogs from digging. As you can see from the corner of the mulch box, the puppy likes to chew ANYTHING she can reach. She is still teething, hope to correct that once her teeth are through. And no, that's NOT lead paint... Also, the plastic covered area are the green beans. They were planted before the frost date, the plastic protects against the frost, and keeps the soil a bit warmer so they germinate sooner. It's about ready to be removed now.
Geeze, the garden looks so cruddy at this stage, but believe it or not, it looks pretty nice come June. Anyway, on the far right is the pea fence. This picture was taken not too long after I planted them, and they haven't germinated yet. I use the boards to put down where the pathways are going to be, and I walk on those while I sow or transplant. That way I'm not compacting the soil I need to dig in. The boards also help me to keep the rows straighter. In the middle of the picture are my cabbage and cauliflower plants. You can probably see my plastic cutworm collars if you look close. We use newspaper and grass clippings to mulch between the plants and rows. On the left, you can see my homemade version of "hot caps". I use these for plants that I try to sneak out there before they are supposed to be planted. These ones are covering peppers and eggplant. Besides these, I have my tomatoes planted. The night after I planted them, we had a frost advisory, and they all had to be covered for the night. I also planted 2 rows of potatoes flanking a row area set aside for sweet potatoes, which are on order. This year I planted red skinned and white potatoes, and a few russets. We are trying the trenches again this year for the potatoes, but we plan to fill them in with more mulch and less soil to make the digging easier. Our soil is heavy clayish, and compacts fast. It was so wet earlier in the spring that it compacted to the point that I was wondering if we needed a jackhammer instead of a rototiller....
So for the most part, the garden is planted up. I still have to plant the sweetcorn and squashes, and the sweetpotatoes once they arrive. I also have a few broccoli plants to add to the kole crop section, and a few celery plants to squeeze in somewhere. I plan to get in what I can tomorrow. Then it's off up to the property for a week. I have a few things to plant up there, and I plan to take before/after pix since it's a new flower bed for me!
More to come later, after I return
A good excuse to have Mexican food for dinner.....
BTW, did anyone know that Saturday, May 2nd was World Naked Gardening Day? I didn't know there was such a thing (who thinks this stuff up, anyway?). Just imagine, no tan lines and think of the laundry that would save....
The weather here has been beautiful sunshine for the past couple of days. I have been reading all the blogs, and it seems some areas of the country are being pounded with rain. For some reason, all the rain has been going around us lately. Not that we didn't get our share previously, some sleet and hail too not that long ago. I have been taking advantage of the good weather, bringing out the seedlings to harden, planting what I can. The garden is just barely dry enough to dig in. So far I have peas, cabbage, cauliflower, beets, spinach, and lettuce planted, most of which could have been put in the ground a couple weeks ago, if the garden was drier. I also planted some of my pepper plants. I know I'm pushing my luck there. I got a row of eggplant planted, but covered with hot caps for protection. I am hoping to get the better part of the garden planted before next weekend. I want to get the tomatoes and potatoes in tomorrow, and maybe some of the squash. I may wait a bit for the sweetcorn, though.
We just started getting a few asparagus spears. A few more, and we'll have enough for a meal. The rhubarb will be ready soon, I'm really looking forward to that. I plan to visit my mom for mother's day, maybe I will bring some. She makes delicious rhubarb pies!
Well, the mushrooms from the kit are coming along in fits and starts. It's either feast or famine there. There will be a flush of mushrooms, and then it will be several days before there are any more. But are they ever delicious! Such a good, fresh flavor. The "fresh" ones in the store don't seem to have nearly as much flavor. Here's a picture of what I have growing right now:
I let them get pretty big before I cut them. Don't the little ones look funny? The stems are bigger than the caps.
I have Lily-of-the-valley lining the drive way. They should be in bloom in a couple of weeks. I just LOVE their fragrance, and will fill a vase or two when they bloom.
I have tried before to careflully remove the ones that come up in the pavement cracks, but they don't come out easy. They seem to fill in pretty thick, and I don't need to weed the area very much.
I have wild violets lining the walkway. I know they are considered a weed by some, and they do spread into the lawn. But I think they look pretty enmasse, and they go pretty well with the grape hyacinths, they are almost the exact same shade...
I don't know what that grassy stuff is, it gets these small white flowers, but I never planted it and it seems to be coming up everywhere. There are fewer white tulips this year. But it seems these are the only tulips I will see this year. Look at these:
These are on the side of my house. I don't remember what color they are supposed to be. And look at these:
Those ones would be just now opening, and they would be black. Those are in my rain garden, in the back yard, on the same side of the yard. It's not that easy to see in the photo, but they look as if they were neatly clipped, rather than chewed or torn off. Odd, huh? "Coincidentally" this is the side of the yard that abuts the crazy lady's property.
Also in the rain garden:
These are Irises. Last year they were weed-whacked just before they bloomed. I have yet to see blooms from these... My husband didn't use the weed-whacker all season last year, and I didn't whack them. Of course, I didn't SEE anyone doing it, but it was obvious they were whacked down. They were all the same length and the leaves were left laying around.
Just the other side of the fence, there is a cedar tree cluster. Both my husband and I have seen the crazy lady hiding in the cedars, watching us do yard work. Here is her hide-out:
She hasn't said anything to either of us in a long time, but she sometimes gets agitated and rattles her trash cans, which she keeps between the cedars and a shed. Oh, we often find the lids to her trash cans flung in our yard. I just fling them back like a frisbee.
I forgot to mention my rose bush. Last year, at one point, all the rose buds were trimmed off, and my rose bush looked like it belonged to the Addams Family. Good thing it's a rebloomer.
I really don't know what, if anything, I can do about any of this, because all these things happen when we are gone. But at any rate, I bring the dogs with me when I go outside to work.
Speaking of the dogs....
Here's a photo of our puppy Bella, 4 1/2 months old.
Isn't she a beauty? And here's my always handsome Beagle Bailey:
They both so enjoy being outside in the sunshine!
more to come later, happy gardening!
(sung to the tune of "It's beginning to look a lot like Christmas"...)
These are the trees in my neighbor's yard (well, until recently, it was my neighbors. Bank owns the property now...)The trees are just starting to get their leaf buds, and the pear tree has blossoms.
I took this picture of my happy daffies the day after my last blog. By now, they are past their prime and fading a bit. And since my last blog, I have a few things blooming in the rain garden:
Crocus! and some miniature daffodils. Now that I've finished painting the house trim, I should be able to find a little bit of time to get in the raingarden to weed. Before THOSE decide to bloom....
While I was painting the trim, look what I found:
I was up on the ladder, not more than 2 feet from this before I saw it. I must need to get my eyeglass prescription updated.....Anyway, I sent my daughter to get the camera. I checked to see if there were any eggs in it.....
....and since there weren't any laid yet, I moved the nest. Anyone know which kind of bird builds this type of nest? They probably wont use it now that I touched it. Poor things, all that work setting up house. Well, if it had eggs in it, I would have left it until they fledged but....
We've had typical April weather lately. April showers bring May flowers and all of that. It seems that for every nice, beautiful, perfect-to-work-outside day that we've had, there has been 2 or 3 days of inclement weather that's kept me inside. We've had rain, wind, overcast, sleet, hail and thunderstorms. More in the forcast for the next couple days, but it should brighten up during and following the weekend. I have been taking advantage of the good-weather days, and things are coming along, slowly, but surely. In spite of the garden being too muddy to do much, I (stubbornly) had to get some peas planted. They are overdue to go in the ground. I planted 2 rows to start. I also planted some green beans, assorted bush varieties. They went in next to the peas. I also planted some yard-long beans. I have never grown those before, but while perusing seed catalogs this winter, I came accross a variety that seemed very intriguing...it's called "red noodle". I planted these next to some shepherd hooks I have along the back fence with some birdhouses on them. So they are not in the vegetable garden, but I thought it might look pretty. (or pretty stupid, we shall see...)
I jumped the gun, giving up on my wintersowing experiment. Since it rained a few days after my last blog, I didn't get out there and dump them. So when there was a break in the weather, fortunately I checked before I dumped and ...(drumroll, please) we've got germination!!!!! Well, only about a fourth of them had something sprouting, but that gave me the head-up to leave them be a little while longer, and by this morning, there is something growing in most of them. The darn labels are sunfaded (again! same thing happened last year) but luckily, I also numbered the containers with waterproof, permanent markers, and wrote in my little garden note book what I planted, and yes, I did note which number continer each was in. So....I think the key is to plant things that you would typically get volunteers of anyway. These must be the seeds that can survive the winter. No luck with peppers, but tomatoes and curcurbits seem to do well. Now for the REAL test - when I plant up the garden, the wintersown and indoor sown will be planted side by side to see if it makes a difference in hardiness and production.
One thing about all the rainy weather, at least occasionally you can spot a rainbow between showers. This was a double rainbow, but the one is really faint.
The picture would be better if it weren't for the ugly power lines. Why didn't the powers-that-be think to bury the lines before they strung these all over God's creation? They bury all the new ones they string out now, in new subs and developments. Oh, well.
Until next time, Happy Gardening!!!
It finally feels like Spring around here - today it reached the low 70's. It was beautiful and sunny all day. We spent the entire day outside, until dinnertime. I have been painting the house trim, Hubby has been putting new siding on the garage. Also got some chipping/shredding done, and hubby started tilling the garden. He plans to finish tilling tomorrow morning. Hopfully, he will be able to finish before the rain that is forcasted comes. Unfortunately, it is supposed to rain for the next 3 days, followed by a day of snow showers. It is still too early to plant most things, but a few things would be o.k., such as peas. But since the weather was so nice, I brought out all my little seedlings to start hardening them off. I think the wintersowing experiment is a wash this year. I don't see a thing coming up in those containers.
There are a few things coming up in the rain garden: coral bells, sedums, the peonies I split and transplanted in the fall, (yea! they made it through the winter!!!) a couple of assorted little bulbs, but no blooms there yet. The trees haven't even budded out here yet, much less leafed out. I am anxious to see some asparagus sprouts, but there aren't any signs of those yet. The rhubarb is starting to show though, and in front, the daffodils finally bloomed today. After I put the camera away. Maybe I can get a shot before the rain tomorrow.
It seems that this month we had one celebration right after another! Well, my husband's birthday and my daughter's birthday are just 8 days apart, and Easter came close to them this year. We also celebrated my nephew's 1st birthday, which falls right in between the other two. We spent Easter out of town, with family, and then had house guests ourselves once we came back home. I do enjoy having guests, but I must admit it does tire one out. Our guests (my sister and her family) brought their 4 dogs, and we have 2. 3 of the dogs are puppies still, so it seemed almost like a circus here! So, when the guests left and things finally settled down a bit here, I checked on my mushroom growing kit. Guess what? We got a few mushrooms!
Well, I did say "few" but it's a start! These were pretty big
I saute'd them up with dinner yesterday. Very tasty!
Looking at the 7-day forcast, it looks like it will be thursday or so before I get another nice sunny day, assuming the weatherman is right. I hope the forcast is mistaken, I need to get outside and get more work done. It seems the more work I get done, the more work I find that needs to be done yet.
I read this article on Dave's Garden newsletter a while ago. It was about economical tips for gardening, and one of the tips was to make your own "peat pots" using paper towel and toilet paper rolls. It seemed like a good idea so I thought I would give it a try and see how it works out. Here's a photo demonstration of how to make the little pots:
I cut the toilet paper tube into two pieces (paper towel tube into 4 pieces)
I flattened each piece and cut a slit up the folded edges, about 1/4 as long as the flattened opening....
Then, I opened them up and reflattened them, matching the cut slits, and cut 2 more slits on the new folds
folded the sides down between the slits to make flaps.....
...and folded the flaps over as you would to close a box.
The finished product! They seem to come out more square than round but who cares? I figure they could be planted right in the ground as they are, if the cardboard softens up enough, or the bottom could be opened, and the edge left up a bit like a "collar" like you would use to discourage cutworms. Or just discarded to the compost pile. At any rate, it's practically free....
Besides playing with paper towel tubes, I have been carefully tending some seedlings I started a couple weeks back.
Here are some of my tomato seedlings. As soon as they get another set of "true" leaves, I will thin them down to one per cell, I think. I also have assorted peppers, cauliflower, broccoli, cabbage, and eggplant started, along with a couple kinds of flowers. I have 4 flats in all (that's all the shelves with lights I have...).
I also have been watching my mushroom kit. I got that a few weeks back, and got it going, but so far, no signs of mushrooms. The instructions did say it would take a while, but I am a bit impatient and hope to see signs of mushrooms growing real soon....
The weather here has been switching back and forth between nice-enough-to-work-outside and too-cold-and-wet-to-work-outsi
de. Today, and yesterday, we had snow. But last week, we had some nice days, and got a lot of work done. We have been cleaning up leaves and such that we apparently missed in the fall. Thought we got a lot of work done then, but come to think of it, we got an early snow and outdoor work pretty much stops after that. Anyway, we got loads of leaves, twigs, and branches shredded up for mulch. We made a mulch box to keep it in and keep it dry until it is used. I re-did the scree line to the rain garden, and got it edged properly. Forgot to take a picture, will post one next time perhaps. Hubby has been residing the garage. It looked horrible and out of date. So happy he decided to do that. We have been moving things around, rearranging and planning. The garden is still too wet to till it up, but just a couple more weeks and we should be able to do that.
Besides gardening interests and yard work, we have been very busy. Hubby and I attended our friends annual mystery game dinner party. No costumes this year (fine with me, either way). Of course, I was eliminated about half way through the evening, but wonder of wonders! Hubby won the grand prize.
This was the prize. Our hostess does stained glass work as a hobby, and she is wonderful at it!
Hubby's birthday was April 1st, and Darling Daughter's birthday is the 9th. For Hubby's birthday, we had a nice quiet dinner at home, and I cooked him some of his favorites for dinner. We are planning on having some friends and family over for Daughter's birthday. This year she turns 20. Where does the time go????
A couple of silly pictures (gotta love those digital cameras! )
these are some REAL Michigan potatoes!
Here is my Grecian bust, all dressed up. My daughter told me she was immodest without any clothes....Hey, people dress up those cement geese and teddy bears they put on their porches, so why not? Anyway, I am going to wait until it's pretty certain not to snow anymore before I place her outside. I still haven't decided exactly where I want her.
I have been trying to keep up with all the blogs but Gosh! They have been moving soooo fast. I have noticed that there are quite a few new members posting lately, and everyone seems so excited and enthusiastic about the coming gardening season. All that enthusiasm is very contagious!
Happy St. Patrick's Day, one and all, Irish or not! The color of the day is green, and what gardener doesn't like green? Well, as they say, March comes in like a lion and out like a lamb. The temps have sure warmed up lately, though there are still some icy spots all the snow has melted in my area, and I have been able to get outside for a couple of days and do some yard clean up. And I thought I got a lot of cleanup done in the fall, but it's amazing how much stuff hides under the snow.
I thought I would start in the front flower bed. Here's a photo of the messy bed before I cleaned it up:
Hubby talked me into leaving most of the leaves there in the fall for a winter mulch, but rather than much protection, I think it just put off the inevitable job of raking the area. The rhody got a lot of ice damage this winter:
It lost two large branches. You can see the split in the middle of the photo. It's hard telling the age of this old thing, it was well established when we moved in 23 years ago (to the day, as a matter of fact...)
Finally, some signs of life starting....Here are some spring bulbs coming up, some are tulips, some are daffodils:
Things still look pretty bare and desolate, not surprising since we have nearly two whole months before our last average frost date yet
I had hubby straighten the blown-over shepherd's hooks, and I need to fix the fallen pieces of the wall.
Bella and Bailey joined me outside to enjoy the weather, too. Geeze, that puppy is growing fast! She is already as big as Beagle Bailey!
What my yard may lack in color this time of year, I find myself making up for with new little treats for myself indoors:
Whatever possessed me to buy cacti, I can't say. I don't know the first thing about them, and they sure aren't indiginous around here! But they sure are colorful, wouldn't you say? And I could not resist the colorful primroses. Those I am hoping are the hardy type, so I can add them to the front flower bed later. I have a couple growing there already, but not enough!
Another new item I bought for the garden, a Grecian bust:
I found this in a thrift store while just bumming around with daughter shopping one day when she didn't have classes. I thought I needed a few more yard decorations. I haven't decided where to put it yet, but it looks pretty nice where it is for the moment...
Today, the temperature is supposed to reach 65 degrees, the warmest we've had yet! Lord knows my yard needs the work and I'm anxious to get out there and get more done.
Until next time, Happy Gardening!
My oh my, having a puppy in the house is a lot like having a toddler in the house - they both get into EVERYTHING! And you must watch them EVERY MINUTE! Our new little girl puppy Bella is settled in just fine, and is actually quite spoiled, sometimes seeming to think she runs the house! I had worried at first that she wouldn't get along with our Beagle Bailey, as he seemed a bit jealous and very nervous with her around, but after a few days, they were playing like best buddies. However, Bella thinks it is fun to chase the cats. A big no-no, she is going to be way too big to pick on them once she is grown. She has also discovered that she likes slippers and wood furniture. Kind of reminds me of kids, they all seem to discover all on their own how much fun it is to jump on the bed. So far, we have caught her in time before she caused any permanent damage. The housebreaking is going so-so. She does very well some days, and others are full of "mistakes." But it seems she is making progress as time goes on. A tip for anyone considering getting a puppy: invest in one of those quick mops - the kind with the throw-away cloths that squirt cleaning solution. I have one of those Clorox ready-mops, and it has really come in handy for cleaning up puppy messes.
Here is a picture of Bella with her siblings:
They are, left to right, Star, Rose, Bella, Sword, and Goliath. My sister is keeping both Star and Goliath. By now, both Rose and Sword have gone to their new homes and are probably renamed by their new owners, I imagine. Both Rose and Goliath have blue eyes, the other three are yet to be determined, but are probably going to be brown. This picture was taken when they were a little over 4 weeks old, they are now 8 weeks old.
A sad little story: My nephew was playing with Star on the couch, roughhousing, and she fell off the couch. She yipped once, but seemed to be o.k. Then, my sister noticed she was limping slightly, and thought maybe she got bruised on her leg. She checked her out, palpatated the muscle, and the puppy didn't seem to be in pain, but several days later, she was still limping, so my sister took her to the vet. Guess what? Her femur is broken. They can't cast it, it is still growing. It was entirely split and separated, but has started to heal. She has to pamper her for 2 weeks and take her back for more x-rays. She will not be able to pull a sled, and will probably have a limp forever. There are 2 different surgery treatments (depending) that they may try. The vet gave her pain medicine for the puppy, even though she didn't act as if she was in pain. The vet thinks her bones may have been weakened because she wasn't able to nurse after 4 weeks when the mother dog died, and wasn't getting enough calcium in her puppy food. Poor little thing!
We have had all sorts of weather since I last blogged. We had a real cold snap, with single digit temps for several days, dipping into the negative numbers at night. It snowed almost every day during that time. Then, the weather warmed up considerably for a few days, warm enough to melt all the snow, all 18 inches of it. Then we had a couple of days of very heavy rain and strong wind, and flood warnings. They cancelled college classes one day on account of flood warnings. And now, the temps are back down to the normal usual range, 20's to 30's, and it snowed this morning. In fact, it's snowing again right now as I write this. What a weather roller coaster! I would have loved to get outside to work in the yard when it was warm, but everything was too wet and muddy from melted snow and rain. The only outdoor chore I managed to get done was poop-scoop duty. Not my favorite, goes without saying.
I have been very busy preparing for Spring! I set up my shelves and fluorescent lights, rounded up my seed trays and now, I just have to fill them and sow my seeds. I also have been saving milk jugs and similar containers for winter sowing. It is still a couple weeks too early to start peppers and tomatoes indoors, but I want to do both indoor and wintersowing, and compare methods. Last year, I didn't know what I was doing with the wintersowing, but live and learn, I am determined to do better this year. I have a note book that I will put to good use taking notes. I placed a couple orders from some seed catalogs, and am anxiously awaiting my deliveries! One thing I ordered this year is a mushroom growing kit. Yeah, I know, they seem exorbitantly expensive, but I have been so curious about them, and have been looking at them in seed catalogs for a couple years now, so I thought just this once, I would indulge myself with this extravagance. My whole household loves mushrooms. I just hope I get my money's worth of harvest. Lately, fresh mushrooms have been very expensive in the grocery store, so it makes the growing kit seem not as expensive. That's my justification and I am sticking to it!!!!! LOL!
When I haven't been busy playing with my planting materials, or on puppy-sitting duty, I have been busy with early "Spring Cleaning." I have sorted through nearly every drawer, closet and cupboard. I have 2 dressers that are currently not being used to store clothing, and I plan to take them to the property and put them back to good use there. I have decided it might be a good idea to set aside some of our clothes to keep up there (make it easier to take off quickly for a weekend if I have less packing to do). Mostly leisure and work clothes, of course, seeing as we have so much work to do up there this spring. I also sorted through my kitchen utensils. I have always complained that I don't seem to have enough cupboard space, but after sorting through all my stuff, I discovered I have quite a few doubles. No wonder I didn't have enough space, and why didn't I realize this sooner? Well, good thing I didn't, because there is absolutely nothing up at the property yet. I am setting aside some bedding and bath linens also. I have a couple of painting projects I have been itching to do, but haven't yet found the time. Some of the molding in some of the rooms are in desperate need of touching up. I really want to get this done before the weather warms up, because once the gardening season begins, I'm likely not to get to it.
February is a pretty busy month, as far as family birthdays go. Today (13th) is my sister Cindy's birthday. I had to tease her that it was Friday this year. I told her to have christmas lights instead of candles on her cake to avoid catching her hair on fire. hee hee! (I actually DID catch my hair on fire from my birthday candles one year long, long ago!) Sometimes, she gets in the oddest predicaments or weirdest situations, we are all forever teasing her that she was born on a Friday! Next weekend, we are going to my inlaws for my Mother-in-law's birthday. Hers is on the 22nd. I am supposed to bake the cake, and my daughter is going to decorate it (she took cake decorating classes and loves to do this). I will try to remember to post of picture of the finished cake. Also this month, 2 neices and 1 nephew are also celebrating birthdays. Besides birthdays, my one neice who lives in Florida is coming up for a visit. Really looking forward to that, it's been almost a year since she moved down there, and I miss her and her kids.
I have been enjoying reading everyone's blogs. It seems so many of us are anxiously awaiting spring, and a lot of us gardeners seems so enthusiastic and raring to go, once the weather starts cooperating! It's fun to see what others are planning on doing this year, lots of good ideas out there.
Happy Spring Garden Planning, everyone! until next time....
Meet our newest family member, my daughter's new puppy, Bella! My 2 year old neice is holding her in the photo.
She is the cutest little thing, she weighs a whole 5 pounds! Today, she turned 5 weeks old.
We did end up going up north for the weekend and no, I didn't do the polar dip. But we did celebrate birthdays, all the January and February birthdays since it may be a month or two before we make another trip up there. The temperatures topped out at 13 whole degrees one day, the rest of the time it was single digits or below 0. It snowed on and off all weekend, which made it nice, I suppose for the winter Tip-up Town festival. We didn't have time to do too much at the festival, we had to make it a short weekend, because my daughter had class on Monday. Figures that hubby would have an extra day off from work for Martin Luther King Jr. day, but the college was holding classes.
One funny thing that happened while we were up there....My neice in the picture above, Alanna, loves to use lotion or hand cream. Every time she is over my mom's house, she asks grandma for some "yotion" but this time, she helped herself. She had recently learned to turn door knobs, and she is a quiet and fast little one (a dangerous combination!!!) and let herself into the bathroom. She came up to my mom, with "yotion" smeared in her hair, and her hands just full of the stuff, to share some with grandma. We asked her where she got the lotion, and she took us to the bathroom, and lo and behold, in the tiolet was a tube of Veet hair removal cream. So she got an instant bath. And a fast shampoo before her hair could fall out. She doesn't have any hair to spare! I am not sure how thorough we were cleaning the tiolet seat, she had smeared the stuff all around, (and of course, cleaning the baby took precidence) I hope the next person to use it didn't get a nasty surprise...
I thought a couple winter views of my mom and step-dad's gardens were in order:
These are mom's planters, setting on the rail. The fence is about 3 1/2 ft. tall, the snow is probably at least half way up.
My step-dad uses the snow-blower to clear paths in the snow to the bird-feeders, so he can keep them filled. The winters can be pretty rough up there, even for the wildlife.
Just seconds before I snapped this picture, there was a red-headed woodpecker at the feeder. The little booger flew away, I guess he was camera shy. I don't remember what kind of bird that is still on the feeder.
Rambling over the top of the lattice structure is the wisteria. You can't tell from this angle, but the lattice structure is a walk-under arbor, about 6 feet tall, or so. The pile of snow in front of it is a drift over a small raised bed, about 8 inches tall.
This picture is my nephew in his "igloo" - he is using a trowel to carve out the inside.
Here is a picture that better shows the size of his "igloo." The pile of snow is from the repeated shoveling of the driveway. It is just off the drive, over the grass. It is pretty hard-packed, so it wont collapse until, oh, say, around March or April.
I have been browsing a stack of seed and plant catalogs whenever I get the time. The pictures make everything look so nice, if only money was no object, I could really go wild. It is awfully hard to narrow the choices down to what fits the budget!
I have been giving considerable thought to what I want to plant at the property. I will have to pay close attention to the amount of sun the area I want to plant gets, but I suspect it is mottled shade all day long, so I have been keeping my eyes open for shade-loving, cold hardy, deer resistent plants. I think a couple of different ferns, bleeding heart, and some short not-too-fast spreading ground cover would be plenty for the area. That should give me a little bit of color, at least for part of the season. I have to consider watering needs too, since we will only be there on weekends and holidays.
I hope everyone is staying warm!
Until next time, happy gardening, and happy garden planning!
It is currently 0 degrees outside. This is the coldest weather we have had so far this winter, and it is supposed to stay cold through the weekend. We are planning on going up north this weekend (where it is even colder) to visit my family and celebrate my birthday. Or so hubby says, but, this is the opening weekend for the winter festival held up there titled "tip up town" in honor of ice fishing. It is held for two weeks every January, and hubby loves his ice fishing, so we usually go, and I believe he uses my birthday as an excuse..."Honey, don't you want to celebrate your birthday with your family?" LOL! There are carnival rides, usually set up on the lake if the ice is thick enough. There are all sorts of contests and activities put on by the chamber of commerce. I think I will skip the parade this year, it's too cold and I don't know anyone in it this year. My sister was in the parade one year with her sled dogs, and another year my nephew's boy scout troop marched, which of course made it mandatory to go. I have NEVER participated in the polar dip. That's an activity where brave souls (or foolish, take your pick) wear their swim suits, and jump into the lake via a hole chopped in the ice. All the participants get a free sweatshirt. One of my neices did it one year, but I have never had the urge to. We may go to the carnival and check out some of the sales in town. And we will probably come home with a new puppy. One of my sister's sled dogs had a litter of puppies just before Christmas. Here are a couple of pictures of the puppies taken when we were up for New Years:
There were 5 puppies in the litter, but we must not have gotten pix of them all. The one in the first picture reminds me of a polar bear! My sister may keep that one, it was the only male in the litter, and he is a little bit bigger than the others, so he seems like a promising prospect. She named him Goliath. The little girl in the second picture reminds me of a badger, the way her facial markings are. That is the one my daughter wants. We have been debating and discussing if we really want to take in another dog right now. We already have one dog and two cats. The puppies are so adorable it's hard to say no... it would be my daughter's dog, but she has the typical busy schedule of a 20 year old college student so 3 guesses who would have to pick up the slack? Daughter has already named her - Bella - and we wouldn't train her to race. She would just be a spoiled house dog, like my beagle. Her adult weight could range between 40 to 70 pounds, we're guessing. This wasn't a planned breeding, but a result of either oops, one of the males got loose or from a visit from a neighbor's dog. They are 4 weeks old now, and for the most part weened, but unfortunately, they are orphaned now. Last night, as the mother was outside for a bathroom break, she chased a rabbit into the road, was struck by a car and killed. Can you believe the driver didn't even stop? When she didn't come back in when called for, my sister grabbed a flashlight and went looking. She was only a few feet from the driveway, and was still alive. She died before they could get her back into the house. She was a good dog, well trained, and usually never went near the road. They figured out what happened by the tracks in the snow.
I wish I had something interesting to report garden-wise, but the only things growing in the garden at the moment are the depth of the snow and the length of the icicles. Here is a picture I took today of the rain garden:
You can see my newest mums and the blanket flowers peeking out from under the snow.
This is what the view from my front bay window looked like a couple days ago.....
....and this was the view this morning. Looks kind of pretty with the sun shining through, but ice gets very heavy. Hubby said he will remove the icicles tomorrow.
I got a surprise phone call from my dad today. At first I thought, Oh, gee, he must have remembered my birthday this year, just got the day wrong, but no, it was more sad news. My cousin died this morning. Apparently, she died in her sleep. Her husband went to work this morning without waking her, and a couple hours after he left, her son came over to drop off his baby for her to baby-sit, and she didn't answer the door. He let himself in, and found her dead in bed. It didn't appear she had gotten up or dressed. I can't help but wonder if she was already gone before her husband left for work, and he just didn't realize it???? She was 56 years old, and as far as I know, she hadn't any recent health issuesThey don't know the cause of death yet, but there will be an autopsy. I don't know what the laws are elsewhere, but here, when a person dies at home and hasn't recently been under a doctors care for something, an autopsy is required. So I don't even know when there will be a service. . So our weekend plans are sort of in limbo, in case we need to stay in town for the funeral, but I suspect, because an autopsy takes time, that the services won't be held until after the weekend. Hopefully, I will be able to get some information tomorrow.
Until next time, stay warm everyone!
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