Spring progress

By , March 21, 2016

Apricot blossoms, (c) The Herbangardener

Happy Spring! We’ve made great progress with the garden. We rented a rototiller again and did another couple passes to dig further down. F finished mowing the acreage while I tilled, so it’s all set for spring. It looks great.

We staked out the garden with string and I hoed rows. F repaired and replaced lots of stuff on the irrigation system so now it doesn’t leak.

(It’s amazing how few words can be used to narrate such time-consuming and labor-intensive activities!)

Rototilling (c) The Herbangardener

(c) The Herbangardener

(c) The Herbangardener

(c) The Herbangardener

Marking out furrows, (c) The Herbangardener

We put water down the rows but it travels too fast and pools at the end, so right now we’re fine tuning that. Also, the beds are too tall. More fine tuning.

 Flood irrigating furrows (c) The Herbangardener

Flood irrigating furrows (c) The Herbangardener

Other springtime sights:

Tulip leaves, (c) The Herbangardener

Apricot trees bloom too early in Colorado (it probably got nipped the other night):

Apricot blossoms, (c) The Herbangardener

Columbine leaves, (c) The Herbangardener

Apricot blossoms, (c) The Herbangardener

Catalpa seedlings, (c) The Herbangardener

*****

Something from nothing: Breaking ground for a garden

By , March 4, 2016
(c) The Herbangardener

Mowing out the garden perimeter

Because we are now stewards of three whole acres of land, we’ve been spending hours and hours — so many hours — researching tractors and thinking of what we want to do with the space. One thing we want of course is a garden. I am not thrilled to be starting from scratch for another garden. If you garden, you know it’s a ton of work. I don’t have the energy level to match, so it’s overwhelming. But if you garden, you also know that not having a garden is not an option! It’s a given. A necessity. After months of tractor research, stalking craigslist, exploring creative solutions, lots of sticker shock, and springtime — planting time — right at our backs, we decided that we can’t make a decision right now. We’re unclear exactly how much we want to undertake in general, we don’t have a solid plan other than Do A Big Garden, and we haven’t been on the land long enough to have clear answers about either of those things. We had nearly settled on a BCS 853 walk-behind tractor from earthtools.com, but the price is dear and we aren’t settled yet on which attachments we need. We’ve been paralyzed and overwhelmed. Finally on Monday night, the overwhelm reached its zenith as F sat wide-eyed in front of his computer screen staring at yet another page filled with tractors and tractor attachments and other hunks of metal with names we have yet to learn and prohibitive price tags or the right price tag but in a faraway state. Right then is when we decided to work with what we have access to right now that’s within our price range — and without a huge decision or financial commitment needing to be made in haste. This turned out to be a rented rototiller from the local hardware store, and the really nice self-propelled Honda mower F bought for the lawn.

The next day we rented the tiller, quickly eyeballed the area we wanted to make into garden — ‘Yep, there’s about good’ — mowed the weeds and dry grasses, and “started tilling.” But the tiller tines only just picked at the surface weeds and kicked up a little dust. It wouldn’t dig in. The ground was dry, too dry evidently, and nothing was happening. Frustrated moments ensued, we tried forcing it, then we thought of scrapping the whole thing and returning the tiller. Then we both went online, each finding some key pointers. “Ahh – you can raise the wheels so the tines dig in more” and “Ahh – for hard ground try going lightly over your whole area with the tiller east-west, then lightly again north-south. Once you’ve cross hatched it, then try going deeper the next round.” We almost didn’t, but I’m glad we stuck with it. We made progress, though not a whole lot for a laborious !6! passes, but enough to tear into the ground. While I tilled, F mowed the acreage. The lawn mower was awesome and we had no idea it would do so well on rough land; it devoured everything in its path without a single sputter. Probably the mowing of the land wasn’t completely necessary; but mentally oh very much yes. Somehow having the grass mowed on the rest of the land makes the whole thing seem tamer and more under our control and not so wild and untouchable and unmanageable and impossible. And we learned that yes you can mow two acres with your self-propelled yard mower and yes wear those comfortable shoes because you’ll be walking for miles and miles, back and forth back and forth!

The next day I turned on our irrigation well and opened the floodgates as they say. The garden can be flooded in a matter of minutes which will be a huge time saver this summer. I soaked it several times and we’ve booked the tiller again for this Saturday so that we can do the whole thing again and till much deeper this time we hope.

When I look out at the area we tilled, it’s huge. It’s nearly 3,000 square feet of garden. That in itself is overwhelming, but not as overwhelming as it was last week, before we had started at all. We made huge progress in one day and our bodies made darn sure we knew it (like ‘Ohhh…shit.”). Seeing the land mowed and the garden tilled up makes it easier to believe we can actually make something out of all this nothing.

 

Mowing 2 acres with self-propelled lawnmower

Mowing 2 acres with self-propelled lawnmower

Mowing done

Mowing done

Rototilling

Rototilling

Before mowing & tilling

Before mowing & tilling

After mowing & tilling

After mowing & tilling

Essential!!! I love these boots.

Essential!!! I love these boots.

(c) The Herbangardener

*****

Moving house

By , February 27, 2016

Moving (c) The Herbangardener

Yep, we have moved again. It’s such a breeze and so stress free, you know, we can hardly get enough!

This last year, circumstance dictated that my folks reclaim their home that we had been renting from them for the past three years, which meant we needed to find ourselves a new pad. Their house is where I grew up, so this homebody’s roots there run awfully, awfully deep–soaking up comfort and familiarity and cherished memories like precious life-giving droplets of water over these past few terribly challenging years. Difficult to pack up and go, you bet. Our move has blessedly been to a place just a couple hours “down the road,” so visits back are realistic and doable on a semi-frequent basis — which has been helpful for my heart which does not, alas, sway to the currents of logic or plan or situation, and does not apparently even realize that it’s actually their house and not mine at all. Helpful also in that I finally found some good doctors and I’m not, and I repeat not, in the mood to drop them and doctor shop in a new city right now. Commutes back for doctor appointments are softened by wonderful time spent with my family so this setup is working well, considering.

Going through the experience of a home purchase was new to both F and me. I would totally not recommend it. We’re lucky that we also did not have a house to sell at the same time! How do people do it?? We felt heroic for getting through it (applause especially to F) but wow, the stress was busting out the seams. Hopefully we will not have to buy, sell, or move again, ever, for the rest of our whole entire lives but if we do, I think it will definitely be easier the second time now that we’ve traced the learning curve.

We got really lucky with the place we found. And by lucky I mean that if we’d missed seeing the new Zillow listing by a single day, it would’ve been gone. And since we already had a contract on another house the realtor wasn’t sending us any new stuff so it was F that stumbled upon this one thanks to his persistent internet searching late into the night. We shudder now to think of ourselves at the first house we had the contract on! Instead, we lucked into a perfectly sized, solidly built 60’s house (we’re only the second owners!) on three irrigated acres. We wake up to meadowlarks and mountain vistas. It’s a special spot, as you’ll see:

Mowed pasture (c) The Herbangardener

Mowed pasture (c) The Herbangardener

Mowed pasture (c) The Herbangardener

(c) The Herbangardener

Tractor mowing the pasture (c) The Herbangardener

Wish this tractor were ours!

Tractor mowing the pasture (c) The Herbangardener

Green pasture (c) The Herbangardener

Green pasture (c) The Herbangardener

Sunset (c) The Herbangardener

(c) The Herbangardener

(c) The Herbangardener

(c) The Herbangardener

Clothesline (c) The Herbangardener

(c) The Herbangardener

Flood irrigation (c) The Herbangardener

Irrigatinggate pipe (c) The Herbangardener

Irrigation gated pipe (c) The Herbangardener

(c) The Herbangardener

(c) The Herbangardener

(c) The Herbangardener

(c) The Herbangardener

IMG_3729

IMG_3268

End of the rainbow (c) The Herbangardener

(c) The Herbangardener

(c) The Herbangardener

(c) The Herbangardener

(c) The Herbangardener

Winter dusk (c) The Herbangardener

Winter dusk (c) The Herbangardener

(c) The Herbangardener

 *****

Green Smoothie: Pineapple-Banana-Spinach-Chia

By , February 7, 2016

Green smoothie, (c) The Herbangardener

I made up this green smoothie recipe a couple weeks ago and it’s becoming a favorite. Not too elaborate, tastes good, just right. The proportions are easy so I’m pretty much guaranteed a tasty result.

Pineapple-Banana-Spinach-Chia Green Smoothie

~~~

Half a pineapple – Cut off the rind, and cut into chunks.*

1 banana

1 Tbsp chia seeds soaked in 2/3 cup water**

1 handful (5 medium) ice cubes

~1/2 cup cold water (in addition to what chia soaked in)

3 oz of fresh spinach (One big handful)

~~~

Put everything except the spinach into your blender. Begin blending. About half way thru, add the spinach. Finish blending and serve.

~~~

* If you’ve got a good blender, like a Vitamix, include the core of the pineapple since there’s nutrition in it.

** The way I do chia is add the chia seeds and water to a small jar, shake the jar, leave on the counter all day or overnight, shaking a couple times, then pop into the fridge to wait for the next time I make a smoothie. If you’re doing the chia then and there, soak for 10 or 15 minutes before adding to the blender.

Green smoothie ingredients, (c) The Herbangardener

Soaked chia seeds, (c) The Herbangardener

Green smoothie (c) The Herbangardener

Green smoothie ingredients, (c) The Herbangardener

*****

Catching up: Late Summer into Autumn

By , February 3, 2016

Lindsey The Herbangardener, (c) The Herbangardener

Your eyes do not deceive you my friends! Yes I am finally updating my blog.

February of 2016! And I haven’t even shown you the rest of last year’s garden. There’s much to tell you about since we last chatted back in July, but first things first and this post will be for catching up with the rest of the season. Last summer’s garden is a distant memory already and these pictures remind me that it was a pretty good year although at this point I can’t even quite remember the details of it. Right – oh, I know. I remember I was impressed actually with how well things did considering the long-lasting, cool spring we had paired with a few pelting hailstorms, each one progressively more damaging, leaving leaves and stems hanging by threads. All that hard work, seed starting, transplanting, and coddling, shredded! It was a Great Year for roofing companies, let’s just say. I think I may have already talked about the hail — I bet I did, this is sounding familiar. No matter; it was a surprisingly satisfying year with a solid harvest in general and more tomatoes than expected. Then again when you set your expectations to ZERO, a number of things do tend to look surprisingly good! (Do you smell a life lesson too?)

The pictures really do look luscious don’t they? The beauty of this garden absolutely fed me and kept me grounded when I needed to block life out for a while and put my bare feet on the earth and my hands in the soil, or relax with a cup of tea and admire my living, growing, changing, edible creation.

Potato of the Year!

POTATO OF THE YEAR!

(c) The Herbangardener

Raised beds vegetable garden (c) The Herbangardener

(c) The Herbangardener

Potato harvest (c) The Herbangardener

(c) The Herbangardener

Siamese twin squash blossoms

Siamese twin squash blossoms

Siamese twin squash blossom, (c) The Herbangardener

Early Silver Line melon, (c) The Herbangardener

‘Early Silver Line’ Melon – they were seedy and not very sweet, strange texture, not that tasty.

(c) The Herbangardener

(c) The Herbangardener

Zucchini harvest, (c) The Herbangardener

Preparing zucchini parmesan, (c) The Herbangardener

Zucchini Parmesan about to go into the solar oven

Zucchini Parmesan about to go into the solar oven

Heirloom tomatoes, (c) The Herbangardener

Heavenly Blue morning glories, (c) The Herbangardener

Geranium (pelargonium), (c) The Herbangardener

Destemming elderberries, (c) The Herbangardener

Destemming elderberries

Pureed elderberries, (c) The Herbangardener

Elderberry Fluff (cooked & pureed elderberries) – I love it

At the clinic, (c) The Herbangardener

Heart in a basil leaf, (c) The Herbangardener

Homegrown heirloom tomatoes, (c) The Herbangardener

Green Zebra open pollinated tomato, (c) The Herbangardener

Garden Greek salad, (c) The Herbangardener

Cat in the basket, (c) The Herbangardener

Tomatoes heavy on the vine, (c) The Herbangardener

Verbena, (c) The Herbangardener

Cucumbers on the vine, (c) The Herbangardener

Green cabbage, (c) The Herbangardener

Homegrown strawberry, (c) The Herbangardener

Apple wood bundle, (c) The Herbangardener

Freshly cut ash wood, (c) The Herbangardener

Raised beds vegetable garden, (c) The Herbangardener

Heavenly Blue morning glory, (c) The Herbangardener

Raised beds, (c) The Herbangardener

(c) The Herbangardener

(c) The Herbangardener

(c) The Herbangardener

(c) The Herbangardener

Red Kuri winter squash, (c) The Herbangardener

Homegrown heirloom tomatoes, (c) The Herbangardener

Harvesting green tomatoes, (c) The Herbangardener

Harvesting potatoes, (c) The Herbangardener

Autumn in the garden, (c) The Herbangardener

*****

Mandala Magnets in My Etsy Shop!

By , December 14, 2015

Mandala Magnet, (c) The Herbangardener

Hello all!

A quick note here to let you know that I’ve got Mandala Magnets in my Etsy shop! They’re a new item that I’ve just posted, and if you need unique, handmade last-minute gifts or stocking stuffers for Christmas, these are perfect. All 20 mandala designs that are in my Coloring Book are available, as well as three new mandalas (#’s 21 thru 23) which are not in the coloring book. All 23 are available individually, or as a full set.

There is also a non-mandala design called ‘Forest Child.’

Each magnet measures 2 1/4″ (5.7cm) in diameter.

Handmade by yours truly, with 100% USA-made materials.

All designs are illustrated completely by hand — not with computer software like so many of the mandala designs out there.

The magnets add beauty and pizzazz to Home or Office — refrigerators, filing cabinets, office cubicles, and lockers! They’re also great for wedding favors, party favors, housewarming gifts, hostess gifts, teacher gifts, etc.

$2.95 each

BUY NOW

~~The ordering deadline for these, to get them by Christmas, is December 18th.~~

Aren’t they fun!?

Here’s a sampling of some of the designs:

Mandala Magnet, (c) The Herbangardener

Mandala Magnet, (c) The Herbangardener

Mandala Tree Magnet, (c) The Herbangardener

Mandala Magnet, (c) The Herbangardener   Mandala Magnet, (c) The Herbangardener

Forest Child magnet, (c) The Herbangardener

Mandala Magnet, (c) The Herbangardener

Mandala Magnet, (c) The Herbangardener

Mandala Magnets, (c) The Herbangardener

Mandala Magnets, (c) The Herbangardener

*****

Height of the MidSummer

By , July 24, 2015

In my garden, (c) The Herbangardener

~

A completely bearable, beautiful wet summer we have had so far! Since we’ve had no need to turn on the sprinkler system yet, last night was the first time this year that I dragged a hose out and watered a dry patch of lawn. Believe me when I say, this is unheard-of! After a late Spring warmup and some dismaying hail storms early on that defoliated or bruised much of the garden, things are finally looking pretty nice.

Summer clouds (c) The Herbangardener

Zucchini leaves, (c) The Herbangardener

Tomato flowers, (c) The Herbangardener

Borage, (c) The Herbangardener

Cucumber spiral, (c) The Herbangardener

~

Pruning fire blight off the apple tree.

Unless you prune during the winter, pruning utensil blades must be wiped off with rubbing alcohol between Each And Every Cut.

This is half of what came off:

Pruning apple tree, (c) The Herbangardener

Apple tree, (c) The Herbangardener

~

On her quinceañera:

(c) The Herbangardener

~

Squash flower, (c) The Herbangardener

Borage flower and bee, (c) The Herbangardener

Morning glory flower, (c) The Herbangardener

Summer garden, (c) The Herbangardener

Green tomatoes, (c) The Herbangardener

Homegrown garlic, (c) The Herbangardener

Backyard garden, (c) The Herbangardener

Winter squash, (c) The Herbangardener

Zukes and cukes, (c) The Herbangardener

~

This tiny being – a wee chickadee – quietly completed its circle of life within the safe boundaries of our backyard.

Chickadee, (c) The Herbangardener

And to dust we shall return, (c) The Herbangardener

We must honor our fellow Earthly travelers.

Tiny grave, (c) The Herbangardener

~

Daisy, (c) The Herbangardener

~

Out and about for the joy of it, soaking in Summertime at a beautiful nature space, with my Mom. It was really a special day. Our eyes were even treated to male and female Cedar Waxwings, as well as male and female American Goldfinches. And many, many irresistible baby bunnies!!

(c) The Herbangardener

Bee hives, (c) The Herbangardener

Pond, (c) The Herbangardener

111

(c) The Herbangardener

Water lilies, (c) The Herbangardener

Stream, (c) The Herbangardener

American Goldfinch, (c) The Herbangardener

Baby bunny, (c) The Herbangardener

***

Lingering Spring and a Touch of Summer

By , June 3, 2015

Oriental poppy orange, (c) The Herbangardener

***

~I hope this finds you all well~

Just some photos for today.

We are busy here; isn’t that the way of the world though! The to-do list never seems to shorten does it…

I’ll post more of an update in the coming weeks but for now, enjoy this most glorious time of year with a tour through the garden… pausing to pet the Kitty of course… and maybe you’d like a few strawberries too, still warm from the morning sun, and a cold fizzy glass of homebrew kombucha? (I’ve finally upped production, brewing it by the 3-gallon-full these days and I’m thinking of going to 4!)

Greetings from a wet, chilly Colorado night,

~Lindsey

***

(c) The Herbangardener

Purple lily of the valley, (c) The Herbangardener

Mousing, (c) The Herbangardener

(c) The Herbangardener

(c) The Herbangardener

(c) The Herbangardener

(c) The Herbangardener

(c) The Herbangardener

(c) The Herbangardener

(c) The Herbangardener

Spring vegetable garden, (c) The Herbangardener

Homegrown strawberry,, (c) The Herbangardener

Spring vegetable garden (c) The Herbangardener

Oakleaf heirloom lettuce, (c) The Herbangardener

Cat feet (c) The Herbangardener

Star of Persia, (c) The Herbangardener

Maple leaf, (c) The Herbangardener

Fern, (c) The Herbangardener

Celebration Song iris, (c) The Herbangardener

Homebrew kombucha, (c) The Herbangardener

Kombucha day, (c) The Herbangardener

Green lawn, (c) The Herbangardener

Johnny Jump Ups, (c) The Herbangardener

Garden strawberries, (c) The Herbangardener

Seedlings, (c) The Herbangardener

Walls o water, (c) The Herbangardener

Tomato plant (c) The Herbangardener

Oakleaf heirloom lettuce, (c) The Herbangardener

(c) The Herbangardener

Yarrow (c) The Herbangardener

Yarrow (c) The Herbangardener

Orange oriental poppy, (c) The Herbangardener

(c) The Herbangardener

*****

The last of Winter and the beginning of Spring

By , April 28, 2015

Pinecones in snow (c) The Herbangardener

(c) The Herbangardener

The trail is the thing... (c) The Herbangardener

Evergreen in snow, (c) The Herbangardener

(c) The Herbangardener

(c) The Herbangardener

(c) The Herbangardener

Finch in feeder, snow, (c) The Herbangardener

Cat silhouette, (c) The Herbangardener

Storm clouds, (c) The Herbangardener

Whiteout, (c) The Herbangardener

 

Bottling, (c) The Herbangardener

Bottle conditioning, (c) The Herbangardener

(c) The Herbangardener

Early spring garden, (c) The Herbangardener

Lilac buds, (c) The Herbangardener

Lilac leaf buds, (c) The Herbangardener

Spring planting, (c) The Herbangardener

(c) The Herbangardener

Daffodil, (c) The Herbangardener

Peach blossom, (c) The Herbangardener

Early spring vegetable garden, (c) The Herbangardener

(c) The Herbangardener

Pink tulip, (c) The Herbangardener

Tulip and grape hyacinth (c) The Herbangardener

Purple tulips, (c) The Herbangardener

Yellow tulips, (c) The Herbangardener

Spring garden, (c) The Herbangardener

Spring garden, (c) The Herbangardener

(c) The Herbangardener

(c) The Herbangardener

(c) The Herbangardener

Lilacs, (c) The Herbangardener

(c) The Herbangardener

*****

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