Posts tagged: gardening

Images of Springtime!

By , April 22, 2014

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Happy Spring to you!

Ohh this time of the year is glorious, with apple blossoms and tulips and the grass greening up by the hour. Lilacs coming soon, and some peach blossoms on the homegrown peach tree (above)!

It’s been a while since I posted, with the usual ups and downs of life intervening… a terrible cold germ that gripped our household and overstayed its welcome by weeks, more medical testing and appointments which drain my energy but are part of the deal right now, a long overdue visit to the dentist with shocking news of 7 cavities — then a couple appointments to get them filled, along with a definite improvement in my condition thanks to the fabulous antibiotic, and then a bit of a relapse with my lungs certainly improved (ohhhh what sweet relief!!!), but still with a ways to go, with the underlying issue persisting. A recent sinus CT scan showed sinusitis in several areas which has likely been there for the past 3 years, improved by — but persisting through — multiple rounds of antibiotics, and largely ignored by me (as were the cavities) because of so much other crap going on in my body. It’s possible that my sinuses have been seeding my lungs continuously with infection, but it’s not clear yet.

And so it goes. But of course amidst the churning and distress and medical decision making that goes with being sick, there is beauty and sweetness all around, and having My People around me (or thru phone/email/video skype) is highly sustaining. Good things have happened too — I won tickets to the theater to see our children’s chorale sing, which turned into the most wonderful, stress-free afternoon out with F., where we could each forget our respective life-stressors, be lifted out of Survival Mode for a few hours, and be doing something fun and not too energy intensive, simply for the Joy of it! What a concept!!!!!! It was something that we both sorely needed as life has been awfully Real lately for both of us. We got sushi after the show and came home and had a picnic outside in the pretty evening.

And this year our bird baths are overflowing with the comings and goings of robins, finches, chickadees, nuthatch type things, grackles, a mystery bird, and even a couple of blue jays one special afternoon. Birds and birdsong add such a wonderful element to life, and I’m very thankful for them personally. And I love that when I’m resting out on the grass, they feel safe enough now to come within a few feet to bathe and drink.

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So here are a number of pictures from the past couple months, as winter has wound down and spring has begun in earnest. And now, with spring is in its peak week, I am loving every second of it!

I hope this post finds you all well and enjoying your springtime (or hopefully that you will be soon, if winter is still hanging on in your neck of the woods)!

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Yay garden!

By , August 30, 2013

And of course, no post is complete without…

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Around Here

By , August 14, 2013

It’s getting a little too far into the evening hours to do much of a post, so I’ll just stick with pictures for tonight…

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The garden this morning

By , July 14, 2013

It’s a gorgeous fresh sunny morning here, after a fantastic rainstorm last night which left us over an inch and a half of rain! Our ground really needed that soaking.

And so here are some garden pictures, taken on this fresh dewey morning.

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May you have a most relaxing Sunday morning!!

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Starting Up the Garden!

By , March 23, 2013

It’s time! Time to crank it all into action, which is what I’ve been busy with all this past week. Actually the garden this year is happening on a delayed schedule since it’s been cold and wet here, but it did all finally begin last weekend with my dad and me taking our sorta-yearly ritual trip out to the landscape place to get a pickup-load of compost. Then digging up the wintering garlic, turning the soil, making sure all displaced worms were lovingly tucked back under, spreading and digging in the compost, spreading and digging in the fertilizer, re-planting the garlic, and finally planting the seeds for spring crops.

What a lot of work. I think gardener-folk are the only ones who know how much work it truly is! But it’s good work, and at the close of the day you feel satisfied because of all you’ve done out there, and because the garden looks tended, and because your body is that good kind of tired where you know you’ll collapse into bed and wake up the next morning in the exact same position.

And so begins a new gardening season, with a fresh, new, carefully considered garden plan full of dreams and anticipation and delusion…if we’re going to be calling it what it is…that It’ll be better this year! Which is why this year’s plan includes bell peppers and melons despite poor performances and outright failures in the past, punctuated by one successful year each — just enough of a dangling carrot, you can imagine, to tempt any stubborn gardener into disregarding logic and experience and plopping those fat little seedlings into the soil yet again because This will be the year.

Starting tomato and pepper seeds on their heat mat:

The garden, “before”:

The bedsheets… as soon as we dumped the compost on the garden, we had a couple days of very high winds, creating a mini dustbowl. So yes, the bedsheets.

Baby tomatoes:

The garden plan, and planting:

Laying out the garlic:

A beautiful sunrise:

Complete!

Good thing we got the walls-o-water set up just in time for them to freeze solid:

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I hope you’ve all had a good week.

I’m curious — what has the early Spring weather been like in your area so far?

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Garden planning, more snow, and a catnip party

By , March 5, 2013

As I opened the bedroom curtains yesterday morning I was greeted by a peaceful gray day and gently falling snowflakes! I always get excited when I see snow. I made tea and turned on some soft harp music, which goes very well with snowfall.

In the afternoon, the sun was shining while the snow was still falling:

And now’s the time when I haul out the seed box and plan my garden. I always am puzzled about statements referring to gardeners delving into seed catalogs in December or January, itching to get going again. For much of the winter I can hardly think about gardening! I very much enjoy the break that winter provides. I love my garden, and I also love having a break from the work of it. And I absolutely can’t even think about garden planning and seed starting and fertilizer stuff and soil amendments… until I’m fully ready. Through the winter, my heart actually sinks when thinking about these things! Until one day… about this time each year… I think about gardening… and my heart lifts — soars, even.

And then I know that it’s time to begin.

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My cat Liz loves seeds perhaps as much as I do. When I lay out all the packets for planning purposes, she makes sure she’s there to help. We love to “play seeds” together.

Can you guess what kind of seeds she loves best?

When I left all the seeds out on Sunday night, I had forgotten about the Catnip.

And Liz had been playing seeds in the night — as I quickly realized on Monday morning when I saw the crumpled rug and strewn packets.

The life of the party:

So I guess to plant catnip this year, I’ll just have to rake a plot of dirt and shake out the rug!

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(If you’re curious about planning a veggie garden, here’s how I do mine each year.)

And your garden… what’s it up to right now?

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Bits of Spring

By , February 23, 2013

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Autumny things, Leaf acquisition, and Taking it slow

By , November 13, 2012

Autumn evening: Mugs of tea, a sleeping cat, reading the neighborhood newsletter, soaking feet in hot water, PBS on the TV....

It’s been a quiet week in Lake Woebegone. (Is Prairie Home Companion even still on? Gosh I haven’t tuned in in years… I loved that program…) Anyway, that’s been our Autumn — quiet, restful, and in keeping with the shift in season to colder weather and a reduced number of daylight hours (which I welcome!). F is still on leave from his job, resting and rehabbing his broken arm. It’s so nice to have him home here. We’re both just resting, which was so needed. I’m continuing to get weekly acupuncture treatments that are really helping to flush out my body and liver from 10 months of strong, toxic antibiotics — and probably also the megaload of endotoxins created by the Brucella bacteria itself… and probably also the antivirals I was on when this illness was still in its misdiagnosed-as-something-else phase… and probably also the narcotics from two really painful surgeries before that. Yikes. It’s an unpleasant process and I get impatient, but overall I’ve been hanging low and trying to let my body do its thing.

But let’s move on. The day before Halloween I got crazy (well, in a Bob Ross “Let’s get crazy” sort of way) and decided to make decorations for our house even though we weren’t going to hand out candy. I raided the rag box and made ghosts, and then drew a bat pattern and made a couple bats out of cardboard which I painted black. Then I wired some branches together to display my seasonal flags. I’m really happy with how the little flag pole came out! It was therapeutic to lose myself completely in a creative and totally frivolous activity.

While I was decorating, the neighbors across the street were raking leaves from their two maple trees. I watched with interest, because this past summer I ran out of autumn leaves for mulching my gardens and I really missed having them. I was determined to collect as many leaves as possible this autumn. I’ve never met these neighbors before, and normally in these situations my shyness overtakes me. But determined to break from my comfort zone, I walked across the street, introduced myself, and asked if they were going to throw their bags of leaves away (yes) and if I could have them (yes). And so by simply gathering my courage and asking, I ended up with eight bags of gorgeous maple leaves, ready for next year’s garden.

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And then this past Saturday, I was whipped into action by snowflakes falling much sooner in the day than I expected, so I raked up our own maple leaves, jumping in the piles just as I did when I was a kid, inhaling their earthy sweet scent — one of the few things that hasn’t changed one bit in all these years.

Some of the leaves went into bins for composting later, and the rest went onto my garden beds for the winter.

And then the snow began to fall harder…

Time to go inside for some hot vegetable soup.

And then some hot chocolate. I’ve found a good way to do hot chocolate — something I actually rarely drink. I bought a quart of Kalona Supernatural chocolate milk, froze it into ice cube trays, and when I want a small mug of hot chocolate I pop a few cubes into a saucepan with some water (because I like it on the dilute side) and a dash of cinnamon, and warm it up until steaming. Delicious! (And don’t forget to add stale marshmallows to your hot chocolate. My bag of them, which must be at least two years old, somehow made it into the moving box instead of the trash can this summer, but now I’m glad I have them! I always did like ’em better stale…)

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Later in the day, heating milk for yogurt making (I’ve learned to babysit milk, because the moment you step away from the stove it will begin to boil, rising up very quickly in the pan and spilling out everywhere)…

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And now dusk. I love the blue light of winter’s dusk and the warm, homey glow from the windows.

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What autumn activities are you up to?

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Preparing for the Snow

By , October 26, 2012

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After what has been one of the hottest, most wearisome summers in my memory, it seems that the autumn season has finally, completely (mercifully!?) clunked into place. We had our first snowfall, which began on Wednesday night by way of a steady rain. I was delighted to see this, so armed with an umbrella and steaming tea in a to-go cup, I ventured out for an enchanting night walk. And an hour after I got back, the rain switched over to snow, falling fast and blowing sideways, blizzard style. By that time the two of us and the cat were all squashed together on the couch, side by side by side, vegging out in front of PBS. A cozy, snowy night.

The next morning, we awoke to the wonderland you see above. Cold and still and silent.

I love the snow because it’s so peaceful.

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If we back up a little bit, though, Tuesday was a gorgeous day with temperatures in the mid-70s, and I was out in shorts and a tank top getting the last of the garden chores in order. It was a busy garden day and I was exhausted at the end, but the progress felt good.

Here are some pictures from my end-of-summer preparations:

The garden in early October just after our first frost nipped a few things.

Potting up the thyme to take inside for the winter

Red Siberian heirloom tomatoes -- I'll definitely grow these again

One of the leeks from the harvest

Cabbage and potatoes just harvested

The rest of the tomatoes, picked and ready to store.

Storing the green tomatoes in the coolest spot in the house (the coat closet).

End-of-season applesauce making

Bringing some of the garden stuff indoors

Tilled in our homemade compost and made a "nursery bed" for the garlic. I'll transplant them in spring to their usual spots around the perimeter of each raised bed. This nursery bed thing is a new thought I had -- never done it this way, but I'm counting on it working like a charm.

Putting the garden to bed

Dusk, my favorite

The first snowfall

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