Posts tagged: spring

Baby Squirrel Pictures!

By , May 30, 2012

Finally, some of the pictures of our neighbor squirrels’ litter of springtime babies! They were so cute. They’re nearly grown now, and very busy of course as all squirrels seem to be.

Apologies in advance for the underwhelming quality of the photos. F’s camera (with that requisite telephoto lens) and I still don’t get along. It thinks I don’t know what I’m doing. And while I won’t dispute that… I say, what kind of camera refuses to take a picture when I press the shutter release. If the light situation is sucky, that’s my business! (And your eyes are fine — it’s the photos that are a bit blurry, maybe because they were all taken through the window screen.)

Anyway — on to the cuteness!

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A Walk Through the Garden – May 24th

By , May 24, 2012

Wow, it’s been another full-on week here. I like how Trish says it — “life has been a bit real lately“!

When life gets extra real, it feels extra nice to be in my garden. My garden grounds me back to Earth!

And here’s an interesting phenomenon that I’ve noticed — if I need to take a nap in the middle of the day (usually I don’t like to), I wake up feeling mentally yucky and depressed if I’ve slept inside. But if I take my nap outside, that doesn’t happen — I wake up feeling balanced and happy and content. Nature seems to be magical that way…

So how about a walk through the magical garden? It’s growing really well! My tomato plants are exactly three months old from when I started them from seed, and some of them are blooming! That’s exciting because the past few years have not been good tomato years due to unusually long, wet, chilly springs.

Here’s the garden in the glow of the evening sun. Gardens look best in either morning or evening sunshine, don’t they.

Big turnip. (All the others are still much smaller than this!)

Parsley (L) and Caraway (R)

Broad bean flowers

Homegrown lettuce is just so awesome.

 

My baby peach is growing too!

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What’s up in your yard?

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Make a Bug Bath!

By , May 16, 2012

If you’re an organic vegetable gardener, or just a lazy cheapskate-type gardener (or both like me), then beneficial insects are at the top of your list. They’re easy, they’re free, they do the work for you. For example, I’ve never found a better way of controlling aphids than relaxing in the shade with a cup of tea and letting the wasps eat them off one by one.

All you need to do is lure the beneficials in by making your garden as irresistible as possible. One good way is to make sure you have a variety of flowers blooming amongst your vegetables. I’ve noticed they especially like herb flowers and wildflowers.

Another good way is to provide a reliable source of fresh water — just like a bird bath, only for bugs.

To make a bug bath:

1. Find a dish and some rocks; the rocks will stick up above the water and provide islands for bugs to land on.

2. Locate the bug bath somewhere in your garden. Feel free to have multiple bug baths throughout your garden.

3. Keep the water fresh; I dump it and re-fill when I water the garden.

4. It may take a bit for the bugs to discover their new bath; have patience — they’ll find it!

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Garden walk, first week of May~

By , May 8, 2012

Let’s go see what the garden’s doing!

And you’re barefoot, right? Ok good! ‘Cause garden walks are so much better when your feet are on that cool grass, touching the earth directly…

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Mulching the beds… I know, I should’ve gotten to this task while the plants were smaller. Because when they’re already this big, you’re having to delicately thread your mulching material in amongst those maddeningly fragile stems!

Broad bean flowers

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A broken toe slows ya down… but moving more slowly has turned out to be a good thing.

Try it sometime (moving slowly I mean).

Potato patch

Onion patch

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Nettles!!

By , May 1, 2012

As I mentioned in this post, I found nettles! This was really very exciting because now I can collect my own instead of continuing to purchase my usual dried nettles for tea. And for the very first time, I had freshly cooked nettles and they’re amazing! A mild and pleasing taste. I cooked them in some salted water, and ended up drinking every last drop of the broth too — it was thick and delicious — almost meaty. They’re so good for you, too. High in protein, vitamins, and minerals.

Cooked nettles

Nettles & white beans

And I love nettles tea because it works better than an antihistamine pill for me. This was an accidental discovery; I’m allergic to bee stings, and I get honeybee and ‘mixed vespids’ venom immunotherapy shots every 6 weeks so that my body gets desensitized to the venom. Normally I get a big, itchy 3″ wide welt on each arm where I get the shot, and I take a Claritin pill the morning of the shots to help counteract that. However one day I had some strong nettles tea before my shots, along with the pill. No welt! No redness! No itchy! At first I didn’t realize it was the nettles, until another time when I’d forgotten to take the antihistamine pill and only had nettles tea, and same thing! No welt. Finally I realized it was the nettles tea, and the pill wasn’t even really necessary. So now I make sure to have nettles tea before my shot, and every day for at least about a week afterward. It’s quite magical. If you have seasonal allergies (mercifully, I don’t), you might try nettles tea!

My favorite nettles tea:

2-3 Tbsp dried nettles

~1/2 Tbsp dried mint

~1/2 Tbsp dried lemongrass

In a mug, pour 8-12 ounces boiling water over herbs, cover, and steep about 15 minutes.

So anyway, back to the fresh nettles. I couldn’t believe my luck with finding patch after patch of them, and while I often travel with an empty plastic bag (you never know what you’ll need it for!), I didn’t have one with me on the walk. However my mom had packed snacks in a bag, and thank goodness she had! Precious, precious bag. Without it, I wouldn’t have been able to collect any. Disappointing!

I had an empty little sandwich baggie which I used as a glove to pick them, though still got plenty of stings on my wrists. (The stinging compounds are easily neutralized once the nettles are either boiled or dried to a crisp.) I stuffed the bag full, and also took some plants with roots and have planted those in pots outside, hoping they’ll decide it’s a satisfactory location to grow. I’ve read that nettles are particular about where they grow; you might think you have the ideal location for them — but they have the last word.

Do you cultivate your own nettles? Have any growing tips?

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As you can see, the living room was full of nettles for a while. I ended up getting about 3 gallons, dried.

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A Special Nature Outing

By , April 27, 2012

Pelican

Just wanted to share with you some pictures from the wonderful nature outing I had yesterday! My aunt and her honey are in town visiting this week, and they, together with my mom and dad and I, all went to a nature spot that holds a special place in our hearts. I’ve been going there since I was just a toddler! The weather was sublime, and we had the place to ourselves. It was such a special family time, I’ll never forget it. I only wish my F could have been there with us, I know he would have loved it too. We saw some amazing bird & wildlife activity, including a bald eagle on its nest, a Swainson’s hawk, grebes, pelicans, a couple bullsnakes, a garter snake swimming across a canal (!), and a rattlesnake hunting a bunny!

The cherry on top, for me, was the discovery of a bunch of nettles patches around the place! I didn’t know nettles grew in dry Colorado, so this was quite exciting! More about that in the next post…

Here are some pictures:

Nettles, yay!!

This adorable sight was in the nature center!

Also at the nature center was a whiteboard where people write what they saw while out and about. I had a good laugh at one of the things on this list! Can you spot which one? 🙂

And I gathered two delicate blue speckled eggshells that had been chucked out of a nest, maybe to make room for growing babies. I added them to my nature basket at home. Aren't they beautiful!

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Garden action this week~

By , April 20, 2012

Stormy sky. (The tall things are garlic.)

Ohh it’s been another full week! I haven’t felt too terribly inspired to spend much extra time at the computer this week; I’ve been pounding out the moneymaking work and then happily slamming the laptop lid when I’m through for the day!

The week slipped by so quickly, I hardly remember the details of it, but I did get a wonderful day of work done in the garden. It was the perfect day; the weather (upper 70s) was even better than summertime because in summer you can’t reasonably work straight through the midday and still be comfortable. And I gardened to the scent of lilacs the entire day — oh my! What a fabulous treat that was. And the yards are getting so green and beautiful, the trees all leafing out, the tulips still blooming, the lilacs, the sound of lawnmowers, the smell of grills barbecuing delicious food! This is truly one of my favorite times of year. Spring and fall, I just love ’em.

So onto some pictures for you. Things are going very nicely in the garden — with this warm weather and some rain, stuff is growing fast. We’re eating chives, arugula, and masses of beautiful fresh oregano, which is such a treat in Greek salads — I pile it on. It’s the more mild variety, by the way, which I like a lot better than that really pungent Oregano which is strong enough to burn a hole through your salad.

Oregano

Baby radishes

Lettuce

I uncovered one of the lasagna beds and planted it this week.

Potato sprouts

Arugula

The onion sets grow so fast!

Peas

Wheat (planted last fall as an experiment)

'Black Kabouli' garbanzo bean plant

Playing with my rotting leaf compost

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My Spring Manifesto

By , April 13, 2012

Different from a to-do list, a manifesto — to me — is the ‘long view.’ It reminds me of my priorities at present.

And rather than a lengthy list, I feel that simpler is better.

If you wrote a Spring Manifesto, what would you write?

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Here’s mine:

– Always have fresh flowers in the house.

– Go outside every morning, preferably with tea.

– Do lots of hand stands, for the sheer joy of it… & stretching, to regain lost flexibility.

– A temporary library book ‘fast,’ and a general reduction in reading for now (to make more time for writing and project-doing).

– Rest.

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Gratitude Sunday * April 8, 2012

By , April 8, 2012

 ~ I’m once again joining Taryn over at Wooly Moss Roots in her Gratitude Sunday tradition. ~

Gratitude Sunday is a time to slow down and remember those thankful moments that graced our week. One reason I love keeping a daily gratitude journal is because it helps keep things in perspective for me. Each Sunday, I open my journal and share some of those moments with you here. If you’d like to join in, just leave a comment!

Gratitude is powerful energy. I love hearing others’ gratitudes!

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– More glorious weather! Punctuated by a couple of strategically timed snow days, when I had lots of moneymaking work to do and was glad not to have the temptation to be outdoors.

– Artichokes.

– Meeting F and his co-worker friends for lunch. It always cheers me up 🙂

– A clean bathroom! It’s been so long…

– Shopping at the thrift store, and finding treasures. It’s like panning for gold, kind of! I found a couple treasures for my mom, too. She’s been wanting a juicer & a citrus juicer. While I was at the thrift store, I saw a nice juicer & matching citrus juicer, for only $5.99 each! I called her up when I got home and she flew down there, arriving 2 minutes before closing, and bought them! They work perfectly and are really quality, probably from the mid 90s when they made stuff a little better than they do now; one of them is actually made in Spain. So she now has two awesome juicers for only $12!

– The extra spectacular redbuds this year.

– The beauty of the neighborhoods at this time of year when everything is blooming!!!

– Smelling apple blossoms in the moist morning air! Oh my gosh.

– Spur-of-the-moment plans. Those are the best!

– Doing lots of handstands on the grass; they’re fun and it feels so good to move my body again… after so long of feeling way too crummy to do any such thing, and not having the energy to move in any “unnecessary way!” Ha!

– Getting the tomatoes into their walls-o-water.

– The full moon shining in the kitchen window while I did my moneymaking work at night. Sure beats working in a cubicle!

– Being outside a lot. It’s so vital for me.

– A sweet bike ride to the store and back with my Hubby yesterday. I love those simple pleasures so much.

– The most wonderful Easter day I had today. My parents went to brunch while I opted not to (the buffet would have been torture I’m afraid)… and instead I had such a sweet time alone. I’ve been feeling pretty inward…reflective…quiet lately, and easily scrambled too, and this glorious Easter morning spent alone was just… right. I also gave myself the ‘day off,’ so I stayed up past 11 last night to complete and send off some time-sensitive moneymaking work, so I wouldn’t have to worry about it today. Today’s rule was no moneymaking work, no to-do’s to accomplish, no garden work, no garden planning, etc. Just a day to be outdoors and enjoy. I moved through it at a leisurely pace. I walked slowly. It was amazing. I felt more relaxed than I have in so long! I packed some nice food, stopped at the bagel place to get a cinnamon raisin Easter Bagel, and had my own little brunch under the apple blossoms at my parents’ house while they were gone. And then puttered around outside. I couldn’t help but transplant some little lettuce, beet, and turnip seedlings to space them out better, but even that was at such a relaxed pace that it didn’t feel like work at all. We took a leisurely family walk in flip-flops around the park in the perfect evening. And Hubby took a long bike ride and stopped over on his way home! From start to finish, I enjoyed this gentle day so much.

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Did you have a special Easter?

What are some of your gratitudes this week?

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