Tuesday, May 31

New Arrivals


Garden Update

A few brave sprouts who made it through my horrible soil......


Monday, May 30



"Once more into the breach, my friends, once more. We'll close the wall with our dead. In peace, nothing so becomes a man as modesty and humility, but when the blast of war blows in our ears, then imitate the action of the tiger, summon up the blood, disguise fair nature with rage and lend the eye a terrible aspect."

Friday, May 27

We Have Bluebirds!



After 6 years of trying to attract bluebirds to our yard, we finally have a pair living in one of the houses by the garden. I noticed them yesterday as I was heading to my car for a quick trip to the grocery store. He was perched on the rear view mirror of the passenger side admiring the view and pooping all over said mirror. Of course, his lady was not far away, lounging on an electric line.

Alothough I had a river of poo running down the side of my car, I was thrilled to see that we finally had blue birds. I just hoped that they were nesting somewhere near by and that I would get to see them again.

Upon inspection later in the day I found that they were indeed nesting close by - in my yard to be exact. They have set up housekeeping in one of the white bird houses that we have by the forsythia bush near the garden and side field.

Very skiddish, it was hard to get a good picture. I really admire the way that the male and female are never far apart and that the male always seems to be looking out for his wife and leading point. I am hoping to see a little family of blue birds soon.




On another bird realted note, this time not so happy, I found three dead starling babies in the yard directly under their lofty nest in the barn eves. They did not have any feathers yet and I have no idea what happened to them. The hole the parents use to enter the nest is just that, a hole. So there was no nest tipping. They would have had to come out single file. Roy moved them to the woods and I noticed a pair of starlings on the telephone wire callling thier bird calls which sounded just a little sad.

Monday, May 23

Another One Off the List



Yesterday we knocked a huge chore off the to-do list and I am still glowing about it. Most people will think this is a dumb thing to be happy about but yesterday I finally convinced Roy to get the ladder and chain saw out and take down a ton of overhanging branches and limbs that were taking over the property.

So much so that plants and grass could not grow and I was getting smacked in the face with limbs when I tried to mow the lawn and just walk to certain areas.

Roy hates using the ladder and I don't blame him. It's heavy and cumbersome and annoying. He swore very loudly more than once and I just tried to stay out of the way, secretly happy that it was finally getting done.

Now we have yards and garden getting the proper amount of sunlight and I don;t have to duck and cover while on the tractor.

Cleaning up the mess was another story and that took pretty much the rest of the day. But I am not complaining. I got to highlight and delete a nasty little chore off the to-do list on my computer this morning. (too tired last night).

Today promises to be a nice one, at least until the late afternoon threat of severe thunderstorms arrives. We still have much yard clean up to do so the little man and I will be picking up debris and probably taking many breaks to feed the chickens. That is his new favorite activity and he reminds me constantly that the pieces of bread have "to be TINY!".

The ladies are all doing well and giving about 15 eggs per day, although some are very slow to grow back their feathers after molting. They look like they have seen better days and I hope they fill out again soon. I have been moving them around the yard for access to fresh grass and bugs which they thoroughly enjoy. Who wouldn't like a fresh salad?

Friday, May 20

I Love These!!!!!!

"The Victory Garden of Tomorrow is a self-commissioned poster campaign designed to channel the bold energy of historical poster propaganda."

What is not to like about that - gardening and historical propaganda - awesome!!!!

These posters are available at:
http://www.victorygardenoftomorrow.com/


Thursday, May 19

Yesterday it was sunny and warm outside.

No, I did not mis-type and you did not mis-read. I am not dreaming or hallucinating due to some strange pregnancy hormones.

It was NICE out yesterday.

After days and days and pretty much weeks of nothing but gloom and rain, the sun was out, it was warm and we were outside. The little guy has been cooped up so long I thought he was going to have a meltdown. Once we got outside yesterday, he did not want to come in. He fought through his afternoon nap time like a champ (even though I noticed that he did nod off a few times while we were taking a ride on the lawn mower).

A survey of the yard and gardens revealed pretty much what I expected - a big mess. All of my tulips are missing petals and are hanging miserably. I can just hear them saying "Please, just let this be over with. We'll try again next year." Most other flowers that braved the horrible spring weather by blooming are doing alright. My lilacs are doing very well despite the rain and they smell wonderful. Not too much yet but I do have some nice bluebells and pink ground cover that are both providing some much needed color. And I think I might have some iris blooms in a few days. Iris always remind me of better days to come.










The vegetable garden is a sorry sight. No sprouts. Just weeds popping up and I hope that Roy can get the tiller out this weekend, if it dries up a little, and at least go down the rows between the plantings. The smaller garden, where I will plant my seedlings currently in the basement is still fair game and I will have him till the heck out it until I think it is suitable for tomatoes and peppers. I still have my milk jug protection system from last season to shield the little plants when I do put them out, but I am still hesitant due to the weather. I am totally expecting another twist - like a frost on Memorial Day.

Another note from yesterday - I saw my first snake of the season. Nothing too exciting here except I HATE snakes. They bother me more than just about any other yard and garden dweller, short of spiders. A typical garden snake, brown and dark green, who was bigger than average. Probably from snacking on small mammals like St. Bernard's. (I always over-exaggerate the size of the snakes I see since I hate them so much). I did the only thing I could do - I shook a stick at it. Aggressive, I know, but I was not getting any closer than the length of that stick. Obviously the snake did not like this but instead of slithering away like I was hoping, he reared up and struck out at the stick, fangs and tongue and all that.

That was enough for me. I got the shovel but there were no male neighbors around at the time so I just occupied myself on the other side of the property - picking up the remnants of someones McDonalds dinner that had been thrown into my grass. But that snake will meet his maker if I see him when my neighbor is home.

Today looks to be another nice day as i woke to sun creeping through my window and to the sounds of birds instead of pelting rain. Do I dare plant my cosmos and poppy seeds?

Hello

Tuesday, May 17

What Is The Facination?

I guess I just don't get it. What is the fascination with the neighbors outdoor cat?

Is it because my cats are all indoor cats and they are amazed that a cat is allowed to wander free? Are they jealous? Mad at me? Do they think he does not have a home?

The little guys fascination is just curiosity in that he loves kitties and anything new is exciting.

The black cat is Bear and he lives across the road. He likes to explore all areas of the neighboring properties and seems to have a great time hunting chipmunks under the dining room window. He is a beautiful cat, but not very friendly. All attempts to pet him have failed miserably.



Given that he has this type of freedom, I have been questioning my decision to keep indoor cats. I know two out of the three would love to be "let loose". The third, Buffin, wouldn't want to go outside if the house was on fire. He is perfectly content to spend most of his days lounging on my bed with is big stuffed bear.

I feel like I am taking something away from them and that they should be allowed all the freedoms other cats have. But they have been indoor cats since they were born and I just don't know if they would know what to do with their newly found freedom/. Would they come back? Would they know how to come home if they wandered too far away?

They have no fear of cars or the road since they have never experienced them. The only thing I can say is that Prince has an intense hatred of riding in a car.

And we have coyotes and a few feral cats and if I woke one morning to find one of my babies in distress, or worse, I don't think I could ever forgive myself.

OK, am I being selfish here? Over-protective? Or am I being a good "mom"?

Monday, May 16

Planting Time



Last week I headed out to the gardens with my seeds and onion bulbs and cut up potato pieces to put in what I hope to be a well-producing vegetable garden.

Rain delays and tilling delays and more rain delays led me to put off planting but the weather had finally cooperated and I wanted to get it done.

The last tilling we had done was when the ground was still a little wet but due to time constraints, it had be done that day. This resulted in the soil being very clumpy and hard which proved to be an interesting planting challenge.

I could have done better with a jack hammer and a pick ax. It was like trying to plant peas in lava rock.

My concept of short running, north to south rows this season will hopefully prove useful. I will have a two and a half year old and I will also be 7 months pregnant when weeding time comes around. It will be nice, when crouched down in between rows of Mayflower beans and roma tomatoes, to be able to see the light at the end of the row.

So far we have put in yellow potatoes, peas, white onions and three kinds of beans - purple podded pole, mayflower and Cherokee trail of tears (all three purchased from Baker Creek Heirloom Seeds, where we order from every year).

The weather of last week held out and we had a few nice dry and sunny days. However today when I look out the window I might as well be living in the Pacific Northwest. No offense to those in that area - from what I have seen online, it is beautiful. I just imagine it to be very misty there.

And this is supposed to keep up all week long. Lots of water for the beans but not so great for my basement.

Wednesday, May 4

Another day of cold and clammy weather has the basement pump running constantly and the weather man acting perky through it all. I'll bet he doesn't have a garden that resembles a big mud puddle or 18 wet and miserable chickens.

I heard the other day that this past April will break the record set in 1929 of 5.41 inches.

We have been doing yard projects in between storms and managed to accomplish a few things on my to-do list. The rose trellis, which had fallen to the wind storm weeks ago, was repositioned and cemented so it is now sturdy and holding up my climbing white dawn. That rose bush got pretty beat up when it was pulled over by the falling trellis but I think it will make it. I see some new growth and leaves sprouting.

Both vegetable gardens have been tilled, twice, and it was not bad even though it might have been a little wet to till. They are both ready with rows staked out just waiting for the weather to cooperate. I am very behind in planting my onions and potatoes as well as carrots, radishes and broccoli.

Last night after the little guy went to bed I transplanted my tomato seedlings into larger pots and got rid of any that were just not making the cut. Every year I do the same thing: I start too many seeds because I am afraid that some will not germinate and I will not have enough plants. Then when they do germinate, I have too many and I need to thin them. I absolutely hate this process. It makes me feel awful, killing plants that I started from little seeds.

But this year, I could see the benefit. I noticed that the plants where I had thinned down to one strong sprout per section were the best, the tallest and the healthiest. Next year I will be thinning with abandon.

With all the tomatoes transplanted and the grow lights adjusted I made sure everyone had a good drink and I called it a night.

The little guy has been waking up at all early hours of the morning wanting to play - yesterday morning it was 3:30! So, we are all pretty tired around here. Transplanting tomatoes took about all the energy I had left in my tank.

Tomorrow is supposed to be rain-free but we will have to wait and see about that. If I wake up to sun shining through my blinds, then I will be shocked - for two reasons. One, the weather man was not lying to me and Two, the little guy would have slept through the night.