Saturday, May 1, 2010

Big Plans, Little Left - April 30, 2010


We are utterly exhausted.

We had plans to do 5 raised beds yesterday, and we completely pooped out after only two. Then we had nothing left to carry us to one of our office cleaning jobs. We literally fell apart.

It was a beautiful morning. While Michael began rototilling where we would put the next bed...

I set out to plant the rest of the herbs we had left at this point.

On my way!

Don't leave for the fields without your drink.

I plunked the extra basil pots behind the rosemary in this shot. This new rosemary is a little different than the one that was already in the ground on the right, but I don't know what cultivar it is.

I planted a Lambs Ear here, and then took that Provence lavender on it's left out to move over by the other lavenders.

Michael came over to help plant the Stevia with me. My knees don't bend so well, so he was a great help, as usual.

No sign of the Caraway sprouting yet.

Nor the Anise.

But the mustard is very happy.

We moved the little patio set from the back porch down here to have a cooler place to sit when we rested on this 85 degree spring day. It really helped, but by noon we were so tired neither one of us could believe it.

I knew we were not going to reach our goal of 5 beds.

After two, we were facing the end.

We went up to eat lunch, and decided we would not try to do any more beds. We did plant some carrots and summer squash, but we were too exhausted to do our office cleaning job that we usually do on Friday evenings.

We mustered enough energy to get Michael to his gymnastics class at 6:30, and I could hardly stay sitting up. But we'll be doing two office cleanings on Sunday.

We came home, left all the windows open, used candle light, played a few quiet card games, and drifted off to sleep. I'm going to do that again tonight too.

And now I am caught up.
Today is a regular Shabbat Saturday, and I am going to enjoy my time here with Michael.

May you each be blessed!



Tennis anyone? April 29, 2010


We like to try to celebrate the Lord's festivals. We totally missed Pesach last month. But I was delighted to discover that there is a provision in the instructions for celebrating the next month if you somehow missed it.

Isn't that something??? LOL

So, we caught this one! That meant that the 30th was another Shabbat day of rest. We took some time to play some tennis with friends.

Michael and I used to play tennis every day before his dad left us. Michael was also on a tennis team. We really miss playing, so it was a real treat to get out to the courts for only the second time in about 2 and a half years!

The day was stunning. 75 degrees, blue sky and puffy clouds, a lovely cool breeze.

We stopped for some gas on the way - can't forget to bring home a treat for the lawn mower and rototiller.

Then we headed to the courts to meet our friends. Practically deserted, just the way we love it!

We had wanted to see Avatar when it came out on DVD, even getting the 3-D glasses, but when we stopped by to rent it we found that it was not 3-D on DVD. The story was Ok, just a rehash of the Disney version of Pocahontas. And the movie, which we expected to be stunning, was just like a cartoon to me. I heard that the visual grandeur was only appreciable if you saw it in 3-D.

What was amazing was that it was nearly 3 hours long. We only watched part of it before we headed off to meet friends for a group singing class at the local college. It was fun, but infused with Yoga and New Age malarky. So we all took off afterward to hang out and play games.

Great fun!



Nothing much. April 28, 2010


I don't know what all we did this day, as I apparently took few photos, but here are some random shots.

Action shot of Michael mowing while listening to iPod recordings of Wretched Radio.

We got a new thermometer and rain gauge. I hope this one lasts, they always seem to get broken somehow. But I love that this one came with it's own stake.

Come here, Girls! They are fattening up quickly on the grass. Amazing how fast they can put on weight.




A little break from Gardening - April 27, 2010


A friend is taking cake decorating lessons. I have learned a little of it in the past, but one thing I KNOW is hard, is roses.

So she and her mom came over and we had a little rose lesson together.

Michael even tried his hand at it.

Practice makes perfect.

That was great fun! I need more practice.



Cuttings and Fig Pruning April 26, 2010


It's amazing, but the flea beetles have found my eggplants even up on the deck. They must be everywhere.

Time to prune the figs. It was too cold this winter for much growth to last, so looks again like I'll miss a fig harvest. But they'll still smell great and look great.

There are three types of wood, when we look at these. Wood that is obviously dead, wood that is obviously alive, and the majority of the wood which I have no idea whether it's alive or dead.

Our mission: To cut out the obviously dead wood now, then hope to figure out the rest once it has leafed out a bit more.

Here's one done.

They all look a lot better. There are 3 Brown Turkey, and 3 Celeste. Hardy, but not a long enough season unless you can get a spring crop. The fall crop doesn't ripen soon enough.

I decide to take a few gooseberry cuttings. I read that the best thing is winter hardwood cuttings, but I'm going to see what kind of luck I can get with fresh spring growth.

This Wal Mart cupcake holder is PERFECT! Holds the soil, you can see through it, and it keeps all the humidity in, which cuttings really thrive in.

Oh, here you can see the botch job we did on one of the cranberry bushes.... aye-yi-yi....

This is the fourth one we decided to let alone, as it didn't look as bad as the others and... well, we were tired of working on them. Maybe this fall we'll whack on it.

I am committing the error no one should ever commit. I am loving that my peach trees actually have peaches and not pinching them off. I'll probably do it later but not yet...

Michael is hauling all the brush we cut off back to the place where he is building a hunting blind.

Do you think I could sell this grease photo to Hugh Hefner?

I am almost caught up posting!



Gooseberries, Cranberries. April 25, 2010


Doesn't the herb bed look ready for the season now!

And we got this mound of earth that came from the French drain smoothed over a bank, so that will look nicer. I hope to make this area an addition garden bed, once the greenhouse is complete.

I didn't take any before photos of the gooseberries, but they had quite a bit of old dead wood. We have done relatively little to them since planting, so they needed some work.

The American Highbush Cranberries are something I wish I'd never planted. They were advertised as being edible, but the birds won't even eat these berries. They are a nice ornamental, but we certainly did not need a row of five of them in the crop area. One died and we removed it a couple of years ago. The rest seem to get a lot of dead wood and are not very attractive lately.

Since they probably need a good thinning, we decided to take out everything but last years new growth.

This was easier said than done. The trunks grow very closely and trying to get any sort of cutting implement in there to saw with was next to impossible, and quite a frustrating experience.

We were really grateful for the wind which was gusting heartily, cooling us off and blowing away any sort of annoying bugs.

Two done, two more to go.

We didn't finish, it was just too much to get done.

We got most of it done, and they look a lot better. The most horrible part of the whole experience is admitting just HOW we did it. We could not get the saws in there. We finally resorted to drilling tons of holes in the places we could get to, and then trying to break the trunks off where we'd weakened them. Some we could not even do that to, and the trunks are still there, filled with holes.

I hope that by fall they will be dead enough to break off.

Wishing our chain saw worked...



Hunting, Vinca April 24, 2010


The puppy has been given to a home. We were literally on our way to take it to the pound, when I had to get to the doctor before they closed. I was talking to the assistants in there, one of them my daughter, and she fell in love with the puppy.


However, on this Saturday, Michael got up at 4 am and left for a morning of turkey hunting. They didn't catch anything but he had a great time, learned a lot, and is looking forward to the next trip.

We received a pack of 110 vinca minor plants we hope to get into the ground to stop the erosion under the pool deck.

The trick will be getting time to do it before they die. This mean installing a French drain, dismantling a deck, digging out banks, planting the vinca, and rebuilding the deck...




Out to Pasture, Herb Gardens April 23, 2010


This is a sight for sore eyes. The horses are out to pasture again!

Here's a post weeding herb bed update.

Our lowest bed contains only Jerusalem Artichokes and some leftover pansies from last year.

The next row up begins with marigolds which self-seeded from last year. I don't know what they'll end up being, but I'm willing to take advantage of the break and just let them do whatever they want to do.

Next to the marigolds is a temporary spot for lettuce, til the weather warms up.
This is Red Sails, and the weather has been so warm that they are a little on the bitter side.

Just to the left of the lettuce is Arugula, flat leaf parsley, then curly leaf parsley.

Some Lovage. I'm only going to keep the larger grouping on the right, the rest I want to dig up and give away.

Then a long space of empty bed til you get to one single rosemary plant at the end.

On the third bed up the hill is a sage.

Three lavender plants.

In this photo is Walker's Low Catmint, Feverfew, Sorrel, and something else I can't remember right now.

Next, still going from left to right in this bed, Provence lavender, French tarragon, and sweet Marjoram.

Two rhubarb plants.

A sage and a pineapple sage.

Three green globe artichokes.

Self-seeded cilantro.

Lemon Balm or lemon mint, not sure.

Self-seeded German Chamomile.

On the fourth bed up, starting at the right, is lemon thyme.

Summer Savory?

Greek Oregano

More lemon mint or balm.

German Thyme?


Self-seeding fennel. A little slow starting. Hope it fills in nicely.

More chives. Everyone should have lots of beds of chives. You will feel like a master gardener.

Self-seeding basil. Slow starting as well. Trying to keep the baby weeks down while the little sprouts get a good start.

Plants left on deck to put in the ground: 6 eggplant, hoping to win over the flea beetles this year. Two pots of basil. There is a little pot of cucumber in there, and two dead stevia plants. They began dying within a day of bringing them home.

Sure feels good to have THAT done!