April 26, 2009

Gardening Lull

Puttering Again

I find myself in a gardening "lull". Seeds have been started, soil has been turned, leftover leaves have been raked.......so today I puttered here and there but felt unproductive. It was unseasonably HOT for this time of year - like 90+ degrees! Not ready for that so I guess I was meant to putter today.

April 24, 2009

Lions 'n Tigers 'n Bears - Oh My !

A Day at the Zoo

This past week was Spring Break Week for schools here. Sooo yesterday I asked my middle daughter (22 yo) if she would go to the zoo with me. To my surprise and utter delight, she said "yes"! I haven't been to the zoo in quite some time. A little role reversal here...

So on a cool Spring day, off we went to the local zoo, Southwick's Zoo. It was awesome! Not hot, not crowded - perfect!

Let the pictures speak for the wonders of nature....

April 22, 2009

I love rainy days as much as I love sunny days. Just like my garden. It's all about balance. Too much or too little of either puts me out of whack and any gardener knows that their garden feels the same. After a rainy, rainy day yesterday and an "on again / off again" rainy day today I was able to accomplish a few things...however minor.... outside today.

Les Petit Pois
I am in experimental mode so I popped some peas in the garden. I put 34 in. I am not sure if that is reasonable or not since I have never grown peas before but I guess I will know soon....certainly by fall planting time. Nor have I ever eaten a "fresh from the garden" pea before but I am looking forward to the privilege of doing so. Funny because when I was a kid peas were on my most hated list. I guess that means I'm all "growed" up.

Potatoes are another thing. Being of Irish descent, I've eaten a potato or two in my life. A potato is a potato is a potato, right? Non, non mes amis! Last summer I was a "fresh from the garden" potato virgin. I assumed that all potato were created equal. Not true - totally false! My neighbor gave me some of his garden fresh potatoes and they were phenomenal! Taters are definitely on my grow list.

April 20, 2009

Bunny Update

My little bunny friend seemed to be doing fine this morning. Last night I left him with some water, a small bowl of salad and a great big carrot! The carrot was twice the length of the bunny! (You can see a portion of it in the picture.) The thought occurred to me that I watched a few too many Bugs Bunny episodes.

To my absolute surprise when I checked in on him this morning, all of the salad was gone and the carrot was about an inch long! And there were tell tale signs - bunny balls! Good stuff.

Well this morning was spent trying to figure out what to do with my new little friend. Thank God for the internet. I would have spent a lot of time and aggravation if I wasn't able to do research online.

In the end, I opted to take him to Tufts University. They have a veterinary medicine campus about a half hour from my house. What an impressive place! They have a hospital for dogs and cats, another for horses, and another for wildlife - all in a beautiful country setting. It set my heart at ease. As strange as this might sound, I was sad to leave him behind.

April 19, 2009

The Great Outdoors - Never a Dull Moment!

Garden Chores of the Puttering Kind

An unexpectedly nice day made for a wonderful afternoon puttering in the garden. Managed to add compost and till the raised beds, water some (the rain barrel was overflowing!), clean here, rake there, yada yada...... Ended the afternoon by cleaning and setting up the patio set up - dinner al fresco is not far away. Yahoo!

Checked on the seedlings that were planted 1 week ago today and was delighted to see that the Bush Champion cucumbers are raring to go - already about 2" high - and the Pink Star Morning Glories are up 'n at 'em too! In just 1 week! Makes me happy that I started later this year. Hopefully the transition to the great outdoors will be an easy one.

Animals ...... Wild & Otherwise

I have been a dog person all of my life. Then when my last dog, a dachshund called Mr. Twister, died 5 years ago I knew I was not ready for another dog. Kids were growing wings and empty nest was on the horizon. The responsibilities of another dog were something that I really needed to give some thought to. After three months of mulling it over, I was as lonely as hell but still knew that a dog was too much at this point in life. And that is how I ended up with not one but two cats, Cally Cat & Smudgie Bug ("the Brats"). Brother and sister kittens found in a snow bank. They were so damn cute I could not resist! I quickly discovered that the thing is....cats like to catch things! I don't like that! Out of necessity is one thing but since they are well fed so it just peeves me off. I know, I know, it's about the thrill of the hunt. I get it. I just don't like it.

So at the end of an enjoyable day in the garden, I look out the window while washing dishes and detect cat shenanigans in the backyard. At 1st I give the customary cat whistle (which, believe it or not, brings the Brats running) but their attention is elsewhere. Uggg. What the hell are they up to?

I spot my neighbor's cat, Basil, heading up from the creek with something in his mouth. Good lord - here I go again. I couldn't tell what it was until he was closer. A beautiful baby bunny!

I grabbed a huge tree branch and start swinging it to make him drop the bunny. (Great - another reason for my neighbor to think I am nuts!) The cat dropped the bunny but it started sliding down the hill towards the creek and couldn't get it's footing. With 3 cats lurking, I had no choice but to slide down the hill after it. I was able to get the little guy and set him up in a box with hay and carrot and lettuce. He didn't appear to be hurt just terrified. I read on the internet not to handle him too much so I can't be certain.if he was hurt or not. I tucked him away in the garage (away from kitties) for the night. I'll say a little prayer and figure out what to do in the morning.

April 18, 2009

Indoor Seeds - Round 2

Well three days later, I'm just getting back to seed starts.
Obviously I got sidetracked. So unlike me. Not! The second round of seeds were planted on the 15th. I planted:
  • Tomato - Mortgage Lifter (x18)
  • Onion - Evergreen (x8)
  • Yellow Peter Pepper (x6)
  • Morning Glory - Pink Star (x8) - and already 5 sprouts after 3 days!
  • Tomato - Sweet 100's (x10)
  • Orangesicle Peppers (x9)
  • Dutchmen's Pipe "Grandiflora" (x9)
Have I mentioned how much I love this whole process? Seeds become food from food that is full of seeds.

April 17, 2009

New Arrivals - Brugs!

The Coolest Flowers Ever

They're here - the brugs have arrived! These are an absolute favorite and since I managed to kill the lot that I had last year I simply had to order more! These are hardy in the south but in the northeast they can be a real job. That's probably why they are near impossible to find in this area.

I have been growing them for about 5 years and hauling them in and out of the house is definitely a workout. Very few things are worth the effort but these babies are! In a typical growing season in New England these grow 5+ feet tall, depending on variety. It is an awesome sight when they start a flush of flowers and most have a nice scent.

So this years varieties are:
  • Jean Pasco (pink)
  • Peaches & Cream
  • Harrenhauser Garten (double flowers are orange and yellow)
  • Frosty Pink
Time to haul out the pots.....

April 16, 2009

More Turkey Tales!

Turkey....a Recurring Theme

With a beautiful day at hand, open windows were the way to go. A tad on the cool side with a slight wind blowing the curtains..... a welcome sensation. What's not to love about the great outdoors in the Spring! Trees budding, birds tweeting.......mmmm more good days to come.

As I was checking my email, I heard an unusual sound in the backyard. I poked my head out the window and down by the creek there was a visitor.......a wild turkey! I was surprised and delighted to have this visitor. Although I have seen them elsewhere, I have
never had any in my yard before. I made a dash for my camera and ran out to the deck.

I managed to get a few pics when the turkey started flapping and screeching. As I looked up I spotted the culprit - Smudgie Bug. Damn cat! Out of nowhere! Down goes the camera and off and running I am. Clapping and screaming like a lunatic! Reflecting back, I hope my neighbors were all busy with their lives. Not a pretty picture - the turkey is screeching and flapping, the cat is in hot pursuit and I am flipping out! Oy!

The end result turned out fine. The turkey escaped.

As delighted as I was to have a new visitor, please ....no more turkeys in my yard.

April 15, 2009

Spring Brings Great Days

Cape Codding in the Spring - Whew Hew!

Some days just work out great with very little planning. I like those days....and today was one. A feel good day.

Drove down to Cape Cod for the afternoon to bring some vintage items to a sweetheart of a woman who owns a consignment shop - Miss Patti. What a wonderful experience! The most interesting people pop into the shop. A true cast of characters.

Among them, a local shopster and her buddy arrived. Jean and Bea. What great personalities they were. The kind of people that feel like friends immediately.

Lot more to say but bed is calling. Did some seed starts - more tomorrow.

April 12, 2009

Indoor Seeds - Round 1

Turkey & Dirt

While the bird was in the oven for Easter dinner I decided to multi-task. Soooooo........I got out the peat pots and related gear as the bird was cooking. It seemed like a good idea at the time.

I bought a couple of those prefilled peat pots trays and quickly found out how hard it is to moisten the soil. After a few different approaches, the solution was to grab a bowl > add dirt > add water and swish around with my hands. Voila! There - now that works! Hubby who had spent the afternoon on the couch watching baseball happened upon the scene and was overcome by the very earthy smell permeating the kitchen. "Are we having turkey or dirt for dinner?", he asked. Oy! I do silly stuff!

Anyhoo....normally I start my seeds way too early and have problems with damping off and what not so I decided to start them a few weeks later this year. I managed to get these started:
  • Cilantro
  • Cucumbers - Bush Champion
  • Eggplant - Black Beauty
  • Jalapenos (can't wait for Ceviche this summer!)
  • Snake Gourds
  • Giant Pumpkins
  • Dipper Gourds
  • Birdhouse Gourds
  • Sunflowers - Golden Cheer
Next up......tomatoes & peppers.

April 3, 2009

What's with the Seeds?

Seeds, Seeds, Everywhere!

What is it with seeds? Seeds racks seem to call my name . Like they know me personally and wink knowingly as I attempt to walk by. No can do. They are simply irresistible. Come hither.......

Seeds really epitomize the circle of life. When I cut a fruit or vegetable open and take a look at the number of seeds it contains I am amazed at the power of a single veggie. The seeds of just one tomato can provide me with tomatoes for the rest of my life! How amazing is that! Life truly should be abundant all over the world. There really isn't a reason for starvation - just putting things in place properly. Teach a man to fish.......

Take heirloom seeds. These have been passed along from generation to generation thereby feeding a family for years and years and years. How awesome is that!