May 30, 2009

Patience & Crazy Cats

The lack of sunshine is holding up production. The sun has been hiding for 4 days and it shows in the garden with only an itty bitty growth in the past week. At least the lettuce is still holding up. It will become dinner over the next few days.

I Taut I Saw A Puddy Tat

Tonight, as I am washing the dishes I looked out the window and to my amazement one of my crazy cats (Mr. Smudgie) was chillin' out and grabbing a nap on the edge of the pool ring. Hello? Optical illusion? Apparently not!

After about 15-20 minutes of chilling he woke up and decided he was thirsty and very conveniently slurped some water from the pool (thankfully no chlorine had been added yet!).

I wasn't quite sure what to do at this point - after all he could easily puncture the pool ring. So I let out a whistle to catch his attention.....then off and running he came. Silly, silly cat.

May 28, 2009

Spinach Salad & Strawberries...Yum

A few days ago I was looking for something to do with the abundance of spinach that I had just picked before I resort to blanching and freezing.

I opted for and posted a recipe for Orange Almond Salad. Thing is, I didn't have any mandarin oranges so I made do with what I did have.......juicy strawberries. Let me say this, as long as strawberries are available, no mandarins for this salad - they are for the off season. It was superb! I has been a meal accompaniment for 3 days and each one is as good as the last. I am posting a picture that doesn't look as attractive as it did before I decided to chop up and dive in but I wasn't thinking. Heck, I was hungry.

May 27, 2009

Rain & Living Life

A chilly and damp weather pattern is holding over this area. Not a complaint, simply an observation. In the past I would have been tweaking out about my newly planted seedlings but I am working on letting life play out as intended. Que sera, sera....whatever will be, will be.......

Although I am not a particularly religious person, there is a prayer that I have adopted for daily life:

"God grant me.....
Serenity to accept the things that I cannot change
Courage to change the things I can, and
Wisdom to know the difference."

Pretty simple. I like simple. It makes life, well, so much simpler.

What's Growing? Week 1

Things are popping up everywhere! With everything that is going on at this time of year and all of this pictures I take, a weekly update seems like a good place to gather it all for a "week in review" post. After all, the point is to keep track of growing progress and more often than not the pictures are the story - no words required.

May 25, 2009

Memorial Day - Veggie Kick Start

The past two days have been spent prepping and planting the veggie beds - finally! One last addition of black gold (compost) and we are ready to rock 'n roll.

I planted several varieties of tomatoes, jalapenos, banana peppers, celery, pumpkins, cukes, eggplant, brussel sprouts, watermelon, and zucchini for now. Look how silly the little peppers look next to the garlic! Not for long!

Last year I pickled the banana peppers and they were a hit with my daughters so I'll definitely do that again this year. The jalapeno peppers won't go to waste either. One of my daughters works at a Mexican restaurant and last year's yield was used to make some excellent Ceviche. Once a week she has some of the cooks/chefs over and a big ole batch is whipped up. Now that is something to look forward to!

I have mentioned before how delighted I was with my neighbor's garden fresh potatoes last summer and so had to grow my own this year. I have kind of been in a quandary as to what I should do because we might be moving this summer so I wanted them to be movable. In keeping with the spirit of this blog, I decided to experiment with Smart Pots that I bought at Gardener's Supply.

In addition to my "potatoes to go", I've split tomatoes, cukes, peppers, celery, etc. between the raised beds and containers , just in case.

Unexpected Findings.....Pleasant and Otherwise
Sometimes when you're down on your hand and knees you come across some funky stuff. Such was the case today when I found this in my raised bed....

May 24, 2009

Birds & Blooms

Just a quick post to honor the beauty that is all around me these days. The colors and scents are abundant. Yum!

The birds are very busy nesting and feeding their babies and many different kinds are showing up at the feeders to energize themselves.

1st Harvest (Spinach) and Wonky weather

Without further first harvest of the year..spinach! I guess I will be making Orange Almond Salad tomorrow - deee-lish! Just in case you're interested...


  • Bacon
Cook until crisp and then crumble.
  • Almonds
  • 1/3 cup sugar
  • 2 tbsp butter
In microwave safe bowl combine almonds, butter and sugar. Microwave on high for 3-4 minutes until sugar dissolves and almonds begin to brown. Stir from time to time to prevent from sticking together. NOTE: You can also buy prepared honey roasted almonds at the super market and skip this step. They work just as well.

  • 2 tbsp sugar
  • 1 cup salad oil
  • 1/2 cup white vinegar
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp parsley
  • tabasco sauce, to taste
Combine and chill until ready to serve.
  • Spinach leaves
  • Green or red onions, thinly sliced
  • 1 - 10 oz tin mandarin oranges (Breaking news.....Try strawberries!)
Top salad with almonds, bacon, oranges and onions and serve with salad dressing.


Today I potted up some of the seedlings but was still hesitant to put anything in the raised beds. The weather is still so wonky that I am not sure what to do. Thursday and Friday were around 90'ish and today was 60 or so. In the middle of the afternoon? Hello? What gives? At least the pots can be covered easily.

The real bummer is when I looks at blogs and forums of gardeners not so far away. Some seem almost ready for harvest!

May 21, 2009

Garden Creatures - Good & Bad


In my absence, some backyard favorites have returned - hummingbirds!

The much dreaded Japanese beetles made their first appearance before I left town but with only one spray of Bayer Rose & Flower, the problem seem to have been nipped in the bud. No evidence of munching whatsoever. They can be nasty little buggers in this area. They can decimate lilies in one fell swoop. I've had to spray, spray, spray and sometimes that doesn't even do the trick. Perhaps catching them early is the trick. Perfect timing?

May 19, 2009

Welcome Home! Oy-vey!

Boo-hoo-hoo-hoo! Why did I go away at this time of year? The house, the piled up mail, the garden.....but most of all my seedlings! They are in very sad condition and very unlikely to survive. After all the love and care.....hauling out, hauling in, hauling out....... but I will take the high road on this one. Gardening is my hobby not my family's and at the end of the day the seedlings are replaceable.

On the other hand, I have an abundance of "volunteers" this year. Everywhere! There are tons of tomatoes, celery, potatoes, curcurbits (not sure which kind) and even what looks like a watermelon with a tiny melon on it (which, incidentally, is bigger than any I grew last year - go figure)! I have a general distaste for killing things - period - much less healthy plants. Same thing with bugs - I just don't have it in me to squish one. I did however muster the courage to do a little downsizing today.

So I pulled this beautiful volunteer potato plant from the coldframe today:

......and guess what I taters in the making!

I think the other potato volunteers will be left alone until further notice. There aren't that many and until mine are established I will let the volunteers do their thing. Another experiment.

On the pleasantly surprised side, I came across a bulbous little growth that might just be a watermelon. It is growing in the same area where I attempted to grow watermelon last year.

May 18, 2009

Whew-hew - Gardener's Supply

Part 1
I am getting on the road very shortly to drive back home. Luckily for me I will be driving through Vermont...... where one of my favorite garden supply stores is located - Gardener's Supply in Williston. I've ordered online but never been there. Today's the day. Yippee!

Part 2
So I made it back state-side after a beautiful drive through the mountains. I wasn't as impressed as I thought I would be with Gardener's Supply. Maybe searching online is easier than hands on shopping. They did have a nice little pond and waterfall inside. I have a thing for water features.


May 17, 2009

Tree Debris

Downside of Spring
Have I mentioned that I love Spring? Mostly. The exception? Spewing trees! First it's the coating of yellow/green pollen on everything. Then when that ebbs, the fuzzies start. They are the things that kind of look like caterpillars. They kind of freak me out. Then before they finish the little helicopters descend from the trees. At the end of the day, the things that Spring brings far outweigh the little annoyances so no big deal. So it's not a complaint, just an observation.

Now this year we have an infestation of those little green worms. Winter moths apparently. They spiral down from the trees like spiders. I turned to find one sitting on my shoulder the other day. Not cool. I can live with them but they really need to respect my space or things could get ugly. Hopefully they will be flying soon.

I came across this video on YouTube and thought I would share it.

May 15, 2009

Tomatoes in the City!

Sex in the City attitude -vs- Tomatoes in the City attitude

Ok - so I have been away from home for almost a week. I am having a wonderful time but am experiencing a constant nagging in the back of my garden! I don't have to explain that to anyone who gardens but when I call home and ask about it, everyone is so non-chalant! What the hell! No one understands! I want details......and pictures. My family is not willing to satiate my curiosity by taking pictures.

For today I will satisfy my craving by setting my daughter up with a tomato plant and basil. Not something that she has requested or even wants. After all she is a city girl in a one bedroom apartment - just minutes from "downtown". Oh well. I reasoned with her that this will be a test for the kitties that she wants to get. If she can keep the tomato alive and have it bear fruit she might just be ready for cats. Hmmmmf. Plus I get to have dirt under my nails!

Being a "burbs" girl, the one thing that I had not considered was the parking / elevator situation. Hauling soil, etc. from your driveway to your backyard is one thing. Parking a block away and hauling it up on an elevator is another. Oh well, where there's a will, there's a way.


Today I had the great pleasure of visiting the Montreal Botanical Gardens (Jardin Botanique de Montreal) on opening day. I hope to get back in the middle of summer to see how things have progressed and experience the full blown colors of summer.

May 13, 2009

Garden Withdrawal

Hmmm.....been away from my garden for 5 days now and thoughts of whether it is dead or alive permeate my brain. It's care has been left in the hands of my less-than-domesticated and far less outdoorsy daughters. This is the same family that snickers at the sight of my soil laden nails and clothing. As in "Oh mom....look at your feet!!". These very feet have never experienced a pedicure, ever. So while my darling daughters are getting french manicures, I am perfectly content to have dirt in my nails. Hmmmmmf.

On the bright side, they were kind enough to stand guard as best they could in my absence. For that I am thankful.

May 8, 2009

Skipping Town

I have to go away for a few days and I am kind of freaking out about the garden. Will it be OK while I'm away? I would think at this time of year my chances are better than in the summer so I will throw caution to the wind and do what I must....reluctantly but...

May 6, 2009

Productive Day

Whew! Definitely knocked a few things off the "To Do" list today.
  • Hauled and spread compost in the veggie beds
  • Planted some of my seedlings out under cloches - the weather is still unpredictable so to be on the safe side.......
  • Cleared leaves and rocks in the creek so that the water flows better
  • Washed and filled all of the bird feeders
  • Boiled some sugar water for the hummers
Nothing like a day out in the fresh air. What a great time of year!

May 5, 2009

Raccoon Rampage

These are some saucy little characters! I have lived in this house for 10 years and this is the first time that I have seen a raccoon here! And he was not shy. He was only a few feet from the back door on my deck.

As you can see, bird suet is the meal du jour. These guys have to get marks for their ingenuity. I keep a metal trash can on my deck which normally houses only bird seed but on this one occasion it appears that I tossed a suet block in the bin. Won't be doing that again!

So far this summer is shaping up to be the summer of critters.

May 4, 2009

Buzzy Bees

Bees in the Garden

Most of us don't pay attention to the things around us. Until something becomes a personal issue. Such is the case with bees. Gardeners know that much of our gardens require bees for pollination so it is our responsibility to pay attention.

I must say that I was delighted to find that there are quite a number of bees buzzing about this year. With all the talk about colony collapse (See: Colony Collapse) it was indeed a pleasure to see the bees 'a buzzin' in good numbers.

I was saddened to find this little guy at my patio door but I guess nature just works that way.

May 3, 2009

Fuzz ?

Woke up to find that there was fuzz on my seedlings! Grrr. They were fine yesterday! I went into panic mode and starting looking through my bookmarks on how to deal with this. I recalled that it was peroxide but was not sure of the dilution - 1:10 parts. Sprayed everything and all looks good. Fingers are crossed.

This seed growing business is a lot of work.....when you aren't a professional!