Sunday, May 31, 2020

Dandelions and rhubarb...

My orchard is full of dandelions.  To most people that would be a horror to hear, but for me I am pleased.  I have come to love my dandelion wine.  The more dandelions the more wine.  Also they bring in so many pollinators, which assures that my berries will come to fruition.  There is something to be said for a 'bee loud glade.'  I know the hum makes me think of the golden and delicious honey the bee keeper shares with me.  He informed me that my bees not only made it through the winter, but are flourishing.  He has divided the hives twice now.  He is not a commercial keeper, just a hobbyist.  I sure enjoy having the hives on our property, not just for the honey, but also because they keep my berries plentiful.  The bumblebees have also done well this year.
Sitting on the porch watching them landing and launching off of flowers is a most enjoyable way to pass the time.

Not only are there berries, dandelions, and bees in the orchard this year.  My husband began his great pumpkin project.  He dug up three hills and we planted three different types of pumpkin.  Connecticut Field, Big Max, Dills Atlantic Giant.  We put three pumpkins per hill and will later cull out the weak ones if need be.  It should be an interesting experiment.  Meanwhile, I re-planted my squash, watermelon, melons, and zucchini.  I also added okra, artichoke, basil of every kind, and cucumbers to my many greenhouse pots.  At some point we are re-doing the greenhouse, so I have been trying not to plant anything to permanently.  How much longer the little buggers can hold out is the big question.

Besides a plethora of dandelions, I have a ton of rhubarb.  I was happy to chop it up for wine, syrup, jelly, muffins, and cake.  I saw on Pinterest that someone used the leaves as a mulch.  I figured I would give it a try.  I had to put jars over my melons and such to keep the voles at bay.  In the black tub are beautiful broccoli.  I'm very excited about how wonderfully they are progressing.  The blank space is where my beans are planted.  Hopefully, now that the slug population is in check I will actually see some beans.  I just want to say Sluggo is AMAZING! The slug population went from everything had those squirmy suckers under them to I've seen one all spring.  Yahoo.  One garden pest down several more to go.

I have one more gardening project.  The voles have been eating my strawberries down to nothing this spring.  I wanted to move them anyway, because my rhubarb has taken over their bed.  Well, I asked our prairie property neighbor (who raises sheep) if he had an old sheep water tank that no longer held water.  I asked if I could buy one and he looked at me like I was crazy.  Obviously he isn't a gardener.  He gave it to me for free.  The bottom is completely rusted out, but it suits my purpose just fine.  I filled it with last year's compost on the bottom and compost from 3 years ago on the top.  Then I plopped my strawberries in.  You cannot believe how quickly they have recovered.  They love it.  Already they are growing new leaves.  Maybe I'll even get a few strawberries this year.  The voles have yet to find them.  I think they will have a difficult time getting up the sides.  I put a net over the top, because deer also find strawberry leaves lovely.  This project could be successful:  Vole proof, check; net to keep out deer, check; and no slugs, check.  I will keep you updated as to what new garden pest enjoys strawberries.

That is all for this week.  Next weekend could be quiet on the blogging front, as I plan on grabbing 3/5th of my nieces and nephew for the week.  Due to some complications, they are coming out sooner this year and because of that the older ones are not able to visit.  I remain hopeful that after rodeo season is over they will be able to slip out for a weekend.  

I hope you are all enjoying your gardening season.  What pests do you battle during the year.  Has it changed?  Are there things you managed to tame?  If so what were they and how did you do it?  I hope you all have a fabulous week.

Monday, May 25, 2020

The beauty around us...

We had terrible weather this weekend.  For once it was ok, because I got my graduation quilt finished.  I love how it turned out.  

The flowers are finally blooming.  Despite the rain and cold weather the daffodils provided some sunshine.

Down at the pond and I saw the frogs are doing great.  There were eggs everywhere.  

I hope everyone had a great Memorial Day weekend.  I hope you had sunshine and time with family.  

Sunday, May 17, 2020

A plethora of piddling...

 It was a beautiful day today.  The seedlings were ready to plant and it looks like the weather will be good for awhile.  I put the tomatoes, peppers, eggplants, luffas, and cilantro in tubs.  I put the squash, melons, and zucchini outside.  There was a plethora of piddling around filling planters, planting flowers seeds, gladiolus, and cleaning.  About an hour after planting the seedlings, I checked to see how they were doing in the heat.  They were gone. A mouse had nipped them down to the nub.  Only one of six was left.  I quickly put a plastic collar over my remaining squash.  Ten minutes later it was gone too.  So much for that.

Last fall I stuffed my geraniums and nasturiums in this planter and put it by the basement door.  Lo and behold they did great.  

Words can't describe how good it was to get outside.  I look forward to coffee on the porch tommorow morning while I survey my domain and ponder how to grow a garden that feeds me and not the critters.  Any advice on keeping seedlings safe?

Sunday, May 10, 2020

Happy Mother's Day...

 Happy Mother's Day.  I was starting to sweat about my Mother's Day gift.  For the last few years I've tried to send my mom lemon cucumber seeds.  I got her seeds a few years ago and put them somewhere safe.  They are certainly safe.  I still haven't found them.  Last year, I couldn't find lemon cucumber seeds for sale anywhere.  This year I ordered seeds, but due to the virus shipping was delayed.  Thankfully, they came in time.  I put her seeds on  kitchen island, so I wouldn't lose them.  I ordered quite a few  seeds this year as I needed to replenish my seed supply.   The newest seeds I had were from 2016.
This rose photo is from a few years ago.  They remind me of my mother and her mother.  I am thankful that she taught me to appreciate what you have and treat it with care.  Thanks Mom!

Sunday, May 3, 2020

Something old is new again?

I haven't done a something old is new again post for a long time.  Our neighbors gave us first chance on this free willow furniture.  It is pretty banged up.  The set includes a rocking chair, a huge bench, and two chairs.  We brought it home somewhat skeptical about if it was worth the effort.  We decided that somebody put a lot of work into making them and they were actually worth quite a bit. Nothing is ever free.  We decided to power wash them and then I sanded the rocking chair and bench with steel wool.  When I'm finished, we will replace the broken pieces and give them a coat or two of linseed oil.
 We don't know anything about making willow furniture, but one is never too old to learn.  It should make for an interesting summer project.
We have enjoyed some beautiful days.  It isn't super warm, but the snow is melting.  I saw our resident fox yesterday.  I was quite happy, as I hadn't seen any tracks all winter.  Do you have any big summer projects?  Have you ever redone any willow furniture?  Tips an hints are appreciated.