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Archive for the ‘Gardening’ Category

Since taking down those large trees (and I still haven’t managed to move some of the larger wedges of wood out of my yard), I have been taking smaller equipment – hand saws and extension saws to trees.

I cut down the redbud I planted just outside my bedroom window 8 years ago.  It has gotten so big it is encroaching on the evergreen bush and is resting on my roof.  Not good for the roof or keeping pests at bay.  Low hanging limbs and those branches that aren’t facing skyward are also getting he ax (or the saw) and already I have noticed increased sun to my veggie garden.

I am trying to be careful not to add too much sun to the windows in the house, and so I am being very careful and selective in my cuttings.  The reason I love all the trees on the South side of my house is that during the summer it acts as a natural shade and keeps my house cooler.  During the winter, when the leaves are off the tree, the sun shines in the windows and helps to heat the house.

When I moved here the patio was full shade.  Now it is full sun.  I guess I will eventually need to buy a patio table with a big umbrella.  I guess there are worse things to have to worry about.

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Yesterday was a magnificent 76 degrees out at its high. Blue skies and just incredible for playing hooky. Unfortunately, I was not able to do that (although I know of others who did!)

Last night it rained. This morning, almost magically, everything looks so much greener outside. The lawn (even though it is still covered with leaves and gumballs) looks green, the iris and daylilies have joined the daffodils popping through the earth toward the sun. Even the mum plants are producing little green leaves.

The sky is a beautiful blue and it is another incredible day outside… and I am hoping to be able to enjoy a little of it later today.

Everywhere it is GREEN – and I love it.

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They’re Heeeere!

Yes, the seeds I planted earlier this month have finally started breaking through the soil in the potting flats in my sunroom. Now, there are many more seeds left to “pop,” but this sign of plant life always makes me happy. 🙂

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It is January – a new year! The sun is shining and even though it is three (3) degrees outside, I am thinking about GARDENING.

It seems to fit – a new year, new beginnings, the possibilities of a new garden and all the wonderful tasty foods that can be grown.

Yes, I am looking forward to the next time I can get out and look at the vegetable seeds available in the stores. And, in a few weeks, I will plant the tomato and pepper seeds and set them in my sunroom so they will get a nice long growing season.

On this cold January day, thoughts of gardening warms my soul.

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In addition to helping a friend with a sewing project on Friday (I cut and pin – I don’t sew), and painting and helping to power wash at my church on Saturday morning, I did a little bit of yard work this weekend

A friend had a tree-trimming truck load of wood chips dropped on her driveway last week, and after she moved all that she could use she discovered she still had plenty to share. Not being one to turn down anything free, and needing a huge amount of mulch for my yard (and who doesn’t this time of year) – I started hauling – in the sun and in the rain.

Now… like many gardeners who own cars and not the coveted mulch/compost hauling truck, I stuffed my car with containers to be loaded and unloaded and loaded and unloaded… with these wood chips. I have two 20″x28″x16″ containers. One in my trunk and one in my back seat. In addition, I used two metal trash cans. From Friday through Labor Day I made six trips to collect wood chips. By the time I finished my last trip back and unloaded all but one of the large containers (it’s still in my trunk) I was sore and tired and collapsed onto a chaise in my sun room and stayed there until it was time for bed. Picking up and moving a container full of wood chips can really strain muscles.

trunk

Anyway, my front garden is cleaned up (except for three tomato plants) and mulched for the winter.

frontgarden

My new garden in back is mulched.

patio22

I pulled weeds, and dug up day lilies and hauled wood chips to my “beach” area – an area where I can view my (any day now) pond. In addition, I hauled large rocks to the “beach” area. I think it really looks nice (but you may need to have known what it looked like before to truly appreciate it now.)

beach

I also added wood chips to the area I recently cleared under a pine tree. I love the look of freshly chopped wood.

pine

I still have wood chips in my car to unload and a few more trips to make to pick up more chips. But, I feel like I really labored this Labor day!

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I woke this morning close to 5 – I’ve been sleeping in more and more lately – and 5 am is sleeping in for me.

I started the coffee, let out the dog and brushed my teeth. I let the dog in, showered, put on a robe, and grabbed my coffee. Sunrise was fast approaching.

Lately I look forward to this time in the morning when I can open all the windows and sit – sometimes inside, sometimes outside – and read a book, pet my dog and listen to the world around me.

The birds – so many different birds – were in full concert this morning. I listened and watched as the mist slowly burned away over the field. I had hoped to catch a glimpse of one of the many deer or coyotes with whom I try and share space – but there were none to be seen. I think my dog has made it pretty clear that our yard is HER yard – and others are not welcome. I, on the other hand, wish they would make an appearance when I can see them.

The garden so far is pretty disappointing. Yet, every morning I walk through it to see what new veggie has decided to make an appearance. This morning I caught sight of a few more baby cucumbers and noted that the butternut squash plant looks like it had several blooms about ready to swell. I’m thinking that the purchased amended soil just wasn’t amended enough (even weeds aren’t growing in it). Perhaps a few loads of compost over the top this fall will help next years harvest.

The day is progressing and it is time for me to get dressed and ready for the day.

Make it a great one!

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Preparation and Storage

Plant Something

Harvest Something

A handful of green beans, a few cherry tomatoes and a few remaining black raspberries. Nothing that really made it into a meal from my garden.

Basil from “E’s” (aka the “toilet guy“) and “H’s” satellite garden.

Preserve Something

On Saturday, the “guys” (“E”, “H”, and “J”), who all live in the city, met at the farmers’ market and picked up a few things for us to preserve. On Sunday, we all got together and produced the following:

Pesto: Outcome was six (6) cups of pesto. Basil from one of the satellite gardens, purchased cheese, pine nuts, garlic and oil. Six 1 cup containers at a cost of roughly $18. Cost to make – $3/cup.

Roasted Red Peppers: Outcome was fourteen (14) cups of roasted red peppers set for the freezer. Purchase of 26 red peppers and cost of oil about $12. Cost per cup to make – about $0.85.

Cherry Compote: Outcome was 14 pint jars. The cherries were $7 for 5 lbs of cherries and about $3 worth of sugar was used. Cost per pint jar was about $0.72

allthree

Reduce Waste

Nothing to report.

Build Community Food Systems

Checked on “C’s” satellite garden. The eight tomato plants there are going absolutely nuts. The green beans are getting large and will need to be picked soon. I’m hoping that “C” will be able to dehydrate a lot of Roma tomatoes as they ripen.

“E” and “H’s” satellite garden is doing very well. There are probably over 60 tomatoes on the one Roma plant alone, the big boy has just one at the moment, and the cherry tomato plant is just going nuts.

Eat the Food

Cherry tomatoes on the salad at “H” and “E’s” house for dinner. Snacked on cherry tomatoes, green beans and black raspberries at my house.

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