Saturday, April 12, 2008

A Sad Anniversary

One year ago today, we lost Police Officer Thomas Lindsey.
We miss you, Tom.
Your sacrifice will never be forgotten.
Rest in peace.

Friday, April 11, 2008

The Tax Man In My Garden?

I'd rather not have his big ole crap-kickers compacting my soil, thank you very much.
I can see this quickly turning around to paying taxes on the products we produce, whether it be fruit, veg or flower, 'cause, jeez, if we're all growing our own and not purchasing, he ain't getting his cut.

Plant A Garden, Get A Tax Break?

What say you - Yay or Nay?

Thursday, April 10, 2008

Oh, No...Slow Down!

Everything is popping up.
Here I was so anxious to see some growth, green of any kind.
Well, things are suddenly popping up everywhere after two days in the 60's.
Making an appearance:

Poppies (there are some coming up in a spot I don't remember planting them(surprise!) - anyone know which varieties have smooth edged leaves as apposed to ragged? No, they aren't prickers. lol)

Rhubarb (at least one lived!)


Bleeding Heart


Martagon lily

Trout lily (I hope the Virginia Blue Bells, Mayapple and Jack-in-the-Pulpit that I bought with them made it. They were cheap, so who knows. No above-ground signs yet)

Lizard Tail


Clematis (three of them have large leaf buds)


Spirea (also have leaf buds and I need to move them yet!)

Hollyhocks (have nice green leaves)


Iris (showing new, green growth)


Variegated Fountain Grass (WS'd last year - showing signs of green)

And, of course, there are tulip, hyacinth and dafs finally peeking up from the soil.

Poor things. Today is suppose to be the last day of decent weather before it all goes to hell - temps in the 20's, rain, snow, wind, you name it. Now I want everything to crawl back beneath the soil and wait for better weather. ~sigh~ 40 years of gardening and even though I know everything will be fine, I still worry about every single plant pulling through our crappy spring each year.

I Don't Do Rooms

No, I'm not talking about cleaning.
I mean those so-called garden rooms.

I'm not claustrophobic, I don't think.
But, I am use to wide open spaces. Great big ones. I like the idea of being able to see as far as the eye can see. I'm a fan of 'distance vision'. I'm not talking about defining areas with plants. I think that's cool. I'm talking walled-in, view-destroying, cut-off-from-outside-life rooms.

I don't want to feel walled in, whether it's within a 80' x 80' square or a 10' x 10' circle.
I like the feeling of being able to stand in one spot and survey my entire yard - as far as the eye can see.

I want to be able to take a quick glance at my vegetable garden from my front mailbox, gaze at my 'color points' from my driveway, watch butterflies and hummingbirds dance from flower to flower while sitting at my ponds and see them planting corn across the street while puttering on my patio.

Obviously, I'm in the minority when it comes to this 'room' thing.

If it's taller than my eye line, I don't like it. Don't block my view, man!

I don't care about those 'surprises' around the next corner, or whether I should sit behind this wall of trees with a glass of wine and finger the grape leaves or the one eight feet away with tea and honeysuckle and splashing my fingers in a big assed fountain while the sound of the water echos in the tight space. Why, in God's name, would I want to be in my yard and not be able to see and talk with someone sitting in a separate 'room' ten feet away? I can do that inside my house, thank you very much. And no - those winding paths meandering around fifty feet of evergreens don't 'entice' me to keep going - unless it's to some high point where I can see everything at once.

My yard is outside, just where it's suppose to be. I don't want to go outside into some 'intimate' space. I get intimate with my plants and nature all the time without being walled in. Walls are for houses - trees standing like soldiers and made into walls is just dumb - in my own uneducated opinion.

Monday, April 07, 2008

Getting Things Done

The soil is workable.
A bit too damp still, but I can ignore that small detail.

As is the case every year, the hubs had the usual fight with the rototiller. Apparently, just add oil and the motor will seize tight as a drum on you after it has started momentarily and then stalled.
I went on an internet hunt for used ones for sale. Ha! $1800.00?! Are these people kidding? They're used for Pete's sake. The prices never got down to a range we were even close to affording. I think the cheapest I found in my area was $600.00. Bah. So the fight continued after a few phone calls to friends for discarded motors, of which only one was found that wouldn't come close to fitting.

In the end it didn't matter as 'spawn of satan' tiller decided it had given him enough grief and was ready to go to work for another season. His arm is hurting like heck this morning from a temperamental rewind being yanked a thousand times, but at least he won in the end.

After the wasted few hours fighting with the devil tiller, we popped over to my step-mom's for her birthday. By afternoon we were more than ready to actually get something accomplished.

The trellis got set up and the peas are planted. All five varieties. I hate peas, but the rest of the fam love them, so I guess it's not wasted space? lol.

Sugar Snap
Oregon Sugar Pod
Laxton's Progress

Whichever variety they decide they like best is what will ultimately get planted next year. I don't even know what variety we grew last year. They will eat them no matter what kind they are anyway, so I guess it doesn't much matter.

Half the onions got in the ground - Sweet Spanish.
We ran out of light before we could get the White Bunching sprouts planted. We'll get to those on Tuesday.

The koi are much happier as we've gotten the pond filter and waterfalls up and running. All seem well and happy. Unfortunately, we lost one last year (due to a pump malfunctioning) but this spring everyone looks good. I'd really, really love some Wakin, but they're impossible to find for sale around here, and if you do stumble on a few, they want $25.00 a piece! Unreal.

The Orfe were zipping around and looking for those first bugs of spring. It is glorious to see them whizzing through the water again. There may be no blooms in the yard, but there is color in the water. :)

According to last years records, we transplanted broccoli, cabbage, head lettuce, cauliflower and brussel sprouts on April 22 and they all did very well except for the brussels. Maybe I'll start hardening them off this week and get them in the ground a week or ten days earlier this year to see how they do compared to last. Hopefully, I'll have better luck with the brussel sprouts staying tighter.

My daughter got me some India Mustard seed last year. I have no idea what this is, or how to use it. The packet only says "used for greens", "pick outside leaves as they mature to encourage more growth". I've come across a few sites that say it is an invasive weed in some parts of the US, but dies at 17 degrees.

So, what do you do with it? Eat the leaves or grow it for the seeds? Some info said that it has a peppery flavor in salads when you use the small interior leaves, but it will have a 'burn your tonsils' effect if you eat the mature leaves. My youngest son would be happy with the burn your tonsils thing, but the hubs would not. Do you cook like collards (which I'm also hoping to try growing for the first time this year)? Mix with lettuce? Wait for the seed and make mustard? Seriously - what?

I'd hate to waste garden space on something we won't end up eating. Maybe I'll give it a half-row with the collards. Experiments are always fun!