Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Earth Day

I wanted to share with you what I see and hear when I walk out my front door. Being Earth Day I thought it was appropriate. Excuse the untidiness, I am in the midst of so many projects. Hopefully, later in the season I will be able to show you the fruits of my labors. The barrel I am trying to figure out how to convert to a rain barrel, it is part of the old softener system. I usually try to repurpose most things, I hate sending things to the landfill. Please turn up the sound, the prominent sound is the wind, but you can hear the bird song. Such a variety of birds, makes a chorus.

I was hoping to add a picture of my Grandfather, and dedicate this post to him. If I manage to get the album apart so I can scan his picture I will add it. Arthur G. Eldredge was a man of many talents, inventor, photographer, college professor, author. I have parts of his book on pollination, it was never published as they would not include his pictures at the size he wanted. Talk about stubborn New Englanders! I have letters from various publishers expressing interest in the book, he had taken all the pictures and wanted them just so. It would have been a college textbook. While looking for a picture to post I found a manuscript of a short story he wrote about his Father, William Wells Eldredge, Sr. He was a farmer, school superintendent and whaler, the story is about memories of stories he told when he was home. Grampa would have been right at home with Earth Day, many of my earliest memories are being outside with him. Gardening, fishing, "helping" him with his photography. He wrote endless letters trying to get DDT banned, which it finally was. His predictions of the harm that was being done were proved to be correct, as well as his warnings about various chemicals added to cosmetics and foods. I mostly remember his lab, being in the garden and watching him making grafts, or planting gardens. Most of the happy memories I have are linked to him and I also feel he was a person to live up to. Many times I would think "what would Grampa think" and kept myself out of trouble. Can you tell I loved him dearly?

This is the bed I worked on the other day, I cut down some volunteer mulberry trees and put down newspaper and hay to hopefully block out the weeds. The tulips coming up are ones that were here, with water and fertilizer they look better each year. I try to preserve any plants I find, sort of homage to those that came before. Today is supposed to be glorious so hope to get more done outside, plant some more things. I am also going to try and move some poppies, each year they come up and the wind blows them to bits. They are behind the garage so I want to move them to a more prominent spot. We'll see how that goes.

Wonderful Earth Day to you, protect and heal our world, we all can help.


Monday, April 20, 2009

Ah Spring, April Showers and all that

We had some lovely warm weather here until the weekend, but now chilly, windy and somewhat damp. When I was digging holes for my roses bushes and onions I noticed how very dry it is, so we could use a tad more rain. I hesitate to ask for too much as I do not want a flood. A nice thing is that it is starting to be green, so much nicer then the brown it was for so long.
My tulips and daffidills are getting bigger and showing signs of having flowers. I want to put markers where they are so that in the fall I can fill in the blank spots, the catalogs are full of such pretty things. I want it ALL,lol, well not really as I would have to weed it all. I am trying to put in perennials for now until I have things planted to my satisfaction. Can not believe I said that, I probably will never be completely satisfied. Trying to remember what I planted where and seeing if things are going to come up is like a treasure hunt. Gardening in the South lacked this element of suspense.

My indoor garden is doing well, in the foreground is parsley which I usually have a couple of pots growing. In the background by the window is lettuce, I buy the variety so there will be bibb, and leaf and many others to make a nice salad. Oh, speaking of gardens and containers, there was an ad in my Spring Hill order and it looks perfect for space challenged gardeners. They call it the grow box and the website to look at it is, it comes with a guarantee. The price seems comparable to what I have seen in the stores. Spring Hill has been around for a long time, so I am thinking they would not include things they did not believe in. Hope this helps so you can have nice nummy vvegetables all year long. My pumpkins, peppers and other goodies are doing well in the basement and getting bigger and stronger and ready to transplant in a week or so.

I have been hanging things again, opened another box and had an empty space. The rooster on the right I had and found the one on the left at this cool antiques shop I found. What I liked was that they would be able to face each other. So often these things only face one way and that drives me nuts. She had wreaths made of barbed wire, so of course my mind went into overdrive. We have all kinds of barbed wire laying around, so maybe I will make a couple of wreaths.
This is some of my Revere Ware which I love and use all the time. The newest is about 20 years old and the rest is most likely from the 50's. I could probably check the serial numbers for the exact dates. The older pieces were in really bad shape when I got them. I have been able to clean them up pretty well. With the copper bottoms you can not use aggressive scrubbers as it will scratch. So have used mostly baking soda to scrub with, and over time they are pretty good. I have more pieces, but have not found the proper box yet. Once the kitchen is redone and that space robbing bump out thing is gone I will have a proper pot rack. Ah, the dreams.
While in that neat store look what I found, I do not think it has ever been used. The center piece is made of metal and I believe you put a candle in the center. I am thinking that if I could find a tapered vase I might also be able to put that in there so could have fresh flowers. As you no doubt have deduced I like the old things.
Warmer days are coming and I will be back happily planting as soon as this latest spell of chilly, wet has moved on.
Best to you all, Barbara

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

It's Sunny and I am too!

Good Morning, happy Wednesday! I love it when the sun shines just gives me a lift. I get to play in my garden today which makes things even better. The farmers are plowing and shooting nitrogen into the soil. The white objects in the field are seagulls, those guys are everywhere.
Before I go any further, I hope each and every one of you had a loving and happy holiday. Mine was perfect as Jim was home. I made ham and other goodies and we got to relax, the only down thing was he had to leave Sunday afternoon. He put up one of my new motion detector lights, it's the one that talks to you and has a video chip in it. Of course it is going to take me a bit to get used to it, each time I go out I forget it is there and it scares the heck out of me. If nothing else I will be a very good person with all the heck gone!!

He also worked on and found the problem with one of the riding mowers. She now sits ready to go with cart attached. I already have loaded mulch and tools and will tackle some of my flower beds today. I especially want to work on the one with my tulips and daffodils. I also will put hay down in hopes of blocking out weeds around other of my plants. On Saturday I did get to work on my small garden some, used my little cultivator to churn things up. I really like this cultivator, it is small, lightweight and so easy to start. Ryobi makes it and she is a little workhorse, with all I have asked of it not a bit of problem. The only thing we had to do was replace the primer bulb which was no big deal. Jim also hung my grow light for me and I have 4 flats planted with pumpkins, herbs and tomatoes. I am going to put my carrots, broccoli, cabbage, peas, beans, potatoes and onions directly into the garden and pray there is no hard frost. When the tractor is finally delivered I will be able to plow up the area for the pumpkins, cucumbers, squash and melons.

A week ago Monday was the garden club meeting which was informative. Lots of plans and chores to be done as well as play. We are going on a tour of nurseries which will be fun, with lunch thrown in will be a good day. I am enjoying learning new things and meeting new people.
The way things are set up this year all will take turns hosting the meetings, Cara did this one. She was nervous, but did a great job and brought nice goodies, fun!! My turn will be in June, so wish me luck.
When Jim and I went to the store on Friday I bought the paint to transform my rain barrels. I saw a picture where someone had done this, so I am giving it a shot. Right now they are a neon blue, so anything I do will be an improvement.
The girls are out scouting for green, not much right now. Jim spread ten pounds of pasture seed the other day. We were supposed to have rain Sunday night and Monday, but it did not show. We must have jinxed it by putting the seed down. In the background of this picture you can see the girl's house, behind and sligtly to the right is Jim's playhouse, next to that the small building is my garden house. To the far right is the garage we are doing over for my shop. I think we have enough to keep us busy for a bit.

Thank you for visiting and have a wonderful day. Barbara

Monday, April 6, 2009

Missed us, nanny, nanny, boo boo

All is good, the sun is shining, the birds are singing and the dogs have not gotten into anything in the last 5 minutes. The sun actually feels warm coming through the windows. What is even more super, the forecasted blizzard missed us almost completely. On Sunday we had a dusting of wet snow and wind, neither of which were anything near the 4-6 inches and high winds we had forecast for this area.

First and foremost I want to thank all of you who visit and leave comments. I sit here smiling and thinking how very much I appreciate the time you take to come and read my blog. When I write about a problem or concern I get wonderful feedback. Trying to describe how good it makes me feel is difficult. I believe that quite often we have the feeling that we are alone with our problems. Being able to bounce things off others brings us the realization the others have many of the same concerns and cares. I chuckle each time I think of Renie being called "the writer lady in the woods". Laura shares my discomfort at personal questions as did Mary and Joanne. I have a new buddy who lives a couple of hours from me in Wisconsin, they also have an older farmhouse and many critters.

This is as far as I got with my kitchen flower garden. I might add more if the kitchen is not done by next winter. I have a feeling it may not be. The list of projects grows daily and the bathroom take priority over the kitchen. I want my claw foot tub!!! That project is behind getting the motor home fixed. At some point in time critters have chewed some of the fittings for the gas tank. Jim will first have to drain the gas tank, then jack the RV up and drop the gas tank down so he can reach the hoses and replace them. They also chewed the water lines so if I want to shower or use the facilities those have to be fixed also. I need the RV to be in tip top shape so I can take it to Chicago for my classes in June.

Tonight is another Garden Club meeting, I am looking forward to it, plans are being made for making the town pretty. I enjoy this type of thing and will feel good to be part of it. It was through the club that I was able to attend the meeting about the arboretum. This will be such an opportunity to get information for local gardening.

Again, thank you all and have a super duper week

Saturday, April 4, 2009

Mother Nature's April Fool Joke

This is what we woke up to on April 1st, now I did not find it all that amusing. The last couple of days have been nice, with yesterday being in the 50's. Today and the next few days will be a whole different story, we are under a winter storm watch. As always the amounts vary, but seems a pretty good chance that we will have several inches of snow and high winds. I do not plan on going any where.

Last Monday I went to a program in a nearby town, it was offered by a local community college. The speaker was Duane Otto from the arboretum in Minneapolis, he is in charge of making the place beautiful. I really enjoyed it and the accompanying slide show. The number of plants he has to deal with truly boggles the mind, well mine at least. Each year the garden has a theme, this year it is Sky color reflections on water so all the flowers will be in shades and tones of blue and violet and water movement hues of white and silver. The beds will be planted in wave patterns to follow this theme. He showed slides of one year that he did a white theme, was truly striking. This year he will plant more then 10,000 tulips and 8,000 pansies. This is just the Spring portion, he will have thousands more plants so there is color all through the season. Makes what I do seem so trivial. After the meeting there were refreshments provided by a local greenhouse. Home made cookies and bars, coffee, punch all very good.

I was hoping to talk some about the show and local flowers but that was not to be, each person I was introduced to wanted to know who I was related to. It's a local thing, you get asked who you are related to and who's house you live in. After two years of this I find myself getting testy, trust me I do not want to be. There is just so much to talk about other then these two topics. The house thing I want to say, "I live in MY house", childish I know but it still oozes out. I think I offended one lady the other night, I declared "I am not from around here and I am not related to anyone". Some times I feel as if I have an alternate personality that peeks out now and then and says things I feel bad about later. If I meet her again I will need to apologize and see if I can make amends. My rational side knows that this behavior is what they are accustomed to and while it offends my New England reticence I know they do not mean anything bad by it. I grew up with my Grandfather and Grandmother for the most part. I was taught early on to not be nosy. You do not ask personal questions of anyone, if they offer you listen and then keep it to yourself. I would never dream of asking some of the questions that I get and often it throws me for a loop and I do not know what to say. I try and remember the advice Ann Launders gave, she said reply "why would you want to know?".

I bought seeds yesterday, so my project today is planting them in all my mini greenhouses. Also trying to figure out how to rig a grow light over them. I bought the bulbs and I know we have some of the fixtures around here somewhere. Now cross my fingers and hope they grow, always the hard part. Did I mention we bought a tractor? We found one at a good price , it runs and has a scoop on it. Too bad it is not delivered yet, I could use the scoop for the snow. So one of my tasks will be learning how to drive it. I can use it to clear old hay out of the goats house and move hay bales around as well as plow the garden and flowerbeds. Will make things much easier, I want to clear out the wooded area so can load limbs etc in bucket. We also have a couple of big piles of rocks that I want to use around flower bed and around the pond once it is dug. I have this whole scenario of a water course that babbles down to the pond. Of course we will have to build a bridge over it, so cool to have to much land to play with.

Wonderful weekend to you all and thank you for visiting.