Thursday, February 26, 2015

Planted artichoke and cardoon seeds today, in little four packs, about a dozen each. To fill out the flat, I also put in some Allium stellatum (Prairie Onion, which is both decorative and edible), Tunica saxifraga (Coat flower, a low growing groundcover with pink flowers), and Achlys triphylla (Vanilla Leaf, a woodland plant with sweet smelling leaves). Silver has already been laying with his head on the flat; I'm sure he's only waiting for the potting soil to dry out some before he gives it the whole body treatment. Which I'm sure he's only doing so they'll be the correct temperature and germinate faster.

It's still too early to really be planting things as we don't have enough space or enough light in the house and can't afford to heat the greenhouse, but the perennials should be sturdy enough to go out to the greenhouse not too long after they germinate.

Did *not* take Banshee for a walk today; I have once again come down with a crud that has filled my sinus, given me a sore throat and fever, and has my ear aching. Bah.

Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Sunny but cold today. I did hang the laundry outside, but it only got about half dry. Still, that's a few cents of electricity saved by running the dryer a shorter time afterwards!

Took Banshee for a walk; all the daylilies are coming up, the lilacs have very swollen buds, the rugosa roses are budding up, and crocus are poking their little noses up. All this is at least a month earlier than normal for our yard.

The book I ordered on growing and cooking Oriental vegetables arrived today. Looks pretty good; lots of vegetables I've never heard of before. I'm so eager to get to gardening it's silly. I know it'll still be too cold for over a month, even for the cold season crops. But indoor gardening is starting: the artichoke and cardoon seeds are soaking in warm water and will be planted in little containers tomorrow. They take a long time and they need to go out in the cold and then back to warm to trigger blooming, so they have to be fair sized while we still are in cold weather.

Monday, February 23, 2015

And now I've gone and ordered $40 worth of maple seeds. It's a variety; 'Crimson King', sugar maple, and four kinds of Japanese maples. I've had good luck with germinating maples before but I lost the seedlings when the greenhouse collapsed one winter. The place I used to buy tree seeds from seems to be out of business even though their website is still up, so I'm trying an ebay seller who has a 99.3% positive rating. Soon my house will be full of flats of germinating seeds of all kinds- all with cats laying on them.
Tim was home yesterday and, after doing the morning alpaca chores, we started doing our seed orders. We meant to only order a few things, and only from one company, but the best laid plans went awry and we ended up with a whole lot of things- mostly vegetables- from two companies (Pine Tree and Johnny's). Then I also did an order of seeds for perennials from Hudson and iris seeds from the Median Iris Society.

While the flowers- mainly perennials- are what excites me the most, I can't seem to look at a vegetable seed catalog with out decided that this is the year I'll gather the energy to take better care of the vegetable garden, that the Oriental greens won't bolt, that I'll make a salad every day in summer and lots of stir fries, that I'll keep everything weeded and use lots of herbs. And keep the slugs from eating things before we can get to them. Those were my worst nemesis last year. I even ordered a book on growing and cooking with Oriental vegetables- used from Amazon. I still want to check out what Angel Grove has this year for tree seeds. Time to get some crab apples & Japanese maples going again.

The whole thing energized me and made me want to do all the things. Sadly, the energy was short lived and the only thing I got done today that was on my list was the seed orders. Got a lot of other things partly done, but that doesn't get them off the list. Tomorrow I'll go to town and that means I won't get much done. *sigh*

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Autumn is closing in for real. Working outside is getting to be an exercise in perseverance; frozen feet and fingers and it’s still up in the 50s during the day. And wet. Thinned two big beds of strawberries for a  client and we ended up with two full feed sacks of strawberry plants. I trimmed them all and planted them in the vegetable garden yesterday. Today I went around harvesting herbs- lots of parsley and catnip, some sage, but the lemon balm had all gone to seed and was shitty. Just as well, I suppose; I really only use it as sugar free flavoring for mixed drinks. Still have to process the herbs and keep the cats out of the basket of ‘nip while it dries. I thoroughly expect to find Silver passed out in it.

Tomorrow we both go up to a place on Gold Creek and rake and clean up the yard. That will be my job, while Tim helps the owner put covers over the basement windows- they’ve been broken before by heavy snows fall on them. At least he’ll be home so I can warm up- and pee- when needed. Then probably three days cutting back shrubs at one job but I really hope I have some dry days for that. Then I should be able to stay inside and do things in here.

Monday, August 25, 2014

August 25, 2014

Finally we have (supposedly) about 4 or 5 days without rain, so I should have been at the painting job that the masking has, by now, turned into paper mache. But a migraine kept waking me up last night and I just felt too much like I was going to throw up, so I stayed home. Around the middle of the afternoon I felt good enough to go out and continue the great weeding project.

About 80% of the weeds are various types of clover. I’d been in the habit of allowing clover to stay put, since it provides nitrogen to the soil and keeps a lot of other, worse, weeds from coming in. I only took it out when it was interfering with the garden plants. Last year I never got any of it taken out, and this year it reached critical mass and exploded all over the garden, covering every inch of soil and most of the garden plants. This, and quack grass, are the main things I’m dealing with. Both of these things (and the sorrels and wild raspberry plants) have roots from hell. My back is starting to tell me that round up might not be such a bad idea after all, although so far my brain is still winning that argument.

I think the hummingbirds are gone for the year. The last two days I haven’t seen or heard one, even when I was working by the Scarlet Runner beans. I think a lot of other birds have left, too- it’s eerily silent out there. There are still finches beeping, but there aren’t even as many of them as there were. I hope this doesn’t presage an early, horrible winter for us. 

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

It’s been cooler- and stormy- the last couple of days and it’s been lovely to work outside for a change. Especially lovely is that the power didn’t go off for hours like it has the two storms before this one. Last night’s storm, though, was throwing lightning down perilously close to us. There were a couple that were so bright Tim thought they hit in the hay field (I don’t think they were really quite that close) and the thunder was right on top of the light and so loud I levitated off the sofa.

Finally finished the log house kitchen the other day; all lacquered and put back together. I had a reprieve in doing them because the guy who was going to be staying in the house put his visit off. Now he has put it off again. Not sure when he’ll get here to do the work or if we’ll have to find someone else.

A few more plants have followed me home and I’ve still not gotten any of them planted. I am making some progress on the weeding, though and expanding part of a bed to make room. I was going to prune the dappled willow today to unshade some unhappy roses and make room, but when I stepped close to the bush hummingbirds shot out of it and a chorus of panicked finch voices arose. So that project is out until everyone is done nesting. I thought it was late enough that they’d all be done with that.

Staying the course on eating less. Can fit into things I wore last year but not into things I wore a couple of years ago. Damn. I’m hungry. 

 This is daylily 'Ice Palace Pink'- it actually followed Tim home instead of me. Beautiful; it has the glitter effect when the sun hits it. 

 This is a salpiglossis- sorry no common name for it. They're supposed to be tall plants and mine are only about 9" tall but at least they're blooming! I'd been told that the season was too short for them here but I had to try them anyway.