Friday, April 24, 2015

Just Make A Decision!

My brain cells feel like sesame seeds in a hot skillet.  

Admittedly, I do often sometimes have a hard time making decisions, but doing the paperwork of laying out this year's Field Garden is driving me to drink.  (But just grape juice [unfermented], so don't worry.)

You see, I need to relocate our strawberry patch this year.  It's been in the same spot (within the Field Garden) for way too many years.  Last year, I pulled out and gave a decent burial to the oldest half of the strawberry plants because they were absolutely geriatric and not producing enough to justify the space they took up.  Knowing I was going to order new plants and situate them in a new section (of the Field Garden) this spring, I did keep the other half of the old bed just so we would have some berries for fresh eating this year.

Some of last year's crop
The new plants have to go in the Field Garden.  It's the best place for them because of soil fertility and available sunlight.

Also in the Field Garden will go the 50 asparagus roots just ordered.  This will be the third time I've planted asparagus, and I'm hoping the third time will be the charm.  However, my failure in getting asparagus established before is no one's fault but my own.  The first time I planted the roots in a spot that I now know didn't get enough sun . . . and at that time, the soil wasn't amended enough.  The second time the soil was in better shape but my brain cells weren't, because I planted the roots in the same, blasted not-enough-sun spot.  This time the asparagus is going in the Field Garden where the soil is wonderful AND sunlight is readily available.

So you see, the dilemma is to make a wise decision as to where will be just the right spots in the Field Garden to plant both 200 new strawberry plants and 50 asparagus roots.  Both will be wherever I plant them for a loooong time, the asparagus especially, so I want to make a decision I won't regret.  I have to take into consideration my other crops such as shell peas, potatoes, squash, corn, Brussels sprouts, cabbage, bush beans, potatoes, pickling cucumbers, etc. that I rotate each year onto a different area in the Field Garden.

Okay, enough of this rambling . . . back out to the kitchen table with my graph paper and pencil.  Time to make a decision. 

Wish me luck.

Wednesday, April 22, 2015

A Whole Lotta Nuthin'

Here we are on Wednesday of this week, and I truly can't come up with much of interest to share.

It's been a cold last several days with snow falling all day yesterday.  It did melt as it hit the ground since the temp was in the mid-30s.  But with 20-something overnight, we woke to a while covering on everything, had more snow during the day but a smidge of sunshine and above freezing temps kept more of the white stuff from accumulating.

Monday we made a trip to the Big City primarily for an eye appointment for me.  It had been four years from my last check-up (who knew?) and even though I suspected I might need a change in the prescription of my glasses, I didn't.  If I sit to read or do handwork at night, I've been experiencing a bit of blurry vision, but my eye doctor said I should just go to bed rather than straining my eyes when I'm tired (hrumpf) and that I didn't need stronger lenses.  Okay, then.

Our chickens have been out in their pasture every day even in this foul (no pun intended) weather and continue to give us copious quantities of eggs.  Even though you can't see it from a short distance away, there are green shoots of grass coming up among the brown, dead stuff still on the ground from last year, and the chickens even seem to be finding a few bugs and/or worms.  Lots of busy, happy scratching and clucking going on out there at any rate.

This colder weather has thrown me right back into hibernation mode.  It feels so good to snuggle into a comfy bed at night, and it's not so easy to get out of it in the morning when first light presents a damp, gray scene out the window.

We all need to live more with nature.  Throw out the clocks.  Stay in bed when the weather is nasty.  To heck with the To Do List.  Let the chips fall where they may and all that rot.  (Don't you just know how short a time any of us could actually do that?  I start to feel crummy pretty fast when I don't keep some sort of a schedule and have some sense of accomplishment at the end of the day.)

Remind me of that last statement tomorrow morning when I feel like my body is glued to the bed.

Sunday, April 19, 2015

Fighting Frost and Working in the Garden

Yesterday was an absolutely gorgeous day for working outside.  And since lots of rain was forecast for today, hubby and I put in an almost full day in the garden.

But first, before I regale you with the (not) exciting saga of what we did, let me tell you about my adventure planting Sweet Peas.

Wednesday of this past week, I planted my Sweet Pea seeds in one of my raised beds.  It's the earliest I've ever gotten them in.  Supposedly the seeds can go in the ground up to 6 weeks before the last expected frost date . . . which for us (in a good year) is sometime around Memorial Day Weekend/the first of June.  From some test digging, I knew the soil in the raised beds was loose and, on a sunny day, even warm to the touch.  So I soaked my seeds overnight and Wednesday headed out to plant them.

I needed to put up the trellis they climb on so I went armed with two long pieces of rebar I fasten the trellis to and the small sledge hammer to pound the rebar into the ground.

All went well for about 6-8" into the soil, and then it was like I hit a rock.  Hunh.

The rebar was tall and I thought maybe I wasn't wielding enough oompf using the heavy hammer over my head so I called Papa Pea in as reinforcement.  After a mere two whomps on the rebar he informed me the ground in the raised bed was still frozen hard as a rock not far below the surface.  Sigh.  Well, it is very early in the season for us yet.

I went ahead and planted the pre-soaked Sweet Pea seeds in two shallow furrows on either side of where the trellis will go . . . as soon as the ground thaws a bit more.  It will be very interesting to see if I'm a success or failure in getting the seeds in so early this year.  Hope I didn't waste the seeds.  Stay tuned for updates.

Now back to our work in the garden yesterday.  We succeeded in getting compost heaps rearranged for the season (well, almost . . . more on that in a bit here), and compost spread in all the raised beds.

I used my wonderful Mantis tiller to mix the compost in with the soil, then raked the beds smooth.

Papa Pea covered the Pumpkin Patch (soon to be planted in new strawberry plants arriving in a few weeks and renamed the Strawberry Patch) with compost and then started spreading it over the Field Garden.

But once again, that little imp Jack Frost had an impact on our efforts.  In both compost heaps we hit the frost line a ways down into the lovely, black stuff which means we'll have to wait for further thawing to finish.

I tilled around the borders of the Field Garden, Pumpkin Patch, and blueberry and raspberry patches to get a jump start on the sod that never gives up on its quest to grow into and take over the garden soil.

That rain that was predicted?  Yep, it started around 7 this morning and has continued all day.  Perfect for our newly applied compost so it can soak down into the soil.  Also, our forest fire danger has been high for a couple/few weeks so it's a comfort to have everything soaked down now.

Looks like this whole week ahead of us will be unfavorable for doing anything outside.  Dropping temperatures and wintry mix (yeah, more of that stuff) all week.  Good.  That means more time for me to lie on the couch, eat bon-bons and nap.  (Just what the heck is a "bon-bon" anyway?)

P.S.  Thanks again to my daughter for loaning me one of her beautiful photos as a new blog header picture.  Johnny-Jump-Ups (violas) are one of our very first flowers to bloom.  The ones shown here are not ones currently blooming, but we're hoping it won't be long before they do.

Saturday, April 18, 2015


I used my power today to talk my dear husband into doing something he wanted to put off . . . until next year. 

But don't worry.  It's all for good . . . rather than evil.  He just doesn't realize it yet.  Bwah-ha-ha-ha!

Friday, April 17, 2015

Mental Health Day

Papa Pea and I are taking a day off today.  Both of us are going to independently do whatever we want.

Last night I asked him what he was looking forward to doing.  In his typical ever-wanting-to-get-on-top-of-his-computer/desk work, he said he'd feel loads better if he spent some time trying to at least locate the top surface of the desk itself.  (If you saw the mountain of paper work on his desk on any given day, you'd know the challenge involved there.)  He's also been wanting to build a wood duck box to put down by our little pond so he's aiming for that also.  And probably a gazillion other things he'd like to do.

Me?  Not hard to guess where I'll be.  In my quilt room for most of the time.  You can always tell when I've not been in there for a while.  All surfaces are littered with notes to myself of project ideas, projects in progress, and various small piles of "stuff" that in no way belongs in my quilt room but has been stashed there (out of sight) until I put it where it belongs.  So, such is the state of the room right now.  But it won't take long to get it back into organizational working order.  Yep, I'm one of those people who is uncomfortable working with a mess surrounding me.  I need to have a "clear deck" to feel creative.

And with that said, I'm off to pursue my Mental Health Day.  Sure hope it helps all things mental! 

Tuesday, April 14, 2015

Crafty Little Girl, Isn't She?

I just had to show off these handmade envelopes my daughter makes.

She collects previous years' attractive calendars and then makes letter-sized envelopes out of them.

The bottom one in the right hand row shows the back of one of the envelopes.

I received a bunch of them as a Christmas present from her this last year and (cleverly) hinted a short time ago that I was really enjoying using them but that my supply was dwindling.  Lo and behold, she took the (not so subtle) hint (hooray) and this new batch appeared a couple of days ago.

Who needs a fancy stationery store when I've got such a talented daughter?!

Saturday, April 11, 2015

Off the Wall? Nope, On the Wall!

See that little quilted piece on the wall under the framed picture?  It's a small wall hanging I made a couple of years ago, and I really like it.  But the fabrics I used in making it are definitely of an "autumnal" hue.  With our summer season approaching (we're still holding out hope), I wanted something that said "green and growing" more than "end-of-the-season-wrap-up."

New piece done, new piece in place.

When my daughter saw this being made she thought it was something for Christmas.  Hey, reds and greens can be just as much summer colors as Christmas ones!

The block I chose is an old one called, simply, Flower Pot.

I wanted bright colors of summer, but also wanted it to coordinate with the colors used in the framed cross-stitch hanging above it.

 This little project has been on my Wanna-Do List for a while.  And now it's done!