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Posts Tagged ‘flowers’

Whew, it’s been a busy summer…and fall!  Between gardens, goats, chickens, baby, and business, we’ve been living at a dead run since about May!

The pile of squash leaves after the frost (and one wheelbarrow of harvested squash)

The pile of squash leaves after the frost (and one wheelbarrow of harvested squash)

As a quick update, Hubby’s garden turned out great – moving it up close to the barn was a wonderful idea – it got a lot more attention when we were walking past it twice a day, and most everything thrived, including the squash, which went wild and started taking over the lawn, and the mangel beets, which we’ve never had any success with before, but managed this year to grow one nearly as tall as toddler M:

Finally a success with mangel beets!

Finally a success with mangel beets!

The goats loved those beets, too!  Too bad we only grew a few test plants.  Perhaps next year…

 

One drawback to having the garden so near the livestock was discovering just how much damage chickens can (and will) do to developing squash.  While it didn’t cause us too many issues in the end (we pulled in two wheelbarrows of pumpkins and spaghetti squash, plus a bit!), it was disappointing to see at the time:

What free-range chickens will do to the pumpkin patch...

What free-range chickens will do to the pumpkin patch…

 

We had planted a couple of garden beds to flowers, just to keep the grass and weeds from taking over, as we wanted to reduce our garden workload as much as possible.  I was pretty happy to be picking myself a bouquet of glads for my birthday – an unplanned bonus.  Hubby may be digging me more flower beds when we get serious about the garden again!

 

These guys grew with a surprisingly minimal amount of fuss and attention

These guys grew with a surprisingly minimal amount of fuss and attention

 

Fortunately, Baby J has turned out to be quite a laid back baby, and we’re doing much better in the sleep and getting-stuff-done departments than we were with toddler M at a similar age.  This is not to say we’re accomplishing a whole lot, but rather, our extensive baby preparations have allowed us to more-or-less keep up with the basic work, rather than falling terribly behind!

 

Baby J

Baby J

 

Hopefully now that winter’s finally here (it’s been hovering between -25 and -30 for close to a week!) I will be able to get to some of the stuff that’s been on the back burner during our busy seasons…including blogging!  I don’t promise to get back to weekly posts just yet, but you will be hearing more from me than in the recent past.

 

Now, off to figure out the breeding roster for the goats!

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I took the day off work today, because I have some planting to do.  Not my usual trees and berry bushes, though; today, it’s bulbs.  Several hundred of them, as a matter of fact.

 

bulbs

When the brightly-colored fall bulb catalogs came a couple of months ago, I was entranced, as usual, with all the bright colors and pretty flowers.  I made up a wish list, and I had a lot of wishes!  I hemmed and hawed for a long time, since I thought maybe that money would be better spent on more practical things, like hedging trees to replace the ones that came down in last year’s storm.   When I added up all my wishes, though, it wasn’t really that expensive, and they had a really good sale on bulk orders, so I could actually afford to get most of what I wanted.   In the end, I decided that if I was that enticed by the catalog pictures, maybe beauty really did matter, too.

 

flower bulb catalogs

In the end, I ordered bulk quantities of a few types of bulb – mixed-color snow crocuses, primarily, but also a bunch of little purple muscari, some daffodils and lilies of the valley, a few English bluebells, and assortments of daylilies and irises.  Plus, a few other odds and ends, because…well, you know.   Of course, after I made my order, several friends decided to divide daylilies, someone dug up a bucket of lily bulbs to give away, and my mother in law showed up for a visit with a collection of plants, as well.  The acreage will be a riot of color next summer!

 

I can actually even justify what (in my mind) could be seen as a frivolous expense.  Bees and butterflies need to eat, too, and feeding the pollenators brings a net advantage to our garden.  I’ve ordered mostly spring bulbs, for now, but some of the new plants will flower all summer, and will feed birds, bees, and butterflies, all of which we are happy to have around here.  In the end, it didn’t take much justifying, and, of course, Hubby was happy enough to support the project, as long as it wouldn’t break the bank.  Five hundred bulbs makes for a lot of digging, though.

 

handful of bulbs

I am excited to see what comes up next spring!

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It’s April 7th today, theoretically six weeks from last frost.  The three feet of snow on my lawn (plus the inch that fell yesterday) suggest that my plans to plant the main garden on Victoria Day are more than a little optimistic.  It’s -7 Celsius, with no day forecast to be above freezing until the end of next week, at the earliest.  Bleh.

 

I started artichokes in February, twelve weeks from last frost.  They’re a couple of inches tall, now, contributing to the living room jungle.   My permanent windowsill herbs have gone a little nuts; there is a brief span, spring and fall, when the sun is strong enough to really get them growing, and still low enough in the sky to shine directly in the south window.   My scheffelara has grown a foot in the last few weeks.

 

seed starts

 

I sat down this afternoon with a bag of dirt and a bag of seeds.  The result is an inability to find my kitchen table.  Again.  Today’s focus was mostly herbs and flowers; I decided not to pot up any more tomatoes until it looks like spring might actually come, as they do seem to get leggy if I start them too soon.  But we’ve got flats of calendula, zinnia, rudbeckia, pansies, dianthus, and basil on the go, now.  Potential beauty, beautiful potential, right there in my kitchen.  Planting seeds feels like such a hopeful thing to do; an act in defiance of this apparently never-ending winter…

 

daffodils

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Yesterday was just one of those days.

We went into town to drop the Corolla off for the out-of-province safety inspection, but could not get in until Tuesday. The insurance is only good until the end of the month, and we need to figure out if it is worth fixing up and re-insuring, or if we need to go looking for a different vehicle for me. It was a long, annoying ride to town on three cylinders, and I was a little frustrated that they could not get me in, though I really had no right to be, as I hadn’t thought to book ahead.

We went to the Co-op Agro Centre and Peavy Mart to price out how much it is going to cost us for heat lamps and feeders for the chickens. They don’t come until the last week of May, but I want to be ready for them long before that. It sure would suck to get 50 chicks and find everyone sold out of heat lamps. We did not purchase any equipment yesterday, but we are satisfied that it will not be overly expensive – heat lamps are around $25, and feeders and waterers are about $10. We plan to keep the chicks confined using 2×6 boards, or maybe a couple of plastic kiddie pools…we’ll see.

What we couldn’t find was bedding and/or a selection of feed. The one pallet of feed we did find, at Peavy Mart, Nutrena Starter / Grower Feed, does not have an ingredient list on the bag. This is a real problem for me, as I cannot eat commercially produced eggs. I am not allergic to eggs, but I AM allergic to something they feed commercial chickens, if you can believe that. Therefore, the contents of my chicken feed is going to be critical. The bag had a note that the ingredient list was available from the manufacturer. I checked the website when I got home, and still could not find any indication of what, exactly, was in the bag. I figure if you can’t find something on a website in 10 minutes of searching, it probably isn’t there. I emailed the company (and boy, do they want a lot of personal info before they’ll answer a simple question), and we’ll see if they get back to me. I kind of think they won’t – there must be something to hide.

Though we didn’t buy chicken stuff, we did buy a bunch more garden seed. Not that we probably needed it, but what the heck – we’ve got an acre or so we could plant if we wanted. As the snow has melted, it has become apparent that there is a strip of land along our laneway, which used to be farmer’s field, and is now part of our acreage. It looks to me to be about 60 x 400 feet, based on our survey map and google maps. Hubby and I went and walked the length and width of it (we finally found some survey stakes), and it’s HUGE! I don’t know if we’ll actually plant it all, but we have no reason to exercise restraint, and the seed buying spree is now officially on…

I also started a bunch more herbs in terra cotta pots, to keep in our south window through the winter, so we can still have the odd bit of fresh basil or parsley in January. I was going to set out some of the other stuff in seed starting flats, but got sidetracked with recording. Hubby and I created a database, like a spreadsheet almost, to record information about different plant varieties and seed suppliers and such, so we could compare in the fall and decide what worked well enough to plant again next year. It took a couple of hours to set up, and I had already entered a bunch of information on the varieties we had started in flats last weekend. I went to add some information about the new seeds I was going to plant, and somehow deleted several hours’ worth of work. By two hours past my bedtime last night, I still had not recovered any of the lost information, so I am resigned to having a couple of afternoons’ worth of typing to re-do. Bleh.

At least the started seeds are doing well. In the last few days, the squash, melons, tomatoes, and some of the herbs have come up. Yay! Nothing from any of the peppers, yet, but we planted a couple of terra cotta pots’ worth of hot pepper plants (jalapeno and cayenne), just for fun.

Today I am going to start some of the new stuff – some of it is completely frivolous, like Turk’s Turban, bushel, and birdhouse gourds, as well as a bunch of flowers, and I’m kind of looking forward to growing some ‘fun’ stuff, as well as the veggies…

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