Monday, December 31, 2007
This picture is of my Son at 1 year old, celebrating the New Year. We had so much fun with him. He is now 21, and won't let me decorate him like this anymore...I wonder why?
Over Christmas we got out some of the old video tapes that we took when he was a child. It had been a long time since I had watched them. One of my New Year's resolutions is to get them transfered to DVD's. I have already ordered the software to do it.
It has been interesting to read everyone's thoughts on resolutions, or some people use the term, goals (somehow that doesn't sound quit as permanent as resolutions). I always come up with the standards, loss weight, exercise more, buy less books, etc, but most of these don't make it past the first few weeks of January. I have always called these resolutions, so this year I am going to call them goals, and see if that makes a difference.
The one resolution that I never have trouble keeping is: No outdoor gardening until Spring. These are the resolutions that I don't have a problem with. You know, like, no skydiving, no mountain climbing, no eating sushi, etc.. Things that I would never do in the first place. I don't have a problem with those. Maybe if these were the only kinds of resolutions that I ever make, my success rate would be 100%!
Everyone have a safe and happy New Year.
Saturday, December 29, 2007
So, I decided to check and see if my property had been done. I couldn't believe the detail! I understand that this is not in real time, (the nearest I can figure the photo's were taken in August of 2007), it is still very 'Big Brother' like. I enjoy traveling around the world with google earth, but this is a whole different ball game!
I am not sure what is next.
(Sorry, I am not real good at links yet, but if you click on the title of this post, it will take you to street view of my property)
Thursday, December 27, 2007
I also checked on the plants that I am over wintering in the greenhouse. I ran out of time this Fall, so they will have to spend the winter inside. It isn't the ideal environment. It warms up during the day, but gets very cold at night.
I usually don't have a problem until late February, and then they think that it is Spring, and start growing.
I only am able to use my greenhouse in the early Spring, because it would cost way to much to heat it over the winter.
I have had this greenhouse for a very long time, and it has quit a history. Back in the 1980's I worked for company from Michigan, that was affiliated with Purdue University, and was experimenting with growing tissue culture roses. We would grow rose bushes, in baby food jars, with about 25 bushes to a jar, in a medium that looked a lot like Jello. Hard to believe, but that is what we did. My job was to take the plants, after they had grown roots, into the greenhouse, pot them up, and care for them until they could be sold. It was a very interesting job, and I really enjoyed it.
When they built the greenhouse on the site, they decided to try and build one out of regular conduit pipe. They were successful, and we used it for several years. When the time came to shut down the experiment, everything had to go. I was given the greenhouse, and everything that went with it, if I could just remove it from the premises. My husband and I took it apart, and numbered every piece, so that we would know how to get it back together. Several years passed before I had a property to put the greenhouse on, but finally, we put it up, and I have been using it ever since. For a few years I grew herbs, and sold them locally, but it was hard to do that and work in our landscaping business, so eventually I had to give it up. I still grow the flowers that we use in our landscapes, and enough herbs and vegetable plants for myself, and a few friends. We have to change the poly covering every 5 years, and are in the process of replacing the benches, but other than that, it is pretty maintenance free.
My favorite thing is towards the end of February when I head out to the greenhouse to start my seeds. It is so wonderful in there, and smells all earthy and Spring-like. I hope some day I will be able to get back to growing and selling herbs and flowers from my home, I really enjoyed that.
Tuesday, December 25, 2007
Saturday, December 22, 2007
I actually put up two trees every year. This started when my Son was small. He wanted a tree with multi-colored lights, but I had always used white lights. So, the large traditional tree holds all of the family oriented ornaments, and the smaller tree is covered with any religious, or more delicate ornaments. I enjoy both tree's, and have collected enough ornaments over the years, to cover each.
This ornament is one my teenage niece made when she was a little girl. It is a worm. I love it!
St. Fiacre wisdom.
I bought this one for my husband years ago from a specialty catalog.
The garden of weeden, I'm sure we have all been there!
A beautiful glass rose.
Saturday, December 15, 2007
I have never added a youtube video to my site, but this one is awesome! I had just commented last week that I was not sure what our world would be like in a few years, with the kids of the next generation running it. (Sorry to be so negative, but I had just had a really disappointing talk with my 10th grade CCD (Catholic education),class about the importance of their faith in their lives.)
Then, as he often does, God shows me that we will be fine, with kids like Logan out there.
I had mine staked, but the ice was just to much for it. It was especially pretty this Summer but I couldn't find any information on how hardy they were. I have never had a problem with the hardiness of regular Knockout roses, but tree roses can sometimes be a little more difficult to grow.
Our forecast for tonight is 7-10 inches of snow. It is supposed to be a heavy wet snow, so I am a little worried about my evergreens. I have filled the bird feeders, and put out suet to tide the birds over, and have plenty of food in the house. We only live 2 miles from the grocery store, on a State highway, so I usually don't have to worry about getting snowed in. My Son has his snowmobile gear all ready to go. Last year when we had the blizzard, and no one was allowed on the roads, he took his snowmobile out on the highway. He said he only saw a few vehicles in the entire time that he was out. He said it was one of the best experiences that he has ever had. The speed, the quite, and feeling like he was doing something not many people could do, was quit a thrill. I was happy to stay inside a watch him, and was glad when he got back home.
So maybe if I am snowed in I will finally get my "8 things that I am happy about" meme done, that Leslie over at Growing a Garden in Davis tagged me with last week.
Tuesday, December 4, 2007
There was one project that absolutely had to be done. In the fall we pick up lots of leaves, and
I keep several of the better loads, (the ones that are mostly oak leaves), for my beds. They make a great mulch for the beds that I don't want to cover with bark mulch. These leaves are wonderful because they go through the mower, and then go through a vacuum that shoots them into a covered truck. This process chops them into pieces, so they are easy to spread and stay put over the winter. The pile in the picture above are to cover my herb garden next Spring, but I had another pile dumped in the back on the grass. I had to get these moved or the grass would die underneath them. So out I went in the 30 degree weather, to get it done before the snow. It actually didn't feel as cold as it was. The sun was out most of the day, and the wind was not blowing.
I got the leaves all used up, and even though the grass looked pretty bad under them, I think it will be fine next Spring. These leaves are one of the advantages of having a lawn service, and I always make sure that I get at least two truck loads every Fall to use on my property. I also have friends stop by to see if I have any left over. They bring there garbage bags and load them up. I also often have people stop for soil. We make our own out of all of the debris that we accumulate over the summer. This is primarily my husbands job. I think he is just so amazed that it works. The pile is so large that he uses the tractor to mix it. It is quit amazing how nice the soil is that we end up with. This is the other advantage to my business. I always have good composted soil available when I need it. Sometimes the pile gets so large that my husband
starts using it for jobs where he needs to fill in
an area with dirt. I always give him a hard time when he does that. Imagine using "black gold" to fill in a hole. I have told him that we could probably sell both the leaves and the soil, but we just never get around to it.
So, I use what I need, and the rest just keeps piling up.
Well, hopefully we won't have a lot of snow. They are saying 2-5 inches. But the temperature through the weekend is supposed to be in the 40s, so maybe I will get back out there on Saturday.
Sunday, December 2, 2007
That's right, big trouble for me. The sale actually started on Friday night. If you are a friend of the
library, (and I am a VERY good friend!), and you pay yearly dues, you are invited to the sale on Friday night before it opens to the general public on Saturday morning. I decided that I had run out of room for books, so I made plans for Friday night, and managed to keep my mind occupied on Saturday, so that I would not think about the treasures that I was missing downtown.
But, what finally got to me was the fact that the books are all marked half price on Sunday. How on earth could I ignore that! And besides, it was raining, so my plan of finishing some things in the garden, went out the window. So what was I to do? Head downtown of course. I gave my self a good talking to on the way, reminding myself that I really was out of room, and had no place else to stash any books. But once I got there....well, you book lovers know what happened. There were garden books, and Christmas books, a book I had purchased at Barnes and Noble this summer, and returned because I didn't think I needed it was there for $1.oo! Plus, it is winter, so I needed a few novels to read. And, it was raining outside, so I had to stay in there until it stopped. Finally, about 30 books later, I lugged my treasures to the car. I had left my home in the morning for church, so when I came driving into the driveway at 3 o'clock, my husband came to see were I had been. When he saw the bags, he just started shaking his head. He knows my weakness, and just smiled and carried the bags to the house.
So tonight I scan them into Librarything, and then try to find them a home. It won't be easy.
Wednesday, November 21, 2007
I did manage to get my garlic planted on Tuesday afternoon. I knew that the weather was going to change on Wednesday, and even though I don't mind cleaning up beds when it is cold, I don't like digging in wet soil and planting. And we do have wet soil! I think we have got close to 2 inches of rain today.
The picture above is the garlic split apart and ready to plant. I planted two different varieties, one was Inchelium Red, a softneck variety, and the other, Chesnok Red a hardneck variety. I ordered my garlic from Seeds of Change. It was a little pricey, but was grown organically, and that is what I wanted. Plus, I ordered late, and many companies were out of the varieties that I wanted.
I am trying the no till method of gardening, so I raked back the straw in the bed, and dug the holes with a small trowel. Then I covered the bed with compost, and a little bit of organic fertilizer, and covered the whole thing with mulched leaves. It has been a long time since I have grown garlic, so I thought that I would give it a try. It is kind of like starting the Spring planting season early. I feel like I am ahead of the game, having my first crop for next year planted already.
I was amazed when I started digging at how many earthworms that I found. Large ones, and baby ones. I don't ever remember seeing that many when I planted. I have to believe that it is because of the way that I planted the garden this year. I tilled it in the Spring, planted, and then placed straw around the plants. I couldn't believe how much difference a few inches of straw made in the garden. I had very few weeds, did not have to water as often, and now all of these earthworms. I think that I have found the method of gardening that I will be using from now on. Since I read the book, "Teaming With Microbes", (well, I didn't really read it, I kind of scanned it, but I do intend to read it eventually), I learned about the damage that you can do to soil when you till it. And after seeing all of those earthworms, I am beginning to believe it.
Well, I do hope you all have a wonderful Thanksgiving tomorrow. I hope that there is something on your table from your garden. That always makes it special. I also hope that you are able to spend it with the people that you care about, and the people that care about you. I have begun to see that it really doesn't matter whether you are with family or friends. What matters is that, if possible, you are with the people that you care most about in the world.
Saturday, November 17, 2007
I decided to start on a shrub bed at the front of the property. I like to start my fall cleanup near the house, and work my way towards the back gardens, so that if I don't get all of the beds done, I won't have to look at the unfinished ones all winter.
Then I decided that I better get in all of the bird baths, and other paraphernalia that I scatter around the beds in the Spring. It never seems like much when you put it out, but when your putting that stuff away, it takes forever!
Tomorrow is supposed to be pretty nice also, so I hope to finish up the beds near the house, get my garlic planted, get all of the annual pots put away, and maybe my patio furniture put up. I don't like working on Sunday, but I hope that God will forgive me, seeing how we have a chance of snow on Thanksgiving day, and I am running out of time.
I still have a few trees in my lawn that are holding on to their leaves, so I hope we still have some good weather after Thanksgiving, to clean up those leaves when they fall.
The picture above is the Sweet Gum tree in our back yard. It was the first tree we planted when we moved here 17 years ago, and probably not the best choice for this location. I do love the tree, and it had pretty good fall color, but if you have ever had a Sweet Gum, you know about the "porcupine balls". These spiny little balls are about the size of a cherry tomato, but that is where the similarity ends. These little guys are hard and prickly so you wouldn't want to step on one with your bare feet. As the tree gets larger, there are many more of them. I have seen the ground under some trees completely covered by them. My tree has never been much of a problem, but it is starting to get pretty large, so I don't know how bad they will be in the future. We usually just vacuum them up with the mower, but I expect that some day, after there are more of them to deal with, we will have to come up with another plan. A leaf blower also works pretty well, but I am sure as there are more and more of them, that will probably not work either. Some people use the little balls for craft projects, but I am not very crafty, so they will end up in the compost pile.
Monday, November 12, 2007
I have two Ginko tree's in my yard. One is in the herb garden, and one is near my new patio. They are a wonderful tree, but you have to be watchful in the fall, or you will miss all the action.
I don't know if any of you treat your evergreens in the fall with anti-transparent, but it is a good thing to do. What this product does for an evergreen, is to seal the leaves so that they don't lose moisture through the leaves, over the winter. It acts like a kind of "glue" on the leaves. Most evergreens are lost during the winter, because the air is dry, and winter winds pull the moisture out of the leaves. If the soil around the plant also goes into winter on the dry side, the evergreen will have a hard time surviving. Even if it is not killed, it can be burned by the cold winds. Most in danger are small, or newly planted evergreens. I usually don't worry about established evergreens, but azaleas, boxwood, rhododendron's, all should be treated.
The product that I use is called Wilt-Pruf. It comes in an aerosol spray can, or you can buy it in a quart or gallon size, and mix it yourself. I always go around in the fall, and spray the evergreens in all of the landscapes that I have done over the summer, and rarely lose any plants, if this is done. You can also treat you live or cut Christmas tree before bringing into the dry air of your home. The picture above is a heather that was planted earlier this Spring. When you spray the plant it looks like you have spray painted the plant white. It will dry to a clear, shiny finish. A one time spray will last all winter, but it must be applied while temperatures are above freezing.
You can find Wilt-Pruf at most garden centers or home stores.
Friday, November 9, 2007
But, as fate would have it, my truck wouldn't start. Bummer, I would have to spend the entire day in my own garden. You can imagine how broken hearted I was! ;)
So first I tackled my Tanyosho Pine. I planted this pine 10 years ago, and it has done very well, but over the years it had accumulated a lot of dead wood, and large amounts of pine needles would accumulate where the branches come together at the base of the plant. I trimmed out all dead wood, and any branches that were crossing each other. I had not planned to do this when I started out front, so I don't have a before picture, but you could not see through it before I started, it was that thick with branches and needles.
Now I was on a roll. So I started in on the Sargent Crab tree. It didn't need much, because I keep after it, usually touching it up each fall. But
it had a few suckers, and my husband informed
me that it was getting very difficult to hang the
Christmas lights because it was growing
back towards the house, so I spent about an hour
shaping it up. It is so much easier to prune deciduous trees in the fall, because you can see exactly what you are doing, without all of those leaves in the way.
So now I have tomorrow to get the perennials trimmed off. I tend to move from bed to bed, instead of jumping around, usually starting in front of the house, and working my way to the back beds. I did divide a few perennials, and dig out a old spirea that wasn't doing well, in the bed that the Tanyosho pine is in. I couldn't believe how dry it was. So, after I finish the work in each bed, I water them well. Hopefully we will get the rain that is forecast for Monday.
I also want to share a picture of my 'miracle tree'. This tree was put in shortly after we moved here 17 years ago. When my Son was about 10 years old he was speeding around in my golf cart, and ran over the tree, taking it flat to the ground. My husband declared that we might as well pull it out, because there was no way that it could survive that. It was pretty beat up, but I decided that we would give it a chance, and I pulled it back up straight and staked it. There have been many times over the years that we have commented about how tough trees are, and how destructive kids are! The story has been told many times, especially by anyone commenting on how pretty the tree is. My Son has never forgotten the incident, and at graduation time, had some of his pictures taken under the tree.
It is now one of my favorite trees on our property.
Friday, November 2, 2007
My baby turned 21 years old today. It seems like only yesterday that he was this sweet little thing. I can't stress enough to parents with small children-let everything else go, and just enjoy them while they are young. It goes so fast. While you are raising them you never think that it will end, but all of a sudden they have grown up, and all you want to do is just stop and say, "wait, I want to play a few of those years over again!".
My baby is an only child, and I think this makes it even harder. Every event in their life is the only time you will experience whatever it is, so you tend to make a big deal out of all of them. Every birthday, every school function, and so on.
Tonight we celebrated number 21 like we have celebrated all of the other ones, with a bonfire, and lots of family and friends. Sometimes we have linked the birthday and Halloween together, and dressed up in costumes. Sometimes the weather has forced us into the garage, out of the cold, wind, or rain. But this year we had perfect weather. We cooked hot dogs, and s'mores over the fire, and set up tables in the garage for everyone to sit, eat, and visit.
I have always hoped that my Son would share my love of nature and gardening. When he was a little boy, I would drive him to the babysitter, and on the way we would play the Spirea game. The game could only be played in the Spring, and the rules were that whoever spotted the Spirea in bloom first would yell out, "SPIREA", and the winner was whichever of us had the most when we got to our destination. We had such fun playing that game, and to this day, in the Spring, if we are driving someplace together, he will often yell out "SPIREA" if he spots one in bloom, before I can see it and claim it.
But at 21 years old, the last thing on his mind, is gardening and plants. Music, his guitar, and his vehicles are his passions. He does work in our business, but I do not see the passion that his Father and I have for it. That's OK, but I do hope someday he will know the value in growing his own food, and gardening just for the enjoyment that we gardeners get from watching plants grow.
Just last weekend he was the music coordinator and driver for the wedding of his newly married cousin. He drove them around town in his 1930 Model A, that he is so proud of. He has grown into a very fine young man.
He is kind, has a genuine love for his family, and a great loyalty to his friends. He has a deep love for God, and is very happy to share his faith with others.
I am proud to be his Mother.
Tuesday, October 30, 2007
Part of the reason that I haven't completed more items from my list was the wedding of my favorite niece, on October 20. Even though I am just the Aunt, there was lots to do, and no extra time to spend in the garden.
I finally did get back to the garden this past weekend, but felt that I needed to get all of the plants moved inside that I did not want to lose to frost. Then there are my worms. This Spring when I started my vermiculture experiment, I placed my "can-o-worms" just outside the back door. All summer long I added all my kitchen waste, and the worms loved it! But, red worms do not tolerate cold weather, so I needed to get them moved inside for the winter. I decided at this time, to add fresh bedding, and move the worms into there new home in the basement. So I dumped the worms onto an old shower curtain, and sorted them into their new bedding. I really wanted to do this, to see how many worms had survived the summer. I was happy to see lots of red worms, and some really great compost. I added shredded newspaper, peat moss, and leaves to create their new
environment, so they are now ready to munch up all of our kitchen waste through the winter.
Now I am praying for a few more days of
good weather so that I can get the rest of my
fall work done. I still have plants to get into the ground, perennials to cut off, and annuals to pull. I also need to put all of my birdbaths, and outside decor away for the winter.
I have two sheds, one to store all of my garden "stuff", and they other we use for raising chickens. We have not raised any chickens for a few years, so I store my patio furniture in it. So, over the weekend, I open the door to this shed, and notice that some animal has been using the shed as it's personal bathroom. And by the looks of it, it's either a raccoon or a possum. Now I have to pull everything out, and try to find out where he is getting in. I did not need this task added to my already long list of things to do this fall. But I know that if I don't take care of this problem now, my patio furniture will not be fit to sit in come spring.
So, this weekend I will be back out there trying to catch up. I sure hope that November doesn't fly by like October did!
Tuesday, October 9, 2007
My fruit garden has done really well considering it's the first year. I have been eating raspberries on and off all fall. Hopefully next year the blueberries and strawberries will be as plentiful.
The fencing have kept the rabbits out, so the plants are not being chewed to the ground every other day.
I have started a list of what needs to be moved this fall, and what should be left until spring. I always leave grasses to divide in the spring. I have not had much luck moving or dividing them in the fall. As tough as they are, they don't seem to make it very well through the winter if they are not rooted in well. I really would rather move and divide plants in the fall. There are so many other things to do in the spring, that the more I can get done in the fall the better. I also like to cut all of the perennials off in the fall. I f I leave them, the rabbits have lots of places to hide over the winter.
My tomato cages worked well, except that I didn't anchor them down, and the first big wind that came along knocked them over. I just left them, and continued picking the tomatoes where they lay, but next year I will be staking them at the same time that I plant the tomatoes. I also will not be planting near as many tomatoes as I did this year. I have offered them to everyone that I know, but most people only want them if you deliver them, they don't want to have to come and pick the tomatoes themselves. I enjoyed the cherry tomatoes more this year, they seemed to have a better flavor than the regular tomatoes.
This weekend is the Feast of the Hunter's Moon here in Lafayette. I have not been to it in years, but for the last 3 years we have held our annual garage sale on that weekend. We call it the 'Feast of the Garage Saler's Moon'. We always have a big crowd, and get a lot of people stopping that are headed in for the Feast. I usually have some plants to sell, and all the miscellaneous stuff that I have accumulated over the past year.
So, I will be busy for the next few days getting ready for the sale, then on Friday night is the library book sale, that I should not be going to, but can not seem to stay away.
Sunday, September 23, 2007
I have not done anything in my garden for a month, except water. I just got tired of trying to keep everything looking good. I really want to start cutting perennials off, but I know that it is a bit to early. I am planning to move some plants around, and plant a few that I picked up at season end sales, but I am waiting for it to cool off a little.
The herb garden is the only thing that seems to be doing well. I haven't watered it at all, but it just keeps growing. I am amazed when I look back at earlier posts and see what it looked like in the spring, and then look at it now. The goldenrod, and the fennel look especially good this time of year.
I have a small pond in the herb garden, and am afraid that it is going to need to be cleaned out this fall. When I was feeding the
fish the other day I noticed a large object that looked like a log, laying in the middle of the pond. After examining it more closely, I realized that it is the root of one of the lilies!
The plants in the pond are also busting out of their pots, so they will have to be divided and repotted also. I dread this job. If you have a pond you know what I mean. It is messy, you have to find somewhere to keep the fish while you are cleaning out the pond, and you usually end up in the water at some point in the process.
I have been using my away-from-the-garden time constructively. I volunteered at my church to revamp the kitchen pantry. This involved removing everything from the room, painting the walls and ceiling, installing a new light, putting together the new shelving, and then moving everything back. This then lead to finding someone to install new flooring in the kitchen. And if this wasn't enough, I then decided to paint two classrooms, and arrange for carpet to be installed in the rooms. Needless to say, I have spent the last month inside. In 20 years of business I have never had any time off during the summer months. Because of the hot dry summer, and the fact that the employees actually stayed on past June 1st, I was able to take some time off.
My cactus also decided to bloom one more time before winter. I guess that it wants me to see how beautiful the flowers are, so that when it comes time to drag it insde for the winter, I won't decide that it's not worth the trouble. It weighs a ton, and it is a cactus, so you have to be VERY careful!
So, I will spend the rest of the evening catching up with all of my fellow bloggers. I am sure you all have continued blogging in my absence, so I better get started.