Saturday, April 24, 2010

Quiet Moment

Sitting outside a while ago, taking a moment to just admire the garden, stop moving, not working on a project, not thinking about working on a project, just sitting still and soaking it all up, something we gardeners don’t do enough of I’ll wager. And here came the chickadees, one, two, three, four, five in a row, to have a little bath in the waterfall. Delightful.

Also captured by the camera today;

Illini Warrior peony, sexy in red
Tri-colored Lonicera, going bananas on the gateway arbor
Heron stalks a dragonfly amid the dianthus and columbines

Monday, April 19, 2010

Greens of Every Shade

The scene at our house; tomatoes, peppers and eggplants that are coming in at night and going out by day to harden off.  Hope to plant the maters this week and the pepps and eggies next week when things are even more settled weatherwise.  Packs of seeds for squash and cucumbers await me sowing a few of those into flats so I can plant them out in about 3 or 4 weeks hopefully. 

Had my first day off in about 2 weeks yesterday and enjoyed the beautiful weather, planted a few perennials I couldn't resist bringing home from the nursery and enjoyed meals including winter veggies that we are eating as fast as we can because the spring crops are starting to come in. Finally polished off the last of the fall spinach last night with loads of garlic and some beet greens mixed in and a side of sweet potatoes.  Working our way through the fall cabbage, chard, kale, collards, lettuce...  Need to eat LOTS of greens, but they are good for us.  Asparagus every other day and lately with shitakes, which we have deemed one of the all time best food combos we know.  Tonight we had them grilled. yummm.

Still no real room to breath, packing record numbers of packages at the Forest, everyone everywhere is planting and gardening just now, sending lots of plants to the midwest as its now finally warm enough for us to ship there, in February and March we were shipping to points south.  We're glad the open house is over and we'll be glad to see the end of May and the shipping slow down.  May will also bring the end to the veggie planting mania that is April, I'll breath a big sigh of relief once all the summer crops are in the ground.

I'm also helping to install a "Natural Learning Environment" onto the playground of a childcare center in Hillsborough this weekend.  It should be great once its done, but a lot of work to get it ready.  I am glad to be a part of this effort to bring nature to children that spend long days in the confines of childcare centers. The typical playground  is made up of play equipment surrounded by a flat and barren area covered with mulch. We hope to transform this one into a green space with lots of textures, smells, shapes, trees to climb, filled with natural objects to create with and inspire free play and exploration. 

Once that's done maybe I can lay on down for awhile as my papa used to say. I'm eager for an early morning bird walk and the exciting migrating warblers should start showing up this weekend.

Monday, April 12, 2010

Asparagus, Morels and no Time to Sit Still

12 days without a post, it must be April!  BUSY, BUSY, BUSY.  I've barely had time to enjoy my garden let alone get any work done in it or write a post.  It's a good thing David has been around to do the major share of watering, weeding, and mulching, if it had been up to me, everything would probably be buried in chickweed going to seed by now.

I have managed to get the spring garden well under way with two plantings of several things.  We have good stands now of young carrots, beets, fennel, turnips, peas, lettuce, radish and kale.  The onions are growing as are the garlic, the strawberries are flowering and we've started harvesting asparagus.  I also set out some cabbage plants and sowed seed for bok choy, tatsoi and swiss chard last week.  We'll be working hard in another month to eat all the vegggies we've planted.

Tomatoes are stepped up to bigger pots and have been hardening off for a week, hope to plant them next weekend.  After the hottest first week for April on record all the leaves have flown out and the tulips and daffodils made a quick exit.  Thankfully the temps have cooled back down to normal.  The weeping redbud has been putting on an excellent show.
I took my first real spring bird walk yesterday with my friend Stew, still a bit early for the migrants but managed to see ovenbird, northern waterthrushes, yellow throated warbler, common yellow throat and heard but did not see northern parula and hooded warbler.  It was a splendid day weatherwise and we enjoyed each others company while getting warbler neck from trying to spot those darn parulas, always in the very tops of the tallest trees straight overhead. David caught this pileated woodpecker messing around in the yard, seems he may be considering our vicinity for a nesting ground this season, that would be very fine.
And to top off the season, morels!  Perhaps the best harvest we've found on the land near our house in all the years we've lived here, it's such a matter of timing and then just being able to spot the things, they look exactly like the leaf litter and D has a much better eye for them than I do.  I can be starting straight at them and not see them. But oh they were yummy.