Saturday, January 31, 2009

Gardens from a Window

I must confess that I am being a copycat with this blog. My gardening friend Connie had an assignment from a gardening photographer who challenged his constituency to take pictures of their gardens from a window. Many of my windows don't open, and those that do have a stack of wood in front of them. So, I took a couple pictures through the sun room windows.

Then I walked outside to take a picture from the street. Below you can see the flower garden which I created after my first visit to Connie's garden. She was the inspiration for my finally growing flowers. My husband is not real happy with it, but he tolerates my gardening schemes.

Hollyhocks live in the cages at the back, Moonbeam Coreopsis inhabit the middle along with one Michaelmas Daisy where the birds can bathe in privacy. And along the front there will be Zinnias and Petunias. Other favorite flowers are there too, just not obvious yet.

Sunday, January 25, 2009

Spring Has Sprung...I Think!

I kid you not! This robin, along with 3 others, blessed my yard two days ago. Aren't they a sure sign of spring? The two pairs were chatting loudly, singing love songs to each other. I'm so excited because we have old nests in the rafters above my studio/classroom which we can observe easily; perhaps they'll take up residence.

If you click on this fellow above you can see him 'up close and personal', like they used to say in the olympics.

Here are a couple of sparrows who were chatting noisily too. The Flicker came back to roust out the robins in his territory.

And, my favorite, the quails. They are so dear to me because of their ridiculous gait and behaviors that have endeared them to me.

I will also tell you that I was awakened last night about 9:30 pm to the loud squawking of the geese flying north overhead. Maybe because it was dark and snowing they needed to encourage one another. We DO have about 4 inches of new snow this day.

Thursday, January 22, 2009

Let the Games Begin!

Winter sowing is the beginning of the gardening olympics...after the ordering and receiving of seeds, that is.

I save all the containers of spring greens and baby spinach so that I can use them for sowing the perennial flower seeds in January. I poke holes in the bottom for drainage and holes in the tops for ventilation. And then I put about 7 cups of potting soil in, water it and lay the seeds on.
I use cut pieces of vinyl blinds for markers, lay the seeds on, cover them with a bit more soil, put the lid on, and place them outside on the patio. I do two or three containers each day for several days.

Today I set out 9 types of Calendula seeds in the bottom three containers. The day before yesterday was "Poppy Day". The day before that was "Hollyhock Day". "Tomorrow is another day," said Scarlet, for I just begun!

Thursday, January 15, 2009

Garden Tour #1, 2009

For several years my friend Rachel and I have gone on garden tours each month that the roads are passable. We travel mostly to Janet's and Connie's for inspiration and ideas, new seeds or plants. Now Rachel's mom Hildi joins us. Yesterday was our first of the year, but Rachel's littlest one was sick. Hildi and I couldn't bear to cancel our tour, so we determined to encourage Rachel to go next week. And, who knows, maybe we'll be able to get away again to go with her for another dose of Connie-itis. As Connie's husband tells us, Connie is the prettiest flower in her garden!

It wasn't really a 'garden tour', but a tour of Connie's "Seedery". She saves seeds, as do I, so an exchange was presented as the monthly offering this time. There was a cozy fire in the woodstove and a sweet treat in the oven (Rhubarb Crisp). We had a lovely time of sharing seeds and conversation!

Hildi is new to gardening and soaks up information and advice. Connie is loaded with seeds she has saved and good advice on how to take care of them. I have hungered for the worm bed she has, and she was the inspiration for the Christmas present my DH made for me. Thank you, Connie!

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Seeds Have Arrived!!

These are the seed packets that arrived just yesterday; this is the most exciting part of the year...the planning part! Well, I might change my mind on the most exciting part of gardening when tiny plants emerge, or when the first blossoms burst forth, or when the first tomato is picked, KNOW where I'm going!
I've ordered some new seeds I've never grown before, i.e. Peace Watermelon and Halona Muskmelon. My growning season is SO short that usually these kind of plants never reach maturity. It may be a stretch, but I'm going to try this year. The Peace Watermelon takes only 75 days, so I may be successful. The other seeds I ordinarily grow are snow peas, snap peas, tomtoes, zucchinis, beets and herbs along with greens of all kinds.
One another note, this geranium appears exceedingly happy in the sunroom, doesn't she? I love sitting in the rocking chair to read and absorb the warmth of the sun as I am surrounded by the vivid color of these dear plants.

Saturday, January 10, 2009

The Pause that Refreshes

We used to have a refreshing treat when we lived in Misery (some call it Missouri), especially at track meets when the weather was unbearably hot. It was a special porous peppermint stick pushed into the top of a lemon. You sucked the peppermint stick, hard at first, to pull the lemon juice up through the stick. We thought it was delightfully delicious!

I found a gallon jar of the special sticks in a catalog called Vermon Country Store, and I thought I'd present the sticks along with some lemons as part of the Christmas gift for my children and theirs. It was a hot treat! I used half a lemon because the sticks aren't particularly long. Kelly, above, sucked hard on Marcus's to get it started. Orion, below, wasn't as enamoured of the treat as some others.

Alana thought they were pretty good, but maybe better if stuck in a juicy orange. She may be right.

Brianna liked this treat pretty well.

And Marcus liked it for a short while, until he discovered that you don't actually have to use the lemon. He was attached to the peppermint stick, and, of course, many other things because of their stickiness!

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

Breaker, Breaker Update

Below is a picture of my sweet sister who took Kimber to the follow-up appointment today in order for Kimber to be 'casted', among other things. Margy is a nurse who knows her stuff, believe me. Here she relaxes with her little white dog Sonny and Kimber's little black dog Piper. We had visited her on one of Kimber's good days after her surgery.

A nurse unwraps Kimber's arm from the packing and ace bandage she wore for 10 days before the surgery. Because of the snow in Portland the clinics weren't open for business. The surgery took about two hours and included 8 pins and 16 staples.

Here Kimber sits in the Grama Boothby chair at Margy's working her 'Blackberry'. She's getting good at left-handing some things. She's a high-powered banker, so she has to keep up on some business since she'll be off work for another three weeks at least.

Today, Kimber was unwrapped again, the 16 staples removed, and then she was casted chosing a black one with sky blue dragonflies on it. She told me she won the "Most Gruesome" award in the cast room where many folks were being casted also. She says her scar is pretty big and ugly. She'll wear the cast for about 3 weeks, and then we'll see what happens. Because of having to be immobilized she may need another surgery to release her ability to move her arm again. She is in good spirits today and in less pain I think. I praise God for her, for my sister, and for the good doctor who knows what he is doing!