Photo: Great grandparents at their farm in Blandinsville, IL, with five of their six children .. my grandpa was yet a twinkle in grandma's eye. Stable boy and governess also pictured. Hodges farm, circa 1903-4

Sunday, April 22, 2012

Conquer and Divide

'freebee' plants

Week three in the garden ended with the nicest day so far this year.  Mid 70's .. blue sky .. making for a good work in the yard day.

The soil under the fruit trees was tidied up (weeded), fertilized and mulched.  I am still in sticker shock from our tax bill we just paid so wanted to go easy on buying any flowering perennial plants.  You know .. if you just take a look  around you can often find 'freebies' from plants that have self seeded.  I have lots of foxglove and columbine.  And I'm still finding violas that were originally planted about four years ago.
campfire cooker

Our geraniums were overwintered and are perking up .. as well as mint and rosemary that is getting an 'attitude' adjustment by being on the shady front porch for a week before getting any full sun.  The mint has been divided and now I have some potted ready to give away.  It was given some new potting soil that retains moisture.

We had dinner al fresco using our new campfire cooker.  Beenie weenies cooked in a covered dutch oven  ... and coleslaw served up on metal camp plates .. easy peasy.
freebee foxgloves plants

Yesterday I planted peas, lettuce and radish from seed.  What's being planted in your garden?

Thursday, April 12, 2012

Week Two

a blank slate to start the 2012 garden
Himrod grape vine
hardy rhubarb
... in the garden.

in ground garden
I wish I had taken a few pics of the garden last week.  It was strewn with straw bedding, pine needles, and much debris that had blown in with the winter storms.

We topped off the raised beds with a fresh blend of compost mixed with sand .. and gave the walkways a fresh layer of fine bark that smells heavenly.  Our older (in ground) garden is half way prepped.  The raspberry vines are pruned, rhubarb is greening up and the garlic is starting to poke through the soil.  I can't believe the voles ate most of the horseradish I planted last year.  I guess I'll have to devise a wire cage around what root is left.  Can you believe the heat from this root doesn't just ward off the little pests???  A grape vine has been planted.  I hope the site gets enough sun and does well.  One of three hoop covered beds was also installed.  What's up and going/growing in your garden?

Sunday, April 08, 2012

Friday, April 06, 2012

My 'Walton' Style Family

Four Generations
Today was a mix of planned and unplanned events.  'Pa' had planned on bowling with 'John Boy' and 'Jim Bob'.  I had planned on going to 'Ike Godsey's General Mercantile' to pick up the smoked ham I ordered for Easter dinner.  Some time this morning our oldest daughter, 'Mary Ellen,' called to see if our grandson could visit as she had a migraine and still had to hunt down her newborn's heart medicine from a pharmacy in 'Charlottesville.'  Sure, we'd take 'John Curtis' for the day.  He ended up bowling and having a wonderful time with his grandpa.  'Mary Ellen' ended up at five pharmacies before getting what she needed.  'John Boy' .. our oldest was supposed to eat dinner with us, but had other plans with friends by late afternoon.  Of course, we always have an extra place (or two) at the dinner table ... so when 'Mary Ellen' called and hinted that she was tired and asked what I was making for dinner, I extended an invite.  Her husband, 'Dr. Curtis Willard,' would join us on his way home from the office.  In typical 'Walton' fashion, a few more plates were added to the table and I made another side dish (buttered carrots) to s.t.r.e.t.c.h. the meal.  After dinner, this 'Ma' got to hold and rock the baby and observe 'John Curtis' put together a jig-saw puzzle next to the fire while dishes were being washed and put away. 

Good night John Boy,
Good night Pa,
Good night, Ma,
Good night Jim Bob
Good night Mary Ellen

Thursday, April 05, 2012

Fruit Tree Pests ~ Killed Naturally

I came across this blog that has a remedy for fruit tree moths and thought it might be worth a try this spring (when we ever get into spring ... ugh) .. anyhow.  Check it out if you have such trees that are plagued with moths/worms.

Moth Killer Recipe

Enjoy the day!

Sunday, April 01, 2012

Easter Dinner Recipes

I had a new reader, Kim, ask for some recipes used in our home for Easter dinner.  We usually have the same meal every year .. and it's always comfort food .. but if you eat too much, you certainly don't feel too comfortable.  I'm adding the recipes through links to a shared cooking blog.

Sean's Potatoes

Sticky Chicken Wings

Baked Beans

Overnight Coleslaw
(for a large dinner .. double or triple the coleslaw recipe)

We also serve a smoked ham cooked on the BBQ, green salad, green beans, dinner rolls, dessert and coffee.

Bon Appetit

Free vintage images from here

A Pattern Of Rain ... and Itching to Garden

some backyard visitors in March
Yesterday I was able to walk around our property checking for signs of spring.  Rhubarb, French sorrel, oregano and thyme are bouncing back.  Raspberry canes show budding leaves.  Fruit trees are waiting patiently for their turn to wake up.  We are completely snow free .. even the snow piles from clearing the driveway have melted.   Now the work begins getting the yard back in shape, adding additional soil to the raised beds, raking the lawn and clearing out the footpaths in the garden .. refreshing the bark.  To do this work, we will need a few days of sunshine .. and that's not happening anytime soon.

I have grapevines to plant.  Again .. wait and hope for sunny weather.

It is amazing to watch plant life unfold after being dormant all winter.  Perennials look stick dead until you peek near the soil and see life clinging near the roots.  There is much trimming to do in the next few weeks to remove the dead tops of these plants.

Our little indoor greenhouse is brimming with overwintered plants, geranium starts, seed trays, grow lights and a heating mat.  I chose the seeds to have a mix of paste tomatoes for sauces and heirlooms for slicing.  One of our 4 x 8 ft. raised beds held 32 plants last year producing 140+ pounds of  tomatoes.  We grew them using the square foot garden planting system .. training them to grow UP .. anchoring them to tall trellises.  These raised beds have thawed enough to plant peas and early spring seeds.

It looks like we're in for more rainy weather in the Inland Northwest
This will be our seventh year of having a veggie garden and there is SO MUCH more to learn.  What's going on in your yard?