Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Just a few more!

Tyler displays his talent for catching baby snakes - I just hope he never decides to go after a rattler...
Purchased at the farm stand this year, but our strawberry bed is in and flourishing for next year!
Gathering herbs for an Italian meatball recipe from The Joy of Cooking, that turned into Italian meat patties (less time consuming to cook!). Most yummy! Whipped up a marinara sauce to go with them, in the oven over cooked pasta, topped with grated mozzerella - it was tasty! Those are sugar snap peas in the hanging planters in front of me, still bearing peas like crazy!
Pris is the mad weeder, for which I am most appreciative! She and I get so much enjoyment and satisfaction from growing beautiful plants. As you can see, this is a new bed, where the plants have yet to become beautiful!
Time to cut back the diascia! And snapdragons, and Erysimum Bowles Mauve, and Snow in Summer... We should get fresh blooms soon.

Greenhouse stuff

The greenhouse is looking pretty empty these days!
Here are more basil plants, waiting in safety to be put out into the garden until I get a handle on whatever is eating them out there!
Todd has wanted an aspen tree since we moved here from Glennallen, and we finally found one at a farmer's market a couple of weeks ago. I potted him up until we find the perfect, deer-protected place to plant him out.
Here is the fence that Michael, Tyler and Todd built. A sense of urgency to finish it arose when three beautiful cabbages were grazed to the ground, along with many other flourishing plants. At about 6:00 the next morning, after this fence was completed, Todd and I saw a doe standing next to it (on the outside), looking up and measuring whether she could make it over. She took a few steps around the perimeter, stopped and looked up again, decided against it again... She checked out the whole perimeter, then walked away! Woo-Hoo!!! I even moved a rose outside the greenhouse to tempt a chomp, but no takers!
Look at those blossoms.


Isn't this beautiful? Wow - I don't care if there are too many. It makes me just grin to look at them. You probably can't see them, but there are all sorts of other things interplanted, like dill, basil (sort of) onions, shallots, parsley, swiss chard and anaheim peppers. I think that's all...
This is a basil "plant" - no really, it is! Yes, I have ordered an organic (I think) antidote to earwigs and pill bugs!
Beautiful beans, both pole (center)and bush (edges). Got to get a better support system going for those pole beans in the middle.
Still going with these totes for the potatoes, and they sure seem to be thriving!
Look, blossoms starting on the potatoes! Maybe we'll be eating baby potatoes soon!

Pretty flowers from last night

I can't decide which flower is my favorite right now. Is it these carnations with their masses of coral-pink blooms?
These fabulously fragrant sweet peas that look like color-saturated tissue paper.
Maybe it's this particular lavender, called Thumbelina Leigh, with a white lavender in the background getting ready to bloom.
Could it be these Coral Bells, lifting fronds of brilliant tiny flowers?
I really don't know which lavender this is, but the gnats seem pretty attracted to it.

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Th-th-that's All Folks!

Blogger won't let me download any more pictures tonight, so I'll share more tomorrow, of vegetables and pretty flowers.

The Pond, Part 3

Refilling, the fish returned to their cleaned up habitat.
More water added tonight. We couldn't fill it all at once yesterday because our well, though providing fabulously pure water, has a very slow return. So we'll complete the refilling over a couple of days.
Annie has never seen the fish so clearly! She was pretty fascinated by them tonight.
The fish are so happy, and hungry, because they usually eat algae and there isn't any any more!

Pond Cleaning, Part 2

Nice gloves!
Somehow I didn't get pictures of the laborious power-spraying of the entire inside of the pond, every rock and every mucky crevice between the rocks.
Preparing to refill, positioning plant stands.
This thing is deep!
Re-catching the fish to return to the pond. Got three at once on this scoop.
Up close, the color is intense and beautiful.

The Pond Cleaning Day

Yes, it took more than 5 hours!
This is the before picture. Ewwwww.
Tyler catching the fish. Mostly he used a sports-fishing net.
One koi scale! (Ooops...)
See, now that's nasty.
What a trooper! Just prior to Michael power-washing the whole thing.

Sunday, June 22, 2008

Plans (Let's make God laugh!)

So the plan for tomorrow is our annual pond-cleaning ritual. When I was fortunate enough to have a "pond guy", I paid him to empty, clean, repair and tend to the koi pond. He's no longer around and I have done my best to learn how to take care of my pond myself. Last year Todd cleaned it and that was great but he's pretty busy and so the boys and I will tackle it.

I'll try to remember to photo-document and blog the experience, if anyone is interested!

I also need to take the camera up to the vegetable garden. My goodness, the growth is so much fun! The tomatoes are stunning, but we so over-planted. It's very possible we won't have to buy any tomatoes at all after they start ripening and we'll be giving them away by the bags-full, I am sure! Last year I peeled, chopped and froze quite a few quarts of fresh tomatoes from the farm market, then promptly forgot about them. Now I am using them and they are wonderful! They taste so fresh. So I plan to freeze lots off the vine this summer.

Something is eating my crops! Basil is the most totally consumed, also the swiss chard and beans. I plan to try to find an organic product at the Gardens Alive website to at least put up a fight!

Gotta go review more appraisals - thank you Lord for the work!

Saturday, June 21, 2008

Poetry Saturday, as I sit in the office and review appraisals...

There Once Was a Puffin

Oh, there once was a Puffin
just the shape of a muffin,
and he lived on an island
in the bright blue sea!

He ate little fishes,
that were most delicious,
and he had them for supper
and he had them for tea.

But this poor little Puffin,
he couldn't play nothin',
for he hadn't anybody
to play with at all.

So he sat on his island,
and he cried for awhile,
andHe felt very lonely,
and he felt very small.

Then along came the fishes,
and they said, "If you wishes,
you can have us for playmates,
instead of for tea!"

So they now play together,
in all sorts of weather,
and the Puffin eats pancakes,
like you and like me.

by Florence Page Jaques

This was one of Michael's favorite poems when he was a little guy. We memorized it together, along with all the voices and appropriate emotional wreckage. So it's one of my favs.

Saturday, June 7, 2008

Poetry Saturday, while I eat my toast

I sit beside the fire and think
of all that I have seen,
of meadow-flowers and butterflies
in summers that have been;

Of yellow leaves and gossamer
in autumns that there were,
with morning mist and silver sun
and wind upon my hair.

I sit beside the fire and think
of how the world will be
when winter comes without a spring
that I shall ever see.

For still there are so many things
that I have never seen:
in every wood in every spring
there is a different green.

I sit beside the fire and think
of people long ago,
and people who will see a world
that I shall never know.

But all the while I sit and think
of times there were before,
I listen for returning feet
and voices at the door.

by Bilbo Baggins
in Rivendell, before the company departed

Wednesday, June 4, 2008

Flying Jewels

Flying jewels, yes, but this one was stuck. Todd found it trapped inside a garage that he was inspecting. What a cool thing to help this little bird, and to hold such a tiny treasure in his hand.

Yesterday Tyler went into the greenhouse where both front and back doors were wide open, but found a pair of bluebirds fluttering in a window. Todd supervised Tyler's carefully capturing one in each hand. He held them so carefully and loosely that they flew away before Todd could get a picture.
Our two small waterfalls in front of the house have also seen a lot of bird activity lately - the other day Todd and I were having our morning coffee and saw four robins, one of which took a very vigorous bath, a bluebird, some chickadees and a beautiful yellow bird with black on his wings and a red face - he took a bath too! I saw another robin stopping by for a drink a little later. It makes me wonder how much I miss simply because I'm not looking.
I love watching them and feeling that we are making their life easier. I feel the same when the bees are so serious about the flowers we have around, especially the lavender. They seem intent on searching every tiny flower for food.
Now the wasps and yellow jackets - not so much do I love them. They crave the water in the heat of summer, and I can't begrudge them, but it's a real day-spoiler to be stung.