Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Tuesday's Look-See in the Garden

Hello!  How does your garden grow today?  Hoping the second "official week" of summer has been kind to you.  We had one day of summer so far this summer...June 21st.  Everyone i've had the pleasure of chatting with this past week has said the same thing--"Did you enjoy your summer?"  :)

Like Mom said this morning, we haven't had a day near 80 degrees here in the Pacific NW in 296 days!  grrrrr!

With regards to a garden teaming with produce...one just has to wait and hope.

This week's big show stealer is the peony.
Planted these babies three years ago, and they've rewarded me with their first blooms.
They are going to need to be moved though, come fall.  I thought these gals were goners, so we planted Moose's plum tree in the same spot.  Doh!

Raspberry harvest and jamming looks to be about 2 - 3 weeks away.
Razzies with the Glenora grape in the background
 Which is just about the time my folks arrive with their friends from Brasil.
Is it okay to tell international guests that we should skip the Space Needle in favour of the fine art of manual labour that is canning? :)

Com'un babies!

The birds will be feasting soon on currants.

One of the projects from the weekend...
the chickens helped with this one.
I parked the tractor over the squash patch a couple weeks ago to let the biddies do the heavy lifting of grasses and dandelions, waited for their droppings to age a little and this weekend i plucked the rest of the bind weed and dandies. I cleaned up the edges of the lawn and planted our sugar pumpkins, watermelon, zucchini and yellow squash out there.  I also planted a few pea and radish seeds to make use of the pathways i left.  They'll be long gone by the time the first summer squash come on.

the toms and potatoes are really doing well

first potato flowers
first roma toms!!

first peas
 I can't wait to try a little borage fertilizer this year that i've been reading about.

self seeding borage

Out of the cauliflower i planted, i have 10 plants left.
The others succombed to root maggots.

In other gardens around the yard....

Cookie Monster's garden is sprouting runner beans and sunflowers.

little seedlings from the packet of "Songbird Mix"
 by Botanical Gardens that Cookie sowed.

In the East Garden, all the new planting went in on Sunday.

In this area, under all the buttercups and couch grass i found a strawberry and a primrose which i combined with the sage and lingonberry--sets a nice scene with the Kent climbing rose and the Royal lavender.
my new favourite garden spot
In the area of the dead rose tree, are the hollyhocks, a sage, and lemon balm.

Lucky me :: also found an oxyalis while weeding out

The transplants near the Pope John Paul II rose seem to
be taking off too!

the constant gardener
 As you can see we've been quite busy around here, and there is plenty more to do.
However, right now, the pirate Cookie Monster arrrgh is summoning me with a piece of a treasure map.  I think it's time walk the plank....or maybe she'll make me Irish dance the plank--hop back 2,3 hop back 2,3 ...kerploosh!!

Have a great week everyone!
Get dirty!

Friday, June 24, 2011

This Week's Project :: East Garden

Before i've mentioned about the front door of our house being physically on the side of our house.  It's peculiar, but we work with it.  There is a garden just beyond the stairs leading up to the front door.  It's known as our "rose garden"--especially because it is small, they work well there because we can't collect too many of them.  Roses are beautiful however when you are trying to focus on growing food, they really are useless, eh?  This garden is viewed upon entry numerous times a day.  As an extra added bonus, when one here is crafting or folding laundry (in that order of importance, of course) the windows in these two rooms provide an upclose view of this garden weed hole as well.

So you can imagine that when it looks like this:

"Curse you, you bloody buttercups!  And the unfinished compost you rode in on!"

and this:

"Same goes for you, you bothersome vetch!"

it really bugs the head gardeners here.  Especially because this little rose tree was given to Mrs. Head Gardener by Mr. Head Gardener for her 30th birthday (which was a short 6 years ago) and now appears dead.  Grrr.

This morning, i congratulated myself on losing another two pounds (for a total of 4 this month so far) by visiting the garden shop near my morning meeting.  If i had my druthers, i would have purchased a columnar apple to replace this rose, however, since we aren't staying here (we hope!) i decided to use what i had budgeted for more than just one new transplant. :)

The Haul
The area of this garden also happens to be our only patch of lawn not visable to all the neighbours, so we like to lounge out here every once in a while.  Over the years, i've planted areas up with mosquito repelents like lemon balm, sages, and rosemary.  I continued that theme today, picking up more of the same.  I also threw in a couple of tarragon plants, hollyhocks, allysums, and lingonberries. 

I have only had a chance to tend to this little area under our Pope John Paul II rose bush today. 
I planted the tarragons, pineapple sage, and some chive seeds in this area.
I was going to plant this sage here too...

 however i think the lingonberry looks much better here.

In the area where the rose tree was, in will go black hollyhocks, a purple sage, a lemon balm, and some of the allysums.  Some cherry coloured nasturtiums seeds may make their way into the area as well as some borage too, me thinks.  Another lingonberry and lemon balm will be planted just to the left of the hollyhocks.  With the lavendar "bookending" the hollyhocks, i think this will be a great new twist on this garden. 

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Tuesday, er make that Wednesday = Garden Tour

This week's photo tour was brought to you by Wednesday, as Tuesday was being kinda persnickety with its rain and gloomy clouds and short five second bursts of sunshine with a side of chilly wind.  Do us Washingtonians think summer is coming...meh.  I think it will occur for a couple days, maybe in August.  At this point, i'm ready to move to Inuvik.  At least they've converted one of their old indoor ice rinks into a year-round community garden.  :)  Who would have thought that the natives of Inuvik would have better gardening opportunities in the NW Territories than us jamokes down here in the Pac NW.

Anywho...on with developments.

Besides growing a broody ol' bat in the Back 4/10ths...

Yeah, i'm talking about you, you crazy ol' Merangue!

Our Shasta daisies have returned under the Doug Firs.
They look so pretty--a nice surprise when we look out our bedroom window.

Out in the garden, the cauliflower is growing gangbusters with the addition of the Reemay.
On a related note:  Moose's thumb isn't quite as bum anymore--
the feeling has returned to it, and the gash is healing nicely.  Thank goodness!
And an experiment with coffee grounds spread in a ring around the bases has yielded 6 of the 18 plants without slug damage.  Like our favourite kindie-rocker Ralph Covert says, "M-O-M-M-Y needs C-O-F-F-E-E."  In more ways than one. :)

The potatoes are doing well.  Must be this great spring-like weather.  Oy vey!

The berries are all truckin' right along...

the only two fruits on our pink blueberry bush we planted this year
red currants

The best in berry news is that our boysenberries we planted last year are flowering!  Hooray for boysenberries!  Three cheers for homemade syrup!

Only items left to plant now are the squashes and melons...
we're giving them a little time to beef up in the pots before we subject them to our garden that is
the slug buffet.  Need. More. Coffee.  and beer?

Our poppies are almost done flowering.  These pink ones are my favourite.  When we move, i am going to have a whole bed of these beauties.  Somewhere.....don't you think they would look fabulous adorning the grey weathered cedar picket fence around an orchard?!?

The biggest news here is the progress made in Cookie Monster's garden bed.
It's made from the frame that was to be for the Reemay and some of the old bags of soil we used to enlarge the garden last year.  This is the first year she's been gung-ho about gardening.  However, she remembers that we've told her a little story about her Great Grandma wanting her to learn how to garden...and we tell her that she comes back as a butterfly each year to make sure Cookie is digging in the dirt.  She told me the other day that she thinks Great Grandma will be very happy with her garden this year. :)

Today she planted Royal Scarlet Sweet Peas (in honour of Prince William and Princess Catherine) and Scarlet Runner Beans.  She's getting very adept at judging planting depths with her thumb and fingers.

Yesterday we planted all the nursery starts she picked up.

She was so excited to get a geranium (she's a sucker for the coral colours) and she planted her primroses and some "blue puffs" as she calls them.  She was elated to find petunia named after Picasso too, since we had studied the artist and visited his personal art collection at the SAM this year.

Today we also poured over the seed packets she picked out, deciphering which plants would grow best where in her garden.  I used a piece of freezer paper and drew a mock up of her garden on it.  She spent time this morning labelling everything that had been planted already and planning where she would seed the wildflowers that grow 18 inches high versus the Bell of Ireland that grow 3 feet high versus the sunflower seeds she's planted in the back of the garden.

She's named it "The All Thing Bright and Beautiful Garden".
I can't wait to see what this bed looks like come July.
Should summer decide to grace us with its presence, eh? :)

Monday, June 13, 2011

Gettin' Crafty

The sewing bug has bitten here lately.  Partly because of the desire to learn, but fodder for sewing comes from the unfortunate styles being marketed to the grade schooler set.  Really?  I'm supposed to dress my 8 year old lass in shorts that would make Daisy Duke blush, with the added bonus of the marketing message of the designer accented with a mess of rhinestones on the rear?  Huh?  It leaves me wondering if people who purchase these types of clothes for their daughter to wear have even a second thought about its inappropriateness.  It seems anymore that babies leave the womb and immediately adorned with clothing fit for a cutting edge runway event.

Anyway, where were we before i detoured to the soap box? 

Joann's had some adorable fabric the last time i ventured out.  It was beckoning to be made into a pair of pants for a little girl. 

*Momma Not Responsible For Western Shirt/Floral Pant Combo
This illustrates my point, exactly though in that children need that freedom of expression--more like freedom from the masses and inappropriate attention these days. 

Drawstring made and used instead of the recommended elastic
 I used Simplicity 5489, which also has a pattern for a jumper and a skirt, the latter i made using some polar bear material from The Stash.

The only difference between the pattern and the result on the skirt is that i used a French seaming technique so the seams between the body of the skirt and the cuff would be finished and not fray.  Cookie Monster is a stickler for smooth clothing that doesn't tickle. :) 

I can't believe these actually turned out!  When the ladies at the fabric counter ask what your intent is for the fabric, i always joke that it will be clothing for my daughter...or really cute reusable napkins. :)  Thankfully these worked out and didn't need to be repurposed.  She begs to wear these almost everyday--i'm delighted that they are loved and used.  Hoping with the dresses that Achoo made her last year and these items (one in the wings where i try to use the pant pattern to make shorts out of a green gingham) will hopefully get us through the summer...or two if we are lucky!  Now, comes the task of finding plain shirts that don't advertise "Daddy's Little Angel" or the like.  Hopefully it doesn't come down to making shirts...more likely we'd invest in a bunch of Western shirts before we did that! :)

Maybe for the winter, i will try my hand at cordory for a skirt and pants.

Sunday, June 12, 2011

Sunday Stills: Yellow

To see more Yellow inspiration, head on over to Sunday Stills.

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

A Wedding Sampler Worthy of My Wall

Most mornings, i spend my 15 minutes of peace reading this quirky and awe-inspiring blog called Feeling Stitchy.  There are some amazingly talented embroidery artists there...using their talents for good instead of evil. :)

A new feature at FS is Thee Stitch-a-long.  Each month, a pattern is featured and the contestants are given four weeks to complete and submit an entry. 

May's Stitch-a-long featured a pattern by artist Cate Anevski entitled PBnJ.  The instance i saw it, i knew i had found my wedding sampler.  

A sweet and simple, whimsical tribute to the day Moose and i became "Moose and Mrs. Moosey". 

Wedding Sampler

Made more jovial with the addition of our corny puns, for which we are well known for. :)

Just incase you aren't familiar with the term, "dang skippy" (of slang origin; polished up a bit because, well, we are family friendly here) is synonymous with other sayings such as "you betcha", "right-o", and "yes-siree bob", however emphasised with a bit more ummph and pizazz like a "heck yeah!" :)

I can't wait to get this baby framed and tacked up on a wall.

Sunday, June 5, 2011

Me First. No Me First.

We've been encouraging tip top behaviour around the birdhouse the last few weeks and Cookie Monster's been witnessing some of the coolest happenings in our yard, right off our deck. 
 Could school get any better than this??


I grabbed my camera tonight, with the little light we had left and the zoom maxed out, and captured some of these videos and pictures of the neighbirds.  The humming/roaring sound you hear is the traffic on The 5.  Hoping you can hear the babies over that ruckus.

Aren't they sweet??
Thanks to Ed over at Sunday Stills for his perfectly timed "Potluck" theme so i can share this with all the awesome photographers there too.  Go check 'em out.  I can hardly wait to see what inspired people this week!