Friday, May 28, 2010

THE GARDEN REPORT - May 28, 2010

Yesterday was another very hot day. There were no clouds in the sky and the sun was burning up the small winter-sown seedlings that I planted out. We have been trying to protect the young veggies from the woodchuck. Even though I have a collection of fencing, he (she ?) has managed to nibble quite a few peas. My parsnips and a few broccoli have also been nibbled. I planted the cucumber seeds that I have been gifted. I worked on digging up roots from the been bed. I dragged some scrap lumber and framed it into a nice neat bed. I put on a good supply of compost and raked it. The bed is now ready for planting bush beans.

Yesterday I picked our first ripe strawberry.


This morning the corn was up, short fat grasslike leaves, which was a surprise because there was no sign of it last evening.


A few pink peonies are also in bloom.


This morning I side-dressed the garlic with compost. I also side-dressed the young collards and the chard. I have made a significant dent in the compost pile- but we still have so much left.


I carried so many shovelfuls of compost to place around tomato and potato plants.


Walt noticed a fat toad sitting on some compost. I am happy to see it. They are beneficial to the garden, eating insects, grubs, slugs, worms, and other invertebrates. An adult toad can eat 1000 insects in one night. When I was young, we had toads. Then when I returned to the same garden 30 years later, there were no toads. Then two years ago they returned. That was when I started mulching some vegetable plants with a layer of straw. They must have like the coolness under the straw. I have placed some broken pottery in the vegetable garden for a toad home. I hope that we will have more.

Wednesday, May 26, 2010


It's another hot sunny day in the Mohawk Valley. The temps have soared to almost 90 again. Not a cloud in the sky. Although it's pleasant in the shade, the sunny vegetable is brutally HOT. I've been watering twice a day. Today I also thinned the chard and the collards, planted another 6 tomatoes (Legend). I have been carrying shovelfuls of compost to the tomatoes.

I'm concerned about the peas, they are being attacked by the woodchuck. They have also nibbled on some lettuce leaves. I picked 1/4 lb. of greens, put them in a pretty bowl and shared them with a neighbor . Her lettuce was mowed down by a woodchuck.

We are still without a clothes dryer so I have fallen into a pattern of looking at the weather forecasts an planning my washing around good weather. I really do like top line dry cloths. I have a method. Similar things are hung together, sock are presorted and hung together near its mates. As I hang, it's also easier to notice rips and tears and other problems.

For dinner I'm planning: Lemon-Garlic-Herb Marinated Chicken, Salt Potatoes (local), Salad Greens (from garden), and Asparagus (garden) with Hollandaise Sauce. It's wonderful having a big garden.

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Garden Chores

Yesterday I planted eggplant, squash plants, 9 asparagus roots, watered the garden, shopped at 3 garden centers for container plants. Planted urns at the office, did 3 loads of laundry, cooked a pot of green bean stew.

Today I have these garden chores: (√ = done)
fill bird feeders
pick spinach √
pick asparagus √
plant beans,
plant cucumbers
plant artichoke √
6 pack of petunias
mulch broccolli with straw √
thin chard and collards √

•••• plant out winter-sown plants •••
cosmos √
red cabbage √

It is sunny and hot today. At 12:44 it's up to 78ยบ . The garden is brutal hot. Oh joy, there are 2 pea blossoms.

I checked back later and there were more pea blossoms.

Monday, May 24, 2010

Like a fine wine ...

My 55th birthday came and went and I marked the day not too gracefully. Every year, if possible, I spend at least part of my birthday alone in the Adirondacks. This year I packed up my kayak and headed to one of my favorite paddling spots


It may not be a jungle but its wild.

My kayak ashore at an Adirondack Lake launch site.


Wild Rhododendron "Pinkster" .



After paddling,I headed to Old Forge for dinner and a drink. I at at a local watering hole alone and had time to reflect. Here I am at 55 wearing paddling sandals, columbia guide pants,quick dry tank top and a windbreaker. My hair was pulled back in a pony tail and in a orange Merrill cap. A fashion plate I'm not. Do I look silly? I wondered. I'm the only I know who dresses like that. But that's me. I've always been happiest most comfortable, most "me" in outdoor clothes and happiest when I'm outdoors; whether in the garden, at camp or in the Adirondacks.

At 55, I still feel young, but my body betrays me sometimes. I can't walk as far. I wonder if I'll climb another mountain? Or go backpacking again? I'd love to take along trek or paddle and what about travel to other countries? I don't know if I'll have time or energy to do all I want to do. At 55, I'm at my prime in other ways. I haven't stopped learning. My passion for being outdoors, my love of photography, gardening, homesteading, family, run deep. My faith is strong. I know who I am and what I believe.


WEATHER REPORT - I think there will be no more frost. Temp this week will be in the 80s.

WHATS IN BLOOM - corydalis, sweet woodruff, blue and pink naturazed colombine, strawberry, fernleaf peony, heirloom peony, water lilly, hardy geranium, perennial batchlors button, Jacob's ladder, Jack in the pulpit, seven sisters rose, chives, lupine, dame's rocket

BUDS- English rose, peony,

UP- parsnips, beets, chard, collards, snow peas

PLANTED - 14 more potatoes, large plot of corn (early and often, silver queen) tomatoes (Polish Lingusa, REd ???, Silver fir, Olive Hill, Oxheart, grape,) carrots (envy), peppers ( Carmen and Revolution), onions (White bunching)

HARVEST- several pickings of asparagus, several pickings of lettuce and spinach, various herbs

CRITTER REPORT - the woodchuck found the garden. So far some peas and some braccias have been nibbled. He also ate the neighbors lettuce.

YOU WIN SOME- A few years back I planted a Wild scabiousa in the Butterfly and humming bird bed. I see that I now have a second plant.

YOU LOOSE SOME - Last fall I tried to rid the flower beds of invasive Jerusalem Artichoke... Yesterday I noticed them coming up thick. So I have to get in and try to dig out all all the tubers

Monday, May 17, 2010

Adirondack Blue

Yesterday Walt had a videotaping job. So Katie and David and I spent a pleasant afternoon at our camp in the Adirondacks, "Moss Bluff". The sky could not have been bluer. The lake, usually a dark grey reflected the sky.


Our camp is comfortable and rustic. We have electricity and hot water. One of our simple pleasures is to make a small camp fire. Katie and David set out to find some fire wood and make a fire while I set out with my camera for a photography walk.


After a while the fire burnt down to some nice coals, so we roasted some hot dogs on sticks and enjoyed an adirondack supper.

Thursday, May 13, 2010


A few years ago I seldom started plants from seed. Oh I would do the usual vegetables, corn, peas, beans, and lettuce. As for flowers, maybe some nasturtium, alyssum and larkspur.

Now I start almost anything I want from seed. A few years ago I learned about winter sowing. Last year I started almost 200 different kinds of vegetables and flowers using this method. I cut back this year. It's a method of starting seeds in containers like plastic soda and milk cartons. And you can do this in the middle of winter. Here is a picture of some of wintersown plants still in their containers.


I have started tomatoes, broccoli and cabbage, lettuce, strawberries and many kinds of flowers by wintersowing. Here are onions that are ready for transplanting.


Tuesday, May 11, 2010

The Garden Report

Yesterday was a busy day at the Little Homestead in the Village. I washed and line dried 3 loads of laundry, including some bedding from camp.


There is nothing like sunshine and a breeze to help freshen bedding that's been in a musty camp. There were so many little chores to do. Picking up and putting away various pots, garden tools and toys, filling up all of the bird feeders, cleaning out and putting fresh water in the bird bath, tying up a large climbing rose digging out volunteer potatoes from the pea patch and putting them in a bucket to plant in a day or two. A hard frost was expected so plants were later brought into shelter or covered up. Hay and sheets were put on the strawberries. I had not baked for awhile so I made a double batch of dough. One part was sweetened and flavored with a hint of orange to make a sweet breakfast roll. The other part was intended to become a large loaf of bread, but ended up looking like flat bread so I brushed it with olive oil and sprinkled it with za'atar. I had to get Katie her freshly laundered jersey, stop in at Michael's to pick up some "berries" to use in a decoration for camp. Then rush home to make a Mexican Goulash for dinner. I also had to pick up a neighbor and drive to Little Falls High School so we could watch our daughters at the track meet



FREEZE REPORT - we had a hard frost last night. I only covered asparagus and strawberries with straw. As far as I could tell the only frost damage I see is Ostrich Fern and Mulberry leaves.

WHATS IN BLOOM - various violets, bane, corydalis, sweet woodruff, strawberry, apple, yellow tulips, double fernleaf peony, Jacob's ladder, rue, Jack in the pulpit, lilac, lilly of the valley

BUDS- Chives, Iris

UP- dragon head, Asiatic lily, peas

PLANTED - 14 seed potatoes

HARVEST- 1/4 lb. spinach and lettuce leaves


Monday, May 10, 2010

The simple things - A Hot Shower and an Adirondack Camp

I have a camp. It's a summer home on a lake. In some parts of the country it's called a cottage. But in the Adirondacks, it's called a camp. It's the family camp. My mom purchased it in the 70's. There are two buildings on the property which she called Moss Bluff. My sister and I are co-owners and she has the one story "trailer" and I have the house. Moss Bluff was a very special place for my mom and thats the place that reminds me most of her. I lost her May 16, 2007. It's been difficult spending time at camp.

This past Saturday I was going to go kayaking, but it was cold and raining so we decided to go fix and clean camp. (We had a problem with the pump so there was no running water last year.) Walt fixed the pump, repaired a busted pipe and replaced a broken window. The place was filthy from a few years of neglect. It was time to roll up my sleeves. First things first, I lit a scented candle and put a bouquet of flowers in a vase. We started with the lake view porch. It was dusted, swept, de-cluttered, and vacuumed. We also cleaned years of grubby fingerprints and spills off table tops and chairs. Inside the cabin I dusted the mantle over the fireplace, and artfully arranged some candles, antlers and other decorative items. I dusted and polished the big wooden desk, washed windows, collected blankets and bedding to take home to wash. I dusted window sills and vacuumed the floor. We also walked the grounds outside and picked up stray pieces of paper and some errant bottles.

I returned by myself the next day (mother's day). It was snowing. I stopped in a dollar store to pick up more cleaning supplies, candles, bird seed and some other items for camp. When I got to the camp the house I now call "Loon Watch", I made a small fire and set off to work. I dusted windowsills in the dining-room, hung curtains in several windows. I scrubbed both the upstairs and downstairs toilet and cleaned them until they sparkled. The downstairs bathroom is just off the back porch and is very rustic. It has unfinished floors. Mom enclosed the back part and made a small shower and sink. I chased out cobwebs, and swept out a few years of dirt, leaves and debris. I threw away some old stuff, polished up the sink and put out a fresh towel and candle. Then I proceeded to work on the upstairs.

I washed the walls in the upstairs bathroom, cleaned the sink (very dirty), washed the window, dusted and vacuumed. On to the large Master Bed Room. I vacuumed the mattress and sprayed it with Lysol. I de-cluttered two dressers and policed them. I washed windows, and wiped down walls. Then I vacuumed and vacuumed and vacuumed. I don't know when the bare floors and the carpet were vacuumed last but as long as the Dyson was pulling up dust, I would keep vacuuming. finally I deemed it done.

I was cold, tired and hungary. It was after 3pm. I ate a banana and left for home. (1/2 hour drive). The family had leftovers from dinner and mother's day gifts on the table. I receives a long stem red rose, some wax begonias plants, a lovely scented candle for camp and a grey 100% cotton short robe that Walt selected. He thought It would be great for me to pack on my overnight outdoor adventures. I think it's perfect.

Oh, you're wondering where a shower comes in to this story? After I ate and received gifts. I poured a glass of merlot and went to take a shower. I earned this shower. Simple shower. It felt so good. Soap and hot water. The simple things.
When you've worked physically hard and are cold,
a hot cup of coffee , or tea or a bowl of soup
a bit of heat goes a long way ... the light of one candle makes a difference
an old sweater to warm you, a dry pair of socks
Simple things
a bird song, a bird in flight. an unexpected wildflower. any unexpected flower.
A butterfly
A rainbow, a thunderstorm, a snowflake, the warmth the sun, a cool breeze
A dip in the lake on a hot July day. A sip of cold spring water at the end of a long hike.
The taste of a fresh picked strawberry, or a stalk of asparagus,
the first tomato of the season
The sound of a paddle dipping into still water, the cry of loon
So many moments made of simple things but if you can take the time to appreciate them
they can fill our life with joy.

Let yourself be surprised by joy.


Thursday, May 6, 2010


I am a botanizer. I collect plants for. I study them in their natural habitat. I often explore roadsides, fields,waste places and wilderness studying the kinds of plants that are found in those places . Most of my collecting is with my digital camera

Yesterday I made a Big Score. Two days ago I was driving through a very scenic, not very busy highway. I noticed a road-cut on my right that had some red plants growing on the face.


I was running late, did not have the time to stop and investigate also there was no place to pull over. The road was very windy so I continued on my way. I was thinking about those red plants. What is red this time of year? Poison ivy leaves ? Red maple leaves ? Neither seemed right. I had another idea; could it be wild columbine ?

I have been a botanizer for for about 40 years. I have an extensive "collection" of New york State wildflowers. My photos of wild columbine was taken at a botanical garden in Binghamton. I have never seen wild columbine in it's natural habitat. I just had to get back and investigate.

Yesterday was a busy day for me. The dryer broke the night before and laundry mountain had been ignored for almost a week and was looming higher than ever. So I spent all morning finding and rigging out the clothesline and finding the cloths-pins. But finally I was able to get away. I dressed in my field clothes, grabbed my camera a field guide and a bottle of water. And headed to my destination.

After a pleasant drive I turned onto the country highway that followed a stream. After a few miles found my spot. It was looking good. I slowed down to get a better look at the red plants. Then I continued down the road looking for a place I could pull over. I found one 1/4 mile down the road. I walked back to the spot and became amazed. Not only was it wild columbine but there were hundreds of them. All growing on a tall cliff . I was not able to get very close because the cliff was steep, made up of shale and thus had a good base of scree.

(scree n. Loose rock debris covering a slope. A slope of loose rock debris at the base of a steep incline or cliff.)



Wild Columbine - Aquilegia canadensis

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

I am Blessed - The Garden Report

I am blessed to have a wonderful garden. This morning after getting Katie and David off to school, I went out to check on the garden. Everything was wet so I couldn't do much but I did stroll around the paths and yanked up garlic mustard, one of the weeds that I love to hate.

Jacob's Ladder (just starting)
White Trillium
Big Snowdrops
Bleeding Heart
Violet Freckles
Other Violets
Canada Violet
Downey Yellow Violet
Forget me not
One Hepatica
Vinca Minor
Crabapple trees in boom

Apple and Pear Trees in bloom
Blueberry Bushes in bloom
Currants blooming


Asparagus is putting out
Peas are two inches high
Strawberries in bloom
Blue berries in bloom
Lettuce leaves 1 - 2 inches
Spinach 1-2 inches
Garlic looking good
Winter Sown Brocolli, Kale and Cabbage: small but looking good after transplant

Monday, May 3, 2010

A Simple Woman's Daybook -May 3, 2010

I found the Simple Woman's Daybook online and enjoyed reading about other woman's daily lives.


FOR TODAY - Monday May 3, 2010

Outside my window... Blue Sky, Fluffy clouds and lots of spring flowers blooming.


I am thinking... about everything that needs to be done at camp.

I am thankful for... my lovely garden and being able to work in it as I wish.

I am shoes, old blue shorts, a old plint sleeveless shirt - my gardening cloths and my silver "special" necklace that I wear most of the time.

I am creating... a better butterfly and Hummingbird garden working on photoshopping "botanical prints" from the wild flower photos I took last year.

I am going... To Katie and David's track meet soon.

I am reading... not much except the local paper. Too busy in the garden.

I am hoping... That Walt can more work besides CDP. That we can rent the apartment out at the shop, that I can find time to go Kayaking.

I am hearing... Traffic, the washing machine agitator and the dryer tumbling clothing, Dan walking around upstairs in his room.

Around the house... Only Dan is home, and he's rather quiet today. The living room window is open and a wonderfull breeze is refreshing me.

One of my favorite things... My garden filled with springtime flowers.


A few plans for the rest of the week: getting in the garden, picking more asparagus.

Here is picture for thought I am sharing...

Sunday, May 2, 2010

Asparagus Story

Yesterday was an incredible day. We spent a waonderful afternoon with some new facebook friends at the UNY plant sawp that we hosted. In the late afternoon, I went to check up on the camp. I was so peaceful. (and yes the black flies are out). I sat near the waters edge and listed to a loon cry. I wish I had planned to stay the night.

It rained last. The garden so desperately needed it.Walt and I grabbed a cup of coffee and went out to check on the garden The wintersown brocolli that I transplanted yesterday afternoon look happy. I checked on the asparragus and got a surprize. They really grew yesterday. I got a knife and a small basket and started harvesting. There was finnally enough to pick for a meal. Well almost.


Asparagus is one of Walt's favorite vegetables. His favorite way to eat them is fresh picked raw. So of course he had to munch a stalk or two with his morning coffee. I mentioned that I thought we had just enough for dinner. "Dinner?" he said "you're not going to make me an asparagus and herb omlette?" So of couse, that's what I'm going to do. Because it's such a nice day here on the Little Homestead in the Village, I will put it on a tray and bring him breakfast to eat in the garden.