Wednesday, April 20, 2011

The Simple Woman's Daybook - Wed. 4/20/11

Photobucket
*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*

FOR TODAY

Outside my window
It's a cool, grey Spring Day. There is a possibility of rain. It's 44 degrees outside but with an 11mph SE wind it feel like 38. I can hear the wind howl as it occasionally gusts. When I stepped out to take a small bin of eggshells, coffee grounds and vegetable peels to the compost pile, I saw many birds around the birdfeeders.

I am thinking
About getting chicks. We took a class, decided somewhat what kinds we want...now we just have to do it! Since we don't have a cook or anyplace to keep them warm while they are still small, we're dragging our feet.

I am thankful for
The promises of God

From the kitchen
A half loaf of whole wheat honey oatmeal flax meal bread. Must do more baking. Some oatmeal chocolate chip cookies, a batch canning jars are in the dishwasher... I'm going to can some of the older potatoes today

I am wearing
I'm barefoot, and have a soft cotton blend blue print sleeveless pullover dress. I'm chilly so I will get a cup of coffee, my slippers and a sweater .

I am creating
I just finished making "carrot seed tape" . Carrot seeds are so small that it's impossible to space them far enough and I don't want to thin out little plants growing close together. Tape is easy to make. I cut a length of toilet pater into the long steps. Then I made a paste of a teaspoon of flour and a little water. Using an old paintbrush, I pained a small dab of 'glue' every inch then before it dried tried to place a small seed on each dab. easier to this on a kitchen counter than hunched over a furrow in the garden.


I am going
Maybe collecting some ramps (wild leeks) if I finish my chores in time.

I am reading
"The Victory Garden Cookbook"by Marian Morash.. anticipating a great big harvest of all kinds of veggies.

I am hoping...
That Walt will find another client and that P.K. comes through with a good contract.

I am hearing
The dishwasher.

Around the House
Several batches of laundry to fold and put away. A nice clutter of seeds and potting supplies in the Sun room

One of my favorite things
Watching and hearing songbirds while I'm doing chores in the yard.

A few plans for the rest of the week:
Gardening as soon as weather conditions allow i.e. the rain stops I've already got in two rows of potatoes, two big beds of peas, lettuce babies around the garlic, spinach and radish seeds planted too. I'll try to get more potatoes in, then plant leeks, onion sets, scallions, endive, and arugula. On Thursday night, we plan to go to an information session on raising backyard chickens sponsored by our local Cooperative Extension.

Here is picture I am sharing

Photobucket

BLOOD ROOT - Sanguinaria canadensis, A beautiful spring ephemeral native to eastern North America, Mint-green foliage emerges in early spring, folded together in pairs like praying hands, quickly followed by white broad-petaled up-facing flowers.
~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~

You can read the daybook journals of other wonderful women here.

Monday, April 18, 2011

Harvest Monday 4/18/11

I't still very early in my zone for any-kind of real harvest. I've begun some planting... several rows of peas, two rows of potatoes. I've weeded around the asparagus and started to do the same in the strawberry bed. We ordered three more fruit trees, two kinds cold hardy apricots and another pear. Every day I check the cold frame. The little lettuce plants have put out their true leaves. On the north side of the cold frame I have containers of onions. leeks, kale, swiss chard and cabbage almost ready to transplant. We did get a bit of a harvest though... I picked a generous handful of sorrels and several bunches of chives, I checked the pot of scallions that I left out all winter and have about a pound of nice ones, we dug up more than 3 pounds of potatoes that I missed last fall, also two carrots. The carrots went into the "have a heart" trap to try to lure another woodchuck. Last year I lost most of my peas and beans to critters. The potatoes scallions chives and sorrel went into a leek soup.

Other than that we've been eating what I put up last year. I am surprised at how may empty jars end up on the buffet, waiting for someone to take the to the storeroom and put them away.

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

The Garden Report 4-12-11

PLANTING
Yesterday was a warm (over 70 degrees) and humid day. The weather report called for rain so I went out to see what I could do in the garden before it came. My first chore was to shovel compost on the second half of the bed that I planted sprouted "Progress # 9" peas in over the weekend. After a good layer of compost was added, I made three rows and put in carefully selected 'pea brush'. The branches serves a dual purpose, a support for the pea vines as they grow and as a deterrent to the feral cats who like to roll around in fresh turned soil. Then 'Little Marvel' peas were planted.

Photobucket
ROWS OF PEA SEEDS AND PEA BRUSH

When I finished the peas, I checked on the cold frame. opened the windows for while and placed in a few more pots of sprouted plants that were in windowsills in the house.

Photobucket
VARIOUS CONTAINERS INTHE COLD FRAME

CHORES
The next job was to top dress the garlic with compost. The garlic leaves were about three leaves high and looking good.

Photobucket
YOUNG GARLIC TOP DRESSED WITH COMPOST

And while I had the shovel in my hand, I moved on to top dress the 4 rows of asparagus. Then I took a little time and straightened out the rest of the kitchen garden, picking up twigs and wayward plastic pots etc.

Walt came home for lunch. which we had (leftover potatoes, ribs and wild goose breast) on the porch. While eating, we perused the stack of Mother earth News and Hobby Farm looking for pictures of chicken coops. After lunch I raked out the flower-bed under the apartment windows. This bed has an english rose, Jackmanii Clematis, and a seven sisters rose. The rest of the bed is bare, with just a few crocus and some clumps of 'Jacob's Ladder'. We had to reset the trellises into the ground, prune and tie up the tall rose canes. Then we moved on to fill all the bird-feeders. Walt then moved on to check on the bees, watching them come and go for awhile. While I cleaned out and enlarged the narrow herb garden which surrounds the hot tub. I made two small tipis of bamboo and planted the six peas the I spouted in peat pots weeks ago. (they are now 2 inches high). I wrapped some vines around the tipis and it looks cute! We proceeded to rake some more and then the rain finally started. We picked up our tools and went inside. It was dinner time and I had spent the whole day outside and had no dinner. No worries, I pulled a few jars from my food storage and a box of pasta, and had a quick supper of shells with tomato-meat sauce

WHATS IN BLOOM
Yesterday, I noticed violets blooming, Today I also saw hepatica in the woodland garden.

Photobucket

HEPATICA

Of course we also have winter aconite. snowdrops, scillia and some chionodoxa forbesii.

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Life on the "LITTLE HOMESTEAD"

Today I thought that i would give you an idea of a few typical days here on the homestead except there is no real typical day. But now is as good as any to chronicle life as a suburban homesteader. There are two days of chores and activities.

Wake up Get dressed, wake up teens for school,make coffee, read news paper for 10 minutes, then make buckwheat pancakes for breakfast. Kids get on school bus, I read some of favorite blogs and enjoy a cup of coffee. Next plant some seeds in pots and check on the plants under lights, water if needed, wash and hang 3 loads of laundry, check on bees and cold frame, make bread dough, rake out flower beds, kneed dough, shape and 3 loaves of bread and a pizza, do some office work, supper with family, wash dishes, sweep floor, drive Walt to camera truck for his unexpected news gig, Relax with kiddos -watching Netflix and hand sewing a cloths pin holder. Go to bed 11:30

Next day, Wake up, get dressed, wake up teens for school, make coffee, read news paper for 10 minutes make toad-in-holes for breakfast, Kids get on school bus, surfing computer and enjoy a cup of coffee, Fuss with seeds and plants under lights, Wake up Walt, check on bees and cold frame, wash and hang 4 loads of laundry - using new clothespin hanger, rake garden, make lunch for me and Walt - grilled cheese sandwiches, surf the net, check e-mail, lop some branches, rake some more, fix dinner, go to meeting.

Wake up, read paper, sort coupons make grocery list, make breakfast (french toast and bacon with orange wedges) go to chicken class, make sandwiches and lemonade, work in garden, walt build frames for bees, rake lawn, wash 1 load laundry, clean 1 enclosed veggie bed, lop blackberry bushes, find pea brush, plant peas, Grill steak for dinner...enjoy campfire at neighbors.


Tuesday, April 5, 2011

The Simple Woman's Daybook 4-5-2011

FOR TODAY

Outside my window
It's a cool, grey Spring Day. There is a nice gentle rain and temperature is the low 40's. It will be warming up a little bit more tommorow

I am thinking
all the gardening and outdoor chores that have to be done
sticks picked up off the lawn
leaves to be raked
brambles pruned
more seeds planted into jugs (winter sowing method)
brick walkway laid in south side of the cold frame
Jerusalem Artichoke tubers removed from pond side flower bed
buy and plant carnation seeds
prune and root fan-tail pussy-willows

I am thankful for
The promises of God

From the kitchen
Not much yet. Ingredients and bowls are out to make loaves of sandwich bread. Beans are soaking for a pot of beans and rice.

I am wearing
a soft fushia cotton pullover house dress and my cozy slippers

I am creating
...I just finished blanket stitching around squares of old towels that I cut up to use as a paper towel substitute. There are two reasons that I blanket stitched , to keep the cut edges from raveling. the other reasons is to differeciate these towel-lets from regular rags.

I also have several yards of calico out, I'm thing about sewing a simple pullover dress to wear around the house.

I am going
Hmm... to small claims court. We have to try to collect from a tenet who still owes us. We gave them some slack when he became unemployed, but he didn't catch up after he got a new job.

I am reading
Carrots Love Tomatoes Secrets of Companion Planting for Successful Gardening by Louise Riotte

I am hoping...
That Walt will find another client and that P.K. comes through with a good contract.

I am hearing
The television ... Martha Stewart doing a segment on the Today Show a segment on making decorative pots for herb plants. Walt pouring a 2nd cup of coffee in the kitchen. Traffic driving on wet roads outside.

Around the house
It's actually pretty clean. I vacuumed yesterday, de-cluttered and picked up the bedroom. There are also several geraniums blooming to add a dash of color to a grey and cold day.

One of my favorite things
Little heirloom tomato plants that I started from seed.

Photobucket

A few plans for the rest of the week:
Gardening. as soon as weather conditions allow i.e. the rain stops I need to go out to finish raking the flower beds then get it some pea seeds into the kitchen garden. On Saturday, we plan to go to an information session on raising backyard chickens. Sponsored by our local Cooperative Extension.

Here is picture for thought I am sharing
Photobucket

Winter Aconite blossom and Honey Bee.
Notice the pollen pellet on the bee's leg. As worker bees gather nectar from flowers, tiny particles of pollen stick to their bodies and are accumulated in pellets on their hind legs. The hind legs are equipped with pollen baskets (hairs and special structures on the bees leg) to carry the pollen back to the hive. Pollen is sometimes referred to as "beebread". Pollen contains the nutrients that are converted into larval food by special glands in the worker bees which is then used to feed young larvae.

You can read about the daybook entries of other wonderful women at The Simple Women's Daybook.