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Some veggies from my garden! I'm quite delighted with the way my little garden has grown, in spite of the lateness of the planting. Beans, kale, swiss chard, all doing very well indeed. I've had some nice cucumbers, some tomatoes, and green onions; the salad stuff has been a little less successful because of the heat. I've planted another crop of beans so we should have more in the fall. I'd say the biggest success has to be the squash, which magically appeared on the manure pile (see the pictures?). I tossed my kitchen scraps on the pile, and hey presto! Squash as far as the eye can see. It loves the rich soil of the manure pile, and I swear there are at least 4 different types of squash, only one of which I recognize!

Hard to believe it's September already. Still some good growing time left, I hope.

Since I can't get DW to post the pictures, check them out here on LJ:
http://midnightsjane.livejournal.com/

I roasted the white squash tonight; it has a lovely delicate yellow insides, and a very nice flavor. Yay for squash!
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It's in their nature. Gardeners know this, and it's proven to us over and over. Stick some seeds in the ground, give them a little TLC, and hey, presto! a plant is born. Of course it's not always this easy, but in my experience given a little encouragement, seeds will almost always grow. It's a lesson in the tenacity of life, the will of Mother Nature to keep things producing, a lesson any good gardener takes to heart. This is the time of year when the dormant plants, roots and seeds wake and rise up towards the spring sunshine.

I stuck a bunch of bulbs in a small plastic jar last fall when I was moving all the planters from the patio. One of the big planters had lots of bulbs that had reproduced and spread themselves throughout the soil, and when I tossed all that old soil I saved the bulbs. Put them in the jar and stuck them on the table on my front balcony and forgot about them. The other day I was tidying up and found the jar. A hyacinth bulb was actually flowering, and the little daffodil bulbs were sprouting! The jar had a couple of inches of rainwater in it, so the bulbs started growing. I was quite thrilled, and immediately planted them. Volunteers!

When my neighbour moved last December she left a planter in a dimly lit corner of the parking garage near my car. It was covered with stuff; a cardboard box, an old bird feeder, etc. I kept meaning to move it, but never got round to it. A couple of weeks ago I noticed some green leaves, so I took the junk off the planter, and lo and behold, there were daffodils coming up. The leaves were all pale and spindly from lack of light, but they were growing. I took the planter up to my balcony, and with rain and light, these pasty plants turned into strong green stems with lovely yellow flowers! What a delightful sight, and it pleases me greatly.

Today I was raking the manure pile at the farm, and I was surprised to see little green shoots and leaves poking through in a spot where I had buried some vegetable scraps......they look like squash. Last year I had a huge squash plant grow on the pile, and it produced over a dozen of the tastiest acorn squashes I've ever eaten. I have hopes for this year. :)

I've started clearing the area where my vegetable garden will be, and it's going to be a job for sure. When the new barn was built the carpenters burned a lot of wood scraps there, and now I have to pick through the soil and pull out all the nails that were left behind. It's amazing how many there are. It will be a great spot for the garden though, lots of light, close to the tap on the barn for watering, and the soil should be good because years ago we had a small manure pile there. I already have some of the plants from the flower garden beside the old house transplanted there; a rose that was Jack's father's favourite, some lavender, a flowering shrub, and rhubarb..which is coming up now.

Like I said, seeds want to grow. Now all I have to do is get them planted!
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Ah, the smell of spring in the air. What a wonderful thing! Today was such a lovely change from the last couple of weeks with all the wind and snow and rain. The sun was out, the air was warm, and it just felt like maybe, maybe spring was coming. Yay.

I'm starting to feel that gardening urge..

Yesterday was nice too, so I made a start on getting my patio plants under control. Since my landlord has told me I can't put planters on the new patio because he doesn't want dirt getting under the tiles and into the drains, I have to start moving things out to the farm. I only have a small front balcony, and it's getting pretty crowded. I managed to pull the big planter that had my fragrant cloud rose in it down from the upstairs balcony and empty it. I took the rose and repotted it, and threw all the dirt and the planter out. Now I can move the rose to the farm and plant it there, along with some lavender and other things. It's feeling like the end of an era here; time to start working on the move to the farm. I've loved living here, but it isn't like it used to be; I used to know all my neighbours, and had a friendly relationship with them. Now I barely recognize any of the people who live here; it's different.

I'm going to start a little vegetable garden. I haven't had one for the last two summers because the new barn covered the area where my old garden was. I've picked out a place that should be good, and I just have to start planning and digging! I certainly have access to lots of good compost and fertilizer.
I love the process of looking at seed catalogues and deciding what to plant and figuring out where to plant. My greenish thumbs are getting itchy.

The roofers are coming tomorrow to start work on the house. It's really coming along! Looks fabulous, like a lovely country home, with a big wraparound veranda and some other great features. I can't wait for it to be finished and to get settled in my new apartment. New beginnings.

That's Done

Aug. 4th, 2013 09:24 pm
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I worked for 3 hours this afternoon and got all the plants repotted, moved and rearranged. The only ones still on the patio are the ones in the big barrels that I can't physically move. My neighbour's boyfriend tried to move the hostas up onto her balcony but he couldn't lift the pot, and I don't want to repot them right now (they look so gorgeous and healthy). The bay leaf tree and the rosemary and the fig tree..staying put for now. If my landlord wants to move them he can get his workers to do it. I've done what I can. My front balcony is loaded with plants now, looks like a big jungle. I have to admit that it was a good thing to get this done, as most of the plants (like the lavender) were totally rootbound. Now maybe they'll reward my efforts with lots of new growth.

OMFG.

Aug. 2nd, 2013 10:36 pm
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The last thing I wanted to do today was move the plants on the shared patio when I got home from the farm. I was already tired from doing stalls, and all I was thinking about was a nice dinner and a sit down. However, there was a note on my door from my landlord telling me that I needed to move all the plants or identify which ones I don't want (I presume that means he'll toss them). They've started redoing the waterproof membrane on the patio because there's a serious leakage problem downstairs; today they dug up half the concrete on the patio. They'd moved all the plants to one side, but I guess it's pretty hard to do a good job with all those barrels and things in the way. So I get it, I need to clear the area. Don't want to, but I will do my best. So I spent two hours lugging plants from the patio to my front balcony. I dug up the clematis from one barrel, broke my shovel doing so too. Most of the plants have been in the barrels and planters for years, and I've been thinking about which ones I want to eventually move out to the farm, so I guess this is a bit of a kickstart. Definitely taking my roses, and my fig tree, and the lavender, and the rosemary, and ... well just about everything I am able to move. I can't manage to move the bay leaf tree, it's just too big and heavy, or the pine tree that started out as a table Christmas tree in a small pot, and grew to be over 5 feet tall and is planted in an old blue bin recycling box.

My neighbor Elizabeth says she'll help me move some of the plants on Sunday, and I can put some up on her deck for now. That's good. Everyone here loves the common space, and all the plants, which makes for happy neighbours. Once the repair work is done I'm going to rearrange things a bit, maybe put things in smaller, more moveable planters. Those big barrels are heavy and hard to deal with. One of them, an old wooden barrel with lavender and curry plants in it, just fell apart when I moved it. The plants were so root bound I was able to just pick it up and carry it out to my balcony, potless!

After all that, I was pretty damned sore, but a hot bath and some ibuprofen has fixed me right up.

It rained today! Only the second time since the beginning of July. I was unprepared, so I got a bit wet. It was so miserable we didn't put the horses out. We would have had to put all the rain sheets on, and then the horses would have probably just stood at the gates and wanted to come in. They're rather pampered creatures. lol. It saved us some time and work, because we didn't have paddocks to clean. The horses all got a nice run in the arena, so they had some exercise. They were quite happy to stand and eat hay all day afterward.

I drove over to Hamilton's farm market on my way home, picked up some cherries for Sue, some Swiss Chard for me, and a 25 pound bag of carrots for the horses. Treats for everyone! Stopped at Country Feeds to pick up wormers for the horses; they had ivermectin on for $7.99 each, a really good price. When you have to worm 13 horses, you look for the best deals you can. Gets a bit expensive! But it's necessary, so we do it. They're on a regular routine, every 4 months or so. This month we have to get everyone's teeth done too, although I think we'll have to do it in 2 goes. I don't think our Vet could do it all in one day!

Hmm. Guess I need to pick up a couple more shifts. That's going to be a biggish bill. Ah, horses, the things we do for you. It's 'cause we love you.

And wow, it's bedtime already.
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I had some time today to enjoy my patio garden; the sun was shining and the weeds were growing, so I puttered about cleaning up the planters and checking on the plants. I haven't had the time or energy to put into the patio that I once did, but what is there grows pretty much because it wants to..things surprise me, like the fennel that has managed to move from its one planter to 3 others, without any help from me! Last fall my landlord told me that the patio deck was going to be repaired so I had to move as many of the plants as I could. I spent several back breaking days emptying barrels and throwing stuff out, replanting my roses and the other things into smaller planters that I stored on my front balcony this winter. Spring came and no sign of any work being done on the patio, so plants have slowly made the move back to the sunny patio. My climbing rose, one that seemed to be on its last legs, has benefitted greatly from being transplanted; it is now about 3 feet tall and has multiple blooms and shiny healthy leaves. The strawberry plants are laden with ripening berries, and the potato vine in the wooden barrel has huge purple blossoms on it; in fact, I've never seen it bloom before. Guess the plants are feeling like they've been reprieved. One of the things I've loved about where I live is the patio; it makes my small apartment feel bigger, like there's a yard just outside the door. I've indulged my greenish thumb and over the years have grown a lot of different things, from the roses to the fig tree to the bay tree, and a lot of tomatoes. Makes my gardener's heart happy.

Took a walk up the street to the library, found a couple of books to read, did some grocery shopping and some banking, then came back and made a lasagna to take out to the farm tomorrow.

It's been quite a nice day.
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I have the midwinter gardening itch..that time of the year when I look at the plot of land I've chosen to plant my next veggie garden and start making grandiose plans. The hard work of digging and turning the soil and adding compost and all that stuff just seems like no work at all..in my mind. The gardening book I have on my coffee table is like a siren, calling me to make lists and plans and stuff.

This could also be chalked up to the $5.00 cauliflower I bought today. Holy crap. $5.00 for a cauliflower? And $2.50 for a bunch of spinach? I'm going to have to grow my own veggies if I want to continue to eat them, at this rate. The guy at the produce store said it was because there was a frost in California, and it hit the lettuce, spinach, asparagus and other veggies. The price of asparagus was as high as $10 a pound!! And still some people bought it. Yikes.

What did I do with that pricey cauliflower? I made cauliflower and cheddar cheese soup. Very yummy..better be good for that price, LOL. I'm going to make lasagna with a spinach cottage cheese filling using the fresh spinach.

I have a shift in ICU tomorrow, so I'd better go make my lunch. Then off to bed to dream of neat rows of lovely green vegetables!
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Earthquake on the west coast, hurricane on the east coast..I'm getting the feeling that Momma Nature is kind of pissed off with our messing about with climate change. I hope all my friends in Sandy's path are safe, warm and dry. I'm thinking of you all.

The big earthquake here was, fortunately, not HERE, as in Vancouver. It was way up the coast just off Haida Gwaii, and while it caused some serious shaking and a tiny tsunami, it didn't do a lot of damage. I didn't feel a thing, although some of my co-workers who live in high rises said they felt some swaying. It did inspire me to check my emergency bag and make a list of some additions I need.

I spent the day working on clearing the plants off the patio, as my landlord has requested. I don't imagine they'll be starting work on it just yet, but since it's going to take me some time and effort, I figured I'd best get started. I worked for about four hours in the rain, digging out the plants I want to save for replanting at the farm, like the raspberries and roses. I tossed out some of the old rootbound herbs etc. The hardest part was hauling all the old soil down the stairs to the back lane. I spread as much as possible on the dirt by the neighbours fences, and the rest went into the dumpster. I made a good dent in the work, and the patio is looking a lot emptier now. I feel kind of sad about it. I've put a lot of time and energy into the greening of the patio over the years, and it feels like the ending of an era. I was wet, muddy, and tired by the time I finished. Still have quite a job ahead of me, but at least I've made a start.

I spent the rest of the afternoon relaxing; made a pot of mushroom and barley soup as it felt like soup making kind of weather, then baked a batch of cookies. I made peanut butter cookies, only instead of peanut butter I used hazelnut butter. The hazelnut butter comes from a local farm, made from organically grown hazelnuts. So now I'm writing this, watching the Big Bang Theory, drinking tea, and eating cookies: multitasking!

Time for Dancing With the Stars.

Gardening

May. 9th, 2012 09:17 pm
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After four days of being stuck indoors at work, I enjoyed today. It was a lovely sunny spring day, and everything is growing like crazy, especially the weeds in my garden patch. I didn't plant a garden last year,so the plot has lain fallow for almost 2 years, allowing the dandelions and the buttercups to get a real good foothold. This afternoon I got out the fork and the hoe and went after the weeds with gusto. I managed to get about a quarter of the garden dug up and weeded before I ran out of steam. The soil is beautiful, dark and rich. I saw lots of earthworms, a couple of which were almost 6 inches long! I finally pulled up the collard green plants which have managed to keep producing two years after being planted from seed..so tonight I had a good feed of greens with my mac and cheese.
I've decided to plant a somewhat smaller garden this year, mostly salad stuff, and things like peas and beans. Vegies that I really like, and eat a lot of. I'm not going to bother with squash and tomatoes and things that take up a lot of room. I will plant some tomatoes in pots on my patio, because they do well there, but I'm keeping things simple.

It felt really good to be digging in the dirt, using my gardening muscles again. I missed it, not having a garden last year.

The horses are all enjoying the sunny weather too.

What would make me really really happy would be getting my tax return soon. Please, Revenue Canada, get off your butts and send me my money. Bills to pay, you know. I'm trying not to fret, but it would be nice to get that little cushion. We have to get Buddy and Teddy gelded next week, so there's going to be a largish vet bill coming. :sigh:

I put in my $2.00 for the staff lottery pool..$50 million in this week's LottoMax draw. Wouldn't that be nice?? Hey, I'd definitely share.

Ah well. My horoscope for today said to concentrate on being cheerful and doing things that I enjoy. I'm doing pretty well so far.
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Nothing like an hour or so of digging in the dirt to lift a gardener's spirits. I've been a bit down lately, a bit grumpy and tired from the stress of this past year; I've been working so hard, and feeling a little fed up, despite my efforts to stay positive and cheerful. Got home tonight, and the sun was still shining on the patio, so I started poking around the planters, checking to see if any of the bulbs were coming up. Sure enough, the daffodils and the tulips are starting to shoot up in the big planter, the mint and lemon balm is coming along, the chives are about 6 inches tall, and the clematis is growing again, after an early start that was stunted by the last frost. One of the things that my neighbours left behind when they moved in December was a pot that had what I thought was weeds; I looked more closely, dug in the pot and hey! what do you know? It's onions..lots of little baby onions, all crushed together in the little pot. I have a couple of empty planters filled with soil waiting for something to grow in them, so I pulled the onion sets apart, and planted them in the pots. Then I trimmed back the dead leaves and things from the strawberries, pulled moss away from the hostas and swept the patio. I felt quite rejuvenated, and in a much lighter frame of mind after all this. I just needed to get a little dirt under my nails!

Plus, when I was pulling my clothes out of the dryer this evening, a shiny loony fell out of a pocket. I'm rich! LOL.
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I read somewhere that the secret to gardening is to remember that seeds want to grow..all they need is the barest essentials to do their work. It certainly seems that way to me, when I look at weeds growing in the cracks in the patio cement, and the way the collard greens I planted in the garden last year have come back in spite of the fact that I basically abandoned the garden this year. I haven't watered anything, but the collards are huge and lovely, and the few short rows of lettuce I threw in are prospering as well. What really amazed me today was the discovery of a huge squash plant growing on the side of the manure pile...don't know where the seed came from, but the plant is gorgeous. I think it's some kind of summer squash from the little green squashes I see on it. Thank you, Mother Nature.

Other growing things: our two little colts, Buddy and Teddy. They're both doing really well, much better than we had anticipated. Teddy is very calm, seems to have gotten over his abrupt weaning from his poor Momma; he has a great temperament, which is a hallmark of his father's children; Rosario passes it on to his offspring. Kismet was really sweet too, so Teddy has the best genetic chance of being another "steady Eddy" of a horse. Buddy is now weaned off his formula, and is eating hay and grain like a big boy. He seems calmer too; he would get so excited when it was time for his milk he could be a bit of a handful. Several people, including someone who has raised orphan foals, have commented on how good the boys look, and how well behaved and non-neurotic they are. We attribute it to the many hours we've spent with them, giving them love and atttention, and discipline too. Not many people have the energy to bottle feed a foal every two hours around the clock, which is what we did for that first month of Buddy's life. I give Sue so much credit for the way the boys have turned out; her dedication and effort has been amazing. It's been a team effort, with everyone pitching in and doing their part. So our little sprouts are growing and thriving.

It was really hot today; we're having a gorgeous September. I'm glad it cools down in the night, because otherwise I wouldn't be so pleased about the weather! Hope it stays nice for the next week. My sister Sandy is coming to visit.

Herbs..

Sep. 7th, 2011 09:05 pm
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One great thing about growing herbs by your doorstep: they're so easy to use. My tummy was a bit squiffy,(maybe the fish I had for dinner?) so I stepped out onto the patio, picked a bunch of peppermint and lemon balm, and now am enjoying a cup of soothing herbal tea.

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