Welcome reader to my blog - a mixture of this and that. Now that we are living in a retirement community in downtown Columbia, MD my personal gardening activities are somewhat curtailed. I still enjoy visiting gardens, reading, watching wildlife on my walks, traveling, and occasional food commentary. Please leave a comment if you feel inspired to do so. I read every one of them.

Thursday, April 28, 2011

Update on My Reading

I haven't been doing much reading of late since the warmer weather means more time for the garden. I have had some books in my stack for awhile and will likely have to renew them before I've even cracked them open.

Dan did bring home a book for me on Friday called "Younger Next Year for Women". He bought "Younger Next Year" and decided to buy me the companion book. This is an amazing book that really explains the need to exercise and at my age it is a must 6 days a week they say for 45 minutes at a stretch. It needs to be my job now that I'm retired. I've embraced it whole-heartedly and feeling better for it. Look for the book. It's worth the read.

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Near Disaster


Recognize that silhouette? Yes, it's a hummingbird and it caught its beak in the screen on the porch, the upper part. It was frantic, beating its wings, calling out trying to extricate itself. I thought at first it was after a bug so I went out on the porch expecting that my presence would send it on its way, but that wasn't the case. I called Dan to come since he was taller, but not tall enough to reach it. He went to the garage for the step ladder and as he carried it to the porch, the hummingbird's last pull of its head brought its beak out and it flew off. I still can't figure how it got caught in the first place.

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Harvest Monday on Tuesday and Other News



Harvest last week of a romaine like lettuce - don't know the name as I planted it last fall - and two green onions which all went in to a Caesar salad. Se other harvest at Daphne's Dandelions.
This is that lettuce growing. Anyone recognize it?

Irises are finally blooming.



First columbine is blooming.

I purchased a lot of annuals at Lurgan's in PA near Chambersburg. It's Amish owned. I have lots of pots and hanging planters to fill.

Here are my tomato plants waiting to be planted. I think they are yellowing and I'm aiming to put them in on Thursday.

Onions are so green.

Time to harvest more spinach and the peas are enjoying all the rain.

Lettuce and spinach is doing really well.

Recognize the seedlings below? Tomatoes are germinating from the compost I added to the beds. It must be a sign that's it's time to plant my tomatoes.

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Another Visitor


Haven't had one of these to visit for a number of years. It's a sizable one, too. My fear is it will eat the creeping phlox which is what was nibbled in the past. I think I doused it with Liquid Fence which is supposed to work for rabbits as well as deer.


And one of my pepper plants under the grow light has set a bud. See it?

Monday, April 18, 2011

Harvest Monday - Spinach Alone, Again!


At least I do have spinach to harvest and wouldn't have had it if it hadn't wintered over so well. The leaves are nice and big and a deep green.

It was enough for the two of us to have steamed and have a nice big helping of it with a pat of butter on top.

Here's how the rest of the crops are faring in the vegetable garden.


Three kinds of onions.


Snow peas with the stick supports a la Crocketts Victory Garden. Spinach before harvest is on the left.

Close up of peas. No turkey problems this year.


More spinach, three rows, bordered on both sides by lettuce. Spinach close up below.


Finally as I walked back in the garage I snapped this photo of the hostas on the east side of the house. They are the farthest along in their growth and looking lovely.


Check out other harvest at the host of Harvest Monday: Daphne's Dandelions.

Friday, April 15, 2011

Earth Day Reading Project

Earlier this week I was tagged by HolleyGarden of Roses and Other Gardening Joys to participate in the Earth Day Reading Project hosted by Sage Butterfly. Here then are three books that inspired me to "Be Green".

"Crockett's Victory Garden" by James Underwood Crockett
When we moved into our single family home in Columbia, Md in 1979 I knew I would finally have space to garden both with vegetables and flowers. Though we had to get through some architectural covenants to place the vegetable garden on the side of the house,


(Here's daughter, Emily, in the garden - no wonder she's a gardener now, too!)
we managed that and looked to this book for inspiration on how to proceed . I still have it and refer to it. Victory Gardens have come back into vogue in recent years but Crockett encouraged his readers to grow food and flowers - be green - in the 1970s when it was published.

"The Not So Big House: A Blueprint for the Way We Really Live" by Sarah Susanka
In 1999 we knew we wanted to build a home that would serve us well into retirement. We also knew we wanted to be environmentally friendly as we planned and built this house. We read a review of this book and found it so intriguing we purchased it. We even had an opportunity to hear the author speak at the National Building Museum. We were inspired to build a home that wasn't a mega mansion but one "that favors the quality of its space over the quantity". In 1999 we purchased 8 acres in the woods and went looking for a green architect and found one. We moved into this home in 2005 and feel very fortunate to be living in a home with so many "green" features.

(Reuse of old timbers on the south facing exposure - passive solar feature.)


(Ecothermal panels and the Lowen windows.)


"Animal, Vegetable, Mineral - A Year of Food Life" by Barbara Kingsolver
My daughters recommended this book to me. There is no way I will ever duplicate the life this author describes but it did wake me up to try my hand at growing a vegetable garden again. My first attempts that first summer we moved here were a disaster because of the deer. I had no idea of the fight I would have to maintain a garden, vegetable or flower in the midst of the woods, where I was the trespasser into the habitat of the deer. I had thought I could intermingle tomato plants amongst my perennials. Nope, that didn't work. In the spring of 2009 I tried two raised beds with netting over them and that worked, but the beds were too small.
To expand would require a fence which we had built around the raised bed area.

The entire fenced part is too narrow for the deer to jump into without damage to themselves, so now I'm back into growing my own vegetables and blueberries. This will be the second year and I'm glad to "be green".

Robin at Garden of Eden graciously agreed to be tagged.

Garden Bloggers' Bloom Day - April






My poinsettia is still going strong!


Bleeding heart.


Last of the daffodils.

Compare this to last year's April Bloom Day posting. Weather temps make a big difference.

Check out other blooms this spring day at May Dreams Garden.

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Fear of Losing My Peas

Last spring I truly believe that a turkey was eating my peas as they poked through the soil. So this year I've had a net over the peas, but with rain storms it keeps being blown cockeyed. Today when leaving down my steep drive I spotted two very large turkeys in the wetlands at the bottom of the steepest part of the drive. They didn't fly away - they ran. Then I thought of my peas! I'd better fix that net and while I'm back up there, grab the camera. I turned around and did both of those things. Alas, when I returned to where I'd seen them they'd disappeared but left this deer behind. It wasn't there the first time.



It took its time walking away but I had a time trying to capture it so I took photos of the skunk cabbage instead.



Then here's my surprise lily that surprised me two years ago in the wetlands, I transplanted it last year to the entry way to our drive and this year it's growing.


When I got home from my errands the net on the peas was askew again. It's been a windy day. Maybe the peas are past the point when turkeys will eat them?
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