Friday, August 24, 2012

Fancy Chickens

It's State Fair time again and time for the annual fancy chicken slideshow!

Monday, June 18, 2012

Happy Birthday Hoku!

It's Hoku's 6 month birthday today! ETA: I don't know what I was thinking, Hoku's birthday was yesterday, June 17. Oops!
It's my mom's birthday, too - Happy 39th, Mom! ;)

Saturday, June 09, 2012

Today's Garden - June 9, 2012

I have been totally inspired by You Grow Girl and her awesome "Herbaria" series. It seems like a great way to keep track of what's blooming at the same time, so when it comes time to move things around, you can better assemble a collection of plants that give you all-season color (or food!) in whatever area you're planting. I don't think I captured it as artfully as she did, but I'll keep working on it. 

Today's Garden - June 9, 2012 by Ictero1
Today's Garden - June 9, 2012, a photo by Ictero1 on Flickr.
Many of the plants in this photo were rescued from "that lady's house." It's a bit of an inside joke as "that lady" has an actual name. She's a friend of a friend. She and her husband bought a house without a square inch of grass anywhere on the property. They are not plant people. And I imagine the whole scene was more than a little overwhelming. Even for an experienced gardener, it would have been overwhelming. It was becoming overgrown and desperately needed to be managed. Not knowing what to do, the decided they might just need to spray Round Up on everything. My friend asked if she minded if people dug some things up before the rain of poison started. She kindly agreed.

I brought a few friends from work and we started digging. It was mid-October, so many things had already died back and were very difficult to identify. We managed to put a general name to most things - rose, lily, peony, etc, but had no idea what color things were or how tall/short (for the lilies especially, as they had died back and all that was left was the dried up stalk). After 3 hours, we all left with our cars full. Completely full.

Over the next few days, I worked furiously to get things in the ground. Given that it was already the middle of October, I was worried that things wouldn't have a chance to take root before the cold and I'd lose everything over the winter. Amazingly, nearly everything popped up in the spring. The down side is that not knowing what most of it was, I now have a hodge-podge of onesie-twosies with tall things in front of short things and otherwise misplaced items. As things bloom and I figure out what they are and how they grow, I'm slowly moving them around to more appropriate spots in the garden. There are still quite a few lilies that haven't bloomed yet (although I think they all have buds on them this year), so it's a daily adventure to see what's out there!

Wednesday, June 06, 2012

Tomato Blooming!

Look very closely ... that's the first tomato blossom of the season! It's a Japanese Black Trifele. I've never grown this variety before, so I'm very curious to taste it and compare to last year's favorite, Black Krim (also growing again this year).

Tuesday, June 05, 2012

The First Peas

Grown from seed saved from last year's crop. Gobbled up long before reaching the back door. ;)

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Another Lovely Iris

This lovely opened up before all of the rain we had this weekend. I don't know who I got it from, but just like this one, I wish I had a dozen more!

With all of the rain this week, the garden looks a little beaten down. The areas that haven't been mulched are muddy and the plants look like they're covered in dirt. The mulched areas look a lot better, but I'm afraid to walk through the yard to get to them for a closer look. We definitely need a few days of dry, sunny weather to get things back on track!

Sunday, May 27, 2012


This iris was planted nearly four years ago. It did absolutely nothing. No blooms. Didn't even grow a new leaf. So I moved it last year and it seems to be much happier now! I hope it's twice as happy next year.

Friday, May 25, 2012

Stop and Smell the Roses

Friends are out of town for the summer, so Hoku and I are looking after their garden. Hoku isn't much help, but he does enjoy the lovely roses.

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Sunday, March 18, 2012

A Work in Progress

I had small scraps left over from a baby quilt, and decided to put them to use by making a coordinating diaper changing pad. Each square was 1.5 inches for a finished square of 1 inch. The fabric for the backing is a favorite from my stash - it doesn't necessarily match the  colors on the front patchwork, but I loved it so much, I decided to use it anyway.

I've been thinking of hand quilting one of my projects, but fear of failure has kept me from it. But I decided this was the one. And because I'm never one for convention, I decided the quilting would follow the flower patterns on the back of the quilt. The front has so much going on that it didn't seem right to do a fancy pattern on the front - and stitch-in-the-ditch didn't feel right, either. I've managed one flower. My stitches are far apart and not very even (and nearly invisible on the front), but I'm content with this as a practice piece.

Friday, March 16, 2012

Hoku, Meet Tessa

Hoku and I drove up to Mom's place over the weekend. Hoku was thrilled to have another dog to play with. They chased each other around for so long, I thought for sure they'd just pass out. But like the Energizer Bunny, they just kept going, and going, and going .... they looked blurry in real life, too!

And Hoku thought he was "king of the mountain" ....

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

More Signs of Spring!

Crocus popping up along the front sidewalk at my house. There's another patch under the maple tree in the boulevard, but I don't think they're up yet (they're buried under a couple inches of leaves, so they've probably got a few more days of warmth before they find the surface).

And these are the same tulips I saw here a couple of days ago ...

Monday, March 05, 2012

A Definitive Sign of Spring

I know that's almost impossible to see, but that's something green popping up through the ground! Hoku and I took a walk today (despite the fact that I've been sick for the past 3 days and wanted to do nothing more than lay on the couch) and I spotted this on south side of a six foot fence. There was another little clump nearby. I'm guessing it's crocus. The house is at the end of my block, so we should be able to check progress nearly daily!

Sunday, March 04, 2012

Hoku, Meet Amos

I think it's fair to say that Hoku was more interested in Amos than the other way around. Perhaps their next meeting will be more successful for both.

Friday, March 02, 2012

Winter Sowing: Part 4

There's a little more snow on the ground than last time I posted pictures - actually, I'm not sure there's more snow, but there's definitely been some much needed moisture.

Rudbeckia - Cherry Brandy: I winter-sowed some of these last year. They seemed more cherry-cola colored than cherry-brandy, but I thought I'd give them another shot and see if I like them more this year.

Bachelor Buttons - Black Magic and Tall Blend

Zinnia - Pastel Sunset and Giant Fantasy: I tried to winter sow these last year without success.

Zinnia - Fruit Smoothie: I successfully winter sowed these last year and quite liked them. They were over 3 feet tall. I only got orange and purple flowers, but that suited me just fine.

Scabiosa - Burgundy and Vanilla & Giant Imperial: I've never grown these before. In fact, I'm not sure I've even seen them growing anywhere, but they looked interesting on the package. Now that I think about it, I've probably seen them but just taken no notice. That may not bode well.

Aubrieta - Whitewell Gem: I've never grown this either, but I needed something to add to the rock garden area on the side of the house. We'll see how these do.

Agastache - Lavender Hyssop: These are new to me, too, but I've seen it in other people's gardens and thought they were interesting looking.

Monday, February 06, 2012

Introducing Hoku

The newest addition to the family ...

He just came home on Sunday, so everything is still very new. Here we are on our arrival home. We've been spending lots of time outside going potty. And we're practicing "sit" and getting used to the kennel. 

Thursday, January 26, 2012

Winter Sowing: Part 3

The Pot Farm has only grown by three this week: 

Red Leaf Lettuce

Bull's Blood Beets

Cleome - the seeds were generously donated to the cause by a friend who has gorgeous cleome growing in her purple-themed garden.

And in a totally different kind of winter sowing, these are fenugreek sprouts! I was rumbling through the spice drawer one night this week, looking for the ground cumin, and came across a little bag full of fenugreek. Fenugreek is a bit of a mystery to me, but I bought them to make this Georgian Pork Stew (as in the Republic of Georgia, not the State of Georgia). It was yummy, in case you were wondering.

Fenugreek seeds are hard and sort of triangular-shaped. And they have the faint odor of maple syrup. Or carmel. Or something sweet. Seriously. Fenugreek is used to make fragrances and a processing plant in New Jersey had everyone smelling maple syrup. 

Back to the little bag of fenugreek in my spice drawer ... 

Seeing the seeds made me wonder what kind of plant they came from. I dug around on the web and learned that not only are the seeds used for cooking, but the greens are also an important part of Indian cuisine (called Methi). It's a pretty plant. And a member of the legume family, so it's a nitrogen-fixer and an excellent soil conditioner.

I started wondering how I could get my hands on some seeds to try to grow in the garden. And then I realized I might already have them in my hands. Many spices are irradiated before being sold at retail, so I wasn't sure the ones in my spice drawer were viable. So before placing an online order for new seeds, I did a little sprouting experiment. I just put a couple dozen seeds in a wet paper towel in a plastic bag and let it sit on the counter. Two days later, I could tell they were starting to sprout! The picture above is after 4-5 days. Very exciting. I haven't tasted them yet, but I've read that they are often sprouted right along with mung bean and other sprouts for fresh eating.

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Winter Sowing: Part 2

The winter sowing continues...

Today's additions include:

Poppy - Mission Bells and Pizzicato

Lupine - Dwarf Minarette and Tutti Frutti

Carrot - Royal Chanteney - I'm not sure why I did these as there should be no trouble direct sowing them early in the spring. Oh well ... I'll just consider it an experiment.

Monarda - Some of my neighbor's Monarda was creeping through the fence last year, so I dug it and transplanted it to a more favorable location. I didn't think it would transplant very well, but it did just fine. I'm hoping for several patches of it this year in various places around the garden. If the winter sown doesn't take, I'm sure there will be more creeping through the fence this year, too.

Sea Holly - I think I tried to winter sow these last year, too. I don't remember planting any of them, so I'm guessing it was a failed experiment last year. Here's hoping for better luck in 2012.

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

The Winter Sowing Has Begun!

I've only managed nine containers so far, but I plan on doing about this many each week until I get through all of them.
This batch includes:

Penstemon - Chocolate Drop

Lead Plant - I tried - unsuccessfully - to wintersow this one last year.

Lupine - Wuthering Heights - I'm determined to get lupine to grow in my yard! I did have a few that seemed to survive the summer last year (no blossoms, though), so I'm curious to see if they come back this spring. And hopefully this batch will take. I have seed for two additional kinds of lupine - maybe one will be more successful than the rest.

Poppy - Shirley 
Poppy - Venus
Poppy - Giant Peony
I have some Oriental poppies that are doing marvelously well, so hope I can get a stand of different types going. I think they are my favorite flowers.

Arctic Iris - I got these seeds in Alaska a couple of years ago. I think they are some type of Siberian iris.

Fireweed - I also picked up these seeds in Alaska. They haven't been treated very well, so I'm not even sure if they're viable.

Dinosaur Kale - I have a large stand of Red Russian Kale and only a few of the Dinosaurs. I think it's lovely, so I will probably plant this amongst the flowers.

Saturday, January 07, 2012

Hello, Again

Forgive the terrible cell phone picture, but I was so surprised to find my overwintering rosemary blooming that I couldn't be bothered to find new batteries to put into my "real" camera. I have two pots of rosemary in the house this winter - this one is blooming and the other one has powdery mildew. A study in contrasts.

On another note, I finally hacked open my Jarrahdale pumpkin. At 12 lbs, it was a bit of bear to get in to, and I look like an Umpalumpa as my hands are stained completely orange.  Most of it is in the oven roasting now - I'll probably make some soup and mash/freeze the rest. I've also got a pot of Thai-inspired pumpkin soup on the stove. It's a bit of an experiment ... updates later on how it tastes.