Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Green heron

I wish I could say I took this picture....but it's one I got off of the internet. I wanted to post this beautiful bird because we have one on our pond! He is very shy though and I haven't been able to get close enough for a picture. (I will have to get out into the duck blind by he was on the pond when I got up at 6am) We have had them for about 3 years now and think/hope they are nesting somewhere down at the pond. Yesterday he was at the pond for most of the day, just standing in the water and catching frogs and tadpoles too I guess. They have an amazing sound too!

Monday, April 27, 2009

Duck blind

Aidan and I decided to sneak down to the pond to take a closer look at the wood ducks (via the woods, so they wouldn't see us approaching) and decided we needed a duck blind at the pond's edge so we could watch them. We used pine branches that we had trimmed off some trees a couple of weeks ago. We stacked and piled them on three sides so we would be able to see them on both ends of the pond. I want to be able to sit down there and be hidden so that the ducks won't notice me. Maybe I'll be able to get some photos too.

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Birthday money

Annie bought more Lego..this time a farm!

A Poem.... by Kate Nicholas

Home Again, then Roam Again

Grey sidewalks and blvds,
as far as the eye can see.
Chewing gum and parking meters
on every single street.
Buildings tower, the sky they scrape.
Oh how I wish I could escape,
the sewer smells, polluted air,
the "getting hit by a taxi" scare.
Oh how I long for the country,
sweet smells and starlit nights.
The wolves howl to the moon lit bright,
their howls sound like men
saying "oh damn! let me catch that bus
so I can be home again".

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

I love Spring for it’s renewal. Everything begins again and I find it the most hopeful season. ANYTHING seems possible! Out here, it begins with the pond. First the ducks come, usually a few mallards, then the wood ducks arrive. Greg and I saw the female try out the wood duck box! So hopefully we’ll have baby ducks on the pond again this year. Then we begin to hear the frogs calling…spring peepers, wood frogs, leopard frogs as well as the trill of the American toad. We haven’t heard the call of the green frog, which sounds like the twang of a banjo string, or the bullfrogs yet, as they are the last to join in the singing. Soon we’ll be able to see the clumps of frog’s eggs and the strings of toad’s eggs. On Sunday, Greg and I were down at the pond and saw a painted turtle and 2 snakes! They looked like black rat snakes…so cool! (from a distance..) We also have a muskrat on the pond, only visible with the binoculars from the house, because he slips under water if we try and get any closer.

The yard too is filled with signs of spring.
There are several robins around, digging
through the newly raked garden beds for
worms, and building yet another nest on
the posts of our porch.
(we’re up to 6 now!) Today, while I was
raking I uncovered a very cold, very
slow-moving salamander.

The early blooming flowers of Hepatica and Lungwort are lovely spots of colour in the otherwise brown gardens. (A walk in the woods will reveal more blossoms of the many wild flowers that will soon be up…that will be another day’s blog)

The tomato and pepper seedlings are still tiny, but coming along. As long as it’s sunny, I am able to put them into the little greenhouse/coldframe, as the temperature in there is always much warmer. Right now we’ve got 9 trays of seedlings, but they are still only in cell paks. Once they are transplanted in to their pots, the trays will only hold about 12 or 15 plants, instead of the 48 plants they hold now. My hope is that by the time the plants need to be transplanted to a pot, the temperature at night in the greenhouse will be steady at about 7 degrees and then we will not have to bring all of those trays in every night and back out every morning…usually we do have to do that for a couple of weeks, but I started the seedlings later this year, so maybe we’ll only have to do it for a few days.
Either way, I do love that little contraption and am thankful that I am able to grow so many plants. The onions, lettuce, greens and chard have been able to stay in the greenhouse overnight for a while now. They are not so tender and aren’t hurt by the cold, but I’m sure a bit more sun would really get them growing too!

Another thing I love about spring is the fact that although it’s too wet to get into my vegetable gardens, I can still work outside on my perennial beds! I have started 2 new ones. One near the compost area ( where the old pile was) and one near the house along the front walk, where we have a few big rocks that needed a garden around them! I built the front garden as a ‘lasagna’ garden. I laid wet sections of newspapers all over the grass where I wanted to garden to be, they covered it with a layer of leaves, then some soil and compost, then hay, then more soil, then more leaves. I then covered it with a black tarp to really get it ‘cooking’. I had to cut a few holes in the tarp, because I actually have a few plants started in that garden…a little bush, and a hosta from zee last year, and I transplanted my hydrangea into that garden too. I hope to let that sit for a few weeks and then start planting more things into it. If I could, I would spend all day outside in my gardens!

In the spring, at the end of the day, you should smell like dirt.
- Margaret Atwood

Saturday, April 18, 2009

Feeling crappy today:(

I am getting a cold..Im taking oregano oil again hoping to nip it in the bud and should have taken it as soon as Kate and Annie got colds.

I feel like a slacker...I should be doing some fundraising for the Relay for Life. So many things I could be doing outside. The house is messy. I have no energy. I'm going for a walk today even tho I dont feel like it but I know I will be happy I did. aaarrrrgggghhhh.... Sigh.....(hoping that sums up how I feel) Lee

Thursday, April 16, 2009

a day spent outside

Annie so desires a tree house, that for the time being, she has created a little perch for herself. She made a shelf and a basket with a rope and even made a flag...I had to hoist up (the 4 feet) water and snacks and her novel and stuffed animal.
And look!!! I have lettuce mix growing in my cold frame!! Not sure what will happen to it but it will be fun to watch!!

A yummy snack

Lee in the kitchen:) I found these little appetizer sized vegetable samosas at the grocery store and they are surprisingly good..let alone easy to just throw in the oven for a yummy snack or lunch! With PC "memories of Thailand" Spicy red pepper sauce...mmmmmmm.

Monday, April 13, 2009

It's a sandwich!

Yup..this is how we treat our guests!


Lee here..some of the seeds we planted have now been transplanted into bigger pots. It gave me the chance to thin some of them out and free up space from seeds that didn't sprout. I think next time I will bypass the little containers (the egg cartons and peat pops) and go right for these larger pots, expecially for things like perenials, herbs and the marigolds Annie started. I am going to plant some lettuce and other greens directly in the soil in one of my cold frames. I'm happy to see some success with these seeds. The lettuce that we planted got long and spindly too fast...and I dont have the space inside at the moment to put them into larger pots...for something that grows really well directly in the ground. Lots of lessons to be learned:)

Thursday, April 9, 2009

It's sunny this morning!! Okay, it's only 1 degree, but there's sun!! I have been craving the sun and so have my seedlings. Poor little cold things, waiting for some heat and more light than the grow lights can provide. I hope to sit some of the tomato trays in the windows, just so they'll get some heat, since they aren't thru the soil yet. But I think I'll put the onions out in the greenhouse this morning. Tomorrow will be even warmer and I hope to put all the trays in the greenhouse (which will really heat up if it's sunny all day) I was compost building yesterday and have 3 huge piles ready to go into the gardens...what a stash this year! I still have work to finish on the new bins, but already I love composting more now that it's more organized. It's a lot like my house....if it gets disorganized, it gets too overwhelming and difficult to maintain. I want to get some old clothes/stuff/junk out of the house this spring. It always feels good to purge, sending some to the Sally Ann, some to the Rag Bag, and some to the Craft Box. But not is a good day to be outside! We hear the frogs all the time now; the spring peppers, the green frogs, and the leopard frogs. The wood ducks are on the pond everyday now, and I am hopeful they will use the duck box again this year. Every day there is much to look forward to and somehow the sun reminds me of that!

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Just Stuff

I've just finished reading the "House of Night" series by P.C Cast and Kristin Cast (Mother & Daughter) ok. there is one more to go "Hunted" but I've decided to wait until it's out in paper back. I think it could be a good T.V. series, have to wait and see. Reading stuff like House of Night has been a real time suck, to ease a really important time suck, like jumping up on the eliptical.

I've managed to set aside a heap of linen that will make oodles of double sided reusable bum wipes. I think I have enough for the whole family and even more to gift to family and friends... Ho Ho Ho Merry Christmans Kathee and Lee ;) and yup Papa! You're septic systems and butts will thank me in the New Year.

I finally finished my red lotus and OM symbol. "This symbolizes the original nature of the heart (hrdaya). It is the lotus of love, compassion, passion, activity and all the qualities of the heart." I want to add a quote, but alas the wall paper is anaglypta and is embossed, making it difficult to paint anything that requires detail or fine lines.

Now to tackle my clothes and find a practical solution for storing them. Wish me luck!

Zee.. over and out

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

As Ed Lawrence says...

Thank goodness we are having this break from spring. What a nice optimistic way to look at it lol. Too much of a good thing is never good right? I little break away from nice yard work weather in case we've already forgotten about the joys of winter. Its snowing here non stop. Our yard is completely covered and I had to trudge (as in its deep enough to need to trudge) through packy snow to get to the wood pile yet again. Anyone up for making a spring snowman? Temperatures supposed to rise enough this week to melt it...its good for the water table right?

Monday, April 6, 2009

gardening etc

It’s been ages since I’ve been on the blog. Aidan and I enjoyed our visit to Lee’s! The cold frame project was fun. It’s too bad we’re so far from each other that we can’t do more projects together…at least we can share stuff through the blog! Thanks for such a great visit Lee!!
Zee, I really enjoyed our (short but sweet) visit together too. SO MUCH to talk about, so little time!! Gardening of course is one of my favourite topics! And I totally agree…”A garden is never finished”. I feel like my gardens ‘evolve’. I have plans or ideas but as I start them, they seem to ‘happen’ the way they were meant to. I have plans this year of expanding the little garden I started last year on the hill on the left side of our yard. It’s almost impossible to cut the grass that grows there, so I have been turning it into gardens and will extend the path I made too. I have plans to work on our fire pit area too and a new perennial bed near my compost.
The compost area is the project I’m working on now. It’s too early to get into the garden, so it’s the perfect time to do the reno job I’ve been wanting to do for some time. I cleared an area to the west of where my compost used to sit and have expanded it to three bins. I was able to use the pallets I was using before, with only one new one needed. I got it all banged together, but plan on getting some slab wood and covering it, just so it looks cool, and I want to make a roof too. Here’s where it’s at right now…this is the old pile...and the new set-up...

I want to re-pile the winter compost and get it ‘working’ and will spread that out right near that area so it can become the new perennial bed. I have a lot of flowers that would do better in a wet spot, and this area is right near the creek so it’s perfect. I want to lay some newspapers then the compost, some soil and some hay. I’ll let that sit and ‘cook’ and then will add the perennials a little later as things warm up.
My greenhouse is up early this year. I call it ‘the little greenhouse that I hate to love’…I would love to have a ‘real’ greenhouse, but instead we make do with this contraption that we scab together every year. The structure is made of metal poles from part of our camping canopy as well as wood duct taped to the poles, then plastic stapled to the wood. We reinforce it with more wood on top of the staples, because the wind can be brutal. (Actually the wind IS brutal, and I have to say I really do NOT like the wind when it comes to my greenhouse) We got the greenhouse up early this year, so we will be ready to pop the trays of seedlings in as soon as they’re up. As long as the sun is out, it can get really warm in there. Of course, if it was a real greenhouse, we would be heating it and wouldn’t have to bring all the trays in every night. BUT, the only power we use is that of our legs and arms to truck them in and out, so I guess it’s much more environmentally sound than a real one! I do love it… So far, the onions are up and almost due for their first clipping. (I keep them cut to 4” tall) A few greens and a couple of lettuce are up, but looking a bit spindly. I pre-sprouted my pepper seeds and some were sprouted by Saturday, so I potted them up into cell paks. Tomatoes are the next to be sprouted. SUCH a great time of year!! (Just a bit more sun would make it perfect...)

Friday, April 3, 2009

London Fog

Annie with a London good as any Starbucks drink!

I got this recipe from the Nurturedbylove site posted on our side bar. Its so perfect for a rainy day such as today! Our power was out twice today for a total of 4 hours. Our house is just too cold and damp with all this rain so I had to go out and find dry fire wood and kindling..nice and warm in here now.

London Fog

Steep an earl grey tea bag in half a mug of boiling water

Add 1 Tbsp brown sugar and 1/4 tsp vanilla

Add steamed milk make it foamy, blend with submersible blender
Sprinkle with Cinnamin or nutmeg


Wednesday, April 1, 2009

A visit from Kathy and Aidan!

It is so great to see friends in real life! Great conversation, yummy healthy food and we did some work too!!
Annie starting some seeds in a seed tray...letuce mix, tatsoi, basil, spinach and arugula and brocoli to eat as seedlings.
This is our lunch...salad, hummus, Kathy's spicy feta (post your recipe Kath!) and pita wedges.

Kathy drew some plans for my new cold frame (I will post a pic soon!) The math was way over my head!

Took three of us to cut a piece of wood:) We were trying to be environmentally friendly by using human power tools:)

The time went by too quickly!!