Monday, May 28, 2018

The Love of Birds & Frugal Accomplishments

Hello, friends.  Looking out the kitchen window one morning, I saw this.  I decided the birds were sending back some love to me.  Last week, kale and lettuce were harvested, and salads made with both.  For the lettuce salad, I gathered tips of wild cat brier to add.  I rearranged my closet seasonally, and added a shirt I hadn't worn to the giveaway box.  There is about one and a half feet beyond the door of the closets that is difficult to get to.  I swap out the off season clothes to go in that area, making the current clothes easy to get to.  I made hummus for a gathering from pantry items, and we enjoyed the leftovers.  A pack of okra was pulled from the freezer for dinner.  Joseph called me to the garden one day, to look at a snake, and after researching, we determined it to be this one.  It's been a bit of a snaky year here, including some new to us ones.

 The amaryllis did bloom.  Isn't it a vibrant color?  I was pleased with myself for taking down ceiling light shades to clean, a task I've needed to do for some time in the studio.  That lasted about a minute, at which point the color on the shades started sloughing off in the sink, with only water and my hand lightly rubbing them.  J says the color was spray painted on to the clear glass. These were not especially cheap lights.  I looked and found that I ordered them on overstock 2 1/2 years ago, and they had a 1 year warranty.  I did go back and change my review of them at overstock, as they are still selling them.  Now I have to get the remainder of the paint off, then decide what to do.  I'm pondering etching them, but need to research how toxic the solution is.  Sheesh!  If you've got any ideas, please share.

I read an article on how to best wash produce to remove pesticides, with some of the latest research.  I grow food organically, and buy organic as much as possible, but do buy conventional produce too, so good to know.  I strung twine to help the hummingbird vine climb the new trellis.   The first mulberries and raspberries were harvested, though the birds are not wanting to share many.  The wintersown amaranth seedlings were very spindly, so I direct seeded this and another type in the pond garden as well.  I also shelled peanuts we grew two years ago, and planted the biggest seeds in a couple of small patches in the pond garden.  I hope the deer will not bother them quite as much in this garden.   The last of our sweet potatoes were cooked, small ones for us, and the smallest ones for the pups.

I picked up a few items at the grocery store.  Their rewards card reader wasn't working, so they were giving 15% off (update: that's what the cashier said, but when I checked my receipt, it was 6%... still nice) the entire order, which was a lovely surprise.  There was a nice patch of lambs quarter in the pond garden.  J was wanting to weed there, which encouraged me to harvest them first.  I got around 2 gallons worth of the upper tips, while enjoying pleasant morning temps in the garden.  I made a dilute mixture of fish emulsion, and fed the tomato and other seedlings.  The first deployment of the game camera was a short one, as I got a late start.  The camera card is not one we have a port for, so I took it to the library to view, and found several episodes of a deer happily munching in our road garden.  We decided not to plant there this spring, being they previously decimated our peanut and crowder peas there.  It's the farthest garden from the house, and we haven't figured what we could plant that deer wouldn't eat, that also needed little attention.  The camera was deployed for the next 3 week session, this time at the edge of the woods near the pond.

The chicks are doing well, and growing.  I planted another round of lettuce, and transplanted 6 lambs ear that had volunteered in the grass beyond a bed's border.   I expect the lettuce will bolt quickly, but hopefully we'll get a few salads from it first.  The beet bed was weeded, and the weeds brought to the chickens.  Some of the seedlings I started were puny, and not thriving, so I decided they'd be better off in the ground.  These included red and golden orach, calendula,  marigolds, tithonia and swiss chard.  J planted all the tomato seedlings that were of good size in the garden.  I transplanted all the remaining  tomatoes, peppers and eggplant from trays into pots, and watered them with diluted fish emulsion.  An order of jewelweed and pussy willow plants arrived last week.  After resting in the shade a few days, we planted them.  I have fond memories of pussy willows, as we had one at my childhood home.  I hope they'll do well.

We attended a celebration of life last Sunday. The man that had passed was a wonderful gardener, and we walked around admiring his gardens, including some rustic cedar arbors.  J was inspired, and built one for the start of the path to the house last week.  With his shop just across the driveway, I like that it seems to be a transition from public to private space.  I've ordered a dutchman's pipe vine to climb the arbor, which is a host plant for swallowtail butterflies.  I try to set out plants and seeds just before rainy days, and being we've had a few of those, gardening has been a priority the past week.  I did get a couple of spring cleaning chores accomplished.  The wood stove was blacked, and the hearth bricks were scrubbed.  Because the original plan was for the wood stove and the wood cook stove to be back to back on the hearth, it measures about 4' x 8'.  An island now lives where the cook stove once did, but the large brick hearth remains.  I have swept and vacuumed the hearth, but this is the first time I've scrubbed the bricks.  They surely look a lot better.  Now if I can just get the rest of the spring cleaning done before the garden really kicks in, I'll be a happy camper.

Broccoli, peas and asparagus were harvested.  With the effects of the tropical storm headed this way, Memorial Day was forecast to be a rainy one here.  So on Sunday, J grilled some things, including green beans I had canned.  I seasoned them with onions and garlic, balsamic vinegar, olive oil, honey and thyme.  It's the first time we tried grilling canned green beans, and we thought they were tasty, if just a bit softer than fresh.  Whether rain or shine where you are, wishing you a lovely Memorial Day.

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