Friday, April 29, 2011

Spring Greens and Blooms

My littlies picked me some beautiful tree blossoms the other day. I put them in a Mason jar on top of a pretty crocheted centerpiece that Kaleigh made me for Easter. My kitchen table looks quite happy! Now that spring is here I/we have been busy preparing our gardens for our bounty and summer-time eye-candy! Come along with me on a little "growing tour"!

Down in the basement I have several trays growing seedlings. There are some flowers: Bachelor Buttons, Echinacea, impatiens and mint...
Amish paste tomatoes, Big Boys, basil, dill...

squash, zucchini, cucumbers, peppers...

melons and pumpkins. I'm sure I've forgotten to mention a few! All of the above plants were started from organic seeds and are growing in my cellar by the furnace under a shoppe light. I got that hint from one of the lovely ladies that is joining me in our "How Does Your Garden Grow" group from The Homemaker's Mentor. If you'd like to join us click on the link. There is so much to learn about gardening and it's fun, too!

So I don't get confused I always draw up a basic plan of my garden. We mostly use raised bed gardening for the majority of our vegetables. I don't want to forget where I planted some of the seeds!

Some of these boxes have just been planted with seeds of carrots, beets, lettuce, spinach, onion and chard. The carrots and beets will be canned so I like them to all come in at once. I plant the lettuce, onion seed, spinach and chard at one week intervals because we will eat those fresh. I surely don't want all of those coming in at once! Some of the boxes haven't been planted, yet. Many of the plants growing in the basement will go in them and once I decide what else I'd like after visiting the garden center we'll fill up a few more with plants started by them. I have also planted garlic and onion sets by the side of the house.

Here is a sweet potato plant my seven year old daughter planted in the fall. She started it from a cut piece of sweet potato she placed in a jar. Eventually it was ready to plant and it has grown all through the winter. We will set it out in the garden, soon. She'll be thrilled to eat that sweet potato, I'm sure! I also have some Yukon Gold potatoes that are curing in a bag. They'll be ready to plant in a few days.
We have one box solely for asparagas. We started these plants two years ago, I believe. Asparagas takes a few years to really get going but once it does it usually gives you a good crop. We're pretty excited to watch it grow!

We have many raspberry plants growing, too. We have several kinds including red, golden and black. We planted the red and yellow, but the black raspberries grow wild and are quite plentiful. We sure enjoy them, whatever color they are! We also have quite a few blueberry plants but they aren't getting leaves quite yet.
Our rhubarb is coming up nicely, too! I can't wait to pick it fresh and bake something yummy with it. I will freeze the overflow for a winter-baked treat! Strawberries are coming up and will be one of the first fruits, along with the rhubarb that will be eaten!
We have several cherry trees we planted a couple years ago. Last year was the first year we had a few cherries from them. Hopefully this year we will get more. As you can see it's blooming already! We have many fruit trees on our property including a mature pear tree, young apple trees, peach trees and one plum tree.

This is one flower garden right by the front door. It looks a little bare now, but it will be spectacular once the summer comes along. I have several perennials that bloom and I also plant impatiens and several other flowers. I'll be sure to take some pictures when I get things planted and again when it's in full bloom.

We got in a new shipment of baby chicks just after Easter. We got meat chickens and laying hens. We lost twenty. I think it was because they were shipped on Friday and I received the shipment on Monday. They probably were severely dehydrated. The hatchery will replace all we lost though. They should be coming in tomorrow.
I hope you enjoyed the little tour of our spring-time greens and blooms! How does your garden grow?

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Springtime at the Cottage

Warmer temperatures are slowly visiting us here in the Berkshires. I've been enjoying the afternoon sunshine and have been using it as ransom to get the kids to finish up their schoolwork before lunch! This afternoon, Caressa chased a chicken off her blanket that she had spread out on the grass. For some reason, the chickens think they are dogs and are overly friendly. One even hopped in the van the other day when we were leaving. Ummm... no.....
Between wakes and funerals, (yep, two wakes and a funeral within a week) I've been able to stitch a bit and get some knitting done. This is my third block from the Little Miss Shabby block of the month. I'm really enjoying working on this project. It's fun to see what she comes up with for each month and each block is quite cute.
Beautiful blooms are popping up in the garden, too. Rhubarb is breaking through the ground and the strawberry plants are turning green. My hubby is busy preparing the raised beds for planting and I have lots and lots of organic seedlings growing under a shoppe light in the basement. They are coming up beautifully.
I hope your spring is making you smile and bringing you peaceful joy in watching God's hand at work this special time of year.

Friday, April 1, 2011

Relaxing Knits

Progress is being made on my Summer in the Country Blanket Knit-A-Long from Scrumptious Living. I just completed clue 2 and am anxiously awaiting clue 3. It's a slow and relaxing knit-a-long, just my speed. I'm able to keep up without feeling stressed out. It's coming along beautifully! It's still not too late to join us!
I recently finished the Tiny Tea Leaves Cardi sweater for Caressa to wear over her Easter dress. I haven't blocked it yet so it's not quite perfectly squared up. I knit it out of Cascade 220. It's nice and soft and an easy knit. I lengthened the sleeves a bit to be a long sleeve but the pattern is for a 3/4 sleeve.
I used two sheep buttons I had in my stash. She looks so cute in it and she really loves it. I won't let her wear it until Easter is over. She can't wait!