Thursday, May 12, 2016

April Showers--May Flowers

I don't have any time to write with the schedule we are keeping right now. .
But everything has been so beautiful with the 7 inches of rain we have had in the last month--
That I just had to snap a few pictures tonight to look back on later!!
Above is a view of the front side of my memory garden.
Jupiter's beard (pink), Cardonna salvia (dark purple) and Napeta's low catmint (lavender) The porcupine grass in the background is already nice and tall!!

The chives and culinary sage are in full bloom too! Other herbs growing nicely are the tarragon, oregano, lavender, bronzeleaf fennel, basil, lemon balm and dill!
AWWW tomatoes!! In a quick lookover, I found a handful on several different plants. These happen to be Lemon Boy. 
The last wall of water that hasn't collapsed due to leaks. Amazingly--it also sports THE tallest tomato plant now!! That extra heat has made the difference I think!! I will take the wall down as soon as I have a minute! 
Amethyst Falls Wisteria--planted 4 years ago--one of the plants I bought after my dad died. It is 1/2 way up the trellis this year. 
I can't wait till these gorgeous droopy blooms are hanging from the top of the support!! I just love them!! 
Raspberries anyone?? My new little $7 plants are going to net almost that much in fruit this year! It was a no-name variety I picked up at Walmart because I love raspberries. .and the plants looked so great!! Now--to get them--before the winged creatures do! 
Looks like we will have a blackberry crop too!! 
Here's my bush--I need to make a stronger support and stake it up a bit I think---but the plant is loaded with buds! 
The rhubarb makes such a pretty plant! I think I can harvest some stalks soon. .Might make a batch of rhubarb punch! Yum! 
Here's the back side of the memory garden (You can see the same grass in the background) There is a small sea of miniature hollyhocks. The picture doesn't do the blooms justice! There is also not much ground exposed now--many of the plantings have finally spread and grown together! That will certainly help the weed population!!  
I love larkspur! And there is a great stand of it in different shades of purple, pink and white. I haven't seen any hummingbirds in it yet--but maybe one will happen by! 
Common milkweed--it's a host plant for monarchs! This variety was started by seed given to me by a friend. .The plants spread by runners--thus it is EVERYWHERE! And usually, I don't see it bloom so nicely! I leave most of it--but it sure has taken over a patch!! 
The red hot pokers are getting ready to bloom. The foliage is nice--but the flowers, so far, have not impressed me--These are the best ones yet--but they haven't generally bloomed for very long at all--so I will be anxious to see how long it blooms this summer! If they don't last more than a few days--I'm not a fan! 
Little close up of the larkspur!

Larkspur in the back and a red salvia in the front. It has been a good plant--hardy--long bloom time. 
3 knock out roses in bloom--they were memorials for two of my grandparents who died within a month of each other. They make a bold statement when you drive in! You can see some of the pond plants in the background--it's looking good this year too!

Honeysuckle bush!
The thick scent was heavy in the air tonight as Cami and I played baseball nearby! 
Probably one of my favorite seasonal scents! 
A closeup of the hundreds of blooms! 
A front porch garden that is finally looking like something! For years it has been bare bones--too hot with a south wind. I have come up with (by trial and error--mostly error) things that will grow there! And this spring it is in full bloom--looking lovely!!

I continue puttering around the yard a few minutes here and there-I feel like the gardens that I have labored over for 18 years--are starting to look like they have looked in my head for years!! And I am so thankful for that!!

Hopefully soon I can update on the people that live around here. .
But not tonight!! 
Have a blessed weekend!!

Thursday, April 28, 2016

More than gold. .

The honest reflections of an eight year old. .
I just love that girl!!

Saturday, April 23, 2016

Planting of the Veggies!

Hey, Hey!!
We have had one little frost since like the first of March. .
And I am having a hard time believing that it is still only April!!
So I have been chomping at the bit to get stuff planted!

We enjoyed 4.75 inches of rain last weekend. .Prom day, of course!
But everyone was so glad to see the rains after the week full of the worst fires in Kansas history right in our neighborhood here. .that NO. ONE. CARED!!
My tomatoes have been in the wall of waters for about 2 weeks now. .
And I decided I needed to get the rest of them planted.

The pictures aren't great at all. .
Boring, pretty much. .
But I needed to map the beds so I can remember which plants are what.
My biggest issue at the end of the summer. .is that I have no earthly idea what plants are where anymore. .Because I can't easily find my little tiny labels!! 
And I'm too hurried and lazy to look for them!
I hope this works much better for me!
3 raised beds on the east side of  the house.
In the front one. .Bed #1
on the north side starting front of picture to the back. .
Beefmaster tomato
Super Banana Supreme pepper
Celebrity tomato
Gypsy sweet pepper.
On the south side is, ,
Green bell pepper
Snow White cherry heirloom tomato
Valencia orange pepper
Jetsetter tomato 

Bed #3 which you can see directly behind bed #1 in the top picture. .
has 3 rows of clemson spineless okra.
Bed #2. .the northernmost raised bed.
Only 4 tomato plants at this point. .
north side is a big boy tomato
Big beef tomato
south side is a Lemon boy tomato
1 renegade potato plant from last year
and a Jubilee heirloom tomato.
Bed #4 in the front.
on the east side are two mucho nacho Jalapeno plants.
6 sweet banana pepper plants (with a garlic plant in there too)
On the south side of the bed are 5 short rows of beets, another garlic plant, and a tiny basil plant.
In between the raised beds are where I opted to plant a couple bulbs of garlic last winter. .like in January. .Oops!
Bed #5 has Straight Eight cucumbers on the north side and National pickling cucumbers on the south side. 
To the right of the photo (not very easy to see) is a huge tarragon plant that I never use because I don't know how. .some sage, chives, oregano, lemon balm, and a bronzeleaf fennel plant that I never got around to harvesting. It not only overwintered. .but I found 3 small plants coming up from seed in other areas! 
I guess I will try to figure out how to use it. .It is sure is pretty. .and gourmet-ish!!
I planted 4 tomatoes in the memory garden. .
I should repost some of the early pictures of this space. .
It has been the best changing garden in my career!!
It may be hard for you to determine that there are 4 tomato cages in this photo. .
I can tell that. .
In the cage closest to left front of the photo is a Parks Whopper tomato.
The one directly to the south is a Cherokee Purple tomato.
The farthest south near the Atlas Cedar is a Salsa Roma tomato. .
And there is one right near the pedestal birdhouse which is a Juliet grape tomato. 
Remember how I mentioned that Jeremy is becoming a gardener as well??
He had been so focused last summer on hooking his drip system up to water his tiny cedar trees. .
That my Valentine rhubarb plant got more water than it has seen in it's lifetime. .
We hooked the drippers to take care of the rhubarb and a couple blackberry bushes as well as the tiny trees. .
So the rhubarb is happy, happy, happy!! 
And so will be the gardener the day she gets a pie from this critter!! 
Again. .
being stewarded by a too-busy gardener. .
I thought all my asparagus plants died.
They have never taken off. .
probably because of neglect.
SOO. .
I bought 14 more roots and planted them a couple weeks ago. .
And Jeremy added a dripper hose to them. .
And today whilst rummaging around this back area. .
I found all of the 4 plants that I knew had survived of the first 10 I planted 4-5 years ago now.
Yay us!! 
We love them grilled. .or roasted. .or wrapped in prosciutto and goat cheese!! 
A tiny little columbine that survived it's first year in my garden!
The shady and moist narrow garden on the north side of the house may be a winner! 
Feeling cocky because ONE had survived. 
I bought a few more at Lowes a few weekends ago. .
When I caught them on a flash sale for $3.00 apiece!!
Behind it is a hosta that is supposed to be 5 feet tall. .
It's been pretty pathetic these first few years. .
But it may be settled in and ready to go now!! 
We have decided to add some privacy to our west deck. .
Something that we SHOULD have done about. .
Um. .
16 years ago!!
But I was afraid that we would tear up all the plants. .
So I dug up this clematis from his little spot there.

He won't die. .
But he didn't thrive there either. 
I am hoping that this area on the north side will be a little better. .
Not as intense sun. .but hopefully enough sun that he will perform. 
Here is the north side of that deck!
I am LOVING IT!!
We had some reclaimed church windows. .
In my head plans. .
I knew that I wanted slats to partially see through. .
And I also know that I don't do perfection. .
Instead, I prefer complete randomness. .
That way no one can judge my lack of measuring and precision!
I think this fits the bill!!
Jeremy, as usual, couldn't picture it in his head. .
But was pleased with it too!
The west side is almost done. .
Complete with change of slat direction and different heights on window placement too.
Hopefully by next weekend, it will be all finished up!!

In the rock planter we made several years back. .
There is a clump of maiden grass on the left and a Karl Forester grass on the right, closest to the deck. 
A darker colored sedum clump that you can see..
along with a hardy little dianthus plant loaded with cherry red buds. A few hen and chicks are loving their life there too--a swap from Gardener on Sherlock's house. 
This is the biggest pain in my butt site. .
The west side of the house. .
Hot. .windy. .nothing likes it here!
Climbing on the deck rail is an orange honeysuckle bush. .nearly ready to bloom.
I ordered some little starts from High Country Gardens. .and am hoping that they will be up for the challenge. Rock garden goes in after this if the plants are a no-go!! 
The green grassy clumps are actually old hyacinth foliage and some Magic Lily foliage.
I don't have a lot of curb appeal. .
But my little front flower bed is finally looking fuller.
The same day I got the columbines. .
They were also having a flash sale on these salvia plants!
SCORE! 
I added some along the pond. .
Where I have the same issue of too much heat. .and too much sun!
I put a couple little gallardia plants in there today. .and some more plants from HCG down to the driveway. .filling in among the existing--but sparse plantings!
The green hedge looking thing in the back. .are 3 spirea bushes I dug from my MIL's border years and years ago. .I noticed a smattering of blooms on the north side of them today. .Can't wait to see them in full bloom! 
Little water irises blooming.
My pump died this winter. .
And in delaying the purchase of a new one. .
Both of my big Koi died!! They grow super fast. .So I will have to get some more at Petsmart this summer! 
My friend Pat got a bunch of hybrid iris starts from a gardening buddy out west. .And several years ago, she shared some with me. .This is the first time it was big enough to bloom. .LOVE IT!! 
Well. . 
That's all for the garden diary today!
Thanks for tagging along during our very busy day!!

Monday, April 11, 2016

Spring Planting

We are so glad it is spring around here!!
We are continuing to try and steward our little section of the world. .
And in the past. .
I have tried to keep a notebook to keep track of what gets planted where. .
So I thought that I might try and do a better job of that online. .
On the little blog I already own. .
That is full of all sorts of stuff!
Our homestead is at least 103 year old. The only thing that was growing here when we moved in 18 years ago. .
Was a tree row (in the area with these two young cedar trees), a smattering of big, old, ugly cedar trees in the yard, some elm trees that broke limbs with every wind storm, 1 lilac bush, and a small handful of red tulips. UG!
But looking at the bright side. .
It was a clean slate for the gardener!
With the exceptionally bad drought over the last 5 years. .and the age of the cedar row. .
Most of the trees died. .It was a mature wind row. .and we didn't realize the extent of the benefits until my husband cut them A.L.L down 3-4 years ago. Before he cut them. .he had gotten seedling cedars from the local extension office and planted them. .running a little water line to them--but neither of us did a very good job at checking the line or turning it on. So many of them died. .and the ones that have survived haven't thrived.  The ones closest to the hydrant are growing well. .as you can see. .and we look forward to the wind break from them soon!
We (I say "we" loosely. .it was mostly not me!) planted a row of lacebark elm trees to the north side of our house. .in between a couple of rows of the new cedar trees. Those have been in for 2 summers now. .and they are growing fast and well!
Jeremy is starting to grow the heart of a gardener. .
And he decided that he would like a small orchard out near the tree row. 
So this weekend. .we ran to Wichita and went to my new favorite nursery there. .
Hillside nursery. .on south Hillside.
We bought 5 fruit trees (only because Cami insisted on a peach tree)
And yesterday in the beautiful spring weather (even without much wind!!) we finished the water line and planting of the trees.
Starting from the north and heading toward the house we planted. .
One Golden delicious apple
One Honeycrisp apple
One Stella sweet cherry
One Montmorency cherry
and then to the east of that row, we planted one Red Haven peach tree. 
The root stock on these bare root trees found in their cellar was phenomenal!!
And the apple trees were left with a nice branch structure too!
The peach tree was blooming. .and somewhere online I read that their little tiny tree had like 5 peaches the year they planted the twig. .and 180 peaches the next year. How lucky!
At Lowes I had found these purple leaf sand cherry bushes. I put two of them right on the south edge of the pond. .I have had trouble finding stuff that would grow there. .it's HOT. .the plants that I have had there look too much like WEEDS when they aren't blooming (which was most of the summer). .and I couldn't deal with that view out the window as we ate dinner every night!! These bushes claimed they were ideally suited for ARID DRY conditions. .(Like ours has become over the last few years) So I put them in. .and will hope for the best!!
I also came across $.99-1.99 tomato and pepper plants last week in Oklahoma. .So I dug these old wall of waters out of my basement (I seriously can't remember how many years it has been since I used them. .bet it's close to 10!!) There is a frost advisory on for tonight. .but I would not be surprised if this is the last cold night. At least the tubes will protect the little plants from the wind. .and we are hoping for good deep root systems before it gets HOT! Their are 3 varieties of yellow tomatoes (my favorite) and the other 5 are varied reds. The pepper plants will come inside tonight and go into the garden in a few more days. I think they might get along well in the gaps of these raised beds. 
The green house hasn't had any seedlings started in two winters now. But it does a nice job of overwintering my growing succulent collection. .and this little stray larkspur!  Those will be replanted into pots on the west deck. .where less hardy plants wilt quickly due to the sun! The succulents add a nice flavor. .and I don't have to water the pots EVERY DAY. .something that has been impossible for me in this season of my life!
This sitting spot has become the family favorite. Devin and I cleaned up the water feature to the right of Jeremy in the picture. .and it has been running for a week now. .LOVE the sounds. .especially when the windows are open and I can hear it in the house!
These guys blessed me a ton. .
Because they all helped out with the planting and water line running. .
And Devin will learn to be the chief water man this summer!
Whether he likes it or not!
I have a few more things that we planted that I didn't snap photos of. .
But hope to do so soon! 
Hope you are finding some time to STOP. .and smell the lilacs!
Have a great week!!

Tuesday, December 15, 2015

Quarterly Update. .

Hey family and friends!
I had enough of a break in my schedule. .
that I thought I might change out my pictures and update our story. .
 
 I think I last updated about 3 months ago. .
I'm not sure that a ton of things have changed. .
But here's what we have. .
 
Tristan is outta here. .
This mom cried for several weeks. .
and still cries every time he leaves.
It's been really weird. .
But I would say that we are adapting.
He just finished his first semester as a college kid.
Jeremy and I hope to go up after the first of the year and check out the house that his carpentry class is building.
Tristan and the two roommates that were there on move-in day!
He works a few odd jobs at college. .But is glad to be home for a month to replenish his bank account!
They have started some intramural basketball in the evenings. He reports that it is a lot of fun! He passed his college math class. .which was everyone's biggest concern. .And is left with only one general ed class next semester. .which is speech. .And for a veteran 4-H kid who also loved forensics. .I would say it should be smooth sailing!
Speaking of 4-H. .
He and Grant both achieved the Key Award for their last year of 4-H. This is the highest award that the kids can get based on their level of involvement in the 4-H program. About 2% of the kids in 4-H nationwide will achieve this award!
Mr. Grant. .
Thoroughly enjoying his senior year.
Took senior pictures in late September. .He let me go and watch. .and I had to laugh as the photographer asked him about posing one way or another. .and his dead-pan response was "I don't know, you'll have to ask my mom. .This day is all about her." We kept joking back and forth about the fact that he didn't want to take pictures. .and I continually told him. .that it wasn't even about him. .just about the senior mom! I think our constant bantering wears Jeremy out!
 
We also bantered back and forth all summer. .
about him running cross country.
I thought that he would be a great runner. .
He thought that he would hate to run.
For some unknown reason. .except that he claims to be a people pleaser. .
He finally decided that he would run. .
And really enjoyed it. .
He hates it when I am right!
He did great for a kid who hasn't run a race in 4 years. .
And agreed that he liked it well enough. .that if he hadn't been graduating. .he would do it again next year!
He will work for his dad after school all winter. .
And then plans on golfing in the spring. .He sure would like to golf at State this year.
And then graduation in May!
Next fall he will head to Topeka to study Diesel Mechanics. .
And has an open mind on where he wants to go. .and what he wants to do after that.
I'm glad that both boys are open to wherever God leads them!
Devin. .
100% junior high this year. .
He enjoyed going out for football as a 7th grader. .they don't let 6th graders go out.
He learned lots and had fun being a part of the team.
He is now in basketball and loves being involved in everything.
I had some awesome parents that agreed to help us host a junior high Halloween party at our place in the country. We had the most beautiful fall night night you could imagine. .and we played games in the dark by the light of a fire and tiki torches. Then they hunted candy corns with flashlights in the dark while parents and teenage siblings took advantage of the opportunity to scare the socks off of them!
A pinterest idea. It's layered Mexican dip. .arranged to look like vomit. I laughed for like an hour after I finished!
 The Fear Factor food game was a hit. .with a whole new level of nasty looking foods with horrid names! The cats had a good night!!
 I got a little panicked about the whole party thing about a week in advance. .realizing that we had the potential to ruin the kid's reputation for life if it was a bust!! BUT. .the kids had a blast. .and Devin told me a few days ago. .that several of the kids remarked that they had had so much fun at the Halloween party. .that they were hoping that we would do a Christmas party too :-)
Score!! 
He shot his first deer last Friday. .
A 10 pointer. He and his dad have been making deer jerky, and everyone seems to like it pretty well!
These two and I finally made it to the Peace Treaty in Medicine Lodge. .I've wanted to go for years. .and never made it. We had a great time!!
Cami. .Loves 2nd grade. .She is getting so grown up! She can put her own mop up into a pony tail (if she has to), can read books in her head, and can change her own earrings! She has gotten to go to the mini-cheer camps at the high school twice this year and loves doing that! It also means that she gets to do a 1/2 time performance to show off what she learns!
She "auditioned" for a part in her music program. .and had both some speaking lines and a "rap song" solo. She said she was nervous until her first word into the microphone. .and then she was just HOOKED! Our church is putting on a Christmas program this weekend during worship service time. .and she has been practicing a solo. She is excited!
8th birthday. She was very specific in her cake directions to grandma Pat. .A brown horse, standing on his back legs with clouds and grass. She got 'er all in there!!
 She also talked her dad into getting a puppy. Apparently some fool told the girl. .that when she was 8. .she could get a dog. WHAT?? So. .right before she turned 8. .she started asking. Grant's girlfriend's family had a litter of 10 pups this fall. .and so we took 2 of them. .so they wouldn't get lonely!
They are 1/2 Rottweiler and 1/2 Pyranese.
They are laid back and sweet! And we all love them. .Especially Tristan. .who reports that HE had wanted a dog F-O-R-E-V-E-R. .and never got one! He may be holding a minor grudge!
The rest of us. .
are up to nothing different!
I am finishing up a year long study in the four gospels. The online bible study went well. .It takes most of any extra time that I have. .hence the neglect of this blog. I think I am about ready for Christmas. .shopping is done. .wrapping is mostly done. .baking and candy making are done too. .Cards and letter written and mailed. .We have family pictures this coming weekend with my inlaws. .We haven't done it for years. .so I am looking forward to that!
 Jeremy just keeps doing what he always does. .
He hates winter. .and is already for spring. .
Sue. .he would NEVER survive your Michigan winter!!
Finishing our big family project from last Christmas. We used our hands to make snowpeople on a small canvas. .He was the last one to finish up for me. I'll have to take a picture of my whole board full of them!
 I'm not sure that I have anything else that exciting to report. .
So I will sign off. .
From our house to yours. .
We wish you a VERY merry Christmas. .
and a blessed and healthy New Year!!