Spring Garden, 2014

We got a late start on this year’s garden, due to the harsh winter that ran into spring. However, this spring has been mostly nice and cool, and our garden is looking pretty good so far! My goal this year was to space things appropriately (everything was super cramped and overgrown by October in years past) and to stay ahead of the weeds, which overcame the garden in previous years. I’d get to point where I just gave up, and the weeds won.

This year, I laid much more leaf mulch, thanks to the nifty leaf compost bin that my husband made out of wooden pallets last year. It was packed full of leaves that we collected in the fall.

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I’ve also been trying to get out there regularly to pull weeds and cultivate. It’s working so far, although I fell behind in a few rows… mainly the peas and the radishes/carrots. The weeds don’t seem to be bothering the peas, but I know I have to clean up the row with the carrots or they won’t grow. Does anyone know the best way to weed around carrots?

We started harvesting a couple of weeks ago. First out of the garden were lettuce, radishes, and spring onions.  I love growing radishes and spring onions because they are so easy.

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This year we had better luck with lettuce, too, partly because we started with plants. I think the last few years I sowed lettuce seeds too late, and I waited and waited for them to get big enough to pick, and then they bolted. It’s working out much better this year, from plants. We have big, full heads of lettuce. I’m sure the cooler spring is helping too.

Our most recent harvest from the garden has been peas. During our first year gardening, we had a great row of sugar snap peas that seemed to produce early, and just kept giving us peas. This year I sowed three rows of peas, one of Frosty Pea, one Sugar Bush, and one Sugar Snap. Not sure why I dedicated three rows to peas, but I did. They grew strong and big, but it seemed like the blossoms were never going to develop. I even considering pulling out the plants so that I could put something else there, because I was starting to think they wouldn’t produce for us. Then, after a recent weekend of heavy rain I walked out there and they were full of beautiful little pink and white blossoms! It’s been my favorite part of this year’s garden so far, particularly the pink pea blossoms. I went out there last night and snapped some photos before the blossoms were all gone.

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Are you keeping a garden this year? How is it doing?

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Gettin’ Dirty

What a gorgeous weekend! The late, heavy snows that we got in March delayed the start of our gardening, so I tried to get caught up this weekend. It was the perfect weather for it; just like those perfect couple of weeks of true spring weather that we get between winter and the hot summer weather that always seems to come too early. I remember a couple of years ago we had what felt like two full months of true spring weather. Hoping for another spring like that this year, now that spring has finally arrived.

We spent most of the weekend in our back yard, transplanting and sowing in the vegetable garden, as well as making a butterfly garden next to the kids’ play house. I’ll follow-up with a post on those, but in the meantime, here’s what we got started in the vegetable garden this weekend:

  • Egyptian (“walking”) onions (actually planted a few weeks ago; my Dad gave me these spring onions a couple of years ago)
  • sweet onions
  • potatoes (Kennebec and red)
  • lettuces (Buttercrunch, Bibb, and mesclun)
  • swiss chard
  • cabbage (early flat Dutch and red)
  • peas (frosty pea, sugar snap and dwarf sugar bush)
  • Tepary beans (heirloom from Baker Creek Heirloom Seed Company)
  • carrots (short n’ sweet, and rainbow)
  • radishes (easter egg mix)
  • arugula
  • parsley
  • dill

After all of that, I have over half of the garden planted already, which I always find a little depressing. I can never keep up with our garden, once the weeds move in. Then I wish it were smaller. But when I’m planting and sowing, I always wish it were bigger.

We all got very dirty and by Sunday evening, I was tired and sore. But it was a divine weekend. I took this photo of my daughter playing in the less-than-half of the garden that we haven’t planted yet. She had gone inside to fetch her favorite blanket and brought it out to the garden. This photo pretty much sums up how I felt about the weekend. :)

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Hoping you also had beautiful weather this past weekend and got outside to enjoy it!

 

Snowmaggedon 2014

Finally! A legit snow day. We’ve had several school closings for ice or slippery roads this year, but today we finally got a real snow day due to several inches of snow on the ground, with more snow expected tonight and more closings tomorrow. Granted, who knows when schools will actually let the kids out for the summer, since they’ve been out so much this winter. But it was fun to get out and play with them in the white stuff today. I’m not complaining! We didn’t make a snowman yet. Maybe we’ll do that tomorrow! In the meantime, here are some photos of our day today.

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He wasn’t interested in wearing his real winter coat or a pair of gloves. I decided to let him be until he decided he was ready for a heavier coat and gloves, but he never complained.

 

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I love how she decided the sample the snow like it was an hors d’oeuvres! She sat there and nibbled on that little snowball until it was all gone.

 

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Maddy had fun, but was ready to go in…

 

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We hope you enjoyed your snow day, if you had one!

 

Where Has Summer Gone?

I can’t believe it’s already August and I haven’t posted a blog since January! The summer is nearly over, my boy is about to start kindergarten, and my garden is drying up and full of weeds. Ugh. There is just not enough time in the day to do all the things I want to do (or even to accomplish the list of things I should do)!

We did manage to take our first family vacation to the beach last month though! It was Miss D’s first time to the beach, and though it was Mr. D’s second time, he doesn’t remember his first visit (at 18 months old), so it was like his first time too. They loved it! I was just looking at some photos of our visit and was really appreciating this one in particular, which seems to simply say “slow down and enjoy the journey”.

A Beautiful Day for a Hike

It’s been so warm outside! It’s almost impossible to come up with an excuse to NOT be out there. Last week the four of us went to a nearby park that has a small network of trails. My son LOVES this sort of thing. He loves to lead the way while we follow. My daughter also enjoys being out in the woods, but we’re usually slow to get our act together on the weekends and we didn’t get to the trails until almost lunchtime, which is always followed by a nap for my daughter. So, she was starting to fade and we had to carry her much of the way. (I confess, part of me really looks forward to when we drop that afternoon nap!)

Of course, I had to bring my camera (much to my husband’s dismay, who said “Next time we go hiking, no camera!”) I guess I’m just not smooth enough with it to not let it slow us down. But I know if I hadn’t taken it, I would have been wishing I had. So, it’s always better if I take it along… “just in case”. ;)

It wasn’t long after we set off that my daughter asked to be carried. (Why do I always forget to bring that Ergo?) We took turns carrying her, but she got a special treat when Daddy put her on his shoulders.

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Everybody follow while big brother leads the way!

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The hikers share the trails with horses and their riders, so much of the trails are a bit muddy and heavily trodden, with horse “droppings” for us to dodge along the way. It’s not bad, but you do have to watch where you step. Little sister was happier walking in the drier stretches.

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But she still wanted at least a little help getting around some of the muddy spots.

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My son didn’t mind the mud. He was having a blast!

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“Daddy, take a picture of me and D!”

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Hiking around a bend, we came upon a small stream. The kids love to explore streams and big brother’s favorite thing to do is to jump over them.

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“I told you I could jump over it!”

Little D mostly just looked around and watched with curiosity…

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At one point she was mesmerized by a large pile of horse doody on the trail.

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I’m not sure what she spotted overhead, but it must have been interesting!

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A little wooden bench along the trail makes for a nice break and photo-op. :)

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Little D started to lose steam, so it was back up on Daddy’s shoulders!

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When we got back to the parking lot, my son insisted that we sit at a picnic bench to have a snack break before heading home. So, that’s what we did. Then we went home for the rest of lunch and nap time.

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We’re really loving this warm weather. However, whenever Mother Nature feels like sending some snow our way… at least enough to pack a few snowballs or make a small snowman… we’re ready. :)

Simple Things: Missing Summer

I haven’t blogged in quite a while. I think I just got tired, but I’ve also been missing it. Just needed a little break, I guess. I tend to work that way. I’m very passionate about something for a while until I burn myself out. Then I move on to something else, and eventually find my way back when the time is right.

It’s been a mild winter so far, which I have mixed feelings about. I don’t mind the mild weather, except for the fact that I find the unseasonably warm conditions (a la global warming) unsettling. Despite the light-jacket-weather, I finally took the kids to get snow boots, in anticipation of a heavy snow that we’re bound to get at some point in the coming weeks.

I don’t think I have the winter blues, but I do miss the sights and sounds of summer. I also just upgraded my Photoshop Elements software and bought some textures and brushes from 2 Lil’ Owls Studio today, so I wanted to play with some photos I took back in July. It’s a bit of a cheat for the “Simple Things Sunday” link-up, but I didn’t think anyone would mind. ;)

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Then I did a little more playing with a Florabella action and got this, which I like even more.

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Simple Things Sunday: Trailblazing

Daddy got a new tractor recently and today he went into the woods behind our house (which we don’t often venture into because of the undergrowth and abundance of spiders, ticks, and chiggers) and cleared a walking trail for us! Afterward, three of us took a walk and used clippers to clear some of the smaller branches that were blocking the new path.

Little Buddy was excited to sit on this rocky outcropping and wanted me to take a picture. I took a few of him looking at the camera (saying “cheeese…burg…eeerrrrrrrrr”), but this one is my favorite. Our neighbors have a similar outcropping that they call “Rock Mountain”, so I asked D what he wanted to call this rock. He said “Smile Rock”.

I’m looking forward to adding some fun elements to the trail… maybe some faces on trees, or a log-stump table and chairs. Eventually maybe we’ll put in a rope web between a couple of trees to climb on. So much possibility! I’ll have to revisit my “outdoor play” board on Pinterest to see what else we can do out there. Do you have any ideas? I envision lots of walks and scavenger hunts with the kids back there, now that we can get around a little easier. Thanks, Daddy!