Boring Report

What a gorgeous weekend.  I would like to order a repeat of it please.  Unfortunately the amazing weather made us want to do nothing more than sit and enjoy it; therefore I have nothing to report and more pictures of Bertha to show.  She hung around until Sunday morning when I saw her loping off toward the woods.  In her wake she left a field of potholes that look like deployed landmines.  I guess she was indecisive about her nesting spot.

These pictures are from Saturday night when we had some friends over for a cookout and saw her climbing our neighbor’s pile of topsoil.  That, there, is my size 9 Teva on her back, for reference.  She gave it back.  Good thing, those babies are brand new.  I’m not sure she ever laid any eggs.  All of the holes she dug were left uncovered.  Maybe she changed her mind.  Too many weird humans around balancing shoes and tape measures on her back.

The rest of our Saturday was lovely: dinner and drinks on the deck by candlelight with friends.  Beautiful weather, good food (if I do say so myself).  Then Sunday came – another gorgeous day – and you know what Sunday was… opening day!

I brought my camera, intending to document the opening day of the Farmers’ Market, but instead took two crowd shots, two shots of signs I liked, and the chatted with Heather and Paula so long that I had to grab my tomato plants and run home with my goodies before Luke called wondering if I’d been kidnapped.  These signs were my favorites.  They were all over the field where we park.  And isn’t it true?  Caution rocks!

I bought the standard bag of crack-sprinkled kettle corn from Keifer’s, seven amazingly gorgeous, incredibly cheap, huge, healthy tomato plants from Topmost Herb Farm, and a head of lettuce as big as a beach ball from Crocker Farm.  See?

Seriously, a beach ball.  And only $3.  We had salads with leftover cod and potatoes from Saturday night’s dinner and sat on the deck wondering how we got so lucky to have such a wonderful weekend.  And then we fell asleep.  Really.  Luke laid down around 5:00pm for bed.  I was sleepy, too, so I laid down with him for a little nap and then the alarm went off at 10:45pm.  I can’t believe I did that.  My internal alarm usually wakes me up after an hour – not last night.  I was so mad at myself for sleeping instead of doing all of the chores I meant to do that after Luke left for work, I stayed up when until after 2am trying to finish everything.  I figured I’d gotten a good five or so hours of sleep already so breaking it up and getting another four or five would be fine.  Wrong.  So very wrong.  And we’re out of coffee at the house, too.  Not my best morning.

So there you go.  My weekend: turtles, food, friends, Farmer’s Market, more food, sleep.  God, I’m boring.


Growing Older But Not Up

I really wish that everyone would declare a three-day weekend on their birthday.  I took Friday off to celebrate my turning 33 and spent the weekend celebrating and enjoying and smiling.  It was the best birthday weekend ever.  It kicked off Thursday evening with the repainting of my kitchen.

I call this color “33rd Birthday Blue”.  After the change of cabinet hardware and the painting of my washer and dryer, the only next logical step was painting the kitchen walls the most amazing shade of electric turquoise you’ve ever seen.  It makes me happy just looking at it.

My birthday was as perfect as could be, starting with breakfast cupcakes, then sushi for lunch, Mexican for dinner, presents, family, laughs, but guess what?  No pictures.  I didn’t take a single picture on my birthday.  Neither did my usually camera-toting sister.  That’s OK, you can just take my word for it, it was a perfectly beautiful day.

Check out some of my loot!  I’m going to be very busy.  On top there is the extremely sharp (trust me) pair of left-handed dressmaker’s shears I mentioned on here a few weeks ago.  My mom, she can take a hint.

The rest of the weekend was spent, as usual, in the garden.  Also in the hammock, enjoying the view of the garden.

I managed to finally plant the veggie garden.  Two kinds of Swiss chard, three kinds of cucumbers, yellow and green summer squash, basil, sunflowers, zinnia, cosmos, and this coming weekend the tomatoes will go in (after I buy the plants at the Farmer’s Market).

It’s all very neat and orderly and makes me happy just looking at it.  Of course in a few weeks when the weeds take over, it will make me feel overwhelmed looking at it, but for now I’m loving it.

It truly was a perfect weekend.  Thank you to everyone who helped me celebrate and a big shout out to Mother Nature for sending the amazing weather.

Spring: Outside and In

Spring is beginning to show itself around these parts. The first signs always come from the orange daylilies around the yard.  They’re popping up along the roadsides, too, which always makes me smile knowing that soon all of the brown and gray will be replaced with green.

The chives and tarragon are beginning to show themselves.  I’ve tried to plant daffodils for some early spring color, but I think the squirrels are stealing the bulbs because I never seem to get any flowers.  Soon the forsythia will be blooming, and since I can’t seem to wait for them to bloom on their own schedule, I brought some in the house a week ago. Sigh… so pretty.

Right now I’m sitting by an open window, listening to the spring peepers and my heart is happy knowing that we MOST LIKELY (knock on wood) will not see snow again for another several (hopefully long) months.  Spring has indeed sprung.

Upside Down Gardening

I have a wonderful, patient husband.

Luke started off his Sunday morning by rattling his joints loose, rototilling the vegetable garden in the hot sun for me. Then he waded across the icy cold river to pull a rusty, old swing set frame that the flood waters washed down to our property a couple of years ago off the riverbank. Then he cut holes in the bottoms of four perfectly good buckets. For me. Without entirely understanding or agreeing with what I was planning to do. Now that’s love.

And what is it that I’m planning? I’m growing upside down tomatoes. It’s crazy, I know. Last year I saw this post, which had great results, and which intrigued me greatly. I thought about the upside down tomatoes last summer when my giant, unruly tomatoes resisted every type of stake and cage I tied them to, and fell to the ground over and OVER again. This year these plants will not be falling over. Nope.

The idea is that the tomato plants can grow long and bear heavy fruit, but will never need staking because gravity lets them hang loose and never fall over. Google “upside down tomatoes” and you’ll see millions of gadgets and growing systems for the tomatoes. Mine are simple and copied from Frecklewonder: 5-gallon buckets with holes in the bottoms hanging from a support.

I had planned to force Luke to build me a structure to hold the buckets, but then one day I was thinking out loud and said, “you know what would be perfect to hold my tomato buckets? An old swing set frame”. To which Luke replied, “I know where we can get one”.

Each fall and sometimes spring, we get enough rain to cause the river to swell and flood the banks. This sometimes wipes out trees or moves furniture, and sometimes it brings us presents from upriver, like a string trimmer, a portable toilet, and even a swing set frame. The frame stayed in our section of the river for a while, then one heavy rain washed it further down river where Luke and our neighbor pulled it out of the water and threw it on the opposite side of the bank. There it sat until a good use for it was dreamed up. It’s small, like it only held a swinging bench, and it’s kind of short, but I think it’s perfect.

I bought two varieties of heirloom tomatoes, Tiffen Mennonite and Glacier Red, at the farmers’ market and they are the lucky new dizzy, upside down plants in my experimental upside down garden. I’m also planning to make a grid of twine up the sides of the swing set frame to grow cucumbers and squash. Those I’ll grow right side up. Not as interesting, but hopefully just as successful.

Highlights from my weekend.

-Enjoying the amazing weather. (Wonderful perfect weather, please come back to stay!)

-Having Luke make breakfast for me everyday. It’s the best.

-Starting to install our deck railing (yay!)

-Working with my dad at his shop to make the supports for the deck hand rail.

-Finally going for a motorcycle ride just for fun. Man, I missed riding…

-Planting seeds and moving plants around in the garden.

-Painting two more of our exterior doors BRIGHT RED. Seriously, you can’t miss them.

-Walking out on the deck to find Molly with her head in my coffee mug, just finishing my entire cup of coffee. Such a dork. I wasn’t sure how the caffeine would affect her but she seemed fine. A little jumpy, but fine.

-Looking out the kitchen window and seeing a railing on the deck. Sigh… almost done!

All I Asked Was That He Pull Up the Yuccas

And this is what I saw when I came out of the house.

(Sorry, I’m having some trouble embedding the YouTube video, follow this link to watch.)

We spent the entire weekend outside, it was wonderful. It wasn’t exactly warm and springy, but it was warmish and we’re so desperate for spring that warmish will do.

The lilies are starting to pop up and the pesky pup likes to get in on all the action. Raking out the garden beds and seeing the sprouts of plants-to-be makes me excited to garden. I have a vision for the yard, I can’t wait to work on it.

I started to put in two new garden beds while Luke worked on the deck. The beds further beyond the trellis used to extend all the way to that pine tree off in the distance, but a few years ago we decided to mow them down to make a whiffle ball field instead of have an unruly weed-infested garden, and the good plants were moved and condensed into the two beds you see. Now those beds are looking lame and most of the good plants have been moved to other places, so the last of the good stuff will come closer to the house and go into the two new beds and the last of the weeds will become more outfield. Except for the yucca. Do not plant yucca. They are all over my yard and I hate them with a passion. They are hardy and invasive and I swear they’d survive nuclear attack. A neighbor had them planted near her driveway and they spread and broke through the asphalt. They are evil. I have dug them up, yanked them out, and mowed them down but still they come back every year. I asked Luke to pull them out one more time before the warm spring weather wakes them up, so he decided to do it his way, as you saw. It worked. They came up, but I guarantee they’ll grow back next year.

Work on the deck continued this weekend. Some seriously confusing math and geometrical calculations went on all weekend as Luke decided where exactly to dig the holes and set the posts for the deck. The Sonotubes are in and, if all goes well, the building inspector should be at the house right now signing off on the depth of the holes. Once that’s done, the concrete can be poured and then the real fun begins. I can’t wait.

My Friend Jack

How cool is this?   This is a beautiful and strange plant called Jack-in-the-Pulpit.  I’m strangely happy each spring when I see these weird little plants pop up in the woods of our property.  I had been told that they were rare in our area, but I think that whoever told me was just lazy because if you look hard enough, you’ll see them all over.  From the top they look like this:

Not all that exciting or remarkable.   But if you get down and peek underneath, you see this:

And then you peek under that flap and see this:

Isn’t that beautiful?  In early spring, the flower, or “pulpit” is all green with darker green stripes.  As the flowers mature they turn reddish purple.  In the fall when the pulpit dies off and leaves poor “Jack” standing there all by himself, Jack turns into a beautiful cluster of bright red berries.  I just love these things.  They’re like little surprises hiding in the weeds.

Can you tell I finally got some sleep last night?  I’m practically writing poetry about woodland weeds.  I took a nap and went to bed early and slept all night long and felt so good this morning that Molly and I went for a walk down by the river where I took these pictures.  Ahh… sleep and weeds, two things I love.