18 April 2010


Gardening is an activity requiring at times extraordinary patience. Really, growing anything requires patience, but sometimes it' tough to wait. We've had the pea plants in the bed outside since early March and only in the last two days have we finally gotten a flower. We'll probably be swimming in peas before too long, but it's already the latter half of April. We wanted peas last month. But we must wait.

That makes lettuce maybe the easiest and most fun thing to grow. Leaf lettuce in particular you can harvest a month after planting, sometimes sooner. Here is our first major haul.

We have three lettuce blends (they sell lettuce mixes in packets these days, which is nice, since there are about 100 kinds and you don't want to buy dozens of seed packets and try to mix them). One is still out in the pea bed awaiting harvesting (the arugula bolted to seed already, it's barely been out there five weeks), and this is our master chef blend. We don't know what's in it, but it's tasty. Made salad last night with a selection of leaves, and today, in order to resow our hot-season lettuce blend, we went ahead and pulled all of these out. Rinsed and stored in a plastic bag in the fridge they'll last as long as any salad mix from the store, but this here represents about a dime's worth of lettuce seed instead of two or three $3.79 bags of lettuce. Sweet!

17 April 2010


Spring is, apart from the clouds highly allergenic pollen, a glorious time of the year. Though my favorite season has always been autumn, it's tough to find much bad to say about spring. This year we've had some lovely flowers--including the forsythia that has become the new top image. I thought I'd just go post a whole bunch of flower pictures, because who couldn't use some color?

Early in the spring we get these little flowers in the yard. All over the yard. What they are I can't say, as it's difficult to even identify the plant they're coming out of. But they are rather charming.

Most years, daffodils (and jonquils, which I cannot tell apart) are one of the harbingers of spring. These here grow in the ditch down by the road, oddly enough, though some folks have them all over the yard. This year everything bloomed almost simultaneously, so the daffodils had to share the spotlight.

Last year I dug up a wild violet that was growing in area I wanted to till up for the garden. I planted it in our flower bed by the house. This spring it was one of the first plants to flower, and what do you know, it's a white violet. How cool! It's one of only a couple in the yard.

Most violets are, of course, violet. These are growing on the hillside between the fig tree and the car ramps. There are violets all over the yard, as they like the shade, but last spring (2008 was very dry) most of them didn't bloom. This year we were treated to a real show.

We bought some native blueberries this year, and--hooray!--they've bloomed. Such cute little flowers, though I do wonder how they get pollinated.

Parts of the yard are full of wild strawberries. They have very cute little flowers, but I have no idea whether we'll get fruit from them. Still, it's nice to have the chance.

In a normal year, these crocusses (or whatever they are) would bloom earlier than most other flowers. This year, they're one of the latest things to start blooming. Early or late it hardly matters when you get these little stars coming up in the yard for free.

This is a native columbine Smittywife planted last year. We got a bloom or two out of it, but wow is it happy this year.

This is a wallflower. We put two or three of these plants in the flower garden last year. They were nice--the flowers open creamy yellow, and as they age they go through peach and pink to lavender. That in and of itself is fun enough, but the plants just took hold and grew all year, and the one of them, this year, is huge, and covered in blooms. We keep meaning to buy more of these because they clearly like it here. We bought two of the multicolored one here, and they've been blooming for almost a solid month now--and should continue right through summer. We also bought one bright orange one, which I like, but which isn't as healthy. However, through some quirk of genetics, there is one bright orange flower on this plant.

Right now, the stars of the yard are our azaleas, which ring an old oak stump next to the driveway. And of course, the two happy dogs, they're stars, too.

The pink azaleas bloom a week before the white ones. Who knows why? But it does mean that there's only a matter of a few days when you get both in bloom at once. Aren't they nice?

What more is there to say? I'm tragically allergic to azaleas--I mean, really bad. But even I would gladly take more of these.

I close with this close-up of the flowers. Such beauty in such profusion--and for such a short time. Part of why spring and fall are such wonderful seasons is their fleeting nature. Just for a couple of weeks we get display, but it's worth waiting the entire rest of the year for.

13 April 2010

A Period of Time

Okay, let's see here.
I got sick and wasn't able to go to a checkride.
I decided I needed to take time off to figure out what was going wrong viz flying.
I dived into garden/farm work, building vegetable beds, sprouting seeds, tilling the orchard by hand, planting roses, all sorts of things.
I realized that was really all I wanted to do anyway, but you can't earn a living doing it.
Then spring came.
We put all the seeds out, and I spent the next week trying to save them from the hottest spring on record (highs approached 90 in the days after the seedlings went into the ground). Nonetheless many of them scorched badly, and we lost several, although those have since been replaced and the ones that survived seem to be doing well enough.
I continued building additional vegetable beds until I ran out of compost and topsoil, and we still have several plants that I haven't put in the ground yet for lack of a place to put them. (More work is required here.)
I sought help for my self-sabotaging ways.
We acquired several baby chicks (mostly Ameraucanas) and continue raising them.
I agreed to re-interview for a job I was offered two years ago; the interview in a couple of weeks.
We went to the zoo on a day off and had a lovely time.
We joined friends for a fun night out ruined by incompetent restaurant management.
We watched some people on Spring Break decide to slide down a waterfall, nearly break bones, and then try to avoid getting arrested (only unlike when something similar happened to me several years ago, the signs prohibiting this were clearly posted).
We reveled in the beauty of Spring.

There. I blogged about it. Now, apart from the spring flower pictures, we can move into the present.