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Archive for the ‘gardening’ Category

for the bees

This year I planted artichokes for the first time. I was so excited when these cute little artichokes started growing and I thought how fun it would be to eat my own artichokes! That is until I noticed that deep in the leaves, there was lots of aphids! As a gardner I don’t do much beyond watering and pruning of my yards. I might fertilize if I get around to it, but that happens rarely.

And when I see a plant-especially something I might eat- full of aphids it makes me wonder how much pesticides does it take to get that bug free so it can get to the grocery store?

So I opted to let the artichokes just grow, flower, and see what happens.

These are amazing flowers! They are heavy and just crazy looking! I picked some to dry for decoration, but I haven’t figured out how to de-bug them yet.
One thing I noticed is that the bees love these things!

As I was snapping pictures I watched the bees rolling in the center of the big purple anthers (where the pollen is). The bees rolled in the flower until their entire body was covered in pollen!

I recommend planting one of these, next year I am planting another artichoke plant or two for my bee friends!

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Great Grandmother’s Peonies. Growing up, these were always one of my favorite flowers. I remember when spring would finally warm up the frozen ground these dark red shoots would start pushing through the soil. Within a week these would be nearly a foot tall and have leaves unfurling from the main stem. After a few weeks, the flower buds would swell with potential, small ants would cover the buds and start eating away the green covering until these massive pink blooms would unfold, filled with scent. When I married and moved away from the farm, my mom dug up a start from these same plants. I planted them in our first home and watched them repeat this same process I’d witnessed as a little girl. When we bought our new home 5 years ago I was most concerned with moving my great grandmother’s piano and my plants. I transplanted most of these plants in the late winter/very early spring. Then I read an article about how delicate these plants are and how difficult they are to transplant. Basically there was a list of things that were bad to do with peonies and I did every one of them. But by early March, the read shoots started poking out of the ground. Then I realized that silly magazine was talking about some wimpy plant brought home from a big box store. Farm plants, like farm girls thrive wherever they are planted.

Oriental Poppies-seeds collected from our first home, original seeds from Mom’s yard. I believe my mom got the seeds from someone else in town who got them from who knows. I have always loved this big bold flowers. Such a bright and unapologetic red color. I remember watching the big round bumble bees buzzing around the centers of these flowers, getting their legs covered with the purple pollen. I imagine that to them this flower was like a terrific buffet of color.

Purple Clematis- the view from my dinning room window. I have a very tall dinning room window. I don’t have a curtain or any type of blind on it. I like the light, I like to see out, see what little birds may be flying through the yard. Unfortunately, my view is of a narrow yard and a plain fence. Nothing too inspiring. I decided that instead of making or buying any type of window treatment I would create the view I wanted to see. It’s been a few years in the making but each year this clematis gets a little bigger and the flowers put on an even better show than the year before last. To me my garden is like my life, I need to create the world I want to see and live in. We can choose to be happy, choose to make the most of what we have, and we can choose to look at the world through a pretty lens.

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Trying to find something new to be thankful about each day about staying home.

Exhibit A:

Found this lovely moth outside this morning.

I caught it in a jar for the kids to look at closer and to show daddy when he gets home from work.

Even baby dog wanted to check it out.

Tonight we’ll let it go and do it’s mothy business.

Here’s to new discoveries, and working at being content with where I am.

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On my weekly groccery list I have the basics likes eggs, bread, milk, cottage cheese, and Dora yogurt. My little guy’s favorite protein source is dairy, especially cottage cheese. While my little girl will eat a larger variety of foods, she only likes 2-3 Dora yogurts a day. I’ve tried to buy the no-name brands, or the yogurts at Costco. Only the Dora yogurt will do. And I will admit right now that I’m not real great at recycling these plastic containers (about 50% of the time I do). So, here’s my evolving list of uses for these containers.

1. Mixing acrylic paints for my projects, or mixing tempera paints for the kids.
2. Rinse water for watercolors
3. Scoops for kids
4. Sand castle molds
5. Building blocks
6. Seed starters

This time of year I get really tired of the dull, cold, gray days of winter and yearn for something green and growing. We picked up a few packets of seeds on a recent trip to a local garden store. I have been missing fresh basil so I picked a pack of basil seeds and then I let the kids pick out a packet of seeds each. As we wondered the store I was thinking of how to start my basil seeds when I saw a display of peat pellet pots. These are little discs that when water is added to them they swell to become a little peat pot filled with potting soil. These peat pots are biodegradable and can be planted right into larger pots or directly into the garden. If you are looking to save money on your gardening this is the way to go!

The yogurt containers are perfect because they hold water, fit the pellets, and have a raised area in the bottom that keeps the pot from sitting in the water.
After the pellets “grew” I let the kids each have their own cups to plant their seeds and gave them a few letter stickers to decorate their cups.

Steps:
1. rinse out yogurt containers. If desired, dry and decorate container with stickers, markers or paper
2. add peat pellet, fill container 1/2 full of warm water, let sit and swell
3. place 2-3 seeds in the top of the pot, press down a bit with fingers
3. label with a sharpie, seeds sprout according to directions
4. place in a sunny spot
5. check daily, pot should be slightly damp, if it gets really soggy, drain excess water and allow to dry out for a day
6. I live in a dry climate w/a furnace running so I add a little bit of water each day

The kids’ flowers sprouted early and are doing really well.
My basil took longer to sprout but is finally poking up through the soil. I can’t wait to start cooking with my own fresh basil! I’m also thinking these would be a very fun and cheap gift for my friends who like to cook. These yogurt containers could be covered in paper or put into a small clay pot to dress them up a bit!

And now I’m inspired to start more plants for my containers for this spring.

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