Saturday, April 23, 2011

Rainy and cloudy... Spring where art thou?

Good morning friends. Is it raining in your neck of the woods? It stopped for alittle while here, it was raining pretty good last evening. This morning it is still pretty gray out there! Oh well yesterday I broke down and bought some spring, an easter lily and a cyclamen. I might as well bring spring inside as it has not shown up outside yet. =)
So here are some things that I really believe that you should know that are going on in the area. First today(sat) at Wood River Garden Store they are offering a What's New Walking Tour at noon. Its a free walking tour so you can see, smell, touch the plants they have to offer.They will also show you what is new and what is the latest trend. Sounds like fun! Ahhh to be in a greenhouse when it is raining or dreary out, what could be better?? After that they are offering a fruit and Veggie gardening seminar at 1:30 pm. You ask all kinds of questions and find out what you may be doing wrong.. or share what you are doing right with your gardening.  This class is offered for new and seasoned gardeners. Free too! For other classes they are offering check out their website, its listed in my favorites!
Next all you nature lovers, Crex Meadows has some things to offer today as well. The Earth Day Celebrtion- Spring birding tours 8-10 am, $5 a person, meet at the education center, some carpooling options. From 1-3pm they are going to offer a prairie walk! I would also like to let you know if you ever are able to see the Green Fire, Aldo Leopold and a Land Ethic For our Time film please do! Crex had three showings of this film last night for Earth Day. It is very well done! A good film to inform you folks out there about author and conservationist Aldo Leopold. Wow did he leave a legacy, both with his family as well as everyday people that still read and live by his books and land ethic!! He was a great role model, and his family have really carried that on in there work as well! Anyway I would really suggest seeing it, the staff at Crex really had to do alot of work to be able to get the film and be able to show it so lets really support them and their efforts! Way to go staff!
Remember it was Earth Day yesterday, it should be Earth Day everyday! Go out and do something for your community, your yard, for you- you will feel great after planting a tree! Remember to teach a young one about the earth and their responsibility to it!
Until next time..... go buy alittle spring at your local greenhouse. Maybe surprise a friend with something too!

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Sun, sun, sun...I see it!

Good morning friends... come in and talk to me a minute. I know you want to get outside, you must be as excited as me that the sun is out! I am going to get some more seeds started today...that is the goal. It has been so cold here for those of you that are not local that some seeds have started but wow not many! I think I will keep these in the extra bedroom and will have to run a heat lamp, if they are out here they will get tipped over by the cats!
Ok yesterday I went to my friend Tammara's house, her husband and her have a dairy farm but she also has a rescue for animals there at her farm. So she has alot of the usual animals- horses, goats, donkeys etc. But then she gets the unusual too- raccoons, deer, songbirds etc. Well what do you think she is mom to right now??? Baby bears, not 1, not 2 but 3! They have quite the appetite as well as attitude! So they are eating cereal, being they ate the nipple off their bottles! My reason for telling you all this is its cool that she takes care of these animals that need some help in their life. But to also remember to donate to the  folks that do run places like this. They need help- money, cages, treats, dogfood, as well as things like cereal (baby) that is what the bears are eating along with bear milk that she gets from some place out of state. There are other needs at different times of course. But as we get into the growing season we can also plant another row of some kind of food and donate it to animals, food shelves or give it to the neighbors. There is more then enough to go around if we plan to put it into the garden and just do it!! =)
The other plug I would say is to check class schedules from your local ag stations, greenhouses etc. They are offering some great classes on pruning, planting, etc and alot are free or really low cost!! I am a firm believer that you need to read and do your research but hands on learning HAS to be done as well! I just took a pruning class and a grafting class, they were in the same day at my local greenhouse and the ag folks were there as well. It was really interesting, I learned a ton, they answered all the questions, we went out to two different farms and pruned on their fruit trees. I was excited to do the grafting, I now want to graft a bunch more trees!! I have the grafting bug! I have a plum, pear, and an apple tree in my bathroom, waiting to see if the graft took. I hope they do!! Then they will go in the garden and then next year they can be planted in the area that they will call home. So go take a class, learn something you can put into practice in your garden or in your orchard. It is very satisfying!
Ok my friends check out my links, the local ag station as well as the local greenhouse is on there. Have a fabulous day! Go get some seeds that make you smile! Grab on for a neighbor and put a smile on their face as well!

Saturday, April 16, 2011

Crane counting today at Crex Meadows

Good afternoon- Hope you are enjoying a warm cup of tea on such a windy, cold day. It is April right??
Well today we did make it to the crane counting at 5:30 am at Crex Meadows. It was hard as the car decide to quite running yesterday in Rice Lake when Mikhaila and I went down for the hospice appreciation dinner! Our lovely friend Linda came all the way ( over an hour ) to pick us up and bring us home! We had a wonderful time at the dinner, the food was fantastic as always!
So we got home at 11:30 pm and then I was bummed because we told the folks at Crex Meadows that we would count cranes as well as  clean-up the grounds today. So while I was sad, trying to figure something out... my daughter goes up to the neighbors and asks if he will take us at 4:45 over to Crex Meadows and surprisingly he said yes!! So we went to bed, set the alarm and got up and put lots of layers on as we would be sitting in a car with the windows open, we also had snow on the ground and it was still falling.  We walked up to the neighbors and well he was asleep and NOT happy to take us. However we did get there and we met up with Alan and went Crane counting! It was very cool, we saw some fly over us, we saw and heard mated pairs, we saw some swans. Overall it was wonderful to be outside listening to all the ducks, geese and song birds talking, especially so early when I am usually sleeping.  When we came back we had refreshments and then we went out and picked garbage. Being I did not have a car to drive out to the original area that we were assigned  Mikhaila and I cleaned the grounds right around the main building and up and down the main road. We found alot of little stuff- tons of cigarette butts and soda bottles, things like that. We got about  4 small garbage bags and a ice cream bucket so we felt alittle better about getting some garbage at least. We had a delicious lunch at Crex, the folks made some tasty soup, salads and sandwiches as well as other things. We chatted with some folks that were up from Hudson. We also talked about things all of us had seen and heard out there. Alan found us a ride home with a gentlemen and his wife who I was told knows a great deal about mushrooms, they also take pictures of  birds and actually when he dropped us off he said he took alot of pictures over in our area. This does not surprise me as we are in direct flight paths for all the birds when they migrate. We always have swans, cranes, geese in the cornfields when they migrate in the fall. There are so many that you can't hear anything but them talking! If you do not now about Crex Meadows please use the link under my favorites and go check  their website out. They always have events to learn something about nature, or you can just hike or drive the roads that go through all the acres of land. It is well worth the trip!
So we had a great day. Things worked out. We met some great folks and Mikhaila got another 6 hours of community service for the month of April, she is up to 12 hours this month alone. Her school is trying to get the kids to volunteer  1 to 1 1/2 hours each for the month of April.
April is the month that has Earth Day events scattered throughout it. However in our family we do not just celebrate Earth Day we try to do something to help the environment as much as we can as often as we can. What are you going to do for yourself as well as your community today? Plant a tree, clean the ditch, clean a park, ride your bike instead of driving. Think about the ways you can do something and try to get a young person involved as well! Please share with us what you did and how it made you and the people around you feel!
Until next time, stay warm as the wind out there is cold! Be a blessing to someone!

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Seeds are in the soil!

Good morning! Come on in and have a seat...let me tell you what is going on at the farm here
Yesterday we raked leaves and sticks....where do the sticks come from? They multiply over night, and they are BIG the next time you go to pick them up!! Unbelievable. So anyway the oak trees that surround my house decided I really needed to pick sticks and pick up all the leaves that they left so.... done, at least on the one side. The other side does not shed as many sticks, go figure!
Yesterday a friend stopped by and brought bread! Yum! I sat on the step with the dog and had some before I even went in the house. I figure once the child sees homemade bread I will not get any so I better enjoy some first! While eating my foster parents stopped by on the way back to the cities, they had been up to the cabin for the weekend. So we went in and had coffee at the coffee shop, caught up on the news with them and exchanged Christmas gifts! It was a nice visit!
When we got home I worked on planting seeds. So far I have this planted, Marigolds in a long planter, Johnney Jump Ups in a planter, 38 peat pots of mixed color Bell Peppers, 12 peat pots of Sweet Basil, 37 peat pots of Sage, 33 pet pots of Catnip. Then I pulled this twin bedframe up to the house, it had been on the driveway for selling the produce last year. We wrapped it in plastic and put boards on it and put all the plants in there to grow. So say a prayer that it will be warmer enough in there and that I did it all right. I have never really grown a whole lot of  seeds, by the time I usually get around to it its too late. So then I just buy plants! But the plus side to that is I get the from the 4H plant sale so it is a help to the kids! There is always a plus side right! LOL But this year is the year to try new things and to save and make as much money as I can. So when the seeds all grow I will have some to sell as well as ones to plant. That is the game plan.
Mikhaila and I put the tires out at the back of the garden to put the potatoes in. I think I will be putting some squash, watermelon in them as well. I think it may help as we have critters that come through and it might help to have them protected by a tire instead of just growing in a hole in the ground. Once again this is all an experiment! I am still thinking of having to fence the whole area in and that is alot of work as it is a long piece of land on the side of the driveway!
I did speed read the main parts in my book "All New Square Foot Gardening" to see what I need to purchase to do some raised beds. I am going to do raised beds in the front of the new garden, why you ask? Well in the front I have some cement and rally grassy pasture land. I do not have a roto tiller and well the grass is so thick it would be a real battle to keep it from growing back! So I am going to do some square foot gardening, and actually some raised beds for the carrots and parsnips and things. Plus the other truth is I really work at building the land up so I have never disturbed the build-up by tilling it all back under. I hope that makes sense to people. The top soil is where everything grows not way underneath it all. So I will share more from this book when I get the lumber and start putting them all together. I have to get pictures taken as well and posted on here so we can all see the progress.
For today I am going to get some more things planted. I have my knitting group at 2, these are the ladies I make the prayer shawls and lap blankets with. I have been making great progress with the gifts I am making for Easter. I will share what they are once I give most of them away as there are people that read this that will be receiving them! Other than that I am going to enjoy the warm weather as it is suppose to cool off- I keep forgetting that it is only April!
Have a super fabulous day! Do something nice for yourself! Remember you are special and there is only one you! Ta-ta for now!

Monday, April 11, 2011

The sun is out... the sun is out!

Good Morning friends, come in and have a quick cup of tea.... I know we all have to go out and get some stuff done outside!
Ok, so here are my updates.I heard back from the seed company and they are sending me a refund for the things I ask to have refunded. I did not ask for the package seeds as who knows if it was faulty seed on their part, last year was a weird growing season, so maybe it was me! But I will try again as I have never had sunflowers not grow!! It made me happy to get this taken care of so I can go forward with buying some seeds I still need.
I worked in the garden after church yesterday.It was GREAT to get in there and get dirty! I was in mud from it raining on and off the last two days. I cleared alot of weeds and last year plants out. They repaid me by flicking mud all over my face when I pulled them out, Mikhaila was grossed out when she saw me with mud peppered all over my face! I got alot cleared out and gave the stuff to the goats and of course Poppy and Wilbur (the pot bellied pigs) got the onions and the roots. They were pretty excited about that! They are too cute... Poppy still is standoffish but she wags her tail all the time, Wilbur loves to get  scratched behind the ears, under the chin and well if it really be known he likes kisses on his nose! Hey don't talk to me about it he is Mikhaila's baby and she made him the way he is!
I did find some good onions that must have missed being frozen out and carrots which Mikhaila promptly ate! The carrots she liked were orange on the outside and  red on the  inside and she said the dwarf ones were really sweet There are still some in there growing and of course I will be planting more.
My plans are to get some raised beds built. I am planning on doing carrots, turnips, parsnips in there so they grow alittle better. Still going to get the potatoes next time I am in town, I forgot them the other day!
Other than I will be working on the yard, it needs help after this winter!
What are you doing today? Let me know whats growing!! Surprise a gargener you know or mybe would like to know better with some seeds! It could "grow" into a beautiful friendship!

Saturday, April 9, 2011

What's growing at your house?

Good morning, come in and sit down and chat a minute. I know as we are getting into Spring time is going to be short for all of us who are in the garden. So I just want to thank you for coming and taking a couple minutes to read my blog and to drop me a line.

I would love to hear what is growing at your house. So far here there is not too much growing, I really should have put some bulbs in. That would give me a boost to see some crocus, tulips coming up, however for years now I have just focused on plants to grow food. I will have to make a note of that in my gardening diary, plant some things that come up in the spring! My neighbor Doug has tulips, and some asparagus popping up. The neighbor across from me has some crocus that are darling!!! I can't believe how cute they are! They make me smile every time I go get the mail. I  do love the little hardy guys.

Well today I am going to get the onions in. The back garden has been  in sunshine so the ground should be soft enough. The onions I got are already sprouting so I need to get them in and covered. I am not sure if I am going to put this garlic clove I have in or not. I know we are suppose to put them in in the fall. However that did not happen so.. I have not seen anything that says I can't put them in in the spring. Guess I will go on the Master Gardener site and look it up. While we are talking about garlic and onions- has some nice planting demos for planting both of these, just in case you have never grown them or are wondering if you are doing it right.

My plan this year is to do some experiments as well. I am going to try some potatoes planted in tires. Now we talked about this in class when I took my Master Gardening training. The teacher said he grows potatoes in garbage cans and then just keeps banking them and at the end of the season he has pounds of spuds when he tips the can over. I also have heard about the spuds grown in tires, matter of fact I watched a demo on about this as well. I always heard people kept stacking the tires as the plants grew, but on the demo he put three together and then planted in the holes and on the top. So anyway I will still put some potatoes in the ground but I will be trying the tire idea as well. That way I can compare the two. I was toying with the idea of putting onions in the tires as well, still toying with this idea.
I do have the tires in position so I think if I can find some spuds in town today I will get them going too.

Ok, well that is just alittle on my plate today.  I hope you get out and dig in the dirt alittle. Its cloudy here so I should go check the weather and see if we are going to get rain or not. Have a wonderful day!

Monday, April 4, 2011

I hear birds but I see rain..

Good morning- Pull up a seat and sit down, have a cup of tea and warm yourself, yes it is chill out there!! Rain again today.. I know it is good, but we have just had too much so far. I would like to go and get in the dirt and get some work done! I know I am whining but when is it going to start warming up some? Please just a couple days with sun, no rain and no clouds.
Alright, I heard back from Laura from the Seed Savers Exchange and they were happy to be listed on my blog. So that makes me excited! I was pumped to know she went on my blog!!  Are there other catalogs or magazines,even a blog out there that you guys think I might need to read? Please let me know. Or is there a topic we should discuss?
I am hearing from friends that the seedlings are growing even though it looks so bad outside. This is giving us all a lot of hope that warmer weather will come.
My question today is.....Does anyone out there knew if their family were/are seed savers? Do they seed save now and picked it up as a hobby? Did their family seed save? Do they have seeds from way back that have been handed down? I sent my Aunt an e-mail this morning to see if she knew anything from when she was growing up. I am going to see if I can nose around with some other family members to see if they have ever heard of anything too. Both my Grandma Andre and Great-Grandma Marie- her mom were great gardeners. They must have done something to have seeds. I do remember buying some seeds with Grandma Andre and planting seed potato. I don't remember her storing any potatoes over winter. Although my neighbor Doug does store potatoes and then hauls them out in the spring and throws them in the ground.
So that is it for now. Have a great day and do something nice for yourself. Smile....someone is bound to smile back at you.

Sunday, April 3, 2011

The Beautiful catalog......

Good Morning, come on in and have some tea....
This morning I woke up to the windows rattling in this old farm house so right off the bat I can tell you that it is windy without even opening my eyes! It is also real overcast and well to not be too depressing due to it  being April it looks like snow! So I figured to brighten all our days I would talk about the catalog that I mentioned a couple days ago, even though I have not heard back from the company. I was thinking I should not get into to much trouble from them if I am praising and spreading their company name around. Plus well I really want to share it with you because I was actually quite impressed with this beautiful catalog.
Ok so here we go.... I am so excited and to tell you the truth I think this catalog is beautifully done! I like magazines and catalogs, but to tell you the truth not all photography is the same!! This catalog, Seed Savers Exchange- 2011 catalog of Heirloom Seeds, Books, Gifts has a beautiful cover to begin with- food never looked so good. But once I open the pages I am drawn to the stories ..... yes even the littlest seed has a story of where it came from, and what it can produce. Just think of the mustard seed in the Bible.. have you ever really seen mustard seed? Go check some out if you haven't it is amazingly little! The stories are so interesting and add so much more "flavor" to the seeds that you can grow for your family. I was amazed to read where the seeds came from, how they got here, what they may have originally been called. 
For a long time I have been interested in seeds and where has all the food gone we use to grow and use? I have read books, taken different classes on gardening or seeds to expand my knowledge of why we have so much waste, rot, disease in our food and well here is my conclusion in a nutshell. We don't grow the same things as we use to, they have been modified or changed!! Somewhere along the lines seeds became main streamed and cut down to a few varieties. In doing so some of the issues we see are the seeds can't be saved, the food is not as acidic, or flavorful , the produce doesn't store as well or for as long, but the main thing are all real nutritional values and different we are missing!!
Thank God for the Seed Exchange for their research and being a seed bank, and the Farmers and families that have kept their heritage seeds that have been passed down!! Those are the kind of seeds in this catalog. Heritage tomatoes that are wonderful shades of purple and orange, squashes that have so much meat in them that you can really feed a family on just one, how about peach Habanero peppers- doesn't it make you want to make some colorful salsa! That is one of the things that seems lost to me the colors of our food, why do we assume that all tomatoes should be red- who made that decision for me? I actually really like yellow pear and green tomatoes! If you want more color than get some colorful carrots and some black radishes. Our food should be fun as well as nutritional. Wouldn't we have more kids eating their food if we had a rainbow of colors on their plate?
So that is my plug for the Seed Exchange Catalog. Their catalog is on-line, I haven't checked the whole website out but I am sure it will be well worth the time. Remember to think outside the box people, if that is all that you take away from this blog today. Don't let someone else tell you that something should and can only be one way. You have a God given ability to get all the facts and to use them wisely and then make a decision. This applies to politics, home life, families, jobs- don't eat orange carrots all your life because that has been the norm... try the purple ones.. even if you have to close your eyes the first time.
Until later friends...

Friday, April 1, 2011

The update I promised

Ok so here is the update. I have two and 1/2 bags of potting soil. Which I really thought there was more back there. There still may be as I sent my daughter back to see, I couldn't make it back to the garden to look myself! By the time I made it out the door and was heading for the car I thought I was going to pop a lung and I had such a hack going it sounded like I smoked 3 packs of cigs a day! Anyway that was scary! At least the air was not cold or I would have been in serious trouble! Any of you people like me out there, just stay home the extra day to recoup!

I also have enough plant containers to get something going but I still think I should get a recycle thing out there at the end of the drive. People just usually throw them away. I took a whole bunch back to the greeenhouse last year!

Well on to the seeds. I hate to say but I have way to many herbs and flowers!! Not enough veggies!! I told Mikhaila she will be eating flowers, she was not too happy! She also was alittle miffed because I only had one package of spinach! Is it my fault she thinks she is Popeye's sister? I barely got any out of the garden last two years, plus we increased what I put in last year. She goes through grazing on everything that is ready before I can scoop it up. But hey that is better than the alternative! All my tomato seeds are MIA. They must have fallen out so I will hunt for those tomorrow. I should be totally set on herbs and flowers for real. I just need geraniums for sure. Unless of course I find something I can't live without. I just had to put that clause in there.

I was excited to get an awesome catalog in the mail today!! I am sure I got it from being on the Master Gardener's mail list again. If you have not taken the Master Gardener Course look into it. Really, the people here at our Ag Station are worth a million! I will tell you about the awesome catalog tomorrow, hopefully, as I do not have permission to put them on here yet. If you know of a catalog I need please let me know! Good night friends!

Happy Fool's Day- we have snow!!! What a trick!

Good morning friends, come in sit a spell and have a cup of tea. Well that is what we would be doing if we were face to face, so don't give me that look!
Ok today This is my agenda,
I need to stay focused even though we have some but not a lot of snow on the ground it will not bum me out!
First- I am going to get my seeds together, a feat unto itself! I was pretty good last year and so those are all together but just this morning I found some dill, cilantro, basil in the bathroom and well I am ashamed to say I was sleepig with a package of cosmos. Hey what can I say I take after my grandmother and well to put it nicely she was a nester. I too will find myself sleeping with a gardening magazine, a book about chickens, seeds or seed catalogs soooo... enough said. Getting these orgaanized will help me know what I am still needing to get. I did stock-up some last year - which I am so happy about now!
Second- I need to call a seed company that I did business with last year and see if I can get the credit owed me. I will just turn that right around into seed so... wish me luck.
Third- I need to check what soil I have outside in bags yet and figure out if it is actually soil, or manure and then do some figuring on how much I need. While out there I should also check how many containers I have to put things into as I would like to sell some plants as well as have them in the garden. I should build a wooden plastic container holder and put it out by the road, this lady has one and it is always plum full of all the black plastic bottoms that come on the plants from greenhouses. What a great way to recycle!!!
Fourth-I have to get ahold of the Ag Station and get the paperwork for selling at the Farmer's Market, as well as selling home-made things. I need that filled out and filed! I know I can sell the poultry and the eggs right off the farm. I was going to see  how much they would charge me for having a piece of paper that lets me sell the eggs at the Farmer's Market.
Ok that is it for now. I will check in with my progress!