Wednesday, June 29, 2011

This Is My Morning. Wednesday, June 29, 2011.

I slept lightly last night for some reason, sleep seemed elusive. Something woke me just before 5:30 and the thought "I don't want to wake up yet" was quickly crowded by "What was that crash?". I knew it came from behind me, I was laying with my back to the window. I mentally reviewed if there was anything on the dresser that Brindle Blue may have tipped over as she jumped into the window to watch the morning birds at the feeders. Then, deciding it was too large a crashing noise to ignore, I rose to the window blind, twisting the stick to open it, peeked into the backyard.

Finding nothing that seemed amiss I lay back down, determined to return to sleep. A few moments later, a large rustling and a flap of startled birds bid me return to the window. Upon closer inspection, I realized what had caused the crash. The gate-sized section of fencing, propped against the apple tree for staining, gave one of the neighborhood cats a perfect ladder access to the tree and, quite literally, the 'catbird seat' for the small seed feeder above the bird bath at the base of this small tree.

The horror of my own accidental assistance to this marauding feline quickly turned to amusement as I watched the cat dangle from the tree by one foreleg as it tried, unsuccessfully, to regain his prime assassin position. Taking his empty jaws and chagrined expression at being laughed aloud at as proof of his failed attempt on my beloved birds, I realise his opportunity is lost. The crash I heard earlier was the fence falling away from the tree and hitting the raised bed before resting flat on the ground.

That little problem was solved by it's fur-bearing instigator.

I knew sleep wasn't returning, so I reached for something to read. As I read, propped up in bed, I enjoyed the occasional sound and the quick glimpses of hummingbirds at the window feeder. When the sound of one little visit seemed to last quite a bit longer than previous visits, I glanced up to find the hummer peering in my window. At first I thought it must be sipping at the flowers in the window box, but he was deliberately dancing back and forth above the flowers to get my attention. When I sat up for a better view, it flew the short distance from window screen to feeder and back, twice, to alert me that the feeder was empty!

Fortunately, I had made up the sugar water the evening before, so I donned my robe against the morning drizzle and dashed outside to fill the feeder. My efforts have been rewarded with over an hour of bird watching as my jeweled visitor enjoyed his breakfast and jealously guarded it against the other hummers that frequent the garden.

Now, as I have given up on the idea of sleep and am typing on my laptop, my Brindle Blue tries to squeeze under my arm as she purrs her love and promise of devotion, if I would only rise now and serve her breakfast. Falsely accused, if only mentally, of causing my reluctant departure from sleep, she is willing to forgive and forget, if I would now. rise. and. serve. breakfast!

I hear my daughter's alarm chime from the room across the hall and I am enjoying the sound knowing that soon, I will no longer hear her morning routines. All too soon, the room now-makeshift bedroom with sewing paraphernalia shoved aside-will return to it's status of sewing room/guest bedroom as she has accepted a new Au-pair position and will be fleeing the nest.

Coffee beckons. A rainy morning. It's been a good two weeks since I've been forced indoors by rain. It'll be a good morning to devote to kitchen time. I have strawberries to slice, rhubarb to chop and chickens to ready for the freezer, vacuuming to ignore, coffee to drink and several back issues of Mary Janes Farm to devour.

This is my morning, Wednesday, June 29, 2011.
A pair of hummingbirds can be glimpsed out the bedroom window, past the clove-scented Stock blossoms in the window box. In the background can be seen one of the pair of window boxes on the shed, with my Mason Bee Houses above. Branching in from the left of the photo is the site of this morning's near-cat-astrophy.

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Sage advice

I am reading my way through my sister's back issues of Mary Janes Farm magazine and ran across this quote of Mark Twain:

"If it's your job to eat a frog,
it's best to do it first thing in the morning.
And if it's your job to eat two frogs,
it's best to eat the biggest one first."

I hadn't read that one before and it really made me chuckle. There are so many quotes and verses about motivating yourself to get things done but this one really has humor, in addition to truth!

That being said, it's time to get started on the day!

Hope yours is frog-free!

Sunday, June 26, 2011

It's Been A Great Staycation!

Brent's vacation this year was very much a working vacation. And I have the photos to prove it!

We have been working hard to get the yard in order. Building new builds, painting the privacy screens in the back yard, planting, weeding and because it's been almost two weeks without rain, lots of watering. One of the draw backs to raised beds can be how quickly they drain and dry. At least I can dictate the amount of water each planter gets, so much better than having things drown in our clay soil.

Here's some progress pictures from around the garden:

This is the new raised bed that runs along the property line on the garage side of the house. This picture is actually more than half-way through the project. The worst part of the job was removing the long overgrown bed that was there. Eighteen years ago we used cherry timbers to make raised beds, which had long since decayed. The bed was horribly overgrown with blackberries, lemon balm and oregano and several roses that had returned to their wild root-stock. The roots were so solid in that area that it was a huge effort to escavate and re-level the bed. To say nothing of hauling it all away!

Here Brent lies in exhaustion! Hahaha. The bed is straight, level and lined with a double layer of landscape cloth in hopes of delaying the re-appearance of horsetail ferns and blackberries!

Hey, men who have died of exhaustion aren't supposed to be laughing!

Here's the bed about 8pm last night, with some of the plantings completed. Here you can see the Welcome-To-My-Garden Arbor along with the Wintercreeper or Emerald Gaiety Euonymus bush we planted at the start of the raised bed so we have year-around interest with a varigated evergreen.

A better view of the Evergreen Climatis and the Purple Leaf Honeysuckle I planted and wove into the arbor's lattice. On the opposite side I've woven a pink jasmine and a clematis start from Reen.

One of the seven 8 foot-long bed sections is devoted to berries. Amanda gave me an early birthday present of 3 blueberry bushes-already loaded with blueberries! And we planted 22 strawberry plants, too. Those were my gift to my DearHusband. Strawberries are his favorite!
This is a reverse view (looking towards the street). In this picture you can see one of the three fuschia-pink lupines along with a veggie section of the bed. I have 5 fennel starts, a yellow straight neck squash, a Black Beauty Zuchinni, 2 varieties of cucumbers and a clump of 5 pole bean starts. In the center, I've planted 5 little root sections of Jerusalem Arthichokes or Sunchokes. I've never eaten them before but they sounded interesting.

Adding more plants to this section is on today's list. In the corner you can see a Niko Blue Hydrangea. This shady corner is a wonderful little spot. It doesn't show in this picture but just to the right of the chair is a basket hanging from the tree that is overflowing with deep red begonia and a sunny yellow tailing flower.

This is the garage wall raised bed, looking towards the arbor. I think these sunflowers along the wall grew 3" yesterday! The two cilantro divisions have just expoded with growth and the color spots are making quite a show.

Now a couple of random shots to share:

Two days of Brent's vacation were spent cleaning out the shade garden which had become overrun with vining maple,  horsetails, creeping buttercup and of course, blackberries. Now the area has been re-graded away from the foundation and covered with beauty bark over a double layer of landscape cloth. Perhaps next year we will re-landscape this area.
Hey, Sisters, remember that trampled-flat broken-off section of Wandering Jew? Well, I stuck it into a pot of soil and it is taking off! New roots, new leaves!

Also in this shot are the Hebe starts that I intend for my Faerie Garden planter. That also is still on my To-Do List.

Time to don sunscreen and head back outside to enjoy some sunshine on Brent's last day of vacation. I could really get used to having my hubby home full-time. I'm gonna miss having him around every day, but I'm sure he's probably looking forward to getting back to paying work to have a breather from yardwork!

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

I'll Make My Own Sunshine Then...

A peek out my kitchen window
The skies may be overcast again and the breeze gaining on wind status but I have a spot of sunshine to call my own!

This is the shady corner within the privacy screen around the hot tub. My begonia pots are in full bloom and starting to look lush. On the deck you can see my 2 Boxwood Basil, the tall African Basil, and the Rubin Basil. In the very back is the World's Smallest Fushia just starting it's first blooms, as well as a pair of dainty flowered Electric Lights Fuschias.

A close-up of The World's Smallest Fuschia blossoms
You can also see the top blooms of my Multi Blue Clematis poking through the lattice at the top of the privacy screen.

The first huge bloosom on my dark orange Non Stop Begonia.

This picture is from last week. This plant has added another four huge blooms since I took this picture (as you can see in the top picture).

Friday, June 3, 2011

A Bit of Whimsey

While I got things ready to go onto the grill for dinner, I decorated a basket I bought today with some whimsical ribbon.

I think it makes the perfect addition to my bike!

It's not a large or particularly sturdy basket, but I think it'll do perfectly to carry my sunglass case! And maybe an apple, or a small snack. And some lipbalm. And maybe a hairbrush for when I take my helmet off. And maybe a coin purse, just in case we ride past the ice cream stand. And, and, and....