Tuesday, November 17, 2009

My New Fave! Farmville



I LOVE this game :)

Want to be neighbors?

Monday, June 15, 2009

The Great Sunflower Project

I finally got my seeds for The Great Sunflower Project!


They are Lemon Queen. I hope they attract a lot of bees!

Thursday, June 11, 2009

That Wascally Wabbit!


Doesn't she look innocent?
She has a voracious appetite and has eaten things in my garden that I thought rabbits would not touch such as my garlic and potatoes.
The sweet potatoes are in a raised bed two feet high. Yep, they have been pruned.
Still, she is very cute and does not run away when I am working in the garden.

Sunday, May 31, 2009

How To Seal Jars Using a Foodsaver

I think this is the clearest explanation of how to seal jars using a Foodsaver vacuum sealer that I have seen.

Of course, you do realize that this method is only to be used for dried and dehydrated foods, not fresh foods.

Sunday, April 12, 2009

Green Thumb Sunday, Purple Leaf Plum

Gardeners, plant and nature lovers can join in every Sunday. Visit As the Garden Grows for more information.


Our Purple Leaf Plum is gorgeous this year! Happy Easter!

Friday, April 10, 2009

Oh, Deer!

See the pretty yellow daffodils all in a row?



Wait! Why is there a bud lying loose on the ground?



And what happened to the tips of these leaves? Daffodil leaves are not squared off at the top!



It has been a mystery to me as the daffodils have been there for 25 years unmolested till this year. Finally I solved the mystery by seeing what was happening with my own eyes. Unfortunately the culprits bolted before I could take their picture.
There were two deer working their way down the row pruning the daffodils! One of them was content to bite off the ends of the leaves. She did not eat them, just bit them off and tossed them aside. The second deer was picking the buds. Again, not eating them, just nipping them off and tossing aside. Over and over and over again.
I am confused. I can see trying them and not liking the taste and moving on. It is doing it over and over and over again that I do not understand.

I was glad to solve the mystery.

Seeing Red

I saw red this week. I found this little patch of red moss. The patch is about 2 1/2 inches across.


I found this gorgeous red tree branch. The rest of the branches were not red so don't know why this one was.


And my favorite is the Redbud that is just starting to bloom.



Trash and Treasures

I took a long walk around the cabin property and found a lot of trash. I was happy to find these glass jars before hubby hit them with the brush mower! One of them was an old Taster's Choice coffee jar and I don't know what the rest were. There was also an old window screen and a bunch of rusted cans.


I walked some more and found this toy saw. I wonder what child left it here?


I also found a few places that look like this. Ugh! I will have to get them cleaned up!



Now on to the treasures! I found these blue flowers. Barbee has confirmed they are Virginia Bluebells.



Some fiddleheads just starting to open.



Some tiny flowers. Barbee has confirmed that they are Spring Beauties.



And finally, my favorite find of all, an antler! It is from a spike buck. This is the second antler I have found on my property and I love to find them.



Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Driveway Life

Our driveway is absolutely covered with these tiny white flowers. At first I thought they were specks of vinyl dust from cutting pieces for the siding, but they are actually flowers. Millions of flowers. That is my shoe in the picture to give some scale. My camera does not do close-ups.


I dumped this sand from my saltwater aquarium on the driveway. This weekend hundreds of bees of several different sorts found it. There were a lot of honeybees and several smaller kinds.
I will be shoveling the sand up and putting it in the garden area where they can get at it without being run over by a car.


Garden Work

I planted some suckers from my lilac bush at home. They are small but do have roots.

The bucket is my attempt to water them slowly and thoroughly. It is a five gallon bucket and has a small hole drilled at the bottom to trickle water slowly to the plant.

I have also surrounded it with a circle of fencing held in place by two stakes. This is an attempt to keep it safe from the lawn tractor.


This is a Red Delicious Apple Tree bought at Home Depot. It is surrounded by the same fencing as the lilac and also fed by a drip bucket. The wood is fit through the holes in the fencing to hold the tree upright till it grows enough roots to hold it in place.

I was shocked at how few roots this tree had. When I took off the nursery sock the soil just fell away and there were hardly any roots at all. I do hope it is able to make it.


This is the pea patch. Hubby used our new flamethrower to burn off the grass. I have Sugar Snap peas on the left and Alaska peas on the right. Yes the posts are different heights. I use what I have. I have strung 6 rows of string and will add more strings as the peas grow.



This is the onion bed. There are three rows of red onions and one row of white.



This is my potato experiment. I figured if potatoes will grow in straw, why not try growing them in shredded paper. Can you see why? Yep, the paper blew out of the cages and is everywhere!
Even wet, it blew!
The cages are made of fencing with two inch squares and i thought for sure those small squares would hold the paper securely. Nope. Now I can play fifty-ywo thousand pick up!


I put some soil on top of the paper to hold it.

Sunday, April 5, 2009

Green Thumb Sunday, Tulips!

Gardeners, plant and nature lovers can join in every Sunday. Visit As the Garden Grows for more information.


These little tulips are a puzzle to me. They were planted two years ago and last year never showed themselves at all. I wrote them off and forgot about them and now here they are blooming beautifully!
I am really surprised they made it as they are lees than a yard away from a groundhog hole and a skunk hole. I thought for sure someone had eaten the bulbs!

Sunday, March 29, 2009

Green Thumb Sunday, Daffodils!

Gardeners, plant and nature lovers can join in every Sunday. Visit As the Garden Grows for more information.


These pretty yellow daffodils have been growing in the same spot for 20 years now. This fall they will be moved to their new location all around the perimeter of the new garden fence.

They have needed dividing for years now but I just did not have a good place to replant them.

Sunday, March 22, 2009

The Wild Strawberry Project


Click on the image in the sidebar to be taken here for updates to the Wild Strawberry Project. Scroll down to see updates in this post and further down to see the FAQ.

FAQ:

What is the Wild Strawberry Project?
I am attempting to naturalize the wild strawberry on my six acres of land in West Virginia.

How can you help?
When the wild strawberries come into season you can help by saving me one berry. Squash it on a paper plate or paper towel or coffee filter, etc. and let it dry and then mail the dried strawberry to me. Make sure you protect surfaces from the juice of the berry when you squish it. I will plant it and let it grow in my WV garden. Eventually the birds will eat the wild strawberries and spread the seed. It will be fun finding new plants in unexpected places.

Can I send anything else?
I would love violets! They would probably need to be sent in a damp paper towel inside a ziploc bag.

Will you reimburse my postage?
I am not able to reimburse postage at this time. This is strictly a goodwill effort on your part. I will keep all your addresses and can email you a choice of seeds as I harvest. I am planting a good number of different tomatoes this year and there may be one or two you would like.

Saturday, March 21, 2009

Grow Your Own 2009, Leaf Lettuce

Somehow I have missed seeing Andrea's Grow Your Own project until now. I realized right away that my leaf lettuce deserved to be included.

I grew it in my basement under grow lights and it made our hamburgers extra special tonight.

I did not grow the tomato, but I have a few dozen plants started under the same grow lights in the basement.

Monday, March 9, 2009

Very Productive Weekend

During the course of the weekend the cabin went from looking like this:


to looking like this!

Quite an improvement!


We also put up our garden fence. We got deer fence from Deerbusters. This stuff is 7 1/2 feet tall which means the posts are 9 feet! We had to stand in the back of the truck to reach to put them in.



After we were done it looked like this:


The garden is 50 by 100 feet and that pile of brush you see inside the fence is 42 by 35 feet! The brush will be chipped up to put on the paths.
I made flags out of strips cut from grocery bags to tie all around the fence. This is so the deer will realize that the fence is there and not walk right into it. I will take the strips down after a few weeks.

We did not make the gates yet, so still work to do on the fence. There will be a gate in the middle of each of the 50 foot ends and a path wide enough for the little tractor and trailer to make it through.

I could not believe it got up to 80 degrees over the weekend when on Wednesday it was 8 degrees overnight.
I can hardly wait to get back and lay out the beds and start planting!

Sunday, March 8, 2009

Green Thumb Sunday, Crocus

Gardeners, plant and nature lovers can join in every Sunday. Visit As the Garden Grows for more information.

Finally! A bloom to blog!

Apparently this is my lone crocus. I do not remember ever planting crocus, but here it is anyway.

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Biggest Snow Fall This Winter

This is the sight that greeted me when I opened my front door this morning.

Six inches of fluffy white snow!


I prepared to do battle and ventured forth, shovel in hand. After a bit two of my neighbors came out and dug in too. Our driveway is about 100 feet long. The bit at the end where the plow comes through is the worst.

Fortunately, all but the bottom 1/2" was a light fluffy powder, so it was not heavy to move.

When we were done it looked like this.



All the thin layer of blowing snow melted off later in the day so all the concrete and asphalt was clear. C'mon, Spring!
It is forecast to be 10 degrees tonight and 70 degrees on Sunday. Yay! Crazy March weather!

Saturday, February 21, 2009

Sprouts!

Green things are happening!

My Peas for the Snap Pea Challenge are sprouting!

I did an experiment and pre-soaked 12 peas overnight before planting. I also planted 7 peas without pre-soaking. All the pre-soaked peas are sprouting, but the ones I did not pre-soak have not sprouted yet.

There is one little sprout in the picture :)


My broccoli was inspired by the peas. Broccoli is usually slow to sprout, sometimes taking three weeks to show green.

My broccoli was planted on February 16th, the day after the snap peas, yet sprouted on the same day.
The peas took their time and the broccoli was speedy!
If you look closely you can see a couple of little sprouts in the picture.

I found a new hardiness zone map I had not seen before and found I have my last and first frost dates wrong!
Oh no! That means I have to get cracking on starting the plants I want for home.
According to this site my last frost is April 20-30 and my first frost is October 19-29.
Actually, these dates are closer to my own experience so I will revise my plan to reflect these dates.
The dates for West Virginia are still accurate.
C'mon Spring!!!



Thursday, February 19, 2009

Seed Saver's 2009 Yearbook

I eagerly await the arrival of this catalog every year. It is usually the last catalog I get, but the wait is worth it.

I heard that someone got theirs last Friday and I have been on the lookout for the mail carrier every day since.

This catalog is 500 pages of hope for our seed future. The seeds in this catalog have been grown by gardeners in their own gardens to pass on to the rest of us. Heirlooms galore!

I am one of the lucky few that was able to purchase a lifetime membership in the Seed Saver's Exchange back in the mid-seventies. I don't order many seeds but it is good knowing they are there.

Sunday, February 15, 2009

Snap Peas Planted

I have planted my Snap Peas for the Snap Pea Challenge. I am trying two different methods of seed treatment. I pre-soaked the twelve seeds planted around the edge of my planter but planted the seven seeds in the middle straight from the package.


I planted them in an icing bucket from the bakery at my local Safeway grocery store. I made a trellis from an old tomato cage. The prongs go all the way to the bottom.

I took the picture outside but the peas are inside in their pot. I wonder how many days it will be till they sprout?

That is Jenna's book, Made From Scratch, in the picture with the peas. I got it from the library.

Sunday, February 8, 2009

Ice Fountain

Yesterday on the way out of town I spotted a fountain of ice. It was too late to take a picture when we returned home, but today I went over and got this shot.

The fountain was only spraying in short bursts today, not full blast like yesterday. The temperature got into the 60's both days too so it has melted a lot. With the spray from the fountain and the cold temperatures I bet it was magnificent at it's peak.

Snap Pea Challenge


Jenna at Cold Antler Farm has set up a Snap Pea Challenge. I am participating. I chose Burpee Super Sugar Snap Peas to plant.
Planting date is next Sunday, February 15.
Come on along and join the fun!

Saturday, February 7, 2009

Clouds

I love clouds and often look skyward just to see the different shapes. I spotted this one from the car today. A perfect Awareness ribbon! LOVE it!!!


Monday, February 2, 2009

Black Bean Brownies

I read about Black Bean Brownies on one of my groups but the instructions were less than explicit.
I searched Google and found several references and pieced together this recipe.


Ingredients:
1 box Brownie mix (9x13 pan size)
1 can black beans (15 ounce size)

Method:

Drain and rinse the beans and the can thoroughly.
Put the beans back in the can.
Fill can to top with water.
Dump beans and water into blender or food processor. (I used the food processor)
Whir them around till they no longer look like beans. They look sort of like chocolate cake batter at this point with flecks of darker chocolate.
Dump the bean mush into a bowl with the brownie mix and stir it up.




Pour it into a 9x13 pan that has just the bottom greased. Bake it according to the directions on the box.

Mine were done at the long end of the bake time. My box said 28-32 minutes and 32 was about right.


Leave a bit of batter in the bowl to lick.

This recipe uses no eggs so reward yourself!

As you can see in the picture I did not wait for them to cool before topping with ice cream and sampling.


Now, would I make them again?
I could not tell there were beans in it. The batter and the finished brownies tasted of nothing but chocolate.
The brownies did not rise as much as I am used to. They stayed flat.
The brownies were very rich and dense. They were almost too sticky. The flavor is fine. It is the texture that I did not like as well.
I think I will try them once more, but bake them in a square pan and perhaps add some walnuts.
I do prefer my other brownie recipe where I simply replace the oil with applesauce and follow the rest of the directions exactly.