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Posts Tagged ‘spring’

No matter how long I garden, I seem to find something new to love every day. Okra has flowers. Squash come in so many different shapes and colors. As do peppers. Corn will mature even if it’s lying flat on the ground (one of those, ahem, accidental discoveries). Healthy, happy water hyacinths (as opposed to the sad ones I’ve had in past years) develop upright leaves with fan-like blades.

There’s more life than plants in a garden, as well. Aphids are a different color, depending which plant they are on. Flies can eat a tomato hollow. There are at least a dozen different types of bees and wasps in my garden, and two or three species of flies. There’s a species of small fly (bee?) that loves the wild onions; there are so many of them you can hear the buzz from 20 feet away, and walking through them sounds like the Amityville Horror.

I’m fascinated by the plants that I know well. No matter how many years it happens, the morning that you get up and the sweet autumn clematis has exploded into blossom astonishes me every year. So does the vigor of a sweet potato vine, or the height of corn, or how a thunderstorm acts like fertilizer, making everything painfully green.

Even pests are fascinating-the tunnel dug by a cicada killer wasp, the jeweled ring of cucumber beetle damage on a leaf, the speed with which blight moves through the tomato patch.

Spring brings its own fascination, especially with our change of zone. Plants that were never perennial before are now coming back. Perennials whose seeds never survived the winter are reseeding now– I now have blue fescue babies. My new strawberries have pink flowers, instead of white. An onion seedhead that I forgot I had planted sprouted with dozens of tiny shoots, as did a tomatillo.

What fascinated you in the garden last year?

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We had a really hard summer here in South Texas last year and I know we were not alone. As we headed into winter we started getting a little rain. The winter went on and the rains continued little by little. Every little bit has helped, but it still hasn’t been enough.

The winter in my area was much milder than it has been over the past 3 years. My winter vegetable garden has done extremely well and I only remember watering it in the fall to get things started. After that, the rains took over and the cooler temps really kicked those winter veggies into grow-mode. I need to make some notes in my garden notebook… mainly, plant more next year!

In the past few weeks our weather has become quite warm and spring fever is just pushing me to get the vegetable seedlings in the ground. The wildflowers and other “weeds” are growing like crazy. Those seeds all lying in wait for the spring rains and the warmth of the sun to be able to germinate and emerge. They have started to grow and bloom, and produce seed to be able to continue the cycle of life. I don’t mind the wild flowers, but the weeds are out of control this spring.

Thinking of all those seeds lying dormant, waiting for rain and sun, full of hope. I feel the same way. I have hope for a better spring gardening season; better than last year. I am hopeful that we will continue to get some regular rains. I am hopeful that the temperatures don’t rise so quickly. I am hopeful that my vegetable seedlings and other plants have a chance to put down deep roots and grow healthy leaves and have enough energy to produce food.

As I look around, I see beautiful wildflowers, many of which are growing right in my yard. Everything is so lush and green, and the trees seemed to have budded out overnight, and many are full of new green leaves.

I have decided to plant a few tomatoes out in the garden already, not all of them, just a few. I will plant a few more at a time, testing the weather, hoping Mr. Frost doesn’t pay a visit. I am hopeful.

Are you hopeful this Spring?

Sincerely, Emily

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As the lower and central Midwest non-winter continues, we’re seeing daffodils and robins; people are jumping the gun and planting peas, 2 weeks early. It’s hard to remember that it’s still “dark days”–you have to put on your pioneer cap and remember that even during a warm winter you would have been relying on what you were able to preserve at home or trade locally. The larder is thinning as the sun climbs the sky. Just a month left before the new harvest starts with the early mushrooms and asparagus. Are we ready for the home stretch?

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For me, (Xan), it’s been a strange month. Work schedules for Bill and me have been at odds, so that we’ve rarely been home for dinner together. It’s been a month of cooking once a week and then eating that meal as leftovers for days, of big meals at noon and a few handfuls of peanuts for dinner (no, not local–I’ve yet to find a local source for any nuts except chestnuts). The Mahlzeit blog has languished.  My daughter challenged herself to eat vegetarian for the month of March; it’s been eggs and pizza all the way for her as she struggles with the difficulties of altering a diet. And yes, we ate probably 60% to 70% vegetarian meals her whole life, which she didn’t eat–that one’s a carnivore through and through. So, ironically, I made meatloaf. It’s bona fide Dark Days– all local. Quick recipe: 1 pound ground beef, 1 Italian sausage, 2 cups roasted eggplant, 2 roasted and peeled bell peppers, 1/2 cup steel-cut oats (soaked in 2 cups water for 1 hour). Bake for 50 minutes at 350.

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It’s been gorgeous the last few days up here in Philomath, Oregon as well. Daffies and croci are coming up in droves and the trees are showing buds already! That didn’t stop a random snow squall from presenting itself, or one of those lovely Oregon days of snow-sun-hail-sun-cloudy-pouring-sunny-hailing weather. I’ve been enjoying the weather from inside or out, and i’m most happy that the local organic farm, Gathering Together, has reopened their farm stand. I finally have access to plenty of fresh veggies! And there’s news on my eating: I went on a diet starting last weekend.

As far as i know, i’ve never actually ‘been on a diet.’ When i was younger, i disallowed most breads after lunch, any sugars ever, and had more self control than i have had since marriage. That honeymoon complete with dinner rolls seems to have messed with my eating habits. For the past 3 years. In Austin, i was an avid gym-aholic, going 6 plus days a week, sometimes several times a day to the point that i considered becoming a BodyStep instructor. Here in Oregon, i get some great 5 mile walks, but that’s about it. So, i’ve gone on a diet. Nothing fad. Nothing extreme: just a re-thinking of portion sizes and carb intake/time of day. That and significantly reducing our wine intake. So far so good! I’m feeling better and think i already lost a bit of weight. I’m not doing this for vanity, but rather health. I’m sure my body index is a bit high, and i have a bit more belly fat than i’d like: as most of us now is the ‘bad’ fat… anyway. A diet for health, and this week we’ve been eating tons of fresh salad and homemade soups. I didn’t snap a picture of last night’s dinner, but it was delicious and definitely SOLE. My version of The Splendid Table’s “Green Soup” it was light, fresh, and chock full of vitamins and minerals:

Green Soup from Pocket Pause

  • 1 leek (Gathering Together Farm – GTF)
  • 1 bunch kale (GTF)
  • 3 cloves garlic (Denison Farms – local/organic)
  • 1 pint condensed homemade chicken stock
  • salt/pepper/basil/rosemary (basil and rosemary grown in my garden)
  • 1 rutabega or turnip (GTF)
  • 1/2 a head of cauliflower (not local, but in season)
  • 3 hot peppers of your choice (not local or in season)

Coursely chop the veg and cover with the stock plus about 1 1/2 quarts water, bring to a boil, cover and simmer until cauli and turnip are soft. Blend well with immersion blender and serve with some homemade or live cultured yogurt. Warm and light: perfect for a chilly early Spring evening!

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Sunday Photos: Spring

There is something infinitely healing in the repeated refrains of nature,
the assurance that dawn comes after night, and spring after the winter.

– Rachel Carson (The Sense of Wonder)

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Spring has been very slow in coming for us here at Chiot’s Run this year. I’m always happy to see it come, especially after a long cold winter. Seeing color in the garden again is inspiring and uplifting.




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In Chicago, we’ve been complaining about the weather reports, that keep focusing on the warm weather they’re getting inland. At the lakefront, we’re still pretty wintry, although this weekend has been warm. I got out into the garden today cataloging sprouts and putting out all the little gods that inhabit my yard.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Here at Unearthing this Life, the weather has been a bit warmer. We’re about four weeks ahead of the rest of the crew here. The funny thing about spring is that we sometimes actually have one! Usually it’s a bit like Monty Python’s Holy Grail and we skip from winter and go straight to summer … or something like that. This year we’ve had a pretty mild spring with some chilly and rainy days, even if we are about a week and a half ahead of schedule.

species hyacinth
epimedium
lily pads
tulips after rain
turkey poult

… and we couldn’t have spring without chicks around here!

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Michigan weather has been quite the bummer lately. Tanglewood has been a mess of mud and unfinished projects, and the rain, cold and clouds have dominated the weather report for weeks. Our grass didn’t even begin to green up much until yesterday when the sun poked it’s little head out for a few hours before sun down.

Other than the swelling buds on the raspberries, and the bits of new grass poking above the old out in the fields, there are few signs of spring on the plant life thus far. So rather than leave you with photographs of mud and last year’s mess, I’ll be providing you with general spring farm photos.


Our lambs haven’t landed yet, so these are from our ewe’s breeder’s farm.

 

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Have the colors of spring arrived in your garden yet?

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