first pick

April 10, 2010

My mom and I spent the morning having quality time in the garden. We turned under the compost on the surface of our garden boxes, raked, and planted one of the boxes. We found a volunteer lettuce patch, the parsley, thyme, and onions. I love that we already have some hearty plants going strong!

We planted a whole bunch of things. First in line are the beets. We planted chioggia beets that are pink and white striped. They are planted in two widely spread rows. My mom wrote the name and date planted on little markers for each row. We left the seed packages because they looked cute!

Next were the carrots and radishes, planted together. Someone (I can’t remember who…) gave me this tip a few weeks ago. The radishes will grow more quickly, and as they are harvested, the carrots will have more room to grow! I can’t wait to see how it works. Next in line is the arugula, and then another variety of carrots, some chard, and kale. We were ambitious!

As we were planting, my mom spotted the first asparagus of the season! A few little stalks poking up around the leaves and compost.

We immediately stopped what we were doing and ran inside to cook the little batch.

My mom always peels the tougher bottom part of the asparagus. It is delicious, and without the tough part, each stalk is extended an inch or two with this simple trick.

We steamed the asparagus in a little water, and had it on toast with a little parmesan cheese on top and set under the broiler. We then sat on the porch and had our toast, and then went back out to finish our gardening.

We started preparing the pumpkin patch. I have a sneaking suspicion that the entire patch that we staked out won’t be completely covered. It is a huge spot, and we started preparing at the west the corners. In one corner we put some plastic. A sheet of clear plastic, held down by logs, is supposed to “cook” the grass. At the same time, it allows the sunlight in, so the grass continues to grow (unlike with black plastic). The grass and root system then get tired from growing, and fried from overheating. Dead grass. When I write it all out like this, I feel a little bit cruel about the whole thing…After about a week, the plastic can be removed and placed on a new section of field, as the grass should be suitably cooked.

The second method might be a little more humane…killing grass by cardboard. We put a double layer of good quality cardboard over the second corner of the patch, and then covered it with a thick layer of straw. We used cardboard boxes, and took care to remove any plastic tape, so that we wouldn’t have loose strips of plastic floating around in the garden. The straw came along with its own version of life. Mushrooms, sprouts, and a few assorted grasses…hoping that this is ok. The whole thing is weighted down by logs, and doesn’t seem to be going anywhere.

Last night we had a windy storm, and I was hoping for rain to soak the cardboard and straw, to weight the whole mess down. The wind didn’t blow away the straw, and the cardboard section is now soggy and seems well put. We are going to collect another batch of cardboard, and pick up some more plastic and continue on, bit by bit to take over as much of the field as we can before planting time. We still have a while before the time to plant comes along, so the field might end up rather big!

This is for my friend Sankari and her two adorable kiddies.

Turtle’s Adventure to the Pond

It is the time of year when last fall’s garden leftovers start to pop up. Parsley,

some forgotten onions,

a burst of thyme,

and little turtle!

He pops up, and passes the wood pile.

Some of the logs are tricky to maneuver over.

Little turtle ends up on his back!

After lots of frantic flailing around,

turtle works a flip.

And ducks immediately under his shell. Tail and all!

Turtle decides that it is about time to get to the safety of the pond. He grabs a sip of water,

and starts his journey. First thing is to pass the gravel patch.

Safely over the gravel patch, Turtle reaches woods, and encounters the wildflowers!

He takes a nibble of the dogtooth violet,

hides under the lacy shadow of the dutchman’s britches,

and sees a beautiful patch of blue flowers! While turtle is gazing at the pretty patch, he sniffs a particularly delicious mossy, muddy smell. Over his shoulder he sees…

the pond! Turtle picks up his pace and hurries down the hill.

He is pretty excited,

and jumps right in. Pretty soon, all that is left of turtle is a ripple on the water.

humpty dumpty (pre-fall)

April 3, 2010

I went over to my friend Chloe’s  house last night with my full tray of needle felting wool. I was inspired to make something, but not sure exactly what. She was working on a crafty project, and said that she had some duck eggs in the fridge for decorating later…

And then I knew that I needed to make Humpty Dumpty (pre-fall). I hollowed out the egg, drilled holes, and stuck pipe cleaners through for arms and legs. I wrapped white wool around the pipe cleaners to shape the arms and legs, and then added the vest and pants. Then suspenders, buttons, and trim.

Finally, I made the coat and felted it on.

The finished H. D. likes spending time in the daffodil patch,

balancing high up on bricks and other hard, sharp, potentially dangerous objects,

and taking trips around the garden for leisure on Mama Hen.

From the looks of things, you might say that he is quite the little adventurer!