Feeds:
Posts
Comments

Archive for April, 2009

I’ve been so swamped this week, readying for Farmer’s Market opening, meetings up the wazoo and trying to ready my new garden and get my seeds into the ground.  Mother Nature hasn’t been as co-operative as I would have liked, but I shouldn’t complain because at least it isn’t any of that white stuff!

crabby2

So I’ve been a bit crabby with good reason.  Last Spring I had to replace almost an entire lawn due to grubs.. these gawd awful looking things that take over lawns once they arrive and set up housekeeping.  Grubs on their own aren’t so much the problem, but apparently they are a spring delicacy for the CROWS!  In a little over an hour these pesty blackbirds will rototill your lawn absolutely free of charge, taking with them most of the luscious green turf along with them. : ( ugh ugh! leaving your yard looking like a crew of  golfing hackers had practiced their strokes leaving quite the array of divits and overturned lawn!  Not a pretty sight! Now the kind gentleman at the garden shoppe told me last year, once my new grass came in,  to treat the sod with an anti-grub formula, which we did.  However unless all your abutting neighbors do the same, you were tossing out dollar bills to the wind. More ugh ugh!

So now in addition to seven hours of cleanup at the new gardens, I’ve had to rework the lawn to see if I can possibly salvage what’s left before the feeding frenzy begins again.  I tell you.. I was only gone two hours to come home and find this unsightly mess!

As if this wasn’t enough, I went to the garden plots Monday to find my newly planted neat little rows of cabbages totally decapitatated!  More ugh ugh!  I’m told.. oh yeah, the crows love to dive on cabbage patches and feast on the young seedlings.  Well heck, they never devoured my cabbage in NH gardens!  It must be just these Maine birds  LOL :+)  I’ve always been in the habit of planting ‘extra’ just for the crows but never have I really had a reason for doing so.. just an old farmers tale that many of us New Englanders abide by.  I even have this old sign hanging with these senitments.. I just never seriously took it literally.

One for the rook and one for the crow

One for the rook and one for the crow

Well the finishing touch this week was two days of pouring rains.. a nice light steady rain would have been perfect to germinate all the new seeds I had sown, but unfortunately that wasn’t the case : (  It’s a good thing I love gardening so much, because between the weather and the dang crows this week I was almost ready to throw in my shovel!

But then today I was able to catch up on my mails and visiting my favorite blog haunts to find that I have won an award!!  I had to read it twice and had to laugh to myself upon reading it.  How appropo to be receiving this award.. this week of all times!

Black Bird- Beauty from all angles award

Black Bird- Beauty from all angles award

Thank you so much Lonnie & Maggie Mae! The timing couldn’t have been more perfect.. nor the message this award sends.  Your thoughts are very inspiring indeed, Lonnie and I am very appreciative of this special award.

This black bird has seen beauty from angles most of us can only imagine.

We all live on this rollercoaster of life with it’s down times and it’s up times and I think that it’s one form of beauty or another that always pulls us back up the hill from our low points in life. Whether it’s a song, or a written or spoken word, or a painting or photo, or maybe even just a thought there are things in life that inspire us.

From now on I will remember that blackbird’s view whenever I am in the garden.  When you stop and think about it, he really has the best angle of us all.  Now if I can only keep him out of my veggie garden :+)

Read Full Post »

Earth Day

bekindroundszd

This year more than ever, Earth Day, April 22  is an important day for us to all stop, think, and make a difference. With the growing interest and attention that green design and sustainability have been gathering, 2009 is really a year that the masses are motivated to gather, celebrate, and make a commitment to protecting our planet. Even though we are of the firm belief that “Earth Day” should be EVERY day – What are you doing for Earth Day?

Please celebrate Earth Day everyday!

Please celebrate Earth Day everyday!

Read Full Post »

molly2

Read Full Post »

We can always tell when spring has officially arrived when the johnny-jump-ups make their appearance.  It was a gorgeous day here yesterday so working in the new gardens was a real pleasure.  It felt so good to get my hands in that rich loam again. I decided on 10 raised beds.. now deciding on what I’ll plant in them another story. But as I cleaned and weeded these smiling johnny-jump-ups popped up in many of the beds. I took this shot before I transplanted them to a new spot but they made my task more pleasant just having them surround me as I worked.

Johnny-jump-ups

Johnny-jump-ups

Read Full Post »

Lucy & Ethel

Lucy & Ethel

Read Full Post »

Molly & Willy caught in a downpour

Molly & Willy caught in a downpour

Read Full Post »

I was very fortunate to visit Italy a couple of years ago for a month’s holiday and have so many fond memories of our time spent there. Part of our stay was spent in the Tuscany and Chianti region.  The vineyards…it’s hill towns…Rhadda, Siena, San Gimignano, Cortona, Panzano, Limole, Cortona were lovely and we visited them all!

One day while roaming the cobblestoned streets of Cortona,  I came across the lovliest villa & took nearly 100 shots of it as it as I was just drawn to it’s architecture & stunning gardens!! Hedges of rosemary and lavenders framed these lovely grounds.

Frances Mayes Villa Bramisole

Frances Mayes Villa Bramasole

Come to find out I had fallen upon Villa Bramasole.. ( the real one) from the movie ‘Under the Tuscan Sun’. It was fun to see how they used the area & sets for the movie and yet sub in the home itself. I met the caretaker the day I spent there who was a very pleasant man and quite knowledgable re: the history of this grand villa. Frances Mayes.. the American owner & writer had already left for the summer.. so I was a bit bummed not to have been able to meet her.. I was told she’s quite an extraordinary woman and fun to chat with.

Remember the famous balcony in the movie where Frances would watch this sweet old man come each morning to visit the stone shrine while  paying his respects to someone he apparently loved very much and left fresh  flowers?

Bramisole Balcony--Cortona, Italy

Bramasole Balcony–Cortona, Italy

In Italy, you will find many of these shrines either by the side of the road or nestled into the outer walls of their houses, dedicated to a loved one and always a special saint.. these little works of art can be found scattered around many of the hilltowns and countrysides  for all to see.  I wasn’t about to leave Bramasole without at least one shot of  Frances Mayes shrine built into the side of her entryway stone walled gate to the villa.

Bramisole Shrine

Bramasole Shrine

Bramisole Shrine

Bramasole Shrine

It’s very easy to see how easily she fell in love with Cortona & the region.. it’s truly simply gorgeous. I was really pleased with my shots and thrilled to have gone off wandering that day.

And so as Easter approaches this weekend and in the recent wake of the tragic earthquake in L’Auila, Italy where deaths, a multitude of injuries and thousands left homeless, please remember these families in your prayers.

Have a safe and healthy Easter!

Read Full Post »

Jackson & FunnyFace

Jackson & FunnyFace

But Ma..  SHE started it!

Jackson was our oldest golden and in another lifetime I’m certain he was a Mom.  He had the most wonderful disposition–nothing ever rattled him.  Not what I’d call a watchdog–at worst he’d wag you to death with his tail.  And nearly all the critters on our farm were nearly raised by him, be it kittens, orphaned lambs, day old chicks or the baby ducklings.

One spring night we had a delivery of kittens and a young mother that didn’t want to have any part of mothering.  She’d rather be out running in the fields or mousing up in the barn loft.  And we had one other great mother kitty–Funnyface, that was simply a natural.    Jackson watched and listened for two hours to the crying newborn litter and then decided to act.  It’s a good thing golden retrievers are born with soft palates, so as not to damage their catch when field hunting.

We watched him remove each of the six newborns and gently tuck them all,  one by one into Funnyface’s basket alongside her own two week old kittens.  It was love at first sight.  She took them in and raised them as her own.. If it weren’t for Jackson they surely wouldn’t have survived.  Remarkably enough, a month later, the young mother kitty resumed her responsibilities– so now everyone was pretty content and we no longer had any supply & demand shortages of milk.

Watchful Mom

Watchful Mom

Jackson was always drawn to the young–and they to him.  I think overseeing all the critters on our farm kept him young.  He was fourteen years old when he crossed over to Rainbow Bridge and had lived a very good life. . but moreso, he was a really good boy.

Read Full Post »

The Potting Shed

The Potting Shed

This year I will begin a new herb garden and I’ve decided on a twelve foot round and quartered with a sundial centerpiece.  I’m kind of excited to see how my gardens will fare in this misty salt air.  Deciding on what will be planted in each quarter is yet another story.  I just have too many favorites.  But one is certain in my mind.. borage.

Borage has earned it’s place in my gardens.  I find that tomatoes, squash and strawberries perform better when borage grows nearby.

Not only does it help repel hornworms, squash bugs and beetles..but it seems to stimulate the plants!  But besides it being so helpful in the garden it’s just so lovely in it’s own right.  The lovely star- shaped  flowers, usually perriwinkle blue are pretty enough to grow as a flower border.  The furry leaves can be snipped into a spring salad to impart a yummy cucumber taste long before cucumbers have matured.  And borage leaves make a tea with a cool flavor and exhilarating effect.

Borage in the garden

Borage in the garden

The only downside to borage is that it requires annual planting, at least here in the north.. though I have had some seed manage to survive through our tough winters and sow themselves, wherever the winds may drop them.  The seeds are large and easy to plant, and usually one of the first seeds I’d set to pot  in the greenhouse each year.   I’ve just started a trayful indoors to give them a headstart and as soon as it warms up a bit more here, out into the garden they will go.

I usually set my borage plants alongside tomato plants and save a few to plant some in the center of my hills of squash.  Visitors to my gardens  always paused for a closer look, while I explain this isn’t some exotic squash, but simply a cluster of borage.  By the time the tomatoes bloom, borage has developed it’s star-shaped flowers, and these attract bees to the garden to aid in pollination.  Sigh.. but then as the weather really warms up, and vegetable abound, borage deteriorates.  Some years I try successive planting more seed sowing them right into the garden at the end of my rows.  Although in years gone by, I generally had a large vegetable garden, but must confess, I  focused more on my herb gardens as this was my livelihood.  Do try planting some in your garden.. you won’t be disappointed.  I have many favorite herbs, but borage will always be a star in my garden.

Borage's lovely star-flower

Borage's lovely star-flower

Read Full Post »

Hippety Hop

Mr McGregor's garden helper-- Fanny

Mr McGregor's garden helper-- Fanny

She’ll be hopping down the bunny trail in just a few days.  Be sure to hide some Easter eggs for her!

Read Full Post »

Older Posts »