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Sunday, August 23, 2009

Where Has The Summer Gone?



Try as I might, I do not find enough hours in the day to write and garden and the myriad of other things a woman must do. The garden is and has been producing wildly - The corn is nearly ready as the beans (yellow wax) have begun to fade. The late planting of the pole beans is nearly ready.

It seems to be a series of flower bed to flower bed, to vegetable gardens (we have two medium sized veggie gardens) A strawberry bed, grapevines, raspberries (newly planted) plum and apple trees, bush cherries and more. It has been an amazing summer for all of them.

We were gifted with enough hostas to plant everywhere I wanted them - I feel truly blessed. For years I've been accumulating them, but this year what a bonanza. The hummingbirds love them.

Speaking of the little hummers - they are gathering to head south. Our three we've had most of the summer have hung behind, but the flocks that emptied our feeder three times a day - have disappeared. This morning 10 or so gobbled hungrily and suddenly as they came - they disappeared. They were so much fun to watch -- *sigh* But this is the first time ever they have spent a week here - the weather has been so odd this summer...that could be why.

Now I am thinking of my Azaleas and I must consult someone who knows more than I do--how do I winter them over? We live far enough north that they can't do it on their own I don't think, though I have a sister further up north that has one that is so beautiful--I couldn't resist getting them. I think I need rose cones for them while they are still little. I did manage to keep a butterfly bush alive last year by applying a heavy layer of straw - will that work for the azaleas? I'll find and expert and let you know.

Meantime, take a deep breath, enjoy the flights of the geese as they pass over - and the migration of the others as they realize days are getting shorter and school starts here September 1. Where did the summer go?

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Thursday, July 2, 2009

Happy 4th of July


Where does the time go...in the garden for sure. Well, now that things have taken off and are looking pretty good - corn knee high by the 4th of July and all that - I must say, I get caught up in the garden and forget to put my fingers to the key board. So many new and interesting things.

For instance: my sister is growing an Azalea in the upper peninsula of Michigan - nearly out of zone 4 -- how amazing. It is the most striking bush I have ever seen. It's almost iridescent, a definite traffic stopper. Yup I ordered some, we are about 80 miles south of her, it should work right? I'll keep you posted.

My husband has split all our geraniums and they have grown beautifully into new plants. He cut them down the center and immediately planted them in a good potting soil (miracle grow this time) and they took off. Any shoots that broke off he stuck in another pot and they are growing like gangbusters. I'm amazed. Some of these geraniums I have wintered over in the house for several years and never thought to try to divide them. Retired turned Green Thumb, that would describe him. {smile}

Have you noticed the baby birds are now finding out how and where to eat. I have a mother woodpecker - a downy - I feel so sorry for her she has a male offspring that looks half again as big as her - and she is still feeding him. He is learning, but still can't master the new suet feeder. The robins have had their fledglings out for a while and they pretty much know what to do. It is so much fun to watch the mothers teaching their little ones how to eat.

The baby rabbits are on their own running just behind mom now too. So far the blood meal and stinky version of marigolds are keeping them out of the lettuce and peas. I have heard that human hair will work too. You can check out your local beauty parlor to get some...for most critters even the deer fences don't work.

I hung a single CD over my strawberries and surrounded them with blood meal and we have been able to pick at least a quart of strawberries a day without sharing any of our tiny patch with critters and birds.

Happy 4th of July to those of you who celebrate - please join me later for more tips for your organic garden.
Make it a great day!
Billie

Friday, April 3, 2009

Black Capped Chickadee Antics


Black Capped Chickadee's abound at my feeder near a soft maple tree outside my kitchen window. There is a bridal wreath bush a few feet from the feeder that the birds love to escape to with a treasured sunflower seed. I watch them and the other birds as I eat breakfast every morning.

One morning I watched in delight as I saw our maple tree was running sap (it's that time of year in the North Woods of Wisconsin - cold nights, beautiful sun shinny days draw sap up the maple trees and the maple sap harvesting season is in full swing.) Well the woodpeckers had damaged various branches with their hammering. Warning signals, territorial, not destructive, but very intent on making their message clear--the tree will heal quickly in the spring and early summer.

The results created maple sap icicles that the chickadees hovered at like humming birds as they drank from them. It was amazing and wonderful to see. At one time we had seven icicles dripping sap from that tree. What a delightful picture to watch.

That same tree once had a sunflower blooming in the crotch of a branch about half way up the tree. We managed to get a picture of that, but that's a summer story. Keep your eyes wide open, you never know what amazing things nature will show you when you do. Please share with me when you do see something that causes you to stop and smile in your hurried day.

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Saturday, January 24, 2009

Did You Know?



DO YOU KNOW?

1. Earthworms were wiped out by the last Ice Age in North America, but they were restored in the 1600s and beyond when they were stowaways in the soil of plants brought to America by the early settlers. Pioneers were involuntary carriers when they moved west with hitch hiking earthworms on cocoons attached to wagons and horses hooves.
2. The ancient Greeks believed that eating garlic increased strength and endurance. It was an important part of the military diet.
3. Pistachios were dyed red in the United States in the early 20th century to draw attention to them in vending machines. In Turkey the nuts were soaked in saltwater and lemon juice to give them flavor. The aside to that process turned the nuts brown skin crimson.
4. Great Britain and Ireland are the only places in Europe where bacon is traditionally served for breakfast.
5. Starting in the 1930s California began growing the Paste Tomato commercially. Tillie Lewis, a New York business woman was the first to convince growers to cultivate Italian pomodoro paste tomatoes commercially in the United States. Formerly, conventional wisdom told growers that the soil would not support the fruit of the tomato.
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