Tuesday, June 05, 2007

Five and a half...

We had a BIG celebration yesterday. Miss A knew June 4th was approaching and started making plans days ahead. She advised me to go to bed early the night before as I had a big day ahead: getting the house ready for her celebration, making waffles with raspberries and whipped cream, hanging streamers, playing games, singing to her, etc. Plus, with the big storm rolling in, we had LOTS to celebrate...

So here's the five and a half year old herself, holding the bunch of irises that grow up along the back of the sandbox, all of which fell over yesterday in the rain...
They're the most beautiful irises I have. Soft purple, smell like rain, amazing...
But not as amazing as the girl in purple holding them...
And here are the waffle fiends...

A Magical Misty Morning

Like chickadoodle, each morning when I wake up I greet my children (who've usually been up with their dad for awhile already), make myself a steaming pot of Buckingham Palace Garden Party tea {Intriguing hints of high-grown pure Ceylon Earl Grey blend effortlessly with the soft jasmine from Fujian Province. Couple this with malty Assam (from the estate of Borengajuli) flavory Dimbula Ceylon (from Hatton), brisk and golden cup East of Rift Kenya (from Kambaa and Kagwe) and you have one of the most flavorful teas to come from the British Isles.} and go outside to see what's changed in my gardens over night. Come along and see what the RAINS have changed... YES! RAINS! It rained and rained and it's misty this morning and promising MORE RAIN! YIPPEEEEEEEEEEEEEEE!

(you're googling the tea, aren't you? hee! it's delicious. you'd love it.)

Friday, June 01, 2007

Still More Gardens

Okay, this is the view of my new potager from the house. Far from finished, but I love love. The bank in between the house and the potager will eventually be full-on permaculture terraces (wanna come help? hee!)

This is one of the triangular beds, full of cabbage, onions, purple kohlrabi, eggplants. The other is our peas coming on strong, and peppergrass growing up amongst, and then radishes poking up underneath (grow great in the shade).
A hot chili almost ready for harvest (I overwintered this plant in the house) and some lovely broccoli growing nicely even though the plant is feeling the heat...
I got 2 full beds of strawberry plants free from an abandoned house that they were about to tear down, they were just planted this spring and look at the fruit already coming on! Eventually I hope we have HEAPS of strawberries and blueberries to go with our buckets of raspberries...
I have about 30 tomato plants, all started from seed. These are interplanted with cucumbers, rainbow chard and lots of basil.

Veggie Gardens

Here's a peek at my late spring gardens:

I'm trying a purple tomatillo this year./Tiny kohlrabi

Annika's garden -- she's got the hang of permaculture, she's let all her lambs quarter grow to shade the tender plants from the sun/last year's beds up by house/foxglove garden (fingers crossed)
And below are beds up by house (more established, better conditions i think, definitely better soil!

Compost heaven...

Most people who know me, know that nothing bothers me more than waste. I seriously cannot handle things being wasted. Anything. I'm one of those people who stops on the road, leans out as far as I can to pick up a glove or pad of paper or plastic bag... I know it's in my genes -- my dad worked for my brother for awhile emptying big dumpsters and MOST of the contents ended up being saved. It was his ideal job, and probably would be mine too: rescuing things from the dump? Aaah! What could be more rewarding?! I think when I lived in Pakistan and used to watch the Afghan refugees go through the garbage bin in the back, I really saw how nothing, truly NOTHING should be wasted. And that's how I see life. Nothing should be waste! Everything should be reused, remade, rethunk, or never made in the first place. So it's not surprising that I REALLY love compost. I dream about compost. I can't look at discarded organic matter without thinking about compost. I peel carrots at friends' houses and sneak the peelings into my bag to bring home. I have a standing offer to anyone I know to bring their compostable materials over for my chickens or composts. I see people's grass clippings on the side of the road or better yet, bagged up oak leaves, and I bring them home for my compost. I'm even collecting my pee to pour onto my compost (nitrogen!!) So, mostly for my like-minded cousin who also shares a love of such things, here's a pictorial tour of my compost garden:

All of my composts (so far) are in my chicken coop. This is the one that's shaded by mock orange, that the chickens dig through, take what they want, add their own offerings, and this composter makes solid gold...
This is my quickest composter. It's at least 25 years old, inherited from my dad, been remade a few times, and still going strong. I can never get over how quickly this turns organic matter into beautiful black clumpy soil.
These are two fairly useless ones I inherited from my father-in-law. Difficult to stir, water runs off before it gets to the bottom, not sure why I keep them, except that I never have enough room for compostable materials... I mostly just put grass clippings (my fil's), leaves and chicken bedding into these. They're slow.
These are those ones that the county sells each year. Not bad. Not good. I keep inheriting peoples' who think it's a great idea but don't actually use them. Hard to stir, and a bit slow.
This is my "top secret" wire mesh circle, surrounded by black plastic recently made composter. I put a shovel full of dog poo, followed by a handfull of leaves and so far it hasn't stunk at all. Amazes me. I read that this will be "done" quicker than I can imagine. I'll keep you posted... hee! because you REALLY want the details, don't you? he he

Summertime pictorial update of Barker Road

Many requests for photos of what it looks like in our yard just now... So here you go:
Here's one of our rainbarrels, an old oak wine barrel that mosquitoes can't seem to hatch in!
We find them all floating on top.
This is the children's "secret garden" area, shaded by the big maple. This is where they build fairy houses, put food out for the fairies and have secret tea-parties. You can't see, but there's just a small entrance into a very private little area. Lily of the Valley and muscari in the centre, but those are over now. Lovely.

This is what some of our lawn looks like right now. Filled with buttercups. Earlier in the spring it was pink wood violets. I love not caring about real grass! But I do need to decrease the number of dandelions somehow. We just don't like our ankles being whipped by the stems.
And this is the new blueberry patch I just planted, below the children's tree house (built by my talented husband). Sure hope we get buckets of blueberries in a year or two!
And I included this to show my new water collection system at the kitchen sink. It's my grannie's old aluminum bowl she always made her bread in and having my grannie in my kitchen that way just makes my heart sing. The plants on the window ledge are avocado, succulent, pomegranate, lemon, date+basil. Wouldn't it be amazing if I could get any of those to grow via permaculture on the banks??? mmmm. I love to dream...