Friday, March 21, 2014

Birthday jumper, maniacal gardening

 I knitted this v-neck pullover for Franklin for his birthday.  He wore it for a full week before he let me wash it♥  It's my own pattern and is made from a nice lambswool/nylon blend yarn.  I'm trying to replicate the pattern with merino yarn but this one's taking me ages--I'm not quite as dedicated to my knitting now there's outdoorsy stuff to do.
 I remade two adjacent raised bed into one big u-shaped bed, using the hugelkultur technique: that is, logs and sticks piled underneath, soil on top.  I moved most of the strawberries onto the new bed, plus some other random self-seeded plants from various places around the garden including a foxglove, some daisies, and a feverfew or two.  That glass shower door against the garage wall is my cold frame, but nothing's growing under it at the moment. 
 My cute little almond tree blossoms.  The photo shows pretty much all the flowers on the tree.  It has a couple leaves poking out too.
My tiny pond, southeast of the almond tree by about two feet.  The wire guard on it used to be a little greenhouse shelf/rack. 

For the past week we've been eating the last of the winter cabbages;  I picked about 7 for the fridge and let the chickens into the vegetable patch to tidy it up for me.  After a week, it's looking a little more bare;  I think I'll give them one more week inside, and then I'll move them out and start planting stuff.  Well, start planting more stuff, anyway--I began in January really.

I sowed about ten trays of seeds earlier in the month, both vegetable and flower; planted a tiny blue false indigo (crossing my fingers for this one--very small); planted some bamboo rhizomes and a hydrangea sourced from the local freecycle network; got delivered a flowering quince, a baby rooted fig cutting, and three itsy Chilean guavas (even tinier than the blue false indigo) which need to grow a little longer before planting.  Partner thinks there isn't enough room for it all, but there is.  And more (cue maniacal laugh)! 

Tuesday, March 11, 2014

Garden, chickens, quiet birthday

 The view from my dining room.  We've had several warm days in a row, and the grass is growing again.  I can tell because we cycle the chickens through the different sections of the lawn, and all winter it's been pretty sparse!  Though it's grown slowly through the winter, its picked up suddenly this week and is actually green again.
 The ladies, all watching me!  You can see the orange temporary fence;  we move it every one or two weeks (depending on the size of the current area).  We don't want them to destroy everything--just give things a good trim.  I've noticed that when they return to an area, usually after 4-6 weeks, those trimmed plants/grass/weeds/etc are back to the original size, or if it's summer, even bigger.  Free chicken feed, and they harvest (and fertilize) it themselves.
I don't have a photo at the moment, but my almond tree is now in flower:  so pretty!  Since the sky was clear at sunset tonight, I decided to play things safe and cover the blossoms in case of frost;  I took a pillowcase and slipped it over the flowering branches and clipped it on with a few clothes pegs.  The tree is still small, so only one pillowcase was necessary.  I'll take it off in the morning so insects can get to the blooms.

We celebrated Franklin's birthday fairly low key this year;  I had to work on his birthday so we did it all on the day before instead.  My mother had a tradition of hiding our presents around the house, with a long string showing the way from one to the next;  I did this for Franklin last year and again this year, and he had a great time following the string to find all the gifts.  I made a vanilla and plum cheesecake, and he ate almost all of it himself--he loves cheesecake.  He also had drinks and a brownie at the Leeds Museum tea room, and got to explore the museum. 

Thursday, March 06, 2014

Lots of garden photos, more shrubs

 One of five Brussels sprouts in my garden this winter;  they're much less pungent than store-bought ones!
 Franklin showing off his new scarf and gloves I made.  He chose the colors.  Both are made from cashmere/silk blend yarn:  super soft and warm.
 My tiny new pond, unfilled.  It now has water and a wire cover over 2/3 of it (so small people don't fall in).  The two large stones inside are to help amphibians or any other small creatures get out of it. 
 My new almond tree has buds with the bright pink petals just showing.  It won't be long before it flowers, I think.  Excited!
 New growth coming out all over, including this yellow peony
 and plenty of daffodils.
 I planted this window box up last spring and (from left to right) lobelia, parsley, and calendula are still going strong.  I was hoping to replant this spring, but it looks like I'm stuck with it!
This white hellebore, along with a pink counterpart, snuck under the fence from the neighbor's garden.  It's a nice big one, too.  Free plants!

Partner dug up some rooted lilac branches from the hidden lilac and I've potted some up to grow them on, but two were planted straight in the ground:  one in front and one in back.  Hopefully they continue to grow.  If the potted ones survive I may transplant them, or possibly give them away/sell them.  I've not decided.

I also planted another alder and two broom plants this week.  Broom is nitrogen-fixing, like alder.  And it's a nice little shrub with pretty yellow flowers.  Apparently it's classed as an invasive in some parts of the world, but it's a native plant here.  When it comes to natives, the more the merrier:  at least I know they'll grow!

My permaculture plan to plant more perennials is plodding along perfectly.  I hope to get even more things planted this spring.  I sold my fabulous faux fur coat for a nice sum on ebay, and I'm spending it all on plants!