Sunday, March 29, 2015

Willow fence, spring flowers, knitting, chicks

To screen off the pond and back corner garden, I've started a living willow fence.  I planted it last month and already it's beginning to grow.  I hope to have a visual screen to give that area a little privacy, like a secret garden.  It was previously the veg plot, and is pretty sparsely planted at present, but I am slowly converting it into a more flowery and shrubby garden, with a few edibles (mainly fruit and berries). 

I'm also collecting green beer bottles to make a small mosaic at the very back corner of it, as a tiny hidden patio.  The local teenagers all seem to congregate at the neighborhood country park to drink their illicit beer, and the brand of choice has green bottles.  There are so many bottles strewn about!  So I thought I'd reuse some artistically, and try my hand at mosaic.
 My new almond tree (planted January 2014) is in flower, and looking very sweet.  I got no nuts off it last year--the few that grew dropped off in June--and am anticipating none this year too;  I'm hoping it will grow some good roots and branches, and maybe next year will be the year for nuts. 
 My berberis has some lovely bright orange flowers, and I'm hoping for a good berry crop again this year.  I discovered a little seedling growing underneath it, and joyfully moved it to a better location, only to have it badly windburned over the course of this month.  I hope it can recover--the poor little thing looks completely dead.  I would love to have several of this lovely evergreen shrub;  wonderful flowers in spring, tasty berries in summer, and great for wildlife:  the bees love the flowers, and the birds are always flittering in and out of it, and they adore the berries. 
Franklin's birthday jumper this year was knitted from about five different balls of odds and ends, mainly lambswool and angora blends.  He told me he wanted a stripey one, and it was fun to make;  in fact, I was kind of wishing it was for me after I finished!  I really like it.

In keeping with my goals for this year, I've begun hand applique-ing a new quilt, made from scraps in my stash.  I'm not sure if it'll be a big one or if I'll just stick with something smaller, as the applique is a little time consuming.  I enjoy it, though, and it looks very nice.  I'm not sure if I'll hand quilt it too, or if I'll machine quilt;  if hand quilting, I know it'll take ages!  But it might be nice to have an entirely hand-made quilt.  Still, I don't know if I'm that much of a glutton for punishment. 

Another goal from previous years has been to raise our own meat--well it looks like this is the year!  Partner has secured us ten free chicks from a school project (though not Franklin's school).  He says six of them are cockerels, and both he and I are willing to give them the chop (humanely of course) when they grow up--probably in 3 to 6 months.  We will keep the four hens for egg laying, and have also agreed that they will be chicken soup when they stop laying, though this will probably not be for several years.  Our current flock of ten rescue hens are not destined for the pot and will be allowed to die of natural causes.  This means, barring any unexpected fatalities, we'll have twenty chickens over the summer;  I hope my garden survives the onslaught!