Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Summer Dreaming

So we have this beautiful kitchen stove for heating and cooking and love it! It's like having a campfire in the kitchen, it's the feeling of vacation every time we use it. It is VERY warm and heats the whole house without any problem and not a lot of fuel.

This works wonderfully for 3 seasons of the year - but now it is summer. I would like to eventually replace the gas stove in the basement with this stove.   Something smaller that we can easily use to have a quick fire to cook a meal, bake bread or pizza,  brew a pot of coffee (this comes to mind as another plug in coffee maker is about to die and need replacing)  Most importantly - it will not heat the whole house.

We do a little at a time and I find this blog useful for me to keep track of ideas and dreams, so I can go back and review how we did things, remember what worked and what didn't and the direction we are always moving in.  There is still a dream of a vacation place in Vermont where the small cabin I have in mind would easily be heated by this smaller stove or something similar.  It's a good reminder of why I work as hard as I do and why everything of value is worth saving for and waiting for. The 8-5 isn't forever and when it's done there will be a perfect retreat to enjoy and a mature garden to rest in.

Every day I stand in the garden and look around to see what is growing and what is new in the garden. I stop to observe the different insects, birds and animals that are around me. But what really matters is that I see the garden - at least the foundation of it - at maturity. With all of the fruit trees at 10-15 feet - the Paw Paw at 20 ft. The bushes grown in at 4-12 feet depending on the fruit or nut. I see the perimeter of the garden surrounded by a wall of grapes.

This is what keeps me going every day. This is the dream and vision - to have this place work into a state of abundance to share with people. 

Saturday, June 15, 2013

June Garden and Volunteer Plants

Over the past few weeks we have had much rain, and in between the rain storms we added a few new plants and a few more volunteered in the garden!

New Rhubarb 

New Raspberry

Blueberry from last year has berries! 
Vetch is everywhere

The Paw-Paw is doing nicely - just planted this year!

We planted this 4x8 bed with corn and beans and found that MANY pumpkins came up from last year. As well as an overachieving butternut we decided that a new bed was needed!
Notice the large volunteer Mammoth Sunflower behind the bed. 
I love these and will find a way to have them all over the garden next year =)

So I took some newspaper and placed it down in the front yard  and wet it with a watering can.
And then I put cardboard over that and wet it down with water.

We filled the circle up with soil...

And moved the many rogue pumpin and butternut squash plants into the new bed...

We watered it in and it looks good as a starting point to replacing the front lawn...
Notice the Sunchokes are about four feet tall in the background!

in the back garden, trees are growing like crazy, grape vines are vining....

In the beds, canning tomatoes, cherry tomatoes and amaranth, carrots, radishes, sea kale,
and eggplant, etc. are all growing. Intermingled hot peppers in each bed as well as 
marigolds, poppies, herbs and flowers all perking up after a week of rain.

And the first of our apple trees is fruiting - I pruned off about 25-30 fruits
and we are letting a few grow near to the trunk where they won't break the branches.
I can't wait to try this fruit!

Saturday, June 1, 2013


If you are reading this and not tiring of my toad stories - I am grateful...

For the last two nights, we have picked up our watering cans and watered the garden beds, fruiting trees, containers, vines and bushes as well as the volunteers that showed up this year. Each night, I have   watered the pumpkins (previously in the corn and squash bed as volunteers and moved to different locations) and a pretty large toad has been cooling himself under one of the pumpkin plants.

I can't help  it - I squeal like a little kid with delight whenever I see the toads in the yard. What we are doing is making a difference! The toad doesn't actually like being watered, so he hops along under the Juniper bush in front of the house until I am done. What I think is actually happening, is that the toad is feeding on bugs in the bed we just recently planted with  corn, beans and squash (and apparently about 6 other volunteer sweet pumpkins that I can't move now) There are also several places in the garden that I put water dishes and fill them when we water each night, and that fill with each rain.

It's very important to me to attract amphibians to the garden, to eat slugs and other pests that may hurt the plants we are growing. We haven't seen a snake yet - but there are lots of toads - or at least I think there are based on the number of holes around the herb spiral and other plants.

Everything is an experiment. With each day that passes, I learn more and more about how to set things up to attract certain predators or pollinators, and watch and wait to see if it works...and so far - it is!

The potatoes are at least a foot above the raised bed and we keep adding soil, to grow more potatoes. Of course, we were watering the new grape vines along the fence and noticed that there are potatoes growing there...which means the potatoes we left (because they were too small) last year have seeded a new bed? So potatoes are perennial?

What I do know is that we really need to forget anything we have read or watched and observe how plants act in our particular garden. With the ridiculous winter we have had - I would not have thought that potatoes, tomatoes, and amaranth would have seeded themselves and grown this spring.

It's all quite amazing and magical! And this little guy is apparently very happy !