Monday, May 30, 2011

Busy days of spring 2011...

Old square nails, snail shells, white Macaw egg & Robin egg  
I came in from weeding around the Daylily border on the shady side of the house on the first nice and sunny day we had here in a long time and started this blog post. It's taken me 2 weeks to finish and publish it before my self-imposed deadline of the last day of May. Friends have been calling and emailing asking for an update. Well, here it is!

Temperatures have really been heating up here these last weeks. I had my hair buzzed short last week as I just couldn't stand the humidity from the constant rainy weather, mist and fog that we've had all spring. We've not had any late frosts once the nights started to get above freezing and the fruit trees went through their blossoming without any problems. The pear and apple trees all have small fruits forming now and are leafing out nicely. Our garden is all planted. Honestly, I don't think there is room in there for even one more plant! Everything is up and growing already. We put in 18 tomato plants that Art started from heirloom seed in early March. They all survived the transition to the outdoors and are doing great; some even have blossoms on them! Our potatoes are up as well. We put in Yukon Gold, reds and some Russets for baking and french fries. We put in several types of small round squash like 8-Ball Zucchini, a yellow pool-ball sized summer squash called One-Ball, and one that is supposed to be square and blocky called Piccolo . I bought the seeds from Territorial Seed Co and we're anxious to taste them! I also got some seeds and planted some Moon and Stars Watermelon. This is a midnight blue watermelon that is supposed to have yellow stars on the skin with one large yellow moon! The flesh is red and sweet, but I can hardly wait to see the unusually colored fruits. Other goodies out there are the usual radishes, lettuce, spinach, arugula, basil, parsley, cilantro, peppers, eggplant, beets, carrots, kale, onions, garlic, cucumbers and Brussels sprouts. I've probably forgotten some things as it is a very full garden patch.

Our newly sown grass came in lush and thick this spring around the new patios after we replanted it 3 times! Art just mowed it for the first time this week and took down the temporary fencing we had up to keep the dogs off of the seeded areas. After so much mud, we finally have quite a nice lawn. We've been spending a lot of time moving plants around in the perennial garden. When the concrete guys built the patios, we moved a lot of the plants back away from the edges of the gardens so they wouldn't get bulldozed under. Well, we're moving some of them back to the bare edges again but also bought a lot of new plants to try out and also to fill in the bare spots. The good thing is that with all the rain we've had, including some incredibly hard and long downpours, we have had NO water in the basement! So the new drains are working just fine.

We had the new three story chimney built and just this week installed the new wood heating stove in a corner of the kitchen. The stove is an American made Avalon Arbor and a real beauty! Though it looks black in this picture, it is cast iron with a porcelain ceramic finish in an espresso brown color. The shiny ceramic makes it easy to wipe clean and prevents the cast iron from rusting. This is a highly energy efficient wood heating stove that re-burns the smoke before it is allowed to escape up the chimney. We plan to use it as an adjunct to our Tarm wood hot water furnace so we don't have to run the oil furnace to supplement the heat from the Tarm when temperatures are very cold. We burn over seven cords of wood in a heating season. With the cost of fuel oil at almost $4.00 a gallon, we don't want to use much of that if we can help it!

We are planning to throw a wedding here at Jolico Farm on June 4th and we are in countdown mode here with final preparations taking up much of every waking moment! The gardens are finally taking shape. We've planted many new perennials and filled out the borders with colorful geraniums. A new Eden Climbing Rose bush has replaced some old never-blooming Wisteria on one side of the arbor. Hopefully the Eden Rose will like that spot more than the Wisteria did! It should be a wonderful occasion and a beautiful happening. I hope to have pictures to share in a couple of weeks when all has been put back in order, so stay tuned.

Meanwhile, Moses, Art and I are SO happy that it's finally spring!