Saturday, April 30, 2011

April Showers, Flowers, Feathers and Fir

Fragrance, flowers and foliage abound in our springtime garden,

but perhaps my favorite bouquet from Friday is this, 3 pounds of wonderful,

plus mildly flavored Radish 'Zlata' (Poland) and Lettuce 'Yugoslavian Red'; planted too late in the fall to put on fruit, but wintered over and surprised to the upside is our first head of Cheddar cauliflower. Yes, blossoms are upon the tomato 'Cherokee Purple'.

New birds to the garden the past several weeks: Townsend's warbler, goldfinch, varied thrush, male and female, purple finch, red-breasted sapsucker, band-tailed pigeon, and a magnificent osprey.

(be sure to enlarge the bird photos)

After all the cold, wind and rain we have had in the Pacific northwest, we may actually (finally) have a sunny weekend, or so they say. Our list is long as it generally is this time of year, but priority rules the day.

Clean the outdoor gazebo, floor, chairs and table in anticipation of outdoor dining
Continue weeding
More trimming
Harvest more lettuce
Water and feed vegetables in the hoop house

The sun is out, our call to the outdoors, and we hope your day is an enjoyable one. I wonder what this visitor is doing in the bird feeder.

Saturday, April 23, 2011

Easter Weekend

Tomorrow is Easter Sunday, the day which marks the beginning of Christianity with the resurrection of Jesus Christ and the beginning of the New Testament.

While enjoying the wonders of last night's sunset, my thoughts were of my childhood: going to church with my grandmother and these words that I learned.

I believe in God the Father Almighty, Creator of heaven and earth, and in Jesus Christ, His only Son, our Lord; Who was conceived by the Holy Ghost, born of the Virgin Mary, suffered under Pontius Pilate, was crucified, died and was buried. He descended into hell; on the third day He arose again from the dead. He ascended into heaven, and sitteth on the right hand of God, the Father Almighty, from whence He shall come to judge the living and the dead. I believe in the Holy Ghost, the Holy Catholic Church, the communion of Saints, the forgiveness of sins, the resurrection of the body and life everlasting. Amen.

With the calmness of this morning's sunrise, thoughts turned to other wonderful memories of my younger days, my uncle, his beautiful tenor voice and this song that he would sing on special occasions: I hope you will enjoy listening to Ave Maria by Franz Schubert.

We extend to our family and friends and to each of you, a Happy Easter and Passover.

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Planter's Moon Waning

Yesterday's waking,

but this, a frost covered morning

I've tried the new moon tilted in the air
Above a hazy tree-and-farmhouse cluster
As you might try a jewel in your hair.
I've tried it fine with little breadth of luster,
Alone, or in one ornament combining
With one first-water start almost shining.

I put it shining anywhere I please.
By walking slowly on some evening later,
I've pulled it from a crate of crooked trees,
And brought it over glossy water, greater,
And dropped it in, and seen the image wallow,
The color run, all sorts of wonder follow.

~ Robert Frost

Monday, April 11, 2011

Vegetables and Blossoms

We have been overrun, so it is time... out the door you go.

Yesterday found us transporting these to the hoop house and already having to re-pot some of them. We are hopeful that the last frost date is not far away and that we will soon experience some warmer temperatures. Although yesterday was only 55 degrees F, the inside of the greenhouse was 89.

No, I'm not planting all these tomatoes in the garden. It seems my list of family and friends who would like just one or two of my tomato plants has grown. I may have to scale back next year. Currently it seems that everything needs attention. I don't know about you, but we seem to run out of day. Roses and evergreens still need fed; some remaining ornamental grasses have not received their haircuts; there is raking yet to do; weeds shamelessly propagate; and the vegetable garden appears to have a life of its own during these early stages of growth. And may the slugs be damned!

Gratefully we have enjoyed 3 harvests in the past 6 weeks from the hoop house, totaling nearly 9 pounds of greens: spinach, kale, mizuna, tatsoi, various lettuce blends... and just this weekend all 3 of the Shanghai Bok Choy were harvested along with the others shown below.

Spring is here for the blossoms and fragrance tell us so.
Some have begun to fade, but we have the promise of new life at each turn.

Rock Cress (Aubrieta deltoidea) encircles an Irish juniper (Juniperus communis)

Rhododendron 'PJM' in full blooming regalia

americanum (fawn lily/trout lily/dogtooth lily) wild on the hillside

Allen's Humingbird imbibes of the nectar from wild Red-flowering Currant (Ribes sanguineum)

The Purple Finch enjoys some repast

Monday, April 4, 2011

Prunus x yedoensis, Yoshino Cherry

I miss seeing the cherry blossoms this time of year at the Tidal Basin in Washington, DC, but we do have our own Yoshino cherry (Prunus × yedoensis) to enjoy this time of year.