Sunday, June 26, 2016

Today's Blooms

I had to laugh that one of the daffodils should bloom this long after all of the other ones had come and gone. Recent evidence suggests that the squirrels had dug some up and replanted others. They sure are busy making mischief...and other squirrels around here.

A lone stella de oro lily blooms in the border by my driveway. Not sure what happened to the other ones but I should be seeing some soon.

There are some other pink, purple and white blooms appearing around the earth ramp. I'm not sure just what they are yet but they are pleasant to look at.

Raspberries: Garden to kitchen

It's so nice to have black raspberries again. Today I made a jar of raspberry jam just to see if I remembered how to do it. We tried it on toasted english muffins and smiled that something this easy works. All it takes is equal parts of sugar and berries over medium heat until it sheets from a spoon.

The next thing we'll be doing is just tossing about a cup of berries into a Pannekouken (dutch oven pancake) which is a sort of an egg rich batter in a round bottomed pan that you bake in the oven. We used to love them years ago in a local restaurant where the waitresses dressed like little dutch girls and ran them out to your table before they fell (the pancake, not the girl...OK, you can stop laughing now). It was very dramatic, not only because of the way it was served to you but also because they raise up light and fluffy over the edge of the pan and just drop flat as soon as they hit the cool air. making them at home promises to be much duller but just as yummy.

I've only heard back from one of the people that I offered berries to and as you can see there are an awful lot of berries out there so I'll be trying many more things before I give up and just start freezing them.

Saturday, June 25, 2016

Welcome to my Garden

Privacy is still an issue here so we're planning to add some lattice panels or trellises for climbing roses and grapevines.

The Nasturtiums nourish the body and soul as well as inspiring the drawings and paintings here.

Abundant Milkweed welcomes the butterflies.

I just grow these because they make me happy.

These are new to the garden this year.

Dessert from the garden, Black Raspberries

Well, it's the first day out in the raspberry patch. As you can see those bushes are totally out of control. Step one for me was to text, e-mail and phone family and friends that might like some berries.

OK, step one was actually just eating a few handfuls of fresh berries warmed gently in the sun. 

The remains of that birdhouse are atop a six foot tall post so that should give you some idea of the size of some of those bushes.

After I've given folks what they want of them I'll start making some pancake syrup and jam. Maybe even bake some up in a few recipes...maybe a crisp or some muffins...

We've also got birds nesting in all of this. I'm sure they like living next to the buffet line and the pool (bird baths)

 Hard to believe this is a residential lot in the middle of a city, isn't it? Future plans call for digging up a section of the yard and planting at least one row of berry bushes that are wheelchair accessible so I can go back to picking them myself.

Tuesday, June 21, 2016

Cheesemaking Adding to the Menu Choices from your Garden and a more Self Sufficient Lifestyle

I got this cheese kit today and am looking forward to trying it out.

Eight different types of cheese to choose from sounds promising.

This also gives me a good reason to visit the dairy farm on the edge of town if I don't want to use milk from the grocery store. I live in the middle of a small city
so I'm in no hurry to keep my own least until I know whether or not I love doing this and plan to keep it up or not.

As you can see on the box the kit company has a website: www.cheesemaking .com I plan to check that out next.

If I run into problems it's reassuring that they have tech support and a phone number. The first step for me will be to read all of the materials and instructions that came with the kit.

Monday, June 20, 2016

5 Tips on Gardening from a Wheelchair

1. Don't tip too far out of your chair. It stops traffic and frightens the neighbors.

2. Weed or trim only the plants that you can reach safely.

3. Make sure that the surface that you roll your chair on is solid, hard enough and free of holes or ruts.

4. A paper bag is lightweight and easy to handle if you tuck it between your feet on the footrest. It should stay firmly in place there until you get where you want to dump it.

5. Don't forget to take lots of breaks to enjoy whatever is blooming, fruiting or ready to pick.

Sunday, June 19, 2016

Windowsill and Patio Peas

Individual plant with pea pods.

Young and tender pea pods indoors.

In a large patio pot.They did seem to get a bit taller here.

Picking and shelling peas for lunch.

Art in your mailbox

I only have one lily like this so I wanted to enjoy and share it as much as I could while it lasted.

I started with a small pencil sketch in the corner of an envelope.

Monday, June 13, 2016

Great uses for Garden Catalogs, learn to draw with garden catalogs

There are some garden catalogs that are illustrated with drawings instead of photos so they make fine examples to work from when you're trying to draw different varieties of flowers. Today I'm starting with Tulips and was surprised to see how many types, sizes and shapes they come in. I'll be starting with the more common ones that I'm familiar with. The next one will be pen and ink.

At this point I poured myself a cup of coffee and began to write a letter on it. It's important to take breaks an focus on something else for a while but I'll get back to drawing soon.

Thursday, June 9, 2016

Heirloom Peas and Strawberries

The few strawberries that I was able to save are doing well. About half of them are flowering and setting fruit. The secret to saving these was to put lots of little metal things around them to protect them from the squirrels who dug up and ate ALL of them in the big, brown tired planter.

I ended up planting peas in that tiered, brown planter because that's all I had left this year. 

As you can see I'm planting other things in place of the strawberries here. There just wasn't any money available to buy more this year.

Wednesday, June 8, 2016

Roses, Bee and a Wren House

I painted this bird house a couple of years ago and it's been full of happy families ever since. Yes it's wrens again.

Bees may be threatened in other places but they're doing well here. There are plenty of flowers and none of them have been treated or sprayed in any way.

I still need to find that grapevine and pull it out of there but I'm pleased to see that everything looks healthy and the leaves of the roses and the grapes are undamaged.

I still haven't been able to get anyone to trim the bushes which are several feet from where they started and spreading like wild. Last week all you could see in this corner were spirea bushes and geraniums.

One of the things I love about this garden is how things bloom one after another so that there's always something nice to look at and the colors are constantly changing.

This side of the rose garden is the most impressive. It's a collection of 4 different kinds of roses collected over several decades and now covers an area that's seven foot tall and over 15 feet wide.

 All of the varieties of roses that I grow make rose hips so there a food source too and part of the certified wildlife habitat that we maintain here.