Thursday, May 22, 2014

May Flowers

 April is always so full of promise but it is hard to be patient for things to really and truly start blooming.  Thank goodness for the bulbs like daffodils and tulips, but it is in May that the shrubs and perennials suddenly burst out with flowers.  Above is a lovely pale pink weigela that just started to bloom.
 And the peonies..... We wait literally for weeks as the buds swell just a little bit more each day for those gorgeous flowers to burst into bloom. 
 And then there are the irises. 
But it isn't just the garden flowers that are bursting into bloom.  The wild Rosa nutkana are starting to bloom and in the woods is this lovely hawthorn tree.  I'm not sure what variety it actually is.  It isn't quite like the English hawthorn that has seeded itself all over the place and is also in bloom.  It's more delicate and taller, but it also doesn't quite fit the description of native hawthorns that I've found.  It may well be a cross with an English hawthorn.  Whatever it is, it is so lovely in its woodland glade.

Monday, April 21, 2014

New Growth

 Little plants coming up everywhere.   Above are tomato seedlings getting ready to be put into the hoophouse for the  indoor tomato crop.
 Delphinium seedlings
 Gai Lon plants ready to go out in the garden. And summer squash just coming up.
Not much to eat in the garden quite yet but there is hope and promise in these little plants.

Saturday, April 5, 2014

Spring has Sprung

 Spring has sprung.  it was actually 66 F the other day.  Took my sweater off, opened all the doors and aired out the house.  Hung laundry on the line outside.  Whoopee.
 And, of course, the spring work has begun.  Joel planted out 540 little lettuce plants.  They are under a cover of Remay to keep the golden crowned sparrows from eating them and to give them a bit of extra warmth as the nights are still cold.  That was about a week ago and they are 3 times that size now.  Yay!!  Can't wait for the first salad.  We do buy the occasional head of Romaine from the grocery store but are mainly eating purple sprouting broccoli and kale these days.  Good stuff but the first fresh lettuce from the garden is like an elixir.
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 Daffodils and hellebores and the first tulips, grape hyacinths, early plum blossoms and forsythia are blooming.  The grass is green and even needed to be mowed yesterday.
 I'm cleaning marigold seeds that I saved from last year.  I never fail to be amazed by the bounty of nature.  All these seeds from a handful of seed pods.  If left to their own devices most would never get a chance to grow but would either be a gift to seeds eaters like birds or bugs, or be reabsorbed back into the soil by bacteria. 
All winter I have been weaving and knitting up a storm.  Now I have to get everything hemmed and fringed and ironed and finished and tagged.  The first Farmers Market is April 12.  We won't have a lot of vegetables yet but I will have lots of rugs and potholders and tea towels.

We're off on another year.

Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Last Breath of Winter (We Hope)

 Just about the time we are really thinking about spring, the seed orders are here and organized into boxes for planting, the snowdrops are about at the end of their bloom,
 and the daffodils are poking their heads up and their buds are swelling.......we get 8 inches of snow.  This isn't the first blast of winter this year.  We've had two episodes of the dry cold NE'r we get here as icy cold dry air streams down the Fraser Canyon in Canada from the Arctic and blasts us with high winds that freeze and dry everything out.  And a previous short term snowstorm, but so far we haven't had any really serious snow.  Until yesterday when it snowed all day and just kept snowing in spite of weather predictions that had it turning to rain in the afternoon.  Which it didn't do. By evening it was a winter wonderland of trees covered with snow, fields white and beautiful.  We went for a walk down to the beach in a virtual winter fairyland.
 Today it is clear and sunny and above freezing.  But it is going to take a while to melt all that snow.  One of the chickens has had enough of cold feet and flew up into a rose bush to get off the ground.
 Joel went out several times yesterday to dump the heavy wet snow off the hoophouse roofs to keep them from collapsing.
But....inside one of them we have planted peas and sweet peas.  It may not be toasty in there but it is warm enough for them.  It gives us hope of spring.

Friday, December 20, 2013

Snow

We don't get snow all that often here so when we do I have to rush out and document it.  This is what we woke up to this morning.  This would normally be a harvest day for Market but knowing it was supposed to snow we did all that yesterday.  As we are harvesting mainly root crops they hold really well and won't be  hurt by the extra day.  It is supposed to turn to rain any minute now so we're enjoying it while it lasts.

Saturday, December 14, 2013

Marmalade

When we go to England there are several typically English foods that we have to eat: Cream teas, Ribena, (black currant juice drink), draft hard cider, fish and chips, English bacon and....marmalade.  You can get English marmalade here but you have to hunt a bit for it and there are so many more brands over there.  In the olden days before terrorists plots in shampoo bottles we used to bring back a bunch of it with us.  Now I have to make my own.

I get my bitter Seville  oranges from a place in California called Ripe to You who specializes in unique citrus varieties.  My favorite recipe is one from David Lebovitz.  I've got the first part of the first batch simmering on the stove right now.  I'm all out of last year's batch so I can't wait. 

Tuesday, December 3, 2013

Hunkered Down

 Almost every winter at some point we get a NE'er.  Arctic air from the interior of Canada flows down the Fraser Canyon and swoops down upon us with its icy blast.  We rarely every manage to get snow first as this air is very, very dry so without the snow to mulch and protect plants we have been hustling around mulching vulnerable things like the dahlias.  In this climate dahlias can't survive unprotectd but a good thick mulch of leaves has brought them through winter after winter and it is much easier than digging them.  I will dig them every 3 or 4 years as the plants get so big we can't get between them to harvest the flowers.

We also through a mulch of leaves over the last of the potatoes and several layers of Remay floating row covers over some of the carrots,
 Joel dug about 175 lbs. of beets and about 50 lbs. of our yellow carrots and put them on a pit with a foot or so of dirt over them.  That will keep them fine for several months.  He harvested a bunch of cabbages and kohlrabi and rutabagas which can be kept just fine in the greenhouse which being unheated just manages to stay above freezing in this sort of weather.  We will sell them at market this month.

Joel's Mom brought us the last bud of her Graham Thomas rose today before the cold weather killed the flower.  Such a pretty thing and it reminds us that spring will be just around the corner.