Monday, April 30, 2007

First Harvest

It has been almost two months since I started gardening this year, and quite a while since I updated you all on the garden!

I had my first harvest. A few radishes, a few taste testers...
and the general consensus of "They are O.K. but taste a little bit spicy!". Erm... Sorry kids, but that's a given... they are radishes!
My first seeds were sown at the beginning of March, inside in peat pellets. Those have all gone outside now, into my all new square foot garden. In the other SFG squares, I planted corn, green bean and Lima bean seeds. In a couple of months, God Willing (and if the cats steer clear) I should have some corn and beans to harvest!

The older square foot beds are doing exceptionally well...
I believe I will have peas soon (so long as it doesn't get too hot for them),

and the cabbages, broccoli and all are growing well!
Check out the gift the Easter bunny brought me!

Then there are our new gates and fence... they are there to serve two purposes... 1. To define the garden so certain explorer-minded children will not go beyond the invisible boundary previously there (I don't recommend invisible boundaries... children claim not to see them ;)), and 2. To deter the other neighbourhood children from entering the garden. Somehow we seem to have communal property here... just not communal work!!
The newly re-located patio looks great on the other side of the circle... and is much more pleasant to sit on. You feel much less like a goldfish there!

The tent caterpillars have been their usual pesky selves... only this year we have someone to give them too... unfortunately, she is not so fond of anyone *GASP* killing them!!

Finally, my herb garden. It looks great... and I can't wait to make chive blossom vinegar with those chive flowers (because I normally leave them and all the seeds make baby chives in the path, which I just pulled up and planted making into a chive hedge... and I think I have enough of those!!).

Friday, April 20, 2007

Nature Study Fridays

Some time ago I set aside Fridays to be our Nature Study day. There were a variety of reasons for that, but the biggest one had to do with the fact that Fridays are my most flexible day… I can actually go out on field trips on Fridays.

So I organized a small playdate with a friend and her children, and agreed to meet her at the park at 10:30 am. Actually, I jumped at the chance since I knew the weather would be nice today! Since I don’t drive, Jacobite was going to have to drop us off before work. We arrived at 8:30 am. Since the kids are usually not even up this early (they stay up late for Daddy) this was tough ;)

But worth it.

Here is the first thing we saw… a LAMB. GREAT homeschooling opportunity… we had been learning The Lamb by William Blake just this week. So we recited it to the lambs… who promptly escaped from the field.

The Lamb

by William Blake.

Little Lamb, who made thee?
Dost thou know who made thee?
Gave thee life, and bid thee feed,
By the stream and o'er the mead;
Gave thee clothing of delight,
Softest clothing, woolly, bright;
Gave thee such a tender voice,
Making all the vales rejoice?
Little Lamb, who made thee?
Dost thou know who made thee?

Little Lamb, I'll tell thee,
Little Lamb, I'll tell thee.
He is called by thy name,
For He calls Himself a Lamb.
He is meek, and He is mild;
He became a little child.
I a child, and thou a lamb,
We are called by His name.
Little Lamb, God bless thee!
Little Lamb, God bless thee!

So we went off to tell one of the people who worked there. He seemed to think it was OK, and he invited us to come and see some newly hatched chicks. They were precious… the mother hen still sitting on the last three eggs, which we suspect were not going to hatch. I did not take a photo of them out of deference to the mother hen :)

After this, we visited the pigs and horses, which seemed a little bit of a let-down. We identified a couple of flowers, and then, we took a nature hike.

This was a great way to use up those hours and to use up a Nature Study Friday. We saw some wild flowers we could not identify… the very common tent caterpillars (which I practically had to drag M’Lady away from since she LOVES caterpillars) were quite in evidence too.

A few streams and a pond later… we spotted some rather attractive fungi. How appropriate, considering we were just looking at Beatrix Potter's pictures of fungi... and her lifelong fascination with them :)

And then, right before the end of our walk, we spotted it. A stunning native orchid… This one is a Cypripedium acaule, a Pink Ladyslipper or moccasin flower. It positively made my day!

After this, the nice chat with my friend, and the play of the kids was just icing on the cake. Thank goodness the weather turned!

Weather Station

Here is the weather station from one Nature Study Friday. It was up for the windy weekend last weekend… and we loved watching it twirl… but when it disappeared, Rebel was most upset. Although Jacobite and I laughed, we were forced to find it and replace it in the proper position. It is rather faded already… after less than a month!

We need to work on how the rain gauge is held since it toppled over and nearly knocked our pole flying!

Wednesday, April 11, 2007

April Showers?

Not here, no sirree. We had April SNOW FLURRIES... and it definitely did damage to the garden. Luckily for me, I learned my lesson a few years back with a last frost in May even though our last frost is ostensibly April 15th... and my peas, cabbages, cauliflowers, onions and broccoli seem to be doing just fine.
The sage, Woodruff, Lily of the Valley and baby chives I planted are also doing well... the baby chives were offspring of my own huge clump. I decided to try and make a herbal 'hedge' around one of my gardens using it!
I still have two beds to finish building... and hopefully this weekend will be warm enough to attempt it!!