Monday, November 03, 2008

How Time Does Fly...

Especially when you are having fun. I always seem to get lost on this blog when the summer comes- too much to do, not enough pictures, you name it :)
I thought instead, that I might just share some photos :)

My pomegranates, grown in my garden :)

Pineapple Sage.

Homegrown peanuts.

Homegrown fig.

A bee digging holes to lay their eggs in... you can see the beginning of a former test hole on the left :)

Milkweed fluff.

The three stages of an Eastern Blue Swallowtail Butterfly.


Rosehips from the garden.

Our Halloween pumpkin... face designed by Rebel :)

Friday, July 11, 2008

New Fertiliser

With the tomatoes coming in and many issues with the garden (too much rain at once, not enough over all- weeds- you name it!), it seems just as well that we have a new fertiliser!

Meet Mocha, the newest member of the family- a 9 week old rabbit, that M'Lady and Rebel already love. Mocha was M'Lady's choice of name for the rabbit- she was trying to make up a word, but actually came up with a real one LOL. It suited his dark hair and we went with it. I had liked Hagrid and Sooty- but I never get to name the pets any more ;)

Isn't he sweet? Actually we don't know whether Mocha is a boy or a girl, but it doesn't matter. It is a sweet natured bunny- and ALL bunnies have droppings, which are the best fertiliser. I hope the rabbit bandit in the garden doesn't mess with him!

Thursday, June 26, 2008

In the Garden again

After a hot start to the month, the weather cooled a little and was merely 10 degrees F too hot, rather than 25 or so!
I am still waiting for my tomatoes to ripen (it will be soon!!), and watching those pomegranates. They look promising, but at least one has been pulled off by the unknown fruit bandit.

There are pawpaws high up in a tree... I am still hoping to get those! I should draw them for posterity though...

And a fig on my new fig tree... amazing because I had not expected it! I DID draw that when I found it!

We got some potatoes this last weekend... delightful because I harvested them, added them to the ones I got at the market last Saturday and sauteed them with a little Olive oil and butter, lightly seasoning with Mrs. Dash.

The birds have been visiting the feeders... and the new fountain we got.
They treat it like a birdbath, which is good because that is what I wanted! It has such a nice soothing sound!

We caught sight of a bald cardinal at the feeder the other day. I suspect it is in the middle of a summer moult... cardinals seem brightest in the winter, and I often see them looking kind of threadbare in the summer!
My beebalm just bloomed, and I have hopes that the hummingbirds will come for a visit! I'll let you know when they do... and when the tomatoes are in ;)

Sunday, June 01, 2008

First Harvest

It's that time again! Lettuces have been picked, peas and radishes have produced, and the first tomatoes are on the vine!!

Last Thursday, we picked our English peas. Virginia is a pretty hot summer climate, so we really only get a couple of weeks tops of peas being produced in the springtime. This year, I got about a week's worth :o Never mind... I shared the joy of picking these with the kids:

And shelling them into these:

Which we ate raw because they are so SWEET! YUMMY! Their life is pretty much over now, what with the weather getting into the upper 80's and 90's (from around 28 through 34 degrees C). Peas find it hard to tolerate that range!

Our garden is abounding in roses, and has been the entire month :)

This is the Virginia rose, discovered in the 17th century by the colonists. It has a sweet, very light fragrance, and the bumblebees were going mad over it this morning!

These small things were popping up all over our circle recently... ladies and gentlemen, we have here a Shirley Poppy. They are relatives of the red corn poppy you see... same poppy, new cultivar. Quite beautiful!
I am hoping to see the monarch caterpillars soon. Our milkweed relative, Pleurisy root, is blooming.

This is a stunning, firey orange. I planted this from a root many years ago, and it still pops up every year. Sometimes the monarchs find it. Sometimes they dont!

This fellow, at about 1 3/4 inches long, was a scary find on the side of our house a few weeks back. The photo is not great because in direct sun I can barely see the screen to tell, but I can tell you that he is a "Big eyed Click Beetle".

They are not really eyes of course, just markings on the thorax. He was quite alarming at first, but when we found out that the adults apparently eat very little, we decided to like him :)

Finally, my pride and joy.

This absolutely stunning, intense orange bloom is a pomegranate. I got hold of a pomegranate bush some years back, at colonial Williamsburg. I wanted one because they had one... in spring it was covered with blooms this colour. In autumn it is covered with fruit this colour. I don't know if mine will make it to the fruit bearing stage... local wildlife will insist on denuding our trees of fruit, BUT I really liked it for the blooms anyway :) If I get a fruit, thats just an added bonus!
This is the very first year it has bloomed for me, so I am extra excited about it!

I added a few things to the garden recently... some basil and dill, and some parsley. Today I pulled up a 'weed' from our peonies, before realising it was a volunteer squash. I transplanted it in the hope it would survive ;)
My green beans just suddenly sprouted, and one or two navy beans did too. (Those were an experiment ;)).
Lots of things are growing, though not as many as I would have hoped, but you win some, you lose some! I had a terrible time with the pumpkins... all of which did not want to come up. I may try once more, and hope for the best!

Happy Gardening!

Thursday, May 08, 2008

Caught in the Act!

We had a visitor this morning. I suspect he might just be a vegetable thief... but he has apparently made a home in the hole on our hillside!

Each of the kids has requested that we capture him and keep him as a pet, or let him roam wild and keep him as a 'pet wild rabbit'. I told them wild rabbits don't make good pets!
It does make me wonder if the horrid cat down the road did kill a baby rabbit... I saw it with SOMETHING in its mouth the other day!

Sunday, April 27, 2008

Some garden pictures

From the garden.

I gave up on the seed I was growing... between getting fried and just not thriving (I suspect my potting soil and the time in the sun under the plastic did this) I decided to fork out for some plants from my local Herb Festival this weekend :)

Swiss Chard and Lettuce in front, peas growing up the trellis in back :)

Cilantro... just for Dana ;)

The kids' garden, wherein they have planted garlic. I added seeds for pumpkins (one orange and one white), Marigolds and Chamomile.

Tomatoes and Peppers, plus sage in the background.

The perfect rose.

Friday, April 25, 2008

First Harvest

Leastwise, the first one we got around to actually EATING ;) Technically we could have harvested Swiss Chard over a month ago and Sorrel two or more months ago!

The first harvest consisted of some lettuce and spinach leaves picked to make a wrap.

Since rebel is not so fond of lettuce, I gave him the spinach.

Mum, stop taking photos of me!!

Despite the look, he actually loved the wrap :) Which is a huge success, he is almost as picky as his Dad. He was very excited to have very fresh spinach ;)

M'Lady said the sauce was "too ficy" (too spicy), but she enjoyed the fresh harvest!

This is the lunch itself... a wrap, consisting of chickpea patties with a curry sauce and lettuce.
The patties and sauce recipes are found at the Taste of Home site (it is a subscriber only recipe unfortunately), although I used sour cream instead of yoghurt, as I was out of the latter.

Green Hour 9 (cont.) and 10

So I managed to get the kids out of the house today. We were out ALL morning at a local park for our nature club outing :) That was a very pleasant day, and the wellie boots I insisted the kids took, came in very handy!
We ate a picnic sitting in a gazebo at the top of a hill, overlooking an area of buttercups and dandelions. I wish I had thought to stop stuffing my gob and actually take a picture of the kids perched on the walls or down in the flowers! But I didn't. I did take a picture of the inside of a tree and some pictures of flowers, but I spent most of the time chasing after the kids :D We identified a number of flowers which we added to our list, to much excitement from the kids!

This afternoon, Rebel did his square. I decided to let him take charge of the situation, and I placed the camera in his hand. So the pictures you see below are his :)

First he chose a spot down our hill. It's swampy there after the recent rains, so he chose to wear his wellies... and stomp in the mud ;)

There was a lot of moss in the square:

and some of the Japanese knotweed we have been desperately trying to get rid of, as well as some of the grass we have been seeding for the last few weeks ;)

The Indian Strawberry is a common weed here, but entirely inedible!

Which is a shame because the berries look nice! You can see another one below with a dandelion.

Rebel picked up a fallen catkin from some nearby tree (probably one of the pines in the front garden), and desperately (but unsuccessfully) tried to get some photos of an orange bug and some small ants.

He admired the white clovers, which I suggest everyone take a smell of, since they are quite fragrant!

And he looked at this baby tree. We think it might be a birch tree as there are several around.

Notice also the maple seeds? The kids have great fun throwing these 'helicopter' seeds into the air to watch them whirl! Rebel found a very large one, which went into his nature box.
If you take a look above the square, you will see this:

Which Rebel correctly identified as a Tulip Poplar... this just so happens to be what is left of 'Scenery Mr. Climby' . He did not keep his attention on the square ALL the time. He photographed this Tiger Beetle next to his 'mine'. It's really just a hole where he is allowed to dig LOL.

While Rebel was studying his plot (he tells me he is not finished BTW), M'Lady was picking caterpillars. From ALL over!

She amassed quite a collection, I think there were 7 in the jar at this point. They were tent caterpillars, so not really a favourite of mine!

But the day was lovely and I took it in and drew some things ;)
Today I plan on a picnic lunch outside (not really a treat since we do this quite often LOL) so I can take some pictures to put up on Green Hour 10!

N.B. I wrote this yesterday just before the scheduled power outage at Blogger, and so did not get it up until this morning!

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

While I was Cooking...

...I watched the birds outside my kitchen window, and I saw:

A red bellied woodpecker (female) pecking at the suet. You can't see her, but there is also a little female goldfinch behind her ;)

Then along came the male goldfinch, and chasing off the female and another goldfinch, he eats his seed.

Then there was a downy... first a male (above) then a female. At one point the two woodpeckers (downy and red bellied) were on the suet at the same time.

And finally, just as I was about to put the camera away, along comes a recent addition to our regulars, a mockingbird. This friend is another suet eater, and is constantly looking around. Probably for the neighbour's cat, whom I caught chasing birds yesterday!