Monday, March 29, 2010

Minor Setback to Spring

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So, after yesterday's enthusiastic springtime gushing, it seemed only fitting that I wake up this morning to buckets of rain pouring out of some pretty serious looking, low-hanging clouds. No biggie, right? Rain happens. After all, April shower's bring May flowers (okay, it's not QUITE April, but it IS close). I explain to Silas that the rain will make the grass green and the flowers grow so summer can come. He plays happily in the puddles head to toe in rain gear. So just IMAGINE my horror when these big fat rain drops turn into big fat snowflakes! We're talking the size of dinner plates! Even worse, they didn't melt away, they began to stick! In December, this is exciting. At the end of March, it's down right catastrophic! Look at my Daffodils! Poor little buds are waiting patiently to bloom, I guess they need to wait just a bit longer. Here's another shot across the field. Figures that today is the day we get a mini baby boom among the cows with several calves being born.

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On a family note, Silas amused me today by asking two rather deep questions. The first was "Do you know where the dark lives, mama?" and the second was "How did the rain drops get up there?". Try explaining dark as the absence of light or evaporation to a two year old! I know I did a spectacular job too, because just before bed he told me, "The dark lives in the mountains, mama." Geek.

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Sunday, March 28, 2010

Springtime Gardener's Itch

Ooooh boy. I've got it bad! For whatever reason, I am just ITCHIN' to get in the garden! Why? Hard to say really. I certainly wasn't in there enough last year - the weeds were higher than my head in some spots. And we had some start up funding issues, with a lack of sprinklers and hoses. But with every year, as the fields take on that first hint of green under winter's brown, as the birds come back, and the front door can be left ajar without dire consequences, my thoughts turn to gardens. We had a week of phenomenal weather in the beginning of the month and I've been unable to temper my enthusiasm for spring planting. What to do?

I started some plants! I can get my garden going without even stepping outsdie (and a good thing, cause there is a mean wind today!) My laundry room has a great big window that faces southeast, so it gets a wonderful amount of sunshine. I happen to have a large table placed before that window - supposedly for folding and projects, but usually ends up storing junk. I cleared that sucker off, and voila! Mini-greenhouse a la Robyn! So far I've got pumpkins, butternut squash, acorn squash, spaghetti squash, zucchini, cucumber, peanuts, and watermelon started. Because I used dirt out of an outodor planter I don't intend on using this summer they're already growing weeds (not an omen I hope!) but the pumpkins are already uncurling that first pale green leaf from the dirt! Silas is quite excited to help me plant this year, he recalls helping me plant the peas and beans outside last year, so the planting in the pots seems to make sense to him.

I've also sprouted yams for the first time this year. Or maybe they're sweet potatoes. The orange ones! They have a 100-day growing season, but I thought if I give them a good start in jars, maybe I can actually get my own if I'm lucky this fall with the weather.

I started out with some organic yams leftover from the organic produce delivery service in which I am a part owner. I saved seven just for this purpose. I inserted toothpicks around the middle, and set them pointy-side down in glass jars. Filled with water and waited. And waited. They're in the sunny spot in the laundry room and it wasn't until it really began to warm up that I noticed an obvious 'leafing' on the yams. Some of them, apparently have two pointy ends, because they've grown leaves under the water! However, they seem perfectly happy to be doing so, so I left them as they were. Once they've grown to about 6-8" I'll snap a few of them off and sprout them again in glass jars of water. Once they have a healthy looking root and it's warmer outside, I'll plant them in my garden under plastic and hope for the best. I'll also save some of the yams with sprouts attached to plant, just in case that's a better bet. I've have heard of doing it both ways, so I thought it best to give them both a try.

I live in a 3 or 4 hardiness zone (where 8 is the mildest and 1 is the harshest!) so things like watermelon don't always grow either. But I'm hoping too give them a strong start, then plant them when it's warmer with some plastic over to make a bit of an in-garden greenhouse. I'll let you know if it works out!

I cannot wait for good food again!

Sunday, March 7, 2010

A quick catch-up

Wow! Here's march in already! We've had some gorgeous weather lately . . . it seems to think it's April out there. Since it's spring break in BC though, I'm sure it will deteriorate outside quite quickly.

Yesterday Tawny went on a holiday with her boyfriend's family. There was some moral dilemma here, but mostly we were glad she'd get the opportunity. The state of her geographical knowledge is appalling, so maybe a trip to the provinces capital will help a little. Besides that, the island is gorgeous - especially when we're a little 'green deprived' around here. After she left around 8 am Scott and I decided that we'd pack up the little kids and take the in-laws offer of babysitting the munchkins while we went and saw Avatar in theatres. We drove to Westbank, where the in-laws were visiting Scott's grandmother, and dropped off Silas and Oliver. Then we continued on to Kelowna to watch the movie. It was three hours long, which Oliver has never done away from me before, and fantastic! As soon as it was over though, I allowed myself to give in to that anxiety and we went straight back. He was fine, as I thought he would be, but I was glad to seem him! And now that I know it can be done, I hope to have this kind of wonderful few hours to myself again soon!

Then, almost right away, we had to pack up up and drive home becuase it IS calving season and Scott was getting some anxiety about his girls. We've had a bit of troublesome start. A stillborn, an abortion, a calf that couldn't suck on his own right away. Hopefully things have evened out for a run of good luck now!

This morning was my traditional extended-family breakfast. I usually do pancakes or waffles, but instead I made pumpkin muffins and fried some eggs since I made Tawny pancakes yesterday in honor of her leaving. It was okay - my dad doesn't really like muffins so I felt a little bad for him. But I liked the muffins lol!

We may be off to Nicola Lake this afternoon to visit with friends - on of whom is visiting up from Nelson with her new baby boy Surya. Once again Scott's rushing through morning chores (which take till after noon lol!) so he can try and get a bit of time for fun and family!