Saturday, March 30, 2013

It's not spring time in Texas until... plop your baby down in a patch of bluebonnets 
and take her picture!

It's a Texas tradition!

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

A gardening experiment

...because I'm a big nerd and have nothing better to do!

I subscribe to The Farmer's Almanac on Twitter and they recently had an article on gardening by the moon phases. I thought it was intriguing and since we have a full moon today I thought I'd perform a little garden experiment of my own.

By their predictions, today and tomorrow are good for planting root crops.  I already have some garlic and onions planted and they have begun to sprout nicely.  Today I went in between my rows and planted a second time to see if this "full moon" business has any merit. 

I might go ahead and plant an extra row or two of radishes and carrots, too (like I need an excuse to plant more stuff, right?).  I've already planted my beans, okra, and squash and because  listened to the local garden extension office instead of The Farmer's Almanac, we've had a freeze the last two nights and I'm going to have to replant about half my beans!  Luckily, The Almanac has the dates listed as to when to plant what!

So we'll see if The Almanac is right about gardening by the phases of the moon, and even if it isn't, it makes gardening a little more fun and adventurous....
and gives my family one more reason to question my mental health!

Monday, March 18, 2013

Garden Tour

So I spent last week working on my gardens. It was gorgeous weather and the neighborhood kids were out for spring break. Everyone was busy enjoying the outdoors and I got quite a bit accomplished, but with gardening it seems there is always another project in the works.

These are my main garden boxes.  The front three are ready for planting and have a nice four inch layer of hay on top.  Seeds will go in today if the rain holds off for a bit.  The back three are in sad shape.  Ever since my niece had a load of free wood chips delivered to her house, and I witnessed their Back to Eden gardening method, I have been on a mission to get free wood chips for my garden.  You'd think in the country that wouldn't be a problem, but it is!

I think Doug found a local tree trimmer that will give us chips for free.  We'll find out for sure on Thursday.  Keep your fingers crossed!  If this comes through, I have plans for two more garden boxes and two more beds near our garage (see what I mean about more projects!).

Below is my medicinal herb garden.  It fared very well during our mild winter this year.  I made sure that what could go to seed did go to seed, like basil and dill, and everything else just got cut back.  This bed will get a good mulching with the wood chips and some new additions like yarrow, horehound, and ecchinacea.  


This little garden is my memory garden.  Four rose bushes stand for my four angels in Heaven.  There are also daylilies, amaryllis, gladiola, and lavender ~ all the flowering plants I love.  It will get a good layer of wood chips as well, I have a heck of a time with weeds in this little garden.

These four boxes are my kitchen garden.  I have onions, garlic, carrots, and herbs planted here.  The bed near the house have hydrangea that is just now coming back to life after the winter.  I hope to propagate some more and fill in this bed completely. Hydrangea is simply my most favorite flower!  I mulched with hay here.  Hay is super cheap and I have found it does a great job of preventing weeds and retaining moisture in this bed.

The fruit trees are budding and blooming! 
 My lemon tree is loaded with blooms and bees and the smell is amazing!  

The elderberry bushes that I planted on Valentine's Day are growing like crazy.  I'm very hopeful we will have some berries for syrup this summer!  Our other fruiting trees, pear, fig, orange, and apple are also coming out with new growth and lots of buds.

I finally got the bed in front of the house weeded and mulched with hay.  I have some flower seedlings that will go here in a few weeks to fill it in.  I call this bed my hummingbird garden, all the plants are loved by my little hummers:  lantana, plumeria, hibiscus, and canna.  If you don't find the hummingbirds fighting over the feeders, you'll find them here!

This is my sad front porch.  There are two long beds on either side of the walk way that didn't grow much.  I spent a year amending the soil with compost and hay and this year it will be growing food instead of ornamental flowers.  Four tomatillo plants and trellises of candy roaster squash will line the walls.  
We'll see how it goes, and no matter how it turns out, this area will be GREEN for sure!

So that's the tour of our little part of the earth.  I have some other projects in the works to establish permaculture on the property.  It's a slow process, it's hard and dirty work, and I'm OK with that!

Hopefully I'll be able to post on Thursday about the delivery of our free wood chips!

Thursday, March 7, 2013


I LOVE sunflowers! 

Every year since we moved here I've bought a few simple seed packets from Walmart and John Paul and Daniel have had fun planting them and watching them grow.  After the growing season, we put the seed heads out for the birds to enjoy.  It's always amazing how that tiny seed can produce such a huge plant and then go on to produce so many more seeds!
Danny in 2009 by his sunflower garden
This year I bought six different varieties of heirloom sunflower seeds from my favorite company, Baker Creek Seed Co.:


I have some fun projects in mind, thanks to Pinterest!  And you can bet we won't be letting the birds have ALL the seeds, I want to save some to propagate again next year!

Monday, March 4, 2013


The weather this weekend was absolutely gorgeous!  We spent Sunday outside soaking up sunshine and tending to a few chores.  I'm trying to get my seedlings out in the sun every day to keep them from becoming too leggy.  So far, so good!  Below is my first venture into growing flowers from seed.  "Love in a Mist" was a free seed packet received from Baker Creek Seed Co. when I placed my order this year.  I also have some purple coneflower and floxglove sprouting.
I finally got someone to sand our sad and abused kitchen table!  Years of meals, schoolwork, art projects, etc...have left it pretty beaten up.  Kyle took it outside and sanded it down for me.  
It looks almost new again!
He also built some benches for our fire pit from pallets and salvaged wood.  The pallets and scrap wood were FREE (picked up from around town), we just paid for the screws.  
What a deal!
It wasn't long before the boys were tossing around the footballs and baseballs.  Mary Grace LOVES the outdoors and thinks she can do anything her brothers are doing.  
Daddy had to share his football with her...
And then she made off with Kyle's football, too!  
Yes, the game came to a halt when the little princess demanded BOTH footballs to carry around.  
Not throw, or kick, or share... just carry.

And the funniest thing is is that the boys let her!  
Had it been a younger brother that took off with the balls, you can guarantee an immediate pounding would have occurred to get them back. But they just giggled, watching her prance around.

Yes, I think she is the princess of the castle ~
 and we are her humble minions!