Busy as Bees.


The first warm days of Spring are the sweetest.

The wind
told the grasses,
And the grasses
told the trees.
The trees
told the bushes,
And the bushes
told the bees.
The bees
told the robin,
And the robin
sang out clear:
Wake up!
Wake up!
Spring is here!

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I’ll have some thing to show you tomorrow, stay tuned.

Be Well,

Jess

It’s Spring, Let’s clean.


The gardens of course. You didn’t think I was dusting, did you? ( I clean a bit every day, so no big spring clean for me.)

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Back to the task at hand. The gardens. (How quickly I am diverted). March weather was so fickle and was terribly miserable here in Upstate, NY. Not much could be done to tidy the garden, really it was mostly covered in snow until the last week end in March. No telling what havoc Old Man Winter has wreaked ’til the snow is gone.

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I have to resist, there is temptation to pull back the mulch protecting fragile plantings, eager to see any sign of new growth. The mulch, the protector, I so carefully lay before the frost, gives shelter from sudden changes of temperature and chilling winds, keeping cozy this fragile growth. It’s still winter here, essentially. The ground was white this morning. (If I quietly turn away, maybe it will take its leave.)

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(I thought of finding a more attractive picture, but this is really how it looks – ugly. Let’s keep it real)

Tempering myself, I’ll slowly remove the mulch as the days and weeks become steadily warmer,
I tell myself, it is much better to remove the mulch a little later than to remove it to early. I try to hurry Mother Nature, to no avail. I love Spring anyway.

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Don’t forget to clean out your birdhouses early before the birds begin nesting again. I haven’t seen the bluebirds yet, but others have.

While it will be awhile before the season of blooms arrive, my garden list is readied for season.  I can’t plant  during this early spring, (I haven’t even been able to get peas in the ground); I bide my time.

Maybe this weekend there will be enough of a thaw.

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Finn Remembers.

The frost line was very deep this year. Even inhibiting maple production) there are some chores I’ll do to get it in shape before the real gardening begins.

Give my old clay pots a wash; a good scrub using a solution of baking soda and water.
I’ll clean around and map out the area for new garden beds. (that may be a good job for the girls, they live for this sort of thing. Don’t you Simone?)

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Don’t let this photo fool you, they really wanna help.

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This is how they work, great team aren’t they?

While I’m at it, I should try to remember where I planted spring bulbs. Do you remember? You were there, weren’t you? If you remember, please share; I wouldn’t want to dig them up.

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I don’t think they were paying attention. Chickens can be like that you know.

Alternating thawing and freezing can tear plant roots and even force the plant right out of the ground. If I notice any plants that have heaved, I push them back right back where they belong – into the soil, and pack the soil lightly with my foot.

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Ooh we can’t wait for green, Revie and I. Of course, she’ll be more interested in nibbling than helping. But, who can blame her.

As soon as I see new growth,  I’ll divide and transplant summer blooming perennials and fertilize (with llama beans) the plants in there forever beds.

Is there a forever in gardens, nah, let’s just move on.

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Spinach, Chard, Cabbage, Cauliflower, and other hardy vegetables will be started from seed late in the month. Lord willing and the creek don’t rise.

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Well, come on girls, we have work to do.  Hey, wait; where are you going? Girls? Girls?

Be well,

Jess

It’s April, who’s Fooling whom?


This is what April [usually] looks like on our little cottage farm. Do you suppose Mother Nature plays April fools jokes? I’d like to think she has a sense of humor.

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How this place we call home looks today?

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They are too discomfited to allow for company. You do understand, don’t you?

Perhaps the chooks will let us visit?

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Uhm, guess not, they choose to not even show their faces.

The goats are happy go-lucky, let’s ask Shelby for a visit.

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Oh, Okay. We get the message, we’ll visit another day.

Be well, and take the light of the Lord with you wherever you go.

Jess

Heady with the aroma of growth


A simple bit of earth has the impressive power of evoking grand dreams. The magic begins with the arrival of winter’s dispersal of seed catalogs.

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If you garden and are anything like me you dream, and plan you scratch lines in the soil with the toe of your boot, you carve and through grassy strips creating new beds and expanding the old. You move this here and that there, in hope of better growth. Maybe this next to that would be better…you have illusions of a grand garden (or perhaps delusions).

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Notions gleaming with possibility and loosely tangled treasure bounce through your noggin, like spring peepers on your pond.

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Ideas flash like a a photographer’s bulb, if only they were as easily created as they are imagined.

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I imagine more garden paths, lined with pea stone beckoning you to enter herb gardens filled with basils, thyme, rosemary, and sage, or a bench tucked away in a secret cutting garden.

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Fields of french lavender lending their fragrance to dawn’s solitude.

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You feel the moss under your bare feet that cling to the damp slate slabs in an outdoor dining area. You sit, senses drenched with wisteria draping from the pergola overhead. Birds, bees, and butterflies going about the daily task of pollination (no chemicals to harm them in sight).

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It’s still much too cold here to get out and work the soil, so I sit sipping Earl Grey whilst I bide my time, content to plan and dream.

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“My garden of flowers is also my garden of thoughts and dreams. The thoughts grow as freely as  the flowers, and the dreams are as beautiful.” Abram L. Urban

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Be well, dream, and do.

Jess

Feather your nest


The first day of spring is a perfect time to build your home; at least this couple thinks so.

Just outside my living-room window a sparrow family is building their nest in the Forsythia just swelling with buds.

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It’s not a terribly pleasant day for building. The sun is struggling to be seen through the clouds and we expect snow to fall.

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She is dressed rather plainly today, you wouldn’t want to muss your best finery would you. I don’t think she expected visitors.

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She simply won’t be seen this way in public and takes her leave. Thank you very much.

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Or perhaps she has stepped out for a few items of decoration to enhance the new abode.

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I think he’s decided to use this time to tidy up his appearance. I do believe she’ll appreciate his efforts. (or perhaps he has an itch)

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Where did she get off to; she can’t think I can do this alone.

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Oh, there she is.

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Do like how things are coming along? No? Oh well, it’s just the foundation.

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Maybe she doesn’t know I’m here…

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I believe she can see me now.

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Let me show off my chest a little; she’ll like that.

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How embarrassing, she didn’t even notice.

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Perhaps I should get back to work, she might like that more…I have to impress her somehow.

Enjoy your day.

Be Well,

Jess

It’s almost March…It’s almost warmish (almost)


Although the shortest of days have gone by and whatever nastiness of weather we have before us; the month of February passes.

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March is near, and each day we ebb out a few more cherished moments of sunlight.

Minute by minute, the days lengthen out, almost imperceptible, even as the growth of a child. All at once the moment comes as if by epiphany; we notice we are out of doors in twilight for another quarter of a precious hour.

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The air is still bitingly cold.

The sun shines strong enough to cause icicles to drip, that is hope.

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My fingers ache to dig in the garden’s soil. To feel the warmth of the sun’s rays on my neck.

I think I will spend some time today sorting and gathering seeds saved, seeds bought, clay potting pots, and all of the thingamajigs, and whatchamacallits a gardening crazy girl could wish for.

I wonder how many seedlings will survive a Walker Hound 3 month old pup? Maybe I should hold off on that.

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Be well,

Jess

Asparagus. Asparagus? Yes, Asparagus.


An aphrodisiac. Yeah, you heard me; Nicholas Culpepper, a 17th century herbalist, wrote that asparagus “stirs up lust in man and woman.”
In 19th century France, bridegrooms were served 3 courses of asparagus at their prenuptial dinners (not absolutely necessary, I hope, but asparagus lore nonetheless) to, well, you get the picture.

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Can you tell I’m in the mood ~ for Spring!

What is spring without asparagus?!Do you have asparagus growing in your garden? If not, it’s not hard to get started, you just have to be patient, well. for a couple years!spears

You can get asparagus crowns at most garden centers.
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Dig a furrow about 10 inches deep and wide and as long as you want your row to be. Fill the trench about halfway with compost and place your asparagus crowns on top, about 10 inches apart and cover loosely with soil and water. This is best done in the springtime as soon as the danger of frost has past.
You won’t get any spears your first year, but the fern-like foliage will still be pretty. Make sure you mulch well every autumn to keep weeds down and a steady stream of nutrients coming. Asparagus is a hungry plant.
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Do not harvest your asparagus until it’s at least three years old. This allows the plant to have time to build a strong root system. When your’s is ready; gather the asparagus and leave at least one stalk in the ground, for good luck, so the lore goes; actually it is common sense, it leaves seeds for sowing.
Asparagus is great for permaculture because it can live 15 years or more and keep providing you with tasty spears each spring.
It grows best in sandy, alkaline soil in full sun, but it’s not picky. It can handle a bit of shade and less than perfect soil too, as long as you fertilize it well.
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Your plants will start sending up shoots shortly after the frost has past and may continue well into June. Cut the shoots near the base when they are about 10 inches long and about as thick as your finger. If they are thinner than a pencil, your plant isn’t ready for harvesting yet, or it’s gotten tired of being harvested and needs to be let alone. Make sure the heads of the spears are tight and haven’t started to feather out. Once they’ve started to get ferny, it’s too late to harvest them.
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Asparagus is best eaten fresh, but if you want to save some for later, put it in a glass of water like a bouquet of flowers and store it in the fridge. If you want to save some for a long time later, steam the stalks for about five minutes and then freeze them in a freezer bag.

Asparagus is a good diuretic and is full of nutrients to help build up strength. Asparagus is one of the most nutrient dense vegetables you’ll find. It is high in folic acid, potassium, fiber, vitamins B6, A, C and thiamin, contain no fat or cholesterol and are low in sodium.

It is best lightly steamed so that it is tender-crisp and bright. I like to serve it with a tangy lemon butter sauce.
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PS. It’s a good food to eat when you are doing a bodily cleansing, a great “spring tonic” kind of food.

Soup’s on…at Picasso’s: chicken noodle with kale, corn chowdah, and creamy carrot curry (vegan)
try a citrus salad on baby kale, or grilled pear and pork on mixed greens.
Turkey burger with vidalia balsamic jam!

Be well,
Jess