Tuesday, May 27, 2014

The garden is open.........

Finally starting to look like gardening season around here! 
The pond is open and the patio cleared of all winter debris.......
if there was only time to sit down and have a cool drink!

As Spring approaches here in Northeastern Ohio this best sums up 
my task list...... 

but then the payoff is big...... 
The lilac is assaulting us with fragrance at the moment.
no complaints! 

Lettuce, Peas, Onions, Strawberries, Shallots, Carrots, Scarlet Runner Beans and Parsley are coming along nicely.
The herbs against the studio all survived: lavender, oregano, sage, mint, thyme and a small 
dianthus (baths cheddar).

The Perennial beds suffered major losses after last winter.
Everything dead or dying was chucked and replaced by something edible.

Teucrium border was replaced with jalapeno peppers.... 

Hibiscus moscheutos was replaced with white eggplant and purple.
Ancho Peppers also found a home in the perennial beds.

Meanwhile across the lawn the patio bed was planted with 
sweet peppers, zucchini, 3 varieties of bush beans, 8 heirloom tomatoes, sweet basil,
 8 corriander, 8 english cucumbers, 4 celery plants, stevia, chives and dill sprinkled at the fence. 
English daisies and marigold seeds were sprinkled along the patio border, fingers crossed they emerge and become pollinators. 

The way back gardens are coming along nicely.  Blackberries I thought were toast have emerged from root stock.  Garlic, peas, beets, carrots, more beans, daikon radish, and borders of zinnias and nasturtiums...... 

Potatoes are up and ready to hill by weeks end.

This little bed has 4 brussel sprouts, broccoli, bok choi and nasturtiums planted in the 
cinder block for a border.

More lettuce..... what was I thinking??  
If you pass the house you will have a bag of lettuce thrown at you! 

Raspberries were transplanted last month and look great ..... 
but then they are raspberries..... 

Spinach and Swiss Chard coming along ....

More lettuce, 3 types of radishes and kale.
Nasturtiums are planted in the cinder blocks....

The currants have fruited for the first time!! 

The deer have already checked out the gooseberries.  
So far, no touching, fingers are crossed! 

Rhubarb...... very happy and harvested! 

Chickens are back to business..... 

Argh..... those trees that took me out are finally being split and stacked! 

And the frogs have returned..... 

Got those big pots in the studio trimmed too.... 
moving slow this morning but high garden satisfaction is in order :) 

and this is why I blog..... 
she is off to lead a group of 20 teenagers backpacking along the Great Wall of China for 
American University for 2 weeks, then back to Benin and MAMACARTS..... safe travels and remember our motto:  If it's dead, eat it! 

Friday, May 23, 2014

Stay'n Centered.......

Still cool here in Ohio, tonight 45 F.  
The tomatoes are not happy, nor the peppers but the peas and lettuce........ that's another story!  

Fronts have come and gone, the beauty has not gone unnoticed. 

Green....... we have waited long for green, lush landscapes.  
It's our wettest Spring since 1874.
Although still we are a month behind in the temperature dept....
nope, no more normal....

a nice lettuce harvest this morning.... 
and the asparagus has been nuclear! 

With chilly days and Dr.s orders of no lifting, the studio has been 
a good place to hang.  Seems odd for me to be there in Spring. 
Today was a good day, 75 pounds wedged and thrown.  

I must think of a way to convey the scale of these pots.  
They are large, or large for me anyway.  Gosh, I love throwing big pots...... 
does anybody buy big pots anymore?  
Most will be turned into outdoor garden lanterns.  

The shelves are filling.  New ideas...... Spring, new shoots :) 

New bowls....... Altering thrown forms, a challenge! 

And a kiln waiting to be unloaded with new clay tests..... 

a busy few days ........ 

Wednesday, May 14, 2014

Moving along.......

Feels like it's been a month since my last post and it's only been four days.  
Happy to be vertical at 9 p.m....... but not for long! 

We set a record for high temperatures this week and I bet by tomorrow we set a record for rain.  

I walked around the garden this morning.... so much going on! 

The cut leaf peony is blooming.  
The flowers only last a day or two but they are beautiful.  

The front gardens are coming along nicely with lettuce, peas, shallots, 
onions, carrots and strawberries all above soil level.  The lettuce is ready to harvest! 

The back gardens are on too.  More lettuce, bok choi, beets, carrots, kale, radishes, daikon, peas, chard, broccoli, garlic, 10#'s of seed potatoes, spinach, black berries and two new gooseberry bushes. 
The currants already have berries forming. 

The chives are ready to bloom......

Feverfew..... Tancetum Parthenium 'Aureum' 
you don't see it in many gardens but you should, it's a lovely little self seeder that adds a real bright spot in dark areas of the garden.

Even in the rain the buds on the lilac are ready to bloom.

Functional pots have been creeping into my brain so it's time to test two new clay bodies. 
 Standard 211 and Standard 762. 
762 is a white ^6 clay body that is supposed to be excellent for thermal shock.  At ^6 it only has a shrinkage rate of 5%.  Now wondering if any of my glazes will fit on this body.  Stay tuned.... 
I needed a good dark brown stoneware at ^6 so am testing 211 ...... stay tuned on that one too.

I guess I'm watching the birds too much these days ..... 
they're showing up everywhere! 

Fresh off the wheel! 

Mother's Day was very nice this year.  I think I slept through the day, unable to sit or stand very much.  I must be part raccoon...... oh look bright shiny colors, I can walk! 

Thanks Rachael!  
XO! and safe journey back to Benin....... see you in a couple months! 

Saturday, May 10, 2014

Drop'n it like it's hot?......

Drop it like it's hot?  Yup, that would be me..... after three days of cleaning up tree parts and stacking wood I am flat on my back.  Moving slow or not moving at all the past few days, still think I am 25 and not 60!  Felt fine, sat down to throw 25 pounds of new clay body, still felt fine.  End of the session, wiped my hands on a towel and couldn't get up from my throwing stool.  Oh all you potters out there, you know that lower back stab that just takes your breath away, yup. Well, this is yet another road not yet traveled and I am not liking the view!  No sitting!  Walking, standing or laying flat are in order.  Yoga is helping and just plain throwing myself on the floor when that twinge hits.  The slab roller is getting a work out.  

So with all this mov'n slow time I've had time to really watch the birds.  Over the last 25 years I absolutely did projects to make this yard, bird friendly.  
In the last three days I kept a list on who is visiting;  nuthatches, rose breasted grosbeaks, baltimore orioles, blue jays, cardinals, house finches, chickadees, robins, house wrens, white crowned sparrow, white throated sparrow, feisty chipping sparrows, gold finches, juncos, house sparrows, flickers, downy woodpeckers, hairy woodpeckers, pileated woodpeckers, undetermined warblers,  the mockingbird is back and an occasional eastern bluebird.  Nothing earth shattering but really fun! 
I guess it's time to put the hummingbird feeders out.

 The house finch gives the gold finches a run for their money at the feeder! 

 A pair of undetermined warblers enjoying the hot tub.  High entertainment value! 

The voyeur...

I think, a white crowned sparrow...... 

and Neil...... I am making my peace with this guy.  
He has been busy on mole duty.  As a bird lover I am still on the fence over this guy.  
He is allowed out with an adult.  One bird and he is on lock down!  
Moles........ as a gardener, that's a different story.