Monday, March 16, 2020

So..... What's Everybody Up To?

Hunkered down, out playing in traffic, self quarantine?  

See this guy?  Yup I am married to him, this is his beach office.  He ran off to Florida for a week but just couldn't walk away from the office. Rachael and Kim also flew down from the land of snow, ice and Iditarod racing.  They had a blast.  Abby stayed in Colorado under quarantine.  Turned out to be a sinus infection, phew!   I stayed home, as I am banned from the state of Florida (read past blog posts). I worked in the garden, the studio, started seeds, worked at school and took some grand walks with Kirby. We both had the best vacation ever! 

School is officially closed and all my shows are cancelled for the foreseeable future.  I am unemployed.  Yikes!  Wait, I have always felt unemployed, have always scrambled to make a living, in some weird way I think I will be OK......... if not, leave me my illusions.   The only time I found myself in deep state panic is getting an email from the library; Your library card will expire in 10 days.  Ran over Friday afternoon to find it locked up like Fort Knox.  Jumped on the Facebook page and the director emailed me at 11:30 pm to say she was alerting the main library not to cancel my card.  Then emailed the next morning at 8:30 am that the main library would continue my card until the library was open for business again.  Deep sigh of relief as I don't know what I would do without the library!!! 
Gotta love librarians, one posted her own Meme this week, it's true! 

I am so happy to have a small patch of ground right now, I am finding it hard to stay inside.  It occurred to me I am always off running somewhere; school, shows, galleries, etc.  Enter Corvid-19 and listen to those doors slam!  Now I only need to walk out the back door.  I did nothing in this yard last year, except plant a garden.  No pruning, no compost turning, no cleanup (which is OK because loads of critters over winter in my messy garden)  I was always running, I think the entire 365 days! 

For the first time in years I have time to do what needs to be done and the weather has cooperated this year too!  If there was a foot of snow on the ground I would be stir crazy with bells on but there is green grass!  The more I am out on this little half acre the more my list is growing.  
 Bad news/good news:  the nurseries are still open and there are plants galore!  

time to draw up a new plot plan so I don't buy all the plants! 
(take this along to the nursery; no room, no plant!)

Even though I have been on this plot for 35+ years I am still learning.  When we moved in, there were Ostrich Ferns everywhere, they were growing into the foundations stones and they were 3-4 tall.  They were everywhere. I considered these a pox and ripped them out.  Gave large black garage bags, full to friends, pitched them over the hill, put them in the recycling yard waste bin.  It took years to eradicate the dreaded Ostrich fern from this half acre.  Guess what I bough last week?  Why?  I just found out these are fiddleheads.  They can be sautéed in olive oil and eaten with complete joy or scrambled eggs. 

The last two weeks have been perfect weather for transplanting long established plants to other places in the yard.  Here is the laundry list of this weeks escapades.  
The double file viburnum is history.  It almost killed me, literally!  The root ball ended up being well over 100 pounds but the invasive species is gone and an Elberta Peach tree (dwarf) is in it's place. 

Everything that was in this bed is gone and has been replaced with edibles.  
I have ordered 3 more honey berries to pollinate what is already there.  I also ordered lingonberries.  As a landscaper we planted cotoneaster, a lot of cotoneaster.  The birds like the berries as do the rabbits, not so great for human consumption and considered toxic.  Lingonberries are delicious and can planted in shady areas, especially around azaleas and at the feet of rhododendrons.  Raspberries; 2 Latham, 1 Heritage and 1 jewel (black raspberry)  There is a honey crisp apple I planted last year, a service berry planted 20 years ago, 20 asparagus crowns a stanley plum tree (Italian prune) and a new majestic peach tree to anchor the corner.   I will be filling in with comfrey, digitalis, a few herbs and a peony or two.  I ordered pavement roses for the rose hips, rose hip tea in the winter is packed with vitamin C and it's pretty tasty.  Pavement roses have bigger hips than rosa rugosa.

The compost pile has been an on going project but look at that compost!!  

I am desperately trying to do "no dig" gardening.  I had Hairy Bittercress everywhere!  It was a carpet and starting to bloom.  It is edible and loaded with Vit. C, calcium, magnesium, beta carotene and anti-oxidants.  I added to salad greens and it was great, don't let the name fool you.  The flowers are a bit chewy but the tender leaves are delish!  But when it starts to flower I freak out a bit because the seed heads explode sending the next generation everywhere!   It was gently yanked and put in the compost pile for nitrogen! 

back to spreading compost! 

The rhubarb is emerging!  

The birds are nesting again! 

Speaking of birds...... I had no plans to get baby chicks and instead was going for juveniles but since I will be home I guess I will try my hand at baby chicks.  By the time they feather out I can have the chicken coop redecorated..... maybe?  And how many baby chicks fit in a yellow labs mouth at one time? 

And although I feel like I am plodding along with my little seedlings in the cold frame, compost turned, chicken coop cleaned, pruning done there is still so much to do.  It is a full time job!  

I have only touched the back of the property and haven't even started the immediate gardens or front gardens.  

I staked out an area for a greenhouse, a small green house.  
I need to get my rain barrels hooked up yet and the Spring rains are here! 

maybe there will be time for some kayaking this year!! 

I have inventoried pantries, freezers and basement shelves and I believe we are OK for a few weeks, even a couple months if we have too.  

I bought extra dried beans and rice.  Another few bags of flour for the freezer.  The shelves in the basement are still pretty full although diminished.  But I still have garlic and onions.  Chives are emerging now.  My final trip to the store to pick up a gallon milk to freeze, I found the store shelves full of good food.  Freezer and processed food was gone but I had no trouble finding beans, grains, cans of salmon, tuna or things you had to cook.  We don't have a microwave and I do like to cook.  Outside, the hungry gap is behind us and there are plants to forage at the moment.  

I didn't by hand sanitizer I bought isopropyl alcohol and I have hand cream.  I also bought a gallon of bleach.  

All these projects I have wanted to do over the past few years, now is the time!  I made laundry detergent last weekend and it works absolutely great!  It costs pennies on the dollar and I added my own essential oil, Siberian Fir and no dyes or perfumes! 

I am learning a new crochet stitch called Tunisian crochet, thank you YouTube. 
making new dish clothes from cotton. 

I still have more pruning to get on with so the wood pile will continue to grow.....

Gosh so much going on!  I am embracing the self quarantine edict.  Now I need to work on that guy in the first picture of this blog post.  We went to Home Depot for a few things and had to use the touch screen checkout, EWWWWWW!  He said; let me do it!  I did!  I railed all the way to the van about wearing gloves, not touching your face, how many breeders we had just had contact with.... he said nothing, gets in the van, rips into a bag of potato chips and starts eating.  Horrified I stopped the van and ordered him to walk home!  What is wrong with you?  I'm hungry, they had chips...... 
yes, we are all doomed! 

and the electric fence is on......... 


  1. I looked at the husband and said this is about all of us, ALL OF US. Wash your hands, wash, your hands, wash your hands.....

    1. His company is still open for business, the construction industry; they work outside most days, I wish he could telecommute. He called around lunch today and said most cities and municipalities are closing down. No inspectors, no city planners, no city engineers; work is at a standstill so maybe he will be home and that would be great. Told him I am meeting him at the door with a clean towel, lysol and soap, lots and lots of soap! Meredith, be well and stay clean :)

  2. As of this morning, I have left high risk hubby at home (he, unlike your Butch, is very good at following health advice :)). I am in a ferry lineup as I write this, heading to a city friend's house. She will accompany me tomorrow as we Thelma and Louise it to the Bellingham airport in WA ... no stopping except at the border and then the Alaskan Airlines cargo counter where my pup will be waiting. We will scoop him up and head for home ... under the wire as I suspect US/Canada border closures are imminent (fingers crossed that its not until after tomorrow) Once at home we will all hunker down and hermit ... it's a surreal world right now. I'm happy for you that all your past labours are now bearing fruit! 👏🏻😀 .... B ... xx

    1. Yay for hubby's who follow directions, go Rick!! Ooooooo BRENDA!!!! The wait is over and the puppy is coming!! What a wonderful diversion....... a puppy! Enjoy every minute, I am so excited to hear about this new addition!! Blog Brenda, Blog!! Ha like you will have time LOL! Safe travels and get home quickly!!