Category Archives: Arkansas

Playing in the Rain

In Lieu of Preschool

 

The 80% chance of rain started in early this morning, with dark clouds, wind, rain, and an almost 20 degree drop in temperatures. It only sprinkled on us as my husband and I got the mail, enjoyed our friends at Lunch Bunch, and did a few errands before coming home and starting a comfort beef stew in the crock pot for tonight.

The rain came again as we were settling in. Perfect timing! The forecasters are saying we could get 3 to 5 inches of rain by noon or so tomorrow. We may need a boat! Usually, when we have a good, wet spring, we have a long period of NO rain for a couple of months of the summer, so I’m enjoying every drop we’re getting now.

My husband has come up with a new project –

He ordered a Blu-Ray DVD reader we received today. He wants it to read his collection of DVDs, storing each movie in a special storage drive.  When each has been stored, we’ll sell the DVD. This will eventually free up a lot of our shelving in our entertainment center. He’s started moving stuff around in the office as I type. This rainy day is a good time to get started on the project. I hope he’s happy with the results. My part in this is to add to his spreadsheet of his movies, listing main actor/actress, plus a short synopsis of the movie.

I hope that you have a fun day planned. Stay dry, my friends.

 

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New Plants!

Yesterday I told you I spent the afternoon and early evening planting new plants, mostly on the deck.

We have two of these pretty burgundy wave petunias.

 

 

 

We have these impatiens planted on both sides of the front door.

 

These are electric orange wave petunias. I planted two of these in the planter to the left of the front porch.

 

 

I brought these blue iris in yesterday, since we’re supposed to have lots of rain and possibly severe weather today, tomorrow, and into Saturday.

 

This is the new ground cover I planted in the trio of brick planters between the driveway and the front yard.

 

A pretty purple wave petunia. We have two of these on the deck.

 

This rose is called “Sedona.” We liked the color of the roses a lot, and thought it would be a nice addition to the Rio Samba rose bushes.

 

 

We have two white wave petunia plants on the deck. We’re hoping all of these will spill over the sides of the planters.

 

And, finally, this is the official hummer welcome area. We have two feeders out right now, plus the bird bath. My friend, Carla, told me the hummers are due around the 12th. I’m hoping for sooner…

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Filed under Arkansas, Favorite Things, Gardening, Greenwood

Playing in the Dirt

learningandyearning.com

I’ve decided that, for the past week, I’ve been paying for ‘SOMETHING’ I did wrong – first, the wisdom tooth that needed to be extracted, and just as I’m almost over that, a really bad earache kept me up all night. I tried the heat pad, but that didn’t work. I tried some ear drops, and they didn’t work. I got up at 4:30, found some Sweet Oil and some Advil, got under my comforter in my recliner and read,holding the heat pad to my ear until I was sleepy enough to drop off. My husband came down to find me this morning, still asleep, light on, book and glasses on my chest.

The pain is mostly gone now – I think.

This morning was a really good time for us to test the new-to-us riding lawn mower we bought recently. When we tried it the first time, we found a tire was flat. After testing it carefully, we discovered it had cracks in the sides, so we ordered another one. The second test it ran a little bit, and then stopped. We discovered the clutch wheel was completely sheared off on one side and the gas tank was leaking. We ordered both of those.My husband put those in yesterday. My husband also filled another tire that was flat yesterday. When we checked it this morning, it was still good! We had a little bit of trouble starting it, but we finally did. My husband went around and around and then pointed to me.

YouTube – (ours isn’t NEAR as shiny as this one.)

I’m always intimidated by new stuff. I’m afraid it will bolt, or I’ll do something stupid. I got on, it bolted, but my husband showed me how to slow it down. I mowed the rest of the front lawn and the back, gritting my teeth most of the way. It doesn’t turn quickly, so we’re adapting to that. Our weeds were really high and the mower wasn’t too happy with that, but the yard now looks as if someone cared, sometime. At the end of my turn I came too close to the tarp we have over a pallet of potting soil. The tarp was quickly taken into the blades of the mower. :0(  My husband had to cut it out. Thank goodness, it all came out and things were fine again.

We’re planning to mow again with the level lower after the rains come and go this week and the yard has a chance to dry again. We need to order a starter solenoid now, so it will start more easily, and a new muffler would be nice. Since the model we have is selling at WalMart for $1900+, and we got ours for $400, having to replace some things doesn’t seem that bad.

We rested a bit and then piled into the truck to go to Sharum’s, our local nursery again. Today we bought a replacement rose bush for the Rio Samba that died. This is something completely different. I’ll take pics when we get it planted.

We also bought 7 Wave Petunia plants for the deck. We got purple, burgundy, red, and white. We also brought some plant that has glow-in-the-dark bright neon orange flowers I HAVE to put somewhere. We got two large pots of impatiens for the front porch. I’m going to rest a bit and then get out and get planting! I love this time of year!

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Sharing

The West Australian

Yesterday when our good friend came over to get some help with a toy she had bought for her grandson, I had the wonderful pleasure of filling her hands with some things we had grown when she left.

I gave her a bright yellow iris, a pretty blue iris, and then some goodies from our garden – spinach, romaine lettuce, and red leaf lettuce.

The damage from the hailstorm is gone. We actually found some very small heads of broccoli in the garden! No actual veggies on the cauliflower plants yet. The radishes will be ready to harvest soon. I have one spaghetti squash plant that’s looking good, at least healthy leaf-wise. The onions are progressing. The tomato plants are all looking good.

One of the distinct joys of gardening is sharing with friends. Carla said she was going right home and fixing a salad. :0)

Life is great!

 

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Our Garden is Recovering!

Natural New Age Mum- Little Miss from Gardening for Kids

Not long ago I posted pics of our garden, battered by a hail storm and eaten by ‘someone’ other than us. Happily, the garden seems to be rebounding! We’ve still had too much rain for me to start really trying to combat the insects, but I cut off and cleaned things out, bringing in what was good to eat and composting the rest.

Here are some pictures I took yesterday of the garden –

These are the tomato plants in what we call “the nook” – a planter we built beside the back porch behind the easternmost part of the house. The plants are more protected here from the gusty winds we get, so sometimes, these are the only tomato plants that do well. My husband built some super-sturdy things to which we’ll tie the plants as they grow, since the medium grade tomato cages collapsed with the weight of the plants last year.

 

The is the brick planter to the east of the house that we also converted to be a square foot planter. We now have six tomato plants, planted at three different times, hopefully to expand our tomato eating season.

These are newly transplanted celery plants. I cut the bottoms off celery bought at the store, plopped the bottoms in glasses of water, and put them on the window sill.

These are older celery plants. I have no clue if I’ll actually get celery to eat, but I’m sure having fun trying.

This is the largest spaghetti squash plant, also grown from seed from one I bought and put in soil in a pot on the window sill. Again, who knows if anything will come of it, but I’m like a kid at Christmas…

The romaine lettuce and spinach have rebounded. We’re still enjoying the harvest of broken leaves I gathered after the hailstorm, but the plants seem happy now.

The broccoli and cauliflower plants look pretty good. I don’t know if I’ll actually get much from them. Last year I had good-looking plants, but not much actual broccoli and cauliflower to harvest.

It has lightened up outside now, but the wind is really whipping our tree branches around. The forecast is for scattered showers (80% chance) the rest of the day today and into tomorrow, so I won’t be outside again, probably, until Tuesday, when I hope to get more flowers!

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A Productive Day

We built 3 brick planters to divide the driveway area from the front yard. (Seeing this, you can see what my first job with the power washer will be this year…)

We went to our local nursery because I saw some ground cover that had little blue flowers on it that was gorgeous. I called, and they said they had it! When we got there, though, they only had one, and it was in the same family of ground covers, but wasn’t what we wanted. The lady guided us to another area where they had lots of ground covers. We found Bugleweed, Chocolate Chip. I bought six plants, two for each of the planters. I’m hoping that they will spread, covering as much space as they can in the planters. They have tiny blue flowers with evergreen foliage. When they finish blooming, you just cut off the blooms and the foliage looks good all year round. They’re perennial, too!

 

I spent all afternoon yesterday pulling out huge, lacey-looking vine-y weeds with really sticky, small pods on them. They stuck to my gloves. I then pruned everything so that I could see where I could plant the new ground cover plants. My husband dug out a Rio Samba Rose bush that died. You can see the disturbed dirt area on the right end of the planter. They had already sold the 15 Rio Samba Rose bushes they had, so we’ll look for something else that’s wonderful. (We still have two healthy Rio Samba bushes.)

 

In the center of this picture you can see one of the new Bugleweed plants. You can see the slightly lavender flowers sticking up from the nice dark green foliage. I’m hoping these will be really happy, spreading more each year, so I can just dot some colorful annuals around each year.

We also got four mandevilla plants for the deck. Plants go really quickly here, so my husband said he was afraid these would be gone if we didn’t go ahead and get them. We still hadn’t gotten the old roots out of the planters from last year, so my husband said he would get them out while I worked in the brick planters in the front.

 

We got all red mandevilla this year. Usually we get two different colors, but we’re hoping having four red ones will invite the hummers to come check them out.

 

We have two mandevillas on either side of the deck.

Since it’s wet and rainy today, we can enjoy the feeling of a day well spent yesterday while enjoying glorious peace and quiet – a good day to enjoy a book.

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A Glorious Day

As I walked around the yard a few minutes ago, three of our four furry friends walked with me. (Bambi was inside asleep on his bed.) This is Abby.

 

Our hummingbird bird bath came on automatically as it should this morning with NO LEAKS! Hooray!!!!!!!

 

Camellias are starting to bloom.

 

This is Molly.

 

Rio Samba Rose Bush

 

Smoke and a hydrangea plant.

 

We’re enjoying clumps of blooms like this all around the yard and down one side of the driveway. I had hoped that the dark purple iris and the pale yellow iris would bloom at the same time, but the purple iris is gone before the yellow iris starts to bud.

 

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I Love Iris!

Awhile back I posted some pictures of a glorious new bright yellow iris we got from Nanna’s Garden in Charleston, Arkansas. I love this time of the year because we’re rich in iris! The deep purple iris is pretty well gone, only to be replaced by pale yellow iris and this lavender color.

 

My husband insists these are WHITE. Then, when we talk about it, he says these are white compared to the bright yellow new ones we have…

 

This is a nice blue iris blooming in the iris bed we made for the new ones from Nanna’s Garden.

 

This is the planter for the new iris. My plan is to thin these out, this year or next, to eventually have these all over the yard.

 

These are more of the bright yellow ones, plus some yellow with rust colored centers, plus a peek at some medium purple ones in the center of the picture.

 

These pale yellow iris are all over the yard now. We had so many at one point that, after no one wanted iris, I simply threw down the hill off the edge of the civilized part of the yard. To my amazement, many of them grew!

 

These are the ones I threw off the edge of the part of the yard we mow. (Molly is checking out a lizard as I took this picture.)

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First Spring Harvest – 2017

I spent another couple of hours getting the garden under control, and things are looking a lot better now. I cut off dead stuff, harvested some  broken stuff and leaves that were torn or had bites out of them,  but would still be good to eat. I washed everything carefully in the sink and then patted the leaves. I harvested two gallon bags of lettuce and two of spinach. This is the lettuce I harvested today. It’s mostly romaine.

 

And this is the spinach. I hoping that the roots are good and strong and that the fact I had to harvest way more than I would have normally won’t hurt the plants.  I got a pretty good workout with the 3-1/2 hours of gardening today, and I feel good that I managed to save a lot of what I had to remove from the plants for us to enjoy.

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Filed under Arkansas, DIET!, exercise, Greenwood, Square Foot Gardening - Raised Beds

My Plants are Insulted

No Time for Flash Cards

My poor garden veggies have been/are under triple assault: hail, bugs, and weeds. I just came in from a session of weeding, cutting off broken limbs, harvesting some of the broken/hole-y stuff, pitching the rest. It looks like it will take several sessions to get my plants happy again.

We’ve had a lot of rain (with hail and other severe stuff), then good sun, resulting in all of the problems. I do pretty well for an hour out there, particularly with our new raised beds,  but I think it will take three or four more sessions to catch up. And THEN, guess what! We have more rain forecast for four days next week…

 

 

When you first glance at things, it doesn’t look very  bad.

 

 

The closer you get, though, the more you see.

Here you see a BUNCH of broken tops on the onions. This doesn’t matter as much on onions as it does on other plants.

The spinach has broken leaves, and someone is trying to eat the spinach before we do. I harvested a BUNCH of  broken leaves that will still make good eating, but not ‘pretty.’

This is one of the spaghetti squash plants. You can see the holes in the leaves. I don’t know if that will kill the actual squash trying to grow or not.

The romaine lettuce is basically really healthy, but you can see  broken and/or eaten leaves, plus little bitty weeds that have sprung up in the last couple of days.

Red lettuce leaf isn’t really a ‘pretty’ plant to my eye, but it tastes good IF it doesn’t get beaten down by hail and eaten by bugs…

The celery plants are still alive and kicking! You can again see the teeny tiny weeds, though.

I’ll try to get back out several times today and again tomorrow. The rains aren’t supposed to start until late tomorrow night – and hopefully, we won’t have hail this time…

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Small Setback

Clover Gazette – WordPress.com

We had hail in at least a couple of the thunderstorms a couple of nights ago. The day following was too wet and cold to play out in the garden, so I didn’t bet back to it until yesterday.

The hail did a number on my tender veggie plants. :0(

Many of the leaves on the lettuces and spinach are broken off. I’m going to spend some time this afternoon finishing weeding, but also harvesting some of the sweet, broken leaves. I’m hoping that the roots are still robust and that improving weather will bring them back to full health in a few days or a week.

Fingers crossed.

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Filed under Arkansas, Gardening, Greenwood, Mother Nature, Square Foot Gardening - Raised Beds

Trip Around the Yard

My husband has three clematis plants he’s trying to nurture. This year they seem to be happy. Were walking around the yard this morning and found these.

 

Our purple iris are still blooming nicely in clumps around the yard while yellow iris are just now starting to bloom.

 

These are growing down one side of the driveway. There are a couple more ‘drifts’ further on down, but this is the main one.

 

This is one of our Rio Samba rose bushes. I cut them back harshly this past year because of various problems. I didn’t know whether they would live through my efforts or not. One of them didn’t, but two of them did.

 

 

 

And the pale yellow iris have started.

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Garden Progress

Delightful Childrens’ Books

Isn’t this little guy a cutie?

I can’t believe how much our garden has spurted with growth in just the past few days. Of course, we’ve had a lot of rain and some good sunshine, but I’m still shocked.

 

This is the north side of the garden.

 

And this is the south.

 

This gives you an idea of the whole garden (except for the tomatoes).

 

Spinach

 

This is one of the spaghetti squash I grew from seed on the window sill.

 

Romaine lettuce and spinach.

 

Red leaf lettuce.

 

Radishes

 

Celery plants grown from the ends cut off celery I bought at the store.

I’m really encouraged so far. I’m hoping for a good harvest this year.

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Yellow Iris

This is one of the new iris we bought and planted a couple of years ago. We bought it online from a lady who specializes in growing and selling iris down the road from us in Charleston, Arkansas. Nanna’s Iris Garden

I saw it blooming this morning. It was supposed to rain all day – sometimes with thunderstorms – so I brought it into the house.

 

We have some yellow iris around the yard trying to bloom now, but my husband isn’t impressed with them. He says they’re ‘white,’ because the yellow is pale. This one, he likes! And who wouldn’t?

Happy spring, everyone!

 

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How Does Your Garden Grow?

Rodales Organic Life

 

“Mary, Mary, quite contrary,
How does your garden grow?
With silver bells, and cockle shells,
And pretty maids all in a row.[1]”

 

I’ve liked this rhyme since I was a child, but I no longer garden by it. Now my garden is not only the wonderful square foot gardening, started by Mel Bartholomew, allowing people like us to bypass our awful, rocky ridge line soil, having a chance to enjoy a garden, but now I have a RAISED BED square foot garden.

This lady is hopelessly spoiled now. I can plant, water, weed, and harvest – all without having to bend over double or get up and down endless times off my knees. I have SQUARES of plants now, rather than rows, and the plants seem very happy about it.

 

Our total garden is approximately 25 feet long and 15 feet wide. It’s surrounded by fencing, and then chicken wire around the bottom. We have all kinds of critters roaming around because of living on top of a ridge line, outside the city limits, in a more wooded area, so we have deer, possums, raccoons, rabbits, roadrunners, etc., who need to be kept out of the garden. We have a neon pink surveyors tape around the middle of the fencing to let deer know the garden is there before they run into it.

 

The garden has six 4 foot by 4 foot ‘boxes’ that are 8″ deep on metal support tables. They’re about chest high. We then marked off sections with stretchy string. I had some little bitty weeds trying to get a foothold in the garden yesterday. I weeded the whole thing in about 45 minutes with little effort, other than trying to make sure I got all the ones I could see out.

 

We have our irrigation system on a timer that goes for 5 minutes at 5:00 daily right now. We can change this any time it’s needed.

Last year I had some beautiful broccoli and cauliflower LEAVES, but didn’t get a lot of actual VEGGIES from the plants. I have no clue why. I’m hoping for some good eating this year. I’m also trying to grow celery and spaghetti squash for the first time this year.

So, you see why this lady is spoiled beyond repair now, happy as a clam, playing in my plants, and looking forward to eating romaine lettuce, red leaf lettuce, radishes, spaghetti squash, celery, broccoli, cauliflower, spinach and tomatoes this year!

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Filed under Arkansas, DIET!, Favorite Things, Gardening, Greenwood, Mother Nature, Square Foot Gardening - Raised Beds

Blooming Its Heart Out

My husband came into the kitchen, saying, “You’ve got to take some pictures of the azalea. It’s blooming its heart out.”

 

I particularly love the color of this one. Several others around the yard aren’t doing well, but THIS one is really singing now.

 

In the next planter over, We have big buds on our camellia plant. Every year it tries to give us a really nice display of showy white flowers, but severe weather beats it to a pulp. Maybe this year – although the forecast is for severe weather tonight – we’re southeast of Fort Smith in the orange blob…

I hope you’re having a beautiful day wherever you are.

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Windy – Hopefully Rainy – Day

Robert Doisneau – Pinterest

 

We’re just home from Lunch Bunch and errands – hurrying because we have a 100% chance of wind and rain, possibly severe, from now until sometime tomorrow. We really need the rain – not so much the wind and ‘severe.’ It’s blustery and ominous-looking out there now.

True to form, my husband is out in the shop, oblivious to the weather, loading more bullets, while I’m securing furniture on the deck, tying up wind chimes, etc.  I think we’re as ready as we can be for whatever comes our way. What would be perfect would be a long, soaking rain. We’ll take whatever we get.

Maybe – if I’m lucky – my exercise today will be dancing in the rain! :0)

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“Spring Came Suddenly…”

Henry Wadsworth Longfellow via The Bloomsbury Review via Cathy Ruggiero

I love the photo here, and the quote gives me the most wonderful mental picture. :0)

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Filed under Arkansas, Favorite Quotes, Greenwood, Mother Nature

Break Time Goodies

I took my camera on my way out to see my husband in the shop.

Right now I’m really pleased at the display of twice-blooming deep purple iris we have around the yard. Here are some pictures –

 

 

 

 

 

Here you get a feeling for how they’re blooming much of the way down one side of the driveway. (You can also see the flying pig we made :0)  )

 

Here are a few I cut to bring in today.

 

The orchid my friend, Nora, gave me several years ago is going nuts. I don’t think it has ever bloomed this much. :0)

 

My spinach sprouts on the window sill croaked. :0(    I’ll try again.  Meanwhile, here are the latest celery plant and several spaghetti squash plants ready to transplant into the garden. (The glass on the left is a try at being able to grow romaine lettuce from some bought at the store.

And last, but most important, the reason I went outside in the first place (other than to stretch my legs), is my husband at his reloading station in the shop. I offered him lunch, and he took me up on it.

 

Now that my break is over, I’m back to my ‘important stuff’ list…

 

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A Gazillion Greens

Casa La Strega

This isn’t my photo, but it gives you a glimpse of why I love spring.

We were driving home yesterday from errands. My husband stopped to ask some men what they were working on beside the road. (They were running water to a man’s shop at the top of a hill. ) My husband went on talking about the road work, but all of my senses  were captivated by the rolling hills and valleys at this time of the year.

My spirits lifted as I was unable to count how many different shades of green I was seeing! It was like trying to count hummingbirds. :0)  I stopped at a gazillion…

I felt totally filled by how beautiful the land is between the city of Greenwood and our home about 4 miles outside the square. This time of the year is a feast for the eyes and heart. Soon all will seem to be the same green, with the exception of the evergreens, but now it’s a smorgasbord of greens.

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Playing in the Garden

Delightful Children’s Books

 

I’m very happy that our garden is alive at all right now. Our weather has roller-coastered between hard freezes and a high of 90 today. We also had a timer malfunction on the garden irrigation system, so the plants were really badly overwatered at one point before we figured out the problem and replaced the timer.

 

Now I THINK we’re finished with the hard freezes. Our temperatures are still roller-coaster-y, though. 90 today. 60 tomorrow. 80 the following day….

 

I need to take some sharp scissors to clean up the plants. Some have bad leaves. I did get out a few arrogant weeds today, though. :0)

 

Here you see red lettuce leaves and spinach.

 

As you can see in this, and the next, pictures, some of the celery is doing well. Some has croaked.

 

 

This is the south side of the garden. I’m growing Georgia Sweet Onions in the back, red lettuce and spinach in the middle, and broccoli, cauliflower, and celery in the box closest to you.

 

Romaine lettuce, spinach, broccoli, cauliflower, radishes, and red lettuce in the planters in the north row.

 

Spinach sprouts on the window sill.

 

One celery plant and two spaghetti squash sprouts here.

Hopefully, things will settle down now and my plants can grow in peace.

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Filed under Arkansas, Gardening, Greenwood, Mother Nature, Square Foot Gardening - Raised Beds

Hello, Spring!

source unknown

I just LOVE this! Along with the sentiment, the whole idea of spelling it out with things from nature – with the delicate colors – is  perfect.

I’m not sure what today will bring, but we certainly have the weather for it here in Greenwood, Arkansas. In fact, today’s high will be a huge change, at 88 degrees F.  We might even have to turn on the air conditioner for a bit this afternoon!

My husband and I enjoyed the first cookout of the season last night, grilling steaks. It’s been a long time since we enjoyed one, so it’s hard to describe how DELICIOUS it was. AND, since we don’t eat potatoes as a rule anymore, the baked potatoes tasted especially good, as well.

There was a wonderful breeze as we cooked on the deck. The sun was going down. We had both doggies out with us, having one on the long deck leash and the other running free, then changing them. Both cats visited from time to time, then found something to pounce on in the taller grass along the edge of the ‘civilized’ part of our back yard.  My husband enjoyed some iced tea. I had a cup of coffee.

We were tired, but nicely so. We had changed our truck tires from the snow tires to the regular ones. This is getting to be a harder and harder job for us, but we’re still managing. My husband has decided that this is a matter of pride now, so we’ll probably be trying to do this ourselves for several years from now.

We discussed how wonderful it was that we discovered that Chuck Berry, 90, one of our teenage favorites, was married to the same woman for 68 years. We can hope for some time together yet. :0)

I hope your 1st day of spring is a happy one!

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Wisteria Bloom

We’re having a really nice display this year. My husband has been trying to get the wisteria to go all the way across over the woodpile, and then climb the tree on the other side. I was standing close to the wisteria yesterday so I could breathe deeply and enjoy its glorious smell, when I realized I was seeing some wisteria in the tree on the far side of the main part of the plant! I brought my husband over so that he could see that his efforts are bearing fruit. He was really happy. He doesn’t grin ear to ear often, but he did this time. :0)

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Busy Saturday!

I didn’t even get time to write anything on the blog yesterday we were so busy!

The first thing we did was put the shutter back up that blew down during the storm before last. Yesterday was the first day we’ve had where it wasn’t too windy to be up balancing a 2 foot long shutter on a 2-story ladder. I HATE it when my husband has to do this. I am height challenged in two ways: personally in being too short for a lot of things I want to do; and secondly, I’m afraid to go up a ladder, be on the roof, etc.  I CAN get up there, but I freeze after I do, making me useless.

The holes for the shutters in the brick are wallowed out. I suggested we put the screws in the shutter, hold them on with mollies, then use liquid nails in the holes. We could then screw the screws in as far as they would go and hopefully the liquid nails will harden and hold them in. Amazingly, my husband thought my idea was a good one! We got it finished. No one broke any appendages. We didn’t yell at each other. All is good.

The next big thing we tackled was getting the irrigation system going. We THOUGHT the one to the garden was working, but discovered that the timer for the system died suddenly, and our veggies were being watered continuously. ARRRRRRGH! We got the water shut off, went to Yeager’s and got another time. We programmed it, installed it, and tested it. All is good there, too.

Then we started with the irrigation system that handles watering all the flowers in the planters around the house. We spent at least a couple of hours finding and repairing breaks in the front yard. We had trouble reprogramming the brains of it, which live in the well house, but we THINK we finally got it right. We tested the system in the front, found and fixed more problems, and called it a day.

Another good thing about working in the yard yesterday was that I logged over 7400 steps! That’s amazing for me!!! WOO HOOOO!

We will probably tackle the irrigation system for the back yard today. We’re thinking about changing the tires on the truck this afternoon, from the snow tires to our regular ones. We’ll see how we fare after other have-to’s have been accomplished….

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Filed under Arkansas, Gardening, Greenwood, Housekeeping - Maintenance

Blooms

I love spring, with all the plants coming to life again. As I walk around our yard, the combinations of color really lift my spirits.

This color combination of the forsythia and the wisteria really caught my eye this morning. The daffodils are almost gone now, but so much is happening, it’s hard to be sad about that.

 

Here is one group of our twice-blooming deep purple iris. We’re trying to get these planted all the way down at least one side of the driveway. Since our driveway is about 650 feet, it’ll take us awhile.

 

My husband saw these at the store the other day and picked them up. I planted them in a brick planter right outside the garage so he’ll see them each time we come and go. They are happy looking flowers, aren’t they?

 

There’s a pretty sharp contrast between things that are greening up and the leftovers from the winter.

 

 

 

I’m trying to gather the energy to gather up some of the hundreds of small weed trees our wonderful helper, Shane, cut down for us last fall. I’m thinking I’ll try to gather stuff a little bit each day and see if I can make things look a bit neater…

Happy Spring!

 

 

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How Does Your Garden Grow?

Ashevillage

 

Here is one row of our garden. You can see three ‘boxes’ from front to back tied together by the irrigation system, which is on a timer we can control. Most of the garden is in now.

 

This is the second row of the garden with another three boxes.

I just went over and hugged my husband again, thanking him (1) for the idea of our building a raised garden (when he saw how very hot, tired, and achy I got getting up and down, planting, weeding, and harvesting the garden on the ground), (2) for all the time and energy he spent building and installing the boxes, cutting and welding the support tables that hold up the wooden boxes, designing the irrigation system, (3) for encouraging me to spend what I needed to get – and keep – things going in the garden.

 

I visit the garden at least once a day – covering or uncovering the plants in protecting them from freezes, pulling the weeds that install themselves even up in the air, pulling off dead leaves on the plants, taking pics, and – the best part – when I can actually start harvesting what we’ve grown!

 

I’ve planted Georgia Sweet Onions, Broccoli, Cauliflower, Red Lettuce, Romaine Lettuce, Spinach, Radishes, celery, and spaghetti squash. Probably next month, when the stores have a good selection, I’ll get three tomato plants. In another three weeks, I’ll get three more, making a total of six. We have two brick planters on the east side of the house converted to square foot gardens, filled with Mel’s Mix, ready to receive the plants.

 

We’re off to a good start!

Do you like to grow veggies? I would love to hear from you, comparing notes on how you do it.  I would love to hear about tips you have on getting a healthy crop, suggestions you have so that I can do a better job. I’m a real novice and appreciate all the help I can get. :0)

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Filed under Arkansas, DIET!, Gardening, Greenwood, Square Foot Gardening - Raised Beds

Woodpeckers

We have a woodpecker family in our back yard. We see them running up the power pole in the back, stopping to survey their domain when they get to the top.  We’ve had a larger one and a smaller one around the deck in the past. Today when I was passing the window, I saw two large ones. I’m assuming it was the mother and the father, but I’m not sure. One stood on the top of the feeder and the other was on the end. You can see one of the woodpeckers here. I went to get my camera, but I only had one woodpecker when I came back.

 

 

I think these are beautiful.

 

Here you can see his nice long beak a bit better.

 

 

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Sharing Spring – Take 2

I feel sorry that so many people I know – and even more I don’t know – are having snow and even blizzards this week. My heart goes out to them, even though they might be more used to what I call ‘bad weather,’ and not consider the current weather a huge deal, as I would.  I hope that the blizzard doesn’t cause too much havoc.

Here in Greenwood, Arkansas, I’m like a kid at Christmas, anticipating real spring. We’re having a good taste of it, and for that I’m truly grateful.  I just checked on the garden and it’s still doing well, thank goodness. With these overnight freezes, it’s one day at a time around here.

On the inside, I can’t lay down my well-earned moniker, “Serial Seed Killer,” yet, though here is the latest batch of spinach sprouted from seed. These are in pots made of peat, filled with Mel’s Mix, so if they live, I’ll plant them, pots and all, intact, in the garden. Maybe I can add, “Persistent Planter” to my moniker? My husband describes my efforts as, “Even a dead hog finds an acorn now and then.” :0/

 

Also on my window sill is the orchid my good friend, Nora, gave me a couple or three years ago now. I’ve thought it was dead a couple of times, but kept watering it and keeping it in the sun. Lately it bloomed!

 

 

Meanwhile, things are beginning to green up around here.

 

 

 

Everywhere I look, I see something sprouting. I LOVE this time of year!

Hopefully, once this ‘last gasp’ of winter is over, we can ALL think happy thoughts of renewal.

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The Little Garden that Could…

Conscious Life News

Last night, since we still had a really heavy mist going on, I opted to pretend I was in Florida spraying my plants with water before a freeze. I went out this morning to see if I had to start my garden over because all had frozen or what. Happily enough, my little garden looks like it’s going to be okay. Now we have clear skies and sunshine, meaning our temperatures are much more likely to plummet this evening and the next day, too. I’ll cover things up right before dark tonight and tomorrow night.

My sister-in-law in Charlotte had snow last night and this morning, so I’m trying to send some spring in her direction, plus others in the path of the reminder-it’s-still-winter storm.

 

One of our azalea bushes is budding out and starting to bloom.

 

I cut back our forsythia bush severely last fall, tired of it trying to encroach and cover up everything else in the flower beds. I wasn’t sure it would bloom at all.

 

Our tulip tree’s delicate pink and white blooms are gradually changing to light green leaves.

 

Here you can see the change more easily.

 

Here is some phlox leafing out.

 

And a hydrangea bush.

 

The daffodils are fading, but the deep purple twice-blooming iris is still going strong. We’re beginning to see some we planted beside the driveway.

 

Here is the iris bed of ‘new’ colors of iris we bought and planted recently. I’m hoping that I can thin these out at the end of the season and start planting them in different places around the yard.

If you’re having another blast of winter, I hope this gives you hope. I still have no clue whether our early spring will be cut short by the last gasp of winter, killing everything, so I’m trying to get pictures while I can.

Spring is officially here March 20th!

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Redbuds

The Redbud tree is the state tree of Oklahoma, but we love it here in Arkansas, too.  After a long, drab winter, the sight of redbuds in bloom makes your heart swell.  We are lucky to have several growing on our land. Each year we cut down things around them, trying to give them the best chance of healthy growth we can.  I guess you can buy and plant them, but the only ones I ever see grow wild all over the place.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Our Wisteria is ‘wissing!’

I’m not sure how hardy wisteria is, but I’m hoping ours will make it through this cold spell. It started blooming, (my husband says it’s ‘wissing,’) a couple of days ago. While I was taking pics of the garden, I took some pics around the house that have lifted my spirits –

 

 

 

We have kind of an L-shaped area from the intersection of a row of brick planters and one of the firewood holders we made. We planted the wisteria plant in the end of the planter closest to the woodpile. Over the past few years, as it grows, we keep trying to anchor it so that it will cover all the way over to the driveway.

 

This is a more close-up picture of some of the blooms. I’m hoping this is just the beginning of a really pretty sight in our yard.

 

 

I just love the look and smell of wisteria. I’m really happy that it seems to like the place we planted it.  It’s hard to think anything but happy thoughts when you have the opportunity to look at this.

Happy Spring!

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