Welcome to Growbox Hill

Welcome to Growbox Hill
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Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Ah the fine weather

Ok, so after the chilly scare, all the plants actually look pretty happy :) It's been increasingly warm, and wet, so great muggy weather for the plants.

The gugh weather over the weekend kind of put me into a bit of a funk. That, and an extraordinary amount of neighbor action. So I made myself a pretty housefrock. It's bright aquablue with a white print, totally outlandish. I used a pattern I copied off my sister- it's a vintage from Hawaii, Pattern Pacifica. It's light and airy and bright, just the pick me up I needed.

So today was chasing around, and then some more. Made a couple trips into town because I had to do stuff, and forgot stuff.
Went off to Watervliet to get some herb plants. Rosemary and Sweet Marjoram to replace what was killed off during the winter. And another Lemon Verbena. Three dwarf Munstead Lavender, and an overflowing pot of Roman Chamomile to break up. One large pot of regular Munstead lavender to break up- this one is an older plant that is already starting to show flower spikes- Yep, I will be gathering seed this year for next spring. Decided while I was out to pick up asparagus- totally got myself mixed up on what I thought I recalled were the directions, and went in way the wrong direction. That's ok, that direction happened to take me by the Enchanted Bead, my local bead lady. She is so neat. Got some silver and gold magnetic clasps- the ones she carries are smaller than the ones I currently use, which is rather nice. While I was there we talked plants a bit, and I picked up a couple Provence Blue Lavender.

Yep, the next part of the flower war against ticks is on. Still have tons of marigolds to dig in, but they aren't going to any harm sitting in the pots as they are. Now I got some lavenders to start working with. Gall dang it, I will plant those little fuckers out as much as I can.

And yum, found out where a great local asparagus place is round here. There's several places of course, but this one is supposed to be oober good. Got 10 pounds for 16 bucks. Yep, of course we will be eating some of it fresh, but also yep, I'm going to try some different preservation methods with it. Drying of course, and some pickling, probably some freezing if I can make room in the freezer.

While I was out by my bead lady, we talked about cats.. And yeah, the winky eye booger ick going on with Ocelot for the last few days is indeed probably something that needs vet attention, and not just a random Nova stuck her in the eye kind of thing. So the princess goes in to the doc tomorrow.

Happy Wendsday!

So yeah, took Ocelot in to the vet, and yep, she got kittycat pinkeye- conjunctivitis. She was so not happy about the ride, but I bet she will like it even less to get drops in her eyes twice a day. So far, none of the boys seem to be having any sorts of problems, but I'm watching it. The vet seems to think we caught it early enough that just drops are needed. Just as a random factoid, feline conjunctivitis is one of the few things that can transfer to humans! The vet showed us how to do the drops, and three hours later, her eyes are already looking more runny and open. Of course we will give her the full run of the drops, but with the first dose it's already looking good.

All the back and forth over the last couple days... I may be mistaken, but I think the McSwanums only have one cygnet left. A couple weeks ago, I saw both flying to the northeast, and I thought that must not be good... And I only saw one today, both of them have been keeping it sheltered in the front pond. And I thought I saw a Great Blue Heron today on the land bridge- he wasn't as huge and grey as the Grey from our first year, and not little ones of brown or white that I have seen out here.
And I think we have a second oriole in the yard- the Orchard Oriole. Bigger than a finch, smaller than a Baltimore, and a much deeper rusty chestnut on it's chest.

And it was a preservation day. Had all that asparagus to deal with. Five pounds of it got cut into 1 inch pieces, blanched and shocked, and has been going in the dehydrator for a couple hours now at 135. Figured it out at about a pound a tray.
And did some pickling. Three pounds of asparagus got pickled up- those nice tall pint and a half jars were beautiful for this. Had a pound of brussels sprouts and a head of cauliflower sitting in the fridge, so I made a jar of garlicky sprouts, and three jars of lemony cauliflower.
Found out 7 pint and a half jars take up considerably more volume than 6 pint jars- yeah, no kidding. I didn't even think about it when I filled the kettle, but realized in a hurry once I went to set the basket in the kettle. I dipped out a half gallon of water, and it still was a wet mess all through the processing. But meh, I needed to do a good wipedown of the underside of my stove anyway. It's an electric so it has a liftable hood.

So, a little information about canning...
Right now, I do all of my canning in a boiling water bath. NEVER do heat seal only for canning. That may be fine to start up a jar of refrigerator pickles, but no way for canning. Sooner or later I will own a pressure canner too.
ALWAYS follow the recipes. At least as far as things like brine is concerned. Sure, you can add a couple more cloves of garlic in your pickles, or use a little more or less of whatever berry in a mix for jam... But always stick to the right brine.
FOLLOW TIMES!!! You can almost always step down, like the recipe calls for a 12 oz jar and you are using a 8 oz jar, use the 12 oz time and you are fine. Stepping up is more difficult to adjust, but it can be done within reason.
Always move your chunky shit around. If you got chunky jelly, gently shake the jars while they are cooling and still oven mitt hot to keep redistributing unless you want some layering. Chunky veggies, gently upend the jars for a few moments a couple times while cooling after they are naked hand handleable. Let those spices and juices mingle around.
Cool, set, clean, and label jars with the rings on- but store them with the rings off. Why? Because if you have the rings on, it is possible to have a seal break, then re-seal because the ring is on it. Foodborne pathogen hazard big time. With the rings off, if the seal breaks, the lid will go as it should. And the you also always have rings on hand for more canning.

Time to be off, need to deal with some plants before settling in for the evening...

Saturday, May 25, 2013

A little experimentation goes a long way..

It's Thursday, chilly, crappy, breezy, damp... I could almost think we are back in April again!

So it's been puttering around the house kind of day. Cleaning day.

Decided to try an experiment today- homemade liquid soap. The basic recipe you see out there makes a gallon- and geez, I didn't want to make a gallon. At least not for bath soap on my first experiment. I had a couple bars of really good smelling soap a friend gave me, enough to do a quart of each.
Full batch calls for gallon water, 8 oz soap grated up, and 2 Tablespoons liquid glycerine. Huh, I just so happen to keep that stuff handy, and know how to break that down into a quart batch!
I went and dug out the three quart aluminum pot from the camping gear, dug out my kitchen scale, and a couple of nice recycled 1 quart pump bottles my sister gave me.
Grated up 2 ounces of soap
Added 4 cups water
Added 1 1/2 t glycerine
Heated it over medium heat till everything was totally dissolved. Then it struck me that if I wanted to try two batches, I needed to pour this off... Milwaukee pickle jars to the rescue! After I took the soap off the heat, I added a few drops of food coloring to it so I could tell them apart- the citrus got yellow, the woodsy orange. Now I get to let it sit overnight before I do anything else- it has to coagulate back up. Then tomorrow I'm supposed to bust the gooey mass back up again. It has a lovely pearlesent sheen right now- of course I had to fuck with it and give it a stir now that it's room temp- and I can already tell the orange had some slight massiness going on at the bottom of the jar.

I filled up the nectar feeders and hung them out today. Took pics too, but I'm not sure if I'm happy cuz it's so overcast- I might wait for a sunny day to take pics again. A bit about nectar- hummingbirds and orioles are a bit different but not much...
Oriole feeders have a bit bigger holes to allow the larger beak access to the nectar.
Oriole nectar is a 6:1 ratio of sugar to water
Hummingbird nectar is a 4:1 ratio of sugar to water
3 cups of water + sugar is enough to fill a wine bottle- even overfill it a little. So..
3 cups water+1/2 cup sugar= 1 full bottle of Oriole food
3 cups water+2/3 cup cugar+ 1 full bottle of hummingbird food

I wanted to make sure I put in a tutorial on how I did the bulbs this year so I can find it again easily in the future... This was an experiment gone right :)


Picked up a bunch of tulip, grape hyacinth, and a few irises last fall when they were all on clearance. Tossed them in the Florida room in their shopping bags, and there they sat till next year...
In February I was sorting through things and was like, eeeep! I seriously need to so something with those- wintersowing plans were on. I pulled the bags from the Florida room to the solarium about a week later after I had done some research. I put the bags on the corner ledge and let them adjust to the climate there.
Well, potted up the bulbs on March 19th. When all of the bags were showing budding signs of life, it was time to plant. And all the outdoor earlies were starting to poke up their greens around the yard- daffs, hyacinths, dwarf iris..
I potted them up in the 8 and 10 inch pots with potting soil. I only filled the pots 1/2 full at first. Packed in my bulbs pretty close- the 8 inch pots got 7 each, and the 10 inch got 12-15 each. Then I topped off the pots to about 3/4 full to fill in the bulbs and just barely cover over those tender yellow-green tips. I wanted to give some cup room in the pot so it could be sort of it's own vase in case I had blowouts.
I set them up at first at the south windows in the solarium, then moved them under the central skylight a month later when most of them had a couple inches worth of green showing and displaying daily tilt. Then it was more of a matter of a couple times a week rotating and spacing out to accommodate the greenery spread.
On the first weekend in May, the earliest of them, White Emperor,  was just starting to drop off bloom, the latest of them, Mistress and Leen van der Mark, was just about to pop. All of them had lovely greenery and a bloom or two going on. The Berry and Darwin mixes were in really good spread.
Planted in all the tulips along about 35 feet of fenceline in a shallow 2 foot border, they seem to be doing well there so far, nothing seems to be eating them yet. They were all pretty much leaf blown by the time I set them in. Lost several Shirley and Orange Queen, they didn't like potting too much. I gently broke apart the pots into separate bulbs for the border, and several of them already had babies separating off of them shooting up their own greens.
The grape hyacinths I gave the same treatment for, I packed them into some recycled fresh mushroom bins, about a dozen per bin. And I filled them 3/4 full before nesting in the bulbs and filling the bins flat to the top. They were fully bloomed by a month later, and almost blown by the weekend.
I planted in the bricks of hyacinths into their border at the end of April, I let them dry out a smidge before doing so, and they were all grown into nice solid mass.
The irises, well.. I just crammed them all into pots about half full and covered em up. I was more concerned with the tulips and hyacinths. But 10 out of 14 survived- next time I would pot them all up a bit more nicely.

TGIF!!! Ok, not really, every day feels like living on a resort here.

So I went to my liquid soaps this morning, expecting to see a snotty congealed mass... Well, there was some mass on the bottom, thin soapy water on top. WTF? So I hopped online and checked around, found out some stirring would help considerably- and it did, several times through the day. I'm gonna let them set overnight just because.
Since the soap was a gift, the bottles recycled, and water is from the well, that's just the glycerine- about 5 cents worth maybe- I just got 2 big ass bottles of really nice soap for 5 cents. I picked up a 3.5oz bar of Neutrogena today for 3.30, this will make around 60 oz- a 8.5 oz bottle at the store runs 6-8 bucks. We are currently out of Neutrogena so I figured, hey, why not try this instead?
Had to do some shopping today- sometimes it just has to happen. Restocked all the bird supplies. While refilling the seed feeders. I noticed the jelly pots were all empty- now, that might be due too all the rain and wind the last couple days, but I saw more than enough birds poking at them that I'm pretty sure they helped empty them. As I write right now, there's an Oriole nipping at the lemon curd and apricot jam :) Looks like if we get to collect fruit from the orchard this year, at least a couple jars of jelly will have to get set aside for our feathered friends.
The jars are recycled, the floss was a leftover from a thrift shop bargain bag, used two bamboo skewers, about a penny, and dunno, maybe 25 cents worth of jelly each time I fill them. Not too bad for a whole lot of very enjoyable bird watching.
Haven't seen any activity at the nectar feeders yet- dunno if they don't like it or if they haven't figured it out yet. I haven't seen any activity at the regular humming bird either, though I could have sworn I heard them buzzing around and chittering last week. But even if it's a wash, all of it was recycled or leftover craft stuff and a buck of sugar. 

Since the soap experiment seemed to have gone well, I decided to go ahead and try making scented gel jars. It's basically unflavored gelatin and salt with smell good oils and some food coloring.They are cooling now, can't really tell yet if they are a good thing or not. They smelled great when I was making them, but it's too soon to tell how effective they are- or not. I took 4 pretty bottles my sister gave me and filled them up.

EEEEP! just checked the weather report, and we have a frigging frost advisory tonight, ugh! That means my nice little seedlings probably need some coverage! Good thing I save milk jugs- I just ran out and made caps for all the litter buckets and the vining beans. We had a couple of the disposable collapsable garbage bins lift over, those made caps for the tomatoes- they were too big for the milk jugs. And all those green beans got a floating row cover of white garbage bags. All the seedlings still on coolers go into the solarium. Thank goodness I stuck with my gut and didn't plant in the luffas yet!

And it's Saturday..

Did the final whisking of the liquid soap today and filled the pump bottles, yay! So I made up the Neutrogena liquid soap today. It turned properly milky white like the other tutorials suggest. Stirred it a couple times since this morning, it's still water with pearl swirling around in it.
The gel fresheners smell good close up, and you can tell in a small bathroom if you keep the door closed- Guess I will need to beef up the smell a bit if I make them again. Now we wait and see how long they really last.

Shucked out the corn, and now it's drying in the oven, the corn stock is just going onto it's cooling.

All my little plants survived the frost warning- dunno if it's because it didn't get that cold, they were already hardened off, or my capping them all. I didn't loose any of them on the porch either- I totally forgot about pulling them inside.

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

And away we go :) Picture day!

This morning we got the sand trap filter installed on the well pump- hopefully this will fix our gritty water problem. My love flushed the water heater after, and he said the sediment wasn't too much, a relief.

Since it was all rainy, I was getting worried about the luffas drowning, so I pulled them into the solarium and set them on the ponds edge to drip out a bit. All six pots have nice little plants growing in them, I don't want to risk losing any of them. A couple of them are starting to wind and climb their stakes which thrills me- looks like we might actually be on for the first run of the hops stringing- so long as I keep those luffas alive.
Yesterday I decided my garden wasn't shiny sparkley enough, so I stuck some huge plastic crystals on skewers, and every pot got one. I wanted to get pics of it, but that's when I discovered my camera was dead, so meh, for another day.

Today I dealt with the potted irises. I had picked up several bags on clearance last year when I picked up the clearance hyacinths and tulips. I knew they wouldn't be anything for the wedding, but I did pot them up at the same time because they needed to get going. At the time I only marked the pots with their cards, and they didn't stay attached very well- tape don't stick to the green pots as well as it does to the other pots. I had kind of crammed them all into 4 pots. Well, I was pleased to see that I was getting blades out of three of the pots, so it was time to re-pot them individually. Why re-pot and not into the ground? Since I mixed up the pots, I have no idea whats in them, so I need to grow them out to their first bloom so I know where to put them. Now, they are starting out small enough that I'm not sure that's going to be this year or not. So safely they will stay in pots for now. Originally there were 14 rhizomes, currently there are 8 with blades, and two that were just living roots- the other 4 I tossed back together in a pot though none of them showed signs of life because, hey, you never can tell sometimes.
1 Going My Way
2 Firebreather
4 Devil's Riot
4 Rock Star
3 Fall Fiesta
We shall see what actually blooms out of those :)

Otherwise just a wet day... since the camera is recharged, some pics :)

 This is what kale looks like before drying...
 and after drying.
 This is what it looks like all bagged up :)
 This is what the setup looked like before I started digging tulip border and hauling aged manure around. The buckets are in their preliminary order which of course changed, and I wrote the plant names on the buckets with a sharpie so I wouldn't forget what I planted. The cans and bags are the makings for the tulip border- yes, I glued glass pebbles of different colors to the tops of some of the cans to serve as markers to remind me of what I planted where.
 A bunch of the plants hardening off on the porch. The clear tubs are recycled spinach containers filled with toilet paper rolls holding marigolds. The blue pots are recycled mushroom containers filled with all sorts of veggies and herbs. The metal trays are filled with homemade paper pots, soup cans filled with herbs next to them. In the back left is my tray of Top Crop beans.
 This is what the herb garden was supposed to look like when we had guests. Ah well.
 The first of the containers are set up! The ropes along the top are what I strung on eyehooks to experiment with drop ceiling- the luffas will grow up the side and across the top this year, and perhaps hops will be growing elsewhere on the same premise. 

The printed fruit spikes working nicely with a couple orange halves stuck onto them
This is one of the jelly jars I made the other day. The birds sometimes use the perches, sometimes land on the branch and dip down into the pot.

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Since we last tuned in...

Heh, another beautiful day here at Growbox Hill. Sunny, warm, and breezy.

And the power was out. Apparently around three this morning a wind took out a tree onto lines. My love was up early this morning, and had already called into the power company with an ETA for being back on, and ran up to the gas station to get a big ole cup of coffee for us to share. He so totally rocks. Well, power came back on a little while later, so it was on and about the day.

Got section 2 of the tulips planted in- The Darwin Mix and the Berry Mix. Since there were more of them I dug up 2 fence sections, but once I got the cans set in I had a bit of space left over. No problem, less for me to have to dig up tomorrow. Sprinkled in the Curly Parsley all over them, and gave the whole border a good drink. This time I just ran all the hoses down the yard as far as I could, which was the corner of the pole barn, then used my huge blue wheelbarrow as a well to dip out a few buckets of water. Hopefully I won't have to do that too many times to get the border set in, then Mama N takes it from there.
Discovered we have a few little strawberry plants growing right on the corner of the pole barn. Think I need to encourage those to fill in along the wall as much as possible. I've spotted a small cluster of them in back too, I might try to transplant them.
And ah, the orchard is lovely. The one little tree in the center appears to be dead :( But the cherries have just gone out of bloom and are starting to show little nubs, and WOOT! looks like the peach might be in the same boat! I'm sooo hoping that the peach is able to be rejuvenated. The pear and apples are in full blossom. The Green Gauge Plum is happily putting out leaves :) If the center tree really is dead, I will have to remove it of course- that will leave us with a circle of 9 fruit trees.
Slung some more horse poo. Filled the blue wheelbarrow about 2/3 full. Dunno how much weight that is, but it's about the max that I can push around the yard. Shoveled it all out over the leaf bed I cleared out of the runs and into the end, and watered the whole thing really well. It will get watered in a couple more times before I transplant the beans in. They can wait in the pots for a few days yet, I want to water in the bed as well as possible before planting.
Next I almost filled a black tub with horse poo. Then up to the back door for some topsoil dressing. Whew, the wheelbarrow was much easier to push around. Dressed in the pot, and planted in Mr. Stripey Tomato. Heh, got it over to the runs, and realized testing lifting the tub that it is a two man job. So my love helped me get it into place. Stuck a 4 prong cage all the way in, and we shall see how this goes. I was initially planning on planting in the rows this year. But right now I got the containers and the area clear to try out lots of container gardening now. So I'm going for it. The neighbors were about while I was loading up today, and offered next time they got the front loader out, they can dump horse poo wherever I want it.
I was planning on filling another three litter buckets today, but by the time the tomato was in place, I was all screw it, enough weight training for one day.
And just a note on using manure. The pile that I'm digging from has been aging for over a year. Always use aged manure. If it smells like manure, it hasn't aged enough. It should smell good, like dirt or mud. Yep, sniff that poo to make sure it is right. If you don't, you might fry your plants.

So on to some stretches, AKA weeding. Pulled up the whole outside strip of the herb garden. Next time I mow I'm going to have to drive real slow and careful around the whole edge along there to figure out what exactly is my mowing edge, and what I still need to address. I think I may want to try introducing creeping thyme along that edge. It didn't seem to want to be too naughty of an herb, so dressing it in there might work nicely. Pulled out a large armload of weeds to toss onto the compost pile. The glass border really does look rather nice when everything is cleaned up. In the fall I have to gather up chestnut hulls again for around the redbud tree. I noticed I have some raspberry brambles to clean up as well. I think I will do a second bramble nest around the base.

Weeded out the wee folk garden too. It seems to be a popular spouting place for maple starts, and nope, don't need a cluster of that there. Sad but true. Pulled out quite a bit of small grass clumps too. Since I started leaving in the violets last year and did a good weeding, this wasn't too difficult. The soil all around the solarium is really easy to work with. The next batch of moss I pull off the mother I think will be used to seriously start carpeting in that area. The FOH garden still needs tons of work before trying more major moss there. I am pleased to say that quite a bit of the moss I planted in spring of 2011 after repairing the brick walk now looks mostly like it's been there for ages. The on soil clumps are not dead, but they aren't plush either. Just keeping up with the area now is what is needed most. And I won't be moving the moss too far off from it's mother area by setting it into the wee folk garden, which might help set it in better.

Poked around a bit along the East side of the solarium. We have a few nice clumps of daffs that have faded bloom, and a goodly spot of iris blades coming up. And several small roses. And uck, some wild grape that needs to be eradicated, all mixed in with some rather heavy spots of ditch lillies. Those lillies need to go, thank you. I think I might be able to move the roses back closer to the windows at least, clear out some of the lillies to do so.
Looks entirely possible that we might be getting some semblance of order around this whole corner or the house. Still need to address the maple tree that is growing far too close to the south wall though. I utterly loathe having to kill off a tree, but in this case, it must happen. Best decision now is how to do it. I don't want to level it completely, it it a perfect post where it is.

Planted in the pots outside the great room with Cherry Nasturtium. I forgot about it last night, but early on today I tossed the seed into some warm water and set them out on the railing with a covered breathable container for most of the day. They were already rather large seed and had swelled up considerably during the heat and sun of the day. I'm hoping for a clusterfuck of blossoms to deal with later this season.

Identified a couple birds recently in the yard- White Crowned Sparrow by the feeders, and Killdeer out in the yard. I wasn't sure what the Killdeer was at first, but it's distinctive cry helped me identify it :) As an ucky, the lights popped on late last night and it was a frigging possom in the yard. Ugh. Looks like it's time to start spreading out the you aren't welcome mat.

So Happy Thursday! Another beautiful day to be out in the yard :)

Got the last section of the tulip border in, hooray! Glad that project is done, tearing up the fenceline by hand is no frigging fun. Now I just get to keep my fingers crossed and hope for the best down there other than a couple more waterings between now and next time it rains.
Orange Queen
Banja Luka
Leen Van der Mark
Didn't sprinkle seed in, didn't have anything I particularly wanted to sow in there- yet.

Time for more poo slinging, heh. Got all 6 litter buckets filled and 1 black tub. The plants for the litter buckets aren't ready to transplant yet, but that's ok. Looks like the Alibi Cuke and Bushel Gourd might not pop at all, and that's ok too- I can use those buckets for Patio Tomato instead. I decided to try planting three of the Lemon Boy Tomatos in one tub this time, ringing a four legged tomato cage. They are supposed to be super viney, 6-8 feet, so if it's too unruly, I will drape it over the runs. Why Lemon Boy when that is absolutely on the Seminis/Monsanto born? Because it is a good seed to save for trading. And it's a good experimental tomato to try tri planting with while not sacrificing any good heirloom seeds. Yeah, we will eat them this year, but won't be saving the seed for our own garden next year. One more black tub to go tomorrow, for the Black Krim Tomato. Then I'm done slinging poo for at least a wee bit- we are kind of out of litter buckets, hehehe. But geez, think I've moved over 500 lbs a day for the last three days!
Still have tons of little pots on the porch, mostly languishing brassicas, beets, and carrots. They all look pretty darn unhealthy- I'm not sure if I'm starting the seed to early, or what, but they just don't look all robust and such for planting out. The marigolds are still rather small too.
Scattered in some Blue Boy Bachelor Button and Covent Garden Gypsophila down by Moons grave. I still want to plant in some irises for her, but I figured if I can get some pretty wildflowers to take, that would be nice as well.
All that kind of crapped me out on yard work for the day. Only got in a little more than three hours, but I was starting to feel it by the time I was done. I can't afford to push too hard and hurt myself. I can tell I'm getting into better shape after being a winter sloth though, and that's kind of nice. Been feeling a bit achy by the end of the day, but waking up feeling good. I'd like to keep it that way.
Still not sure what to do about the kind of crispy brassicas. But I think I might try planting in the Golden Beets and the carrots that looks good in the herb garden. I still have a section open, and figure why not use the space to grow something? At this point, we have so much already growing close to the house, I'd rather keep filling in up here for now. Leave the whole row area open to work up however I need to without also having to watch out for plants.

I think some of my ideas about the veggie row and living fence are changing a bit. I might be leaning more to 4x4 boxes instead of 4x8 boxes. I think in the long run, that will end up being the easier setup to use. Last years black plastic run really taught me a lot about my spacing in the area.

I was just wondering earlier today if we would get Baltimore Orioles this year- we didn't last year, maybe due to the weather. What made me wonder was a flash of orange in the orchard. Well just now, I saw a flash of orange in the redbud tree and heard a call- and it was a Baltimore Oriole. I really got a good look at him while he gave a call I could see him moving to- and that was not a robin. We just so happened to have a stray orange sitting around and a couple fruit spikes my love printed up that I "dressed" with some rubber calla lilly petals I got the stems on clearance for ages ago. The big petals helps mark them out. I tried at first with green ones, but those got too lost. Now I'm trying yellow, and so far they pop pretty darn well.
I've also heard the calls of Ruby-throated Hummingbird, haven't seen one yet. Time to set up hummingbird feeders. 

Over the last few days I've been greatly pleased to see a few kinds of friendly bees flying around. Big fat bumbles have been hanging out ever since the first blooms of spring. Some of our local orchard and if I wasn't mistaken, possibly a true honeybee among the blooms of the orchard and lilacs. Of course I've been stuffing my head in and sniffing the blossoms as I've been buzzing by.

Well, that was last week, now it's Monday. Over the weekend, didn't get much done. Filled the last black tub and set a Black Krim into it, transplanted a couple plants that were ready to go into litter buckets, planted a couple short rows of beets and carrots in the herb garden. Mowed the whole yard- I really need to do a tune up on the lawn mower soon.. Got couch for free- one of my buddies moved, and they offered it to me. It's used, yep, but it's rather nice. Heh, while they were here, they moved the huge picnic table under the trees too- wonderful outdoor spot. The back neighbors had said last summer we could slide it back over, that's where it was when they owned the place- it finally got moved, lol. Decided I was tired of digging my pans out of a cabinet, and hung them all up on the wall.

As a bit of house history.. Found out the south neighbor built that house with his father in law in 1969 :). And that the tree planted outside my office window was the last tree grandma planted on the property before she passed away.

Today was supposed to be a rainy errand running sort of day, but instead it turned out to be an overcast and breezy sort of day... And apparently a crafty sort of day.  The Orioles and probably a hummingbird or two already totally emptied the orange I put out, no surprise. So while I was cleaning the hummingbird feeder and making a simple syrup for it, I thought, hey, I should make another hummingbird feeder. And an Oriole nectar feeder too while I'm at it.
So I grabbed a couple short recycled plastic sour cream cream tubs and a couple of wine bottles and had at it. Made holes in the lids for the bottleneck and some holes for birds to eat out of. Then busted out with my myriad of paints and gels and decorated the tops. Red with a ring of yellow around the holes for the hummingbirds, and a couple colors of orange mocked up to look sort of like a large orange slice. Used some old ribbons to tie up the bottles proper for hanging. They are hanging drying right now- I did an outside seal on the bottle, then weighted the tubs with some glass stones so the things hang straight while curing. I figure they are gonna take a goodly couple days to really cure nicely before outdoor use.
That meant I kind of wanted to do something more immediate for feeder action. Still need to pick up oranges and birdseed when I'm in town, but hey. I found out Orioles are supposed to like jelly, particularly orange, but other flavors too. So I made four little jelly feeders out of recycled little glass sample jars- the ones you get a bit of jam or mustard in. Wound a bamboo skewer perch onto each one with leftover embroidery floss, added a wire loop, and filled with sweets. Apricot preserves, raspberry jam, lemon curd, and wiped out the last of the lingonberry jam. I just hung them up a little while ago, so we shall see if birds get interested or not.

Over the weekend my love assembled our new pellet grill/smoker we got gifted with. I baked some cauliflower to toss with garlic roasted beets, grilled the beer brats, then smoked up a 5 pound bag of potatoes. I let the potatoes chill for a day in the fridge, they are now on the dehydrator. They smelled smokey when I cut them up, so maybe that flavor will come through when I cook them up.

So now it's Tuesday, and I really need to publish today... Been tending to ramble on then not publish often enough, hehehe.

We got in some rain last night, actually woke me up- just long enough to think, oh shit, the luffas- but figured they would be ok. They were :) Power went out this morning for no apparent reason, it was much nicer than it was last night. Go figure. But the day turned out to be a fairly fine one.
Had to drain off pretty much all the containers of seedlings. But hey, probably won't have to water for a day or few now :)
Decided that it was time to plant in the rest of the run seedlings. Into their tubs went Fin de Meaux cucumber, Tigger Melon, and Minnesota Midget Melon. Since those were so soaked, they went in easy. Decided to plant in all the beans too, they are all ready for it. Gold Marie, Hutterite soup, Whote Marrow fat, and a whopping 36 Top Crop. Yes, I am hoping on canning some beans this year.
Decided to weed a bit in the FOH garden while the soil was nice and damp. Got a goodly swath done till I saw a tick on my shoulder. Ugh, at that moment it was either really goo up and stay outside, or go clean up and do some indoor stuff- I chose indoor this time.
So I dinked around a bit in the workshop, nothing really worthy of commenting about. The bird nectar feeders are done, just need to burble up some feed :) 

But I'll save that for another post. This one has sprawled quite enough. There's a picture day coming up, I went to take a couple snaps today, but the battery was down. When it's charged I'll load a bunch of pics up :)

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Yay, it's May!

After busting butt for a couple days, it was time for some time off.
Yesterday was all chilly and gloomy- thought it would be perfect weather for the grunt task of busting up the tulip bed- but there was also mist off and on, and the breeze was actually cold. And I was just feeling creaky. So I cleaned up the workshop and a little putter cleaning... Mostly just wanted to be around my love and settled in on the futon down by him and really started busting into a recycling task.
We save our shopping bags, paper and plastic. I do have plans for experimenting with ironing plastic still, however... Poking around in the pole barn I realized I was out of yard twine for stringing up the luffa run. But got lots of bags :) So I sat down and started braiding plastic twine. Just cut bags about an inch wide strips to make big loops, and start braiding, locking on a new loop when you run out of braiding material. Goes pretty fast, already have several yards done up. And kind of nice is it is something to do with your hands while watching TV- you don't really have to watch what you are braiding.

Woke up this morning to find that the seedlings are still hanging in there. We will have to pull all the coolers into the solarium for the weekend- it's dipping down into the 30's overnight, and with wind-chill will feel like freezing temps. No frost advisory yet, but better safe than sorry, right?
So since it was such a craptacular kind of day, I went up to the workshop and worked on the Rosepetal Pavilion. Figured out roof strut action I think, now I'm just mulling on it for a few days. 

So HAPPY MOTHERS DAY!! Mama N decided to be cold for the holiday, heh. We moved the coolers into the solarium yesterday evening- I was thinking of just dropping them into the coolers to ride it out, but nope, solarium is safer. Darn glad I did, we are under a FREEZE warning tonight. Fortunately most of the fruit trees are merely in leaf and not really blossoming yet.
It was a crappy weather day, fine for some shopping. I got to pick out a dishwasher today- I know I've been a good kid about handwashing, but yipes, it will be nice not to have to do so. And erp, it's got sanitation- as in I can sanitize my canning jars in the dishwasher, boo-yah!
While out and about, picked up three more kinds of nasturtium seed, Papaya Cream Mix, Cherry, and Milkmaid. Rather pleased to get Milkmaid back in the collection- the blooms were so lovely last year I was totally bummed that I didn't get any seed :( Since they are a vine variety, I'm going to try to get them to grow in over the arch barrier. The Cherry seeds are HUGE, and since they are shorter, 12-15 inches, I think those will go into the great room pots this year.
While out and about I decided to hit Watervliet and see what they had going on for tomatoes and peppers. They had the toms in singles or quads, I picked up a Black Krim, a Mr. Stripey, a fourpack of Lemon Boy, and a four pack of Patio. I held off on the peppers, they were looking good, but I wasn't positive what I wanted to do.. And my hands were full of tomatoes and freezing, heh.

Tomorrow it starts climbing into warmer weather again, and looks like it might just stay that way for the season :) Which is good, cuz I got a ton of stuff to do!

So tonight I really had to bite the bullet and really cook again, hehehe. I have way too much sour cream on my hands after last weekend, so starting to use that up was priority. Well, I did have one tub of veggie dip I had made on Thurs day, sooo... Did my version on chicken casserole with what was on hand. Turned out pretty good, rich and full of veggies cuz I tossed in a bunch of dried veggie action :)

Monday.... Still pretty chilly, with the promise of sunny and warm to come. Did some errand running, and sat down with some planning of a lot of projects coming up.  I've got bins to fill and growing area to string up. And need to start seriously trim in at least and start weaving up the willows in the sanctuary. Need to plant in all of the tulips along the fenceline.

And yeppers, I've been slagging butt on thank you's after the wedding. There's been a lot to do and some recovery time required. I figure most folks get a week or two of honeymoon time after the wedding, it shouldn't matter that we are living our honeymoon here. We are deeply grateful to everyone coming out, and all the goodly gifts, especially the culinary ones :) A deep and dear treasure to me always will be that everyone was well fed for the whole weekend of our celebration, and we had a whole honeymoon week of awesome food and beverage service in the luxury of our own home :)

Happy Tuesday :)
The sun was shining, it was in the low 70's, with a rather nice breeze. Time to get back out into the yard. Hair up, suit up, and spray down. Heh, I need to make sure I put on some sunblock tomorrow, got some goodly sun on my face and back of my neck today. Dress my hair with clove and lemon to cook up a bit in the sun tomorrow too.
First up was getting some of the tulip border done. After busting up 12 feet of fenceline I decided it would be wiser to break this project up over two to three days, otherwise I will kill myself. Put in the first four cultivars-
White Emperor
I decided to throw all the cilantro into the area- might make for a decent cover crop that isn't too competitive with the tulips, might self sow to establish a bed... And it isn't one of my fave herbs, so having a good bunch and possibly some seed is rather nice, but I don't need boatloads of the stuff- if it dies back and tulips prevail, I won't cry over the loss. I'm not using up quite as many recycled cans as I originally planned- the sections worked out better being just a bit shorter, closer to three feet each. Next section up will be the two kinds of mixed tulips- they were 40 each instead of the 14 the rest of them were, so these two beds will be 6 feet each. Sprinkled with curly leaf parsley.
Second up on the list was doing some pruning in the Sanctuary. Snipped out all the unwanted willow starts, but left a few in the gazebo spot. As I was doing this, I was kind of left not too convinced I wanted to do the willow gazebo project, just wasn't feeling it. So I left a nice trimmed clump of starts in the right spot, they can still make nice bird perches for now anyway. Cleaned up the fenceline too- now there is room for the roses down there to grow again, and a nice wide aisle along that line. While I was at it, the far south neighbor popped by to say hello. Startled the dickens out of me to have someone pop up from the pond side to say hi. He is the sweetest little old thing, wanted to say hi and see how we are enjoying living here, getting out for some spring excercise. Good neighbors are a joy :)
After cleaning up the sanctuary, was walking along the easement drive back towards the pull barn and it struck me that the easement drive line had a lot of little tree bit action that needed to be pruned down too. So I did. Why not since I was wandering that way. Looks much nicer now. I didn't fully clean out the corner, but I trimmed it back a bunch. Still need to bust up some other brush first.
Task three: start filling those kitty litter buckets! We got some excellent seedling action going on, time to pot those puppies up! I lifted over 500 pounds of matured horse poo today. Yeah, seriously. Five 35 pound litter buckets, filled to the top. Lifted once by shovel, once as full bucket into wheelbarrow, once more to unload into the luffa run. Whew, that was a lot! It smelled like good mucky mud, and not any poo or stable or horsey smell at all, so here's hoping it really is mature enough to be planting in. If not, I'm currently frying out the peas and squash.. So, what got put into buckets today.
Little Marvel Pea
Dwarf Grey Sugar Pea
Oneball Summer Squash
Cueball Summer Squash
Small Wonder Spaghetti squash
All three of the vining beans are almost ready to be planted in along fenceposts- Gold Marie, Hutterite Soup, and White Marrowfat.. Top Crop bush is almost ready for planting too- Need to be digging up some more aged manure off the back pile to spread around and mat those leaves in real good.
Finally have seen a stirring bud out of the Long Island Cheese Pumpkin, hooray! I was really really hoping this one might have a viable seed or two for me to grow out. Surprisingly, the Minnesota Midget Melon is also popping. Neither of the cukes and the Tigger melon have done squat- but that's ok, if they don't rather soon, I'll drop in a couple tomatoes I bought into them instead- I picked up Patio, and it only came in a four pack, so this year could be perfect trial run with those if a couple other pots don't work out.
I still have 6 more buckets to go, but those will be split up into three's cuz pushing five across the back lawn was a PITA, I am so not going for 6 right now.

In the herb garden.. This year's catnip pot is looking lush. Past time for me to scatter seed into it's wildspot- I think somewhere along the Fonatno fenceline would be nice. Kind of off to the side, yet still dies back yearly so good to establish where I don't want other stuff growing in forever. The pot of horseradish already looks big enough that I am thinking perhaps it would be wise to transfer it into a bigger container soon. And yep, looks like it's entirely possible that the clearance irises of last fall might still be growing. Now that I have freed up a couple bigger pots from tulips, I can transplant the irises into bigger pots. If it's possible, I want to pot grow them till they bloom so I know what they are before planting them out. Yeah, looks like that may mean till next year, but hey, that's ok.

Tippy and friends: so the kind neighbor shared with me that my assumption that both the swans being on the far pond meant that the babies had hatched! He reported six wee cygnets floating along. Later on in the day I saw at least a couple of them along with the folks on our side. HOORAY for six new baby swans! I'm hopeful that since last year it seems a few survived, that maybe this year a few more will.

So dinner tonight is pretty lazy- I pulled a couple bags of potato leek soup and the last bag of spinach zuppa toscana out of the freezer to heat up and baked up some biacuits for the side. Gonna toss some cheese onto the plate too, yum :)

Thursday, May 9, 2013

Rolling on with spring..


Yeah, just posted the after wedding entry today, but getting stuff done, so next entry is started. We have an overflow of food! I figured yeah, a week of good eating in leftovers- Nope, way more than that. So much so that we are still using coolers to store it, eeep! Evidently more food should have been sent home with folks. It was already packaged up, but ugh, duh me. So what to do?

We had a wonderful roasted turkey for the wedding table. Today I'm burbling up the carcass into turkey stock for the freezer, yum! I really, really love the stockpot I got last Christmas. And time- it takes a while to make stock. Time to come up to a boil, then turn down a bit and simmer for a long time. I tend to let the whole pot reduce down quite a bit, helps concentrate the flavor.

There was some leftover veggie tray action too. Some carrots, broccoli, a few tiny sweet peppers. Shocked them and packed them into a recycled 32 oz pickle jar with dried lemon slices, dill, peppercorn, mustard seed, and bay leaf. It filled the jar perfectly. Made some brine- made too much, but meh, better too much than find out part way through filling the jar that you need to make more. Vinegar, salt, water, and a bit of olive oil. I had forgotten about garlic till I already filled the jar with the dry stuff, so I smashed a couple big cloves and tucked them into the top. Put a slice of lemon over the top to sort of cap it off, and filled it, capped it straight off, and set it aside on the counter to chill down quite a bit, then stuck it into one of the coolers that still had ice in it to chill it down faster. Now it's in the fridge tucked in the back, and in a few weeks that will cure into some yummy fridge pickles- and I don't have to worry about fresh storing it anymore :)

We ended up forgetting about the cukes n cream entirely :( Like I have a big ole bag of whole cukes. I don't feel like it, and I don't think I will get around to doing it for canning them into shelf stable pickles. And I'm not positive they are perfect enough for it. So I am going to try dehydrating them. Apparently it works, but it's a morning to evening kind of watch it sort of thing, so that will happen tomorrow. What the heck am I going to do with dried cukes? Flavor and veggie power. I can chunk them up or powder them up to make dips, add some veg content boost to anything... We shall see how sponge-like it is in rehydration trials. And how much cucumber fills the dehydrator!

Got a ton of pots moved from the solarium to the porch. Perfect sort of day and next several days to start hardening off the seedlings. Did a goodly wandering around the yard, so much to do.

Since my stockpot is huge, I decided to cook the stock overnight. So I turned it down low, capped it off, and left it overnight. This morning I strained out most of the big chunks, and turned the heat up a bit to let it condense down. What started out as a totally full 20 quart pot ended up at about a gallon and a quarter or so of really rich deep stock. I was able to do enough swapping around of coolers, fridge, and what can go into the cellar I now have one big cooler of serious ice slushy chilling the two pitchers of stock.

Set up the dehydrator with the first round of cuke slices. Four and a half medium big cukes filled the trays- oddly enough, I got 9 cukes since that's what fit into the bag. Put them on at 125 at 10 AM, turned them up to 135 at about 4. Then crisp them up till around 8 or so, then jar them up.
OK, so WTF is dried cuke good for, all they are is water, right? Well, get rid of the water, and it's just cuke flavor and some fiber. Grind it up to add to dips, or dressings like ranch, toss into the general veggie soup mix or powder blend.

We had forgotten about a couple bags of little chicken breasts in the bottom of the fridge on Friday. Those got grilled up today, cooled, wrapped, and are now in the freezer. I felt bad about wasting heat cuz the chicken didn't take long.

Ok, so my first estimate was the leftovers would be a nice honeymoon week of eating. With some frugal food preservation tricks, we will be able to enjoy the weekend for weeks if not months to come. Super happiness spread out all over the summer, boo-yah! We will be enjoying our wedding gifts for a while, I'm so grateful that we will taste the joy again and again :)

Why yes, I did go out and get bug spray. @#%^VWE%Y% TICKS... Picked up my usual deep woods off. The store also had a Coleman brand that had more DEET. Yeah, nasty ass shit, I know. But I like to use it on critical points of my clothes. I'm starting with clove oil on my skin points. Since I needed to do that and was doing food and kitchen cleaning today, I didn't want to be crossing who knows what all over the place. Hopefully tomorrow will be clear as promised and now that I'm equipped I can just icky up for the day outside and get stuff done.

Tomorrow it is supposed to be nice, but into the weekend increasingly cooler and overcast. I'm hoping this pattern will have a natural hardening off effect on most of the pots taken out today. But part of the beauty of using the coolers... They make excellent weatherproof tables for hardening off. And for the less hardy plants that can't make it in the overnight chill, just drop them into the coolers overnight, and take them out again in the morning when it's warm again. This weekend if it's supposed to dip into the danger zone, I'm a bit more prepared for it this year than I was last spring, yay.

Pulled out all the wonderful seeds we got as gifts and started sorting them out.


Got all the branch debris cleaned up out of the back yard. Dumped it off down at the firepit and woah, we burned up a lot of scrap! Which is wonderful because now we are caught up to a reasonable amount of wood for a couple fires instead of being a big heap of fire hazard in the Sanctuary :)
Got the whole yard mowed. I was a little bummed that I had mowed last Monday and by Saturday you sort of couldn't tell.
All the little seedlings survived the night! I don't think I lost any, and It really did not look like any critters had disturbed any plants. Prolly cuz they are all packed together on the coolers. I forgot to mist them well this morning, but I remembered earlier this afternoon after baking hours but with enough sun to dry all the foliage decently before nightfall.
Got all 10 litter buckets set up with all the broken earthenware from the polterabend. Between the wave in the bottom of the buckets, and all the smashed bits, gave all the buckets the perfect layer I was hoping for. Yes, I took pics, no I didn't load them up yet, I will later. Now I get to start filling them up a couple at a time between the barn and the run. Good thing I really only have to do this once, lol.
Checked down on the fenceline to see how much of a bitch it will be to start tearing up the strip to put in the tulips, and not too bad. So not looking forward to it with just a fork and garden claw.
But it wont be too bad- I decided to turn a what to do with recycling into the border for the whole thing. All those cans that have been piling up into the bags- well, used most of them up. They will be the border for the tulips. Yep, they will rot in over the course of a year or two, maybe a bit more. But hopefully that's all the time that will be really needed for the tulips to really establish themselves into those areas into a proper mow around area without the cans :) I'm seeding in cilantro and some curly parsley as the grow in around the tulips. Hopefully they will grow in and help keep the other weeds out.
Got the other half of the cukes set up in the dehydrator this morning, those came off and got stored up before bedtime. Tried one as a chip- really really potent cuke flavor!
 Got all the food sorted around, and now all of the coolers are empty. Still got a couple more things that need to be eaten in the next day or two, and a whole heap of cheese. Freezer is just about as full as it was before I started the weekend, lol. I knew I didn't have space for the whole top of the wedding cake that was so thoughtfully peeled off for me. So I took a little plastic container and sort of cut a cupcake out of the center where the two bees were and tucked it into the container.


Well, the day started out a bit slow over coffee. But it was looking beautiful out on what I thought was going to be a total rain day. So I got outside and did some puttering while the weather was good.
Finally got the whole herb bed weeded out. It was something I would have preferred to have gotten done before the wedding, but meh, had to do what I needed to first to get ready for that. So, one whole wheelbarrow of weeds pulled out of the herb garden. The pineapple mint was sort of a pain in the butt cuz of the particular weeds there, and because they had already sent out runners to where I didn't want mint. So that took an extra long time. Sad, both the rosemary's and the creeping thyme are indeed dead, I think the Marjoram is too. But the tarragon is already really healthy, two of the sages are already almost big enough for me to start plucking leaves from.. The variegated sage I  thought died turned out to just be a slow starter buried under all the leaves. And Yay, the french thyme survived. I couldn't find it last fall after I dumped the leaves, but it's still there!
After the weeds were cleared out to the compost pile, I started raking up the cut grass of the back corner, stuff is like hay back there. Got three barrows done in the sun and thought screw this- the main part where the plants are is under a thick carpet, there's enough leaves from last year over the rest. Needed some shade.
So I went and raked off the back patio where the shade was- three wheelbarrows of leaves and some grass to mulch in the divot side of the herb garden. Can't mow there and I want a big patch of something there, so time to start smothering now. By then the sun went behind the clouds- it was like Mama N was giving me some shade and telling me to do that last grass barrow- so I did, and now the whole herb garden is under some grass. Grass is a really fast breaking mulch, but the ground there could use some plant matter build up. And a thick layer helps smother down a couple of the weeds a bit.
It was still nice out, so I decided to keep pushing outside while the pushing was good. Got all the nails in to the four posts at the end of the luffa run. I started off the first six inches with one inch spacing, the next eighteen inches with two inch spacing, then the rest of the way up with three inch spacing. I kept looking at the sky and asking Mama N to just hold off with the rain long enough for me to finish my task. She even let me get a quick shop sweep done of the run before she sent down her warning sprinkle.
 Nice bit of rain so far, good for tamping in the leaf and grass mulches. Moved the plants on the porch so all of them get a good little drinkie.
And oohhh, noticed today at least four irises in three pots have sent up some sort of blades. So I won't be getting them all, but at least I will be getting a couple. Right now it's kind of like excitedly waiting for a present to open- I liked them all so I'm all happy to find out what I actually got.  And now I know better how to treat them if I find some I like on clearance. Which will be likely considering they are one of my favorite garden flowers. The whole oval of the pale purple/blue I transplanted last year are looking really healthy! I bet I will get several blooms this year :) 
The little lilac that is struggling to come back in the FOH garden is producing bud this year :) K pointed it out last weekend that it was happening, today it looks like dark reddish more than purple.

So, I decided to start tinkering around with worm tubs. First thing that was in order was- just how much dicking around and paper consumption is shredding a whole tub of paper for worm bedding? Well, I got an old personal shredder, so not too bad. Only shreds half a tub at a time before it's too hot and wants to cool down. Will prolly take about 10-12 weekly mailers. Depending on how fast the worms are, that might just account for most or all of our non-envelope/newsprint junk mail being recycled into super-compost. I will need to adapt bins before I can proceed with that part of the project.
This time I'm filling it up to make a paper mash. I figure if dry spreads work, and seed tapes work, why not try a whole vat o seed mash?  I was thinking of trouble hill, but I got the seed and timing to try marigold borders. If it works well, you bet your ass I will start working on mash patches for other places in the yard.

But I guess this particular post has probably rambled on long enough...

Monday, May 6, 2013

Fantastic weekend

So, the last couple of days up to the weekend were filled with doing stuff and cleaning stuff... And whew, it was a fantastic weekend!

I did get all the seeds planted up for the hops project on Thursday- I wanted to get those started. Luffas, Top Crop bean, Hutterite Soup Bean, Gold Marie Bean, White Marrowfat bean, all for putting into the ground. Alibi cuke, Fin de Meaux cukes, Little Marvel pea, Sweet Sugar pea, Tigger Melon, Minnesota Midget melon, Bushel gourd, and Long Island Cheese squash for containers.

The weather worked out for us. No rain, and it was nice and warm and sunny all weekend. Mama N decided to bless our union with her golden rays after all :)

Friday was all about putting up the tent, and getting stuff set up inside, people showing up and setting up camping... And yeah, finally got the frosting of my cake done. Then Friday evening, the food started to flow, and the beer started to flow... And good times kicked in. We had a rather respectable bonfire :)
The polterabend was super fun- I know there will be pics coming to us of people smashing china and having a damn fine time doing it. The shards we cleaned up will go into some of the containers so that our luck will be part of our growing for years to come. Hehehe, apparently I was up till three till I was chased off to bed to get some sort of sleep for the big day.

Then the big day!! Woke up a bit hungover, a bit hoarse from all the hooting and hollering the night before, but not too bad. Emotions were high, had a little meltdown at one moment, but heh, what bride doesn't? The cats weren't too thrilled at being locked up in our room, but couldn't risk them getting out.
Everyone looked fantastic! Really a wonderful springtime wedding party. And I felt like a golden goddess of spring in my gorgeous dress. But really, the ceremony is a bit of a blur of happiness and giddy crying, and drowning in the autumnal pools of depthless love of my hubbys eyes. All I could do was just be amazed at how much I love him, and just be so happy I thought my heart would burst.
Then after in the reception line, all of my loved ones being so happy, and so happy for us, it made me want to cry all over again.
Then it was picture time. The magnolia was in full bloom and looking wonderful, badass!! Great backdrop for the pics.
Then it was time for food, and drink, and let the party begin!! Sooooo much food, some of it didn't even get put out! Which was completely perfect, we wanted everyone to bring food to pass and share the joy, and by the spread that was set up, everyone was very joyous indeed! And good, everything was oober yummy. Now we have a overly well stocked fridge to eat through this week- which really is a rather nice wedding present in itself, I don't have to cook for a week :) Well, I do need to make stock from the turkey carcass...
The cake cutting was fun, and hehehe, the certificate signing was funny.
The tree planting was lovely and wonderful. Thought it would just be the few of us doing it- kind of forgot that as the wedding couple, everyone would gather to watch us do everything. But it was truly spiritual, a divine blessing was called down upon that plum and I feel like it settled into the whole fruitfulness of our home in general.
After the tree, it was time to get out of my dress and into something more comfortable- I looked like a goddess, but I didn't have the omnipotent powers of full range movement in the dress, hehehe. Part of the beauty of getting married in your own home is that you have your full wardrobe available to change into.
And we had another rather respectable bonfire, that thing was smouldering a bit the next day, hehehe. But we ended up around the smaller campfire late in the evening, just soaking in the peace and contentment. And just sayin, J makes really yummy burgers... Just sayin :)
My mom knitted up the most beautiful blanket for our bed, her wedding blessing on our union. It is so soft and just stunning, roses as part of the knit pattern.

Sunday was another fine day. A few less of us hanging out, just being mellow. We got a few gifts, which is perfect since we really wanted people to bring a dish to pass. Lots of cards, which is awesome because those will be packed away in the memory box. So over coffee we opened stuff, and were touched by how just... damn nice, and sweet, and thoughtful, and loving everyone is. Not like we didn't already know that but geez, it was just so wonderful.

And now it's Monday. Figured I better make an entry because I now realize that people really do actually read this and by viewer checks since Saturday, people might be interested in how the weekend went. I feel like this entry is too short- it way does not encompass all the awesome and wonderful everything. But if I really went into it, this entry would be waaayyy too long.

Couple of big duh, should have thought of that things...

Didn't think about it folks, but with the several days of warm weather before the wedding, the ticks apparently came out. TICKS!!!!! We kind of realized this on Sunday, when a couple of folks here commented on it. Oh shit, right? So yeah, if you were here this weekend, I guess do a double check for ticks. I'm not sure, but a couple people more knowledgeable than I said they were wood ticks. But ugh, I found one in my hair last night, and my love had to pick it out, and I was freaking, yuck yuck yuck. Hate ticks, good thing I'm working in on marigolds, and damn we need to do chickens soon.

Completely forgot about a guestbook. Totally and utterly. But I do have the invite list and RSVP cards, so I have addresses... And right here, right now..

THANK YOU EVERYONE!!!!! Seriously, I know it was our day and all that jazz, but all of you celebrating with us and gifting us with your love and happiness was really what made this the most incredible weekend. It was our wedding, but it was also kind of our housewarming too- first real shinding we have thrown since moving in. I have so many private thanks to give...

A couple of special thanks that just need to be publicly said...

Thank you Bad Bear! My dress was everything I hoped for. I was truly the Spring Queen joining her Stag King. And words cannot express without getting too personal about everything else. I'll tell ya that personally :)

Thank you Brewer Chuck! Hot damn man, you are excellent. We do have a bit of brew leftover, yay! And as an extra yay, we found one bottle of wine that got lost at the bottom of a cooler. Little happy dance!

Thank you M & J... I don't even know yet what all you guys got on film, but I know it's a crapton already. You two were just perfect. M, years ago you told me this would happen, and you were right.

To all those that blessed our home this weekend, and there were a few of you ;) I wanted to give you all a public thank you, though my thanks really run deeply and privately. You are all incredible.

And just hey to my ladies.. What do we all love??? * *

But now it's time to get up and do stuff again, heh.