Monthly Archives: May 2013

Garden Snippet: Matteuccia struthiopteris- Ostrich fern

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Ferns?! I adore ferns. Especially this one. In the right conditions the fronds can reach 6 feet in height! How cool would that look in your shade garden? Ferns like to be cool and moist, but will take a little filtered sun. I especially think they would look cool amongst some dark leaved coral bells or epimedium. They are also a common fern in cultivation, and easy to find in your local garden center.

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Catching Up!

Whew! So things have been a bit nutty around here for the last week or so. I spent most of last week freaking out about the Open House at the nursery..that turned into a dismal day worthy of early March. It was cold and raining- some parts of the state even saw snow! So, we decided to try again this Saturday- so far the forecast looks like a great day!

At home I’ve been pony-sitting since Thursday while our landlords are away on vacation. It was so much easier on during my weekend to tend to the barn! But, they come home tomorrow so I’m free of my responsibility after I feed in the morning. We also planted our garden last weekend- just in time for 30 degree weather and high winds :/ I should know better, but the extended forecast showed no sign of cold weather until Thursday..so we spent 3 days covering and uncovering our beds. However, things look alright except for one little tomato plant.

Sunday we went for a nice hike around where we live, we hiked up through the woods and along a stream. We found a patch of Ostrich fern that I promise you was taller than me. A-mazing. I wish that I had had a camera, or a shovel to dig one up and put it in front of the house.

Monday we climbed Mt. Cardigan over in NH. It was about a 45 minute drive, and definitely an easy hike. It took us about an hour to get to the top, which was awesome. It’s got a bald top that is pretty wide, and offers a great view. There is some discrepancy over how long the trail is (and someone forgot to turn on the GPS to get an accurate length..), but it’s somewhere around a mile and a half up.The mt. reaches an elevation of about 3100 ft, so it’s not the tallest mountain we’ve climbed but it was one of the coolest summits; its bare rock due to a forest fire in the mid 1800s.

 

Learning to Stretch a Dollar

Make no mistake, Gabe and I each have roles in our house when it comes to money. He likes to say that HE is the saver and I am the spender..and you will get NO argument from me on that point. I like to shop, and he knew that about me long before we got married. That being said, I’m trying to make the effort to be more frugal. Working on it anyway.

So you already know all about my vegetable garden (see last post- Photo of the Day), well this week we also bought a BJ’s membership and a vacuum sealer. Like total nerds, we went to the grocery store with a notepad and wrote down how much we pay for certain staple items (rice, canned tomatoes, produce, etc.) and then compared them to the price at BJ’s. Now, you have to be prepared to fork over a bit more cash- but it should equal out to some savings. We bought: a big box of salad greens (we eat a lot of salad), chicken thighs, rice, canned tomatoes, tomato paste, cat food, tortilla chips, peanut butter, brown sugar, bread, english muffins, freezer bags, liquid hand soap, granola bars, quinoa… and a few other things. But we spent $170. So, like I said- you have to be prepared to drop some serious cash. On the other hand, those are the type of things that are staples in our house so hopefully we should see a difference in our grocery bill. Obviously this isn’t going to totally replace our weekly shopping, I will still have to venture to Hannaford on occasion (milk, eggs, produce, and whatnot).. so we’ll see where we end up. PLUS once our garden starts producing we will have to buy even less.

The thought of becoming more self sustaining can become addicting. I was just going along with it because Gabe was into it, but its not hard once you get into some type of routine, and we are always looking for ways to further it.

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Garden complete. Instead of plastic pots, this year we planted some of our tomatoes and peppers in bags- the same type you use as reusable grocery bags.

Photo of the Day

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Garden all planted! Tomatoes, peppers (hot and sweet), carrots, greens, basil, oregano, rosemary, peas, green beans, parsely, and cilantro!

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Garden Snippet: Aquilegia vulgaris- colmbine

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I can’t believe I haven’t done this one yet! This, and its rock dwelling, red cousin, are some of my absolute favorite flowers. They love sun, are a huge attraction for butterflies and hummingbirds, and if you tip the flower up its white and yellow in the middle! I’m patiently waiting for the ones at the nursery to open, but with the recent bout of cold weather.. I’m not so sure today will be that day.

Photo of the Day: Jam!

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Made my first batch of strawberry jam today, just sampled it -and its delicious!

Spring is Sprung!

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We are putting together combo pots and baskets at the nursery this week, and I’m just so excited about the bright colors I chose! In real life the small pink flower on the left is BRIGHT pink, but the camera on my Droid kind of sucks, so it got a little washed out. The Africa Daisies in the middle are a new color this year, and I love it.

The trees behind the house and up on the hillsides have all leafed out- for the most part anyway. The ash are slowly coming along, but the maples, oaks, and beech are totally out. I love the chartreuse-y color of new leaves.

What else is new up here on the hill? Our veggie seeds have started to germinate, so far we have peas, kale, radish, spinach and broccoli emerging. We could use some rain though, it has been a chore remembering to water every afternoon. I go to work, I water plants..then I come home and water some more! It will be worth it in the end though 🙂 I have set aside some alyssum and nasturtium for myself at work, its still too early to plant them out, but I want to have them in the beds for companion plants.

I’ve helped the landlady work the ponies a few times now, and I’ve had the opportunity to drive the mini twice; she’s so good and so much fun! It has been both fun and frustrating to help because they are retired and recently got involved with horses, but are “experts” so any time I do something on my own I am challenged. As a perfect example, I was putting tack on the mini to drive her over the weekend, and was told by Mr. KnowItAll that I did it in the wrong order. Now, I have been doing this for YEARS- I am fully capable and aware of how to put driving tack on a horse. So I politely explained why I do it in the order that I do and went on with what I was doing. Its mostly frustrating because I am not comfortable being pushy about things, and am hesitant to say to them “Hey, I have more years of experience doing this then the two of you PUT TOGETHER, so please- just trust me.” But then again, I am living in their cottage so… I just smile and nod.

Anyway, we are looking forward to the continued emergence of spring and the rush of color that is upon us. Also checking out the local hiking, we did a nice hike on Saturday to a place called Holt’s Ledge. It was 2.4 miles round trip, and a pretty decent uphill climb most of the way, but the view was totally worth it! (As is typically the case with those kinds of climbs.)