May 11, 2014

A Walk in the Yard of May

It is the end of the weekend of planting. Seeds and plants are all tucked in their beds and covered with a blanket of straw.
Except that in the early morning, Billy apparently chased a critter through a row of tomato plants into the bush bean seeds, through the cucumber seeds, back around into the middle of the carrot seeds and out through the spinach plants. I saw him through the window, trotting around the fence line with a mass of fur hanging from his mouth and before he could leap through the dog door and deposit said fur on the Persian rug, I ran outside. He was all "la di da, good morning, Mom, nice to see you...." I'm no dummy, I saw enough of this "What, me?" attitude from my children, who at least would have known how to conceal the shards of straw hanging their snouts.  Sure enough, when I peeked into the  open bale of straw, there was a possum too damaged to even play possum.

While surveying the damage (to my seeds, not his possum), I tapped into my awareness of what it must have been like to have been a homesteader (or today's agrarian poor, for that matter). What if I had cared for those seeds for an entire year...what if I were dependent on their yield to feed my family?

I am lucky. I can be back in the garden tomorrow morning, with the extra seeds I have in my new, handy-dandy seedbox that Himself made for me.
So while we're waiting for the sun to rise, come walk through my yard with me. I really love how Grace at Windthread gives wonderfully descriptive names to different parts of her property and even her furniture. I decided to do the same thing...the names were vivid, funny...

... and I can't remember a single one.

 So never mind that. Here is how the onions see my house:

As you can see, the crop of tomato stakes is doing beautifully...
As are the freshly pruned and staked raspberry bushes. 
 I actually remembered to get in there before the real growth started and after watching more You-Tube how-to videos than I think should even exist in the universe (but thank you, all you nice people who feel compelled to take videos of yourselves pulling up dead raspberry canes), I pulled out the old canes and gave the younguns something to lean on. Someone remind me to check at the end of the season if this made a difference in their berry power.

The concord grapes are coming in.
The vines were here when we moved in 18 years ago and most years, I get enough for incredible grape jelly. And after Thing One went to Fancy Culinary School, I even made grape granita (that's the culinary word for a grape slushie). We have to fight off Japanese beetles to keep the leaves, which you need to shade the fruit, and then we have to outrun the yellow jackets to keep the day too late and you have a gorgeous crop of raisins. At this moment, all is so promising. But that's the bitch about gardening, right? Nature is such a tease.

We've got lots of flowers right now. You can tell why its called bleeding heart:
But even with all the Torah study I've had, I don't know why this is called Solomon's Seal:
Before the dogs took over, I used to feed the deer my tulips. Every season, they got a different flavor, till I finally gave up. But one hardy lady survived. Must be what its like to be a very old person who has outlived every one of her friends.
The Great Tulip Fiasco Years taught me to always include extremely hardy specimens in my garden, too.
That concludes our tour...time to go home.


  1. I've been happily nourished, (refer to previous post), have had a feast of "dessert" looking at your garden so wonderfully laid out and very much enjoyed my tour. You have possums, we have ground squirrels here and mighty wind and between the two, our garden is looking quite woeful but we too have extra seeds and hope lives on. Our grape arbor in this rental home is the one bright spot. Last year we harvested and dried grapes to make raisins to send to our grand kids along with raisin bread, raisin cookies, muffins, etc. I'm done with raisins for now. This year my husband wants to make wine with said grapes, says we are in for a very good harvest. Takes me back some 40+ years. We are going to college in a little valley town in California, living in a trailer on a farm, vineyards across the road. We were given the gift of some grapes and Rich made wine and I, 8 months pregnant, stomped the grapes with my bare feet and yes, I did see the grape stomping scene in I Love Lucy...

    Anyway, thanks for this tour Julie and how kind of you to allow for a tea break, your window box sprouting tea pots was just the refresher I needed.

    1. I can just see you in the vat, with your polka dot blouse and your kerchief and hoop earrings. Or was that Ethel?

      You can get rid of ground squirrels with boxers...ours sit up in the trees watching what happens to the possums, the rabbits, a rat and yes, a stray cat. They haven't been down on the ground since 2005.

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  3. My childhood pooch was boxer lab cross, fave dog ever but he did have a murderous attitude towards all animals, huge or tiny.Here is what my book says re solomons seal.As root stock decays... becomes marked with scars bearing resemblnce to official seals. Or more likely,takes name from roots medicinal value in closing or 'sealing' wounds.Wise King Solomon might have prescribed it use."Ladybugs TigerLilies and Wallflowers, A Gardeners Book of Words. " Robert Hendrickson

    1. That is so cool...well, I will watch it through the season till I see the Official Second Temple seal! Thank you!!!!

  4. thank you for your garden tour, so much to see and enjoy! I absolutely adore the fenced off part and all the quirky arrangements, that seedbox is exquisite!!
    I think I would feel very much at home there, it resembles my garden, in so far as there is a blue house and solid objects strategically placed to hide plant disasters (as in rabbits ate the tender seedlings, or seeds failed to sprout due to lack of nursing skills) but that is where the comparison stops, our garden is fast resembling a green jungle - we have sacrificed our garden all for the sake of dyeing;-) I have to be honest and acknowledge your garden is way better organised and I am sure yours yields more edibles than ours will ever do (this is of course speaking entirely from a human being's point of view, in the eyes of our neighbourly snails it's paradise, the bountiful basket overfloweth....)

    1. Yes, but all my fabrics are from a paintbox.

  5. Gosh you & yor good man are such organized gardeners, love the fence & gate, that's brilliant!! who is nesting in the bird palace?

    1. To mangle a phrase, "What do you mean 'WE?'" Himself is indeed a good man, but retreats to his studio whenever he sees the wheelbarrow come out. And it was either a black capped chickadee or a finch, but then the door blew off and she's left without a forwarding address. I rubber-banded the door back on, we will see.

    2. I'm impressed Julie, what a good garden!