Posts Tagged ‘plants’

Backyard video tour

The sounds of Squirrels and a slideshow

So this morning on my way to work, the squirrels were running amok. They were tearing up and down the tree trunks, chittering and squabbling. It was comedy. I always enjoy when nature shows its character, the squirrels are one of the more obvious examples because they are so vocal, so acrobatic….

 

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We are starting to get more food from the yard, which is a relief. At the beginning of the spring I was very hopeful. The strange Spring weather hurt our fruit crop, so we got less from the yard than we had hoped for. So now that we are getting food from the yard, we are feeling more grateful. I am able to see the abundance being provided, and my personal faith is reassured. We will be provided for, if we but put our efforts and intentions in a place of creation, abundance and love.

 

It has been very nice out…

Faeries in the Garden!

So recently we have had a bout of lovely weather. Not hot, not cold, just right. We have also been blessed to get rain, loads of it. The gardens are just loving the rain. The plants will take tap water if it is dry, but after a good rain the plants just flourish.

This past week we enjoyed fresh cucumbers, they were (with exception to the one that was one day too old, and had a bitter flavour) so yummy!

The vines are also getting tall enough to climb up the trellis we built. The vines are so pretty with their broad leaves and pretty little yellow flowers. I really do enjoy the way veggies look.

Another pretty vine is butternut squash. The squash plants are all starting to take off. The one pictured to the right has vined its way through the peppers, around the eggplants and in this photo is creeping up on a celery (I think). I love the shape of the leaves on these vines, they are just so pretty!

This is the first time we have grown eggplants. I was pleasantly surprised by the beauty of these plants. The have the prettiest flowers. You can definitely tell that they are a nightshade, the flowers are very similar to potatoes in both shape and colour (although potato flowers do very from white to purple). The eggplant flowers are have larger petals then potatoes, but the pistol is the same shape and colour as potatoes, and well, most nightshades. They are the give away.

I really like the foliage on the eggplants as well. They have a velvety look to them, but are smooth the touch. The eggplants in the big veggie patch have started to fruit. They take a long time to ripen, so it is great to see that we have some babies already. I cannot wait to eat these beauties!

The veggies are not the only plants to appreciate the cool weather and rain, the flowering plants have benefited just as much! To the right you can see our first Cup plant flower of the year. There are a few of these around the yard, but the one at the back, near the asparagus, was the first to flower. We are a big fan of the Cup plant, it attracts beneficial insects, as well as being pretty!

The Bergamot and Chicory are also flowering. Walking by their bed, you can hear the buzz of bugs. It is very neat.

We are planning to harvest the chicory flowers for salads and to candy. Then we will harvest the roots.

At the beginning of the season, we harvested a few of the roots to try. We roasted them and added then to our coffee. I was pleasantly surprised. They kind of smelled like arrowroot cookies. Is that what they are made of? Anyways, we added it to our coffee, and it was very nice.

I guess that is it for now, when the chicken pen and coop are built I will do a full post just on the project. Until, get outside and eat the weeds! They are tasty and nutritious!

A pretty little moth (or butterfly?) resting on a mint.

Bugs, Birds, Fruit and Blooms

There are a few things I wanted to talk about today. So bear with me, I may ramble.

The first subject I wanted to touch on was bugs. I have to say, that over the last few years, my attitude towards bugs has changed dramatically. I used to hate bugs, I would squish them ruthlessly, relishing the crunch and splat noises. Bugs were the enemy and I wanted nothing to do with them. Clearly my opinions, much like my opinion of weeds, has changed.

So, what about bugs? The more I read about plants, the more I like bugs. The more I notice bugs. I am astounded by the variety of bugs I have found in our yarden. From the Stump-stabber (the one in the picture is almost identical, we were not fast enough to get a photo), to bumble bees, beetles and flys.

I really shouldn’t be surprised, after all we are providing habitat and food for these little bugs. In return they pollinate our plants and add to the humus of the soil when they die. One more major bonus is that we have experience minimal “pest” outbreaks. Our yard is a haven for predator insects like ladybugs, stump-stabbers and praying mantis’. It is like watching the nature channel in our back yard.¬†
The bugs also attract and feed birds. This is great for a few reasons. Bird droppings add to soil fertility, not exactly appetizing, but true, and of great benefit. This morning I watched a robin devour a gooseberry and then several bugs.

It was pretty neat to watch the robin, hopping around the garden first eating the berry, then chasing a bug, and devouring it! Nature doing her work.

The next thing I wanted to share, was fruit. I was pleasantly surprised this morning to find that one of our wintergreen plantings was berrying already!  They wont be ready for a few months, but it was very neat to see a small fruit set starting.
The raspberries have been fruiting for weeks. We have gotten easliy half a pint ever second day, plus whatever we eat when we are outside. Our patch of raspberries is doing extremely well this year. Yay!

WE HAVE BLUEBERRIES! I was ecstatic to see that our little blueberry bushes are not only doing much better this year, but that they have fruit! While the amount we have gotten is not significant, it is better than the lack complete lack of fruit last year.

I think this is due to some serious hard work. Since last year we have sheet mulched and added loads of organic matter to the soil. We were doing this before we had a full grasp on the benefits to the soil. By adding diverse mulch we are adding to the available nutrients in the soil, both for soil life and for plants. I think this is the key to productive plants.

I also wanted to show off this beauty of a peach. Growing all alone on the tree (as it turns out we had a large number of aborted blossoms this year, due to the erratic early spring weather). This is the only peach to be borne of the front yard peach tree, doesn’t it look just fabulous? I can’t wait to eat it!

We were lucky enough to have a hand full of peaches take on one of the backyard peaches, sadly no plums or pears, and only a few cherries. I suppose it is good for the trees anyways. One more year to work on growing strong… So its okay.


I also wanted to send a shout out to Katherine V. for the incredible calendula¬† flowers! If it weren’t for her we would be without, she was gracious enough to pick some up for me. They are planted and flowering! I can’t wait to use them!

As a final note today, I want to say thanks to everyone for reading. And here is yet another Slideshow, enjoy!

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Rainy Day Blues, pick me up.

just ignore the clothes line hanging down, we are working on putting up a new pole near the house.

Good Morning everyone!

Sadly it is raining, no pouring here. Looks like we will not be spending much time outside tonight. boo.

Lets look on the bright side, we ate our first strawberries and service berries this week, that is the official sign that the season of abundance is abound, despite the rain.

I need to take a moment to just say how divine it is to eat a sun warmed, just turned red strawberry. It truly makes my taste buds sing. For those of us who take pleasure in good food, this is the experience of a life time. I guess I feel this way about most of our fresh fruit, and vegetables, and herbs….. If you have ever grown your own food, you likely know what I am talking about. Tomatoes taste better fresh off the vine, so do strawberries.

We each enjoyed a few of the pinkest berries on Tuesday, the day was warm enough that the berries turned pink over the course of a few short hours. Our service berries are super tasty as well. These lipstick pink tree berry is not only beautiful when it flowers but it bears pretty lipstick pink berries that taste kind of like raspberry candy, but they are mealy (pulpy, not juicy).

Tuesday was full of little surprises. When I walked out the door, I knew immediately that the Japanese honeysuckle was flowering. This wild bush has elegant white and cream coloured blooms, that fragrance my whole yard. It is a gentle sweetness, it give an air of enchantment to the garden. I guess because it is one more sense that is engulfed in the luscious texture of the garden.

I would like to take an aside, and just say that I always pictured my children growing up appreciating the magic that is inherent in nature. Nature is truly miraculous, I feel it in every cell of my being and I want to be able to convey that awe and joy to my children. I think that we have found a way to do that.

The strawberries and the service berries are just the first two types of berries to ripen. We have a few varieties of raspberries bearing fruit. The photo to the left is a variety that produces small black berries, that are tart, but tasty.

The photo on the right is of the cultivated variety of raspberries. Both varieties are producing heavily and we are expecting to have ripe by the end of next week.

Our blueberries are also producing. Which is a real relief, as last year they didn’t really even flower. I am looking forward to munching on fresh garden blueberries. Someone told me recently that they taste better if you leave them on the bush a few days after they turn blue. I don’t know if I will be able to wait… Just thinking about them gets me excited!

Well, I am getting a bit busy, so I will sign off here. Much Love.

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