Monday, March 29, 2010

Spring Blooms

Well it almost feels like winter has returned around here, grrrrrr. It’s amazing to me how so many of the plants don’t seem to mind, though. Like the daffodils and tulips which are blooming like crazy around us. I remember the week before Lily was born two years ago, we had a nasty return to winter for a few days then too. All the tulips had bloomed, when out of nowhere we got a really wet snowstorm mixed with a bit of thunder, two things that don’t happen that often around here, let alone at the same time. I have pictures of the tulips covered in snow, but they survived.

All the bulbs in our yard are from the previous owners, but it sure is nice to enjoy all their hard work. Lily especially loves them. When our tulips opened this weekend she was immediately drawn to them and wanted to eat them. We talked about how the bumblebees go inside the flowers and eat/drink from them, but we don’t eat the tulips ourselves. I’m not sure if that bit of information will stick with her or not; I have this feeling I’ll find her out there tasting one any day now.

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Compost and Worms

Lily is totally into the compost these days, compost and worms. Actually I’m pretty sure it has to do with the worms and not the compost or the idea of compost at all. For her it’s about “digging for wormies.” Although, she did head right back to the compost pit the other day, the one without a front, and pick an old gross half decomposed strawberry and put it in her mouth. The kid knows how to develop a great immune system.

When Lily’s GramS was here she went to Cedar Grove Compost here in Everett and picked up two loads of compost for part of the front yard we are turning into garden this year. Lily helped her unload it and dump it into the yard with the big wheelbarrow and her tiny one. She had a ball!

Now every time we go out to play/garden, she gets her wheelbarrow and pushes it around, or she digs in the huge pile of compost still waiting to be planted in. No matter what she’s doing she always wants to dig up worms. I love that she is getting so into the bugs in the garden, especially worms because of their part in the garden.

Here’s the gross part, the part I don’t love, she is alos into exploring how things fit together, AND how they come apart, including worms. She, Greg and I were outside the other day digging and working next to each other. I happened to glance over at Lily, and she is crouched down and stretching a worm out between her two hands. Yuck! I mean that poor worm, she was trying to pull it apart. Besides being totally grossed out, I didn’t know whether to laugh or yell.

I remained calm long enough to nudge Greg so he could see her before I grabbed the worm out of her hands and buried it back in the dirt while saying, “You have to be gentle with the worms, Lily, they’re fragile. We don’t pull them apart.” Needless to say, she quickly dug up another one and when I looked over she was butchering it. And before I could stop her she ripped it in half and said, “Oh, it ripped.” And went on with the digging. Sorry worms!

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Starting Snap Peas

Lily, Greg and I transplanted some snap pea seeds into the ground tonight. We’ve been using more of the front yard for vegetable growing because it really has much better sunlight than the raised beds in back.

I started some snap peas a few weeks ago between two damp paper towels and put them on top of the fridge. I learned this technique last year from Scott Conner who has an awesome gardening show on AM 1090 every Saturday from 10-12 called Gardening in the Northwest. I love his show; I learn something from him every weekend, that is, every weekend I am able to catch the show. I swear he knows everything about gardening out here, and if he doesn’t know something, he’ll find out for you.

You start the pea seeds between two damp paper towels on an old tray or cookie sheet and place it on top of the fridge where it’s nice and warm. The seedlings are stronger this way than if you start them directly in the ground; plus it’s fun to watch them sprout up under the paper towels. The only problem for me is you have to keep them damp; and when they are up on the fridge I tend to forget about them. It takes anywhere from 7 to 20 days, I’ve found, for them to be ready to plant in the ground. They get to be more than an inch tall with almost two sets of sprout leaves and the roots start to go crazy; that’s when you know they are ready for the ground.

Greg made a pea teepee out of bamboo stakes for us, and he took pictures while I poked holes, and Lily put the sprouts into the dirt holes. She got through about six of them before she found it more interesting to pull the seedling apart into many pieces. She’s having fun pulling things apart lately, more on that later.

Saturday, March 6, 2010

Feeding Chickens

Lily has had a busy couple of weeks outside. Her GramS, (Greg’s mom) has been visiting from Michigan. GramS is house sitting for our neighbors’ across the street who have CHICKENS. Lily gets to help feed them and collect the eggs and it’s become her favorite thing to do. Every morning now she wakes up saying, “GramS, go feed chickens.”
These chickens are very well taken care of in their beautiful backyard. In addition to their organic chicken feed, their diet is supplemented by greens from the garden. They have access to the sun and outdoors every day, and nice sturdy coops for sleeping. And their eggs are delicious!
Last fall these neighbors wanted to give us some chickens, which we would eventually like to have, but we decided to wait until we could build them a nice coop and penned-in area in our yard. Unfortunately this seems to have taken a backseat to some other projects around our house that actually need to get finished. But I think in the near future we will have some chickens of our own.