Thursday, July 24, 2014

Playing with Snails

I think my kids are obsessed with snails.  For years we’ve been going for walks in our neighborhood, usually the same direction or path (to avoid some random off-leash dogs). One particular block has a lot of retaining walls that are often covered in snails especially during the rainy days. In fact, when they know we are going for a walk, Lily and Jasper yell, “Can we go to the snail wall?”

But if you want to see their obsession in action, come visit on a rainy day after a long hot dry spell. Yesterday after breakfast they both threw on their rain boots and coats and went splashing outside to find snails, because as Lily said with a look of glee (obsession) in her eyes, “On a rainy day there are usually a ton of snails!”

So we went snail hunting and as the three of us discovered them hiding in the strawberry plants and hanging onto the sides of planters or crawling up the trees, Lily and Jasper collected them in their pots. They played with them for almost an hour as the rain poured down on them.

This morning, right after breakfast, Lily was out there playing with them again. Poor snails, they don't stand a chance in our yard.

Sunday, July 20, 2014

Recovering My Garden

Leaving a garden for six weeks in the spring definitely means you’ll come home to lots of work. We sure did!  Aphids, snails, some roses covered in black spot, some roses nearly dead, and not a lot of good growing going on. The broccoli was struggling. The kale didn’t make it, the arugula had already gone to seed and flower; at first glance it seemed like anything thriving in the garden was weeds. Including the six-foot-tall bindweed that had taken over a patch of our backyard. Actually the entire backyard was a tangled up mess of weeds and strawberry plants and my Dahlias trying to bust through. Oh and some random lilac shoots climbing out of the stone planter.

Sunflowers and garlic were thankfully growing strong, and some of my roses, my favorite rugosas and old English rose bush were covered in healthy, lovely scented blooms. Plus there were bunches of strawberries left.  I could come home to roses and strawberries any day.

I tackled some of the smaller tasks first like getting all the weeds out of the raised beds and getting our beans, yellow squash and onions in along with some more arugula, although it’s been so hot and dry for us here that I’m not sure this new crop of arugula will make it either.

Then I got Greg to help me in the backyard where the bindweed had completely covered over the raised beds in back. Ever since we built the beds in front, I’ve halfway ignored the ones in back, sometimes planting flowers or late summer/fall crops, but this year it just looked like a crazy, scary jungle. 

I was so smug when we left Georgia and its KUDZU behind all those years ago. Uhhhgg! Bindweed is my own form of Kudzu! As in, it’s a complete fast growing menace, climbing over and killing everything in its wake, and nearly impossible to eradicate. 

Along with all the other projects we have going on inside our 101-year-old house, we’d like to do something fun after we clean up all the bindweed and rip out the old rotten wood from the beds. Keep your fingers crossed! (Or wave your magic wand for me and magically redo our entire backyard!)