Saturday, August 29, 2009


Disaster has struck the garden. I'm 99.9% sure I have late blight. Yesterday was the first day all summer that I didn't go out in the garden. I went out this morning and Mystery Tomato #5 (Regular leaf pink beefsteak seed saved from an unkown tomato) had some splotchy water soaked looking leaves towards the top and some stems turning black. I ripped it out immediately and disposed of it. I've clipped a bunch of leaves from other plants that looked suspicious too. I think it's too much to hope for that the rest of my plants will survive. I saved the 3 large tomatoes from MT5 and they are (hopefully) ripening on the counter. I also picked a Dr. Wyche's Yellow that's just starting to turn, a Green Zebra (just turning), a Golden Queen (all 1st of the season) and another Stupice- pretty prolific, tough skins nice flavor. I went to the farm today to pick up my weekly produce (participating in a CSA this year) all their plants were totally wiped out. She said that tomatoes at the farmers market are going for over $20 for 1/2 peck. That's not good. It's a sad sumer for tomtatoes.

I'm hanging onto what I can and praying a lot. So far this year I've had production from Stupice, Silvery Fir Tree (nice flavor,thick-ish skin), Super Sioux, MT2 (saved seed from unknown tomato), Black Krim, Golden Queen, Black Cherry and Garden Peach. MT2 has produced 2 fruit so far (see bottom pic). It's a yellow regular leaf with a pink-ish starburst on the flower end. The pink-ish runs through the center of the tomato. It was a nice mild yellow (not bland but quite mild) with an unobtrusive skin, it weighed in at 5.6oz. Top is a picture of my first Black Krim -or Heaven on a Plate-as I like to call it. I have no idea why the picture is sideways I can't figure out how to fix it. This weighed in at 5oz. even, best tomato I've ever eaten. I accidentally started double the amout of BK's I wanted this year so I gave a TON away. My mom got her first (cat faced) BK this week. It was love at first taste. I gave one to a co-worker who raised hers in containers. She lost the labels but said she had a dark one that was really sour (by process of elimination it's probably BK). I don't think her palate is very refined -for reasons I won't go into here- so I'll take that review with a grain of salt. Also, she uses Miracle Gro (ugh!). Needless to say she probably won't be getting plants from me next year...

I ate a Garden Peach yesterday. It has a nice flavor but the skin is way too thick. I don't think I'll be growing that one again, I grew it last year and was on the fence about growing it again this year. It is a heavy producer but with limited space....

I transplanted Silvery Fir Tree from a hanging container where it wasn't happy to a really really large pot. I think I freaked it out because it totally stopped producing and the leaves are changing colors like it's fall. The black cherry (the only plant I didn't start from seed) has early blight pretty bad and is spreading it to Jaune Flamme. I have had really bad luck at the nursery where I got it -disease wise-I got dahlias from them last year that totally succumbed to powdery mildew within days of bringing them home. Their plants always look heat stressed I don't know why I go there. I won't be buying from them again but I did save the seed from BC so I can try it again next year.

Oh yeah, I decided to make mozarella cheese for the first time today just to see if I could. I can. It wasn't that hard and it's really cheap. Insalata Caprese here I come!

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Happy Dance!!!!!!

Someone on one of my tomato forums is downsizing his gardens and generously offered to send out his extra tomato seeds for the dirt cheap price of a self addressed stamped envelope (!) How excited was I? Well, they arrived today and this is what he sent me:
William's Striped- a red and yellow variety with the distinction of being striped both inside and out. Seeds to this variety had been saved in a pill bottle by an elderly neighbor of Georgia and Rene Edmonds (Glensdale, KY). The neighbor couldn't recollect why or when the seeds had been saved. However, the Emonds started some seedlings, grew and plants and passed along some seeds to Merlyn Niedens. Niedens entered 'William Striped' into the 2005 Heirloom Garden show, where it was named favorite of tomatoes that year. 85 days
Black Mountain says: Pink beefsteak. Indeterminate. Regular leaf foliage. An antique tomato now quite rare, it produces huge pink fruits with dense flesh and wonderful full-tomato flavor. The seeds were taken from a tomato plant found growing on an abandoned homestead in Harlan County, Kentucky. Exceptional flavor. 85 days.
Earl's describes as: Pink beefsteak. Indeterminate. Potato leaf foliage. 80 days. Prize winning flavor from our friend Earl Cadenhead. Delicious rich flavor and smooth meaty texture combine to make this one of our favorite varieties. Earl grew it thinking it was Brandywine but it bears many more fruits than Brandywine and the tomatoes are bigger and less oblate.
Black from describes Black from Tula as a Russian variety of black tomato that hails from the city of Tula in Western Russia. Black From Tula gives a good yield of 12 to 14 ounce beefsteak tomatoes of a dusky brown to a rich black that possess a unique, rich smoky taste. Black Tula was once a widely offered tomato variety, but is now becoming rare. Indeterminate. Matures in 75 days
Reif Red says: From J. Reif in PA, who got the seeds from an elderly Italian man. Big vines with wispy leaves producing lots of beautiful red, 10-12 oz., heart-shaped fruits. Meaty & very flavorful. 75 days
Cowlicks Brandywine- not comercially available. Potato leaf. From Mike Henry (Camochef) in Gettysburgh, PA who bought a plant from a local Nursery named Cowlicks, a few years back. It was labeled simply Brandywine or Pink Brandywine. He had others from maybe a half dozen nursuries that year. This one outperformed them all. It produced more tomatoes, ripened earlier, produced much longer, tasted much better, and on a whole they were larger and prettier. (the whole story is here:

Thank you Larry!

Sunday, August 16, 2009


Yay! The tomatoes are here!!! Stupice and Silvery Fir were neck and neck coming in earlier this week (around the 12th). I think Silvery Fir (pictured) won by a nose. It's not raining tomatoes yet but they are starting to trickle in. So far I have harvested 3 SF and 2 Stupice as well as 1 Black Cherry. My SIL came up from MD last weekend and brought me some Jaune Flamme from plants I had started and given to her. They tasted great-starting sweet with a tomato finish- but the skins were very thick. I'll cut them some slack since she probably picked them Wed night/thurs a.m. and I didn't eat them until Monday. I didn't take notes on the SF and Stupice, I just ate them right up! As you can see from the photo, I almost cut int SF before I took the picture! The black cherry from today was excellent. I'm not big on cherry tomatoes but this one tasted like a mini full sized tomato. The JF's weighed in at 1,1.2 and 2.1 oz. pretty small. Forgot to write down the weight of SF and Stupice and didn't weigh or take a picture of BC. I've got a good number of green tomatoes in the garden some are a very respectable size but nothing is turning yet. I suspect Green Zebra, Dr. Wyche and Super Sioux will be coming soon as well as MT2 and MT5 based on their current sizes. Fingers are still crossed against the late blight.

Monday, July 27, 2009


It looks like my tomatoes are ok (knock on wood). Black Krim was the subject of my ammonia experiment and that seems to be what the problem was. Brandywine looks fine. I keep checking them everyday. I retied a bunch yesterday to improve circulation and I'm debating whether or not I should prune- I'm on the fence. I've never pruned before and I doubt it will help if the blight decides to darken my door.
I put a lawn chair in the veggie garden yesterday and spent a nice afternoon reading and watching the bees (and squirting slugs with ammonia).

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Late Blight?

Crap. I may have found late blight on my Brandywine tomato plant today. The weather has been pretty wet and cloudy this season and although I started my plants from seed there are a lot of other gardens in the neighborhood and I'm pretty sure most people buy their plants-some from the big box stores. Last week I retied all the plants to try to get more air circulation between the plants and I try to check my tomatoes everyday. noticed this leaf today. I pulled it off (along with the other branches on the bottom part of that plant) and am scouring the net for pictures.
The reason I'm not sure is that I found a slug on the same plant yesterday and I sprayed it with ammonia, I'm sure I got some on the leaves and I'm wondering if it's a burn mark. I only have really tiny green fruit on the plant now and they look fine.
I just read this description of late blight: "The disease creates coin-sized black or dark green lesions on the leaves and fruit of plants, surrounded by halos of white spores. Spots also appear on the plants’ stems"
Coin-sized? No. Black or dark green lesions on the leaves?Yes. Surrounded by halos of white spores?No. Spots on the stems? No.
I think what I'm going to do is get a healthly leaf tomorrow morning and spray it with ammonia and keep a close watch on the plant too. And pray.

Sunday, June 14, 2009

This Eastern Tiger Swallowtail has been hanging around here for about a month. My little 6 year old neighbor calls it the "Big yellow butterfly" she's tried to catch it but it's pretty elusive. I'm not sure what kind of bush it's sitting on, it was planted by the previous owners it has tiny pink flowers in the spring.

Heritage bloomed yesterday, Eden will go any day now. Something keeps nibbling off my Captain Sam buds but seems to be steering clear of Eden and Clotilde Soupert. Winchester Cathedral is still going strong despite being noshed on by rose slugs. Same with the Fairy blooming despite the rose slugs.

I finished planting the garden today. Starting seeds for the cukes and squash was a disaster. I dropped the tray and ended up with a lot of soil mixed with seeds. I have one questionable plant: cucumber, zucchini, yellow squash? I guess we'll have to wait and see. I decided to direct sow instead of buying plants. I also ds bush beans. The pole beans I planted last week are starting to poke throught the soil. The cosmos seeds I scattered around are also coming up.

Thursday, June 11, 2009


I've been a lame blogger but a busy gardener lately. I guess it's better to garden than to blog about it and not actually do it. I caught Winter Sowing fever and have planted a ton of containers. I have planted out most of the annuals. I am still starting new containers of perennials.
Most of the veggie garden is in, I still have 1 quadrant to go-squash and cucumbers. The pea fence is totally jacked up and the peas are grabbing onto the garden fence making the pea fence swing at an almost 45' angle. Nice. The lettuce is looking really good. Not a lot of slugs this year (knock on wood) I don't know if it's because I've been so ruthless with them in the past or if it's just too early. I've caught a few so far this year- maybe 4 or 5. The squirrels got my early tomato-I'm pissed! I rescued a tomato plant last fall that I had found growing up between a crack in the sidewalk and a wall downtown. I nursed it through the winter and it rewarded me with flowers a few weeks ago. I came home yesterday and something had ripped the top of the plant off. I stuck it in water and left it outside. Today something took a huge bite out of the tomato. Damn squirrels. What's left of the plant seems to be doing fine. My Silvery Fir Tree plants that I started from seed have buds on them. I'm very excited!
My first rose bloomed this week: Winchester Cathedral (6/7) it beat out Eden, Heritage and Sweet Promise. Some weren't included in the race: Captain Sam got moved so he had a set back, Gruss an Aachen got clobbered first by me then by my nephew before I put a cage around it. Distant Drums got clobbered by the dog before it got a cage. Capain Sam was moved to outside the fence so Bodie can't disturb him anymore-unfortunately now, the deer can- some buds are mysteriously missing....hmm.... Eden and Heritage will probably pop within the next day or two. I planted out all the roses I rooted from cuttings last year except Thor. Thor got clobbered (in the pot) too by my DH, Bodie and me. Poor thing! I put it in a dappled shady area hoping it will recover and will grow more roots and I will plant it out later or even next year if it makes it. The Fairy that I started from cuttings is blooming too. I didn't count that in the race because it spent a nice cushy winter indoors. I've had a problem with sawfly larvae (I think) little green worms skeletonizing my leaves. I'll have to remember next year to be more vigilant and try to pick them off early. It's hard- they're sneaky. I heard wrens like to eat them so I think I'll get a wren house too. I also have to remember to put cages around the smaller roses to keep them from being clobbered.
I scored big time free plants this week- free always makes me happy. Co-worker Cathy invited me over to her house for U-dig ferns, blackeyed susan and daylillies. I got a bunch and she told me to come back anytime for more. She bought a house previously owned by a master gardener. With 2 active teenagers she doesn't have time to keep up with the gardens so she shares with everybody she can think of. Nice!
I need to move the Allium mollis from the front of the house (in the shade- not happy- previous owners put it there) I think I'll put them in the new rose bed with Russelliana, Clotilde Soupert and Capt. Sam. I also have some dwarf sage planted there, ws nigella and candy tuft from my sister's "garden"(she gardens like my mom-what ever survives is her garden). Other new garden bed needs more topsoil. Garden store is having a sale this weekend- 40# bags for $2. Once I get that straightened out I'll put in some of the blackeyed susan and some of the ws stuff- clarkia, sweet william, bells of ireland. I think my ws lupines would be ok going in too- they grew like gang busters-they won't bloom this year but it gives me something to look forward too! She said the daylilies are orange so I think I'll put them in the bed by the deck-I'm not loving the mental picture of Eden roses and orange daylilies-yuck. I pulled almost everything out of the deck bed but the roses and the monarda and re plateded it in other places. We need to come up with a Bodie barrier for the underside of the deck, level the area off (lot's of Bodie pot holes) then replant stuff. The ferns are going where the alliums are being dug up. I need to make sure they don't crowd out the columbine. My columbine isn't blooming, I don't know if it's too early or the spot is too shady.
The clematis on the mailbox looks great this year. I'll have to look at my notes, I can't remember the name. I meant to take a picture but didn't get around to it and the petals are starting to blow off. The one on the light post looks gorgeous too-kind of. I get confused about pruning and I didn't prune that one last year and now it's all straggly-skinny on the bottom and top heavy with blooms and leaves. It looks drunk. I can't remember what kind that one is either. I have it written down somewhere.
What's blooming now: Roses, allium mollis, tradescantia, Peonies, chives, Salvia, yarrow, clematis, bleeding heart, weigala, thyme

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Helllllooooo Ladies!

The new roses have arrived! I had a nice little package on the stoop when I got home today-it was like Christmas all over again! They were all neatly packed in damp newspaper and arrived in great condition. I'm going to Syracuse later this week where my friend Renee has a freezer full of fish heads and guts that she'll give me to put under the roses. My lovely husband thinks I'm nuts.

I decided to take the plunge with Winter Sowing after some encouraging words from Catherine at gardnerprogress. I read up on how the whole thing works and figured it might not be too late to do a little this year. I got a bunch of milk jugs that I was saving for the Early Tomato Experiment (that's kind of gone by the wayside) and 2 plastic tubs from BigLots. Drilled holes, made labels, got some more soil at HD. I went with Alyssum, Foxgloves, Cosmos, sunflower, chamomile, nigella and coleus. I also finally got the delphinum pots out of the tupperware container in the fridge and put them in a milk jug. Everything is sitting out on the back deck. I wrapped the heck out of everything with tape-we've got psycho squirrels in the neighborhood and I didn't want to give them an easy target. I did all of this on Saturday-by Monday the Alyssum was starting to sprout-CRAZY!

I also started on my trenching project on Saturday. I got a nice flat, square shovel from Bristol's Nursery- it's a Fiskar's "the Best Shovel Ever" or something like that (late Birthday present from DH). I have to say it's quite nifty. The Y shaped handle is very comfortable and there are little treds on the top of the shovel part for me to jump on to get it to go deeper in the soil. I had read somewhere that Victorian Trenches are very labor intensive and not for the faint of heart... blah blah blah. Whoever wrote that was kind of a whiner. It's really not that bad. I did the beds on the West and South side of the house in a few hours. I think the key is to do it when the soil is nice and damp but not frozen. I can't imagine it would be a lot of fun to do in July when the ground is hard as a rock. Or in January when it is hard as a rock for a different reason.

Tomato Update: I think97 is the final count for the tomato plants. I'm sending out emails to friends asking them if they want any. I sent some down to my SIL in MD along with some Grandpa Otts Morning Glories that I started from seed saved from my house in NC and a rose bush that I propagated from a cutting last summer. I need to take it easy with the tomatoes next year.
I saw a tulip this week- woo hoo!

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Winter and Spring Battle it out

What a wild week! I had to go to Connecticut last week for work- rumor has it we had beautiful weather here while I was gone. I came back late Thursday night: the lawns had turned green and I saw my first Daffodil on Friday (4/3). Then the winds picked up the temperature dropped and on Saturday we had rain/sleet/snow and back again. Sunday was nice: sunny and in the 50's then the wind picked up and I woke up at 1:30am Monday morning and everything was covered in snow! We got about 2-3 inches, it snowed all day but it warmed up enough that it didn't stick to the roads and it kind of melted. Today it snowed a little bit but everything has melted.

The forsythia is about ready to bloom. Scilla siberica the little blue star-like flowers are blooming on people's lawns. I think they are beautiful- probably my favorite early spring flower. I have one in the side yard. I think he needs some friends! I potted up some more tomato seedlings today. I have 50+ and still potting. I have to take inventory of what I have and who wants what. 10 are going to my pottery instructor. I have his picked out already and put them in their own tray. I need to save some for my nieces and nephews and a coworker or two and my friend Patti in Ithaca. I don't know what I'm going to do with the rest. NOTE TO SELF: Tomatoes have an excellent germination rate- don't plant more than needed next year!

Pretty much everything I have started from seed has sprouted except the 4 o'clocks (old seed, not properly stored) and the cilantro (used seed from my kitchen cabinet-I thought I'd take as stab at it!) and my pepper "Cherneva chuska" or something like that. The pepper seed is new this year I'm not sure what's wrong with it-bad batch I guess. Jury is still out on the Shasta Daisy's (also old, not properly stored seed) and the cucumbers -that is also new seed maybe planted too deep? Not enough time on the heat mat?

I'm looking into winter sowing for next year. I am using every available flat surface and am running out of room. I won't even start about the heat mat and shop light rotation. I've read some forums where the people swear by wintersowing. I still have some more seed to start for this year, I wonder if it's too late to try it this year....
Above picture is Sedum "Autumn Joy" emerging. Picture was taken on 3/28

Saturday, March 28, 2009

A flower!

Yay! My first flower of the season. Friday was a beautiful, sunny, warm day and the crocuses came out! Today was equally as nice, I dug up a quadrant of the garden and planted the peas. I really need to come up with a better plan for the pea fence, the one I have is chicken wire on two poles. It keeps trying to roll back up. It looks jacked up.

The seeds are coming along nicely. I potted up most of the tomatoes this week. I planted flax seeds (the ones that I grind up and put in my yogurt) they sprouted really quickly and seem to be chugging along. I'll start cucumbers and lettuce tomorrow.

I got some more roses with my birthday money. I got them from Countryside Roses: Ghislaine de Feligonde, Russelliana, Cornelia, Fantin Latour and climbing Clotilde Soupert. It really is a sickness, I have no idea where I'll put them! I have 9 others in the sunroom (from cuttings) I don't know where those are going either. I'm plotting out another bed on the Southeast side of the house by the gate. I think I'll put Ghislaine on the wall outside the sunroom.

I'm looking for a trenching iron, I have decided to go for Victorian trenches around the beds. I know it's a lot of work but I'm cheap and refuse to buy (1) plastic anything or (2) something else that grass will end up growing through the cracks. At my old house I used bricks and that pesky grass always got through. I have discovered it's hard to find a trenching iron around here. One with a Y or T handle would be nice, I have only been able to find one with a regular straight handle.

I went around the yard today and took tons of pictures of everything that is poking through the soil and budding out-it's very exciting! The delphinium that I thought Bodie clobbered last year is coming back up. So has a random poppy that I planted-it's blood red-it doesn't match anything else in the garden (I usually don't do reds) but I love deep red poppies and I had a heck of a time trying to find the right shade (I got it at Baker's Acres outside of Ithaca last July when I was down there for the rose class). Usually the reds have a orangey or magenta undertone. This one is supposed to have an almost bluish undertone. Fingers are crossed. My Thor rose is also a deep, deep red, I don't know where that one is going to go...

Friday, March 13, 2009

Garden Show!

I went to the garden show today. It was so nice to see color! It amazes me that they can create what they do. I took a lot of pictures, mostly of the labels for the plants I liked so I could look them up later. It's nice that we can take pictures for ideas and inspiration but some people need to realize that this is a public event not a private photo shoot! There was a guy taking picutes of orchids -the line of people waiting to see the orchids piled up behind him and he was spending 5-10 minutes trying go get a perfect picture of each and every orchid. We finally bailed out of the line and moved on to the next exhibit. It was too bad because we were really looking forward to the orchids. The sun came out today so I took advantage of the above freezing temperatures and started clearing out the flower beds. I counted the Irises that are poking up and it looks like they all made it through the winter! My sedum is also starting to emerge as well as the lady's mantle. I had a pleasant surprise a few weeks ago-my husband got me a gorgeous arrangement of flowers for Valentines day (that wasn't really a surprise)-when the flowers were spent I pulled them out of the vase and the curly willow had started to root and grow leaves! I'm keeping them in a vase of water and am scoping a place out in the yard to put them.
Oh! I forgot to mention I saw snow drops last Saturday when I was walking the dog. It was a sight for sore eyes!

Saturday, March 7, 2009

Spring is springing!

Thursday I was walking to the parking garage after work and saw some bulbs starting to emerge from the soil. They were up about an inch- I'm not sure what is emerging, maybe daffodils. I'm moving to a new office next weekend so I probably won't be able to keep track of that little garden going forward. New building is across the street from a church that has a beautiful garden-I need to get a seat by a window! Friday morning I noticed that my Irises on the north side of the garage are poking up 1-2"! After work I went outside to check the Irises that I planted May 10 last year -they are coming up too-YAY!!!! I got a great deal on those (14 rhizomes and 4 Alliums for $8) and was worried that they were planted at the wrong time-I guess nature always tries to find a way.
On a sad note: my 94 year old grandmother passed away this winter. She was a wonderful gardener-lilacs, peonies, irises and incredible dahlias. Her favorite she told me once was the irses; so it cheered me up a bit more than usual to see them coming up. I ordered some dahlia's last week and will try those again(I only got 1 wacky looking flower last year and I'm worried I didn't store them properly this winter-I can't remember where I put them!). I found out my cousin (who bought my grandmother's house) has the dahlia gene so I will try to get some tips from her. My grandmother wasn't very good at giving gardening tips. She always said she just planted things and kept them watered. She didn't think growing things was hard or required any special knowledge-I think she just did it for so long it was second nature to her.
Today I have attached a picture of my ghetto BigLots plant stand and Home Depot shoplights that I have set up in the spare bedroom. Everything seems to be chugging along just fine. I got CRAZY good germination rates out of my tomatoes. Horitculture magazine had an article about starting tomatoes early and altering the microclimate of the garden in the spring to get them in the ground & bearing fruit sooner. I'm trying that. This is what I have going so far 3 of each: Tomatoes (Stupice, Super Sioux, Black Krim, Hillbilly, Cherokee Purple, Boxcar Willie, 2 diff. Brandywine 2 of each(from Cooks Garden and Seeds of Change), Green Zebra, Garden Peach. I also have 6 "mystery tomatoes" from seed I saved from heirloom tomatoes I got at the farmers market. I was just goofing around to see if I could save seed & have it be viable and it worked! They had the best germination rate and have sturdier stems than the "official seed". Unfortunatley my computer crashed this winter and I lost the "control" pictures that I took of the the tomatoes that the seeds originated from. I'm not very scientific. I also have Cherry/Salad tomatoes: Peacevine, Jellybean, Silvery Fir, and Jaune Flamee. Obviously I am going to have way too many tomatoes-I sow too many and then give away the plants to friends and co-workers. Peppers: Anaheim Chili and Mulato Isleno (I should plant some Sweet Peppers too). Eggplant:Rosa Bianca & Violetta di Firenze. I started dill (but it's all floppy), foxgloves from seed I saved from last year-germinated really well too! Coleus and Cilantro are in the guest room. I have butterfly weed and delphinium in the refrigerator, echinacea in the sunroom. I have a spread sheet going (my nod to scientificness) to track what/when/how much I'm planting, etc. DH is very patient!

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Progress report

An update on the rose cuttings I took on July 12. Like I stated before: the class given by derRosenmeister was excellent. It was the hottest day of the year and I had a long hot car ride in front of me after class. Some of the cuttings didn't make it but the ones I did after the class using what I had learned are doing really well. 3 survived from the class: 2 "The Fairy" and one "Thor". The rest are unnamed lost souls from my moms "garden" (I use that term loosely as she doesn't garden much- she plants and then lets them fend for themselves) her roses are total mysteries. This picture doesn't do them justice -they are all thriving and growing and throwing out new leaves daily. I brought them in before the first frost and have been keeping them in the sunroom aka meatlocker. Our sunroom is supposed to be a 4 season room but it gets hella cold in the winter. We shut off the heat and put a heavy curtain in the doorway and it's around 55'F in there. The roses seem to like it. They get lots of sun and don't get too warm. I started to have a spider mite problem but derRosenmeister warned us about that so I gave them a nice hosing down in the kitchen sink a few weeks back. Alles gut!

Saturday, February 14, 2009

Winter's back broken?

The weather guy said this week that "Winter's back has been broken" it got up to nearly 60'F this week and all the snow melted we finally got to see the lawn (then it snowed again). I'm skeptical. I think God is jerking our chain. It happens every year. I'd like to think we're well on our way to spring but I don't want to get lulled into a false sense of "green". I bet we'll see a lot more sub freezing weather before it's all over. However, I think I am going to start some seeds this weekend. I want to give the peppers and eggplant a head start. My peppers failed miserably last year and although my eggplants were beautiful they never got a chance to bear fruit before frost. So, I shall try again... any who...

Happy Valentines day.

Monday, February 2, 2009

The Seeds Have Arrived!!!

I ordered seeds the last week of December and they arrived on Saturday. Wooo Hoooo! We are sunk in the depths of winter right now so the thought of green growing things is like a faint ray of light in a cold sunless world! Wow- I'm sounding pretty dramatic! I love having 4 distinct seasons but honestly, it has been a really LONG, COLD, SNOWY winter....DH and I can't remember the last time we saw the lawn....and it's only half over. Thank you Mr. Groundhog! Mayor Bloomberg should have bitten you!

To keep busy over the long winter I perused countless seed catalogues and plotted out different garden schemes on graph paper. I also bought a new-ish sewing machine -new to me anyway. It's a Singer 99k that I found on Craig's list. The cabinet that it's housed in matches my old sewing machine cabinet that houses a Singer 66 (that has never worked in the 10 years I have owned it). Both machines were "born" in 1950 the new one in Clydesbank, UK and the old one in Elizabeth, NJ. The new one is actually a 3/4 size model of the old one -it came with a manual!!! I used the maual from the new machine to fix the old machine. So now I have 2 working machines and matching bedside tables.

Since the long winter is still going on I have decided to put the sewing machines to use and I am attempting to make a baby quilt for baby niece Maddie. She can't talk yet so she can't tell me where I have screwed up! My other niece and nephews can talk so they will have to wait til I get better. I have attached a picture of the pieced bit (that's DH hiding behind it). Thus far I have pieced it and made the backing/batting/pieced part sandwich. I am waiting for a walker foot attachement to arrive so I can quilt it and then I will add the edge and Voila! it will be done! It really isn't hard. I just had to follow directions carefully and put my seam ripper to good use several times when things didn't look so hot. Quilting is like pottery: if you screw up and don't fix it, it will only get worse so fix your mistakes and move on. A bit like life I guess.