Friday, April 2, 2010
This has been the most glorious week of spring weather I can remember, either here in Virginia or in New York. Perfect. It's as if Mother Nature is saying gently, "I'm so sorry for all that snow and ice. Here; spring." Like a gift. Each day, brilliant gem-like blue skies with wispy white clouds. A waning full moon still visible at dawn, while the sun spreads crimson and gold across the horizon. Temperatures at night in the thirties, but soaring to the seventies and eighties by day. The peach trees in our orchard are blooming with abandon. The mature tree we purchased from Lowe's is blooming gloriously as pictured, but the smaller siblings are putting their effort into only a handful of blossoms. The crab apple trees are about to bloom. The apple trees in the orchard have leaves, but no blooms. The plums, on the other hand, look like they're trying to outdo the peaches and will soon shower fragrant white blossoms on us. All of our trees in the fruit orchard, with the exception of one cherry tree, survived the harsh winter. We're heading out tomorrow to get a replacement cherry tree. Hopefully another mature tree, like the peach we replaced, will struggle less and produce faster. And yes, the entire orchard is managed through organic gardening methods. While we do spray, we use only organic sprays, compost and mulch.
It's Good Friday. I have no reflection to offer. Last night's Holy Thursday celebration overwhelmed me with its grace, beauty, and spiritual meaning. I have been to many Holy Thursday Masses, and last night's Mass at our simple little church was one of the most moving I have participated in. Thank you God for our little church family and our spiritual leaders.
We are heading out today to scope out materials to finish off the perennial garden. John is bound and determined to get the cement work done this April. I think he's being optimistic, but who am I to argue? Whatever we can get finished before the hot weather begins, the better.
Today's pictures...yes, that's Seven Oaks and yes, that's our best peach tree. My mouth is watering in the hope and anticipation of peaches, but who knows what the season brings...
Friday, March 26, 2010
After a week of glorious sunshine and 70-degree days, tonight we are expecting a frost. Well, it is early spring, and at least four weeks from our frost-free date. So nature has a right to send frost. But I am hoping it doesn't nip the blossoms on the peach trees. This is the first year the baby trees we planted that looked like twigs have blossoms.
Remember the 400+ bulbs we planted in the orchard? The crocus have been up, but today was the first day a few of the daffodils began blooming. Many more are peeking up but you can't see them yet.
My tiny garden next to the garage is cheery yellow....
And to celebrate, we got the new fountain next to the deck working today. It leaked. John fixed it. Hurray! I hope to work on the deck during the warm weather - bring my laptop out there and work on my novel.
I've been in such a sad, sorrowful mood this week. The news out of Washington made me upset. What made me even more upset were the absurd comments I've seen flying about. The general level of ignorance about what is in the US Constitution, the violence and threats against members of both parties...I just want it all to stop.
I want peace and security, I want everyone to be nice to each other and if we disagree we say so politely and logically. I want people to understand how choices made today impact the world tomorrow.
I ask myself, have I contributed to this by remaining silent when I should have spoken up? For not speaking up more? I vote, and I thought it was enough. Now I'm not so sure. Now I think I need to get involved more for causes I believe in. But I don't know how, or what. I just feel like I should do more...that somehow the world is tilting, and I am not sure I like the direction it's all tilting in. I am not a brave person. I am just one person. So what, Lord, I pray, can I do? What would you have me do? No answer yet. I have a feeling my pen's going to be directed elsewhere soon, to write about things I'm passionate about but which will be unpopular. I don't know yet. I want to go out and weed something.
Mostly I just want all the problems to go away.
Sometimes I think I garden to escape. I find solace in my flowers, in the soft rhythms of the season. I find laughter among the flowers and joy watching seedlings emerge. Somehow, the bickering and partisan politics and ignorance and stupidity of people melt away in the beauty of the garden. I think if more people gardened, they would be a lot happier.
Monday, April 20, 2009
On Saturday we ran errands, then I joined Patty and her friend Gail at a country auction right here in Prospect. The farm auction was fascinating. We found out that the elderly couple who passed away had left their entire greenhouse business to their sons, and the men said they would sell plants directly to the public. They currently sell to the trade and at a flea market in Lynchburg. They invited us back to shop in a few weeks when the flats of annuals are ready and promised us "good farm prices". They won't have to ask me twice! The old Victorian farmhouse had a gigantic lilac bush that was over eight feet tall. It was already blooming and I had to stick my whole head into the bush and take a good drink of lilac perfume. An elderly lady walking behind me laughed to see my delight.
The farm auction was fun, but the dealers were out in droves from the big cities and outbid all us regular folks, so I hung out in the back of the crowd with the locals. I had only $10 to my name and even the cheapest items went way over that. At one point, the auctioneer held up a pretty - but cracked - glass candy dish. He started the bidding at $2, and I thought, "Well, maybe I can buy something!" But when the bidding went up over $10, I said a little too loudly, "Oh dear, that's really out of my price range." The man next to me chuckled and gave me a nod of approval. I think I'm starting to fit in.
How My Garden Grows!
With the temperatures soaring to 80 on Saturday and the heavy rains this past week, everything is sprouting. I spent time cleaning up the flower garden again and discovered my morning glories had reseeded. I've got glories sprouting up along the walkway and everywhere but where I want them, which is next to the trellis. I hope the blue ones reseeded. They're my favorite. I had blue, purple, pink and white planted last year. Today's photo shows the area from last June.
The Flowers About To - and Already - Blooming
- Bachelor's Buttons: My mixed purples, crimsons and pinks are in bud. My guess is I'll have flowers by the weekend!
- Dianthus: All of my perennial dianthus this year just have masses of buds. I can't wait.
- Phlox: If the deer don't find them like they did last year, the phlox are already double in size from their planting size last year and also heavily laden with buds.
- Gaillardia: Peeking out from new leaves are flowers buds. These hearty perennials are nonstop bloomers for me and I love their orange flowers.
- Trees and Shrubs: On our drive to Rustburg Saturday morning, we saw gorgeous Snowball viburnums just groaning under the weight of the big white flowers. Redbuds and dogwoods bloom everywhere. Azaleas are just starting to bloom. Tulips are almost done. The irises in Prospect - huge beds of mostly white iris in the front yards of houses dating back to the late 1800's - are already blooming. Mine are very far away from blooming, as are my neighbors. I think the south facing beds, so near the road and the former railroad track, may have a nice warm microclimate going. I have my eye on the peonies in front of a dilapidated old house next to the firehouse in the town of Prospect. Last year there were massive stands of pinks and Festiva Maxima. There's nothing like an old bed of peonies in spring to really lift your spirits. If they ever make a move to tear down that old house, I'll be first on line with my shovel to rescue the peonies. My peonies are a bit too young to have flowers yet. (I think; they may surprise me yet).
John, his dad Jack, and I took a walk in the woods on Saturday afternoon and found all the redbuds. For those who have never seen a redbud, they are gorgeous trees that just burst with purple flowers. The bees love them. Our woods are full of wild dogwood too. Unfortunately, they were also full of Lonestar ticks, but luckily I'd worn light colored blue jeans and a light t-shirt and could get them off of me. That's our signal to stop walking in the woods unless sprayed with insecticide and covered head to toe. It's an unfortunate reality of life in the country that I'm only just beginning to get used to.
And on Sunday, She Rested
Sunday found me a bit under the weather, so after church, the couch was my best friend for the rest of the day. My gardening buddy Helen called with an invitation to come and play in her garden for a bit and take home some raspberry plants, but I had already nodded off. Perhaps I needed to recover from all the weeding I did during the week. In any event, she has plants waiting for me....
Wednesday, January 28, 2009
It's like a winter wonderland outside. Although just hovering around freezing, ice has built up on the pines. I tried to take some pictures of their beauty this morning but they pictures aren't capturing the subtle white frosting on the evergreen boughs. I stepped out with camera in hand, Shadow happily trotting at my heels, until she spotted a huge herd of deer in the backyard. There must have been a dozen of them grazing on the patch of millet we left long and tall for the wildlife. The deer raced down the hill through the woods and towards the creek, Shadow galloping at their heels. I called and called her and she didn't come back, so I went inside to drop off the camera and grab the whistle we used to call her (not one of those silent dog whistles; just a regular old whistle John trained her to respond to). By the time I got back outside near the driveway, I gave one brief toot on the whistle - and there was my dog, rolling in the cow manure we'd picked up from the Hertzlers. Great. Now I have a wet, very smelly dog. Still waiting for spring.....!
The picture with this blog was actually taken during an ice storm, just not this one. I took it of the oak trees in front of our old house in Huntington.
Saturday, August 9, 2008
Today's is gardening day at the farm. I'll step our for a few minutes to visit the Amish farmstand in Pamplin City. Since we didn't grow many vegetables this year, I like to supplement what we have with some fresh or unusual produce from the farmstand. This time I'm going to leave Shadow home, since she was a barking maniac in the car and I think the little boy who stays at the stand with his mother is afraid of her.
We're planning to finish the front garden today - put down landscape fabric, add mulch, and edge the area with rocks picked up on the property. John completed laying the foundation for the remaining sidewalk near the front and we decided to add yet another flower garden to the area. I told him that's on my 2-3 year plan. Next year my priority is to get the vegetable gardens productive and add a few farm animals, such as the chickens we've been talking about since spring.
Gardening chores at this time of year are fairly routine. I'm weeding as usual, and mulching like crazy. The drought is back on, with The Farmville Herald trumpeting that the Appomattox River has the lowest water flow on record since 2002. We walk to the creek that creates the border between Prince Edward and Appomattox County every evening, and in the spring it was a rushing torrent. We even saw a muskrat swimming there! Now it's a trickle, and the little side creeks that feed into the main creek have dried up. I hope it rains soon. The ground is like concrete.
The photo is baby Pierre, about four months old...asleep, which is rare. His latest tricks are jumping onto the kitchen counters ("No! Bad kitty!" Pierre laughs, while Shadow cowers) and placing his toys in the garbage can in my office. I have to go through the garbage to make sure I'm not throwing away furry mice.