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Archive for the ‘Greenish Thumb’ Category

I can’t tell you the last time I went strawberry picking. I was probably about five years old and I’m sure I spent most of my time in the field eating my way through the row rather than helping pick them. While my mom was here, we decided to head to Carandale Farms and get our pick on! I didn’t realize that the strawberry window in Wisconsin is about three weeks, so you have to be quick if you want in on the sweetest berries around!

Upon arrival we headed to the side of the barn to pick up our 10 lb flat, nifty flat carrier and marking flag. Then we hopped on the awaiting tractor for a short ride out to the strawberry fields.

A row of strawberry bushes is assigned to you and you just start picking! S caught on right away. Picking strawberries was right up her alley since she’s all about moving and sorting objects. She had her own little container and would fill it up and dump it into our flat. It was perfect!

She kept saying “Here’s some!” every few seconds. It was hilarious.

And she had NO PROBLEM following the rule of “you don’t have to pay for the ones you eat!”

Flag on the play! S was all about helping Grandma with the flag when we were done picking.

Evidence.

Still eating…

Some tips I learned:

  • Bug spray may be needed.
  • Picking earlier is best (less heat/sun!)
  • Proper stretching of the leg/quad muscles may be necessary (those berries are low to the ground!)
  • Don’t wear flip flops. Oops. And while I’m on the subject of footwear, be sure to wear old shoes as they’re likely to get stained with red berries. Same goes for clothing.

Stay tuned for some yummy strawberry recipes (like my Strawberry Spinach Salad HERE). I see a Strawberry Rhubarb Pie in my future!

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I don’t claim to be a “master gardener” (a title that my wonderful mother very deservingly holds), but I do enjoy attempting to make my yard look pretty during the summer months with some potted flowers. Seems many of our neighbors share this feeling as well and are already displaying hanging baskets and planting flowers around the mailbox. So as not to be outdone, I headed to the greenhouse Home Depot (hey, they had $0.88 geraniums, people!) and spent a long time gazing at all the plants and plotting color combinations and hemming and hawing threw a bunch of flowers and a bag of potting soil in my cart (can you guess who I was shopping with??) and rushed them up to the register before my shopping companion decided to massacre any remaining flower buds on the plants. I’m starting to think that letting her pick dandelions was a bad idea. Now she thinks ANY flower needs to be picked. “No, no, momma’s flowers” is a newly repeated mantra at our house!

J was a wonderful hubby and occupied the munchkin last Saturday morning so I could get a few moments of peace to plant my flowers. I got to sip my coffee and use my new gardening bag that was a present from my mother-in-law for Mother’s Day…perfect timing! My flowers are just in their infancy stage here, but I’ll post updates throughout the summer as they blossom!

Front porch planters (I found the pole inserts at yardiac.com). I have two of these on either side of the front door. This spot is very shaded, so I planted impatiens (pink, white and fuschia) and dusty miller.

I wanted some kind of traily/hangy vine to cover up the front/sides of the top basket, so I planted this green plant (checking later to find out what it’s called, I can’t remember right now)

More impatiens in the front bed. These mound up beautifully as the summer goes on!

My blue planters on the deck. I have two of these courtesy of my wonderful mom and I LOVE them. I think everyone should have a blue pot. Pretty much any color flower looks good in a blue pot…yellow, fuschia, white…this year I did a spike, white bacopa (trails so pretty over the side), asparagus fern, FUSCHIA geraniums (I’m so in love with this color this summer!) and a dusty miller. Can’t wait to see this pot fill out.

Quite possibly one of my favorite finds. This étagère was about $10 on clearance at Bed, Bath & Beyond a few years ago. It was originally GREEN, but I spray-painted it BLACK and I love it! The geraniums on this stand have quite a story…one of them is at least 8 years old! I have been overwintering these little pots ever since I planted them back in our old college apartment. Last year, I had to replace one and this year I replaced two, but I know from the size of the stems that the one of the bottom is still kicking after 8 years! How’s that for recycling?

And just for fun, S’s little marigolds that we planted from seeds HERE have all sprouted…

She thought it was pretty fun that mommy was out taking pictures early this morning and decided to eat her strawberry on the deck in her pjs…cause that’s how she rolls…

Strawberries are S’s new favorite thing to eat. Come to think of it, I saw some strawberry plants at Home Depot as I was whizzing through…maybe we’ll start a garden next!

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A few years ago when we bought our house, we took on the ambitious project of landscaping the exterior ourselves. This involved a lot of “dirty work”, including removing white landscaping rock from the front beds and moving it to the backyard (under our deck). We did this, mind you, without any help from a wheelbarrow (yes, we were cheap). We also tilled new beds around the sides and rear of our house. Aside from a little advice from my “master gardener” mother and a few internet searches, J and I pretty much went into our landscaping project without much forethought. After all, how hard could tilling up the soil and plopping a few shrubs in the ground be, right?

Wrong. Mistake #1: Not wanting to mess with the garbage-baggy plastic liner, we thought (and read) that simply putting down a thick layer of mulch would keep weeds/grass at bay. Maybe this would have worked a little better had we removed all the sod/grass we tilled up, but we sort of missed that step. And let me tell you people, grass has a stong will to survive. After a few months, our “thick” layer of mulch had grass sprouting out of it all over. Not exactly the look we were going for.

Mistake #2:  One of those aforementioned internet searches led us to the concept of “natural edging”. Neither of us are big fans of the plastic border edge that is pretty common in landscaping. I understand that it gets the job done, but I don’t really like the look of it and also don’t like how the lawnmower can chew it up over time, so we opted for more of a natural look. Let’s just say that worked about as well as the time I decided to go “natural” with my hair color. Major FAIL. Apparently I misread the diagram and couldn’t figure out which way to point the shovel to get the proper angle. Nice work, chica!

I’m kind of surprised that J and I let this project go so majorly wrong, because we are typically the planning, doing your research type when it comes to big undertakings such as this. I guess we were just too eager to finally do a big project on our new home that we “shot first and aimed later”.

So, about that “aiming later” part. Make that WAAAYYYY later. In between our landscaping debacle (I’ve always wanted to use that word!) and when we were finally able to fix our mistake (hey, landscaping and accessories are not cheap, people!), a certain little someone decided to make her appearance. Needless to say, we were a little preoccupied that summer with a new little bundle to even care about what our poor neighbors had to stare at every day out of their kitchen window.

Well, now that S is nearing the two-year mark, we’re finally at the point of making our yard presentable again. Granted, it is still a challenge to do yard work with S investigating everything, but we are taking it slow and know eventually it will get done.

After a recent week-long rain, I decided to try my luck at the “natural edging” again in the backyard. And yes, I did read the diagram correctly this time (and also looked at a few more internet sites). Working with wet soil was great and the edging turned out much better than I expected. It was so nice to see a definite border to where the grass ended and the landscaping began. My next step was to reapply mulch. I love, love, love the look of black mulch. I think it looks great next to a green lawn and really sets off flowers and shrubs. I just don’t like the look of green grass growing IN my black mulch (like last time), so THIS time, I put a thick layer of newspaper down to (crossing fingers) kill any grass/weeds underneath and then a thick layer of mulch on top. You can see the before and after pics here (along with the layer of newspaper):

    

Nine bags of mulch and a few dozen newspapers later, and we finally have a respectable looking backyard. (especially since J worked his tail off and stained the deck, pounded in our fence posts that had started to make their way out of the ground, and ripped out the atrocious fence/pen thing from the previous owners…what a man!)

Now on to figuring out how I’m going to do the remaining 3/4 of our yard while trying to keep S from running off to the park across the street…I guess the rest will have to be a nap time project!

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need sum halp in yer garden? I pik fowers of enie kin. ‘specialy da yallow uns. den Iz makes u hold ’em, so be redy.

Iz also can water yer fowers wit ma duckie. no guarante all ur fowers git water’d, cause Iz only water the fowers Iz wants to.

calificaionz: iz almos TWO!

Will wurk 4: Golfish cackers an sum GAPES!

Refrencez: Ask Momma!

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(Early morning. 1st time with chalk.)

i dunno ’bout dis “calk”. iz on my finers.

you sur it okay, momma?

ok, den, i pics boo!

nows iz helps mommy wit da fowers. iz puts in da rocs!

time for da shakies. iz gud at dis.

uff! Shakies heaby.

now iz water wit mai duckie.

couper sof.

were’d all da rocs go? oh hereday ar. iz puts dem in all mommyz pots. iz helping.

here momma, iz gots da ball!

ball? what ball? iz gots mai ponie!

Chair! Chair! Chair! I sit! I sit! I sit! whew. iz tired.

paparazzi. dey iz followings me.

on da moves wit mai beebee.

wachu mean mai beebee uside-down??

iz sees u momma. danks for a fun dai. we play again tomorro’?

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