Friday, May 4, 2018

Edging Towards Summer

Photo taken at a friend's property on Sunday

The air this morning carried the scent of rain.  After a week of sunny skies and warming temperatures, it was time for a gentle rain.
We have been gardening at intervals all week.  Jim used one of the tractors and the rotavator to work the soil in the upper and lower gardens, then went around to till our renter's garden plot.
We made a trip to Homestead Gardens in the South Fork community to select seed potatoes, cucumber, melon and pepper plants.
The seed potato varieties were all priced at 79 cents per pound. A stack of paper bags was provided for customers to fill with their choice.  Jim chose potatoes while I hovered over the bench of herbs, choosing flat-leaved Italian parsley, purple and green basil for the planter near the front steps.
When a clerk weighed out the potatoes he suggested that for less than a dollar more we could have a 50 pound sack.  We didn't need that many, but felt sure we could share them with our neighbor/renter.

Back at home, I established myself on the sunny side porch to cut the potatoes.  I collected several large buckets and a plastic pan, a newly sharpened knife.  On the way out of the kitchen I wondered if the warm day might have welcomed a hummingbird or two.
I quickly prepared syrup and hung a feeder; within moments I was rewarded with the familiar whir of wings as a 'hummer' perched to drink. 
Jim set out a few tomato plants and made several short rows for potatoes in the garden by the shop, then loaded more plants--and more cut potatoes--onto the 4 wheeler to convey them to the long strip of garden below the lower farm house. 

Clematis, Duchess of Edinburgh

Clematis, Candida

I worked barefoot in the garden, dropping potatoes into the trenches Jim had made, then misting them with the spray to control potato bugs.  We prefer not to use chemicals but having tried without success a number of ploys to manage the invasion of potato bugs, we use the single application spray.  We consider that when buying potatoes [which we do for much of the year] a similar product has likely been applied.

Spice-scented pinks have blossomed along the brick path--in spite of the mugwort.

I have potted on the seedlings of foxglove and rosemary which I started on the pantry windowsill. 
Heirloom tomato seeds [saved last year from Fred's garden] and cantaloupe for later plantings have already pushed their way through the soil and can be moved to the porch early next week.

My order of miniature lilies arrived.  To my astonishment the grower sent duplicates of each variety as a no charge 'bonus.'
I purchased light weight galvanized tubs for the lilies and now have too many lilies for my tubs!

The rosemary which over-wintered in the east window of the sunroom has been shorn of the rather weak tendrils it put out in less than ideal light, and has been moved to the porch.
Over-wintered begonias have received fresh soil and are likewise now outside.
I am still over-whelmed by the crop of weeds [mugwort predominating] in the perennial strips and feeling that I'm unlikely to find a satisfactory remedy. 

I like to record wildflowers as they come into bloom.
I"m intrigued by the pink tint on the fleabane.

Repeated  attempts to capture the delicate sprays of wood vetch have resulted in blurry photos.
A light wind has kept vegetation stirred all week.

Ragwort--I think.

Dogwood has its brief glory of blooms before becoming 'lost' in woodland thickets.

Possibly rue anemone--I need to find my wildflower book--put away for the winter.

Bellwort sways above the carpet of last year's leaves on the ridge that rises beyond the stable. 

There are cats to keep me company in my outdoor chores.
This is Crumple, the unwelcome itinerant tom who has visited spasmodically during two winters.  I have hoped he would go away. 
He has been claiming the porch rocking chair overnight and rushes at me with loud hoarse cries of enthusiasm when I go out in early morning with kibble for the outside cats.

Willis [of course] is with me on all my wanderings about the dooryard and lane. 

Inside, on this quiet rainy afternoon, I turned from putting cookies in the oven to find the group waiting for their 'tea.'

I dished out dollops of tinned food, knelt on the floor to referee the greedy ones who gulp their portion and attempt to steal from the slower eaters.

In the misty dusk I walked down the lane with salad trimmings for the goats.
The barn cats greeted me with upright tails, rolled about my feet, purred--hopeful that I might have a treat for them.  The milk goats crowded their trough when I opened the gate that leads to their section of pasture. There was snatching, loud munching, some shoving.
I walked slowly back along the lane, noting the crimson flash of a cardinal, the sound of water burbling toward the culvert; the evening air held a light sweet scent of unseen blossoms, of fresh green leaves, grass. 

The week comes to an end with so few of the items on my 'to do' list ticked off--and yet--things have been accomplished that were unplanned: a visit to former neighbors;  a meal of sandwiches in town; time at the piano; an afternoon of baking.
The things I manage to get done keep us going;  many tasks and projects that fret me may never be tackled.
Surely it should be enough--simply to move along with the endless turning of the seasons.


  1. Sounds like you had a lovely day in your garden. How nice to have the space to plant so many things. And, your cats are adorable. Lilly sends her meows to everyone. Pat

    1. Pat; Four of the cats are the survivors of those who moved here with us from Wyoming. The rest of the tribe simply appeared as 'drop-offs.' Gardening must be deeply embedded in my DNA--I don't know how to quit!

  2. Love the group picture and just want to get my threads and have a go at that delightful dandelion on your header.

    1. Briony; I'm sure you can relate to the 'group' picture! The dandelion seed head caught my eye on a wet and chilly morning last week. I can imagine you might work it in a silvery thread.

  3. I love that group photo also. :-)

    Have a great weekend ~ FlowerLady

    1. Rainey; The 'group' has a corporate internal clock that announces 'tea' about an hour earlier than I plan to dish it out. They are hopeful that their pleading looks will advance 'tea time'--and quite often that happens.

  4. "The evening air held a light sweet scent of unseen blossoms..." I love walking at dusk when there's hardly a leaf moving or a sound to be heard. The sweet smell of honeysuckle is beginning to waft through the air here.

  5. Chip; Dusk is so often the best part of the day--a deep breath when most of our work is done. I've not noted honeysuckle in bloom yet, but the vines are flourishing.

  6. The majesty of nature. I don't think we understand it all, but hopefully we appreciate what we can. As you said, the smells can be inexplicable, we don't know where they come from, but still to be savored. I hope that Crumple will in some way find a welcome there. I'm sure the others will tolerate him in some way. It's always so worrisome, when another comes on the scene. But you have done your best. Somehow I'm feeling he just appreciates the feedings, and he wouldn't have come out of anything else but necessity. Poor animals! I'm too sentimental, but hope all goes well. I'm sure Willis won't mind too much a little inconvenience.

    1. Phil; We have always been susceptible to the needs of stray cats, often not wanting to welcome the problem issues they may bring, but too soft-hearted to deny them food. The plight of homeless/neglected animals wrenches me. Crumple [named for his battered ear] is more and more often with us [sigh] so it seems he has recognized an easy landing!
      Re those scents of summer: I often try to isolate one shrub, or one clump of wildflowers as a source, but mostly its an elusive thing--some great perfumer's artistry.

  7. As always you are striding off way ahead of us here in the north. We are a full two weeks behind last spring and I still have the snow tires on my car! Good Grief! How magical to finally have the ephemerals in the woodland. Our early daffys have come and gone; now the later varieties are sunning their bright and shining faces. This year in particular the Shadblow has outdone itself all along the woodland edges. Lilacs, quince and Cornus Florida are seconds from bloom and I noticed yesterday that our Redbuds are showing a bit of pink. Mother Nature is Rock'n It!!

    1. Mundi; I should imagine 'mud season' is barely over in New England!
      Interesting that you mention shad-blow. It was one of the earliest trees in bloom along the old hedgerow that lined the dirt road past my Vermont home. Several weeks ago here, I was strolling along the road and noticed what I thought was a shad tree leaning out of a messy tangle of brush.
      A neighbor who has a vast knowledge of nature lore, stopped to chat for a moment and mentioned that shadblow is locally known as 'service tree'--pronounced 'sarvice.' I delight in such tidbits of information. I had run across that term in southern literature but didn't realize the connection.
      I do miss lilacs--they prefer a longer spell of cold weather than our winters usually provide.

  8. Great pictures you posted, hope you are enjoying your day.

    1. WW; Pictures would be better if I had patience to learn more about my camera settings. As it is, they serve as a record of my days--most of which have something to enjoy.