Monday, April 30, 2012

return of the munchie patch

 so far i've planted: asparagus, potatoes, raspberries, garlic, nasturtiums, pansies, rosemary, parsley, marigolds, purple kohlrabi, purple broccoli, dinosaur kale, red russian kale, swiss chard, chioggia beets, detroit dark red beets, purple plum radishes, sparkler radishes, strawberries, onions and peas. i've barely made a dent in the garden space.

 this weekend i tore up the front flower bed. it was a mess. i uncovered an overgrown old brick border, tore out lots of weeds, divided some very compacted tulip bulbs and planted a border of them alternating with freesia bulbs. the rest of the bed is going to be calendula, cumin and nasturtiums. the gladiolus bulbs along the driveway just came up, and next to them i'm going to plant a line of teddy bear dwarf sunflowers.

 i'm growing a centerpiece herb pot with basil, parsley and thyme. i got this idea from 36th street bistro, they have little pots of herbs on their outdoor tables for you to pick and add to your food.

 i'm really excited about these peas. they're golden sweet peas that i picked up at a seed swap earlier this year. the first i heard about them was in this fascinating blog post. i love how the flowers turn from pink to purple to blue, and i love the history behind them.

 this is a hahms gelbe topftomate plant, it only grows to about a foot tall and has little yellow cherry tomatoes. over two dozen green tomatoes on it now! i grew one of these on the windowsill over the winter too, it did pretty well.

 the poppies in the front yard are so close to popping!

Sunday, April 22, 2012

happy spring!

91 degrees out today!! a new record. and it was 82 yesterday. what an amazing weekend. i got so much done: planted raspberries, potatoes, asparagus, some herbs and vining flower seeds; started a bunch more seeds; helped a friend move into her wonderful new house (and she gave me the loveseat pictured above); went thrifting and antiquing and found way too much cool stuff; made a lot of progress with unpacking and got my sewing machine set up. everything is green and in full bloom all of a sudden; my peas and onions are up, lilacs are beginning to pop and the apple tree is full of flowers. the chickens are ready to go out in their coop, at least during the daytime, once i finish cleaning it. such an exciting time of year!

Friday, April 20, 2012

chateau papillon, sur la rue de belle amie

 right now so much is just intention. i intend to get a pair of old rocking chairs for the front porch. i intend to sew new curtains. i intend to paint the chicken coop and wash the windows and hang artwork and prep the garden and plant my potatoes and...

 the bedroom, kitchen, living room and mud/laundry room are pretty well set. granted, that's only because i've used the craft/multipurpose room as a dumping ground. i've reached that stage where everything i really need is in its right place, and all that's left to find homes for are the things i don't need or use often but don't want to get rid of for one reason or another. or it's waiting to be sorted and sold/given away/tossed. i'm going to have a massive yard sale with some friends once we can get our collective shit together.

this house is perfect for me. my favorite room is the mud room/laundry room, where i keep the chicks and seeds and seedlings. there's a big window with direct, unobstructed southern exposure and a wide ledge to fit tons of seedling cups. in the winter i'll put a table under the window and overwinter as many plants as i can. right now it's lined with not nearly enough seedlings, but they're doing well--even a few baby green tomatoes already on one plant! nothing like last year though when i started tons of things super early. i have a lot of work to do.

the garden space is incredible and overwhelming. there's so much possibility but so little time! i cleared one tiny strip of land (and when i say tiny, i mean about 3'x40') where i planted a few dozen onion sets, half a dozen cole crop seedlings, and peas along the edge of a fence they can climb. there's a raised bed under the seedling window that i'm making into an herb garden, where so far i've planted a bunch of garlic, some parsley, marigolds and violas. i also planted a couple dozen gladiolus bulbs in a row on the side of my driveway and potted some strawberries and pansies. as soon as i have time i'll plant asparagus, potatoes, radishes and beets.

the spring bulb situation is odd as hell. there's a large patch of tulips basically in the middle of the front lawn. at first i thought someone was being delightfully absurd with their planting, but on giving it more thought i bet they moved some soil over there that they didn't realize contained bulbs. but who knows, because they also planted onions under the shady front window, in the middle of an ivy bed where they'll get no sun.

 i found two quince bushes in the yard, i don't know if they'll set fruit but i hope so. one of the best parts about the front yard is all the lilacs--bushes and trees of them everywhere, both purple and white! tall bushes all along one side of the driveway, plus an enormous lilac tree on the other side of the yard. i'll take pictures when they bloom, which should be any day now. at the end of the driveway there's a huge patch of poppies budding now, surrounding a wild rose bush and some small mystery trees. violets line the front porch and are dotted all over the yard.

my parents found me this funky hunk of metal in a field near the river and knew i'd like it in my garden. it's a twisted, rusted old bed frame, i can't guess the vintage but the iron is completely solid (not hollow tubes) which hints that it's probably from an era before everything was cheap and crappy. i'm going to plant vining flowers around it--maybe canary vine, or morning glory, or sweet pea, or all three.

flowers everywhere! the house next door is a foreclosure with lots of cool flowers and plants in the back yard that i've been pilfering. all these are foraged flowers:

 i'm going to dig up some lavender and mint plants from my generous neighborclosures. on the other side of that house is a big empty field with another old apple tree and a black currant bush.

 the name "chateau papillon" comes from me thinking it would be funny to give a schmancy french name to a decidedly non-palatial and resoundingly american old house. papillon because of all the butterfly symbolism that's been popping up in my life lately. first at work, cam had this mason jar with a little metal butterfly in it that you tap and it flutters around very realistically--she knew i liked it so she gave it to me. then at the house, my key has a butterfly on it, and so do the doormats. on the day of the big move i saw the first butterfly of the year. "la rue de belle amie" comes from the address, on bellomy lane. entree, je vous en prie!

Thursday, April 5, 2012



minerva, a.k.a. "minnie," a rhode island white;

wynonna, a.k.a. "wynnie," a barred leghorn;

and printemps, a.k.a. "prinnie," an ancona.

andy's being very well behaved. he's fascinated by them. in this photo jeanne's letting him get familiar with wynnie.

i pick up the chicks one at a time and hold them out for andy to "taste the baby," he sniffs and licks them. i'm hoping he'll be one of those cool dogs who let chickens walk all over them, literally--it's hilarious when chickens perch on other animals.