Monday, April 28, 2014

Winding down after a few days of family visiting.

The house is pretty quiet. After we all went out for breakfast, our daughter and son-in-law continued on to Seattle. They'll  be flying back home to Munich, Germany tomorrow.  It was a great visit as always. They flew here after their busy and fun filled Florida vacation and were ready to mainly vegg out, after doing a bit of shopping. Erin shops for food items she can't get in Germany and there are always visits for TJ Max, Ross for Less and one or two other places for jeans other goodies that are a bargain here compared to European prices.

I stopped at the nursery on the way home for a couple more annuals and some ferns to replace those that died over the winter There were no fern replacements in stock but I did get a few annuals to put in those fern pots and got those planted as soon as we got home. There's nothing sadder for a gardener, than looking at a pot or a garden with plants that didn't make it through the winter. At least now there's some color in those pots until I can find those fern replacements.

 I also bought a Star Jasmine and it smells so good, I want to go back tomorrow and get another one and maybe I can train them up the posts of the pergola. They also had a red penstemon which I also bought. The hummingbirds love that plant, and now I have to find a place for it!

 Jim and I spent the rest of day of getting the house back in order. After several days of rich eating, margaritas and lot of  very good wines, we switched gears tonight and just had pea soup and tuna salad sandwiches for dinner. It was perfect for this cool, damp and rainy day. We did indulge in some dark chocolate covered cherries for dessert, though.

It's going down to 35F tonight, so after dinner I once again took several flats of tender seedlings back indoors for the night and doubled up on the remay covering on my raised vegetable beds. By mid week they're forecasting an 88 and 90F day. The poor plants are having to deal with the thirty and forty degree rising and falling temperatures, as well as some hail the other day.

This weather of ours is nothing compared to the tornadoes and storms occurring right now in the east. Time to up prayers for all in harms way. It looks very bad.

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Another lovely video of Hannah McAndrew and Doug Fitch at work

Got to spend a few minutes catching up with some blogs tonight and was happy to see a couple of new posts and videos from Hannah  McAndrew and Doug Fitch. Since I don't have any time or energy for the studio right now, I was happy to see that other people are busy in their studios making wonderful work.

As for me, it's been and continues to be time for family, planting and taking care of two gardens and spending a lot of other time in the kitchen these days.

Our son and family were here over Easter and our daughter and son-in-law, who live in Germany, arrive tomorrow, so today was for finishing up some planters and doing some tidying in the back yard.  It was cold and wet and wasn't a fun job; and of course the sun only came out after I called it a day. Since I had to get the guest room ready and clean up my office which has been subbing as a plant nursery, the rest of the back yard tidying will have to wait till late tomorrow morning when it warms up a bit. 

Even with this seesaw, hot then cold weather, both gardens are doing well. I was surprised yesterday to see that there's a ripe strawberry to pick; but I'm saving that first one for our daughter. Erin There are flowers on some of my pepper plants that I've been bringing out every morning and bringing in at night. Potato plants are over a foot high in my raised beds and not far behind at our sons place;and we've been harvesting lettuce and asparagus for about six weeks now.  I'm hoping that by next week the night time temperatures will be high enough,that with the remay covers at the ready, I'll be able to plant some of these more tender veggies in both gardens. I'm getting a bit tired of bringing these tender veggie and herb plants in and out twice a day; but they are certainly doing well with all this attention.

Friday, April 11, 2014

Linda Arbuckle show at Akar design

Looks like there are only 3 of Linda Arbuckle's pots still available. Lovely work as always!

As for me, it's still all gardening and cooking and computer time with emails, and other household chores.. Yesterday we headed for the garden center and I came home with 3 trays of annual flowers and veggie starts. After unloading the car I got some more things planted and watered, prepped and filled a new planter, fed all the containers in the front of the house and atrium, some in the back yard and trimmed the last couple of damaged perennials. By then, it was time for dinner prep.

Since I'm still a bit on an Italian kick,  for dinner, I made chicken Francaise and asparagus grilled after being tossed with a tiny bit of olive oil and good quality  balsamic vinegar. Jim isn't much on lemony tastes except in margaritas! :-) So, I cut the amount of lemon in half and he loved the recipe.

This morning, after breakfast, I moved the pepper and eggplant starters outdoors for the day and got the last earth box into place, so all the planters are now where they will be permanently living and I'm waiting for my helper to arrive who will be checking  the whole drip system and adding a few more for the new planters. He'll also turn on the automatic watering which is going to save me a lot of time every day.

The tomato plants were left out overnight and all seemed to fare well. The people at the garden center told me they don't cover any of the veggie seedlings this time of year unless temperatures go down to 36F, so it looks like we're OK for at least the next ten days.

While James, our garden helper is working on the drip system, I'll be fertilizing and transplanting a lot of these veggies. Things are looking really good now, and it looks like I just might reach my goal of having all my transplanting finished here by the beginning of next week, other than peppers, eggplant and basil which prefer night time temperatures no lower than about 50F.  They would survive if I planted them now, but experience has shown me that it slows down their growth if planted when night time temperatures are below 50 or close to it.

 Next week, I'll focus on my son and daughter-in-laws vegetable garden. I have  lot of veggies to transplant there as well as hand watering to do every other day, since they haven't had the people in to set up the automatic watering for the season and  may not have that done for another week or more.

Keeping in the Italian mode, I promised Jim stuffed clams for dinner tonight, so I'd better start on those transplants now, so I can get to the store right after lunch for the clams.  Ciao for now!

Wednesday, April 09, 2014

Pedulum glazing

Pendulum glazing - very inventive, fun technique.

Today was a gardening marathon - first at our son and daughter-in-laws garden, turning over and amending part of a raised bed  to plant kale and cauliflower, pulling some weeds and doing hand watering, and then the rest of the day in our back yard.

I'm exhausted and sore, but most of my flower pots, other than those in the shade are cleaned out and planted except for a few more annuals I need to get for them. I'm off tomorrow to buy a couple of more planters, more veggie starts and hopefully some annuals for shade. If they have all the annuals in stock, I should be finished with all my early planting at our house by the end of the week. There will still be some cold sensitive veggies and herbs like  basil, peppers, eggplant and tomatoes to plant; but evenings have to get a wee bit warmer before I plant those. We're in a very warm spell right now but in few days temperatures will be down to the low 60's during the day and high 30's low 40's at night. The weather this year has certainly been a challenge at times. It's definitely been keeping us on our toes.

Well, that's it for today. The tomato plants are in for the night and so am I.

Tuesday, April 08, 2014

Great free art book resource.

 Here's a link to a great resource of hundreds of free art books courtesy of the Getty Museum. You can read on line or download the pdf files.

These days our garden, our son and daughter -in-laws garden and our  kitchen are the three spaces where one can find me, other than these times on the computer or browsing cookbooks. Our local county library system, I have discovered, has some great cookbooks and I've been availing myself of those. Unfortunately, most that I ordered arrived at once, so I've been in cookbook heaven all week. I think I'm suffering from writers cramp from all the recipes I've written down on index cards.

Since I'm anticipating a good crop of tomatoes, most of the cookbooks are Italian and a couple just for pasta. I've made my own pasta before, using my pasta hand roller, but never rolling by hand and there are some great videos on you tube demonstrating the technique. Now I have to order one of those long, wooden, pasta rolling pins and give a it a go some time this summer. I wonder if anyone has ever rolled out pasta on a slab roller? HMMMM??

This morning we're heading out for breakfast, then driving to our sons place to hand water and retrieve the asparagus I harvested, and left behind yesterday, then back home to clean out some planters and  plant the annuals that I bought yesterday. After today, I'll have half the containers in the back planted.

Our daughter and son-in-law will be here in a couple of weeks and I want to have all my planting finished before then. My seedlings are watered and now it's time to check the weather and see if it's warm enough to put the tray of tomato starts out for the day. As you can tell, there just hasn't been time nor energy for the studio right now.