Beautiful Blooms – May 31st

This weekend was absolutely sunny and gorgeous (until 2 pm on Sunday, when the skies opened up with some much needed rain…). There are so many trees, shrubs and flowers in bloom in the gardens right now – if only pictures could capture the smell of the fruit blossoms, it truly was worth the wait!  These are just a few of the beautiful blooms I enjoyed while wandering with my coffee before church, they were too pretty not to share. Wishing everyone a beautiful, blossom filled week ahead.

“May flowers always line your path and sunshine light your day.” ~ Irish Blessing

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Waste Not, Want Not – Radish Leaf Pesto

We like to try use as much of each veggie as possible so as to not waste all that hard work. Waste not, Want not! In the case of radish, it is hard to imagine that those prickly little greens could be of much use. To my delight, our CSA posted a recipe last year that is now a staple in our spring diet – Radish Leaf Pesto. It tastes similar to basil pesto, but “pepperier”…that is a word, right?! With radish ready to pick and lovely fresh salads, this pesto is one of my favourite to toss with pasta as a side. Mmmmm……

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Step 1

In a mini chopper, add washed radish leaves and coat well with olive oil. Purée until nice and runny.

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Step 2

Add fresh garlic cloves (I had these dried from last year, green garlic would also be lovely this time of year), salt and pepper to taste and real Parmesan cheese.

I have also added basil and pine nuts, but it is just as nice without it.

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Toss on on pasta, et voila!!

” This Pesto is the best-o!” – Phoebe from Friends

In my “Happy Place” all long weekend long

I was too busy playing outside in my “Happy Place” to post all long weekend long, I came inside only for supper and church. In my Happy Place the birds were singing, the sun shining, the blossoms popping, the girls giggling, even when it was raining. In a word, perfect. image

We decided to finally make a permanent blueberry bed beside the shed. This is the “before” shot.

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Weeded and cleaned up.

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We mixed in extra peat moss to raise the pH and compost for nutrient content. Because I hate weeding (I think I have mentioned that before!), we secured black landscape fabric to 14 foot deck boards, laid it over the garden, cut out planting marks and popped in the blueberries.  We planted 2 “Pink Lemonade”, a “North Blue”, a “Blue Gold” and an “Elliot” to ensure pollination and different harvest times if any berries make it past the wee girl and the birds…

We will mulch after a good watering for looks and moisture retention.

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The patio perennial bed (highlighted by a completely bezerk Goji berry plant) and the Haskap berry hedge around the deck got tidied up and edged. We got a few Haskap berries last year, but are very hopeful as this year the 3 year old plants have gotten significantly bigger and are all blooming.  We have 3 varieties of Haskaps; they need pollinators. I also planted my “Veteran” peach that I picked out for Mother’s Day. I am really hoping and praying that it does well in this spot, the thought fresh peaches is already making me drool!

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A close up of the pretty little yellow flowers.  Haskap berries are the first to ripen in Nova Scotia, hopefully by the end of June.

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Gorgeous Peach blossoms! This variety, Veteran, is supposed to be very hardy and produce in Nova Scotia…time will tell.  For now, the blossoms smell divine and the colour is so pretty.

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In front of the shed we are attempting to grow Magic Hardy kiwi. They are “magic” because male and female vines were planted together to make baby kiwis…explain that one to my wee girl…The vines on the right were planted last year and survived the winter very well so we planted a second one on the other side to match.  We haven’t gotten any of the bite sized fur-less kiwis yet, but there are a few blossoms this year.

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Boyne and Nova Raspberries and Cabot Strawberries – something is nibbling the leaves of the Strawberries and book toy this year, but I not sure what.  It wouldn’t really matter if I did though, I won’t spray my children’s food for the sake of a few holes.  We just call them “hole-y” leaves when we say Grace!

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In the front yard, we have many crabapples and what I think was a cherry.  I forgot to note it my book and the tag blew off.  The pictures are a bit fuzzy because of the wind, but can anyone tell me if this is in fact a cherry?  It could also be a plum…Oooops.

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All the veggie beds are now turned (except for the rogue overwintered Kale. I didn’t have the heart!). I covered and secured all of the rows with weed barrier and laid straw and cardboard between the rows. 3 beds of “Cheiftain” potatoes got planted. I dug holes and covered the seed potato with about 2 inches of dirt.  The extra dirt and mulch straw is all read in bins beside the garden for when the green shoots need to be hilled.  This method worked really well for me last year! Planting will begin in earnest over the next 2 weekends,  We still have to worry about frost until the first full moon in June (according to my Grandma).

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And of course, the hoop tunnels are growing great!  I have yet to see any broccoli poke up though, luckily we have seedings we can transplant if necessary. And then some…Ooops!

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So that was my looking weekend in my Happy Place – how was yours?!

“In my “Happy Place”…will be back never.” – Not sure where I heard this one, but I think it is what my hubby thought about me all weekend!

Tree Following – My Wee Girl’s Magnolia in May

This is the first month of my wee girl’s endeavour’s to “Follow a Tree“.  She selected a Magnolia from our back yard that the girl’s gave me for Mother’s Day 2 years ago.  I won’t say what variety it is until it blooms because it is really quite spectacular and she wants it to be a surprise!

Each month she will head outside and take a picture of this tree (at least until November, at which point it may get boring to watch, but we will see…maybe the snow accumulation will be interesting!)  Depending on her thoughts of the day, she may write down her observations about the buds, blossoms, leaves, bark, nibblings etc. or she may just post a picture.  This tree has yet to be named, so I suspect one of these months it will be!

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Here is her first picture (remember she is only 7, so it may not be centered or focussed, but I am not going to edit her work in any form, this is her personal project to learn from and reflect upon). She even picked her own quote this month! I think these little projects are such beautiful learning gems, I hope they get as much out of learning about their environment as I do from learning about them!

Early May has been cold, not much is happening…no big buds yet…hopefully June will bring some fun!

“We can learn a lot from trees; they’re always grounded, but never stop reaching heavenward.” ~Everett Mamor

http://looseandleafy.blogspot.co.uk/p/what-is-tree-following-and-list-of-tree.html

First to pop and planting the first main crop

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The first to POP award is a tie between my Grandma’s transplanted daffodils from Cape Breton and our beautiful harbinger of Spring, the Forsythia named Georgette/Steve (depending on her/his state of blooming!). Today, Georgette is putting on the first show for the rest of the flowering shrubs!

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In the garden, the hoop tunnels and frost blankets have been very busy protecting some lovely veggie babies who continue to grow wonderfully.

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As my workout today, I got up early and tuned up the tiller (in cultivation mode so as to not hurt my worm friends…). I dug and tilled in the composted stuffs from our pile as well as the straw from last year’s rows into 3 of the rows. It was a back, chest and squat day to say the least.

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I still have a long way to go. Sigh.

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Since I am a month behind, I planted the whole pea bed after securing my bio mulch weed guard that I had left over from last year. I planted Veseys Sugar Sprint Snap and Oregon Giant Snow Peas. Yummy!

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The bunny ravaged our baby peas last year so I covered them in a new frost blanket to protect them a bit. I will put the trellis up when they are bigger.  The other rows also got tucked in to keep the weeds down until I can dig on more compost and have the time to plant them.

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Elsewhere in the garden, the rhubarb I stuck in the corner in a compost pile is coming up beautifully with some garlic and strawberries nearby.  I also transplanted the Rhubarb from my Grandma’s garden in Antigonish County and my Papa’s garden in Cape Breton. They are not with us anymore; it makes it even more special when I look at it growing and makes me smile to remember them.

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Lots of work to do still, but for now, I need to get back to my real work and stretch my deconditionned back!!

“What a man needs in gardening is a cast-iron back, with a hinge in it.” ~ Charles Dudley Warner 1871

Wildlife Wednesday, May 5th, a guest post

My eldset daughter decided she would start to follow the Wildlife Wednesday meme, here is her first encounter and entry!  Enjoy!

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This is a chickadee.  I decided to take a picture of him one because the golden finches were apparently busy and two “stormin Norman”  (our pheasant) might’ve been with his lady friend Norma. All the better for this little chickadee who was the star today.  I sat on the patio tiles waiting for some sort of wild life to come to me even though I knew that if I wanted to find stormin Norman than I would have to look but…I am too lazy.

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I just sat and waited until a little Chickadee (whose name I decided would be Moonlight because of all the beautiful dark colors) flew over.  I was delighted.  I snapped as many pictures as I could and then decided to try to hand feed the other Chikadees.  It didn’t work.  But one did come about two feet from me and then stared at me like I was ridiculous. I gave up.  At least I had figured out how to do it before so I wasn’t at much loss.  I threw the seeds aside and ran inside.  I sit here now wondering what happened to that one little Chicadee.  Maybe he joined the other birds.  Maybe he was staring at stormin Norman and Norma trotting around yards.  But what I’m guessing is that Norma doesn’t know stormin Norman is a player.  He can sometimes be seen with a smaller pheasant named Gladys. So maybe that one little chickadee is watching them and chirping hysterically knowing who stormin Norman really is on the inside…a scoundrel.

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Ally Griffin (not my real name!)