Tag Archives: garden

Moving on

Big changes, my pretty and loyal rooster has gone home. He’s back at the farm where he hatched. I’m so glad he recovered, he was even back to crowing before we sent him home. I’m sure he was lonely here by himself. I miss eating our own eggs. And I miss watching the silly birds run around. But given the uncertainty in our future housing it just makes sense, not having chickens right now. Windsor clearly misses them too, she keeps talking about our sick rooster going to another farm to get better.

Not having to worry about the free ranging flock will make our next project easier.

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The landscaper is putting in our lawn, over the leach field we installed last winter. He’ll also scrape up all those brambles and saplings. We’re finally putting in the wildflowers we intended to plant over five years ago (apparently I could have a tag for blog posts of large earthmoving equipment in my front yard.)

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And my pretty sunflower kitchen has been normalized.

We’ve had our house on the market since November, and if we don’t sell in the next month we’ve decided to rent it out and find a place to rent ourselves. We need to move before next winter. Wish us luck.

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Oh. And I knit a whole sock! More on that later.

Image

top down

black eye susan

fruits of labor

My garden has been very neglected this year. By which I mean, I harvested some peas back in June – and that’s about it. My energies have just been focused elsewhere this year. Luckily for me, we still have something to harvest. All those fruits we planted a couple of years ago are finally coming into their own. The elderberries started to ripen two weeks ago, and man do the birds eat those quickly!

The plums started to ripen around the same time, a few are still left on the trees

lone plum

And you can spend an entertaining couple of minutes watching the chickens search out the concord grapes still on the vines

hidden grapes

I’m working on elderberry jam – or jelly maybe, anyone have a recommended recipe? Honestly so far I’m working on picking those tiny little berries off their clustered stems. Maybe I’ll make grape jam again this year. Last year’s batch is almost gone, and it is (was) delicious. Not sure what we’ll do with the plums. So far eating them fresh seems to be the fastest option.

The state of things

Spring is slowly creeping into Vermont (we had snow again this week, and there’s more in the forecast) and I realized yesterday that the only seeds I’ve started are the mixed handful that Windsor and I threw into a pot of soil two weeks ago. My garden plans are sorely limited compared to some previous years.

It’s not just living with a toddler, have I told you my current schedule? I used to work 8 hour days, and take lunch breaks online. Since maternity leave ended I’ve been working 9 hour days and taking lunch breaks with Windsor. The combination means a lot less time for everything. I miss reading other blogs, I miss digging in the garden after work, I miss many things. There’s plenty I don’t miss (I don’t really care about the dishes, or the sweeping) but all life is a balancing act. And right now I feel like by blog is as neglected as my garden.

grassy stone

Do you feel like our blog conversation is covered in weeds? I apologize! I hope you’ll stick around, because I hope to be back soon. This summer holds some big changes for the Herrick family. Neil will soon be done with grad school. We’re looking forward to him having a regular schedule, which will let my schedule level out – finally. I have some new designs that should be out this year, and someday I’ll even get some garden and chicken pictures for you!

Raspberries

I love raspberries. I love the way you can smell them on a warm summer breeze, that first day they’re ripe.

raspberries

It turns out I love sharing those first summer raspberries for the very first time even more.

raspberries shared

Flyby

Wait, what happened to June?

Quickly now:
– I started some new knitting! I find I actually work on it because I’m not bored of this project yet.

– We’re also working on some house projects
House in progress
And by “we” I do mean us. I spent the weekend tearing off punky siding with my ever-helpful family. We did hire some guys for the roofing.

– It’s about 90F and 90% humidity out there. So of course we’re going camping.

– I’m sure we’ll learn how much Windsor likes lakes.

– At least the heat is good for my garden.

– I have even more gladioli than last year. Funny how that works.

Proof

Here’s so photographic proof that I have something in my garden besides garlic!

bok choy

And someone who is 8 months old!

grins

No proof has yet been found of knitting. I had a friend over and we did lots of talking but no knitting. I rode in the car for 6 hours and didn’t knit. It occurs to me that I might need a more engaging project…

Unsure

It’s Monday and I can honestly say I’m unsure when the last time I knit occurred… So let’s have a random life update, list style:

We’re doing some major home improvements this summer: siding and the roof. It’ll look great when it’s done but organizing the project is taking up all my “free” time.

Windsor is so close to crawling. Did you know babies have a stage where they try but just slide backward instead of moving forward? It’s cute but it makes her so angry.

I finally got something besides garlic planted in my garden. Two kinds of beans, book choy, and lettuce.

I’m considering turning over a third of my garden to sunflowers. I simply have no time to weed.

Believe it or not, I miss weeding.

expectations

I’m functioning at a “low expectations” level right now. I don’t expect to finish much knitting. I don’t expect to get much personal time. I don’t expect to write many blog posts (surprise!) I don’t expect to take photos during daylight hours… Pretty much all my energy for expectations goes into getting dinner made daily, getting to work and back, getting the laundry done. All my free time is spent playing with Windsor. She’s freaking adorable these days and I’m really very happy with the way my life is right now. It’s just very different from before.

But here’s the thing. It’s mid April, and I realized I haven’t even thought about my veggie garden. Usually I would have it all mapped out about a month ago.

garden seeds

And gardening? It’s entirely about expectations. Hopes, dreams, and expectations. What will grow? What will the weather do? What will fail? These seedlings, they hold the promise of expectations, both of success and failure.

seedlings

We’ll see how it goes.

Frost

Every year around this time I start my frost watch. Average first frost comes around the end of September in my part of the world. This year many parts of northern VT have had TWO frosts already. My garden has narrowly escaped the freezing temperatures by living far enough up the hill at almost 1000 feet in elevation (cold air sinks, you see.) But it’s only a matter of time…

frosty seeds

I’m not worried though, for better or worse I’ve got nothing to protect. My salad tomato plants survived the june rains, but never thrived enough to blossom. My beans and squashes did slightly better, but the plants are exhausted and ready to be done by now. This has been one of the saddest years ever in my garden. Sure I’ve had years where hurricanes knocked out a perfectly good corn harvest. Other years where blight knocked out a perfectly good tomato harvest. But this year? I don’t even have any harvest I can refer to as “perfectly good.” Ok, that’s not true. The garlic did amazing things, but that was MUCH earlier in the season. The rainy June half-drowned everything I planted, and then the cool summer didn’t give any sort of kick-start to those poor plants. I’ve frozen a few pints of broccoli and two of beans that I BOUGHT from my nearby farm. Sure I’ve got my precious tomato sauce – but I bought those too. And we’re looking at buying pretty much all our squash again this year. But I haven’t lost complete hope:

fall greens

I still have my rows of cold-hardy leafy greens which I planted in August. Fall salad season is about to start with red and green lettuce, bok choy, and swiss chard. It’ll be good to be harvesting again! These hardy little plants will hang on through a light frost easily. And if I have the energy this weekend I may even set up some cold frames. I need to AT LEAST get out there and pull the grass, look at it coming up from seed among those little rows…