Friday, May 28, 2010

Gardening and Water Resources

My husband and I diligently stuck to our plan of finishing the vegetable garden on May 24th weekend. The peas and snow peas are already up and looking healthy but my first planting of lettuce didn't produce so it was replanted. We will probably be overrun with tomatoes come fall if old "Mr. Frost" doesn't come too early. He often arrives mid-September here in Muskoka.

We enjoyed yellow tomatoes last year and a new Heirloom purple tomato that I haven't been able to find yet this year. I always plant one cherry tomato plant and get enough for the whole neighborhood.

I had a bumper crop of turnip last year so we planted them again and tried parsnips for the second time around..they didn't get very large last year. I tried brussel sprouts last year but the growing season was just too short for them to mature to a good size..they were tiny and tasty but I'm not planting them again. We moved our good-sized black composter into the garden last week to get more sun, the maple tree we planted seven years ago has matured to the point it was shading our composter too much.

We hope to harvest green peppers my husband started inside in the early spring from seeds from a pepper we bought and ate. He enjoys doing this, I'd much rather just buy a mature plant.

We planted carrots, onions, lettuce, tomatoes, turnips, green and yellow beans, peas, snow peas and a few potatoes in a garden that isn't very large. We are able to share our produce with others and there is nothing I like better than picking my own lettuce and onions for a fresh salad.
To my dispair I'm not good at growing radishes but have fairly good luck with most everything else we plant.

The flowers in the yard are looking glorious, pansies everywhere, yellow iris, purple ones in various shades, bright orange poppies, lupins and phlox have reseeded this year to the point of nearly taking over, but the butterflies seem to love them. Last year we hardly saw any butterflies but they are numerous this year. We have hummingbirds flitting here and there, gold finches, robins and my favorite, the chickadees making nests and rushing around feeding their offspring. It's a glorious start to summer.

With our garden and many flower beds we have two large rain barrels and two tin washtubs collecting water. I try and remember to scrub vegetables over a big bowl as well as save all rinse water to use on plants. When my husband cleans the pond filter using the garden hose he tries to clean the filters over a small bush or plants, thus serving two purposes. If he cleans them over a pail the water is used on plants. Every drop of water is precious so we try very hard not to waste any. We were so grateful for rain this week, the soil in the flower beds was like powder so the rain barrels should now be refilled. I know the birds enjoyed the showers, they sang their delight as soon as it started.

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Be Brave

I belong to two writing groups. We meet the first and Third Saturdays of the month. The first group is writing their memoirs. The second group writes poetry or short stories, often given assignments by our instructor. My newest assignment was to write a "postcard" story containing only 250 words. Our ending should be ironic, quirky or end up with a twist..Here is my effort.

Be Brave

It's not like me to be afraid. Well, okay, I don't like snakes much but I don't think I'd stand and scream like I did as a child. Now I'd give them a wide berth, maybe even cross the street.

When as a child on my way to school a few small garter snakes would creep out on the sidewalk, screaming was a great way to get my mother's attention. She came running with a corn broom after hearing "snakes, snakes" and whisk them promptly into the ditch from whence they came.

Now being an adult I try not to be afraid, but the munching was nerve wracking. I really didn't want to turn my back on it. I could scare it off but some people had told me they could get aggressive when threatened. He was only a couple of feet tall and here I am a little over five feet, surely no contest.

Waving my hands and yelling as loud as possible trying not to disturb the neighbors', I ran across the back yard, clapping my hands now to make lots of noise. He hunched over his lunch even more, wondering why he couldn't eat in peace. He considered my foliage his banquet table. How can a grown woman be afraid of a ground-hog? He soon lumbered off to one of the holes he had dug, one under my husband's workshop and one under my garden shed. I wonder how much a stick of dynamite costs?