(I am really bad at using forms so I'm afraid that my diary entries will never end up the same way twice. I just occasionally feel the need to document what's going on in my garden. Maybe I should buy a garden journal.)
Weather: The weekend was about half and half for good weather: Saturday it rained most of the afternoon, which was good for the garden but bad for us, since we still had an enormous amount of stuff to plant. Sunday was cool and cloudy until late afternoon. Monday was gorgeous: sunny and 70. A stiff wind kicked up in the afternoon, heralding cooler temperatures. Andy covered all the tender annuals he could -- tomatoes, peppers, melons, winter squash, okra. Good thing, too, because we had a little frost Monday morning. The rest of the week has been fairly rotten -- more rain than we need, cold, blah.
Blooming Now: Lilacs (finally); peonies getting ready to bloom (finally); irises just purple at the tips. Saturday when we went to the farm to buy plants, there was a dogwood in full bloom. Andy and I laughed; it's been nearly 2 months since we saw dogwoods blooming in Tennessee. I have seen some roses blooming at lower elevations, but alas, my rose seems to have contracted some disease which is turning the leaves yellow. It usually blooms in June anyway, so maybe it will recover enough to have a few blossoms. We splurged on an enormous fuschia for the front porch on Saturday; I am hoping it will attract our hummingbird pair.
In the Garden: Rabbits ate half the pea plants. Something ate my asparagus. Half the new strawberries died. Ditto the pawpaw. I fought an extended battle against bindweed yesterday afternoon, trying to clear out a grow bed to plant melons. (Michael Pollan agonizes over bindweed in Second Nature. I knew it was a pain but I had no idea it was so insidious. New plants can grow from every part of its broken root. Every little piece! I combed through that bed for nearly an hour pulling bindweed and sorting through the dirt to get more pieces of root. It's a losing battle, but hopefully I made a little progress.) I think our water (even after it's been boiled) is killing the shiitake mushroom kit.
On the plus side of the equation (the negative is on my mind this morning, sorry): potatoes are up; we found the carrots in the bed that was a weedy disaster; and somehow in all the other activities of the weekend we made time to plant corn, beans, summer squash, my beloved Italian zucchini from last year (also, Zucchini Rampicante, another Italian zucchini), cucumbers; and as transplants -- more cucumbers (I have rotten luck with cucumbers); 4 kinds of pepper, a bunch of tomatoes, brussel sprouts, a few cabbages; two flats of okra (in black plastic this year for warmth); and roughly half of the melon plants I started from seed. Still to go: watermelons, Charentais melons, pumpkins, and Gareth's experiments of the year: Chinese noodle beans and a couple different open-pollinated varieties of corn (he wants to see if they'll cross.)
I'm also putting in a modest herb garden this year by the deck: cilantro, parsely, thyme, rosemary, oregano, basil, chocolate mint (in a pot!!), dill. I already have invasive amounts of lemon balm and mint from the previous owners.
Barnyard: This is not going as well as I had hoped. We got 15 turkey poults last Thursday - 5 Blue Slate, 5 Naragansett, 5 Bourbon Red. We've lost five so far. So now we're down to 4 Naragansett, 4 Blue Slate, and 2 Bourbon Red. Unfortunately, heavy losses of turkey poults seem to be the rule rather than the exception. This doesn't make me feel any better. Those little poults are terribly cute.
From the kitchen: I think I'm going to be able to pull radishes this week. What to do with radishes when the salad greens aren't ready? I also have mint. Radishes and mint? I don't think so!
What else is going on?: Maybe a better question would be, what's not going on? Sports. Sports are not going on. Otherwise... Katydid is getting ready for a violin recital, we're preparing for the arrival of 52 new chicks next week, various children have had eye exams and well-child checkups, I had to go to Urgent Care for oral steroids since my regular doctor's office was booked solid (but I feel almost human again, so it was worth it), Andy's in NYC again this week (only once, though), we're finishing up school books, I'm trying to write a guide for Gareth's study of evolutionary biology, Gareth marched in a Memorial Day parade, and Katydid and Andy got up really early to attend the annual Early Morning Birdwalk at our local arboretum. And the snapping turtles are trundling through our field and yard en route to their breeding sites.
A few pictures:
Pip is a deep sea diver, isn't that obvious?
Katydid in her element. (Photo by Andy.)
The snapping turtle we found in the field last weekend. The females apparently come out this time of year to lay their eggs. This particular turtle was fairly large -- probably about a foot long -- but apparently they can grow much larger. Later in the weekend we saw another, much smaller snapping turtle on our front steps. All children now know how to identify snapping turtles and have been warned to STAY AWAY from them.
The snapping turtle's head. (Photo by Katydid.)
I have only ONE picture of Gareth in the Memorial Day parade, and it's hard to pick him out. Then my batteries gave out. Andy and Farmerboy got to march along with Gareth's Scout troop so Katydid and I "had our hands full" with the twins and Chipmunk. It is therefore doubtful whether I could have gotten any more pictures anyway, but just so you know... they all looked wonderful.