Monthly Archives: March 2010

Boys in the Garden

Spring Backyard

Happy Spring to everyone! Sorry for the long absence in writing. I suppose with all of this lovely spring weather and all the garden work we’ve been doing, time to post has been hard to find.

I don’t think I’ve ever done a full shot of our garden area. I’ve just never found the right spot to take it all in for you, however thanks to inspiration from Mr. Hockney, above is where we grow our veggies (you can see it larger here). Last weekend Scott and the boys really got hard at work. We try to involve our two young boys in as much of the gardening as they want to, which actually is quite a bit. What’s not to love? At this point in the year it’s all about playing in the dirt. Our oldest loves to weed and our youngest loves to harvest so between them both, we have quite the crew.
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Last Sunday after a trip down to the Farmers Market, Scott took them outside and while he dug the beds, our 5 year old filled the wheel barrow with compost. Scott would roll it to the intended bed, dump it out and then our little guy would rake it over the bed! Amazing little worker. His little brother, who’s 3, just made sure to get good and dirty.
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For Christmas, Santa put a pair of pint sized gardening gloves into each boys stocking and they turned out to be just perfectly sized and sturdy enough for two rough and tumble lads. I’m not sure how long their love for gardening will last, but we enjoy it while they are willing to help. A few weeks ago my oldest and I were out front planting a bunch of flowers in six packs. We heard his brother playing out back in their play area and I said to him, you know, you can go play with your brother if you want. His reply, ‘No mom, planting is fun!’

We hope you have fun planting this weekend.

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A Springy Hand Lotion Update

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Hello There! Are you enjoying this beautiful spring weather? I hope it is spring like where you live. For a few days in a row we’ve had amazing blue skies and warm sun. Although temperatures have been around freezing at night. Which means that since we are in wine country, we wake up to the loud hum of the vineyard fans running, trying to keep the frost from damaging the tender new buds.

I’ve had a few people comment lately that they’ve tried making the homemade hand lotion I posted but that it kept separating. I’ve been making this for over a year and a half, probably about once a month and haven’t had it separate on me yet, so the only thing I can think that might make a difference are in the temperatures. Each microwave is so different, and I’m sure some have tried this on the stovetop too. Our microwave was my grandmas, so it has be to close to 20 years old! (Do you think it’s shedding all sorts of radioactive waves when it’s on? That’s what I fear. I need to read up on old microwaves.) Anyway, today I needed to replenish my supply, so when I made it, I took the temperature of each step. I updated my How to Make Hand Lotion page (which I actually use as an all over body lotion) so check that out if you have been wanting to give it a try.

I’ll be back soon with a recipe on how to make your own laundry detergent. I made sure to use it for a good long time before I wrote about it because I’d hate to share something that doesn’t work. Enjoy your day!

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The Hens are a Layin’

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I’m happy to report all three ladies are finally laying! I was starting to have my doubts about if they ever were going to get started again. One thing about relying on your own chicken’s eggs for all your eggy needs is that they tend to stop laying during the winter. They stopped in November and the last of the girls, Bea (the cuckoo in the back), just laid her first spring egg yesterday. It seems like December is when I use the most eggs for baking Christmas cookies and of course that is the only time of year that I need to buy them. Come summertime when the kitchen is much to hot to bake, we have three eggs per day coming from our ladies.

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Our three year old loves the chickens. He helps out in any way he can, feeding them, collecting eggs, corraling them in at the end of the day…(ahem) chasing them with a lightsaber. Boys will be boys. Here he is holding one of Mabel’s eggs (the buff) with a filaree leaf – his favorite weed to munch on.

While three hens is a perfect amount to keep us in eggs, we miss having extra eggs to give away to friend and family so we hope to add a few chicks to our coop this spring. Do you have chickens? What breeds are your favorite?

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Planted

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Amongst the rare times when the rain stops, we have been able to run outside quickly to plant a few things. We filled our newest raised bed chalk full of spring goodness, daikons, butterhead lettuce, gai choy mustard, brussel sprouts, beets and cilantro. That was on February 18th that we were able to do that and already everything is coming up:
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We also started some summer seeds this past weekend which we are keeping warm in our makeshift greenhouse…more on that later…
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Onions also got put into the ground a few weeks ago. They were a couple of weeks later going in than last year, but I don’t think they’ll mind too much. We planted copious amounts of onions last winter and enjoyed them all the way through this winter. After we pulled them last summer and let them dry a bit we stored them in our laundry room which goes unheated and they kept there well until the first rains came, October I think. When we started to notice a bit of mold growing on them we quickly cut them all up and froze them to use all winter long. We hope this next year is just as productive for this round. This year we chose Red Tropea Torpedo Onions and First Edition Onions both from Sonoma Mission Gardens. If you are new to growing onions, please read Onions: All You Need to Know for a primer.

Have you put any new seeds in the ground lately?

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