Thursday, February 24, 2011

I'm Taking A Snow Day!

So I woke up at 5am to 11 degrees, a foot of snow (more in places as it was a  blizzard), and wind gusts up to 30 mph. And this weekend we will be in the negative temperatures, not counting the wind chill. Needless to say I decided not to try to make my way to work. But I feel obligated to get lots of work done at home to make up for it.
The chickens decided they don't want to roam around outside this morning. Way too much snow and cold. In fact when I opened up the coop there was a gathering of small wild birds in with the hens. Apparently they are having a snow day too. So cracked corn and  grain for all!
Still more work in the craft room. I'm taking one of my hutches down to the shop for some of the older glassware. And I have a few more boxes to go plus a sewing machine in a beautiful cabinet that was my great- aunts.

Does anyone have suggestions or ideas for coffee syrup bottles. I have cases of these bottles from the espresso stand down the street.  I was going to use them for my flavored vinegars until I found a better bottle for that purpose. Betsy can make incense holders out of some of them and we can  melt some in the kiln, but there are still alot of them. Maybe we could hold a contest to see who comes up with the best idea?
Laundry is done. Warmed up the house and made it smell good! I think I will bake some bread. Oh shoot. My packages of yeast expired in 2003. I guess when I run errands tomorrow I will buy some more.And maybe I will make some jam. That will get the house warm.
Sat down at noon and ordered tags for the seed I bought. They are an extra cost but I like having the plants I sell well marked with a description and growing information. And besides, it helps  keep all of our tomato plants names so there won't be  'mystery plants'.
Speaking of plants, I am excited about growing some new ones this year. I think I talked about quinoa in the last blog, plus several new tomatoes bred for hanging baskets and containers. And  pickling cucumbers that can be picked small or allowed to grow without developing the bitterness. And pink blueberries! Can't wait to try them. Speaking of which I need to plan where to move the raspberries and blackberries this year so I have more garden space. I want to grow them around the chicken coop with white clover between the rows for the hens. They are so good at keeping the ground 'fluffed' up and eating all the bugs. Plus automatic fertilizers! I just finished reading about a machine that takes various animal manures and put them into pellet form. This makes for an easier handled product plus it can be used as a heating fuel in pellet stoves. The machines aren't cheap though at several thousand dollars.

Wow, the wind is really blowing. Snow is flying off the roof and swirling round corners.My flamingo windsock has been flying sideways. I am glad to be inside. Dan was out plowing so the mail-lady could get to the mailboxes.

Look what happens when Betsy brings her clippers over. Spot was the last one to be trimmed and the blades overheated so she quit halfway thru. Now he doesn't spend much time outside because the neighbor dogs laugh at him!

Stay warm everybody and wish for spring!

Sunday, February 20, 2011

A Day Out

I needed some new pictures for my website. As there really isn't much gardening going on around here at the present, Dan and I decided to go to the local conservatory. It's a beautiful park and gardens on the South Hill called Manito Park. We got up there just before they opened so we started with some pictures around the grounds. It was quite cold and the ground was crunchy under our feet. In fact we stopped at the pond to look for the swans , but the pond was frozen over. I wonder where all the birds go for the winter?

Inside the greenhouses they had spring bulbs in bloom and on display.The air was scented with their fragrance. Hyacinth, daffodils, tulips were everywhere. Many other plants were also blooming. And the orchids! They were all around. All different varieties and colors.

This is such a beautiful and special place. All the different species of plants, even a small pond. Benches to sit and reflect and they even sell some of the plants! Their first tropical plant sale is in March. I can't wait!
There is a wing on the conservatory that is all cacti and succulents. It must have taken many many years to get some of those cactus that big. 

It was really great to see all these wonderful plants growing and thriving when it is still so cold and dreary outside. I need more plants in my sunroom!
Hopefully we got some pictures that we can use on the website. I love digital cameras! You can take pictures forever and still have room for more.
On the way home we stopped at a garden center and picked up a few supplies. Should have got them at the wholesaler, but oh well. I have some terrariums that need planted for an upcoming sale and was all out of charcoal and coir mix. I wanted clay pellets for the bottom layer but they are really expensive so opted for charcoal which I have used in the past. And naturally while we were there we had to look at the animals. Lots of cute bunnies and the funniest colored chicken, Apparently they put food color in its feed and it changes the color of their feathers.

Back home my chickens were happily enjoying the sun that decided to come out. They are really getting the garden all turned and fluffed up. And they have almost finished turning one of the compost piles. In fact, they have tunneled from two sides. As soon as it gets a bit warmer I need to shovel out the coop and add more fresh bedding. They actually turn the bedding and manure on the floor in their coop when they scratch around and this causes it to compost which adds warmth for them plus keeps it from smelling. and then you throw it out into your garden! It's wonderful stuff.

The artichoke seeds are planted. I have three different kinds to try this year. The bloom is almost more exciting than the fruit. You can dry them and use them in arrangements. Artichokes don't winter over here so they have to be kept in a garage or some place where they won't freeze. 

I am researching the grain quinoa. There was a very nice write up in our paper on Wednesday. It is very nutritious and can be used many ways. All parts of the plant can be used; the leaves for salads and have been likened to spinach and the seed heads are used in breads and in recipes calling for rice. They also are very colorful and would look good as an ornamental in the garden.
My little shop is starting to fill up. Betsy and I were down there Saturday with more boxes.  I can't believe all this stuff has been  in our basement. It was like Christmas seeing everything again. I almost don't want to sell anything! Alot of the stuff I'm not sure what to price so I've been researching on the internet.
Just found out my big Mother's Day sale is actually the following week. What were they thinking? I sell so many of my hanging baskets that weekend plus everything else that people want to buy for their Mothers. So now I have to arrange for a sale either at the shop or at the farm. There goes my advertising budget!

Garden Expo 2011

Photos from Garden Expo 2010
     GARDEN EXPO – OUR BIG ANNUAL EVENT FOR THE YEAR! DATE – 14 May, 2011 – 2nd Saturday in May
HOURS – 9am-5pm
LOCATION – 1810 N Greene St, Spokane, WA
Admission is FREE with lots of free parking 
An Extraordinary Annual Event - 13th Annual Spokane Garden Expo
This year’s theme is “Gardening–That’s Entertainment!”

Hope to see alot of you. Come by my booth and say hey!