Sunday, May 30, 2010

I love my garden . . .

I love my garden . . . I love my garden . . . I do, I do!  But, this time of year is the REALLY hard work -- and it is kickin' my . . . well you get the idea.  Still it is nice to be able to see progress.  Just a bit more weeding and clearing out and it will be time for planting.  We do a combination of plants and seed.

Here are some updated photos . . . 

This bed will be filled with culinary, medicinal, and aromatic herbs and plants.  Dividing it into four sections will help with the care and harvesting.  On top of that, each section is in one of the four directions.  What I find interesting is that it was not designed with that in mind -- I only just realized it when I uploaded the picture!

This area is dedicated to food -- with the exception of the salvia already there.  We hope that the wall will give some shelter from the beating sun of New Mexico.  Last year we tried sun screens over the plants -- it kept them from burning but the vegetables were nothing to write home about.  Gardening is all about experimentation -- we'll see how well this works.

Its the 'puppy pad'  the only grassy bit on the property.  We originally put in a small patch for the dogs.  It was such a success, we decided to enlarge it this year.  The sod struggled all last year and didn't revive this year.  We are going to try grass for one more year -- if it doesn't take, it will be time to attempt another kind of ground cover that is resistant to being walked, run, and rolled on.

This is our raised bed(s)  The larger one is dedicated to food (and some herbs that were left over from our first growing season in the house).  The smaller one was added last year and is specifically for herbs.  Still in the cleanings stages here with the north side of the larger bed still needing to be taken care of and the small bed still covered for the winter.  Thank the gods and goddesses for a three day weekend!  Hopefully all will be prepped and planted by Tuesday!

Despite the fact that we are still developing large elements of the garden and it takes a lot of heavy work, I really do love my garden.  It is wonderful to get my hands dirty (I rarely wear gloves so that I can feel the soil in my fingers).  It is always a calming experience to work with the plants and an exhilarating moment when I notice something new.  Last year we planted some berry bushes.  Only one bush actually survived and this year there are tiny little berries starting to appear -- amazing!

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Forever Thankful . . .

As I may have mentioned, this time of year is all about getting the garden underway for the current growing season.  Fortunately for us, the growing season around here begins rather late -- we can easily have a frost as late as mid-late April.  So, usually the plan is to get all the garden prep done by the end of April so that all those lovely seedlings can be put in the ground.  But, this year has gotten away from me -- a situation that has been compounded by the planned projects for this year.

The standard landscaping in our area is the throw tons of sharp rock on the ground and scatter a few trees, grasses, and the occasional hearty bush around -- crowding the base of all these poor struggling plants with the heat retaining stone.  With the exception of a raised bed, initial landscaping of our back yard was just this kind of sterile landscaping -- more like zeroscaping, though it is represented as xeriscaping.  Okay, so in a very old school kind of way, it is xeriscaping, but contrary to the belief of many, xeriscaping can actually result in a lush, green landscape -- it does not have to be a rock garden.

So, for the past few years, we have been slowly converting our back yard into a more interesting, pleasant environment.  This year involved digging out A LOT of the rock so that the areas could be converted into something more lush.  I began quite awhile ago, and picked it up in ernest about 10 days ago.  But, working on my own and being very restricted in my activities, I was making very little headway.  Kind of like the tortoise -- slow and steady, but it was taking forever!  Until yesterday.

Just over a year ago, I had the good fortune to meet two amazing individuals.  I am sure this will not be the last time I speak of them, because they have become significant fixtures in my life.  Without them, I would still be heading out every morning to battle the rock -- digging, hauling, and gaining an ever increasing dislike for the pointy rocks/gravel that makes up so much of the landscaping.  But no!  Now the gravel digging for the year is complete and we are ready to loosen the sterile soil, enhance it with compost and mulch, and begin the fun part of gardening -- designing the new beds and putting in the new greenery.

Here is what things look like at the moment -- so that you can share the gradual development of this space along with me . . . It will be a joy to see how things gradually become full of life and lovely little creatures begin to make their homes in the newly provided environment.  Maybe I can even catch some of them on film!

Not even 1/4 of this was completed until yesterday when my lovely friends graciously spent the afternoon helping me to finish tackling this task.  Blessings to you both!

Sunday, May 23, 2010

I'm Ba-ack (Finally!)

First, the mea culpa . . . Sorry for such a long delay.  Thanks to those of you who checked in periodically -- although I didn't realize it until much later -- I hope my silence I didn't cause too much concern.  It seemed like I was sick forever (when in actuality, it was only about four weeks) and then I was frantically trying to take care of daily responsibilities AND play catch up -- NOT fun!  But, to make a long story short, I am pretty much up to date and ready to get back into a blogging routine.

I want to take a brief moment to share something that many of us can do to help with the horrible situation in the Gulf.  I just found out that some of our local businesses are collecting human and animal hair to be sent to the Gulf so that it can be used to soak up the oil.  Apparently, hair has been used effectively in the past to clean up oil spills and some eco-conscious businesses are making it easy for us to gather this easily acquired item and get it to where it can really do some good.  Check out Matter of Trust for more information on how collecting all that hair that your dog or cat is spreading around your carpet and furniture can be used to combat the oil gushing into the ecosystem.  If you are not aware of any businesses collecting in your area, you can sign up on the website and they can provide a location for you to send your clippings.  They are also looking for donations of nylons -- and they don't have to be pristine -- they stuff the nylons with the hair and create a hair boom to gather the oil.  Even better . . . do you know a local groomer?  Get them involved!

Now, on the list of things to share is the results of the wonderful contest that I won.  Mrs. B had a contest for a $50 gift certificate from Moonstone Jewelry and I WON!  I even managed to crawl out of my sick bed to post about it -- that was when I was stubbornly trying to stay on top of things despite my body's rebellion.  When I finally got around to taking advantage of my prize, there was also a sale taking place so I actually splurged and got two rings (I couldn't decide between the two so it's a good thing there was a sale).  The first was the Howling Wolf Ring (of course -- big surprise there).  But, the second ring that I was very drawn to was the Tree of Life Ring.  Not only was it unusual with the cut outs that reminded me of an infinity sign, but the subtle and beautiful figure integrated into the design spoke to me.  Once I ordered, I was quickly contacted by Moonstone Jewelry thanking me for the order and just days later, I had a package in the mail.  Not only are the products from this company amazing, but so is the service.  If you are looking for some jewelry, I highly recommend checking out this website.

Well, there is so much left to share, but I am going to pace myself.  Besides, I may be ready to start writing again, but I am WAY behind in reading all those blogs that have been posted over the past couple of months.  Actually, my Unread Blogs count just says 1000+ -- so not good, the count is so high that even the computer has stopped counting!  So, I am going to work on getting that under control and I am sure, in addition to ideas I already have, I will be inspired by the wonderful thoughts of others.  I may be a bit slow on the uptake of some of your ideas -- but i want to give them their due, so bear with me!