Monday, March 23, 2009


How exciting! I saw the first pea sprouts today.
The tiny round leaves are folded together like hands folded in prayer.

The first of my peat pots also show signs of life.
Six Hollyhock sprouts
are sticking their pale necks out of the dark moss
with two green leaves opened in praise to the Creator.

Sunday, March 22, 2009

First Day of Spring

Since I attended a workshop all day Saturday, March 21, I don't think I will count yesterday as the first day of my spring vacation. For me, today is the first day of spring and the weather could not have been more typical of a Southern Oregon Spring Vacation day. This morning on my way to church the storm clouds hung low on the hills surrounding the valley. A few drops of rain and snow fell but it did not feel cold enough to go back inside for a warmer coat. By the time I reached Ashland the sun was peeping through the clouds reflecting brightly off the snow covered hills. During church service snow began falling again. After church service I drove to Medford through joyful sunshine. By the time I reached Medford it was sleeting. While sitting in a parking lot the sun came out and warmed up the inside of the car, then the clouds blew together and covered the sun while the wind rocked the car. When I got to Home Depot in Phoenix sleet was being driven through every crack in the outdoor gardening section. I walked back to my car with an umbrella hunched against the storm. When I got to my mother's home in Talent, a gentle snow was falling. It covered everything with a thin blanket of soft snow. Within 15 minutes the snow had all melted. I had just got inside my house when a strong wind pounded the house and shook the windows. The trees looked as if they would blow over. More sleet was blown against every inch of the house, scratching at the window panes. Now, all is quiet. The daffodils shine through the wet mist as a sun beam waves good night.

Friday, March 20, 2009

Peat Pots take over spare room

I discovered how easy using peat pots is. Now I have the urge to buy more peat pots and plant all my own vegetable and flower starts instead of buying them from nurseries. I presently have 100 peat pots sitting on various plastic trays and tubs in my hobby room. I planted a whole package of Single Trailing Nastrutium seeds (33), 12 Virginia Stock, 12 Lucullus Swiss Chard, 12 Bright Lights Swiss Chard, and 25 Holly Hock seeds. If I am successful in sprouting the seeds and keeping them healthy until planting, I will feel as though I have accomplished a great feat. I think I will use the remaining peat pots for flower starts but not get any more this year until I know I can successfully transplant starts in this manner. Another reason for restraining myself from buying for peat pots, is the fact that I don't know where to put any more trays of starts. My hobby room is a little crowded that the present, but every time I past the plant section in stores I get the urge to buy more peat pots.

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Leaves and roots

I invited Tanya to the farm today. I picked her up after school. We planted short rows of seed alternating spinach and lettuce with carrots and onions. I used carrot seed from 2004 and 2005. They were sent in envelopes requesting World Vision donations so I don't know what variety they are. The spinach is Olympia and the onions area White Bunching by Lilly Miller. The lettuce is Super Gourmet Salad Blend by T.S.C.

Yesterday I planted some pea seed I had put to soak this past week end. The peas were starting to sprout. I planted Green Arrow bush shelling peas and Sugar Snap climbing peas by Botanical Interests.

I saw two pea sprouts and a few sprouted peas lying on top of the soil in the spot where I planted peas on Saturday the 14th. I pushed the peas back in the ground.

Saturday, March 14, 2009

Rescuing a fraction of the raspberries

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Pa Ingalls, in the Little House on the Praire series, was fond of quoting, "There is no great loss without some small gain." I remember him saying this after the crows wiped out their entire corn crop for the year. He shot dozens of the crows and they had them for dinner that night. Well, my u-pick raspberry patch may be history, but today I salvaged some of the canes and replanted them in the garden spot. Sanford came along when I have half way through and finished digging the holes, giving me the encouragement to complete the job. I relocated 22 canes and Tom Rosette took home another 10 or 15 canes. It is a good start to fulfilling Charles Ingal's folk wisdom by preserving some good from the loss of my dream.

Friday, March 13, 2009

A new flower bed

For nearly all the years I can remember, there hasn't been anything growing along the front of the house between the porch and the barnyard. I vaguely remember daffodills may have bloomed there at one time. But for at least 30 years, there has been nothing but dirt. Dad did plant a climbing rose bush in the space between the bedroom windows but it never really grew or bloomed. Today, I dug it out. Blue skies, 68 degrees, and a need to plant the flowers I bought Tuesday inspired me to change this 30 year old tradition of barren nothingness.

I had almost given the last batch of pansies and snapdragons to my mom because I didn't know where to plant them, but today after getting home from work, the weather was so warm and inviting, I determined to redeem the ugly side of the house. Sanford had filled in this area with dirt from underneath the addition. The lawn had always slanted down toward the house foundation and San determined to have the slant go away from the house. The dirt he used is red and smells like clay when wet. I though it would be unbearably difficult to work with but after soaking it down I found it amazingly easy to turn over. I filled a small wheel barrel full of compost and llama manure. After digging a shallow trench, I mixed the compost and manure with the clay dirt. The crepe myrtle my mother bought me 4 or 5 years ago has languished in a pot without a permanent home. Today I gave it a place of its own in the new flower bed. It will stand guard as the only shrub. I placed it in the corner by the porch and filled in the rest of the bed with pansies, primroses, violas, sweet peas and snapdragons.

I also planted the climbing sweet peas on the west side of the rose trellis. I planted the rest of the climbing sweet peas and the dwarf sweet peas in the space between the bedroom windows where the pitiful rose bush used to be. I am going to put a lattice there for the sweet peas to climb on. I also watered the lawn today with the irrigation water Sanford connected yesterday. It truly felt like spring outside today, but the forecast is for rain tomorrow, so I asked Sanford to build a fire in the fire pit tonight in order to relish the warm beauty of this country evening. After dinner, Sanford and I sat outside by the fire and listened to the creek water spill over the dam and a few frogs begin to practice for the spring concert. I love this place. Thank you God for enabling me to see the beauty in where I live. Thank you for blessing my life to overflowing with simple pleasures. May the new flower bed be a reminder of your grace and the miracle of life.

These are the blossoms I removed from the pansy plants after planting them in the new flower bed. My neighbor, Poppie, taught me to do this. I didn't believe it was good for the plants until I had to do it for the ones I transplanted for Poppie. Within a couple of days the transplanted plants had more blossoms and the plants seems very stout. I hope mine will do the same.

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Never Count Your Peas Before They Sprout

This is what the garden looked like on Monday. This is a little patch I turned over by shovel where I planted some spinach seeds. I also had planted pea seeds along the row of fence stakes and to the left of this patch along the bean fence.

I was anxiously anticipating the sprouted peas to poke their delicate leaves above the ground. It had been almost two weeks since I had planted their already sprouted bodies into the crumbly, brown earth of my garden. I was so proud of myself for getting the seeds in before March, even though it was only one day before. I thought about the peas while at work Tuesday. I was sure the little plants would have pushed their way out of the dark earth, longing for the warmth and light of the sun that was shining warmly all day. The first thing I did when arriving home was head for the garden. My husband and son greeted me. Justin had come up while I was at work to surprise me. He brought Dave's tiller and worked the whole garden plot up. He even removed the teepee and tomato stakes so he could do a thorough job. He did not know about the little sprouts laying just under the surface. Of course, I could only smile and thank him for the job well done. What are a few sprouts when I have the whole plot worked into a beautiful bed of soft earth, not a weed in sight! Thank you, Justin.

I spent the rest of the afternoon going to Fred Meyers. They were having a sale on seeds, 50% off. Here is what I bought:
2 Lilly Miller Oregon sugar pod peas
2 Lilly Miller Pole Sugar Snap Peas
2 Ed Hume Roayl Family Sweet Peas
1 Ed Hume Little Sweetheart Dwarf Sweet Peas
1 Lilly Miller White Bunching Onion
2 LM Olympia Spinach
2 EH Baby Filet French Beans, Bush
1 LM Romano Pole Beans
2 6-pack of Strawberry Starts
4 4-pack Ruffle Mixed Pansies
2 4-pack Rocket Mix Snapdragons
3 Red Primroses
1 6-pack Violas
Total Cost = $38.79

Wednesday I Planted the strawberry plants in three different pots with the red primeroses in the largest pot with them. I mixed in compost and llama poop. I covered them with cardboard boxes because the temperature was expected to be in the twenties. I put the peas seeds and sweet peas seeds to soak overnight.

Today, Thursday, I planted the peas and watered the ground. Now the waiting begins all over again.

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Putting to rest a dream

10 Years ago I convinced Sanford that we could earn income off the farm by growing raspsberries. This was a key factor in winning my husband's cooperation in making the farm our home. My dad let us plow up the hay field in preparation of planting a U-pick raspsberry patch. Sanford, Justin, Lynnea, and I planted a 1000 raspberry starts in the muddy spring before we bought the farm from my folksl. My dream of having a U-pick raspsberry farm has been a thorny experiment ever since.

This past Saturday, we accepted the help of two high schoolers from Ashland First Baptist Church to remove the irrigation lines and fence stacks from the weedy remains of what was once my cherished raspsberry patch. The hope of continuing this endevor actually died two years ago during the time of my father's passing, but I had realized the year before that it had very little chance of surviving as long as I and Sanford both worked other jobs.

I have now accepted the passing away of this dream. This Saturday was the burial, the putting to rest of that dream and the turning point to facing what lies ahead for Sanford and me. Thank you, Sanford, for risking this experiment and giving me 9 years of living on this 11 acres of rock and thistle I call home.

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Tuesday, March 10, 2009


Today was dry and mostly sunny, so I decided to plant the spinach seeds I have been wanting to plant for days. I weeded and turned the soil next to the peas. I planted 5 short rows of Regal Hybrid from Territorial Seeds. Tomorrow is supposed to be in the mid 50s. Maybe the peas will pop up. So far, I can't see any sign of them growing.

The pansies I planted Feb. 28 are full of blooms. It really is best to pinch back the blossoms when you plant them.

Monday, March 2, 2009


Last night and today the rain poured down. I smiled, knowing the pea seeds are tucked under a blanket of soil in my garden. The little sprouts are already pushing their way upward toward the open air. The seeds planted dry are now soaking up moisture to awaken their little seed bodies to start growing. What a glorious gift is rain.