Thursday, February 28, 2013

Longing for Spring

Looking at this leaf in the snow, one could be confused as to what the season is.  This time of year is hard on me, but I'm thinking, even more so this year.  At this point, I wish I could hibernate until it's time to garden.  Actually, I have the week of March 11 off, and am hoping to start taking off some of last year's growth.  I've looked at the extended forecast, and it looks like a couple days will be in the 50s, so I will try to be outside then.

Most of the snow has melted, Heidi so I went out after work today to take some photos.

I am pleased that a few of the hellebores are sending out new flowers and buds.

In a few weeks, this view will be very different.  I am so excited!

It looks like fall here, except for the bits of snow.

This hellebore on the east side of the house had some yellow blooms already this season.  Hopefully, it will get more.  I need to get the old foliage cut off when I get a chance.

The snow on the east side of the house takes longer to melt than in front.

I see the mountain mint is in its yearly attempt to spread.  I will pull up what I don't want, and it will be better behaved after that.

This hellebore is in the front of the house in the raised planter box.

Today was the first time I've noticed a crocus plant sending out flower buds.  Yes, spring is on its way!

Even the south side of the house still has a little snow.  I'm thinking it will all be melted by the end of the week.

While I was up in the planter box, I turned around to take some photos of the area where the tree used to be.

I plan to take out all of the lambs ears and lamium from behind the bench, and let the strawberries spread around in the area.  I also want to plant some in other areas of the yard.  We just found out that our grandson, who is allergic to most foods, can eat strawberries.  I look forward to the boys (and Larry and I) picking and eating them.

I like it that plants make their appearances at different times of the year, and some look pretty good all season, like this prairie smoke geum.

I think this is the area I hope to clean up first.  I wonder when the seeds I planted in the bare spots should be coming up.

Thank you for your words of encouragement and prayers about my ankle, where I had had the shave biopsy done.  I got the letter yesterday, saying it was a benign keratosis, not cancer or a wart, as the dermatologist had suspected.  The wound is getting a little smaller each day.  I did find out that it can take a number of weeks to heal, so I am not so off track.

As I've already said, I am looking forward to seeing the progression of spring for the bloggers in warmer zones, and when it's our turn, I will be outside as much as I can be.  Last summer, I worked summer school in order to get the loan from remodeling our kitchen paid off.  We have been saving all of my paychecks since then, and even though it's not enough for when we get old and need more money for medical expenses, I plan to retire this spring.  I am a special education paraeducator, and plan to be a substitute next year, in order to work fewer hours.  I figure I can work more hours in the winter, when I can't be in the garden.

I also want to get rid of clutter in our house, and make cleaning supplies, salad dressings, and such from scratch.  I already cook, and we rarely go out to eat, but I look forward to trying new recipes, too.

I hope you are in good health, and either enjoying your gardens, or getting ready to.

Friday, February 22, 2013

Snow Again!

I keep posting about snow, then about it being melted.  Well, we just had another 5.1 inches, after an 8 to 12 inch prediction.  Jim Cantore from The Weather Channel came to town, and broadcast about Winter Storm"Q" from "Q" Street.  He ended up apologizing for us not getting what they thought we'd get.  Folks around us did get that much, but we ended up having some warmer air come in a few times, which slowed down the snow, resulting in less accumulation.  I was hoping for more, for the moisture.

I had two days off of work, but Larry just took one day off.  He filled the bird feeders Thursday after the snow started falling.

I showed some of these photos on Facebook.  I baked 7 loaves of bread Thursday, all from the same batch of whole wheat dough.

I also made some cauliflower vegetable soup.

 Heidi and I enjoyed some picture taking time outside.  At this point, we had about 3 or 4 inches.

This was taken from the door before the above photo was taken.  The UPS truck seemed to have no problems driving on the snow.  I wish the photos would appear in the order they were taken like they used to.

That's Larry blowing snow.

I am excited to see if the seeds I planted in this area come up when spring decides to arrive.

At this point, we'd had 4 or so inches.  This morning, when I got up, they said the total was 5.1, but the pile on this little structure looked to be at least 6 inches.  I wish I would have taken a photo of it, because when I looked out the door this afternoon, it was melted.

I wonder if I should be finding an inside winter spot for the bicycle so it will have a longer life.

When we went to bed last night, we figured there would most likely be school today.  I stayed up a little too late, so was glad to turn off my alarm after the 5:30 a.m. call came to let us know school was out again.  

I didn't get a photo taken of the huge batch of cabbage vegetable soup I made for lunch.  For supper, I made split pea soup with a little turkey ham and veggies, and a chili type soup with ground turkey breast.  I thawed out a bag of tomatoes from the garden for this soup, but also, ended up adding a jar of medium hot black bean and corn salsa.  I used 3 cans of white kidney beans, and one can of black beans.  I put onions, celery, and carrots in about every soup I make, unless I actually follow a recipe that doesn't call for them.

I had been seeing doves, dark eyed juncos, sparrows, and a few cardinals at the feeders, until I started looking for them with a camera.  Finally, I saw a sparrow to take a couple pictures of through the back door until it flew off.

I've mentioned looking at photos from a year ago, to compare what was going on.  I don't mind that spring is coming later this year, and we are expecting more snow in a few days, but once that's done, and it all melts, I hope spring will be ready to take over.  This photo of the hellebore was taken exactly one year ago. 

I hope you all have been safe from the winter weather that seems to have been widespread.  At least the days are getting longer!

I am going to leave some spaces between this and the next photo, in case you get grossed out easily, so you can leave the post, and not look at it.  A week ago Thursday, I had a shave biopsy done on a growth on my left ankle.  The woman who did it said I'd know within two weeks whether it was cancer or a wart of some kind.

It has been hurting, and I can't tell if the redness around it indicates an infection, but I decided to wait to see how it's doing next week before calling the dermatologist.  The center looks better than it did a few days ago, so hopefully, it's healing.

The swelling is actually from the veins that I am supposed to have a procedure done on in March.  I need to call the place where the scleotherapy is scheduled to see how healed the skin needs to be in order to proceed.  They are the ones who said to get the growth checked out.

Friday, February 15, 2013

Snow Has Melted

Now that the last snow has melted, I want to put up another post so something else will be on the blog.  I hope all is well with you.  I thought I'd be catching up with my blog reading this winter, but have spent too much time on FB, I guess.  I am having fun following the beginnings of spring in the gardens I see there, and a few here, as well.

I am home today because I have had a growth on my ankle for a couple years, that I finally got checked out yesterday.  The PA at the dermatology office did a shave biopsy.  She said it could be cancer or a wart of some kind.  They should know in a couple weeks.  I thought I was going to go to work today, but it was hurting in the night, and has continued to off and on.  I am staying off of my feet as much as possible, and also battling a headache.  OK, I'll quit whining.  After I post this, I plan to take a nap.

While I was eating an early lunch, I heard and saw a tree crew trimming our neighbors' tree away from the electric line.  I am always glad when that gets done, because the tree sends its branches over my vegetable garden.  I have been battling more and more tree sprouts in the garden, too.  I use organic methods, and rarely fertilize with anything besides compost.  Oh, I do use something called Coop Poop from time to time.  I think I want to use something like that this year on my lettuce and such.  I haven't been getting as nice of crops as I used to.  I think the tree has enough roots under the garden that are stealing the nutrients.

I don't know why the photos I export don't show up in the order I place them, or even the order they were taken any more.  They used to.  These go back and forth between the two windows in the bedroom we use as a dining room.

The rosemary and other plants in the garden window are doing pretty well.  I have enjoyed using them in cooking.  Next year, I want to remember to have parsley and chives ready to bring in.  Can you see the yellow vehicle on the left?

There it is on the right, now.  My vegetable garden is on the other side of the garage, near the locust tree of our neighbors'.  (We are debating about taking the light pole Larry's dad put there down.  I'm thinking it is not currently working.  If we do keep it, I'd like to have an on/off switch.)

This tree really isn't in a good spot, being so close to the wires, (and my vegetable garden).  You can see the cuts to the poor thing here.

These branches were pretty long!  I'm not sure if all of these are from the same tree, or if they were working on others in the neighborhood.  The area by the trees to the left, across the street is where I also attempt to grow vegetables.

Crunch, crunch, crunch!

I took the next few photos out of the upstairs restroom.  The work was now finished.

Heidi was in the back yard, so I thought I'd show a bit of that.  The vegetable garden is on the other side of the driveway.  Please forgive the deck and carport roofs for being so dirty.

There sure are a lot of cuts!  I wonder how long it will take for the branches to invade the wires again.

This tree is not my friend, but I do feel a little, just a little sorry for it.

I hope my ankle heals quickly.  I need to get out there and get some lettuce and such planted.

For the fun of it, I went back and looked at photos from last year.  The next two were both taken 2/14/12.  We are a bit behind, but that's fine with me.  It was too warm last winter.  I want winter weather now, hoping that March and April will progressively warm up.

Look what happened after the above photo was taken!  I'm thinking that the crocus survived, and bloomed some more.

Well, I hope we all find productive things to do while waiting for spring to get here.  I am at the point where I am feeling a bit impatient.  I am excited to see if the seeds of native plants I planted will come up.  What are you looking for in your gardens this spring?