5/1/11

Vent-Open Day

This is my greenhouse.  When it gets warm enough, the vents on top open automatically.


It's finally getting warm enough that I think we'll be able to stop heating the greenhouse.  All of my seedlings have germinated now.  I had to bring half of them into the house and replant them, but they've all come up now.  Today, I moved the last three cucumbers back to the greenhouse.  In about a month, it'll be warm enough to plant them in the ground.  (We have a very short growing season.)



These are my lettuce starts. 



I grow Red Sails red leaf lettuce, and Esmerelda butter lettuce. Ordinarily, I sow the seeds directly into the ground.  This year I'm getting a head start on the lettuce and starting some of it in the greenhouse. At the rate these are growing, the seeds I sow into the ground will probably be ready to harvest first.



This is my vegetable garden.

 
Mike built an 8-foot fence around it to keep the deer out.  The fence poles at the ends of the garden pull out so that he can get in and till it with the tractor.  As you can see, it's full of grass.  I try keeping an organic garden.  When the seeds are sown, I don't put any chemicals on it, preferring companion planting instead of pesticides and fertilizers.  Each season, it gets a new layer of horse manure from our neighbor's horse manure factory.  Sadly, the horse manure is also full of weed and grass seeds.  I'm afraid the garden has beaten me this time, and we're going to spray Round-up on it to start fresh.  When the weeds and grass start dying, Mike will till it under and add more manure.  It should be ready to plant in about three to four weeks (which is as soon as it's ever safe to plant here anyway when the weather is as cold as it has been).

When the greenhouse vents are open, the cat goes out.


These are the best days.  We love it when the clouds and fog clear, and we can see Mt. St. Helens off in the distance.



A day like this always calls for a walk in the woods with George. 

This is a native species that grows wild at the edge of the woods. 


Lately, the gardening section of the Oregonian has been encouraging gardeners to plant these, and I note they've shown up at the farmer's market and in nurseries. It makes me feel lucky to have this one volunteering in my own backyard.


Remember the trilliums?  When they've been opened for a while, they start turning purple.
 

This one is just starting to turn at the points of its petals.
 

The little purple violets are finally starting to open.



And this is one of my favorite discoveries in the woods.  It's a wild tiger lily.



Toward the end of July, it will bloom, and then it will look like this.



I love the textures of things this time of year.  Isn't it interesting how new green leaves are all wrinkly.  As they age, they become smoother--unlike some other aging things I can think of.




 
I never paid much attention to these little leaves until I learned their name.  And then I became absolutely enchanted by them.  They're called "Duck's Feet."
 

George likes walking on this cut off tree stump that fell over a few winters ago. 



There are a few designated "petting spots" in the woods, and this is one of them.  Poor George.  Can you see the scab on his cheek?



He had a bad outbreak of his pemphigus back in March.  He looked as bad as I've ever seen him.  We used to be able to control it (barely) by giving him his medicine every third day.  Now we're giving it to him every second day, and he's looking much better.  His whiskers, eyebrows, and fur are finally nearly completely grown in, but this little scab remains.  That's how deep it was.  After nearly two months, it's still visible. 

The baby ferns are starting to unfurl now.



We have a variety of fiddlehead ferns too, but I haven't seen any of those yet.  At the end of every walk in the woods, we take a walk around the house to see what's up in the cultivated garden.  The cherry blossoms are just starting to open.  This is the first year I've thought we might actually get a quantity of cherries; that is, if the raccoons don't get to them first.



Our flowering plums are finally open, although the ones in the valley bloomed long ago.  We are about a month behind at our elevation.


The few tulips the deer didn't eat are doing pretty well.  I've noticed that the only tulips that escape the deer are the white ones.  They must not like the taste of the white ones.



The clematis should be opening within the next few days.


This is one of my favorite things in the garden.  It starts with these lovely white cascades of blossoms.  Eventually, it will be covered, not just with the blossoms, but with showy red leaves.  You can just see the beginnings of them.  (I can never remember the name of this.)



This is the work of the squirrels.



In years gone by, they've dug between the rocks all along this rock walkway and made quite a mess of things.



Last year, Mike filled in the spaces between the rocks with a spray foam.  So far, the squirrels have been thwarted.  That hasn't stopped them from trying, however.  Instead, they've made themselves a little doorway in this evergreen shrub.


I don't mind them doing that.  They can be very destructive.  They dig and they eat my flowers.  As much as possible, we try to live with our wildlife and adapt to their habits.  If they eat the flowers, we plant different flowers.  If they dig, we do what we can to thwart them.  Where the squirrels are concerned, we are sometimes defeated by their bad habits.  We hate doing it, but sometimes we have no alternative but to trim their numbers--if you know what I mean.  For this season, so far, they're not causing too much trouble.

I'm getting some different colors of potted tulips now.  The only way to get colored tulips is to plant them in whiskey barrels up close to the house, out of the reach of the deer.  (That's what I mean about learning to live with our wildlife.)



Here's another example.  I used to have roses growing in this bed.  Now it's my culinary herb garden.


It's looking a little sad right now.  Some years, everything survives the winter.  Some years, nothing does.  I'm going to have to replant my rosemary, thyme, and tarragon.  The sage is looking suspect too.  I'm going to try cutting it back first, but if it doesn't take off soon, I'll replant it.  I love being able to go to my garden to snip fresh herbs when I want them for cooking.  They're easy to grow, and the deer don't eat them.

This is my foxglove. 



That was another thing the grew like crazy at our previous home.  I was sad not to find any when we moved here.  I've found it wild down in the woods, and I tried for a couple of years to collect the seeds and get them to grow up close to the house.  I was never successful.  Finally, I bought some seeds and planted them.  They are biennials, and that first winter, they were only tiny little shoots.  I covered them with dead leaves before the first snow.  The winter was particularly harsh that year, and I was sure they would die.  At the first opportunity, I scraped away the now rotten leaves, and there they were!  They looked much like they look today.  But last year, they bloomed for the first time.  Now they should be self-seeding and they ought to take off on their own.

These are the daylilies that Erik and Mae gave me for Mother's Day a few years ago.



They should start blooming in about a month.  This is our bat house. 


We've been trying to attract bats to our house because they are good about eating insects in the evening. We had them at our other house, and we loved watching them with their erratic flying patterns. Occasionally we see a bat, and for a while we had at least one bat living in our house. Now there are none.  We don't seem to be able to attract them despite the lovely house we've given them.  We put it up high in a spot that gets sunlight all day long, as we were instructed to do.  It might be too cold at our elevation.  The mud wasps have built homes above the bat house.  It occurs to me as I write this that there might be wasps inside the bat house.  We might need to check that out. 

I am a lover of yard art and wind chimes.  One year Mike gave me these two sculptures for my birthday.





They hang on opposite sides of the house.  How many women can say that their husbands have given them the sun and the moon? 

Erik and Mae gave me this wind chime for Christmas one year.  It's made from forks and spoons, and it makes the loveliest little tinkling sound.



I found this one at the Backyard Bird Shop once, and I couldn't resist it.
 

Everyone knows that no walk through the yard is complete without a good roll on the gravel driveway



followed by a delicious nap.


 
I cut back the dead hydrangea blossoms earlier.  Things in our yard can't be too fussy.  If they are, they'll die from neglect.  As for me . . .  I think I'll join George now.

4 comments from clever and witty friends:

WoolenSails said...

Love your greenhouse, something I would like to have someday. You live in a beautiful area and wonderful views of the mountains.

Debbie

Kathy said...

Excellent post Barbara. I love all the pictures of the lush plants that grow here in Oregon. I especially love the ferns. They flourish here. I didn't know the triliam turned colors. I saw them on a hike we took a few weeks back and they were all still white. Your greenhouse is terrific too.

Kate said...

Thanks for taking us along on your walk. You have a beautiful place.

quiltzyx said...

Another lovely walk with Barbara & George! As usual, thanks for the trip & give George a quick scratch from me!