3/22/14

Chatty Caturday

There must be a lot going on today because I keep taking pictures and then I keep sitting down here to tell you all about it. We managed to get the greenhouse cleaned out, and in the process, I took time to walk around and check out the state of things in the yard, the field, and the woods. There is a lot of winter kill as there always is this time of year, but little by little, we get it cleaned up. We just need some nice weather, and we got it in spades today.

It was crystal clear, and the mountains were standing out white against the blue sky. That's Mt. Rainier on the left, Mt. St. Helens on the right. To the far right...outside the frame of this image...you can see Mt. Adams.


Mike was already busy pulling crap (and I do mean "crap") out of the greenhouse. I took some time to fill the bird feeders and set up the birdcam. On my way from the garage to the greenhouse, I set up the sundial. If you want to read the story of the sundial, you can click on this old post. I always bring it in for the winter because if we get a heavy wet snow, it will break that gnomon right off. It happened once. That's how I know it's called a "gnomon". I had to order a new one, and Mike was able to repair it.


And then I got to work dumping the old potting soil out of the pots from the greenhouse. In the process, I put my finger right on this slimy little bugger.


I paused long enough to take this picture, then I went in the house and amputated my finger. In my experience, a digit, once slimed, is no longer useful for anything. I was much more careful after that, and in my caution, discovered this little nest of slug eggs. Gack. I'm assuming those shriveled up ones have already hatched, thus, the multitude of little slugs populating the bottoms of the pots. Note to self: slug bait in the greenhouse is not a bad idea.


While I was dumping the old soil from the pots, Mike finished cleaning things up, sweeping, and generally putting things ship shape. I didn't take any pictures before we started. I was afraid readers of my blog would be turned to stone seeing all the above-noted crap.


The slats are out of the tables to the right. I put those back, but forgot to take a picture. I use them when the tomatoes are small, and then I take them out when I put the tomatoes into their largest pots. Then, they sit on the ground for the rest of the season. It works out very well. Right now the tomatoes are too small to put outside, but I'll be moving them from inside the house to the greenhouse within the next couple of weeks.


Right now, they're living in the laundry room. I turn a fan on them for several hours a day to toughen their stems a little bit. The tomatoes are doing well. The two plants to the bottom left are dill (on the far left) and basil (at the bottom middle). Most of the herbs were a complete bust. Their little stems are so fragile and thin that they can't seem to support the weight of their own tiny leaves. They grow up fast and tall, and then fall over and die. I'll keep what survives, but I'll probably end up buying more starts of those. No big deal. It's fun to grow my own from seeds, but I'm not above buying ones started by others.

We just dump all the debris into the bucket of the tractor. This old soil is headed off for the compost pile.


The old dead tomato vines are headed for the burn pile. That photobomber is my shadow self.


While Mike was tractoring back and forth, I took some time to walk around the yard and down into the woods to see what's growing. The star magnolia is just about to burst into bloom. It's one of the most beautiful flowers in the garden.


I was thinking the trilliums might be blooming in the woods, and so I ventured down there. Since George went to the rainbow bridge, I haven't walked in the woods. 


There's my Georgie. He did love our walks in the woods. Sniff. Anyway...I've tried taking Smitty down there a few times, but he's always been a little too wild to risk it. Maybe this year he will have matured enough. I hope so because I miss walking in the woods with my kitty. Gracie is too timid. She much prefers staying up next to the house.

So there are a few things blooming in the woods. These little wild violets are among the first to bloom. There were lots of those. They are tiny...about the size of a dime.


I walked about 50 yards along the path before I saw the first trillium, just starting to open.


As I walked back, I noticed this one that I'd missed on the way in.


If you've been reading this blog for a while, then you may remember why the trilliums are special to me. And if you don't, you can read this old blog post where I talked about them in more detail.

Back up in the yard, I noticed the cherry trees are pregnant with blossoms.


Tufts of daffodils are blooming all over.


By this time, the greenhouse was looking pretty darned good. On the right side, Mike placed some drums that he painted black. They are filled with water, and they provide thermal mass. They warm up during the day and then help keep the greenhouse warm after the sun sets.


We set up the greenhouse in August of 2010. I wrote about its beginnings right here. Mike went to a lot of work putting in those pavers and pea gravel. Also, you can read about the pretty entry he made for it right here. It's been a boon to our gardening since we were never successful growing tomatoes to red ripeness until we got it. It has a nice little potting area right here. 


When I'm not using it, I keep it covered with slats to avoid, you know, prying, peeing, and pooping paw people (awesome alliteration).


On the outside wall this morning, I saw the season's first ladybug. Hello there! Happy spring to you too!


Then I wandered over to the tangle of dead catnip to see if anything was growing there. It's never a sure thing that the catnip will return in the spring. Sometimes I have to replant it, but this year, no problem!


You can see several tufts of it in the image below.


And there's some more just over there.


Seeing me sitting on the ground, Gracie thought she'd investigate what was up in the catnip field. Mmmmmmmmm. Kitties do loves them their catnip.


Hey, Smitty! Come check out the greenery!


Oh wow, Gracie. This stuff is righteous!


Nom, nom, nom, nom...


Beautiful catnip. Where have you been all my life?


Oh, Catnip, how I love you with all my heart!


What's that you say? Are you whispering sweet nothings in my ear?


Oh, Catnip. I worship the ground where you grow.


I want to bathe in your essence and write poetry for you!


Okay, it was getting a little nauseating at that point, so I called it a day and came inside. I'll let these two have their privacy.

18 comments from clever and witty friends:

Sher S. said...

WOW!!! you guys really cleaned up the greenhouse, that is a fantastic place. Love all the flowering vegetation outside and of course, the CATNIP!!!! As for an earlier post, check in the search area of the app store for gameforcats and paintforcats, all one word. My grand kitties love them. Some of my roses are blooming and so are my glads. Enjoy for evening.

Tami C said...

Kenny and I enjoyed watching the kitties play in the cat nip! He visited a new pet shop yesterday and came home with some new cat nip for our kitties! You have such a beautiful property. You are one lucky lady!

Lee Ann L. said...

Sounds like you are very busy this spring! My wild thing (Abby Gail) is harness trained and will go on walks with me.

WoolenSails said...

You live in such a beautiful area and wonderful yard to enjoy with the kitties.

Debbie

Kate said...

Wow quilty progress and a clean green house, you must have slaved all day to get to both.

Love your view.

Junebug613 said...

Oh George. :( I'm not into vegetables, but I am envious of your fabulous greenhouse. Looks like it was a lovely day. Hey Smitty, take it easy on that stuff!

Meg said...

Been busy lately here. We did go on spring break to FL so at least we got to see some green here.

It's so nice to see your pictures and that spring has arrived for you. It isn't here yet although the calendar says it is spring.....

Slugs and maggots creep me out!

Love the cat pictures - which made me think of this - are there ever hawks in your area? We had an incident at the cabin in Wisconsin with a hawk staring down two of our cats - I can only think that he was licking his chops. That was not good. They love being outside up there and now I'm gonna have to be very careful with that.

Have a good Sunday.

Meg

Jeanie said...

Love the spring yard and garden tour! It's a little early in my area but my cleanup will happen soon, I hope. Love the kitty adventures... that toothy picture of Smitty gave me quite a chuckle!

Vroomans' Quilts said...

The green house is quite spiffy now!
Loved seeing the early bits of flowers. Oh, fresh new catnip plants - what a treat~

Michele said...

I am so jealous of your greenhouse and hope to have one myself one day. Your kitty porn had me laughing loudly this morning. Thanks for the chuckles.

Nita said...

No leaves on the trees here yet, but the snow is gone and I can see the green tips of some bulby things coming out of the ground. My first spring in my new corner of the world...wonder what's hidden under the soil? :)

Dana Gaffney said...

No warning this time? My mind actually said, "OMG you found George in the woods", then we visit Photo Finish, thanks for the memories :)

Donna said...

I so love your kitty commentaries! My husband has started shoveling the snow off of the greenhouse so that the sun can get it to warm it up. He had his seeds out this past week sorting through them to decide what he needs to get new this year. I won't see my plants or grass for at least another month. It will take the snow at least that long to melt. I'm so envious of your garden!

treadlemusic said...

LOL! Happiness comes in many forms!!!!!!! Thanks so much for the Spring photos. The photo I just posted is a bit pathetic next to yours but very typical of the upper Midwest (unless you live in Northern MN, in which case you are totally buried in white stuff yet.....ugh!!!). Hugs.............

quiltzyx said...

My, you were busy on Saturday! What a gorgeous day you had. I had a reading day yesterday, between loads of laundry. I've been reading this book off & on for about a month - "World Without End" by Ken Follett - over 1,000 pages long, with TINY print! Set in the 1300s in England, at first I wasn't sure I would go on with it or not, but not too far in I got sucked into the story. Now I find that there was a mini-series based on it, so I'll have to check out Netflix to see if they have it.

I'm sorry to hear you had to amputate your slimed finger. Hope it grows back quickly! Loved to see all the Springy photos of your local flora & fauna too. Smitty was enjoying himself just too much, wasn't he? LOL!

Diane Wild said...

Glad to see Spring arriving for some. I'm staying hopeful that it will get to my neck of the woods. Love the crazy cats.

Jacque said...

Oh my, another hubby with a front end loader....love their toys; you can get so much more done with 'em!

Brown Family said...

I have an Iris blooming today. The Oak trees are starting to bud, too. I think spring is here. I love your yard and view of the mountains. My Kitties would love fresh nip!