Seeding for Sun

It's been a cold and wet spring here at the Three Cats Ranch. I've looked at some old blog posts from years past, and it isn't just my imagination that we're seeing a lot fewer flowers this year. They'll come eventually, but the darkness and rain is getting tiresome...literally. When I got home yesterday, I sat down in our recliner and fell asleep. My battery is solar powered, and with days like this, it's hard to feel very energetic. When I looked out yesterday, I saw this.

Minutes earlier, our farmers posted this next image to Facebook. Their farm is just over the hill from where we live. 

Such dramatic skies...and a few minutes later it was absolutely pouring rain, followed by hail, followed by sunshine. Our fickle Northwest spring was on full display within a matter of minutes.

There was no time for sewing yesterday. Instead, I wanted to do some greenhouse gardening. It's time to move the tomatoes into the greenhouse where they'll spend the rest of their lives.

Also, I planted six varieties of sunflowers, two of each.

Here's a collage from last year's beauties. It gives me hope for flowers and sunshine in 2017.

For now...this is all I have.

They're started in cups. I've never had much luck sowing them directly into the ground. I have a feeling the birds or squirrels eat them before they have a chance to germinate. Timing is everything right now. We'll be heading south in about four weeks, and I need these to sprout so that I can plant them in the ground before we leave.

Also, I planted three varieties of lettuce. We get plenty of lettuce from our farmers, but they seem to favor bitter varieties. We like a good supply of sweet lettuce too.

Lettuce is grown in the greenhouse. I like that it stays clean and I don't have to contend with slugs. I use window boxes to grow five heads of each variety. The seeds are barely pressed into the soil, and so I cover them with plastic wrap to keep the soil wet until they germinate. Moisture collects on the plastic, and so I use garden stakes to tent it and keep it from falling onto the soil.

All of this needs to grow fast. The tomatoes will need to be transplanted into larger pots, and the lettuce will need to be large enough to tolerate our automatic drip irrigation before we leave. Some warmth and sunshine would really be appreciated right now.

While I was out (and between downpours), I snapped a few images of every blooming thing in the yard right now. The star magnolia is blooming. Sadly, its petals are fragile, and they are already bruised by the rain.

The white clusters of flowers have begun to appear on the Andromeda. Before it is finished, it will produce bright red foliage along with lots of white flowers.

There are a few more tulips coming up. They're pretty even before they bloom...so graceful.

Also, a few volunteer pansies...looking a little bedraggled from the rain.

This morning, I did some hand quilting. The quilt center is very nearly finished now.

The last of it is in the hoop now, and I'll start working my way around the outer borders the next time I stitch on it.

You can see that I started on the southwest corner there a while back, but then thought better of it. If I start quilting it here and there, my stitch spacing might be thrown off. It seemed like a better idea to work the whole thing continuously, and so that's where I'll go once I've finished quilting the little house. I'm starting to think I might actually finish this project one of these days.

Today I need to finish up the four nine-patch blocks for the Welcome Home small quilt mystery. In case you've forgotten where I started with this quilt, this is what I have so far.

Along with the quilt center, I've also made a dozen square-in-a-square blocks and eight 9-patches. I need four more. We were warned that the next clue comes out in a few days, and so I don't want to start out on the next clue still needing to finish the previous one. As a small quilt, it seems we must be getting close to finishing this one.

Also, Block 17 for the Solstice Challenge came out yesterday. I'll be making a block for April Fool's Day. Yes, it's a little late for that, but I made one for Matthew's birthday last week, and nothing in particular happened to mark with this week's block. April Fool's Day it is. It fits, sort of, if you think about it. If there's still time left in the day, I'll get started on the Mommy & Me baby quilt.

13 comments from clever and witty friends:

Quiltdivajulie said...

I wondered about your garden with your traveling about . . .

Julierose said...

Oh what variety of tomatoes this year? I am looking for some "tasty" ones to grow in pots...love your blocks that kitty is adorable...hugs, Julierose

Vroomans' Quilts said...

I have some sunflowers seeds to plant this year (we are still too cold). I would just love to see some signs of tree buds with hopes of leafing. I do love your Deb Mumm quilt and you are getting closer to a finish. Maybe it will be your Christmas quilt - a warm 'by the hearth' snuggler.

Renata S said...

I took a page from your notebook. I bought some window boxes and started lettuce and spinach. I am planning on radishes and swiss chard. These will live outdoors as window boxes. Hopefully, high enough for the deer to leave them alone. Every time I grew sunflowers, the deer ate them. But I sure do love looking at those cheery pictures.

WoolenSails said...

The weather is crazy, I have watched all week for camping and it changes every day to something different, so I give up, lol. Love those sunflowers, grew them one year and the next try I got small ones that were too skinny to stand on their own.


Kate said...

Love the picture of the farm, very dramatic indeed. We've got rain today, but we've had a few days of sun. It is hard to get motivated when it's cloudy, I seem to be solar powered too. Hope you were able to get all your gardening done and are back to stitching a bit this weekend.

Wendy Tuma said...

That farm picture is stunning; such a moody, brooding sky and clouds. Where in the world is the sun? We're missing it here too. I'm heading to a baseball game tonight and it's supposed to rain. Needless to say, I'd rather be home quilting. :-) Hope your garden gets growing before you take off!

Dana Gaffney said...

Checking in from Paradise where our weather has been gorgeous, remember April showers bring May flowers, sorry had to say it, LOL.
That picture of your neighbor's is amazing, the sky looks so dramatic.

Ioleen Kimmel said...

The picture of your neighbour's farm is amazing. It's snowing here, it's Easter weekend but looking out the window it's saying Merry Christmas. Your sunflower pictures are beautiful.

Dar said...

I like your way of starting lettuce. I may try that too, but I don't have a greenhouse. I can start them on our back porch and hope for the best. Your sunflowers always look great. Had one volunteer sunflower last year in my garden, guess squirrel planted it.

Brown Family said...

That is a scary looking sky! Glad you did not have any major damage!
All I plant is tomatoes and onions. So far I have 10 Big Husky cherry tomatoes on the fines but the other 4 plants are in full bloom! I need to plant some lettuce, but I think I ma pushing my luck with the backyard bunnies!

Quilter Kathy said...

Gorgeous photos!
ENjoy your hand stitching today!

quiltzyx said...

Big stitching is moving along now, good job!

I do so enjoy all your bloomin' photos!! Thanks for sharing with us.

The retirement trip is getting closer & closer, wow! Good ol' red Solo cups are doing a nice start for your seeds. :)