Spring in Colorado

19 04 2013

Coloradoans have a saying: “Don’t like the weather? Wait 10 minutes.”

april snow

This spring has reminded me of the truth in this idiom. In the last 11 days we’ve had ~30 inches of snow, temperatures as low as 16 overnight, and temperatures during the day as high as the 60s. I love it. The chickies, however, do not. They’ve been stir crazy in the coop. Thankfully, the sun came out today, the snow is melting, and they were able to play in their run like the little chickens that they are.

 

 

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Happy Spring! (And a chicken update.)

31 03 2013

After two weekends in a row of spring snow storms we finally had a sunny spring weekend, and I celebrated by letting the pullets out for some sunshine. Pullet is the name for a hen before she begins laying. Tiki, pictured below, is 9 weeks now.

Tiki

They all enjoyed exploring the yard, pecking and scratching in the dirt, and sunning under their wings. After the intrepid explorers had their fill they settled in for a sunny nap, showing off their natural camouflage.

Happy spring from Vindaloo, Korma, Tandoori and Tiki! (Can you find all four?)





Reflecting on Sakura

25 03 2013

This time last year I was madly packing and preparing for our holiday in Japan. I was anxiously following Japan Guide’s Sakura reports,  hoping we timed our stay in Japan to coincide with the ethereal blooms. We did.

It was magical. Every where we went, even bustling Tokyo streets (as seen above), we were surrounded by the beauty of Sakura. We incorporated Hanami (cherry blossom viewing) into our plans in each city, but one of my favorites was sitting under then cherry trees on a sunny afternoon, eating green tea ice cream, on the Moore Overlook at the Museum of Contemporary Art in Hiroshima. This overlook has a collection of Henry Moore sculptures leading up to the overlook itself, and gives you a great view of the entire river basin the city sits in.

Another of my favorite Hanami spots was the weeping cherry in Nakanoshima Park, Kyoto (as seen below). We went back at least 4 times to see this spectacular tree in different lights! The Japanese are ingenious: they’ve built a cone of wires to keep birds from landing on the tree and disrupting Sakura.

This year, I’m following Japan Guide’s Sakura reports out of a sense of nostalgia. This year much to the surprise of forecasters, the peak bloom has hit Tokyo 12 days early. Had we planned our trip with the same timing we would have completely missed Sakura this year. It’s an important reminder in the ethereal nature of Sakura, travel, and life. Enjoy every moment knowing that it will never be just as it is now!

Ps- The Washington Journal asked readers to Instagram photos of Sakura with #wsjsakura. You can see the images here!
#wishingIwasthere





2013 Seedlings

22 03 2013

Last year I blogged about the dilemma ‘to seed, or not to seed‘ when planning for a summer vegetable garden. While I didn’t plant from seed last year (because of travel) this year I am. I feel more strongly than ever about knowing where my food comes from.

seedlings
This year I decided to try something from a post I’d recently seen on Pinterest. It suggested that paper towel and toilet paper tubes are perfect for starting seeds. And they are! They don’t cost anything, they can be planted directly in the ground, and using them avoids sending more material to the landfill.
The first step was saving our toilet paper and paper towel tubes for the last few months. Then when it was time to plant seeds I cut each of them down to ~2 inch segments and lined them up in glass baking dishes and filed them with dirt.

I began with the seeds that have the longest germination (tomatoes, peppers, eggplant, etc) and cool season crops (celery, leeks, cauliflower, and the like).  The baking dish works great for watering: I add about a half an inch in the bottom of the dish and the little tubes take it up from the bottom. I cover the dish with another glass baking dish to create a greenhouse effect and place it in a south-facing window. Here’s how it looks:

Celery!

Once the seedlings start getting too tall for their ‘greenhouse’ I pull them out and place them in a separate baking dish without a cover. I’ve filled in the vacancies with successive plantings including lavender, marigolds, and fennel. Believe it or not, I’ve actually run out of tubes! I planted the cucumber seeds in a leftover plastic plant pot from last year’s seedlings. Some of the tubes are starting to unravel though; I’m hoping they’ll hold together until I can put them in the ground. We’ll see!

 





Rain, rain, feel free to stay!

23 05 2012

20120523-182357.jpg
We have had a fairly dry May this year. So when the rain finally did come today, my roses (and veggies) were in heaven. They seem to have a different glow from the rain compared to when I water them. This here ‘Dolly Parton’ rose is a prime example!





Ephemeral Spring Blooms

19 03 2012

In honor of the last day of winter, and the coming spring, today’s post is about gardening.
I came across this post to the Denver Botanic Gardens blog recently, and it made me reflect upon the wonders of the ephemeral. The post, The Importance of the Ephemeral, discusses how bulbs like tulips work and how/why they developed as ephemeral. It’s a quick and interesting read, and it made me think about why I love these ephemeral spring blooms.

Tulips, hyacinths, daffodils, I love them all – but would I love them as much if they bloomed throughout the year? Probably not. Of course the blooms themselves are lovely, but their ephemeral nature is why I love them; they bloom for a short time, and they have a distinct association with a certain time and place. Without that association, without reminding me that the seasons are once again changing, I don’t think these ephemeral blooms would hold the same sway over me.

I’ll enjoy all the tulips, and hyacinths, and daffodils for the brief period of spring when they bloom, and remember them fondly until the same time next year. I hope you will too.

Happy (almost) spring everyone!





Is it spring yet?

18 02 2012

Okay, so spring isn’t here quite yet, but I’m starting to think about my spring garden and am doing a little routine maintenance.
Recently, I pruned my roses to approx. 12″ to promote healthy spring growth. A few of the older roses were pruned to 20″ to add height in my summer garden. I left the mulch mounded around the roses though, as we’ll certainly see freezing temperatures for a while.
I also pruned my maple tree’s new growth, nipping any stray branches growing towards the interior to allow for the tree to focus on outward and upward growth.
Early blooming hyacinths and tulips are beginning to break through the ground.
I love the signs that spring is coming!








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