“Earning Your Keep”

While browsing through last April’s posts, I stumbled upon this post I wrote. It’s about how New Englanders thrive in all the seasons and the extremes. It takes a strength and pereseverance to live here, to remain content while the harsh conditions can test your endurance. As winter shuts its door and welcoming spring gradually begins, I wish to share this once again.

https://heartandsoul974.wordpress.com/2018/04/14/earning-your-keep/https://heartandsoul974.wordpress.com/2018/04/14/earning-your-keep/

Advertisements

The End of March Madness!

When March rolls around most New Englanders hope, even dare to think of spring! The 2019 calendar says it’s officially March 20th but we all know it will be long after that. Our yard still sports mounds of snow, icy slopes and chilly icicles dangle from the rooftop. Snowstorms still clobber our region with multiple inches of the white stuff and whipping winds.

This thermometer will continue to rise this week!

When I mention March madness I don’t mean basketball. If you have read my blog posts you’ve probably learned that my interests don’t include sports. My definition of March madness is the hovering cabin fever that sets in, especially in New England where winter consumes many months of the year. It’s the itch for beautiful pastoral scenes, bright sun, blooming blossoms, singing birds, open windows and growing grass.

This was taken a few days ago, after the latest snowstorm that brought 12 inches of snow!

As March winds down, there is slight evidence that spring really is here. The daytime temperatures rise to the 40’s and 50’s, and this coming weekend it’s predicted to be in the 60’s! A burst of sun and needed warmth is what we New Hampshire residents crave! Surely the pleasant weather will break up any March madness or craziness that exists from cabin fever.

As the mounds of snow slowly melt, the warmer days of April are just next week. Gradually temperatures will rise, back dirt roads will turn to mucky mud and wood stoves may not have to be stoked as generously. Spring days will replace the madness of winter!

Here’s a cheer to the end of the March Madness! Welcome spring!

All My Best,

Heart and Soul 🌞

Seed Starting Indoors


My Sunday project, planting seeds indoors! Check out our snow in the yard!

Here I am on a sunny Sunday launching my summer garden by planting indoors! I got the idea last week after reading a bit about it. First I discovered Bear Creek Heirloom Seeds on Facebook from a friend’s post. She had just received her seed stash and was excited for the growing season! I did some research and decided to go ahead and buy my seeds instead of what I usually do. Every year I frequent Wal- mart and buy organic seeds from Burpee or Better Homes and Garden. But how do I know if they are GMO? Also all that time I was supporting a huge company instead of favoring a family run business. Additionally I would buy my tomato, cucumber, eggplant, all squashes, and basil plants already grown at a local greenhouse. (Here in New Hampshire you need a jump start for successful growing as it’s a short season. ) Now I’ve resolved to support this seed company owned by a little family in Missouri. All their seeds are organic and GMO and are heirloom seeds.

First I jotted down my growing list and decided what seeds I’d start now, giving them just over two months indoors. I’m growing Black Beauty eggplant, crookneck Summer Squash, Zucchini, orange Butternut Squash, Martino’s Roma Tomatoes, Tappy’s Heirloom Tomatoes, Straight Eight cucumbers, Boston Pickling cucumbers, corn and cabbage ( free seeds the company sent me).

Next I figured out what seeds could wait until June. I always plant carrots, green beans, lettuce,spinach, thyme, cilantro, oregano, and beets then. Those will do well in the warm ground and won’t need a boost.

We have a pretty warm room facing South. It’s bright and sunny, an ideal spot for germinating plants. Tom brought in our six foot folding table and placed in front of the window. I bought a growing tray and dome for a greenhouse effect for some of the seeds, a growing light with two LED lightbulbs, Happy Frog Potting Mix and wooden popsicle sticks for marking the types. Luckily we saved the plastic plant trays from last year. They are perfect to start the seeds with little wells in a tray of four.

I opened the soil mix and stirred it around, preparing it for planting. It warmed up easily in the window. Tom made a marker for 1/4 and 1/2 inch holes to plant the seeds so I could easily place it in, tuck a seed or two in and then gently cover with the mix. Each plant has a different planting depth.After prepping each tray I put the veggie marker in so I wouldn’t forget! It would be easy to do…the whole time I was visiting with my daughter in law and sometimes I can’t do two things at a time! Haha!

I tried really watering them well the first day. I bought a little water spritzer for watering the seeds, yet I don’t know how much to soak them from here on out. I sprayed it several times as the mix dried out quickly in the heated area. Today I’ll soak it well and hope that I get in a routine of watering everyday.

I intend on using the growing light on gloomy and dark days and a few hours after the sun goes down. I don’t feel comfortable leaving it on when we go to work as it gets quite hot. It will help keep the babies toasty.

So that was my Sunday project, immersing in the potting mix, plopping seeds in and hopefully giving birth to our garden gems. This hobby probably came from my dad, who has gardened much of his adult life as well as his father, my grandfather who has passed away years ago.

Are you planning or planting your seeds now? Do you have any advice for me, as this is really new to me?

All My Best,

Heart and Soul 🌞

Spring Dreams

The other day the latest Gurney’s catalog arrived launching my inner gardening planner to action. Although it’s been years since I’ve purchased anything, they continue to send it in hopes that I eventually buy. As February rapidly approaches, I dreamily think of spring gardening.

Last years front yard perennial bed

Who else jots down garden ideas, browses through perennial books and sketches plots in mid winter? I do happily , while I can’t wait to dig in the earth and be connected to nature. My new spring goal is to plant a new perennial bed in front of my husbands’ beautiful barn. I am pretty excited to put up our greenhouse ( that my dad gave us) and start seeds a little earlier! I’ll keep you all posted with it all!

All My Best,

Mary 💜

Building a Strong Fence

 

I’ve gardened many years without a fence. Through the years I took my chances and shared my lot with deer, raccoon and skunks to name a few. Then when we moved our garden to our house lot, I received an early sign that a fence probably was priority. The first time we tilled the garden, within hours we had a deer investigate just a few feet away. I think he/she smelled the pungent fresh soil from the nearby woods and wished to see what all this was about…maybe hoping for fresh veggies that early.

 

Even though I knew that I needed a fence, I put it off. The last straw was when I simply left the plot to go inside to make supper. An hour and a half later upon approaching the garden, I discovered that a woodchuck had destroyed and eaten my whole row of broccoli. All that remained were forlorn roots and a green stem sadly bent beyond shape.

 

A couple of summers ago we were fortunate to have my dad give us some simple fencing and we put it up. We attached sturdy sticks to hold up the frame and believe it or not, it held up pretty well even through the rough winter weather. Last fall the wind and elements tore down some of the fence and snapped the sticks we had in place.

 

Yesterday Tom and I put the fence back up with grade stakes I bought at a local Agway farming store. I think they’ll be sturdy and last a few years. The only regret I have is that they should be a little taller, about five feet. They will do and serve the purpose but next time when I replace them I’ll be sure to buy taller stakes.

Many of you know we are renovating our house one bit at a time. Every summer we do a little bit more and eventually it will be finished to our liking. You can see Tom’s summer project in the background, the side of our house that we will continue to put cedar siding on.

This winter I bought this old post office box from Ebay pretty cheap. At first I had inside for decor, then hung it on our front door but finally I’ve decided on its true placement.  Here it hangs on my garden fence, holding all my little shovels and trowels and dowels for the plants. I’m happy with it and its rustic mint green finish. I’m always trying to incorporate antiques and unique things in my inside and outside spaces.

A sturdy fence keeps our planted veggies safe and ready for our family to eat. In these woodsy mountainous parts, a fence is essential! When we go on our local drives in the warm sun, we notice many neighbors have a sturdy fence. Must be that they don’t want to share with the deer either!

 

Do you have a fence around your home or garden? Sometimes fences serve as barriers to keep animals out. Other times they are beautiful works of art, a part of the landscape design.

All My Best,

Heart and Soul

Lilac Perfume

One common theme of our little yard is the lilac bushes. They reside in all four corners of the property, spewing a heavenly perfume that delights every nature enthusiast. Their magic is short-lived, just a few weeks in May to enjoy and capture with the camera. This is why I cherish them even more.

Here we are at the far end of May, Memorial Day weekend and they are blossoming to greet us. Our local town Lisbon hosts an annual Lilac Festival as all purple and pink lilac bushes in town bloom to beautify every street and lane.

 

This lilac bush is a miracle! A few years ago the snowplow brutally clipped the original big bush and just a sprig remained. My husband Tom nursed it back to life and here it thrives to remind us that once in awhile tragedy can eventually lead to rebirth and growth.

As lilac perfume wafts through the air and grown grass encompasses it in a rich green, I thank God for all the vibrant color in my world. The red geraniums hang out in my window boxes as well as the white draping bicopa. Deep purple petunias add a pop of color. Glancing around my yard various shades of the rainbow calm me. Their beauty amazes me and draws me back to nature when I really need it!

 

Lilac perfume continues to permeate our air and thrills the bees and insects. As the weather warms up and all the creatures and insects live happily around us, I thank God for this life here. I can’t imagine not having all this beauty to enjoy! Remaining grateful for the season, I pray for all the plants, flowers and creatures to thrive and for me to follow suit.

Happy days to you all, in whatever season you are in. Embrace the beauty all around you, for acknowledging it can make life so much sweeter!

 

All My Best,

Heart and Soul

IMG_3035.JPG

A Spring Morn

 

It’s a spring morning in New Hampshire. As I rise the wood floor boards are freezing to touch. Goosebumps spring through me as I glance out the bedroom window.An emerging sun welcomes my rising from a deep slumber. It warms the earth as robins and chickadees fly all about the yard.

A hot cup of coffee and a watch outside begins the day. Chipmunks already are at their daily routine skittering all over the front lawn. One has made a hole in one place where I tripped the other day. I’m not sure what Tom will do with it or will he leave it?

 

As the day warms I shed blankets and turn off the electric heaters. It’s been about two weeks since we’ve had a stove fire. It actually is a luxury for Tom not to haul wood to the house and kindle a fire so early. The house is warm enough, as the day warms up to the 60’s and lasts until the night cools off. Our heating season is coming to an end besides a sporadic wood fire on chilly June mornings.

 

Nearby yards host delicate daffodils and tulips, springing their rich yellow and pink colors, a beautiful combination with the rich green grass hue. I long to have a daffodil and tulip garden and add it to my yard wish list for coming years.

 

Tom trimmed our sprawling apple tree in the back yard. It looks so much better with branches cut back. Bumblebees fly from blossom to blossom, a good sign for my upcoming garden growth. Gotta have those bees!

 

Just the other day I saw my first hummingbird on a cherry tree branch. It must have been visiting the blossoms. My feeder is up now and I’ve spied the little guy already making a visit for a sugary drink.

 

As this beautiful day emerges with all the possibilities of nature, I remain extremely grateful for this country life. Despite the worries and anxiety of everyday living and an ending school year, I find this quiet yard a haven from it all. It’s a quaint refuge where I can gather my thoughts and center my mind as birds chirp in the background. I can only hope that you all find this harmony in a corner of your world. If you have this, grasp it with all your might and indulge in its elements. It’s the best and cheapest therapy around and will prepare you for what you have to face in the near future.

All My Best,

Heart and Soul