Fabulous Threesomes

28 Jul

Screen Shot 2014-07-23 at 1.09.00 PM

It might just be the light of the late day sun, but I am loving the combination of these fabulous threesomes right now.  

Lavender, Hostas in bloom & Red Valarian. 

 ~~More fabulous threesomes for all seasons~~

Vegetable Garden (90 Days) Week 12

25 Jul

Things in the vegetable garden have taken an unexpected turn.  Never before have I had to share this yard with so many creatures, the worst I thought being the groundhog that ate all the broccoli and cabbage (Not once BUT TWICE! I replanted all of it in early July)groundhog damage… UNTIL there was an entire skunk population! Skunks like to dig, we have always seen signs of having skunks with various holes in the yard. But then suddenly every night we could see them. Four or five of them in the yard, they didn’t care at all about us, the cats or the chickens.

Then BAM! there were cute little baby skunks everywhere! GAH. Why skunks are so cute I will never know. But the skunks have dug up almost everything in the vegetable garden, there are holes everywhere. Bean seeds and carrots, potatoes dug out, teeth holes in my sprinkler system. Oy Vey, I really had no idea how destructive they could be. I set a trap in the garden and what I caught was a racoon, I am sure he was also partly to blame. Screen Shot 2014-07-23 at 11.52.28 AM   The groundhog has eluded me and is only looking more plump. I just saw him waddle across the lawn as I sit here!! Bloody Hell (but so cute!). Anyways!!….

We have been able to get many things from the garden still. Yummy peas (although right now it looks like an elephant sat on them), lots of turnip and Royal burgundy and green beans. Lots of tomatoes and squash coming on.

I still see no sign of garlic again– the bulbs are still there- and aren’t rotted but I wonder yet again what is it that garlic wants from me?? Just grow already as you are taking up valuable veggie space!

still no signs of garlic

We have also been busy in the yard with 15 yards of top soil that was delivered a week ago, mainly to fill in the holes left everywhere by the big trees that were cut down.  We probably needed about 5 yards for that but I *accidently on purpose* (-it’s special female trait) rounded up to 15 yards.  There are gardens that I want to make!  The kids have been begging to shovel the dirt and take it where it needs to go every night. It is the best backyard activity for kids ever! Who knew? dirt pile

Maybe this rainbow is a sign that things will get better in the veggie garden. :) 

beautiful rainbow

Which critter do you wish only existed mythically at the end of a rainbow?


Easy Compost Tea

23 Jul

Compost Tea is new to me.  It’s like liquid gold for your garden and it’s really easy to make!compost tea supplies

I am following along on http://www.SmartGardener.com for the weekly tasks that are needed to keep the vegetable garden up to snuff. One of the to-do’s was add compost tea to certain plants.  I was a little bewildered at first. I had no idea what on earth that was! So I started researching what it was and how to make it. Now that I have all the supplies, which were relatively easy to find, I can make gallons and gallons of this amazing plant food.


Fill a 5 Gallon Bucket with water. Preferably rain water or well water. If it is chlorinated tap water let it set out 24 hours before using it.  The chemicals in treated water will kill off the micro-organisms you are trying to create with this process.

-a nylon stocking filled with a hefty handful of compost (any kind you have).  Squeeze it when it is wet.

-An aquarium pump. At the pet store I picked up the smallest pump they had which aerates an area larger than this bucket for less than 10$ and the Silicone Airline Tubing to go with it for 4$

-Fancy All Natural Molasses (add 2-3 TBSP)

-Liquid Seaweed found at larger garden centres  (add 2-3 TSBP)

-Fish Emulsion Fertilizer also found at larger garden centres (add 2-3 TBSP)

First hour of compost tea

Once you add all the liquid ingredients together, connect the hose to the aquarium pump and put the hose into the bucket. Use a rock to keep the hose on the bottom of the bucket.

Let the concoction sit for 30 -40hours.  You can stir it from time to time with a stick.
ready compost tea hour 40

You will know when it is ready by the frothy head that starts to form on the surface like that on a glass of beer.  It kind of looks like beer but it smells much to0 rank to even think about drinking. LOL!

And thus you have created the ultimate fertilizer for your plants. You can spray it on the leaves to protect plants from insects and diseases such as powdery mildew. Adding one or two cups to each individual plant will result in healthier darker more vibrant green foliage and more flavourful vegetables with higher nutritional values.

***This fertilizer is active or alive… it will not keep. It needs to be used within the day or so because all of the organisms from the compost and fertilizer are feeding off of the sugar/molasses.  When the micro organisms run out of food and air they will die.  

You will actually be able to see many of the organisms swimming on the surface when complete.

I have made this a few times now.  It’s so simple! And cost effective in the long run.

What do you think of compost tea?

Blog Lovin

20 Jul

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A Morning View

18 Jul

I was up early this morning. Something about the heat and the summer sun has me sleeping like junk!

But there was (seemingly suddenly) a colourful view out of the kitchen window that was just for me, as not a creature was stirring, not even a groundhog. :)

kitchen window view




Have a wonderful Friday!

Diane :)

#1 Pie in July

16 Jul

Ohh, this is my favourite pie to eat right now.  I know not everyone loves these black caps. Too seedy, too dry, too whatever.  Like any other crop it too depends on conditions.  A warm wet year results in plenty of these favourite berries. The best part is that I have two sometimes three little people who will happily pick everyday as much as they can just to see how many pies I can make! haha.  Making the pie is the easy part compared to fighting brambles and bugs- but don’t tell the kids.

blackberry pie

Adding a little bit of apple to a basic blackberry recipe makes for less seediness and more ooey-gooey berry goodness.

Blackberry Apple Pie 

1 1/4 cups sugar

1/4 cups all purpose flour

1/8 tsp salt

2 cups chopped Gala apples

2 cups fresh blackberries (blackcaps)

Combine sugar flour & salt. Add sugar mixture to black berries; toss to coat fruit.  Fill a pastry lined 9 inch pie plate with berry mixture. Adjust top crust.  Seal and flute edge.  Cover edge with foil. Bake in a 375 degree oven for 20 minutes.  Remove foil – bake 25-30 minutes more or till golden. Cool on a wire rack. 

This pie also freezes well uncooked- Bake from frozen at 375 degrees for an hour and a half.


What’s your favourite kind of pie?

Diane :)



I’m Pissed

9 Jul

As you know, probably by now, I do not like Groundhogs. I don’t like them one bit. Uggg.groundhog

They piss me off. I do not know how they keep finding their way back here. Is there a sign under the pavilion that says ‘Welcome to the Quality Inn’?

Ben and I went to Montreal last week and before we left I saw the ground hog out in the flower garden eating the leaves off of my hollyhocks.  I tried to trap him that night so I could take him with us for a little ride on the way to the train station but no such luck. There was no evidence of them being in my vegetable garden at the time so stupidly I wasn’t worried.

When I came home though, I had not a single cabbage left or broccoli. They ate all of my lettuce and the tops off the kohlrabi.  That’s 10 cabbage plants that were seemingly bug free and growing well plus 10 huge broccoli plants.

I’m pisss.e.d.

Not to mention all the other critters around here the skunk, the black and white stray cat, the mangey orange stray cat that just left a huge runny poop by the patio door, and the squirrels that run around like rabbits in the chewed up pavilion ceiling, plus the mice and rats in the hen house.

I am going to loose my MIND!



In a Vase on Monday: Tiny & Pink

7 Jul

Mini pinks in a teapot

I love this cute little toy tea pot. Isn’t it the cutest thing ever?

It’s filled with pretty ‘Miniature Pinks’ from the border.

Thank you to Cathy at Rambling in the Garden for hosting “In a Vase on Monday”, which challenges us to find flowers for cutting from our gardens… it is a very enjoyable challenge too! Take a look at some of the others this week linking in to her site here.

Iris is The New Black

2 Jul

I just enjoyed my new Black Iris in bloom, a division from my sisters garden and the only full sized Iris in my own garden.  This was my first spring enjoying its rich dark colours. I loved watching it open up, not knowing fully what to expect.black iris

When I received the division I didn’t know where to put it.  There were irises on the property when we acquired the house but they never really bloomed and I decided they weren’t worth the hassle, so out they went.  However now my mind might be changed!

It was a pleasant surprise that they bloomed where I set them in the front border, and at nearly the same time as the assorted Columbine and the Red Valerian. 

 Red Valerian and black iris

front border black iris  Red Valerian


 It was quite nice and it made me happy.  A happiness I look forward to again next summer! 

What are your feelings about dear old Iris?



In the Vegetable Garden (Week 8)

27 Jun

The vegetable garden is going quite fine generally.  It’s strange but it is hard to remember to eat some of the things out of the garden.  It seems like our dinners have been rushed and quick.  That should change now that school is out, unless the heat makes me lazy. haha

veg garden week 4 2014

(WEEK 4)

This year I mulched the whole darn thing. As there is no shortage of mulch here right now from the trees being cut down and I have been trying to follow the http://www.smartgardener.com advice as I go.   The mulch helps keep the soil a bit cooler on really hot days and helps to retain moisture.  Raised beds can dry out so fast.  I have also been watering since the garden went in.  My notes from other years have complained about realizing a little too late that things were not getting enough water.  It has been raining quite a bit here though, and I had to stop watering because the leaves on some of my plants were turning yellow.  They were too wet.

square ft garden week 8 2014

(WEEK 8)

Potatoes are going crazy (middle long rectangular bed). It was probably a crazy idea to even plant them in this raised bed which is only a few inches deep.  I keep dumping mulch on them. I have no idea what I am doing.  lettuce and potatoes

(The potatoes are providing shade for the lettuce)

I purchased some new rhubarb plants also, hopefully next year we will have a useful amount of rhubarb again!

I ate all of the asparagus that grew this spring raw and it was amazingly delicious!! I didn’t even share.asparagus

(Asparagus at the bottom right. My long term plan is to put them in raised beds also)

Now it is time to succession sow a few things like spinach and lettuce and cucumbers.  There are some squares coming available so I should try to keep them full.

There is always lots to do in the garden isn’t there?

Have a great long weekend!




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