Sunday, May 29, 2011

Rain Rain Go Away

It is pouring rain in the above picture. Our yard and pastures are filled with giant puddles. We have had a little over 6" of rain since May 12 - that's lots of rain and things are growing like crazy. I had to mow today - finally - between showers as you can see by the looks of the sky in the picture below. You can see how green everything is and if you look closely on the lower right you will see the difference between where I mowed and the grass unmowed.
The garden is lush including so so many weeds. That's my next project. I did get out to pick some of the produce though...
Fresh radishes from the garden, chilling...there is nothing like the spicy bite of radishes from the garden with a little salt and sometimes also a little real butter with the salt. If you haven't tried it, you must.
The greens including heirloom red 'mascara' lettuce, spinach and beet tops. Last night I had a fresh salad with these greens along with radishes, lentils & feta cheese on top then splashed with good balsamic vinegar and fragrant EVOO. Yum! 
The tomato seedlings are so ready to go into the ground in the garden but it's been too wet. The peppers and hollyhocks are in the same boat. Hopefully this week they'll get planted.
Spinach, Swiss chard and carrots at various stages from succession planting
Peas, radishes, beets -- again succession plantings
The potatoes are thriving! Looks like we'll have a good crop this year. Both methods of planting are thriving.
Today we are having 25-35 mph winds and 90+ degree heat & thunderstorms are predicted for this evening. Hopefully nothing severe. But the respite from the rain and daily drizzle is so nice. When you are a gardener, weather becomes a very interesting topic as you can see!

And, finally, I have to share this picture of our crazy wildlife around here. I put out an orange half for the oriole's that have been visiting our feeders since it is mentioned in all the bird books. I've never seen one oriole at the orange half but look who visited and ate the entire thing, section by section leaving only the skin!
I had no idea that squirrels liked oranges
Hope you are having a fun Memorial Day holiday weekend,

Monday, May 16, 2011

A Beautiful Day

Early morning light and shadows on the ranch...
Both levels of this birdhouse has occupants. The birds have been busily building their nests this past week. The alliums are about ready to open.

Another view of the doubledecker birdhouse and the bulbs in bloom---

The tomato seedlings are growing tall and strong---

Morning sun and shadows---
Lacey and the Dots ---
And, finally, the beautiful end to a beautiful day---
Hope yours was beautiful too---

Thursday, May 12, 2011

One Year Anniversary For COUNTRY LIFE TALES

i'm rewriting this post because it disappeared from my log and when I tried to access it on Mark's computer, it didn't show so I assume it was lost somehow.

This week is the one year anniversary of first publishing my blog! It has gone so quickly and was daunting at the beginning but now I thoroughly enjoy it. Thank you, dear readers, for staying with me and for your great support this past year. I also want to thank my international readers for checking into my life on the high plains of America.

I wish we had smell-a-blog so you could share the luscious fragrance of the lilacs in our front yard. We have 2 very old bushes. We pruned them by 1/3 last year and it certainly rejuvenated these old lovelies. The wild plum thickets are plentiful around our place so before the lilacs, the air was filled with the sweet smell of plum blossoms. The spring smells in the country are heavenly and help offset some of the animal smells of the country! Ha

The vegetable garden is flourishing. Above are French radishes closest to the camera with 2 varieties of beets surrounding them. We've been enjoying the radishes already.

This is the potato bed. I planted 1/2 the bed the old traditional way with potatoes in the ground and as you can see the plants are up. I planted the other half the "Ruth Stout" way with just laying the potatoes on the ground with a good thick groundcover. They too are forming plants. With the terrific soil the potato crop should be wonderful this year.

Oh, strawberries! What can one say but...I can't wait for the berries! The plants are healthy and growing like crazy. We should have berries in June.

Above is the spinach that survived in the cold frame. The cold frame wasn't a great success during the winter but we'll make adjustments and next winter will be different. It sure is great now though.

And these are Angelique tulips. I love these flowers and have had them in my garden forever. When our granddaughter Kelsey was born 21 years ago today, I brought Angelique tulips to the hospital to meet her for the first time. Now I think of Kelsey whenever I see an Angelique tulip. The flower beds around the house are in full bloom with the bulbs I planted last fall.

For those of you who vegetable garden, this website, Vegetable MD Online from Cornell University is an excellent resource to check about vegetable problems. Check it out at:

Thanks to winter cold we get to enjoy the spectacular spring blooms I've shared with you here.

I hope you stay with me on my blog for another year in the country, season by season,

Sunday, May 1, 2011

Blossoms, Blooms and Bitsy Seedlings

I've been in my element these past days since Easter, enjoying my spring flowers, watching over the new veggies coming up in the garden and tending the seedlings growing in the egg cartons. I've just transplanted them into the bigger pots. Below are plum tomatoes, cherry tomatoes and Purple Cherokee heirloom tomatoes. I can't wait to taste them in a few months! It will be worth the effort.

The fruit trees are blossoming - apple, pear and especially the peach trees are beautiful...

And, check out the new Welcome sign on The Dot House...thanks to friend Sandy O...not every chicken house has such a stylish front door!

That rooster on the door sign is the ONLY rooster on the ranch. They are just too noisy and bossy! We definitely have more peace among the girls without a rooster.

Sandra visited us this weekend and after spending Friday glued to the TV watching the Royal Wedding (yes, I'm admitting to our guilty pleasure); we worked on yard projects on Saturday. Sandra helped mount the sign on the chicken house door; she hand watered the garden, berry bushes, fruit trees and new tree seedlings while Mark and I planted ten Arbor Day Farm tree seedlings. We all worked together Planting several decorative grasses as a new border to the smaller front lawn area. The big garden project is getting the front yard freshened up...including seeding the grass bald spots, and planting tall grasses and bushes in the old lawn area that will be the extended wind break.

Sandra also befriended Lacey who got some tummy rubs after the first hello...

We've added two additional stock tanks to the garden raised beds and today we filled them with soil.  I'll be planting those tank beds with vegetable seeds soon.
The fragrance is spectacular too!

I hope you have some spring flowers in your home to enjoy,