Friday, May 29, 2015

We've started on the rock patio

When digging the foundation walls we came across a great many rocks. For those living in the Adirondacks, this comes as no surprise. For those outside this great area, when I say rocks, I mean ROCKS! We ended up with what I joked was a defensive perimeter around the house. Zombie apocalypse? No problem - we have breastworks from which to shoot.

In addition to the naturally occurring rocks, we also found a barn's stone foundation. These rocks had been either shaped or carefully chosen by the original builders so that they were sort of squarish. And usually had a flat side. Perfect for building walls - or patios!

So we set those aside into a big pile for future use. And the future is now!

We started with some of the larger surface area rocks to place next to the porch. They're very heavy.

He's happy about this. Honest.
It was tricky getting it into place without damaging the porch slab. Fortunately Chris is very, very good with that tractor.
The inaugural rock
Several hours of moving, digging, and scooching later, we had four rocks in place and one ready for placement. Just 2000 square feet to go!
Awesome stepping stones (and look at that new grass!)
The plan is to cover the entire east yard while leaving space for the kitchen garden and the fire ring. I'll plant landscape thyme in between the rocks to soften the look, plus it'll smell wonderful when we walk on it. The cool stuff has started!

Wednesday, May 27, 2015

More of the garden

More from the garden and flower beds - these photos are from 5/16 or so.

We have pretty wildflowers all over
The only chicken I have right now
Grass is coming up!
Lupin coming up
Mini irises - only 8 inches tall
Hostas, foxglove, and something unidentifiable until it flowers

Red Jonathan apple
Sad Macintosh apple
Sad Red Jonathan 
East end of garden - tomatoes, marigolds, herbs, chicken
Green and jalapeño pepper plants; delicata squash far left
Lettuce right and center, arugula left
Kale; peas at west end
Garlic, struggling
So that's everything from about mid-May. Lots more is showing and growing now. And we even got a bit of rain today!

Monday, May 25, 2015

Garden Journal May 2015

This post will be extremely boring for anyone not intimately involved in my garden. Basically, that means everyone but me. You've been warned.

Garden notes:
  • I set up the new garden bed in the southeast corner of the yard. 4 feet wide by about 24 feet long. This is a test bed - does it get enough sun? Is it in an inconvenient spot? Next year I'll make it permanent if it does well.
  • It's been very warm and dry this May (almost no rain)
  • Started herbs indoors mid-April
    • Rosemary
    • Basil (compact and sweet)
    • Cilantro
  • Began hardening herbs on 5/1
  • Planted on 5/11:
    • Direct sow
      • Peas (Burpeeana Early), should emerge 5/18 to 5/25
    • Seedlings
      • Herbs started inside
        • Rosemary is giving me fits. Doesn't want to grow. About half a dozen sprouts that don't seem to be getting any bigger.
        • Cilantro isn't anything to write home about either. Good germination but seems to have stagnated. No real growth.
  • Planted on 5/15
    • Direct sow
      • Kale, emerges 5/25 to 6/5 
      • Arugula, emerges 5/21 to 5/29
      • Spring Crisp Mix Lettuce
      • Green Oakleaf Lettuce
      • Freckles Lettuce
      • Marigolds
  • Planted on 5/23
    • Seedlings
      • Beefsteak tomatoes
      • Ace Green peppers
      • Craig Giant jalapeno
      • Delicata squash
  • Planted on 5/24
    • Seedlings
      • Delta Pansy
        • Yellow, purple, mix
      • Super Elfin Impatiens, mixed colors
  • Observations
    • The kale, freckles lettuce, marigolds, and arugula are sprouting
    • The peas sprouted on the last day of the estimated emerge time.
    • The spring mix and green oak leaf lettuces are finally sprouting too.
    • The planted seedlings look healthy.
    • The garlic came up early and looked good to start but is now getting yellow on the leaves. I suspect a nitrogen issue and will be adding fertilizer. 

Wednesday, May 20, 2015

A quick trip to the Vineyard

We took a quick trip down to Martha's Vineyard in mid-April and brought Cooper. She was none too sure about the whole thing. Long car ride, lots of noise and people at the ferry dock, and she had no idea if it would all be worth it.
Looking out from a safe spot
She settled right in on the stern of the ferry though. And wow! were there lots of dogs up there.
Comfy and watching the waves
 It's a very pleasant 45 minute ferry ride with great scenery.
It's just so pretty
Osprey nest (love the new camera's zoom!)
Once there, she ran all over the beaches, smelled weird smells, rejected steamed mussels out of hand (we however ate LOTS!), and enjoyed the early season before it gets crazy for the summer.
Look! There's Daddy!
 A nice trip and I think Cooper decided it was worth the drive after all.

Tuesday, May 19, 2015

Spring Festival

Our little town does a Maple in April festival each year. There are pancake breakfasts (with real maple syrup, of course), vendors, hay rides, a car show, and thanks to Chris & Cooper, dog agility trials. Given that the festival takes place over two days in late April, you're never quite sure what the weather will bring, but this year Mother Nature was kind to us.

We volunteered for the car show and helped direct the cars into the big park. 

What a beauty!
It took a couple hours for everyone to arrive and the sun was just wonderful even if the actual temperature was only about 40 degrees. By 11AM the entire park was full of nifty classic cars.
A daily driver
The weather for the dog trials on Sunday wasn't quite as nice but at least it didn't rain. We helped set up the fence and the obstacles, then it was time to run!
Doing tricks before the trial
Copper, agility and certified companion dog
Just watching today, thanks.
Focused on the course
The trials went well and everyone had a great time. The dogs love being out with the people and getting a chance to run around and over and through stuff. Cooper does this kind of stuff all the time in our woods (logs, branches, culverts - they all count as agility obstacles to her), but there is a different focus when she's performing in the ring. It's more mental and it shows. 
Paying close attention
So another successful festival and we're looking forward to next year. Maybe Chris will have time to work on his '54 Chevy this year and be able to put it in the car show...