Friday, January 21, 2011

isn't it ironic?

I've been totally blowing off my blog, because more pressing matters have needed my attention. And now, my readership picks up, a crazy number of hits.  So it seems maybe people like it when I'm not writing? hmmmmm?????

I've been writing a lot, just not here.  I've been writing like mad to find my life long friend a bone marrow transplant donor.  Writing to potential donors, writing blog posts, and writing thank yous to those who've already supported us. Garden concerns seem trivial to me right now.  You can track our progress here or follow us on twitter @matchformaxine.

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

feels a little bit like summer

Okay, maybe not.

A few months ago (was it really that long?) I decided on the spur of the moment to make some limoncello.  I had never done it before, and was kind of winging it (a bad habit of mine) using a mash up of several different recipes.  Frankly, I wasn't sure how it was going to turn out.  The smell of the poor quality alcohol (as suggested by nearly every recipe) nearly knocked me off my feet.  But I figured, why not try anyway.  It's been sitting on my counter steeping and taunting me ever since.

Last night we had 23 inches of snow.  No school today, and if I was a betting woman I'd say none tomorrow either.  So I've been hiding in the kitchen trying to make myself busy so I don't have to play one more game of Harry Potter wizard chess.  Today was D- day, either the 2nd step happened with the limoncello or I was going to pour it down the drain (or perhaps use as anti-freeze? snow-melt?)  So I opened up the container, and it actually smelled pretty decent.  I added 3 cups of simple syrup and the aroma it gave off was just like lemonade...

One more day in the pickle jar and then it will get divided up into these cute little stopper bottles.  Then into the freezer for safe keeping until warmer weather prevails (maybe).

Monday, January 3, 2011

trying to find my inspiration

I'm finding it completely overwhelming to redesign 3 acres of poorly created gardens.  Where to start, what can I save and salvage, just how much money am I going to spend on new plants, and exactly how many seeds do I need to start in a few weeks.  And mostly, how am I going to get all the work done by myself, and take care of my kids, work a little, blog, and maybe have a bit of fun.

Then, while I was digging through some old photos to find a picture for Saturday's post I found these.
Nice pavement, huh? and lingering snow, this was March
Excuse me, you want to put a garden where?
Transformed!  Oh wait, I designed this space, and all the gardens.  (please note I did not design adding an ugly plastic garbage can and metal picnic tables, the one's I selected were gorgeous, even the garbage can, but there was not enough money left!)
I guess I am up to the task of redesigning my space.  I think I can... I think I can...

Saturday, January 1, 2011

It's the most wonderful time of the year...

And I'm not talking about Christmas, or September when the kids go back to school... it's seed/plant catalog time!!

As soon as the ridiculous number of catalogs from Pottery Barn, LL Bean and the like finally subside in the post holiday slump, the garden porn starts to roll in.  And let me assure you there are some catalogs that are so beautiful they can convince you can grow anything.  One in particular, which I won't call out by name, but happens to be in my home state of Connecticut is very good at it, my gardening friends will know who I mean.... but I digress.

For any serious gardener the planning begins now, in the dead of winter.  Seeds need to be ordered if you want specific types for your vegetable or ornamental garden from a reputable company (see here for comprehensive reviews, I use this religiously).  Order too little and you may be out of luck for your late summer/early fall sowing of cool weather crops.  Order too much and you may waste a bunch of money (although if you've ordered from a reputable company the seeds should last til next season).  My challenge this year is I've increased the size of my vegetable garden by about 300%.  So I'm planning, drawing, counting, measuring, okay not totally true.  I should be doing all those things, however as usual I'm going to just fly by the seat of my pants with a rudimentary, not to scale drawing plan, order, and keep my fingers crossed.

My favorite seed catalog of all time is Johnny's Selected Seeds of Maine.  It's not that they have the most unusual varieties (I order those from Baker Creek Heirloom Seed, which now bought a CT Seed company and will available locally, woo hoo!) but they have a ridiculously high germination rate.  In addition their catalog has the most comprehensive seed starting, transplanting and harvesting information for every single fruit, vegetable and flower that they sell.  It's literally my bible for the whole growing season.  In the last few years they've also upped their offerings in the organic seed department.  So the next few days I'll be pouring over their catalog, along with a few others to try and decide which of the 500 varieties of tomatoes I want to try this year, and which of the 200 varieties of cucumbers will make the best pickles.  And I'm hoping to find the magic unknown vegetable that must bet out there somewhere that my youngest child will actually like and eat without a bribe.

Ox-heart heirloom tomato - definitely making the cut again this year.