Welcome June

Sunshine and good weather have arrived along with two more weeks of stay at home here in NH. After 78 days, staying at home is starting to feel kind of routine. It’s not normal because nothing is normal, but it doesn’t feel quite as strange.

My #1 goal has been to get a haircut. Since I accomplished that this past weekend, the calendar is back to zero.

We’ve been outside most mornings. Beds have been weeded, chips have been shoveled, trimming has been done, flowers and veggies planted. Vegetables include lettuce, carrots, beans, squash, cucumbers, tomatoes, potatoes, and corn.

We’re still using our stock tanks and a couple of raised beds for veggies. I also saw this interesting blog post about using window wells for container gardening which I thought was a hoot. Again, this is why I love blogs because I learn something all the time.

The blueberries, raspberries and blackberries all have flowers. I still have a to-do-list for the week, but things are looking pretty good.

My flowers are starting to come into their own including Clematis, Allium, Jack in the Pulpit and Irises. I had way more to include, but it got ridiculous even for me.

Are you gardening this year? Veggies? Flowers? Raised beds or in the ground?

Stay well and be safe this week.

If you’re wondering if I finished this post on May 31st before the June 1st deadline for the new WordPress Editor change, you would be right. 🙂

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Flying the flag

It’s Memorial Day here in the US.

This day has always meant different things to different people ranging from remembering those who served in our Armed Forces to the symbol of the start of the summer season and a long three-day weekend.

I could handle those opposing thoughts, but now it seems it has also taken on a political meaning, and the flag is only flown by individuals who follow certain political beliefs.

Politics over the past several years has left me mentally exhausted. I choose normally to not partake in political conversations, but I’m making this one exception.

This flag does not belong to one particular political party or point of view. It belongs to us – we the people.

The flag flies at my home on Memorial Day because I remember and honor my husband, his brothers, my uncles, our friends, and every member of your family who left the comfort of their home to serve in our Armed Forces.

In my opinion, Memorial Day is all about one simple thing – remembering those who sacrificed on our behalf. 🇺🇸

Memorial Day 2020 has taken on additional meaning because of all the front line and essential workers who have sacrificed on our behalf during this invisible war against Covid-19. Thank you to each and every one of you who have worked through this crisis as most of us have sheltered safely in place.

Stay well this week, friends.

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Safe Shopping

Remember the days when you saw ‘safe’ used as an adjective it was probably describing ‘sex’? Now, we’re using it to explain shopping experiences. 🙂

Lowes opened at 8 a.m. yesterday, and we were there at 9:15 a.m. for a curbside pickup. I went to lawn and garden for potting soil. Insert your favorite expletive here.

It was like the Saturday of Memorial or Labor Day and fewer people had face coverings. What the heck, is the virus gone and no one told me? Not only was I trying to maneuver around way too many people, but it was kind of scary to not have other people taking recommended safety precautions.

I wanted out of there, but that’s when I realized the checkout lane was backed up into the covered area that stores fencing. There were 17 people that I could count in front of me with two checkers.

Never was I so glad to finally escape to the parking lot where what did I see but a line of shoppers waiting to get in. Good luck.

I have to wonder if this less than fun shopping experience played a part in the success of our first online Master Gardener plant sale over the weekend.

We overwintered about 450 plants at a MG’s house, and we needed to move them out of his side yard.

I set up a rather simple page with a poster linked to a PDF spreadsheet on the MG WordPress site.

I sent emails out to MGs and 202 previous customers around 1 p.m. on Friday and by 9 p.m. we were sold out.

We pulled the orders at his house, and folks drove up in the driveway, handed a check/cash out the window, and the plants were put in their trunk. Next plant sale, I’d like the entire committee back instead of two of us pulling it off. 🙂

Everyone wore masks, and speaking of masks, does anyone else have the issue of their glasses fogging up. I’ve had suggestions to push it under my glasses or clean my glasses with glass cleaner – did both, it doesn’t make a difference. I’ll keep wearing my mask, but I sure can’t imagine what it’s going to feel like mid-summer.

Last week’s highlight was scoring a 24-pack of toilet paper, but today I have a Library book ready for curbside pickup!

Life is good today – gardening and a library book. Ah, a small fleeting sense of normalcy.

Best wishes that your Monday is a good one too. Stay well, shop less, garden more. 😎

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The S word

It was cold and windy all weekend, but then it snowed. Snow on May 9. We were lucky that it came down for a couple of hours, but it didn’t stick. My friend to the north in ME watched 10+” fall at her home – not fair Mother Nature.

Last fall, I potted up two containers of tulip bulbs, covered them with hardware cloth and stored them in the barn. When I pulled them out the first of April, there were shoots everywhere, but they were white and anemic looking from growing in the dark. I am happy to report that they recovered and are now blooming.

I was gifted with six Dahlias last year. In the fall, I decided to ‘try’ and divide and store according to the many YouTube videos I watched. Everything depends upon seeing the ‘eye.’ I can’t see the eye, not in the fall, and not in the spring. Back to YouTube, and I found a UK gardener who suggested laying them out flat in a shallow black plant tray, covering them with potting soil, and seeing what happens. What happened here was they sprouted roots and shoots. At this point, I have 19 potted up, and I still have a full tray that have roots but not shoots yet. Now, I’m wondering where I’m going to put all these plants. 🙂

 

We tackled last week’s outdoor project which was working on a garage side door entry area and walkway. We took up, regraded, and replaced the entire entry area but decided to replace broken pavers and realign the current walkway. Stone work was not intended for two ‘mature’ folks, and it made me think of that old song – know when to hold them, and know when to fold them. 🙂

Ever buy something you really wanted, but it didn’t quite meet all your needs? I bought a Wyze Cam Pan and tried it out over the weekend. It is a great little camera, very easy to hook up, but it has about a 10-15 second lag in pushing notifications. I wanted it for security, but I could walk by it and get upstairs several seconds before I received the notice that a person/motion had been detected. If you were wanting one for just surveillance, it would work but not if you want to know immediately.

There are a few places opening up this week in New Hampshire including our library to a certain extent. Books on hold can be picked up by making a reservation and then stopping at a table in the parking lot. Not ideal, but the mere thought of reading a real page turner of a book causes my pulse to quicken.

Today’s weather is not going to be great, but the rest of the week will allow working outside so I’m hoping to get some things planted but covered just in case Mother Nature knocks again.

Happy gardening, friends, and stay well.

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If you are looking for gardening webinars while at home, here are a few I found that are coming up.

●  All About Moles and Voles, May 13, 12 noon, sponsored by Cornell Cooperative Extension. Link for more info and registration.

●  Vegetable Garden Planning with Ron ChristieMay 13, 7-8 p.m., sponsored by NOFA-NH.  Link for more info and registration.

●  Cooking and Gardening with HerbsMay 18, 6 p.m., sponsored by NorthEast Seacoast Unit – Herb Society of America Link for more info and registration.

●  Oh Rats! Dealing with non-native Rodents in the GardenMay 28, 10-11 a.m., sponsored by the Oregon State MGsLink for more info and registration.

●  Join Emma Erler, UNH Extension Education Center Program Coordinator, for upcoming Ask UNH Extension Facebook Live sessions where she’ll discuss gardening in the Granite State.  3 P.M.  Sessions take place on the Ask UNH Extension and UNH Extension Facebook pages.

May 11 – Vegetable Gardening with Becky Sideman
May 14 – Food Preservation – Canning Basics with Ann Hamilton
May 18 – Landscaping for Wildlife with Matt Tarr
May 21 – Food Preservation – Canning, Pickling, Jams and Jellies with Ann Hamilton
May 28 – Food Preservation – Freezing, Drying and other Food Preservation Techniques with Ann Hamilton
June 4 – Backyard Chickens with Elaina Enzien
June 8 – Rock Gardens with Emma Erler
June 11 – Xeriscaping with Emma Erler
June 15 – Landscaping for Water Quality with Julia Peterson
June 18 – Beekeeping Basics with Olivia Saunders
June 22 – Hobby Greenhouses with Jonathan Ebba
June 25 – Poisonous Plants with Emma Erler
June 29 – Composting with Emma Erler

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Hello May

I can’t decide, do I lead with the ‘elephant in the room’ or close with it. Oh heck, let’s get it out of the way. New Hampshire is in what is called ‘stay at home 2.0’ which is in effect until May 31 and includes some phased openings. That date is interesting for a tourism state becomes it includes Memorial Day which usually includes a huge tourist influx.

Besides the obvious enemy, the virus itself, our other major challenge is bordering on the south with Massachusetts where the numbers are 27 times higher than ours. When our Governor was asked if it was legal to not welcome people from MA into the state, he replied he didn’t think being from MA was a protected category. 🙂

Indoors, my Walking Iris has provided some beautiful blooms and my seedlings are doing well.

Some I’ve been taking outdoors each day for a few hours to harden off. Others I continue to repot as they grow but keep them under the lights or on a window sill.

I saw a UK gardener who ‘woke’ his Dahlia tubers up by laying them out in a shallow tray, covering them with potting soil, and allowing them to start growing roots and leaves prior to putting them in the ground. I gave it a try and after a couple of weeks, I am happy to say I have sprouts!

Outdoors the plants, shrubs, and trees are all coming to life which is certainly a lift. The daffodils are blooming, and the Christmas Fern is unfolding.

We finished our 90′ of metal edging, took our arbor down and rotated it because it was getting pushed by the wind coming from the west, added a section of lattice work for clematis, and straightened our raspberry end supports and restrung the wire. Three spring projects moved to the finished column. 🙂

A small local farmer has opened his roadside stand so I was able to stop and pick up two bags of fresh lettuce for $5. Delicious, locally grown, and I can support a neighbor.

This week I have a Zoom meeting, a couple of webinars, and a new outside project to start. Must keep busy – good for the body and the soul. I wish I could restart my sewing engine, but I can’t get my mojo back when the sun is shining and spring weather is calling to me.

So, what’s keeping you occupied this week, and, as always, stay safe.

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Chilly

It’s only 38°F here this morning with rain falling, but I’ll focus on the bright side which is that I don’t need any tools to remove the rain like some of my neighbors to the north. 🙂

Trying to find the bright side is what I keep trying to do as I start Day 43, but some days are more challenging than others. We’re well, have enough supplies, and are keeping relatively busy so I’m extremely grateful for that.

The seedlings are all doing well, and this morning will find me in the garage repotting tomato plants into bigger pots.

Outside, I’ve managed to rake most of the leaves, finished as much as I could on a downed pine tree, moved some perennials around, and we even got 90′ of edging done.

Today, I’m ordering some metal edging to put in when the weather clears up at the end of the week. A curbside pickup with the truck will work out nicely.

Tulips and daffodils have not bloomed yet, but I have a small group of bloodroot that make me smile. Besides the beautiful little blossoms, I like knowing this plant traces back to the days of Native Americans. Everything else is still working to break through.

Last year, we built two new raised beds. Over the weekend, I added amendments and got them ready to go and planted Yukon Gold potatoes. As soon as the weather allows, I’ll be filling up these beds.

On rainy days like today, I’ll also take advantage of a learning opportunity by tuning in via Zoom to the Master Gardeners of Northern Virginia: The Hospitable Gardener: Welcoming butterflies to your garden.

On Wednesday, I’ll eat lunch and listen to Lunch in the Garden with Cornell University Rensselaer County: Easy to grow flowering trees and shrubs. Last week, I listened to their session on soil, and they presented some good tips on purchasing in bulk or bags.

These gardening webinars are free and open to the public. All you have to do is register, they send an email confirmation, and you link up the day of the class. It’s easy and a good way to enhance your gardening skills.

When I do venture out, I’m seeing more people wearing face coverings, and I thank each and every one of them.

NH is reporting 1,864 cases of Covid-19 with 60 deaths. The state of emergency order has been extended, but so far the stay at home order set to expire on May 4th has not been extended. We’ll see how this evolves. It will be interesting to see how people respond once the restrictions are lifted. As they keep telling us, it’s a marathon and not a sprint.

Stay safe, friends, and by all means share what’s happening at your house. Staying connected is helping us get through this. 🙂

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Day 36

Happy Monday! I hope the sun is shining where you are because I’m relishing the fact that we are having a beautiful day which means I’ll be outside for a couple of hours which is good for my body and my soul. 😎

I hope this finds each and every one of you and your loved ones safe and sound. We are fine. We have plenty of food and supplies and have adjusted to the new curbside pickup for just about everything. I still miss people, but doesn’t everyone.

I’ve been enjoying spring trying to step forward amidst the snow and the temps in the 20’s some days.

I have one Hellebore plant so that means I cut each bloom and bring it in to float and enjoy. I do think I need to order a couple more, don’t you? 🙂

Outdoors, I’m still raking and using my Craftsman battery operated pruning saw which is one of the coolest tools I have.

Inside, my seedlings are doing well. They are doing so well that I’ve transplanted them all at least once.

When I first did the plantings, I threw a few beans in and have enjoyed watching them take off, and I mean take off. They needed some support so I planted them in old hanging planters, added some bamboo supports and wired two dollar store waste cans together to make a stand.

When you’re on Day 36 of being at home full time, little things assume you. 🙂

I’ll transplant them outside after it warms up, will watch to see if they actually produce beans, but it doesn’t matter because it has just been a bit of gardening fun.

I’ve been sewing on a gift, reading, planning a couple of outdoor DIY projects, and getting ready to order an additional Craftsman battery operated tool – a hedge trimmer. As I mature, the relationship between me and gasoline powered pull starts has lost some of its thrill. I love grabbing a tool off the wall, slapping a battery in, and going off to do my job. It’s worth every penny.

Do you have plans for the week as we continue to stay at home? Stay safe friends.

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