Garden

March Garden Chores-The First Week of March

raised beds in snow
My garden in winter

It was one of those March days

when the sun shines hot

and the wind blows cold:

When it is summer in the light,

and winter in the shade.

Charles Dickens

Ahhh, March…such a mercurial month, but in reality, it is the true beginning of the gardening year.

The warm days tease me to take a walk-about around the gardens to see what is happening, if anything.  And, yes! things are happening already in the garden-tulips and hyacinths popping their heads up, the sedums showing green, unfurling from amongst the leaf mulch, and the fall planted garlic showing in their row.  Others, such as the asparagus and rhubarb, are still asleep, though I look hard for some visible life.  Soon, soon….

We are ,(in my 5-6 gardening zone) 11 to 12 weeks before the average last frost.  

There are things to be done in preparation for the new gardening year, soon to begin in earnest.  While it is still too early to do much outside in the garden, there is much to be done indoors to be well prepared for the soon coming Spring.

The cold winter months are wonderful for perusing the seed catalogs that arrive just after Christmas.  Oh, the dreams of beautiful, weed free gardens….

 

Things to do This Week in the Garden

  • Plan the garden.  Sketch out what will be planted where.  Refer to last years garden journal.
  • Start this years garden journal.
  • Survey your yard-are there any areas that need an update or to be changed?  Make plans now to do this. 
  • Visit a local Spring flower and garden show…..you will be inspired!
  • Check for any garden structures that need attention or replacing.  It is so much easier to replace a trellis now, rather than when it is full of vines!
  • Inventory your past years seeds.
  • Peruse the seed catalogs, and place your seed orders.
  • Plan out your planting schedule for your climate zone.  
  • Purchase and/or prepare the seed starting supplies.
  • Set up a seed starting area.
  • Test your soil if you choose.  (I do not.)
  • Clean out bird nest boxes.  Do it sooner rather than later, as birds do not like to be disturbed once they start nesting.  The birds are already chirping!
  • Clear away the mulch in the beds of early blooming flowers.
  • Do not rush the removal of mulch and cleaning up just yet.
  • Cut back grasses.
  • Finish up the late winter pruning of roses, grapevines, fruit trees, brambles and late summer flowering shrubs.
  • Many pruned branches can be brought indoors and forced for early indoor bloom.
  • As the daylight is getting longer, houseplants will begin putting out new growth.  Give them a ‘shower’, trim back foliage as needed and begin fertilizing.
  • Check on winter stored plants and vegetables.  Care for as needed.
  • Clean the garden tools.
  • Seeds of cool season crops can be started indoors now-celery, leeks, lettuce, onions.
  • If you have a cold frame, you can plant cold hardy seeds, such as radish and spinach and peas.

March-the month of Promise.

Happy gardening!

A joyful heart is good medicine.

Proverbs 17:22

Faith · Family

What Is A Mother?

 

mother and daughter quilting, John Sloan

artist-John Sloan

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It takes a mother’s LOVE to make a house a home,

A place to be remembered, no matter where we roam-

It takes a mother’s PATIENCE to bring a child up right,

And her COURAGE and her CHEERFULNESS to make a dark day bright-

It takes a mother’s THOUGHTFULNESS to mend the heart’s deep ‘hurts’,

And her SKILL and her ENDURANCE to mend little socks and shirts-

It takes a mother’s KINDNESS to forgive us when we err,

To sympathize in trouble and bow her head in prayer-

It takes a mother’s WISDOM to recognize our needs

And to give us reassurance by her loving words and deeds-

It takes a mother’s ENDLESS FAITH, her CONFIDENCE and TRUST

To guide us through the pitfalls of selfishness and lust-

And that is why in all this world there could not be another

Who could fulfill God’s purpose as completely as a MOTHER!

Helen Steiner Rice

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Wishing all mothers, of every hue and kind,

a wonderful, blessed Mother’s Day!

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Proverbs 31:28

Her children arise up, and call her blessed…

 

 

 

Garden

Fridays Flower-Primrose

Primrose

 

Primrose Stirs, Lifts Up Her Head
Stands Up Tall, On Softened Bed
Resurrected, As Winter Dreams
Primrose Smiles, Or So It Seems

 

Blooming primroses are such a bright, cheery sight in the spring.  They do make my heart smile when I look at them!


Primroses are a perennial plant, coming back every year, making an ever bigger clump.  They grow from fibrous roots.
Primroses bloom in the early spring, sometimes blooming sporadically through the summer.
Do you grow primroses?
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Matthew 6:20,21
But lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven….
for where your treasure is, there will your heart be also.
*
I will be digging and dividing my primroses this late spring/early summer.  The colors that I have are the ones in the photos above-true yellow, and a dark pink with a yellow eye. If anyone would be liking a start of them, just let me know in the comments and I will get it to you!

 

Faith

Easter

Good Lord’s Day to you!

I wanted to post this song for Easter morning, but as life has a tendency to do, it gets in the way.

Study and testing for my insurance license, remodeling, wallpapering, painting etc, babysitting grandkids…

But I still wanted to post this song.  The message is so good and..

I love the bagpipes in it!  And the Scottish brogue is delightful!

Enjoy.

 

 

Psalm 16:11

In Thy presence is fullness of joy;

in Thy right hand there are pleasures forever.

 

Faith

Behold

Behold

by Joseph L. Smith

Behold the man!

These are the words

That Pilate calmly said

As soldiers placed a crown of thorns

Upon the Savior’s head.

See Him as He stands alone

Among the sons of men

With no defense, without a friend,

No fault they found in Him.

Behold the Lamb!

God’s chosen Lamb

Who came to set us free.

He bore our sins upon the cross.

He died for you and me.

My name is written on His hands,

My sins, upon His soul.

He suffered all the pangs of death

To make the wounded whole.

Behold the King!

His throne, a tree

Outlined against the sky,

As all creation quakes in fear

And angels wonder why.

But, then in might and majesty,

He robs death of it’s sting.

He takes his throne in Heav’n on high,

The Lord of everything!

*

John 3:16

For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten son…

 

 

Faith

Palm Sunday

See,

Your King Comes to You!

Rejoice greatly, O daughter of Zion!

Shout, daughter of Jerusalem!

See, your king comes to you;

righteous and having salvation,

gentle and riding on a donkey,

on a colt, the foal of a donkey.

Zechariah 9:9

*

Hosanna, Loud Hosanna

“Hosanna, loud hosanna”, The little children sang;

Thro’ pillared court and temple The lovely anthem rang.

To Jesus, who had blessed them Close folded to His breast,

The children sang their praises, The simplest and the best.

*

From Olivet they followed ‘Mid an exultant crowd,

The victor palm branch waving, And chanting clear and loud.

The Lord of earth and heaven Rode on in lowly state,

Nor scorned that little children Should on His bidding wait.

*

“Hosanna in the highest!” That ancient song we sing,

For Christ is our Redeemer, The Lord of heav’n, our King.

O may we ever praise Him With heart and life and voice,

And in His blissful presence Eternally rejoice!

These are lyrics to an old hymn from Germany, the music written in 1784, the words penned by Jeannette Threlfall in 1873.

*

Preparing our hearts for Easter.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Garden

Fridays Flower-Hyacinth

Spring Hyacinths

spring hyacinths

Hyacinth-one of the early spring blooming flowers.

What a welcome the blooming hyacinths are, for their rich color and wonderful fragrance!

Hyacinths are very easy to grow, requiring very little care, but so rewarding after a long, cold winter.  They are the essence of the fragrance of spring, blooming about the same time as daffodils and tulips, March to April.

Hyacinths grow from large bulbs that should be planted in the fall, usually in September to October, any time after the first light frost but before the ground freezes they can be planted.

Bulbs can be purchased at your favorite big box store or ordered from seed or nursery catalogs.

Hyacinths are hardy from zones 4-8.

They do best in full sun but will still flower in partial shade.

Hyacinths come in a wide range of colors from white, peach, apricot, salmon, blue shades, yellow, pink, red to purple and lavender.

Hyacinths grow to 6-12 inches tall, with a dense flower spike surrounded by strap like leaves.

The bulbs should be planted 4-6 inches deep with the pointed end up and 4-6 inches apart.

They like rich loose soil that is well drained, and only need water when dry.

Hyacinths do not multiply and spread like daffodils.  One bulb per flower-the bigger the bulb the better.

Hyacinths tend to decline over the years-some people treat them as annuals and replant new bulbs every fall, but if left alone they will bloom for many years, just not as pretty and lush as the first year. The faded flowers should be cut back as soon as they begins to turn brown, and the leaves left to grow.  The leaves will store energy for next years bloom.  When the leaves brown off they can be cut back or gently pulled off.  Some compost or fertilizer is appreciated at this time.

Hyacinths are best at the front of flower borders.  Emerging perennials will hide the dying foliage.  They are lovely lining a walkway where their fragrance can be enjoyed.

Hyacinths make good cut flowers and have a long vase life.  They can also be planted in containers, or forced for indoor winter/spring blooming.

One warning-the bulbs are poisonous-they contain oxalic acid, so use care while planting and around children and pets.

I am enjoying the beautiful colors and fragrance of my hyacinths this spring.  In the photo above is one of the beds that I made at our new house.  The stone wall on the right was already here-I made this flower bed, bordered by my signature stacked stone borders from stones that I have gathered over the years. Seems like every time I was digging I ran into stones-I decided to put them use as border stones.  Now I look for stones everywhere, and have been known to stop the car and grab stones from along the side of the road.  No stone is safe around me if it is the right shape and size!   Also the stepping stones were brought from our last house and reused as a walkway between the stone patio and stairs to the deck.

The garden here is a work in progress, and I am enjoying the progress of it!

 

Poem by Gerald Green


HYACINTHS PERFUME

I lingered to enjoy the moment,
ending the eleven-month intermission,
as the sweet aroma reached me
from the garden behind the house.

The hyacinth had returned
without fanfare or recognition
by bulbs not yet broken forth,
or buds pregnant with the glory of spring.

I followed the unforgettable scent
to its humble position beside the hellebore,
and admired my early spring friend
before me in perfect health.

With one whiff, everything changed.
Last year’s faded images of spring renewed,
and the value of life increased
in a moment. In a breath.




Cooking

Chicken Stir Fry

Chicken Stir Fry

Today I have a very delicious, easy, one-pot meal for you.

Ingredient List

Butter, 1/2 to 3/4 of a cube

2 boneless, skinless chicken breasts-cut into bite size pieces

1 green bell pepper, cut into 1/2 inch pieces

1 red bell pepper, cut into 1/2 inch pieces

1 orange bell pepper, cut into 1/2 inch pieces

1 yellow bell pepper, cut into 1/2 inch pieces

1 medium onion, cut into small size pieces

2 garlic cloves, minced

Stir Fry Sauce, 1/2 bottle  ( I used Kikkoman)

Salt and Pepper, to taste

Assemble all the ingredients.

Chop the peppers and onion.

(This is so colorful, and my favorite part of making this dish!)

Cut the chicken into pieces.

Melt the butter in a skillet over medium-high heat-I use a cast iron fry pan.

Add the peppers and onion,

cook and stir for 3-5 minutes.

Press the garlic cloves into the pepper mix.

I use a garlic press, which I just love.  It makes mincing garlic so easy!

Stir the garlic into the pepper mix.

Cook and stir until the garlic is fragrant, the onions are translucent

and the peppers cooked through.

Push the vegetables to the outer edges of the skillet.

Add the chicken pieces to the center of the skillet.

Cook and stir the chicken until the chicken is cooked through.

You can add more butter here if needed.

Salt and pepper to your taste.

Add the stir-fry sauce.  I use 1/2 of a bottle of Kikkomans.

Bring everything to a low simmer, simmer for a few more minutes.

Ready to serve over rice, noodles or alone, just as it is.

So delicious!

I like to serve this chicken stir fry over rice.

The chopping of the vegetables takes the longest, and I’ve found that as soon as all the veggies are chopped up, I can put the rice on to cook, and both the rice and chicken are finished cooking at about the same time-ready to serve.

To cook the rice-

Bring the rice water to a boil.  The ratio is 1 part rice to 2 parts water.  (Example-2 cups of water to 1 cup of rice.)

For this recipe, I used 4 cups water and 2 cups rice.

I add a couple chicken bouillon cubes to the rice water for more flavor.

Add the rice to the boiling water.

Bring back to a boil, cover, and cook for 14 minutes.

Turn off heat and let sit, covered for a few minutes so all the water will be absorbed.

Fluff the rice.

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Psalm 55:22

Cast thy burden upon the Lord, and he shall sustain thee: 

he shall never suffer the righteous to be moved.

 

 

 

 

Garden

Reasons to Start Your Own Seeds

 

It is the time of year to start thinking about starting seeds

for this summer’s garden.

What are some of the reasons why you should start your own seeds?

  1. More choice of variety.  With the variety of seed choices, mainly through seed catalogs-see here– the choices are almost endless.  Nurseries, greenhouses and big stores mainly sell starter plants and seeds of the most common, familiar, and tried and true varieties. There is nothing wrong with the old tried and true varieties, that is why they are sold year after year, but there are so many more varieties to try.  By ordering your seeds, you are not stuck with the small choice of varieties.
  2. More plants for less money. Most seed packets contain 30 or more seeds, and it is much more economical than a 4 or 6 pack of bought starter plants. This point needs qualifying-the initial cost will be greater.  You will need certain supplies to begin with, but these are mostly 1 time expenses.  Once you have these items, the main yearly cost is mostly just the seeds and soil.
  3. Seeds can be started for the proper and extended planting times in your area.  You can start seeds earlier than usual if you want to plant out early if you have the proper season extending covers, or seeds can be started later for an extended fall and winter harvest.  It is nearly impossible to find starter plants to buy in mid to late summer for a fall and winter harvest.
  4. Seeds can be saved from year to year, and varieties can become custom to your locale. By saving seeds from plants that display certain traits that you desire, such a bigger size, different color or taste, or better disease or pest resistance, or just in general do well for you, you can eventually end up with a custom variety well suited to your specific growing area.  This is how many of the heirloom varieties have come about, they have been saved and passed down through the years.
  5. You can control how the seedlings are grown in regards to watering, fertilizing, and thinning.  Actually there is very little thinning needed if you start your own seeds as you control how they are planted.
  6. The crowds are avoided in the spring planting rush.  I am always amazed at the frantic folks buying their starter plants and rushing to get them planted in the short planting window.
  7. You won’t be disappointed when many of the starter plants are sold out  You won’t be left planting what you really didn’t want because what you wanted was sold out.
  8. You can experience the fun, excitement, and enjoyment of gardening while it is still winter outside.  What better way to spend part of your days stuck inside-watering, tending, and watching green, growing things.

Let the planting begin!

Do you start you own seeds?

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Hebrew 12:15

See to it that no one misses the grace of God

and that no bitter root grows up to cause trouble and defile many.

 

 

Garden

Winter Winds

Wild winds

come a-blustering,

Clearing a path

for the feet of Spring,

To dance her way

along the lane,

Bringing

daffodils

again.

Patience Strong

These last few days we have been battered with the worst winds that I can remember.

Trees down, power outages.

Winter is going out with a bang.

The first month of Spring will soon arrive, and none too soon!

I am so ready for Spring to dance it’s way in.

I am tired of being cold!

Are you ready for Winter to be over?

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Psalm 40:3

And He put a new song in my mouth,

a song of praise to our God.