Sunday, June 5, 2016


It certainly has been a long time since I've posted in this blog, but I assure you, I'm still the same old Smug. If you're even still there to be assured of anything. Rest assured, I am still here. Or rather  here mostly if you have only read this blog and miss me awfully much.

The fact is that once I went back to school a couple years ago and forewent gardening for that year, I never really got back into the groove with seasonal planting. There were potatoes and kale one of those in-between years, but how many times can I post about potatoes and kale before your eyes roll back in your heads and you fall off your chairs from boredom? I did plant a few starts in the greenhouse (last year?) but one of the field rats that have been terrorizing the chicken coop came along and neatly nipped off the tops of all of them leaving just the stems. Ugly words and rocks were hurled in the general direction of their tunnels.

 This fluff puff has been doing what she can to help, but she doesn't have access to the coop or the greenhouse. I must say, though, that the house is pest-free. Except when she brings pests in to gloat. Like the bird that was quite alive when she brought it to me and dropped it, only to have it take off all over the living and laundry rooms, kitty in hot pursuit, leaping and chattering, me opening doors trying to encourage it to fly out. That'll get you going in the morning. There have been some field mice, shrews, and a baby bunny whose fates were not as rosy.

When she's not stalking critters, she likes to hide in the lemon balm. I discovered this when I was watering the herb bed one day, and she went flying out. I need to do some pruning, I see.

Turns out, though, that without the time-consuming chores of seasonal gardening, our perennials are thriving, particularly the fruity ones. 
 The old plum tree is positively loaded. I'm already pinning more recipes for all things plum.

The frost peach is likewise over-achieving again.

A couple of things I am just beside myself over are also happening.

The pear tree is pearing for the first time! It has bloomed in the past, but never set fruit. I didn't even know exactly what pears looked like on the tree. The leaves look funky but don't seem to be affecting the fruit.

And will you look at this? There may be grapes this year! Many years ago -- four or five is many, right? -- we planted three grape vines. Two of them didn't make it. I didn't think this one was going to, either, but then last year, it just sort of revived itself and made some good vines and big leaves. No grapes, though. Not so this year. It has baby grapes all over it.

Yesterday, I re-purposed a bean frame I built last year and some smaller pieces of old wire fencing to make a trellis for the grape vine. The rabbit that was napping under the vine wasn't impressed, but I'm pretty happy with my new/old grape arbor. I hope the baby grapes are, too.

 I did throw some kale seeds in the back box, for us and the chickens. I think kale is ridiculously expensive at the store, and since all I have to do is sprinkle in some seeds and water occasionally, there's no reason to pay so much for it.

Oh, shoot, I talked about kale again. I hope you didn't fall off your chairs!

Sunday, April 13, 2014


Hello there. Are you still there to hear my hello? Consistency in blogging hasn't been my forte no matter how good my reasons may be, so I would not be surprised if I am blogging into a great void. Carry on, I say!

Spring seems to have sprung yet again despite our meek human grumblings of that possibility not being possible. That's not to say there are no surprises left in nature's bag of tricks, which brings us to the leftovers.

This pair of Canada geese has been hanging out in our front yard this week, which is not a usual hangout for geese. They seem very interested in that burn pile area there, and I suspect Lady Goose may want to nest on it. I even suspect this may be the same pair for whom we saved one of their babies last summer If not, then last year's pair gossiped to this pair and told them what a cool place this was. I just don't want to get goosed by an angry pair of geese protecting their nest. That is not cool.

Last year's pansy becoming this year's pansy.

Last year's lettuce seeds finally getting the hint. Dorks. Although since I will have limited time to garden this year, I need all the help I can get. I'm sorry, lettuce, you're not a dork.

Parsley?! You're supposed to have died months ago. It's a resurrection miracle!

This is the biggest (literally) leftover surprise of them all. It is a beautiful blooming tree that is not far outside our back door and has to have been there for years to be the size it is now. We have never noticed the blooms until this year (provided it has bloomed before now, which I can't imagine, given its current size, that it has not.) My cursory search tells me that it is a flowering quince. 

Now for something really exciting. Are you ready? This is huge. 

Really huge.

Are you sitting down?

Meet Turtle.

We finally decided it was time to add a kitty back into our family, and we found this cutie at the Humane Society. More specifically, I found her cowering in a wooden box in one of the visiting rooms. Her timidity made her seem like not such a good choice, but the more we sat with her, the more she warmed up -- enough to convince us that it would only get better if we got her home where she could relax. Happily, we were right. She is just over a year old and came with the given name of "Smitten," and while we are smitten with her, she is my sweet Turtle. 

Just look at that cute face! I'm sorry she was leftover in two shelters before we saved her, but I am so grateful she can live with us now.She seems pretty happy about that, too.

Leftovers aren't so bad, eh?

Monday, September 23, 2013

The End's Beginning

Although it is the beginning of autumn, the school year, new TV shows -- all things I like very much -- this time of year never really feels like a beginning to me. There is a desperate melancholy that grips me tighter every year at this time, one that sometimes leaves me momentarily breathless, wondering to myself, "Why am I so sad?" Then I look around and realize that it's getting colder and darker and everything's dying, and how is that not sad, for crying out loud? 

Let's not dwell on that, though. Dwelling is for saps.

Instead, let's look at some of what happened around here this summer.

I had some pretty flowers growing outside the Hawthouse earlier in the season. Then the elk came through and ate them despite the clear warning of Zombie-With-Elk-Head.

The salad box did well this year.

Hahahahahaha. Zucchini. Hahahahahaha. 

When the beans were little. Gosh, they grow up so fast, and before you know it, they leave the vine and they're off to the freezer.  Sniffle.

The cole crops, good for humans and chickens alike.

The taters when they were pretty. They lose their looks, but they're only useful when they're older. Let that be a lesson to us all. 

I regret to inform you that I did not get a picture of the sunflowers at the height of their loveliness. I nearly wept when I was pulling the stalks out. Partly because I was overwhelmed and humbled by the size these achieved from just a little seed, and partly because my shoulder hurt from pulling.

This is our pet deer. I call her Dear.

OK, not really. The pet part, I mean. I do really call her Dear. She is encumbered by a radio collar. I'm not actually sure if it bothers her or not, but it seems like it would with the way it slides around on her neck because that would bother me, and I like to anthropomorphize whenever I can. The really, really fun thing about Dear is that...

...she has twins!!! We have watched the babes grow up this year as Dear brings them through on a very regular basis. The Big Guy even saved one of the twins from a pursuing coyote one day, and he made sure a part of the back fence was pushed down so they could get over when they were still tiny little things. It's hard to be sad when you're looking at little Dears. I still am, but it's hard.

Now for something actually sad. I'm sorry.

Terra, Terra, teenise paws, little cat with little claws.

Instead of pining for your Sissy when she passed away, you blossomed being the only kitty, becoming more cuddly and sweeter by the day. I felt guilty about that, but happy that you were getting your time in the sun at last. Then you suddenly lost your vision. Amazing how you adjusted to that and moved around almost the same as when you could see. 

You were always a tiny thing but were growing tinier by the day and losing interest in food no matter what I offered you. Then one night as we were preparing for bed, you wanted out on the deck, and I knew if I didn't let you go, no one was going to get any rest.

 So I let you go. 

Terra, Terra, teensie paws, little cat with little claws.

Thursday, June 6, 2013

A Fern Pig, A Gosling, and Breaking Broody

The annual trimming-of-the-ferns was long overdue. I usually get the old fronds cut off while the new ones are still fiddles, but I just never got time and good weather coordinated to get the job done earlier.

The Fern Pig. She likes to rhino the ferns. She calls that helping.

The color combination in this pansy intrigues me to no end. It should be ugly, yet it's not.

Remember how I said I love moss? Here's another reason why. Click on this picture to enlarge it. Isn't that stunning? Moss is rad. And sometimes red. But always rad.

The technological age is a nice time to live because a Facebook post by an ex-coworker alerted me to these free baby azaleas. Facebook is only the devil if you let it bedevil you. That's my new saying. You can use it, too, if you want.

Before I could plant the azaleas, I had to move some baby trees. Like the ferns shown above, these are also from our own property, and transplanting what already grows here makes maintenance easy-peasy-lemon-squeezy. I wish we had a lemon tree. Instead we  have this little fir.

And this little cedar. I don't know why the picture is all distorted. Blogger changed its format, and it's messing with me, man.

Did you ever poke one of these ball-o-baby-spiders? It's fascinating and horrifying all at once. This one was safely on the house siding. The one neatly nestled in the garbage can handle was a special treat.

Well, for cryin' out loud, would you look at that? It's a teeny-weeny Canada gosling. The other night when I went out to give the chickens their snack, the neighbor called to me over the fence. I couldn't hear what he was saying, so I yelled, "What?" which made the chickens sound off which made it impossible to hear him repeat himself. This happened about three more times before I understood that he wanted to know if I could see the geese parents because he was fending off his barn cats who had this wee one in their sights. I located the parents and two siblings stuck in his pasture. The big ones could've flown out, but the babies were trapped. The Big Guy and I mucked out, he with a rake and I with a large golf umbrella -- a goose-deterring trick I'd seen on some nature show at one point -- and we reunited the lost one with the family, then slowly herded them around the fencing.

Here they are waddling back towards the swimmy-hole.

Lettuce, chard, and spinach being munched by us daily. Carrots workin' on it. That was sort of a non-sequitur, huh? Ah, well, that accurately reflects life around here then.

Meet Blanche. She went broody. That means she wants to hatch eggs. Since we no longer have roosters, we no longer have fertile eggs. It doesn't work to move her off the nest twenty-five times a day because she just comes back and puffs herself all up in the box, not budging no matter how much the other chickens yell at her. The problem with leaving a broody hen who has no eggs to hatch alone is that she can starve herself in her misguided effort. In order to save her from herself, I had to put her in Broody Jail.

Fortunately, the raccoon trap fits the bill perfectly. To break a broody, you need to get cool air under her and make sure she has no place to nest. Fun fact: broody hens will pull out their belly feathers to line the nest, and that's where we get the term "feathering your nest." Their temperatures go up as well in order to incubate the eggs, hence the need to cool them for discouragement. Blanche, understandably, is not happy about this, but as soon as she offers up an egg as her bail, she'll be free. That should take 3-4 days.

A peony and lilacs. Nose nirvana.

The end.

Sunday, April 28, 2013


It's the most wonderful time of the year!

With the morels a-growing

and small starts a-showing in weather that's clear.

It's the most wonderful time of the year.

It's the hap-happiest season of all.

 With the blossoms a-popping

and chickens a-hopping on roosts up so tall.

It's the hap-happiest season of all.

There'll be lettuce for salads.

Ducks that aren't mallards.

and tiny kohlrabi to go.

There'll be sweet little mule deer.

and cukes for the dill spears.

and beavers that dam up the flow.

It's the most wonderful time
It's the most wonderful time
It's the most wonderful time

Are you through?