Thursday, May 27, 2010

Welcome to Orchard Cottage

Yes, I say WELCOME~and I do hope that you will be able to visit us this summer!  Here in Jefferson the sun has been shining, the rain has been falling and the weeds have been popping their wee heads out of rich earth teasing me away from the computer to do mass destruction on their numbers~Because we had such a miserably cold winter, (and we haven't had one that cold in a few years,)  now we have wonderful fruit like these Granny Smith apple dripping from the limbs of a very old tree.

We tried the topsy turvy tomato set up last year but find that we much prefer our own variation on the theme...we took a hanging planter and drilled a one inch hole in the bottom, lined it with newspaper, made an X thru the paper to insert the tomato plant root and then covered the root with a good potting mix and planted a basil plant at the top of the planter.  So, we have this great looking basil plant on top and a grape tomato hanging beneath.  We now have four of these planters, one with basil, one with sage, one with stevia and finally one with greek oregano.  I love this idea...Mac is a genius!

In one of the raised beds you'll see our large tomato plants.  Also growing on the fence are string beans and cucumbers.  We've already begun consuming the cucumbers...I peel and slice them and keep them in olive oil and vinegar...yummy! 

  The peach trees (we have a dozen of them that Mac grew from seed) are all bearing fruit this summer.  We look forward to going out to the orchard and pulling a tree ripened peach from our very own trees!  Most of the trees are now four years old, but even the younger ones are providing fruit!  Isn't that amazing?

And this is one of the 180  tomato plants in the promises to be a bumper year for the many different varieties we have growing in the garden.  This one is called 1884 because that's when it's seed was first discovered.  We have Mortgage Lifter, German Head, German Queen, Guatemala , a Russian tomato called Silvery Fir and of course the many grape type tomatos for salads.  Looks like I'm going to be busy canning and freezing this summer when it comes time to lay the garden by!

The plum trees once again do not disappoint.  The wild plums are plentiful, too.  I've decided to try my hand at a mixture of red plum and wild plum for jelly.  I haven't made jelly in years...Joanne (our neighbor) is such a master of jelly making that I feel intimidated!  But I'm going to give it a try.

The pear trees are no slackers either, people!  We've decided to thin them out so that the limbs don't have to be propped up to support their weight.  I'd rather have a bushel of great pears than hundreds of dullards and broken limbs to boot!  Wouldn't you?

The pond is not safe from our planting endevours, you will see it surrounded by plants, tomato, cucumber and flowers like my hibiscus and the New Guinea Impatiens...the bees are quite happy to be included in the fray!
Meanwhile, down in the garden the squash have decided to do us proud...and there will be enough to can this year.  This will certainly taste good in the cold winter months... like opening a can of sunshine on a cold wintry night.

I'm so happy with the fig trees this year.  They apparently enjoyed the cold winter, too.  The tree on the other side of the house looks just as good as these two.  These trees are now five years old, they are brown turkey fig trees and make the most delicious figs...from which I will be making Fig preserves this summer.
The blueberry bed is doing better than we had hoped for.  The drought last year took its toll, but they have recovered nicely, with Mac's tender loving care and heroic efforts of watering and fertilizing.  We'll have quite a few lovely fruits to enjoy and yes, to freeze and can.
And this is view of the garden that Mac built.  His love of God's earth shows in the holes in the knees of his jeans and the deep red skin on his neck where his head is bent to toil in the sun.
But still, he can take a breather, go sit in the edge of the woods and eat blueberries to revive himself for a bit...they call it a respite...a simple word for an awesome event.

Saturday, May 8, 2010

Help I'm lost in the garden and can't find my way to the computer

It's happened.  I knew it would...I'm simply surprised that  I'm surprised...the garden holds me in thrall and wraps me in vines of cucumbery rapture topped with tomato dreams.  I took a simple walk through the freshly turned garden dirt and once I had hit my knees to pull the crabby little weed that had dared desecrate that pristine soil , it was to late to turn back.  Way to late.  Now there grows 104 tomato plants, 32 cucumber vines, 6 watermelon plants (Charleston Grey how I love thee) and some little seedless wonders will be ready to go in today.  There is squash both yellow and white and I have dared to request 2 zucchini plants and Mac has graciously obliged me.  I do know that I will be begging people to take their fruit off my hands before it's over, but I simply can't help myself.  And now, no matter how I scream that I need to visit with my blogging friends, the veil of spring wonder will not release me. 

The flowers alone take up hours as I plant and deadhead, weed and wander.  My Whimsey Woods dream is finally coming together and I've had the joy of sharing it with friends recently.  My pal Phoebe from the library in Wadesboro (North Carolina) came out with friends last week and I was able to share that dream with them.  As we strolled through the woods I pointed out the whimsical and the magical that hid down among the oak roots and high up in the pine boughs.  There are angels and fairies, comical bee pilots and the sweet little church (birdhouse) in the wildwood.  There is the Hotel rising high up the bold pine, with a taxi cab to let out a patron to enter the Empty Arms Hotel..I recently added a little red school house since the birds must have a safe place to learn and eat, .there is the frog shaped open bath for squirrel and bird alike..,the ground level pool for the opossum and raccoon that I know wander the woods at nightfall.  All are welcome, no matter what their parentage might be. There can be no room for prejudice in this perfect world I have created.   Phoebe and friends took home with them loads of tomato plants, heads of fresh lettuce from the garden and adopted a number of canna lilies looking for a new home.  I heard from her the following day and she tells me that others want to come visit our gardens and the Whimsey Woods.   That's one of the best compliments  I have ever had!

So, forgive me for being away so long.  I can't promise I will be back tomorrow or even the day after.  But I want to take this time to wish all the mothers out there a wonderful day andtomorrow and remind you not to  forget to take Monday as a day of recovery.  Now, off to check on all of you I can before I get tempted back to the gardens!