Tuesday, April 18, 2006


I have absolutely no idea what to write about but feel the yen. Nothing monumental has happened in the last 24-48 hours, so that's rather refreshing.

Easter weekend was rather lovely. Charles, bless the heart of his small town, conservative school district, has both Good Friday and Easter Monday off. Coming from the a-religious Northwest, I still chuckle over this. The weather was drop dead gorgeous until Sunday, when it pissed all over us like a drunk on a beer bender. I don't think it's ever been acceptable outside egg-hunting weather since we moved out here in 2000. We don't even bother anymore, blocking off the basement as the official Easter Bunny drop zone, to keep the dog out. At least this year it didn't snow.

The kids scored pounds of candy and spent a happy hour coloring eggs, as the previous post's photo attested. My favorite was when Colin, drizzling orange dye over a mostly green egg exclaimed, "Mom! Lungs! I made lungs!" Yup. Orange lungs on a green egg. I'm so proud of my little anatomist. (I took a picture but it's all fuzzy. Sorry. You will just have to use your imagination: Left and right lungs complete with bronchi and trachea in the middle.)

Breakfast was the annual making of the Cinnabons. Also homemade bagels, fresh pineapple, and dyed eggs, with or with out anatomic detailing. Dinner was ham, asparagus, these potatoes, which are to literally die for, and a nice, green salad to try to balance things out a bit. I did show restraint and didn't make rolls to boot. I though 3 batches of baked goods through the bread machine was a bit much in 24 hours.

So; lovely, sunny weather but too early to plant more than trees. What to do??? Ah. The veggie patch. Last year, I reclaimed an extra 100-150 square feet of meadow as garden, tilled the daylights out of it, planted it, and mulched deeply. Sadly, the roots of the prairie grasses run deep. Or at least deeper than the tines of the tiller. By early July, all sorts of prairie was competing with the cantaloupe and cucumbers, like Jaws, rising from the depths.

This year, I've instigated Phase II, meaning that I am hand spading up the whole damn plot and painstakingly sifting through it all to get the grass roots and dandelions and all. Ow, ow, ow. And Ow. If this doesn't cut down on the weeds by at least 50%, I'm throwing in the towel and raising organic dandelion greens for the restaurant market. I've still got about 1/3 of the area to go. I've also become personally acquainted with each and every earthworm in the garden. If soil health can be gauged by the number of worms per square foot, mine is in the pink.

I also got my first 'farmers sunburn'. I'd call it a 'tan', except I don't tan, so I guess that means I don't have to worry too much about the ridiculous coloring resulting from gardening in short sleeves and garden gloves, and short-alls with ankle socks.

So, over the next 3 weeks until 'last frost', I need to finish the spading, then till in lots of compost, mulch it, and rebuild the walls that fell with the heaving of the soil and we're in business.

Let the battle begin!

We've added another handful of trees, thanks to Home Depot and their sapling sale. 3 more red maples and a redbud at $10 a piece and, finally, a lovely weeping cherry (Charles's choice) at the start of the path, near the road. In about 20 years, it'll be just lovely around here.

Oh! and we are starting to mull over having grapes! On a whim, I bought 2 concord grape vines to plant along the fence that borders part of what was the side horse pasture. I have this thought of planting various grapes all along the fence (which runs about 200 meters) that people can just walk out and pick as they stroll around the yard. Sort of an outdoor buffet.

Molly-dog has been a constant companion through all this and has tried to help with the digging (Bad dog! Nooooo! Baaaaad Dog!) and disposal of various plant stuffs that I eject from the garden. Her favorite being long, muddy dandelion roots, which she views as nature's candy. Bleh.

So that's the sum total of the weekend.

3 hour 'leadership' meeting tonight after work. Oh joy.

Happy Tuesday.



Blogger Cagey said...

I love that your son drew lungs. That was my favorite part of the post. :-)

9:45 AM  
Anonymous Ariella said...

That is so cute about your son's egg-lungs!

We had a big arbor and grapes at our house when I was younger. My grandmother would come pick them in the late spring/early summer, and we'd make jams and jellies from them. She also made wine for a few years.

Good luck with your veggie patch. I can't wait to start planting once we move to Madison.

10:28 AM  
Blogger listmaker said...

Anatomical Easter eggs - great idea!

I love your idea of grapes on the fence.

11:05 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Homemade grape juice is great and very simple. Recipe available on request.

Sweetgum trees look great in the fall. We had one up on Lone Oak Lane.

We had colder Easter than Thanksgiving, Christmas, New Years and St Patrick's day. What a neat record?!?!? (Almost as wonderful as the season of the Portland TrailBlazers.)

The Ole RF-er

12:30 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

you are lucky. you have the luxury of having one of those tiller things. I don't. I have to dig everything up by hand. it sucks!! every muscle hurts for days...but it's worth it in the end if I can actually get something to grow. are you waiting until the end of the month to plant? I am. I want to be extra sure this year as the weather has been weird.

my grandmother has grapes. she is the preserve and jelly queen. she makes bucketfulls.

I'm looking at getting a crab apple or some flowering tree. I have plenty of yard, but want it mostly for privacy from the back neighbors.

LOL about your son's Easter eggs!

12:47 PM  
Blogger Karen said...

I have one word for gardening - Mulch. Okay, two words - Newspapers and Mulch.

I've been having trouble with weeds for the last few years and last fall, we put a serious effort into putting the garden to sleep.

We put newspapers over every tiny bit of unoccupied dirt and threw a thick layer of cheap wood chip mulch over it. The newspaper blocks the light from the soil so the weeds can't grow, and biodegrades over the winter.

This doesn't stop maple keys (hope you didn't plant those maples near your garden) because they fall on top of and will germinate in the mulch layer (they don't need dirt), but it does considerably cut down on just about every other kind of weed.

I'm having the best spring for all the work we put into in the fall!

1:23 PM  
Blogger Rozanne said...

"I am hand spading up the whole damn plot and painstakingly sifting through it all to get the grass roots and dandelions and all. Ow, ow, ow. And Ow."

You said it!!!!! I don't have prairie grass, but freakin' lawn grass is encroaching on all beds. It is so depressing. I don't know where to start with it, so I do nothing and it keeps spreading.

It is always cold on Easter in the Midwest--that's a given. I remember going on an Easter-egg hunt in the snow once. I found nothing.

2:03 PM  
Blogger buffaloon said...

Hi Honey!
I've been off for a while - just catching up with you. Give Charles a big hug (and a microbrew!) for his great accomplishment.
Give Colin a hi-5 for anatomic creativity.
Give the rest of the family hugs and 'hi's' too.
Sad to say - my dad died 3/26 - rather sudden, so between memorial arrangements and my car accident 2 days later (totaled, rolled - my brand ne Saturn Vue) I've been out of touch.
I LUV the grapes - very tasty...

3:11 PM  
Blogger Diana said...

Cagey- Part of me wanted to forbid him from eating the lung egg on Easter so it could live in the fridge in perpetuity, or at least until it reached the end of its, erm, lifespan, but I managed to refrain.

Ariella- Have I said how excited to hear you will be moving up to within driving distance, you of the knowledge of canning and fooding and all.

Listie- Can't wait to see what next year's eggs look like.

Dad- I'll keep it in mind. Not sure how long it takes to get the grapes to fruit. I need to do some reading. Wasn't planning on it, the vines just jumped into the basket.

Amy- I love my tiller. It's a Mantis, so nice and small. The only downside is that it 'jumps' a bit. Our place is in USDA sone 4, so our average last day of frost is 5/8. I adore crabapples. We put in 2 this year and I want to eventually plant a small grove (say about a half dozen) of white ones one year.

Karen- I could kiss you. (In a non-creepy way.) I'll try putting down newspaper as a barrier under the mulch this year, after I get the plants in. Then I can just till it in! Brilliant!!! Maples are a-ways away.

Rozanne- Our first Easter here, we contemplated hiding eggs in the yard and woke to snow and were very pleased we decided to do it inside, instead. Grass. For something so hard to grow flawlessly in a lawn, it certainly is hard to eradicate from your beds.

3:58 PM  
Blogger Diana said...

Hi Honey!- *gasp* I'm e-mailing you. STAT!

4:00 PM  
Anonymous Colleen said...

mmmm....Cinnabons! What a delicious Easter brunch treat. Must remember that for next year, or maybe next week-end. Ahh, the Farmer burn, I know it ALL TOO WELL. Yeah, being a redhead, I don't tan either. With fair skin, you're either normal (pale) or burnt, no in between.

1:09 AM  
Blogger Jamie said...

More trees! And grapes! Eggs-cellent. ;-)

11:24 PM  
Anonymous Leigh-Ann said...

That Molly-dog has you so fooled. You shoo her away from the dandelion roots and think you've won the battle, and then she probably runs inside to look for the real type of "nature's candy", the kind which grows in the litterbox ;-)

5:11 AM  
Blogger Diana said...

Colleen- I don't even have the lovely red hair to set it off. I'm just a pasty brunette.

Jamie- Most eggs-cellent!

Leigh-Ann- Gah! I never thought about that! Good thing we keep the kids' sand box covered. I'd be like a large candy dish.

2:36 PM  
Blogger brooksba said...

Lungs on an egg is adorable! That's totally fun.

My father has always had grapes. My mom makes jelly from them and he makes wine. I love grapes in a yard. Yum, yum, yum!

2:51 PM  

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