Winter vegetables

Even without a root cellar we have done all right this year with our winter storage vegetables. The last of our celeriac went in a fantastic soup; two heads of cabbage and two huge parsnips remain (in the refrigerator), as well as a butternut (stored in our bedroom, the coldest room in the house). We... Continue Reading →

Winter wanes

Even with this week's frigid temperatures, I am not ready to give up on winter. I'd like at least one more good snow, so we can cross-country ski again. Yet the season's steady march is never more evident than by the increasing amount of light in every day. One afternoon this week I looked out... Continue Reading →

Garden chores

Without a doubt, my least favorite garden activity is weeding…which is why the vegetable and flower gardens managed to arrive at their sorry, weedy state. Sunday was devoted to tackling the vegetable garden. Grasses, unidentified flowering plants, and lots of poison ivy had taken up permanent residence between the beds and in the flower borders... Continue Reading →

Devilry among the tomatoes

The tomato plants have grown large, with fairly healthy leaves. They are loaded with fruit just beginning to turn different shades of reds, and purples, in various combinations. The tomato hornworms, a plague in some years, have been few. Most we have found (and fed to the chickens) before they’ve gotten too big or caused... Continue Reading →

Summer days

Calvin and Hobbes was my favorite cartoon. Among the best strips was one where Calvin and Hobbes were waiting in a tree to drop a balloon full of water on Susie. Hobbes asks, quite reasonably “What if she doesn’t walk by?” Calvin’s answer is “Then we just wait all day.”  “I love summer,” Hobbes replies. And... Continue Reading →

Vegetables

Every year there seems to be a tipping point in the vegetable garden when the pests and diseases gain the upper hand. So far we've kept up with handpicking "bad" bugs, like the Mexican bean beetle and the cucumber beetle. Cabbage worms seem to be doing the most damage to the tender little heads trying... Continue Reading →

Notes from the field

We stuck three eggs under our broody hen, so perhaps she'll stop changing nesting boxes. (We marked all the eggs with an X so we can tell which they are just in case she does move again.) As I was trying to wriggle one of the eggs under her, she pecked at me. Cherisse announced that... Continue Reading →

Broody hen

A second hen is sitting on a nest. This time it's a Rhode Island Red, and sensibly she is safely inside the coop. However we discovered today that she isn't sitting on any eggs. She just moves from box to box. We might collect a few eggs, mark them, and then leave them under her... Continue Reading →

Transplants

Magnificent pale lavender irises are glowing in the sun. My friend Renée had divided her bulbs, and she brought up a bunch when she came for a visit a few years ago. They are now well established, and a beautiful early bloomer in the garden. Tonight we are having rhubarb crisp. Cherisse's mother brought the rhubarb plants... Continue Reading →

Preparing for summer

Historic Casey Farm, in Saunderstown, has an annual plant sale every Mother's Day weekend. For the last few years we've purchased most of our heirloom tomatoes, eggplant and peppers there, as well as some annuals. It is too soon to plant the vegetables (they are upstairs under the grow light). May is deceptive in the... Continue Reading →

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