Planted!

Finally! Yesterday was a glorious day, warm, sunny, no wind…perfect day to plant the garden boxes. Trouble is, I have been struggling a lot with my health, and just could not make my self get outdoors. I have done a bit of work each day (3 or 4 hours of cleaning out the winter dead stuff) and putzing around. Overall though, I don’t have energy and am going through a cyclical depression. One day I am good, the next day…not so much. For the most part, I am just mad and annoyed that I am so flat! Great. Because that is so helpful for my mood!! I was a social worker in a past life and worked in mental health, so I ‘know’ all the things I should do…trouble is, when you are thrown for a loop, motivation completely goes with it!

On the upside, Hubby is amazing and has supported me the entire way. I have always had a bit of anxiety, but last year I suffered a major concussion when I was flipped in the ocean in Costa Rica, and also broke my collarbone…since then I have had a few more struggles. But, it is a learning curve. I finally went to the Doc, and he is super. Very no nonsense kind of doc, and realizes I need practical advice. I am already doing the holistic stuff…oils, vitamins etc, and using my diffusers…but I have stopped my yoga and he said ‘do yoga everyday’ in his South African accent. ‘And ride your bike’. And he added a medication that will help out. So, it’s a new day…I will follow his rules.

The garden looks so good, all planted! My garlic is growing madly from fall planting, the rhubarb is almost big enough to pick, strawberries have started to grow, although I lost a few to winter kill. Now I have added beans, peas, lettuce, spinach, radish, carrots, broccoli and brussel sprouts! And onions….a whole raised box of onions, complete with the diatomaceous earth to keep the darn onion maggots away! My little greenhouse has the cucs, watermelon (a trial), cucamelon (another trial) and basil. Just need to wait for the frost days to pass and I will get my peppers and tomatoes from a local nursery!  I actually feel a lot better getting that accomplished. It wasn’t easy but ….

It was Hubby that encouraged me to take a look at something he had done outside, that got me out there. I am so grateful for him, and for his patience with me.

Harvest begins!

Ahhhhhh……a moment to sit at my computer!!! Who knew I would miss this? I have to be honest and say that when I started out on the process of writing about gardening, I envisioned all kinds of time to sit…..but, as we all know, life happens. Big time.

So lets talk about summer in Alberta. This year we are lucky: the snow ended in April and by May we had beautifully warm days! June is always temperamental, with warm/cold/rain/cold/warm….and then finally it stays warm. July hits…school is out, family travels, kids arrive for a few days to enjoy the outdoors….and the heat comes…..along with some thunderstorms. And now I am facing August….the last month without frost! Yikes…..September is beautiful here, though, leaves begin to change, and warm days with the ‘smell’ of harvest. I love it! What I don’t love is the impending snow, which can start in October, and we are indoors, planning for next May!!!! That is our summer/fall/spring…..and I love winter, but it truly puts a damper on gardening.

Life: what doesn’t happen when you aren’t looking???? This year has been a tough IMG_3351one. We have lost one brother (in law for me) and now are in the final days of another brother, this one is mine. Neither live close, therefor we travel. My heart is a little heavy. We have just returned from a farewell visit, barring a rather large miracle, which I am open to….today my garden is my therapy.

I harvested some of the herbs prior to our leaving so they are nice and dry…..and now I need to cut more that are ready. The growth is amazing!!!! I have now cut IMG_3304the lemon balm (ready again), oregano, mint, spearmint, lavender (just starting) and will head out to the thyme. I am lucky with the oregano, thyme and lavender. They overwinter beautifully, without additional cover (snow is ample) and year after year we enjoy fresh and dried herbs. The mint also overwinters, but we have having a chat about behavior. It seems to be a tad rebellious this year, wanting to overtake the kids play area, the iris, the day lily…..and I am trying to teach discipline. You can only imagine how well that is going! Sheesh!!! but, I drink a lot of mint tea, so chop chop chop! And a wee bit of digging to try and keep the bugger in check!!!

IMG_3305I purchased a drying rack from Lee Valley. It is actually quite amazing! I have attached it to a main cross beam in my dropped ceiling (these are secured to the floor joists and solid) downstairs, and it is super light weight and airy. Last year, I used newspaper and old towels under a bed……this is so much nicer. And relatively inexpensive! It would not work good for heavier produce, but for herbs, wonderful.

And, as we had just returned home, I spent the day pruning wild tomatoes (no photo, sorry, but now they are good), digging up some potatoes so I could walk past the foliage, and harvesting cucs, zucchini, beans (just starting) peas, and berries!!! We had an awesome meal last evening!

I also had to prune out a lot of broken branches, and flower stalks. Whilst away on family matters, a storm settled into Central Alberta, with hail the size of golf balls and larger! We, thankfully, were on the tail end of that and only got a small amount of the hail. Our neighboring town was a white ground, with broken windows, damaged houses and cars and a mess. I am grateful to have little damage. I did need to do some deadheading on the delphiniums anyway, so now it is done!!

But, I must run…..there are other chores (and they are not really chores to me) that need my attention. Until next time, happy gardening. IMG_3331

One of the joys of spring…….

IMG_2903I am not sure if there is a favorite spring activity…..I really love spring…not so much the accompanying wind, but we take the good with the bad! Today is Saturday, and we are determined to get out there and clean up some of the winter leftovers…and fall left overs….and summer leftovers…..and veggie scraps….

It has been a busy week in this house…..Hubby and I are both part of several Volunteer Boards, and one of them hosts the yearly Volunteer Appreciation event…see earlier post on that…my role is the organizing, poster making, etc, and hubby’s role is going to the local business community to solicit donations for our silent auction. He never fails to impress me with the amount and array of goodies that come our way!

IMG_2897We discovered a ‘find’ earlier this spring, as we were en-route to the grocery market. When I say en-route, it is simply because our little hamlet has a very limited supply of grocery items, therefore, we travel 45 kms to a larger center for most of our shopping needs….but I must set the stage a little for those not familiar with the central Alberta landscape….we chose to make this our home because of the amazing beauty of the area. Rolling hills, farmland, forested areas, small lakes, and vastIMG_2892 blue skies are all a part of our daily lives. I love it. In the 5 years we have been here, I have yet to take the drive from home to any neighboring town, and not be awed by the glorious beauty of nature and this landscape! We have deer aplenty, (not always great for the garden, but that is another post to come!), and enjoy the horses, cattle, bison, and other assorted farm animals we see as we IMG_2890travel…so on this fine shopping day, we topped a hill, and over the edge, noticed a blue sign (part of travel Alberta) for Tranquility Greenhouse. Having never seen the sign, nor visited this greenhouse, we decided to take a tour. As it happens, the Greenhouse has only been in this location for one year, opening last season. Because of the rural setting (and I do mean rural….off the main highway, on gravel by about 5 kms) it is unknown, thus prompting the addition of the blue sign!

It is quaint and beautiful all at once. We were early, so the outdoor products were not yet set up, but as you enter, you are greeted by an amazing little gift shop, full IMG_2906of country chic items. The owner sells milk paint, which I love, and has not a large store, but a worthwhile addition to her Greenhouse. I browsed through, and purchased a few items, including these glass door knobs that I re-purposed for a jewellery rack…..and painted with Milk Paint!

Hubby chatted with the owner, as hubby does, and gathered all kinds of info! Where they are from, how long they lived IMG_2899here, how many kids they have, what animals are on the farm, if they would like to donate to our Volunteer Event….you see where this is going….he is amazing in his ability to do this!! Armed with a new local business to visit and the promise of a donation, we carried on our way.

2 weeks later, hubby returned to Tranquility Greenhouse, with my camera, and IMG_2893snapped some pics of their establishment. I love the use of re-purposing old furniture and wash tubs for planters! Her gift is her uniqueness of planters, and arrangements, and it is worth a visit. She is not a seed starting Greenhouse, as some others, although she does start some of her own product. Having worked for another greenhouse,  I IMG_2896see the differences, and it is the differences that I love. Each greenhouse offers something unique to the whole.

On that note, I am not ‘advertising’ for these places, but recommending them if you are nearby. I plan to post later about 2 other local greenhouses I love as well…..these places are therapeutic to the soul, even if one does not plan to purchase….just find your local greenhouse or flower market and hang out for an hour or 2. I guarantee you will feel refreshed and revived!!IMG_2900IMG_2895