01 April 2010

what spring looks like

i have missed this poor little neglected blog. i know it would be better if i posted everyday. but i guess i am just not that kind of blogger. plus, it's spring! who wants to be sitting inside staring at a computer screen when you could be outside playing in the dirt!?!?! not me. on these warm, breezy, sunny, spring days, i try to get all my required work out of the way, first thing in the morning, so i can head out to the garden. the last predicted frost date for our area is over a month away, but there's already plenty to do out there. so far, i have planted broccoli, kale, cabbage and brussel sprout seedlings, all of which i started from seed, indoors. well, that is not entirely true. i had broccoli and cabbage in the cold frame all winter. but i had started them too late in the fall, so they were tiny, and didn't grow much in the cold. i chose the strongest ones, and brought them inside, to get a head start under out grow light. they fared well, and are considerably larger than the brussel sprouts i started from seed indoors, around the same time.

because the cabbage worms decimated our brassicas last year, i feel the need to cover them all with row cover to keep those pesky moths from laying eggs on our lovely cabbage leaves. whether or not i can live with that hideous tent in my garden all summer, is another question entirely.

i have also planted out all the leeks i started indoors. their tiny threads look so fragile in the ground, it is hard to believe they will amount to anything. i've also planted onion sets, and direct-seeded bunching onions. peas are up, and sort of protected from hungry rabbits, with various-sized wire fencing.

the spinach is getting its first true leaves. mmm, i love spinach. luckily i have a few mature spinach plants that overwintered, with just a layer of mulch over them. cosmo has already started picking leaves off of those, for snacking. lettuce is coming along too. i started some indoors, and some direct-seeded outside. no one in our family is fond of radishes, but i love how fast they grow, and find them satisfying to look at as one of the first spring crops, so i planted a little row of those, and long rows of carrots and beets. cosmo and i pulled up the last of the fall carrots last week. they overwintered nicely with a layer of straw on top, and they sure are tasty.

garlic looks happy, and i've started turning the rye cover crops.
with the cool weather crops in the ground, the warm weather stuff is just beginning to germinate indoors. tomatoes and peppers galore! i also managed to build a new compost bin yesterday.

now i just need some nitrogen-rich material, to layer with my carbon-rich dry leaves. anybody got any extra nitrogen they aren't using? anyone??

ah, but there is more to spring than gardening. we get to play outside, and ride our bikes! we have a new trail-a-bike for cosmo, which is way easier than the baby seat on the back, and cosmo really enjoys getting to pedal, and honk his horn. he has also tried out his two-wheeler pedal bike, and had some sweet success his first time out. we'll work on that more in the coming weeks.

there are also balls to bounce on, and insects to investigate (studying a hole with sky and stephanie),

not to mention grain to grind and dough to knead.

on the spring equinox, cosmo successfully balanced an egg on its end!*

inspired by family fun, i crafted this sort-of advent calendar for easter. cosmo gets to break open one of the circles each day, to find a candy surprise. it's made with tissue paper, glued over a cardboard egg carton. i'm sure it feels great to punch a finger through. even more easter treats arrived in the mail, from nani!

in other cosmo news, they recently had a reach for the stars read-a-thon at cosmo's school. the kids commit to reading (or being read to) for a certain number of minutes, and collect pledges. to my surprise, cosmo got really into it. he was excited about going around to neighbors, and asking for money (unusually for this shy boy), and he wanted to do the reading himself. since we always read several stories at bed time, we did extra reading for this program. cosmo decided that all "early reader" books, which he mostly read himself, would qualify for reach for the stars. we got a stack of those from the library. he met his goal of 150 minutes in one week, and wanted to keep going. he gets to color a star for every 15 minutes of reading, which is his favorite part. in addition to raising money for his pre-school, he also earned $40 in free books! bonus!

dear friends came to visit, and cosmo and ida jane had a glorious three day holiday together.

they played so nicely, i regretted (for a second) not having two kids.

i was stunned to see cosmo climb to the top of the spider web structure (also known as the-lawsuit-waiting-to-happen) out at cascades park. most playgrounds are fairly uninteresting to cosmo, but that day, he was running around like crazy, trying everything.

i think he might have been having a good time. what do you think?

there's even more to tell than this, but i think i'll stop here. from here on out, i'll be blogging daily.

april fools!

how is spring looking in your world?

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*note, it is way easier to do this if you can find a slight divet in your floor.


mep said...

Spring looks exactly like the happiness on cosmo's face in the sunglasses picture!

The bike attachment thing looks like so much fun.

You know I am totally in awe of your garden, even though your gardening talk is like a foreign language to me. If I had any nitrogen to spare, it would be all yours!

Anonymous said...

I loooove your seedlings and garden photos! We need to overwinter some carrots too (we have had a terrible problem with voles, so it's hard to keep most tasty root things in the ground for any length of time).

I'm drooling over your grinder. We think we might stop by Lehman's Non-Electric store some time and I just might bring home a grinder. ;)

I want to grow our own wheat to go with a grinder, but when we tried it last year, the birds got all of it before we could. And, we're not ready to grow a ton of it yet, which would at least leave us with some. I'll keep dreaming.

cake said...

the grinder is lovely. unfortunately, it is not ours. it belongs to stephanie and sky. an extremely thoughtful wedding gift, if i remember correctly.