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Busy Busy Bees

March 26th, 2009

Mr Chiots and I have been busy busy bees the last couple days. I’ve been spending every waking warm sunny hour out in the gardens preparing a new garden bed (photos to come on that next week) and in the dark hours of the day I’ve been getting my office work finished. We’ve also been busy attending local bee club meetings (we’re joining 2 local clubs) and reading books on beekeeping.
bees-on-milkweed
We’re super excited about the coming of our bees on April 7, but we’re a bit nervous as well. Last night at a club meeting we had a great discussion with a very knowledgeable beekeeper that really helped out. I can’t wait to see how it all goes this summer, I’m glad you all will be along for the ride. Perhaps some of you will decide to take the plunge next year.
bee-on-echinacea
What do you think, would you ever keep bees?

Conifers in the Garden

March 25th, 2009

If you remember a few weeks ago I talked about wanting to add more coniferous plants to the gardens here at Chiot’s Run. Ironically, while I was out working the other day I noticed a small volunteer pine tree that sprouted up in the side yard.
volunteer-pine-tree
I’m not sure what kind it is, but it sure is cute. It’s only about 4 inches tall. I’m going to dig it up and put it in a pot to help it establish. Later this summer I’m going to plant it in the gardens somewhere. I have all kinds of volunteers in my gardens, usually they’re petunias and butterfly bushes, but I’ve never had a pine tree. You sure can’t beat a free tree!

Have you ever had this happen? What kind of volunteers spring up in your gardens?

Endless Entertainment

March 24th, 2009

Our pets provide us with hours of entertainment. It seems like every hour we’re laughing at something one of them is doing. We often grab the camera and snap a few photos.
dog-in-doorway
We have a full glass storm door on the front of our house. In the afternoons when the sun’s shining we open it up, all of the pets love it of course.
three-cats-in-the-doorway
Dexter is especially fond of this door. He basks in the sun whenever he can.
cat-in-the-doorway
I love the progression in these next photos. From a peaceful afternoon nap to a quick bit of fun.
cats-1
cats-2
cats-3
cats-4
Never a dull moment around here with all of these pets.

What kinds of pets do you have? Do they provide lots of entertainment for you & your family?

One Lonely Crocus

March 23rd, 2009

I have one lonely crocus in my gardens. It’s not that I don’t like them, 7 years ago when we first moved in I planted 300 crocus bulbs throughout the gardens and I only had one bloom the following year. Can you guess what happened?
crocus1
Chipmunks, that’s what happened. They dug up every single bulb I planted except for this one, it’s been blooming ever since. I really want to plant more this fall because they’re a great early flower for the bees (notice all the pollen).
crocus-close-up
I’m going to have to plant them in wire cages to keep those varmints out. I had decent luck sprinkling my tulip bulbs with garlic to keep the squirrels & chipmunks from eating them.

Do you have critters eating your bulbs? Any tips & tricks to keep them away?

BRRR it’s Cold!

March 22nd, 2009

The last 2 days have been pretty cold here in NE Ohio. Last night the temperature was down in the 20′s again, they were calling for snow on Friday but we missed it. My lettuce is doing just fine in the cold frame, it stays just warm enough for it.
cold-frame
I didn’t work out in the garden, I stayed inside and started all of my tomato seeds and a few peppers (it takes a long time to seed 24 different kinds of tomatoes). I also was able to spend a lot of time in the office catching up on work I had put off earlier in the week while working outside.
tomato-flats
This time of year in Ohio you never know what kind of weather you’re going to get. We have a saying here, “If you don’t like the weather, wait five minutes”. It can be 70 one day and snowing the next. This poses quite a challenge for gardening. It’s not rare to have snow in April, which isn’t good for my little plants. That’s one reason we put hoop houses up over our raised beds; this should help greatly with this challenge.
blue-sky
On the bright side it’s going to be nice today and tomorrow, so I’ll be spending my days in the garden again.

I’ve really enjoyed the compost discussions the past couple days. We’ll definitely be revisiting that topic here pretty soon. I think there’s a lot more knowledge for all of you to share on that topic.

Anyone else experiencing more cold weather? Any snow?

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This is a daily journal of my efforts to cultivate a more simple life, through local eating, gardening and so many other things. We used to live in a small suburban neighborhood Ohio but just recently moved to 153 acres in Liberty, Maine.

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