National Weed Appreciation Day on March 28th each year reminds us that some weeds are beneficial to us and our ecosystem. Humans have used weeds for food and herbs for much of recorded history. Some are edible and nutritious, while other weeds have medicinal value.
It began to snow at around 8 o’clock last night. When I looked out of the window at midnight, I could see the accumulation of snow for the last four hours. And it kept coming down heavily. This morning, Kevin used the snow blower for the first time this Winter season. He was so excited.
When I came out of the house, the snow fell off the trees and shrubs this afternoon. It was mild enough for the snow to melt from our house roof and off the greenhouse roof as well. The dogs and Joshua were the only pets going outside. Chewbacca and Ozzy wanted nothing to do with it. When Joshua’s paws were wet enough, he came the dogs back into the house. It’s no fun having snowy paws being a cat.
Yesterday around noon, it started to snow. The snow covered the trees and grounds. But it didn’t stick to the asphalt yet. So, the streets stayed pretty clear until dusk.
This morning looked completely different. We have a Winter Wonderland in December. And it looks so beautiful. All night, the snow plow trucks kept cleaning up the streets. Kevin was up and cleaned the driveway at 5 o’clock. Sara couldn’t sleep and she took over for Kevin. He needed to get ready for work. Sara had a 2-hour school delay. so, she kept pushing snow off the driveway until it was clean.
Every day, the colors change in our yard and in our forest. I love how everything turns to gold, orange, and maroon. Colorful vines creep along the tree trunks, mushrooms grow on the fallen trees, berries become ripe and their skins split open. The colors of Autumn are so beautiful. 🍁🍄
Last year in July, Kevin bought me a set of Autumn Tomte Nisse (Scandinavian aka. Swedish Gnomes). I was so excited and could barely wait for Autumn. I remembered that I wanted to do some photo shoots with these little guys. Here are the results of the first shooting. I hope you enjoy the photos as much as I do. Either way, I had a lot of fun with Sven, Christopher, and Gunnar. Yes, I picked some Swedish names for my gnomes as well. 😉
In these photos are some of my plants: eggplant, Golden Sun tomatoes, McIntosh apple, and Mandevilla blossom. Today I’ve also been sowing borage, Bush beans, Italian Flat parsley, marigolds, Mesclun lettuce, Purple Hull Peas, and sunflowers for companion planting; Common Buckwheat and Crimson Clover for improving the soil with nitrogen and attracting beneficial insects.
IT’S DONE! We finally finished building the greenhouse. Kevin had only to install the brackets, the doors, and some small pieces to keep the greenhouse sturdy and protect it from future storms. It looks great. Now, I can work on the rest of the raised beds and do some planting for the Summer/Autumn Season. There is still so much time left and the growing season can be extended before it will get really cold again. YAY! I’m so excited!
Sara and I are so excited, we are raising our first set of Black Swallowtail caterpillars in the greenhouse. First, we had the dill in small pots outside. Then we saw five caterpillars on the plants and decided to plant the dill, where the birds have it harder to get to them. Right now, the Black Swallowtails are still small. But when they are nice, big and juicy, they are fair game for cardinals, jays, robins, … etc. to feed their offspring. Soon, we have to get some netting for the caterpillars. Once they become chrysalis, we can relax again. When they emerge from the chrysalis, Sara and I will name and release them with best wishes into the wild.
Our banana peppers, bell peppers, basil, celery, eggplant, lavender and tomato plants are doing very well. Our eggplant has shown a lot of growth in the last few days. Sara found Karmo, the toad, in the greenhouse again. He loves his daily intake of bugs. I mentioned to Sara, we need to build him a toad house where he can hide from the warm sun during the day. Right now, he stays cool by burring himself into the moist soil and comes back out in the evening hours. I’m glad we have finally built the greenhouse. It grows amazing food and attracts beautiful wildlife.
This evening, I walked in my yard and something jumped on my pant leg. First, I thought, a toad must have mixed me up with a tree again. But by closer inspection I saw a Wood Frog in the grass. He sat there very quietly for me to capture a photo of him. But when I tried to catch him, he leaped right under the Hosta leaves and was out of sight. His name is Bubba, and he is a good tenant catching mosquitoes.
This week, Kevin and Christian (Katelynn’s boyfriend) worked on the greenhouse. The roof still needed to be done. And it was a perfect time to have a man-to-man talk with each other. Both also installed my windows. Now, all that is left are more reinforcement beams and the door. The door I properly can build and install it myself. And when Kevin is back from Dallas, he can help me with those beams. The tomatoes and peppers are very happy so far.
This morning I planted my bell peppers, banana peppers, beef steak tomatoes, cherry tomatoes, sun gold tomatoes, basil, and eggplant in the greenhouse raised bed. Some peppers and eggplant show some fruit on their vines. With the rest, we still have to wait a little bit longer. I’m so excited, I’m growing my first garden in New England.
While Kevin and I are still working on the roof frame, I began to build one raised bed in the greenhouse this afternoon. I built the cinderblock wall, so I could fill it with soil and start planting. First, I made sure we had barriers against the wooden frame, so the soil cannot seep out when it is wet. Next, I used fire wood, small branches, our old Christmas tree needles and some leaves, I still found in the yard from last Autumn. And then I filled the bed with
5 bags of raised bed soil
5 bags of all-purpose sand
2 bags of cow manure
20 bags of topsoil
Now, I let it saddle overnight. And tomorrow, I’ll begin to plant some peppers and tomatoes in the morning. We are supposed to have a rain storm tomorrow evening. This will be a good time to get those plants nicely watered.
Today, Kevin and I worked on the upper level a little bit on the roof frame of the greenhouse. While Kevin installed the frames, I got all the smaller and more detailed work done to prepare the framework to go up in its place. Tons of screws and bolds had to be untightened in the framework and crossbeams had to be connected on the ground first to make it easier for installment.
While Kevin and I spent most of the day outside, we had the chance to see three Lockheed C-130 Hercules military transport aircraft flying over our property. If you are familiar with the Navy Blue Angels airplanes, the “Fat Albert” is also in the C-130 family. It was very cool to see this flyby.
Joshua is exhausted from watching Kevin and me building the greenhouse. I believe he had a picture of a greenhouse full with fresh catnip, grass and endless chicken meat with mashed potatoes on his mind. Not forgetting the place is full of life mice, shrews, and chipmunks to hunt and catch before he takes a nap on his cat hammock. Keep dreaming, Joshua! 😉
Today, Kevin and I got some work done with the greenhouse. Now, the lower frame is installed and the panels are slid in place. There were so many screws for putting the frame together. Our backs began to hurt and we had to call it a day. But I’m glad we’ve got it this far. The next level had to be done with a ladder. The greenhouse is very tall.
Kevin and I reinforced the wood frame because the outer frame was too big. And I didn’t want to chop the original frame up. Once the wood frame was done, I built the aluminum bottom frame. We secured it by screwing it into the wood frame. Hopefully, this will prevent the greenhouse from falling over in high winds. Now, all the little detailed work has to be done, before I can build the outer upward frames, so I can slide the polycarbonate panels into place. Yep, this will take some time to get all done.
Every day, there is more color in our yard. Over the last weekend, the pink Rhododendron’s buds began to open up and started to blossom. Once the whole bushes are in full bloom their green leaves can barely be seen anymore. There will be pink half globes all over the shrubs.