Saturday, April 7, 2012

Happy Holiday - whatever it might be....

Happy Spring and whatever holiday you happen to celebrate. Spring is still in full force here in Philadelphia. The tree in front of my house has bloomed completely now and in four years has become a beautiful little spectacle.
I don't know what kind of tree it is though, it gets very tiny fruits on it by the fall. I thought it was a crab apple tree. But maybe I'm wrong. I was visiting a friend in the "burbs" yesterday and her crab apple tree has very different blooms on it. Maybe hers is a different variety. There's the tree peeping over the hedge when I stand on my porch. I can also see it when I look out the front windows on the second floor. Unfortunately, last spring and this, I seem to have developed allergies! Ugh. They are awful. I wake up in the middle of the night and can't breath. I spent the afternoon in the garden and all dust I stirred up did anything but help the situation. Thank goodness for my Puffs Plus tissues with the Vicks in them. If you don't know these - they are amazing. They are soft enough so that your shnoz does not get raw, but they also have eucalyptus scent in them and momentarily clear your sinus so you can breath for a second. Ah - love them!

My garden is looking lovely. All of my hard work over the last two years moving violets out of the lawn to the edges of the garden is paying off. I have hedges of them.
I've collected several recipes to do something with violets but I can't bring myself to pick them. I'd have to pick every last one of them for any success with any of the recipes and I just can't bring myself to remove all the pretty flowers. Even though I have oodles of other ones:

Here's probably my favorite tulip at the moment:
This little lavender beauty is the last of the first tulips I planted. Unfortunately everyone else loves them too; squirrels, aphids - you name it.
These didn't do very well last year, but it's nice to see them up this year.

And my lions, as I like to think of them. These are rather large tulips and they are like Old Faithful - they come every year. It's nice - like old friends.

I had a nice surprise on Friday. Andrew must have been bored. He came and started putting the new cedar decking down on the porch. It looks very nice! I'm thrilled. He's also having several columns turned, it seems we are waiting for those. Then he can move along.
I also need Wally to come back and do the ceiling on the first floor. sigh. Someday everything will be nice and clean and finished!

Jacques was very happy to help me in the yard today. There are fabulous places for dust baths at the moment. So instead of the elegant black that his fur usually is, he has taken on this dusty quality. He seems rather proud of it.
I stopped yesterday at our local organic nursery for compost so that I can plant things tomorrow. They recommended that I get my soil tested. And since they weren't the first with that suggestion, I thought it might be time to do that. I followed the instructions, pulled samples, and spread them out on sheets of paper to dry. Now, there is an entire table to be sitting on - why exactly do we need to sit on the dirt samples?
Next to Jacques on the table are the ramps I brought home from Western Massachusetts. Ramps are wild leeks. They taste like onions or garlic but are much smaller than commercial leeks. They grow as far south as North Carolina so bringing them back to Pennsylvania isn't going to wreck the eco system. I visited my friend Melanie last weekend for the wedding of a mutual friend. The morning I left we went hiking in her "back yard" for the ramps which grow on a lovely sunny hillside about a mile in. She made the most delicious scrambled eggs with them. I brought enough home to use in a risotto and still have some left over to plant. We'll see if they take. The ramps are the longer leafy things on the right. Not the violets.

Other delightful things are happening in my yard as well. The blueberries are blooming, and my coworker Matt came and put a beehive in my yard. You can see it here in the green box.
It's kind of exciting to have this humming little hive back there. Or as he put it, 12,000 of my newest neighbors.
They are pretty decent neighbors. They mind their own business and are very busy.
I was hoping to get to this project today as well, but it just didn't happen. The allergies were too much. But I have some lettuces, collard greens, yellow pepper, and herbs. Thyme, basil, and Parsley. All to be planted tomorrow. I also bought some organic leaf compost to put over everything. I should also separate the worm compost. Ugh - what an un-delightful job I am not looking forward to.

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