Monday, March 30, 2009

sphinx moth

Nobody is as excited about this guy as I am . . . he's as big as a hummingbird! So cool, such a long proboscis to reach down and get all that good Abelia nectar!

Friday, March 27, 2009

blackberries and blustery skies

We've been blessed with rain and burgeoning spring. Here is the Climbing Don Juan rose covered in raindrops. Rare treat. What a classic rose shape on this one.
This is what the skies looked like before a big rainfall a couple days ago . . .
Almost scary--look at that line in the sky!
And here's a baby Arapaho blackberry, striding along . . .

The Brown Turkey fig looks very happy!

Saturday, March 21, 2009

happy vernal equinox (a couple days late!)

Spring is all-out springing here, and oh what fun. The light the last couple mornings has been so pretty, gentle, golden. I am being a real wuss about cutting back all the wild mustard and clover that has seeded itself all over the yard . . . the clover is soft and smells good and the mustard reminds me of abandoned fields in Germany. That gorgeous acid green is so special.
Indian paintbrushes against the little persons' bench.
Rain lilies.
Poppy bursting.
Strawberry sizzle geranium.
Verbena and dianthus.
East facing bed.
White pansies and sunset-colored snapdragons.
Coral honeysuckle.
The Lady Banks Rose is about to put on a major show.

Friday, March 20, 2009

this is amazing!

Just received this in my in-box:

Dear Kitchen Gardener,

(Begin pinching yourself now)

"Obamas to Plant White House Vegetable Garden"

On Friday, March 20th, 2009, 23 third graders will join First Lady Michelle Obama on the South Lawn of the White House to break ground on an 1100 square foot kitchen garden that will provide food for family dinners and formal dinners.

According to the New York Times:

The Obamas' garden will have 55 varieties of vegetables grown from organic seedlings started at the executive mansion's greenhouses.

And better still:

Almost the entire Obama family, including the president, will pull weeds, whether they like it or not, Mrs. Obama said laughing.

Ok, you can stop pinching yourself: you aren't dreaming this and an off batch of sauerkraut hasn't caused a rare case of lacto-fermentation-hallucination.

Saturday, March 14, 2009

irish soda bread!

We're having a little St Patty's gathering tomorrow, so I delved into some baking. I used this recipe for Irish Soda Bread, and it is all I can do to keep from eating it right this very minute. It smells and looks delectable. Tomorrow we'll embark upon the boiled dinner!

Thursday, March 12, 2009

full pond and finished orchard

What more could a girl ask? We stretched the fencing and attached the gates--all seems to be holding. And my man and his truck retrieved a Craigslist bench for some relaxing in the shade-to-be. I still have a passionflower vine to plant along the southern fence-line.

Finally some rain, though not a drought-buster yet. The sound of it pounding down on the roof was such a delight. Now we'll get some bullfrogs in the next few weeks!

The pears in the orchard have both leafed out (though not the ones up by the house--less sun??), as have the pomegranates. The poor pears did sustain some damage from the deer before we got the fence up. What an annoyance. Hopefully they will heal and remain vigorous. The jujubes, persimmons, and one fig have green buds and have popped a couple leaves each. The little Arbequina olive, well . . . we'll just have to see. It did not like all the violent wind we've had, and was tiny to begin with. I am considering moving it into a pot up by the house until it is a bit bigger and planting a quince in its place. Still pondering.

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

clothespin dolls

We were in Houston last weekend and, in addition to a delightful trip to the zoo, Nana and Miss A made clothespin dolls. Just way too adorable. I love watching how adept Miss A's hands are at dealing with those tiny materials. Yet another benefit of the Montessori approach. That and the ability to concentrate happily for extended lengths of time. Contrary to popular belief, I think that type of focus is something we LOSE over time, not something we gain. The natural state of the child is not hip-hopping from one moment to the next, never investing. It is enthralled fascination.

We actually attended an Open House at Miss A's school last weekend, and had such fun watching our daughter operate in another mode. Instead of behaving the same way she always does with us, she really changed in the Montessori environment, almost like she couldn't control the change, and exhibited a Zen-like calm as she gathered and worked with her materials. Check it out below.