Wednesday, February 29, 2012


It happens just as you are thinking that those 60 degree days are gonna keep coming. The early spring or late winter blizzard! We got a cumulative 3" today but it has mostly melted off. More promised tonite and tomorrow....

The raised beds in the garden are all topped with melting snow, which gives them a nice drink.

My newly planted roses are covered with plastic planting tubs.I do baby them! The weather guesser promises 60 degrees by Sunday. Uh huh.

Saturday, February 25, 2012


It has been 3 weeks since I dug the post holes for this arbor and thanks to the flu we haven't been outside since then. So when we got a sunny, 60 degree day we just had to try and finish our arbor project.

Jack is attaching the 2x4 cross pieces to tie the posts together. We set the posts in crushed rock, NOT concrete which has a tendency to move up in the clay soil and make things wonky.

The arbor is done. Chase is about to take his inaugural pee on the post!

We had just enough energy left to build the 2'x2' planted and put in the climbing New Dawn rose! I'll add a clematis along side it so they will twine together.

Tuesday, February 21, 2012


There's nothing like perusing one of my favourite cookbooks to get me thinking about the summer and the overflow of veggies from the garden. Too bad this book is long out of print (pub. 1982)! It goes from Asparagus to Zucchini, not only with recipes but with the culture and varieties for the home gardener. Everything from basic ways to enjoy a veggie to special recipes from Marian Morash's friends and family. Things like corn fritters, egg plant rolls, sauteed cucumbers, zucchini, tomato & cheese pie, straw mat potatoes, baked fennel with Parmesan cheese.....
If you find yourself in a used books store, check the cookbook section and you may get lucky and find "The Victory Garden Cookbook."

Monday, February 20, 2012


I was reminded of my "gardening roots" when I looked through my well worn book, "The New Victory Garden, by Bob Thomson that I bought back in 1992 just as I was embarking on the biggest garden of my career. I have found that gardening is all about reading...self-education is key to growing your gardening knowledge!

Bob Thomson took over for Jim Crockett who had passed away during the 5th season of "Jim Crockett's Victory Garden" on PBS. While I watched a few of the shows during that early era, it was when Bob took over that I became completely engrossed. While Jim was a traditional Eastern gardener, Bob went beyond tradition and embraced the newest season-extending technologies.
I had found my gardening guru. He was not only knowledgeable but could explain to viewers like me about what he knew.
We made our cold frame per his instructions and diagrams, made sturdy tomato cages and wrapped them with plastic to make mini-hot houses for them as he had shown. I learned about raised beds and soil preparation. I built my first mulch bins with the info in this book.I used floating row covers and wire hoops to protect plants from wind and cold.
He was to gardeners what Julia Child was to cooks. And just coincidentally both shows were conceived and produced by Russ Morash of WGBH Boston. Russ' wife Marian also added to the Victory Garden show with a short cooking segment at the end of the show and produced an excellent garden cookbook guide.
I'm sure that both these books are long out of print but once in a while I see them at used far as I'm concerned, nobody has come close to producing such an excellent, all encompassing guide for new and experienced gardeners alike.

Sunday, February 19, 2012


Once upon a time a gardener dreamed of a small greenhouse so she could grow her veggies & flowers from seed as well as wintering over tender plants. Years passed and the closest she got was a very nice cold frame that her under gardener built in 2003. But she still yearned for a "real" greenhouse. More time passed and the cold frame worked well for seedlings but got very crowded during the seed starting season.

Then when her mom moved up to Oregon, her mom got a greenhouse. How envious she was of that! Imagine being able to winter over things like citrus and geraniums!
More time passed and another move, and another new garden, built from scratch. The gardener decided that she did deserve a greenhouse after all these years of gardening in Sunset Zone 7 (41 years!). While it is a small one measuring 4' deep by 6' wide and 88" tall sort of a half-sized version of the photo above, it will allow her to store lots of her garden supplies and winter over tall plants in pots.

It's being built in Burlington, Vermont so it will be a good one! Can't wait for spring! 3-5 weeks until delivery!

Sunday, February 12, 2012


Turns out that our last year has been filled with so much stress that when a rampant flu virus showed up that wasn't accounted for by the CDC in our fall flu shot, we both got hit bad. "How could this happen to nice folks like us?" we asked. Not so hard to figure once we sat down and went over the year's events and the poor way we've been living since we moved! Too busy working and organizing to take walks? Too busy working and organizing to eat properly? Too busy to dance? Too busy stressing to sleep well? Too busy to lose weight?

Certainly reading a magazine isn't gonna fix it! And I've found that most health mags just keep repeating the same crap, throwing in the latest craze for a certain vitamin or additive. NOPE! NOT GOING THERE!

The best thing WE can do is TAKE CONTROL of our "issues" and find solutions that work for us. So here are what we've planned so far:


1. Quit stressing about our son's running of our former business. But how? Start our own and pay attention to it! WE DID! DRAKENWERKS is on schedule to make a profit this month!

2. Quit eating crap. How? Get rid of all the pantry items that want baking...NO BAKING! How easy is that. That also eliminates ice cream, late night snacks and gooey stuff in the morning.

3. Revamp our breakfast menu. What, no bacon & eggs? Buy protein powder for smoothies, eliminate the cooked foods completely. Sure makes life simpler!

4. FIX WHAT'S BUGGING YOU! For Jack, that means re-organizing the shop space in the garage now that he is running a business from there. For me, that means having a place to plant stuff.We're working on it!

5. Revamp the office/studio so we can find out butts in there. We've made great strides with this, investing in some fine, plastic containers to hold art work and scrap files instead of leaving stuff in file boxes all crammed together. I'm sure we've cleaned out 500 lbs of paper alone! A work in progress!
More later...a person can only do so much at one time!

Sunday, February 5, 2012


A few days of sunny skies and I'm all agog at the notion that Spring is just around the corner!

So I ripped out the pine cones and evergreens in my entry basket and put in forsythia, daffodils, yellow cheerfulness, pansies and tulips. Maybe it will make spring come a bit sooner...but if not, it will make me smile every time I go in or out the front door!

Friday, February 3, 2012


One of the BIG DEALS this month for me is building garden structures for my new vertical garden. With temps in the 60's and bright sun, I got my under gardener to come outside and play!

This one will hold peas or sweet peas and disguise the side of the plastic storage building.

The cedar 1.5" x 8' tall supports are screwed into the raised bed. I needed something sturdier than regular garden stakes and we found these at the lumber yard.The cross pieces have galvanized screws every 6". My under gardener had this whole thing knocked out is no time, using a power drill/screwdriver and a jig saw.

I'm using a nice twisted 100% cotton Wellington twine (made in Mexico)

It took 3 attempts to not bow the top board and still have a taunt line. We'll see what happens when it gets wet...I may have to restring it again if it tightens up. This is just for peas or sweet peas which aren't heavy.