Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Moss Garden

With all the rain, there are many different varieties of moss growing on rocks and in the woods. I took some time to collect several varieties and put together a moss garden in a container. I also found a proper spot for some of my small turtles.

Monday, April 28, 2008

Coffee Grounds

It was quite an exciting weekend considering it snowed. I finally saw the pileated woodpecker! Thorny guy was even quick enough to snap a picture. No wonder we are going through suet like crazy- this guy is huge! We also discovered that deer eat rhubarb even though it is poisonous.
The folks visited on Sunday and brought lily of the valley for my shade garden, which I planted while it was snowing. They also dug up two hydrangea which hopefully will have better luck blooming for me.

When we transplanted the hydrangea I added lots of coffee ground that I got from Starbucks Grounds for your garden program. This program recycles spend coffee grounds by giving it away free to gardeners. I would definitely call before you go to pick up a bag! This time they had it sitting on the counter for me wrapped and ready to go. The coffee will also help the soil become more acidic and turn the hydrangea flowers blue. That is the theory anyway.

Friday, April 25, 2008

Last night we picked up our 25 red dogwood trees from Dakota County. It was quite the drive - it down poured the entire way there and back. The worst thing is that they need to be planted within 48 hours and it's been raining since we picked them up and snow is in the forecast for tomorrow! Our little trees will get in the ground one way or the other, we just hope we don't have to dig through a layer of snow too.

We planted them later today when it was snowing. I think we would have done a better job at spacing and lining them up but it was freezing. Just the fact that they are in the ground was success.

Thursday, April 24, 2008

Everything is starting to bud because of all the rain. Here are some lilacs by the house. They appear to be purple. I can not wait until everything blossoms, maybe then we can start to identify more mystery trees and shrubs.

About a week ago, Thorny guy and I went to TSC for chick days in hopes of buying 6 chicks. Well not only did they only have meat chickens they only had three left! I was very disappointed.

In order to get the ones I want you have to order 25 chicks! So I went away convinced that this year we would not be getting any least until today.

We stopped at a local feed shop in Rosemount to see if they carried chickens. They did not have any, but you could special order them with a minimum of 25 chicks just like at TSC.

So I did. In two weeks we will have 25 chickens, 10 Barred Rock, 5 Buff Orpington, 5 Silver Laced Wyandotte, and 5 Black Australorp. Why you might ask...well they were a lot cheaper than TSC and hopefully when they are bigger we can sell some. Anyone want to buy a chick?

In other news, we bought some barrels off CL for storing all that chicken feed!

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

This weekend we planted 100 onions in a little plot in the upper garden next to the rhubarb. They should settle in just fine with all the rain next week.

Speaking of rain, our pond was filled with worms after it rained on Saturday. We fished out all that we could and put them back in the garden. I am still mystified how exactly they all ended up in the pond and why the birds did not discover them. We also started removing all the landscape rock in hope of creating a more natural design.

Friday, April 18, 2008


Our woodpeckers have been frequent visitors to our feeder this winter. They go through a block of suet each week! So far we have seen downy, flicker, ladderback, hairy, and pileated woodpeckers. (Only Thorny guy has seen the pileated) The smallest woodpecker we have is the downy which is the least timid and lets you get close enough to take pictures. You can also stand between the tree and the feeder and they will fly right by you. The chickadees also do this. Hearing their wings beat and flutter is awesome.

On the feeder you can see the metal duct tube that Thorny guy installed to keep the squirrels from climbing up. It has worked to keep them from climbing up the feeder and been a great seed saver. The little squirrels still jump from the branches to the top of the feeder or eat what the birds drop, but at least they are not scaring away as many birds.

During the winter, Thorny guy also encountered a kestral and took a picture just in time before it flew off. It was after a wild rabbit who was eating seed under the feeder. Hopefully this summer we will have a lot of goldfinches visit. I already have the thistle feeder ready for them.

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Not much happening outside today, but inside tulips are starting to bloom. Thorny Guy also found a clump of moss growing in the pond. I should start a moss garden in a container. This little guy might just be its first sample in it.

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

New Chicken Coop

We have decided on a site for our new chicken coop. It is going to be in the corner of the barn pictured in the April 12 post. Not our first choice, but we needed a southern wall where we could put a window. There technically is electricity running to this barn, but we have not used it or tested it in awhile, so we need to do that.

The chicken house will be in the corner of the barn which is a 5x7 area. The chicken run will be under the overhang which still gets plenty of sun.

We found some wood from the woodpile that will work for framing, but we need to purchase plywood and chicken fence. We will keep you posted as to progress, although this in and of itself was a huge step. I can not wait for chick day this Friday.

Monday, April 14, 2008

This weekend was very busy! Even though I should not have, I cleaned out the garden next to the 3rd barn. Since we have no idea what is planted in there, it was a good surprise to find daffodils, day lilies, and Asiatic lilies sprouting up. I also removed a rotten birdhouse that looks beyond repair. Do you think that our day lilies need to be split?!? There stalks we very tall so we think that they are the "ditch" orange tall ones.

I spent hours trimming trees and found out the hard way that black walnuts are NOT easy to prune - my new mantra is to let them be. I will try to take some pictures tonight as The forgetful Gnome finally found our camera. Cheers. (I found the camera and added pics)

Saturday, April 12, 2008

This is a follow up to the April 9 post about the unidentified tree. Some people believe it is witch hazel, however the websites make witch hazel sound like smaller shrub instead of a tree. Anyway here are two pictures which give a better feel to how big the tree is. I have no idea how old this tree is as it was here when we purchased the house.

I plan to plant lilies of the valley, dead nettle, and primroses in this bed as long as nothing else comes up. I found out that there is a layer of plastic between the ground and a foot of compost/mulch. It is going to be a chore to remove it all before we plant here.

This weekend I finished edging this garden with rocks to separate it from the gravel road. The road was installed last fall to prevent soil erosion as it sits on a pretty steep hill. The road currently does not continue to the barn, but someday it might.

Thursday, April 10, 2008

I am a

What Flower
Are You?

Another dreary day. Good thing we did not plan to have our picnic this weekend outside... it is suppose to snow! I took the "What type of flower are you quiz", and turned out to be a snapdragon. "Mischief is your middle name, but your first is friend. You are quite the prankster that loves to make other people laugh."

Wednesday, April 09, 2008

The bulbs that we forced inside are doing well. We already have had the irises bloom and the tulips are growing fast. These are the bulbs that Chris had to save from Menards in the fall of last year. I do like the variegated tulips, unfortunately the label washed off and I need to dig in my records for what they actually are called.

Speaking of identifying plants, we have an unidentified tree which is starting to bloom. It had clusters of red buds which recently have turned into white cluster as seen in the picture. I though it was going to flower but no petals appeared. Anyone have an idea?

In the picture you can also see the pond which we have recently drained. The water lilies there were quite over grown and needed to be split. We are hoping to redesign it a bit and clean up the rocks on the edges.

My dad found a site with a bird cam check it out! I think I saw a Kestrel around our place the other day. Other than that just nurturing all our seedlings. Our house has been converted to a green house. Grow little guys.

Hold on little bulbs!

Oh no! The weather forecast has predicted up to 6 inches of wet heavy snow for Friday. All we can do is cross our fingers that our sprouting bulbs can take another blast of winter. Hold on little bulbs!

Tuesday, April 08, 2008

The hiatus is over. I vanished for over three years, but I am back to what some would say, is my boring simple life. Since it would take hours to fill you in, I am simply going to move on and let those years be a black hole as far as cyberspace is concerned.

So the website has been cleaned up and given a new theme, which is gardening, specifically in the cold climate of Minnesota. Officially it is spring here, and after one last snow storm, it seems to be warming up. We are even starting to see some tulips coming up outside. It will be interesting what plants survive from our last home. Only time will tell... need to work on that patience thing.
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