Archive | January 2013

Think Spring

Bee in Crocus

What do gardeners do when the windchills hover around zero? This gardener thinks about spring and dreams of crocus and daffodils.  With a wicked north wind making our teeth chatter, my husband and I drove to a local hardware store earlier this week and bought a few seeds and a hyacinth blooming kit.

The kit contained only two items:  an hour-glass shaped vase and a hyacinth bulb.  The instructions were also simple.  Fill the vase up to its neck with water. Set the bulb in the vase but make sure the bulb is not sitting in the water.  Place the bulb/vase in a cool, dark, well-ventilated area.  When the hyacinth is about 3″ tall, bring it out to the sun.  If the bulb hasn’t already begun sprouting, it may need to be in the dark for 10 weeks or so. Pictured below is what my hyacinth looks like. (The weird image in the bottom of the vase is a reflection of the window and blinds.) I’m keeping it in our pantry.

hyacinth kit

I got the kit two days ago and, as you can see,  its roots are already starting to grow.


closeup of hyacinth bulb

It will still be winter when it finally blooms in a few weeks, but thanks to our hyacinth, our house will look and smell like spring.


white hyacinth


Yes, Deer Are Beautiful But…


There is no denying that deer are beautiful, but when they destroy our bushes, fruit trees, and vegetables I lose my appreciation and temper.  The deer have been exceptionally destructive at our place since last summer.  Although I have no sources to back this up, I believe the drought is what’s driving them to chew everything in sight. Look at the damage they have done to our althea (Rose of Sharon) and red twig dogwood.

Injured Althea

Injured Althea

mauled red twig dogwood

mauled red twig dogwood

Thanks to the drought and the deer, I know we’ll be replacing many shrubs and trees in the spring.  I’ve already begun perusing the garden catalogs for possible replacements.  The colorful photographs make me want to buy one of everything, but not everything will thrive or even survive at our place. It’s just as important to find plants that are distasteful to the deer as it is finding plants that are compatible with our growing zone. Unfortunately, it’s hard to say that a deer will never chew on a plant because like people, they aren’t always predictable.

For a good list of flowers, shrubs, herbs, and trees that deer seem less likely to damage, check out  The extra research may make the wildlife around your home seem downright innocent!

spring deer

Weed App

Tall Thistle

Tall Thistle

Some weeds, like thistles, are easily identifiable.  But if you run across one you’re not quite so sure about, grab your fancy phone or tablet.  The University of Missouri Extension has an app for you called, “ID Weeds.”

ID Weeds allows you to research and identify weeds by several means.  Under “Identify”, the app leads you through a series of questions to help narrow down what your weed in question looks like and subsequently identify.

The app’s search function allows you to type in the name of the weed you are looking for and then describes it to you. For example, type in thistle and it pops up with pictures of nine varieties of thistles.  According to ID Weeds, the thistle I’ve pictured above is the Tall Thistle which is a species of Cirsium.  It goes on to give a general description of where it is normally found and when it blooms.  It describes its roots, stems, leaves, fruit, and other distinctive characteristics.

The app also has an alphabetical list of weeds and their corresponding pictures.   Select a picture of a weed and you’ll get its description and characteristics.

Like beauty, weeds are in the eye of the beholder.  I noticed that some of the “good” grasses we have in our pastures, such as birdsfoot trefoil, orchard grass, and red clover are listed as weeds. I suppose they are when they’re choking my carrots.

I’ll put this app to good use when the weather warms and the weeds challenge my vegetables to a growing competition.  I hope you’ll find it helpful, too.



2013 Photo Log


I prefer to set goals rather than make resolutions for the New Year.  What’s the difference?  I think resolutions are meant to change one’s behavior and goals are things to accomplish.  Besides, working on a project is much more fun than correcting a bad habit.

One of my goals for 2013 is to create a photo log of a few areas of interest around our home.  On the first day of every month, I’ll take pictures of both gardens and a few areas on our farm.  I have landmarks at each location so I can reproduce the photographs each month and document the seasonal changes that occur during the year.  The collection of photos at the end of the year will make a great slideshow.

I’ll share some of my monthly pictures with you throughout the year.  The picture below is what the big garden looks like on January 1, 2013.   Although there won’t be much change on Feb 1st, I’m expecting a drastically different look on April 1st.


The last picture is taken at the entry to our woods.  It’s hard to resist photographing snow-covered paths in the woods.  May the path you take in 2013 be just as lovely as this one.

Happy New Year!                                             DSC_0023