Tuesday, April 22, 2008

We Celebrate Earth Day Every Day

I'm not a tree hugger or fanatic environmentalist, but H and I do what we can to protect Mother Earth here on our 2 1/2 acres.

So, in observance of Earth Day, here are a few things we do:
  • Wash clothes in cold water
  • Line dry them from April through November and sometimes into December
  • We grow many of our own vegetables in our garden every summer
  • What we can't grow, we try to buy locally, in season
  • We compost our kitchen and garden waste
  • We take our own canvas bags to the grocery
  • We recycle cans and glass
  • We use organic fertilizers and avoid pesticides, when possible
  • Despite having a heavily wooded property, we plant new trees every year. Last year, I planted about 100 white pine seedlings
  • We save gas by waiting to combine our trips into town with other errands
  • We keep our vehicles well tuned and regularly inspected
  • We plan frequent kayak trips instead of road trips
  • We use low energy CFC light bulbs
  • We turn off lights when they're not needed
  • We don't leave our cell phone chargers plugged in
  • We heat with wood, a renewable and sustainable energy source
  • In the winter, we also cook soups and stews on our wood stove, saving propane

I was going to post a few more pictures, but Blogger is having a bit of trouble and won't let me upload any more.

Anyway, Happy Earth Day to all my garden blogger friends.

Life is good, especially in the garden.

Hugs, Giddy

Sunday, April 20, 2008

Spring Deck Project

For about three years now, I've been humming on a project for the deck. We have a southerly view, which is beautiful, but every afternoon between the hours of about 3-6 pm, the sun shines in our eyes. The umbrella just works for the overhead sun.

Soooo, after much discussion, planning and fussing, H and I decided to build a deck arbor. We didn't want anything that would interfere with the view or encroach upon the space on the deck, so it was to be 8 feet tall and only 18 inches wide with a faux bamboo roller shade which could be lowered when necessary. We started with a blank slate....

H measured and cut the 4x4s for the uprights, then we attached the 2x6s (after a bit of er, "discussion" about decorative edges on the ends of the 2x6s.

Then, Giddy got to play with the tools! Oh, the heady sense of power while screwing the 4x4s to the brackets attached to the deck. Since I'm short and closer to the ground, H gladly let me do this part of the project.

H attached the top rails .....

and I stained everything to match the deck.

The final product turned out pretty nice.

The big deal of the day was the faux bamboo shade that we found on sale at Lowe's. Original price was $29.99, but we snatched it up for the incredible price of $4.49! Even if it only lasts for one season, it was a bargain.

So, after a long, hard workday, we settled down on the deck with a glass of wine to celebrate our success.

However, you can bet your bottom dollar that H and I are paying today with aching arms, legs and back!

Life is Good

Hugs, Giddy

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

April Bloom Day

Thanks to Carol over at May Dreams blog, gardeners are sharing what is blooming in their gardens on the 15th of every month.

I don't have much to add this month as the only thing I technically have blooming in the garden today are the crocus. But what beauties they are

I love the way the shadows play on the petals

The Oriental Poppies are popping through the soil

as are the Stella d'Oro daylilies and the Silver King Artemesia

I'm seeing green on the lilac buds and am hoping it will bloom this year.

I think it will be a couple more weeks before I unwrap the pond and get it running.

We got the bat house up a bit too late to entice residents, but we are hopeful we will be attracting lots of mosquito eating bats this year.

The boys spent the entire morning roughhousing and finally fell into exhausted sleep in the sun on their window seat. Poor babies. Life is so tough in this house.

Monday, April 14, 2008

Perfect Pretzels?

I don't think so.

Baking bread has been a joy for me. I love the Artisan method developed by Jeff and Zoe, and I've enjoyed trying many of the recipes. However, yesterday's foray into homemade pretzels was not quite a success. In fact, it was downright disappointing. Much of it was my fault as I did not wait for the dough to cool for a proper length of time in the fridge, so it was difficult to handle. My second mistake was putting the formed pretzels on plastic wrap to rise. Guess what? They stuck - big time!
They looked pretty good while they were rising and I managed to get two of them out without ruining the shape.....

But the rest of them resembled something along the lines of a dog turd. My apologies to all the sweet puppies out there.
The flavor, however, was excellent, and when popped into the toaster oven to warm up, they were quite delicious if we just closed our eyes before biting into them. But, as we used to say down south, "The juice just ain't worth the squeeze", so I'll be sticking to regular bread recipes and forms.

Today, we had to go into town to pay the truck taxes and since it was a nice, sunny day, we decided to drive on into Schoodic to see if we could catch a little wave action at the Point. The Mark Island Light house was looking picturesque......

the gulls on the Point were relaxing on the rocks.......

the wave action was nothing to write home about, but the sheer beauty of the park, the fresh sea air and surrounding greenery were enough to lift the spirits.

Ah, yes. Life may have it's occasional little disappointments, but for the most part....

Life is Good!

Hugs, Giddy

Friday, April 11, 2008

Preparing for Summer

So much to do and so little time. The weather has been sublime for the past four days and we have taken full advantage of it.

H and I restained the deck preparatory to bringing the deck furniture out of the garage for the summer. Oh, the joy!

I was in charge of painting the outsides and cutting in and I didn't even complain about my knees and back hurting since the sun felt so nice and warm on my back.

H had the job of rolling on the stain. This year was so much easier as he had sanded the old opaque stain off last year (a huge, dirty job). It took him several days on his hands and knees to get the job done, so this year, it was a breeze just to mop on the Austrailian Tree Oil.

While waiting for the stain to dry, I cleaned all the perennial beds of the winter's detritus. This wheelbarrow full was one of dozens I took to the compost pile. Needless to say, the next day my shoulders were quite sore from all that raking.

Oh, but look what was lurking under all those leaves......

There's nothing quite so rewarding as those first, beautiful crocus blooms in the spring.

After all the hard work was finished, we took a few minutes to sit in the garden and enjoy the warm sunshine on our faces. Even Spike enjoyed his first spring outing. Sluggo, however, was not amused with the harness or being outside.

I think we've created a monster though. Now every time I walk towards the front door, Spike is right behind me in hopes that I'll take him out.

I did find a few minutes for a couple of baking projects. Hamburger buns for the freezer and a batch of cinnamon rolls for the ladies at the Clinic.

I was in a hurry to get out the door and neglected to take a shot of the finished rolls, but you may rest assured they were quite delicious! That, and the house smelled great for the rest of the day.

I also found time for my Wednesday morning meeting of the Downeast Knitiodts. What a grand time we all have, sharing our projects and stories while sitting amongst the colorful wool. This is a picture of our instructor, Barbara and classmate, Nancy, who was knitting the tiniest little ballerina slippers.
Judy and Linda were discussing yarn colors for the cute little "Pueblo Vases" that Judy knits.

All in all, a very satisfying week!

Life is Good,

Hugs, Giddy

Monday, April 07, 2008

Why H Can't Paint

H loves to paint. However, Sluggo loves H and insists on being with him any time H is sitting or standing near the kitchen island. Unfortunately, H likes to do his painting at the island and Sluggo will not let him concentrate.

Ooh, what's Daddy doing this morning?

That paint brush sure is tasty.

It's hard to be angry at Sluggo when he's just so darned cute!

On another note, here is the rock garden before I managed to get in there and clean out all the perennial mess. Every year I try to buy a few junipers or thread leaf cypress to fill in. When we had the house built, they had to blast the rocky ledge to put in the foundation, so we ended up with this rubble on the hill side. An automatic rock garden!

This is the herb and veggie garden before the annual clean up.

This is the after photo taken from the upper deck. Now all I have to do is bring in some nice composted cow manure and plant a few tomatoes.

Later on that day, our resident fox came trotting up the hill. Sorry for the blurry pic, but he was trotting quite fast.

Life is Good,

Hugs, Giddy

Sunday, April 06, 2008

Garden Show

Yesterday, H and I attended the Bangor Garden Show. After the long, snowy winter, we were both desperate for some vibrant color, and we were not disappointed.

Oh, how I wish my garden looked like this! I can't wait to get dirt under my fingernails and start whipping the garden into shape. I'm sure It won't look this professional, but then, I'm partial to the wild cottage look.

This bronze statue of a deer with her fawn sitting in the green grass was a favorite snapshot for all the show attendees. I had to stand in line to get a shot of it.

Last fall, we took down some cherry saplings and I stored them away til I could get a good idea for them. I need a new trellis for my Firecracker Clematis, so here's another project.

Of course, I had to take a photo of this little guy, now didn't I?

All in all, we had a terrific day. The garden show was nice, but it would have been better if there had been more displays.

Later that day, Spike insisted on a back rub.....

It was the least I could do since he was miffed at being left alone all day long.

Life is Good

Hugs, Giddy

Wednesday, April 02, 2008

Guess What? No Snow!

There hasn't been much to blog about lately. Just snow, ice and more snow. Sooo, my Muse hied herself off to dream of warmer days, leaving me bereft of any thoughts whatsoever.

Today's sun and the surprise blooming of my "Christmas Cactus" has brightened my spirits enough to get me off the couch to pen a few short lines.

The day is quite blustery today with gusts up to 50 miles per hour, kicking up some great white caps on the cove and bay.

But, look! The yard is almost free of snow and ice! And with today's winds, the melting should be fast. (About time, grumble, grumble)

Nothing seems to bother Spike and Sluggo. They just entertain themselves.

Or, just a nice nap on H's pile of clothes......

while Spike prefers to nap in the sunshine on the rug.

I took a quick lap around the yard before heading off to knitting class and was delighted to find several crocus leaves popping up along with a few daffodils and hyacinths. I think that from here on out, there will be something new in the garden every day.

Life is Good!

Hugs, Giddy