The weather has been pretty good lately, so I've been frantically trying to get the gardens in order and the pots on the deck planted. Sounds easy enough, but it takes more time than one thinks to get it done right.
Gratefully, today is a dreary, wet day and I can catch up on my blog reading and writing.
I finished this summer sweater just before the good gardening weather set in......
it turned out pretty nice.
Last week, we made time to head over to Mount Desert Island to visit the Asticou Azalea Garden. Unfortunately, we were just a wee bit too early for most of the azaleas and rhododendrons, but the PJM Rhodies were in full bloom. Guess we'll have to make another trip in June to see it in all it's glory!
We made a quick stop in Somesville on our way for a photo op. I couldn't resist the reflection of the bridge in the pond.
The dooryard garden is shaping up quite nicely with many things getting ready to burst forth any day now.
The Creeping Phlox is the one bright spot in the middle of the yard.
His Majesty, Spike has been enjoying afternoons in the garden on the hunt for errant chipmunks. Good thing he's in his harness and I'm able to yank him back before the strike.
A lovely young chickadee couple has leased this house for the season and it's been fun watching all the comings and goings.
We were also graced with the presence of an Indigo Bunting at our feeder.
Yesterday, H and I went to the local soil guy and had our truck bed filled with lovely compost to sprinkle on the garden. It was about a yard and a half and took me most of the day to unload it.
This is a spot on the side of the house where I'll be planting some Collard Greens and pickling cucumbers. It's in the shade in early morning, but gets lots of good sun in the afternoon.
I put lots of compost on the daylily bed up the hill.......
and on the side of the house where I transplanted some of the hostas that had outgrown their spot in front of the house. This is next to the spot where we found the septic clean out.
Next year, I'm hoping H will put faux rocks on the foundation! I made the rock sidewalk out of the rocks that ended up on the backside of the house when they blasted the ledge for the foundation. I have a LOT of rocks!
My good friend, Nancy, gave me this beautiful wheelbarrow and I have all my overwintered geraniums sitting in it soaking up sun before I transplant them to various pots on the deck.
The whole front of the house is blooming in PJM rhododendrons. I sure wish they would bloom all summer long, but I guess we just have to enjoy them while they are here!
Today is quite windy outside, so I'm taking this opportunity to stay inside and try to heal my poor aching shoulder and hands. They took quite the beating from shoveling all that compost!
For the past 6 years we've been blissfully unaware of certain things about living in the country. One of them was the septic system. We knew not to put anything down the pipes that we hadn't eaten first, and not to plant trees or other deep rooted plants on the leach field. Long time Maine residents also gave us good advice about the tank and leach field and cautioned we should know where the cleanout was.
Delaying way too long, this spring we finally undertook the task of finding the septic tank and its cleanout access. After a bit of research through our house construction photos, I came to the realization that five years ago, I had planted a thread leaf cypress right over the tank! So, the first order of business was to dig up the shrub and transplant it elsewhere.
After we found the cleanout access, we carefully marked it so it could easily be found if we needed the septic cleaned.
The cypress was transplanted to the spot in front of the old wheelbarrow planter and trimmed. I'll keep it well watered and hope for the best.
On Friday, we noticed that our local hardware store had cedar outdoor twin seats on sale, so we hurried out to get one. They were selling like hotcakes and we managed to get one of the last ones. We put it in the garage on top of a tarp so I could stain it before it went out into the yard.
It looked pretty good after I finished........
but it looked even better in the garden!
Up in the garage loft, things are coming right along.....
the cucumbers and squashes are beginning to sprout......
and the geraniums are begging to be let out, however, up here, we still have a chance of frost til the end of the month, so they'll just have to cool their jets for a while longer.
The boys are very happy to see the warmer weather coming. Now they can watch the squirrels and chipmunks up close and personal through the screen door.
The last of the snow piles deep in the forest are finally gone and the black flies have begun hovering about as I work in the garden. Yep, spring has arrived in Downeast, Maine and Giddy has come out of hibernation.
The little red squirrels never stopped raiding the feeders all winter long
The Primroses are in full bloom now
Sweet little Johnny Jumpups have reseeded all over, their cute, sunny little faces always elicit a smile.
My Narcissus are actually blooming this year! Now those of you living in the south have already seen these come and go, but they are a sight for sore eyes for us up here in the Great Frozen North.
The Catmint will be blooming soon, bringing happy bees to the garden.
Hosta "Aureo Marginata" is coming up much faster than the other varieties. I guess she's not quite so adverse to the cooler nights.
The bleeding heart has begun blooming, as well.
The PJM Rhododendrons will be in full bloom by Mother's Day if the warm weather keeps up.
We've had a couple of days of rainy weather so I made good use of my time by continuing my quest to bake the perfect English Muffin. My apologies to Pete of Pete Bakes Blog and to Alton Brown of the Food Network. Neither of their recipes quite did it for me. I couldn't get good "nooks and crannies" out of Pete's recipe and Alton's muffins were just a wee bit gummy. Sooo, I set about to play with the recipe to get just the right amount of texture. The crows had a feast on the rejects.
However, I am happy to announce that I think I've finally hit upon the right formula. It's an adaptation of Alton's recipe and according to H, it's the best one yet.
Just look at those nooks and crannies!
I pretty much followed Alton's recipe, but decreased the powdered milk to 1/4 cup and used only 1/2 TBSP canola oil in place of the shortening (no trans fats for me!). I increased the yeast to 2 tsp.
I did purchase 4 - 3" rings at the local kitchen store. They were only $1.50 a piece so it was a relatively inexpensive purchase. I did, however, resist the temptation to purchase an electric skillet. My cast iron skillet, heated on a low flame works just fine and the four rings fit perfectly.
The dough is quite loose, so I used a 1/2 cup measure to fill the rings after I sprayed them with olive oil spray and sprinkled the bottom with corn meal. After I filled the rings, I sprinkled the top with corn meal, as well. Cover the skillet and "bake" for about 6 minutes, flip the muffins and bake for 6 more minutes.
Gardening and knitting fanatic! I love digging in the dirt (what little I have of it!) My zone 5 garden is located on 2 1/2 heavily wooded, rocky acres on the coast of Downeast Maine and is shared by Hubby and our two cats, Spike and Sluggo. When unable to garden, I love to knit, cook, pursue my photograpy, bake and read numerous other blogs.