Thursday, May 28, 2009

Dear Mommy Deer

The sun has come out and it appears, hypothetically speaking, that spring has at long last arrived. We have had a week of wonderful weather and I have stopped whining about least for now. Many signs of true spring around the Garden Yard. The two Starling families have fledged their babies, although the babies are seemingly reluctant to leave home. I see and hear them in the nests throughout the day. The other day I came across a small Garter snake near the shed. Our Garter snakes here are different colored than on the Prairies - out there, they are dark green with yellow stripes. Here they are more brown with orange stripes.

The Garden Yard is being slowly whipped into shape. Richard and I have been working hard...he cutting grass, hauling in the stock tank and filling it with dirt for a Tomato emptying potting soil from dozens of pots, whose occupants winter killed this year, into the Tomato bed. He also dragged in an old white bathtub that has been sitting in the yard for eons. I emptied potting soil into it too, and will fill it with flowers and herbs. We have moved several pots and things that sat on the driveway side of the yard, giving a nice clear sight line to the garden boat. Oh and Richard also brought me in another tub, this one out of an old dryer, to fill and use for flowers or vegetables.

I found a unique way to grow lettuce on the Internet when I was looking for something else one night. You use pieces of PVC pipe, cut holes in the top for the plants, fill pipe with dirt, and suspend from a fence or other such supports. Gonna try that one for sure. Richard was really excited about that idea. We have the PVC pipe, we have a stand to suspend short lengths on, and we have the lettuce seed and soil. What more could you ask for.

The Garden Boat is beginning to look really good. Still a long way to go, but each day as I walk around it, it takes shape in my mind. Some things that survived the winter were a huge Yarrow plant, two mini roses, Bergamot, White Echinacea, an elderly lemon thyme plant that is really doing well, chives and purple sage. Oh, and one mustn't forget the 1000 Feverfew seedlings. Good grief, but who knew they would seed like that? I planted Blue Lobelia and Yellow Pansies in the prow of the boat. Then in a row behind that are Blue and White Pansies. My adorable little Hummingbird feeders are also in the boat, two at the back and one at the prow. Today I am planting Sweetpeas, finally, along the one remaining pieces of chicken wire Richard put in the boat for me last year.

Some things I have discovered along the way this Spring:
1. I am addicted to buying Tomato Plants. More on that later.
2. When you move a plant pot that has been sitting there for months, you will find a pile of earth worms.
3. The easiest way to pick up those aforementioned worms is not with your thumb and forefinger as one might think, but with your forefinger and middle finger, gently pinching the worm with the middle finger pressing against the top, or fingernail, of the index finger. Really. Oh stop shuddering, it's just a little worm.

Back to the Tomato Plant addiction. One of my lifelong vegetable passions has been Tomatoes and the growing of same. The first time I grew tomatoes from seed, I planted 72 tomato plants. Yeah, I had a bumper crop of tomatoes. I found a source locally for Heritage Tomatoes, which I love, and last year planted several terrific varieties. This year my source let me down and I couldn't find all the varieties I wanted. I got the ones I could and a few I haven't tried before. I whined to Kate about the lack of plants here so she went out on her days off, Bless Her Heart, and purchased some for me. Now here is the list, and brace yourselves, it is extensive:
Ailsa Craig, Big Rainbow, Black Krim, Black Prince, Bulls Heart, Cheesmans, Cherokee Purple, Dixie Golden Giant, Galina, Giant Belgium, Green Zebra, Isis Candy, MIcro Tom, Mortgage Lifter (AKA Radiator Charlie's Mortgage Lifter), Ox Heart, Pineapple Beefsteak, Pink Brandywine, Pomme d'Amour, Tumbler. I am still looking for Brown Berry, Tumbling Tom, Yellow Mortgage Lifter and Striped Cavern. I plan to grow the tomatoes upright on supports, and only let them get so tall before nipping them off so they set fruit rather than putting all their resources into the plant.

Just for today...

I was given a real blessing yesterday afternoon. I had gone to the store for a few things, and as I drove back in the yard, I saw a Cute Little Island Doe Mule deer under the large Pear tree. I slowed right to a crawl, but she never moved, so I stopped the van and sat their watching her. Suddenly, I thought I saw something moving under her feet. "Is that..." I spoke to myself "It is!" There beneath her was a brand spanking new baby fawn! She must have just dropped it, or only a short while before. I grabbed my camera, snapping away, shot a couple of videos. What an amazing sight! I have seen fawns before, but not one newborn and up close. The Doe stood there watching me knowing they are safe in our yard. Soon she licked the baby a bit, then moved away a short distance. The baby slowly got to its tiny feet and tottered after mommy, searching under her belly for milk. I sat there in awe watching as they wandered slowly through the yard to the bushes near the road. My photo's aren't great but you can see how tiny the baby is.

What can be more perfect than that on a sunny day?

Not too much, I don't think.

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