Pea Planting II

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Doesn’t it look warm and toasty under it’s nice white blanket?  All is well, I think.

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Strategy for the Timely Planting of Peas?

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I have always planted my peas on st. Patrick’s Day (a green activity for a green day) but this year, with three Nor’easters in March, one due tomorrow and yet another forecast for next week, the wisdom of this habit seems ill advised.  Peas are a crop that require cool weather to bear well and usually give up when the hot weather arrives here in Connecticut, usually mid-June.  If I wait too long to get them planted I’ll lose out on this lovely vegetable entirely.  I plant snow peas and we’d certainly miss out on the beautiful healthy stir fry dishes we anticipate for spring.  Well, THAT would be terrible so I’m taking a gamble.  I planted them on St. Patrick’s Day in a snow free spot in the garden, watered them and covered them with a portable cold frame a friend found for me at Costco.  The sun has warmed the soil enough to keep the ground from freezing at night.  It remains to be seen if the little cold frame can withstand the weight of 8 to 12″ of snow/”wintery mix” forecast for tomorrow.  Stay tuned!

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Cooper’s Hawk goes to Rehab

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My husband was driving on a nearby road and saw a Cooper’s Hawk sitting on the yellow line, apparently injured.  He jumped out of the car, stopped traffic, tucked the bird under his arm and drove home.  He found an appropriate box and put the bird in, closing it up in hopes it was just stunned.  I returned from the store a few minutes later and he wanted to show it to me.  When he opened the box Ms. Coop burst out and ran across the lawn but couldn’t get any lift to fly off.  Suddenly a Red-tailed Hawk swooped down on the Coop in an attack.  The Red-tail must have seen us as it abandoned the attempt and flew off without touching the Coop.  After a prolonged chase my husband recaptured the Coop (we think female due to the size) and we took her to Wildlife in Crisis, the nearest wildlife rehabilitation center.  We hoped it was just a soft tissue injury as the wings were not displaced and a preliminary exam found no obvious break, but an x-ray showed a break that would require a three month rest and recuperation.  The prognosis is good.  She is a stunningly beautiful bird but a stone cold killer of our feeder birds.  They may have a three month rest as well. (photos by George Van Der Aue)

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Happy Valentine’s Day!

These are the Valentines I made for our Grandchildren.  I thought I’d try pop-up cards and had such fun with them.  Julia loves Origami so gave her a butterfly for the cover and made her a flight of doves for the inside.  This gave me some ideas for adding color to the background, etc.

 

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Planting Onions

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Today I reached forward into spring and planted my onions, 250 of them.  With the “Bomb Cyclone” in full force, a thought of spring to come was welcome.  This year I’m trying Yellow Spanish Onion “Sedona Organic F1” which is resistant to pink root, a virus still in the soil after 125+ years.  They’ll be ready for harvest in July.  These will be a nice size for transplanting into the garden in April.  The days are getting longer!

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Making Wreaths

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One activity I enjoy at this time of year is making a wreath for the door.  I especially like a natural wreath made with local materials.  For this project the  most fun is going into the woods to search out just the right boughs, berries and cones.  They must have variation in color and form to make it interesting.  There are a surprising variety of coniferous trees in our Maine woods so I quickly gather a nice assortment.

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Cup of tea and binoculars at hand (just in case a bird lands by the window), materials sorted, wire, wreath form and clippers at the ready.  Let us begin!

 

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Wire your elements together.  First wire cones, (leaving wire “tails” to secure them) then make an attractive bundle, (see below) wiring it all together with florist wire.  Leave about 4 inch wire “tails” on your bundle so you can wire it to the form.

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When you’ve got 10 or 12 bundles start wiring them to your wreath form individually using the 4″ lengths.  Attach the end of a roll of florist wire securely and wrap it around further securing each bundle as you go.  Place each bundle so it hides the base of the one before (I was working counter-clockwise in the picture above).

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When you get to the final bundle arrange it so the base of the first bundle is hidden under the loose end of the last bundle.  You will have secured each bundle plus made sure it won’t get dislodged by wrapping it around the form with the running length of florist wire.

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When you are finished make a loop in the wire for hanging, securing it tightly.  Then cut the wire off the roll.

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If you don’t think your finished wreath will be full enough, put down a plain layer of branches for a base and lay your bundles over them.  This base will be secured by the running wire wrap as you go along.

OTHER WREATHS:

herb wreath

Wreath of fresh herbs (smells  sooo good!)

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Magnolia Wreath (see my post of December 14, 2013 for instructions)

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Desperate Times Call for Desperate Measures

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After 30 loaves of squash bread and 9 quarts of minestrone for the freezer not to mention several meals, I am ready to take a break.  This is just from two days!  I only planted three hills.   The food pantry I donate to is only open on Wednesdays but this method has worked in the past.  We’ll see how many people still cook.

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