Monday, May 20, 2024

Garden 2024 Upate #6

Update on the 2024 garden progress. 

Sweet peppers will be used for roasting, freezing & freeze drying for soups & dips. 

Chives & Cherry Tomatoes

Pickling Cucumbers

Volunteer Hibiscus Plant 

The view from the lawn swing after a long day gardening 💖
Sitting alongside a crackling fire at the end of the day is a refreshment I can't recommend enough.
Take a moment. Praise God. Enjoy the fruit of your labor. 

My Urban Homestead 💖 Food Forest

The goal: fresh, organically grown food available in every square foot in the almost 1200 square foot garden space. I'm very close to that goal now so here is what's available in this small area: 
blackberries, strawberries, grapes, sweet potatoes, carrots, peppers, green beans, tomatoes, garlic, potatoes, plums & apples. 

My first ever, 4 leaf clover. 😊

Yukon Gold potatoes

Bloomerang Lilac Bush

Hardneck Garlic in the DIY window well raised bed

I hope you've been blessed and encouraged by what you've seen here. 
Please feel free to leave a comment with any gardening questions you may have!

Wednesday, May 8, 2024

Man's Chief End

Brian Sauve's Westminster Shorter Catechism Songs

One of my favorite playlists for the last year or so has been Brian Sauve's Westminster Shorter Catechism SongsI recalled when we used to homeschool and taught this to our kids and thinking how much I would have loved to have this version back in the day when our kids were learning it. I think singing it together would have been loads of fun, and much easier to memorize. 

These days, any time I have a household project to do, I put this playlist on. It's been the background music for canning in the kitchen, graphic design work in the office, seed starting in the grow room, laundry, dishes, building projects in the shop, making breakfast or starting dinner... too many times to even count. It's replaced any other music I used to listen to in the house or shop, because it keeps my focus where it should be and keeps my thoughts engaged with what Scripture teaches about living the Christian life.

If you hold to the Westminster Shorter Catechism as I do, you know that first question is:  

"What is the chief end of man?"  

With the answer being: 

"man's chief end is to glorify God and enjoy Him forever". 

How does that play out in the day to day interaction with all the things we find ourselves discussing or catching our attention? The first seven words of that answer sets the entire stage for every day, and every way we use to express ourselves. Even if it's just our own private thoughts about something.

"Man's chief end is to glorify God".

Every word, every thought, every action, every text, every social media post, every intention, every attitude, every mood,  every everything that we do or think or say is to glorify God. No exceptions and no excuses. That's a really tall order, and one I find myself falling short of, often.

In every day life, both offline and online, it's so easy to get caught up in the emotion of a thing we've read about, or the injustice of a thing we've heard about or something heavy we might be dealing with in our own personal lives.  But to reign in those emotions or outrage over a thing and to glorify God with our lives means we take the time needed to respond or react with grace, truth, patience, kindness, wisdom and with encouragement and edification to bring our thoughts and our words about those things fully into alignment with what honors God.  

The Scriptures have much to say about practicing self-control, and one of the best ways I've found to steer me in that direction and cause me to meditate on it, is to sing along with these Catechism songs that remind me what it means to literally live out my faith, and hopefully in the process, truly glorify God. 

I hope you'll check out that playlist and be blessed by it! 😀

Saturday, May 4, 2024

Garden 2024 Update #5

As usual this time of year, time gets away from me. There's so many things to get ready for another growing season and that keeps me plenty busy.  Here's some fun pics to update on what's been going on in the garden since the last update.

The View From the Deck. I take this same shot all year long in all different seasons to show how quickly things change out there!  You can't see them all yet, but there are multiple things growing here. Sweet potatoes, Yukon gold potatoes, carrots, runner beans, Concord grapes, strawberries, plums, apples, blackberries and garlic.  In just a few short weeks this will all look completely different as I get my seedlings out there and what's already there begins to get bushy. The raised beds here will have a variety of peppers and tomatoes planted very soon. 

Honey Crisp Apple blossoms

Italian Prune blossoms - and the old farmer's tale (sort of like an old wives tale) says: 
when your plum trees blossom (not apple blossoms or peach blossoms, it must be the plum), winter is over and it's safe to plant out your garden.  I don't know how true it is, but the plum tree bloomed and there isn't a single frost in the 14 day forecast.  Looks like the rest of the garden will be going out real soon!

Forget Me Nots



Concord Grape bud (first year growing these, I'm so excited to have my own grapes!)

I bought this fire pit for this exact reason. It did not disappoint! 😀

The view from my chair after a long day of work in the garden.  
When I say I have a "wee garden plot" I really do mean it.  It's roughly 1200 square feet of space to work with so I've creatively used every space I can to make it a productive piece of land. In small spaces like this, vertical growing comes in very handy! I use what's commonly called cattle panel trellising, even though they're not officially cattle panels, they're 3.5' x 7' galvanized steel mesh panels commonly used for concrete foundations, cable tied to standard t-posts. All my grapes, beans, blackberries and cucumbers are vertically trellised this way to make the best use of the space. 

Sweet Potatoes bordering the grape trellis

My executive garden assistant, Ed

The curved branch was demanding a lovely decoration

A work in progress!  It'll look a lot different when the Dutch clover is planted and the wildflowers begin to bloom.  All the local wildlife drink from the pond so the goal was to make it even more accessable to them, as well as finally making it a pretty place to sit and enjoy time in the garden.

Tuesday, April 16, 2024

Garden 2024 Update #4

For many, spring is a very fast moving, things-are-changing-quickly season if you're keeping a productive garden.  Lots of work to be done both indoors and outdoors.  Plus, if you're like me, you've got all sorts of big ideas and big plans for changes and additions to your space, so that's just work on top of the work. 

This year, I'm planting the same amount (more or less) in my staple garden, but I'm not taking as much time to invest in different varieties of things, or what I usually call the "experiment garden bed" as I've done before. Instead, and it's really long overdue, this year my plan is to work hard at beautifying the space.   

Over the last several years I really haven't focused on that aspect of the garden as much as I'd like to, so this is the year to make it as lovely, comfortable and inviting as I know how to make it.  Anyway, that's the goal.  So here's a few shots over the last few days for a mostly pictorial update as things are getting busy out there!

The 6x6 wooden post the mint is sitting on: recycled old clothesline post. 

Thrifted metal window wells turned into a raised bed.

Yukon Gold potatoes in those eight grow bags. Please excuse the wheelbarrow handles 😁

Russet Potatoes in these two grow bags on the left. First year growing them so that's exciting! 

The first 4 white pots are different mints used for tea, then Lemon Balm and Yarrow at the end. 

My raspberry bush relocated for the 3rd time.  Now it's between the Peonies, permanently. 

A Bloomerang Lilac I've had for almost a year now. Easily doubled in size if not more. 

Meet Mr. Ed.  He always follows me around in the garden. 
He just turned 8 years old a few days ago. Happy birthday Mr. Ed! 

A new, faux raised bed/border box. It sits flush with the deck without being attached. 
Future home to rhubarb & strawberries.

I really can't ask for a better view. I mean, wow!