Sunday, August 25, 2013

A Before and After Even We Didn't Anticipate!

Our lawn-killing, native-plant-scrounging, funky-yard-accenting ways have paid off in a big way this year, in our front yard and circle drive area. See below for a before and after. We have to maintain mowed grass near the road but all else has been killed off using our cardboard/straw smothering system. With native plants that we scrounged, primarily, we are starting to see major filling-in of vegetation that will not only provide pollinator habitat and more but also a visual screen (something we need since our house is pretty close to the road).

We have also integrated some scrounged items into a fence-of sorts. In the foreground of the After pic, notice the old whiskey barrels and reclaimed barn beams that are now a "fence".

We think that the After is a major improvement over a lawn that we found to be sterile and boring. It's not for everybody but it's certainly for us!

Monday, August 12, 2013

Tree Frog Baby!

This spring we were excited to hear the courtship call of the gray treefrog eminating from our small wetland. We were also nervous since our wetland also supports other frog species, some of which predate upon the eggs, tadpoles and adults of the gray treefrog.

So we were elated to see the below newly-metamorphosed adult gray treefrog - evidence that our little wetland is a successful home to this wonderful creature.

What fun!!!

Friday, August 9, 2013

Summertime Prettiness or All We Need to Smile are Flowers...

Our native flower gardens are blooming in a profusion of colors and bringing such joy to us and all the native pollinators!

It's not the best butterfly year here in our neck of the woods so we are happy to see any and all!

We highly recommend planting mountain mint if it's native to your area.  This plant brings in more pollinators than we've seen on any other plant.  It's absolutely fantastic to watch!

Cup plant is such a beautiful bloomer with many golden yellow flowers.

This is the year of the clearwing moths!  Look closely in the middle of this photo and you will see a hummingbird clearwing.  They LOVE the bergamot.

 Red-tails soar over all the gardens...

 See?  Happiness!!

Tree cricket are out along with all many of the other fall songsters.  Love it.

We so need lots of Royal Catchfly!

Yep, beautiful flowers and a full mouth thanks to yummy food equals a happy Jen. :)

Thursday, August 1, 2013

Garden 2013 Update

So, the vegetable garden this year is a mixed bag.  We are quite cool and wet here relatively speaking so some plants are not happy and others are doing fine.

The cosmos is super duper happy with the moisture and coolness.  The bicolor scarlet runner beans are doing well too, thankfully as all the rest of the beans turned yellow and gave in to the wet soil.

The celery loves the moisture too!  We will need to dig deep into our recipes on how to use this much...

We do have a few watermelons growing so our fingers are crossed.  The winter squash is almost a complete bust...we have 3 squash growing compared to the 100+ we harvested last year. Yikes!  It seems the water really, really hindered their growth and made them extra susceptible to the effects of squash bugs and squash vine borers.

The corn in the three sisters' planting is the only 1 of the 3 doing well.  If we harvest some sweet corn though, we will be so excited!

The garlic, onions and potatoes are our recent good harvests.  I (Jennifer) harvested 1/4 of our potatoes and...

look how many grew!  Woo hoo!

On another note, we will be trekking northeast later this month for our first visit to Maine with Acadia National Park as our destination.  We will get to visit with a dear friend en route and see the mountains of New Hampshire and Vermont on our way back so we are pumped.  Alvin is helping us plan!