Tuesday, March 24

Chewie is growing like a weed!

Our dear Chewie has been growing like a weed right before our eyes!

Look how small he was in that bed less than 4 months ago! I can't believe how fast it is! Good thing I take lots and lots of pictures!

His handsome face is always ready for pictures!


I know he is not happy at all about the snow melting, but I think that will change once we introduce him to the lake :)

Sunday, March 22

Seed Starting Diary

Most of my seedlings are coming along pretty good. Most of my tomatoes are up and growing. There is a couple that I will replant this weekend, just to be sure something comes up in time. Some of these seedlings are working on their first true set of leaves. I am considering whether I should wait for those or not to re-pot into larger homes. I also went through - after this photo, and chopped down one of each 'sibling'. I always plant two seeds, just to be sure I get germination - and then try to decide which plant to sacrifice for the greater good of the other.

My Mountain Magic variety (my super disease resistant one), has been very slow to come up. I was just about to replant, when I saw the starting of one (above). I figured they must be a little slower germinating. Considering I only got 10 seeds, I want to be sure I don't waste them by replanting too soon.

My peppers have all begun to come up as well. I was concerned that my Yellow Hot Wax peppers were dud seeds, but they have finally just started. I regards to my experiment with the pepper seeds sitting on top of the soil vs. planted in the soil. They seem to have caught up to each other about the same. I would say a positive to having them above the soil is that you can see that, yes they are germinating - they are just the slowest things ever, whereas under the soil, you wait and wait and ponder if you need to reseed. My purple peppers are doing the best / growing the fastest coming up.

My first round Kale and Broccoli are doing very well. They are working on another set of leaves. The broccoli planted here is an 80 day variety. I started a 60 day variety a little later, and it is super stringy and not as robust as this one...so I think I may plant more of the 80 day than the 60 day for my 'second starting'.

 My herbs are going alright, but nothing spectacular. I guess as long as I have some growing, I should be grateful - I was just hoping for the massive amount of seeds I put in (newly purchased this year), that I would have a higher germination rate. This oregano has got to be only 10% germination. 

 My pansy's and mystery pink flowers are doing really well too...I have thinned them out, a lot, and I am debating wearing to leave a partner with each one or not.

...and just in time for the first day of spring, my kitchen plants have blossomed yet again - I gave them a new potted home a couple weeks ago, and I think they're saying thank you :)

Still yet to start: second round kale / broccoli, ground cherry, more herbs, head lettuce, cucumber / zucchini (those will be a week or two before I want them out).

Does anyone have any comments about starting your beans / peas inside? I have seen a lot of that this year, and I was always on the, "direct plant outside" bandwagon. But if it helps to start some inside? I know I won't for my green beans....I had over 90 plants last year, so that's ridiculous. But the runner beans? Sweet peas? Or do you not get enough started indoors to have a substantial enough harvest for a dinner for two?

Wednesday, March 11

Cenote and Snorkling

The first part of the second excursion that we went on while in the Mayan Riviera in Mexico was a set of Cenotes on private land. Cenotes are 'sink holes', naturally occurring pits and caves. Some were not deep enough to snorkel in, like the one above, but were so pretty to walk through and look at.  All of them had crystal clear fresh water. According to our guide, there are many of these interconnecting Cenotes in the Mayan Riviera. Some people scuba dive through them, as some are only accessible that way - others find out about them the hard way, when it creates a sink hole in their home.

A lot of the walls and 'ceilings' of the cenotes had these gorgeous shells embedded into them.  Such a beautiful texture!

Next we went to an 'open' cenote - most of it had no ceiling. For our first snorkel attempt. Since there were many first timers, including us, our guide wanted us to try in a less intimidating setting.  You can see us floating around above, with another couple.

Thanks to my 'nifty' underwater camera - we caught this turtle! This trip was the first time using it "underwater", as I bought it specifically for this trip.  I was so nervous at first! But so happy I bought it - so many cool underwater shots! 

We also got to take an underwater selfie - I think this is my favorite picture of us from our trip! After we were done in this pond, we moved on to the more true Cenote:

There were steps down, and a rope along the whole distance to help guide you through all the rocks. It was pretty above water, yes. But the view under - spectacular!! 

There were tons of huge rocks underneath - but they were 10-20 feet away from us - this was a deep Cenote! The streams of sun breaking through the water was just breath taking - these photos do not do justice!

Of course, with the lower light levels, the photos are grainier - but still remind me of how stunning it was in person!

There were all these formations on the ceilings too as we got deeper into it.

Just such a great experience and would definitely be up to exploring other Cenotes if we ever head down that way again!

Monday, March 9

Seed Staring Diary

I love the little 'peak' of colour the above seedling is giving. It's a red variety of Kale seed. It's so sweet to have the touch of purple when all of my other seedlings are green through and through (for now).
My 'first round' of broccoli is also up - it popped up with a couple days of planting! I'll be planting another round in two weeks.


I also started my pepper seeds this week. I was reading some blog, and one mentioned just laying the seeds on the surface, and then their roots will go down when they germinate - this way you can see if they are successful at germination. Peppers sometimes take a while to germinate, so it also gives you reassurance that you can see what's going on. I've never done this before, so I did half on the surface, and half in the soil (as usual).

On another note, Chewie is 7 months this week! We weighed him in, and he is at a healthy 70lbs! He should gain another 20-30 lbs I would guess, if not more. He is starting to get into his rebellious teenage months though, so we are training even more!

Saturday, March 7

Garden 365 Photo Challenge

 1/365: Start

2/365: Potential

3/365: To-Do

4/365: Inspiration

 5/365: Letter 'A'

6/365: Small

Read more about the 365 Garden Photo Challenge, here.

Thursday, March 5

I Said Yes!

Wedding plans have been happening, but in an effort to not "over-share" and keep things a surprise for the celebration, I've been keeping quiet about everything on my blog. This is an easy share though - I found a wedding dress!! After trying on - 10 that day, and 5 or so another day, I said "yes!"

I must say I love the little sign that the store had made up for such occasions. :)

Tuesday, March 3

Written In The Trees: Shine


I would love to share with everyone a new painting I created this past weekend. 'Shine' is part of a mini-art-series I'm calling, Written In The Trees. It combines my current style, with a little twist and some new, fun elements. 

"Shine" - Original Watercolour Painting
The bright colours are just in time for the 'blahiest' time of the winter season, when we are all eagerly anticipating the spring and warm sunshine.

You can find it in my online store, here.

Monday, March 2

Chichén Itzá

Chichén Itzá is an old ancient Mayan city dating back to A.D. 750 (depending on the source you read from). Above, the large pyramid structure, is the Temple of Kukulkan (El Castillo). 

We visited this site while visiting Mexico this past January. Despite the three-hour drive in a bus, it was beautiful to see. It's now considered one of the wonders of the world (referring to the new, modern list) - so it was a must-see while we were down there.

It was such a warm day while we walked around this site, despite feeling like we were going to pass out from the heat and sun beating down on us for hours, I guide said that we were lucky to visit on such a cool day. Whoa? What? I guess we were visiting Mexico during their 'cooler months'...if you go to this site during the hotter months - please bring lots and lots of water, a hat and umbrella for shade -  I can't even imagine how hot it can get on a 'hot day'.

You are not allowed to walk on the structures anymore. Previously, this site was owned privately, and then the government purchased it and from there it went on to be a wonder of the world. My older brother got to climb the pyramid 5-7 years ago, but that is no longer allowed. Not only is it extremely steep and tourists were getting hurt, but it was also getting damaged from all the foot traffic and the rude people doing graffiti on it.

There were so many interesting carvings in the rocks - and so well preserved, considering how old they are and how long it was not as well protected. 

Below is the cenote that they sacrificed young girls in. It's called accordingly, the Sacred Cenote. Archeologists have drained and explored this sink hole, and found many bones and jewelry from the victims. The Mayans believed that these cenotes were entry ways into the underworld.

Can you see the lizard on the rocks below?

And, of course since this is a tourist attraction now,  all the walkways leading up to and between structures are lined with vendors. We were warned to be careful if purchasing anything there - there are no 'by-laws' for selling at this particular location, and some people have been ripped off. You just have to be careful though, there was a lot of beautiful items.

So that was one our first adventures in Mexico! It was such a long, long day (left the resort at 7am and returned at 7pm), but it was worth it to explore this important piece of archaeological history. :)