Thursday, April 30

Oh She Grows: Seedlings are getting large!

Lately, I've been spending my gardening time repotting all my growing seedlings. Many of them have needed new homes.

They've been repotted into all sorts of 'holdings' - old plastic pots, newspaper pots and even an old paper coffee cup. Anything that can hold them works - it's only temporary anyways :)
I've especially happy with the peppers - they are already larger than when I put them out last year, so hopefully we get peppers a little bit sooner. I am a little disappointed that not as many of the Yellow Wax variety made it - they had a hard time germinating - and those that did, many got eaten by the cat. As well as the jalapeno peppers. Plenty of purple peppers though!

My mint is doing really well too - I will have to get a large outdoor container for it, so that it doesn't take over my garden - but I'm already taking the mojitos!

My third planting of kale did not do well - it's very spindly - a sure sign of not enough light. I've replanted, and I am hoping the next round is better. I'm doing to direct seed a few of them as well.

I'm hoping to get my broccoli and kale outdoors soon - we just need to add a bit more soil to the boxes. They can take some cold, so I just have to start hardening them off outside.

Tuesday, April 28

Chewie Meets The Beach

A few weekends ago, we brought Chewie to the beach. The ice was still melting / breaking up a little bit, but it was such a warm weekend, I don't think he minded the chilly water at all.

While we were trying to get him to "fetch"....he would run into the water, where the item was, and then run back. We had another pooch with us - my neighbors Golden Retriever, Maverick - and Chewie just seemed to love following him in and out of the water.

Now, he didn't "swim"...he's not so sure about not feeling the ground yet - but he happily ran in and out, and splashed all about!

I took him again this week, just him, and the ice was all gone - but those waves were fierce and they
sort of threw him for a loop. He was running in and out of the water still though - just chasing the waves back, and running in from them as they came in.

I'm glad he likes the water - it will make keeping him cool much easier this summer :)

...until next time :)

Saturday, April 25

Above The White Cloud - Completed Acrylic Painting

It is complete! The time had finally came last week to get this painting out of the art studio and into it's new home!

The painting, "Above The White Cloud", was inspired by merging a series of photographs that James and I had taken while hiking along Skinner's Bluff in Wiarton, Ontario. Along the cliff edge, you constantly are rewarded with breath taking views of White Cloud Island, residing in Georgian Bay.

I have never painted anything as larger as this piece before - 3 x 6 feet!!! And at times, I know I felt at a loss as how to continue and that it was just going on and on (and on). But finally I finished it, varnished / protected it, stepped back and thought - wow! I actually pulled this one off! I was very happy to get my studio "back" - working on this piece took up a lot of room in it, and there were other projects that just could not be worked on.

The final challenge was photographing it - as we had to use the spot were Chewie usually sits - he kept on bringing his bone back in front of the painting. It took many shots to get pictures without him running into the frame. Until finally, I just took a picture with him :)

This painting took many, many layers of paint - but it was all worth it!

It's new home is a reception area at the hospital - Yea! My first publicly displayed art! And so, while I had to let it go, I still get to see it every day :)

Tuesday, April 14

Chewie in the Spring!

Chewie, as big as he is getting, is still a total puppy (8 months old this past week!). I think he keeps forgetting that he 80 lbs now, not the 15-ish lbs he was when we brought him home, and thinks at times that he is a lap dog.

He has been in love with spring, and all the new smells - and all the sticks! He carried this particular one around with him all throughout the yard as I dabbled in garden beds here and there.

I just love comparing recent pictures to when he was just a pup :) Below is the first stick (uhm, twig) he's ever chewed on - he had an affinity for them right from the start! 

Stay tuned...I hope to share the end result of a huge painting that I've been working on for months this week :)


Sunday, April 12

Seed Starting Diary

Blogging (uhm, awake) before 8 am on a weekend that I don't have to work - a miracle in so many ways...I'm a shift worker, I now lack an internal clock to wake me up like normal people ;)

Yesterday was a gorgeous day - so sunny. So warm. I took the pooch out and about the yard to check out all the flower beds, and maybe clean up a little here and there. It was too nice to not be outside, but still too wet to do much of anything outside. The pooch is recovering from a sprain (and as of yesterday, a cut paw - poor, accident prone guy), that we can't go out and about too far with him.

The raised beds are thawed. I dug around a little to look at the soil - it's not muddy or mucky, its getting warm and there's even worms starting to work away in it. Raised bed win again! Some of the boxes need some more dirt of a sort - we are hoping to get our hands on some more of that rich compost. But after digging around a bit in it, it looks pretty rich still. Now the huge question: when do I start planting my peas and radishes?

Or, better question, when should I? I've been reading around - and a lot of literature says that they can take the spring flip flops between cold and warm, and are even slightly frost hardy. That they actually like the cooler weather, so this is perfect for them, and they know when it's warm enough to come up. So they just chill out until they feel it's right, and then they pop out of the ground.

My rhubarb thinks it's spring!
I was all ready yesterday with the beauty weather, and then it was a little frosty this morning. Making me think: am I jumping the gun? I'm just so anxious for fresh veggies, and not having to rely on the grocery store as much!

All of my indoor - to be planted in much warmer weather - seedlings are still hanging out.

The peppers got upgraded to their paper pots this weekend, as well as a few more tomatoes.

The peppers are so slow growing - but I remember it being the same last year too. The cat only ate two or three heads off (lil'bugger!) - and those plants are already starting to recover and grow their next set of leaves anyways.

Third round broccoli has sprouted, and I've now reached my final number of broccoli plants required to fill the spaces (with one extra, just in case). I started my broccoli April 9th last year, they went outside June 2 (a little late, because we had to build the boxes and find soil - hoping for a week or two earlier this year), and harvested first head just before the beginning of July. I've hoped that with starting a few of the plants a little earlier (a whole month), we may get some broccoli a little earlier. It likes the cold, so I hope getting it out early, and a little bit bigger, will give us some bigger heads. There's always the chance that it won't make a difference anyways, and it will do what it does when it wants to - the joys of gardening :)

My ground cherry plants have sprouted - they are supposed to be a little like tomatoes - but my are those tiny, tiny, stringy seedlings! I am being very careful with these poor guys and once they are a little bigger, I will repot them with most of this stem down to try and 'stabilize' them a bit. Right now, I think any re potting attempt may end up breaking these delicate guys. I'm very excited to possibly have 'fruit' in the gardens though!

Sunday, April 5

Seed Starting Diary

Most of my little seedlings are thriving and growing merrily on their way. I watch the snow melt a little more each day, anxiously awaiting when I can get my hands in the dirt again and start growing outside. I feel with a more 'solid' seedling base than last year, I will have a little bit of a head start in the garden this year - hopefully producing a little bit more, a little bit early. 

My first planting of kale and broccoli (80 day) is doing splendidly. I have a second round of broccoli (60 day) that has emerged, and some Red Russian kale seedlings almost ready for repoting. Hopefully they will look like the plants above shortly. 

My unknown flowers are doing wonderful as well. They have such cute little fuzzy leaves. The pansies are doing just as well too. I have just planting a handful of marigolds (after visiting my mom and growing through all her seeds and borrowing some of them ;)

My tomatoes seem a little 'leggy'. I don't have many pictures of how they were this time last year, but I'm not too overly concerned. They are getting repotted early next week on a day off (just have to assemble a massive amount of newspaper pots). I will just plant them lower in their new home, and a stronger root system will develop all long the stem. 
I started Basil seedlings this past week, and they are already beginning to emerge. I've never really had a hard time growing basil - I just wanted it started inside, as some of my seedlings last year didn't fare so well against the earwigs (it seemed the larger plants were okay against them). My oregano has finally come around, as well my mint is growing good.

My Rosemary on the other hand has been frustrating. A lot of seeds have gone into this planter, and only one seedling emerged. I'm not sure if it's just taking a really long time to germinate, or if I just have duds.
My peppers are working on their first true set of leaves - once we have those, they can be repotted. tI have one more tomato plant to start (again, courtesy of a visit to my mom's seed stash), a couple peppers to start again (to replace the failed ones) - and in another two or so weeks, some cucumbers / zucchini to start. I'm about a month and a half away from our predicted last frost date...

Friday, April 3

Early mornings

Last week I worked a stretch of nights at the hospital. I got off just as the sun was breaking through the horizon. This only last for awhile during the year - I get off at 7am, so in the winter, it's still dark when I arrive home, and in the main summer months, the sun has already half way up in the sky. I often see the sunrise on my way to work, but I'm usually just focused on getting there - not stopping to take a photo.

Because I live in a small town - a village actually is what my dear home is referred to :). I get to drive through all the country back roads to get there - giving me spectacular views. This one above, with the orange rays reflecting off the waterlogged field is my favourite of the bunch.

While it is so beautiful, I'll admit it's depressing to see the sun,  knowing that you're just going to sleep, to face another night shift the following eve.  But what a small, beautiful 'reward' it is :)