Friday, April 20, 2018

Garden Friday

Hey there and welcome to Garden Friday!

I have recently  
with this pink dogwood tree in our front yard.
It is a symbol of the South and I'm thinking I need a few more,
just so we have a proper Southern Homestead!

 To my astonishment,
our peach trees have fruit on them.
These poor babies have been fairly neglected by previous owners,
but they are still trying to do what they are intended to do.

I'm not sure that I can nurse these trees back to health,
they are in pretty bad shape,
but this will be the first season that I can monitor their progress.
Fingers crossed!

The straw bales have not germinated one thing that was planted.
Pretty disappointing, I must say,
but we carry on anyway.
The transplanted kale seems to be happy there,
and this week we were able to transplant some lettuces that had been sown from seed.

There are watermelon and canteloupe seedlings ready to transplant,
and I'm thinking of adding them to the two ends of the bales
so that they can roam at will.

We had an unexpected cold snap and it looks like the kale didn't much appreciate it.
I took a sampling of both the kale and lettuce growing in the bales
and they tasted mighty fine.

The sugar snap peas are making slow progress up the pots.
I'm thinking I may have started these a bit too late to get much of a harvest.
I recently heard about a variety that only gets to 4 feet, so doesn't need trellising,
and that seems like a great alternative!

The potato towers are doing nicely.
The shoots are growing up out of the straw,
so I covered them with some leaves
 to protect them from the cold that we are expecting tonight.
Hopefully, this will be the last of the cold weather for a while. 
(Haven't I said that before?)

Tomatoes and melons are awaiting their turn to be transplanted.
I'll be fashioning tomato supports for the first time this year.
It's a combination tomato cage and stake gizmo
that I learned about on one of my favorite blogs, Old World Gardens.

 The deck continues to host a variety of spring and summer crops,
as well as a few surprises.
We seeded our loofha and some pigeon peas in cell packs.
I was also gifted with some cucumber starts
that I plan to put in a pot over the weekend.
I see pickles in our future!

Since I had some doubt about the viability of the snap peas and green beans,
I decided to try sprouting them in bags.
If these germinate, they'll be added to the container garden.

 The azaleas continue to amaze us with so many blooms!

Here are a few new acquisitions I picked up at a local nursery.
Two of these beauties are familiar to me,
as we had them in our Florida garden.
I'm hoping to get them installed as soon as this last cold snap passes us by.
I'll be posting about our visit to Mike's nursery next week.

We were thrilled to be visited by hummers this week.
No sooner had we hung up the feeder,
when one very persistent hummingbird made himself right at home.
You can read how we make our own hummingbird nectar here.

 It seems that spring is hesitant to stick around.
The weather has been gorgeous and then a sudden cold snap overnight
makes us think that winter will never bid us adieu.

Nonetheless, we are grateful for living a seasonal life.
C'mon spring, we're ready for you!

Tuesday, April 17, 2018

Antique Tractor Show

This gorgeous spring weather got us outside for a field trip.
We visited The North Carolina Transportation Museum in Spencer
for the annual Tractors & Trains Festival.

This has always been one of our favorite destinations on vacations.
Now that we live so close by, we decided to purchase a family membership.
There are many events scheduled throughout the year,
so we know we'll be back again and again.

This place has so much to see,
especially for history buffs. 

The Roundhouse is filled with vintage trains that are serviced by 
an array of dedicated volunteers. 
We've wandered through this area many times.
You can read about one of our visits here.

 Today, the tractors took Center Stage.
Just look at this 
combine harvester!

 No matter what type of tractor you favor,
there was something here for every tractor lover.

Also on display were many of the vintage and antique autos 
housed in the workshop that is not usually open to the public.

The model railroaders were on site,
with a massive display.
I can't imagine the hours and patience it took to get them set up.
Everything is so realistic, down to the last detail.

We ambled through part of the museum on our way to the rest of the tractor exhibit.
There is so much to learn about our nation's early modes of transportation. 
What a fantastic homeschooling field trip!

 This sweet little mailtruck always catches my eye.
The mail used to be delivered using this buggy and a whole lotta horsepower!

We took a 20-minute train ride in a restored car.
One of the perks of obtaining membership at the museum
is that all train rides are free!
There's nothing quite like the relaxed jostling of the train 

 Several hands-on demonstrations were presented,
including this apple press,

 as well as this hand-cranked corn sheller.
Folks sure had to work hard back in the day!

Artisans Joe Allen (top), Sonny Howell (middle) and Tad W. Kepley (bottom) displayed their wares
We were able to enjoy several craftsman exhibiting their creations.
Hand-forged steel, iron sculptures and hand-carved spoons
were just a few of the items available for purchase.

 There was even a Master Gardener display.
Of course, I had to chat with these nice ladies for a while.
Their main focus at this event was to educate folks
about the importance of supporting bats.
Did you know that bats are pollinators?

What a fabulous place to spend some family time.

It seems that every time we visit,
there is something we learn anew.
It is indeed "The Museum That Moves You"!

so you can check it out before you pay them a visit.

Love to Learn blog hop | link up | linky | blogging | homeschooling | education | kids activities | kids craft ideas

Friday, April 13, 2018

Garden Friday

 Welcome to Garden Friday!
It's lookin' more like spring every day!

A check on the seeded lettuces tells me that it's time to transplant these
and sow some more.
Some of the kale will be ready to be potted up in another week.

 The straw bales are slow to germinate,
but the transplanted kale is doing well.
We haven't had much rain, 
so the soaker hoses have been cycled on daily.
We are hoping to be slammed with showers on Sunday.

 The potatoes are finally starting to peek through the straw
in the towers.
Once they get a bit bigger, we'll hill them up with more soil.

A couple of snap pea seedlings have popped up.
I'm thinking that I need to buy some new seed,
as this seed may no longer be too viable.
Sprouting some in a plastic bag sounds like a good idea about now.

 Three types of beets are being grown
and they have each started to burst through the soil.
We're growing Detroit Red, Detroit Golden and Chioggia varieties.

The Vates kale that sailed through the winter months
has finally gone to seed.
The delicate yellow flowers are similar to the ones I've seen on bolted broccoli. 
Just for kicks, I took a taste and it was still tasty.
We have seedlings going, so we can feel comfortable pulling this up.

Last week, we used this peat pot set to start our warmer weather seeds.
Cantaloupe, eggplant, peppers and tomatoes have all been grown before,
but it will be our first venture into watermelon.
I can feel the juice dripping down my chin already!

The germination rate was pretty good.
You can see the tomatoes (in the background) were ready to go!
What a thrill to see all these goodies coming up!

This week, C and I took the lid off of the compost bin in the side yard.
We found lots of little critters crawling around in it,
but it wasn't as composted as I'd hoped.
The fault is mine, as I wasn't very good about turning it.
It will remain where it is and slowly break down.
We moved the bin to another spot and will start over. 
I'm thinking of starting two or three piles inside of wire fencing in the fall, 
so it can more easily be turned. 
Thankfully, we have plenty of space out there.
This clay soil needs as much help as it can get,
and I will be working on amending every square inch of growing space.

 One of the discoveries we made while spreading the compost out
was one of our Halloween luminaries.

 This tree has been carted from Florida to the rental house to here.
It finally got planted out back.
We want more privacy and most of our wooded area is filled with
deciduous trees.  A few more of these evergreens should fill it in nicely.

 The birds are blessing us with their antics daily,
especially in the early morning hours, while I'm having my coffee.
This woodpecker visits the bird feeder but can't fit on the ledge,
so he acrobatically hangs by one claw and scarfs what he can reach.

This azalea bush is loaded with blossoms!
It must be loving the soil where it is,
so I dare not move it.

 There are multiple blooms on one stem, just gorgeous!

 It feels like spring now,
but I've been saying that for the last few weeks,
hoping the blast of winter would stay away.
I think we might be in the clear now,
at least I hope so.
There is so much to do in the garden
and now is the perfect time.

What's happening in your spring garden?