The midwest blizzard and subzero temperatures have Dean and I snuckered in the past two days. Recovering from an upper respiratory infection, the cold air has kept me inside with hot herbal tea, fresh baked scones, fragrant glowing candles, and the love of my husband to keep my body and soul warm. Home is the place to be. Business comes to a halt as most offices are closed. We can choose to be stifled or set free. Cannot deny the snow is so beautiful, perfectly white. Snowflakes patterned a glittery shooting star on the kitchen window. Neighborhood Eurasian tree sparrows discover our cedar wreath blown under our wagon as a shelter. The berries fed our feathered friends. Photos were captured with Dean’s new digital camera. And then our red adirondack chairs contrasting with the white. The sunshine and wind cast everchanging shadows with snow drifts. Cannot wait to see the photos. “Photography… it’s the way to educate your eyes, stare, pry, listen, eavesdrop …” St. Louis born photographer Walker Evans has been quoted. We did not have to go for a hike in the country today as our home’s window panes framed the wintery scenes.
A hard freeze tonight is in the weather forecast. Up until this week, we wondered when autumn was here to stay. Each night it gets colder. Farmer Dave from the 550 AM radio show says the growing season is offically over in Missouri. We have moved 95% our plants to the shelter of our home and garage in the past 2 weeks. The gourd vines are almost all dried up, so the big gourds will come off their shriveled, withered vines. They will sit in the screenhouse to collect mold on their skin to complete their curing process for future crafting projects during this winter. The little gourds will go to the farmers’ markets this weekend. Great autumn decorations for your harvest table. Our roma tomato plants will die off after tonight’s freeze. We have three huge tomato plants in portable planters, so they now grow under the plant lights of the garage. I wonder how long we will have our organic tomatoes this autumn and winter?! I forgot about my terra cotta planter sitting at the corner of our 1/4-acre plot at Boone Hollow Farm, greets us when we come up the hill to the greenhouse. It houses a solar light post and plants. The geranium, swedish ivy, and vinca may live their last day today. We will not make it the greenhouse tonight with our work schedules, watering, and securing light source for the other plants. But then maybe the solar light will provide a bit of heat to keep temperatures above freezing near the terra cotta plants? Dean and I learn more about caring for plants during the experience rather than just reading about it. Hands on learners. Our plants are science experiments. This blog is our gardening journal. With the crisp nights and early mornings come the glowing autumn foliage. This weekend is to be the peak color weekend. Autumn has an alter-ego I can live with.
I so relate to this allegory, the life of a tree and my life. Please read it! Lovely blog!
She watched herself age in the reflection year after year. Not every year stands out in her memory clearly, but moments do.
The first time she realized that she was tall enough to catch a glimpse of herself in the water. Oh the excitement she felt!
The year she realized that she was tall enough and her branches full enough to give shade to the deer of the field. Such a wonderful feeling of being needed!
Then were the years she welcomed her very own seedlings. The pride as they grew! And the sadness as some couldn’t. With this time came the realization that most things were not in her control. She didn’t like that knowledge.
She grew through the seasons of rain and sun and rested through the snow and cold. Each spring she anticipated the ice melting so she could once more see her reflection and all of…
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While at Sunday Mass, we sang the Servant Song by Richard Gillard. My reflections went to what God has called me to do, just one of His many servants. And so many before me did the same.
Brother, let me be your servant.
Let me be as Christ to you.
Pray that I might have the grace
To let you be my servant, too.
We are pilgrims on a journey.
We are brothers on the road.
We are here to help each other
Walk the mile and bear the load.
I will hold the Christ-light for you
In the night time of your fear.
I will hold my hand out to you;
Speak the peace you long to hear.
I will weep when you are weeping.
When you laugh, I’ll laugh with you.
I will share your joy and sorrow
Till we’ve seen this journey through.
When we sing to God in heaven,
We shall find such harmony
Born of all we’ve known together
Of Christ’s love and agony.
In His Presence forever whether able to serve or not due to aging or circumstances. Live in the grace He freely gives you, and I will do the same.
Our dill is daintily charming, and so fragrant. Yesterday evening we harvest our 1st crop, and will put in a 2nd crop after the 4th of July holiday. Wild sunflowers and sprigs of dill fill a green vase today. Our chef son-in-law will use this 1st crop of dill to make pickles with his homegrown cucumbers. Maybe a jar or two of Hannahway Farm sun pickles are on our way?! The patriarch spice shoppe owner says in Europe dill is used in just about every dish. I love it with my baked fish and potato salad dishes. The 3rd crop of dill will go in early autumn, with plans to take as show-n-tell farm products to the City of St. Charles preschool classrooms Farmer Dean and I visit in November. Our 1st crop of basil screams pesto! Served with veggies, chicken, bread, and pasta, I cannot wait!
This week’s other farm chores include straightening and cleaning the screenhouse, putting extra pots and trays together in somewhat orderly fashion, and throwing broken items in the recycle pile. One recycled dresser is filled with “tea room” stuff, as well as a recycled tile-top table put aside for our meal and snack times. Another recycled dresser holds pots of blooming geraniums. We are making space in the screenhouse in case we need to move our plants to this cooler side of the greenhouse structure. Last year at this time the heat wave and drought was well underway in Missouri. The extreme heat required us to water two times a day, early morning and early evening. Our plants were housed under the shelter of shade trees in our yard while the greenhouse reconstruction plans were being modified until autumn when the heat subsided. The lack of rain has not been an issue this spring and early summer, thank you God! The growing gourd plants will go into the ground this weekend.
Growers, what are you harvesting now? What are you putting in for an autumn crop?
Summer evening still
Sunset honeysuckle sweet
Peachy sky resides.
This Friday evening I experience the calm after last week’s storms while enroute to Boone Hollow Farm where our greenhouse shelters our plants. Gorgeous week it has been, mild 70’s and 80’s. The fragrance of the honeysuckle growing wildly along the 2-lane highway fences engulf my nostrils. Such a contrast from a week ago. Dean and I load our van with market plants as every Friday night. Terra cotta pots of basil, dill, and sage have been taken to the Lake Saint Louis Farmers’ Market this morning. Did you know that herbs do best in terra cotta? The pot absorbs moisture and allows the plant to be watered longer. I snipped thyme from my kitchen terra cotta pot for the turkey breast that will be tonight’s crockpot dinner. Roasted red potatoes and green beans will accompany the tender meat entree. Sunday will be more of the same at the Chandler Hill Vineyards Farmers’ Market. Only rain showers are called for Sunday. Dean will have a pleasant visit with his oldest son and his lovely lady while selling at the market. I will be selling spices and herbs at the Olde Town Spice Shoppe Saturday and Sunday. Buy local, and come visit me at the small shoppe in historic St. Charles. Dean with Deanna Greens And Garden Art will vend at the Lake Saint Louis Farmers’ Market and Chandler Hill Vineyards Farmers’ Market. Just look for our lush green perennials and herbs, and buy! Market leisurely this weekend in St. Charles County, Missouri, as we have much to offer.
The clouds have been ominous since early this morning at daybreak. As the sun came from the east, the clouds and cold front came from the southwest, meeting for a spectacular contrasting display in the sky. Rumblings of spring have been heard all day, some rain produced from those clouds. I observed from my 5th floor office in Clayton, as a tornado watch had been issued until 9:00pm tonight. We need the rain, come rain. No high winds or hail, and definitely no tornadoes. please. The unseen sunset this evening was met with heavy cloud cover. Rotating, violent winds brought about alarms and sirens all around St. Peters just before 8:00pm. Composure, an herbal supplement was given to our nervous labrador, and we tried to find Celine, our timid cat but she found low shelter somewhere in the house. I enjoyed two strawberry daiquiris spiked heavily with Captain Morgan while the local tornado alarms blared for 15 minutes just minutes after savoring homemade fajitas and saffron rice by Chef Mick. While no basement, we were feet from our interior bathroom just in case that train sound started. So much for rumblings of spring. The storm screams and alarms blare to tell us spring is here in Missouri. We all survived, thank God!
Our fiddle leaf fig trees have been a matter of many global WordPress searches ever since I wrote about them last summer. I have an update. We repotted them in artsy ceramic pots before moving them to indoor winter shelter. Such a chore with the 14-foot one! Our 14-foot and 7-foot trees were moved to Dean’s parents’ weekend condo just about 1 mile from our home. We have cared for and watered them regularly, though they are going through a winter shedding of older brown leaves. New leaf growth started to bud out around the lower section earlier this winter, and more buds appearing in the middle section of the 14-foot trunk this past couple of weeks. Due to the lanky appearance and thinning foliage at the top, we decided to prune both of the trees. We took 2 feet off the 7-foot tree, and the 14-foot tree has been prune to be about 8-1/2 foot tall now. We hope this will aid the lower and middle buds to produce many shiny green leaves. Pruning is an act of kindness really, preparing the plant, forcing all its energy to the fresh green growth. At first it felt like we were killing the plants, but not the case at all. Holy scriptures tell us “I am the true vine, and my Father is the gardener. He cuts off every branch in me that bears no fruit, while every branch that does bear fruit He prunes so that it will be even more fruitful… (John 15:1 & 2 New International Bible) We used organic fertilizer and watered the trees after the pruning. We expect big things from our fiddle leaf fig trees. Maybe a profitable sale of these showy trees this summer?! We are licensed to sell only in the state of Missouri. If interested, please contact me through this blog.
Dean & I are waiting to hear word about our access to electric for the greenhouse. According to the electric co-op, the barn down the hill may not have enough ampage to heat, circulate air, and provide light in the nightime for our 1300+ square foot greenhouse. We have redesigned the greenhouse so half will be a greenhouse (so 650 square feet needs electricity), and the other half will be a lathe or hoop house for raised beds of vegetables to grow 9 months out of the year. I wanted to have those beds made already, with a winter crop of organic spinach, garlic, and root vegetables, but family matters have taken priority. Alternative energy sources will be sought, if need be. In the meantime our plants are sheltered in two different garages with “plant lights” and space heaters to be installed this week to keep them green and alive during this transition. I dislike this in-between time, but did not have the heart to let the hard freeze kill the green life we have cared for this past year. Cannot believe, but it will be 1 year mid-November when we bought the greenhouse and adopted everything in it. Do you have any ideas for alternative energy sources in Missouri? Please share.