We have a lot of this plant. It appeared this spring, took a long time to flower, and then a while for us to figure out what on earth it was. (Centauria Montana. It spreads.) And then it all fell over, the flowers were fading, and I trimmed it back.

And it’s starting again! It’s sending up new shoots, just like it did back in, oh, April.


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Baby Birds

A little while ago, we noticed a bird’s nest perched on top of the fence in the depths of our kiwi vine. It was impossible to look into it, since it is just about head height, so I did what any sane, digital-camera-equipped, curious (okay, nosy) person would — I held my camera over it and took a picture.

There were four perfect little blue robin’s eggs.


We watched and tried to stay clear of it for a couple of weeks. Of course, I’m also trying to watch the kiwi vines for blossoms, so we can tell if we’ve got a mating pair and any hope of fruit or not, and quite a few times I scared the mama bird and she flapped off, squawking indignantly at me. I took a few more pictures here and there to see what had become of her eggs.

One day, I got a shock. First, I got this:


And then, suddenly, and with a high-pitched chirp, I got this:


They thought my camera was mama! Scared the life out of me!

And apparently I don’t learn, because I did it again a few days later!


They’re clearly getting a little bigger. I can’t tell how many there are, though.

A few days ago we discovered another robin’s nest, hidden in the blackberries we were trying to hack back, because we accidentally knocked two fledglings out onto the ground. They were probably only a day or so from being able to really fly, and they hopped and fluttered around a few inches above the ground. The entire local community of adult robins perched themselves in the surrounding trees and started yelling at us. They were mad. And there were lots of them. And they all cared about these little guys, it wasn’t just one mama. I had no idea they were so village-ish. Eric found one in the grass and managed to carry it back to the bushes where it was more camouflaged and hopefully safer.

I’m really curious about our kiwi vine nest now. I haven’t dared the camera again, but I’ve peeked in occasionally and can usually see a beak sticking up. I wonder how many there are and how soon they’ll be ready to leave the nest. ::sniff::


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First, we made a cross with two posts. We put the shirt on the cross post first, then tied the two pieces together. (That’s Tim wearing the scarecrow’s hat, which is really actually a wicker plant pot holder thing, on the other side of the straw bale.)

We stuffed the arms with straw.


We made the head out of a pillowcase stuffed with straw and tied it around the neck. Then we stuffed the body with straw.


We added his overalls and stuffed his legs, drew his face and attached his hat.

Then we lay down on top of him and gave him a good talking to about his duties. Well, one of us did.


And ta-da!! We have a scarecrow!


He’s been on duty for a couple of weeks now, and I think he works. He works for me, at least. Every time I catch a glimpse of him from the far end of the garden, I have to look twice because I think “Hey, who’s that in my yard?”



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Beans and Peas

This is Timothy inside the bean teepee I constructed from branches of an alder tree we cut down. The beans are really starting to come up now, finally, after a few very hot days. In a month or two, this whole thing should be covered in growth and provide quite the kids’ hideout.


The peas are already taller than him, he looks like he’s lost in the jungle when he tries to walk between them and the pototoes.


They’re just about ready to start harvesting, the snap variety at least. The shelling ones need to get a little bigger.


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More planting

The last couple of weekends have been busy with planting. We got in our brassica seeds (cauliflower, broccoli, Brussel sprouts) and root vegetables (carrots and parsnips, turnips and rutabagas), things we’ll be hoping to eat in the fall and into winter.

And now that it’s June, it’s finally time to set out the tomato and pepper starts and put in the stuff that needs warmer weather to germinate, things like corn and beans and pumpkins and summer and winter squashes. We have a whole large bed for the “sprawly” things, the pole beans and squashes that would take over our standard beds, and a whole bed for corn, as much to amuse the kids as anything else (not sure how well it’ll do in our climate).

I created this Bean Teepee out of branches from an alder tree we cut down earlier in the spring. Tied them all together with twine and planted multi-colored bean seeds along two sides of it. Hopefully in the height of summer, the kids will be able to crawl into a lush beany refuge and hide. And snack on fresh green, purple and yellow beans.


The two sides of this bed leading away from the teepee are each planted with a row of super tall sunflowers, so it should be pretty, too. And behind that, the rest of the bed is more bean tripods and 9 hills for pumpkins and squashes.

Of course, the problem with some of these most recent seeds are that the birds love them. So we tried to get creative on ways to scare them off. The bean tripods are now decorated with blank CDs. They twirl and sway in the wind, creating dancing reflections and shadows which hopefully the birds will hate.


And then there’s the corn. Using foil for “shiny” and contact paper for strength, I cut spirals like this. Then tied them onto a bunch more of those alder branches and stuck them in the ground throughout the corn bed.


We’re going to be adding a scarecrow just for the fun of making him…. but more on that later.


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Garden Progress

Growth has been happening at a crazy pace out there. During the week we were gone, it seemed like everything just exploded. And in the two weeks since we returned, even more so!

Before we left:

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April-planted potatoes; salad beds 1 and 2 (planted three weeks apart).


Salad bed 1, for scale.

The day we got back:

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April-planted potatoes; salad beds 1 and 2 (planted three weeks apart).

One week later (weekend before last):


The early-planted half of the garden: potatoes, peas, salads, fava beans, kale and chard.

And now:

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April-planted potatoes, newly-trellised peas.


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First Salad

It’s May 1st, today we enjoyed our first garden salad of the season. A lettuce blend, baby spinach, baby chard, overwintered arugula, thinnings of early Walla Walla onions, and baby radishes.




It was good.

I’m thrilled to be starting to eat from our garden, and excited to know this is just the beginning!

Just for comparison to the last post… scale pictures of the salad stuff before I harvested:

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The garden is growing! Despite the wacky weather we’ve been having, our salad mix and spinach are going to be providing us with our first (admittedly very small) salad of the season in a week or two!



The peas are coming on nicely too.


We also have fava beans, chard, kale (that was overwintered), onions, radishes, and potatoes planted. The potatoes are the only ones not doing anything yet.

Soon we’ll be planting some more of the long season stuff, and then we’ll be planting warm-weather crops: tomatoes and corn and zucchini and things. The salad and spinach we’ll be planting more of every few weeks, so we have a fresh supply all summer long.


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New boots

Pink. And flowery.


I love ’em.

I guess I’m getting more girly in reaction to all the boys in the house. 🙂


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Hole in the Patio

There’s this hole in the concrete patio. We have no idea why it’s there, how long it’s been there, if it was for a reason or due to an accident. It was there when we moved in.

I keep wanting to fill it in. But then we wonder if it’s useful in some way.

Certainly, it’s fun.


And messy. It’s just down-slope from the outside water faucet, so even if it hasn’t been raining, it is often filled with water.


Yes, he has shoes on. And is standing shoe-deep in the water.

And boys will play in it. Drop things in it. Stand in it. Splash in it. And even (and this is what convinces me we need to fill it in) try to drink from it. Timothy, with a sandpit shovel, tries to scoop up water and mud and feed it to himself. I know he’s working on using utensils, but I’d really rather he kept it to the table. And, you know, preferably food.


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