Friday, October 30, 2009

K Curriculum is Here!

This has been a great day! The coldframe is finally sheltering some greens and the remainder of my curriculum arrived. Here is my spread minus our 'home library' and art supplies:


Just kidding, but in all honesty I am feeling a bit overwhelmed by it all. I love, love, love the Singapore Math workbooks, but the Scince is a bit elementary in my opinion. Probably more geared towards Pre-K. No problems there thanks to all our books and encyclopedias, luckily for Shaun his Mom is a Science geek. :) The Critical Thinking workbooks are also impressive, I want to order some for myself! Check out their site if you are looking for some stimulating material for the kids. I hope this jumble of hand picked curriculum doesn't leave anything out. Thank-you all for the wonderful support over the past couple of months, this has been a tough decision, and now my little man and I must relax and enjoy this opportunity.

This week was the last CSA pick-up for the year. I will miss it, though I am still undecided as to what to do next year. We are still waiting for the first frost to come and the leaves are really beginning to fall now. Plans to expand the garden, or at a minimum the fence, are in the works. Thomas has me longing for more crisp garden greens and hoop houses.

I was approached by a company to purchase a photo of mine for their upcoming catalog this week, did anyone else have this same experience? I am under the impression they were blog browsing. Anyway, my Cipollini Onions photo will be featured if all goes as planned and I was tickled pink by the request....this is exciting stuff for a stay-at-home-mom! I hope everyone is staying healthy or is on the mend. Hold onto those hoes, this is going to be one wild winter!

Tuesday, October 27, 2009


I received an e-mail today from River Rock Farm that the cows are on the way to the butcher today. After hanging for two weeks the beef will be ready.

My initial reaction was extreme sadness knowing these beautiful creatures will lose their life today. What can I say, I am a sappy animal lover! I have seen with my own eyes the humane and free life they have led until now and this does bring comfort. I hope I will continue to have the choice of eating meat raised on this farm knowing I am supporting the right way to raise heads for slaughter, not the wrong, as this is not an easy opportunity to come by.

edit: Home Scool Update- The Letter of Intent has been filed and I met with Shaun's teacher and principal yesterday. Friday will be his last day. His wonderful teacher will hold a spot for him in her class until Fall of next year, and the principle offered for him to return any time. I will bring him in for testing in May to determine his placement (K or 1st) should he return to public school for the following year. All is falling into place.

Sunday, October 25, 2009

What we have been up to...

Well first I will start with the laundry list of things I have been doing (all non-gardening related):
  • being sick and lazy.
  • freaking out over my son's high fevers; so high the digital thermometer could not read it, only goes to 105 degrees. YIKES!
  • deciding to grant my son's wish of being homeschooled. Curriculum has been ordered, lesson plans are made, letter of intent being drafted.
  • trips to the Pediatrician and Veterinarian.
  • waiting for the co-op truck to arrive for five and a half hours in a parking lot with two sick kids and one sick Mom only to discover one of the precious angels turned on my parking lights and we now have a dead battery and no jumper cables. Not to worry, fabulous hubby saved the day!
  • lastly, a fun farm field trip on our first day of having 3 fever free people!! YEAH!
I am so behind on posts it is ridiculous.
Weeks ago I realized I had a ripe, albeit minuscule melon. Sweet victory!

We have found a use for all the garden runts, mantel decorations (there are squash and melons in there)!

Here are the photos from our recent farm trip. The tour included seeing how the carrots are processed for retail sale (up the conveyor belt into the drum where they are washed, then hand sorted and bagged), bagging some carrots to take home, a tractor tour of the farm, and picking a small pumpkin out of a 'patch'. The kids had a blast, my daughter was clutching those carrots like they were the last four on earth, lol. She even ate one!

I am off to catch up on what you all have been doing!

Saturday, October 17, 2009

Digging Dahlias

This Spring I planted seven dahlia tubers. Of those, four have have flowered, one has foliage only, and one has yet to show any signs of life. The three blooms that are missing are: 1.) Junaita: a large burgundy and ruby flower dating back to 1949; 2.) Little Beeswings: a yellow with red tip ball/button type from 1909; and 3.) a mystery dahlia picked up at Alderbrook Farm.

The gorgeous dahlias shown below are the following:
  • Jersey's Beauty- a true pink, vigorous dahlia from 1923 which was once the world's most popular dahlia according to Old House Gardens. Plentiful blooms.
  • Andries' Orange- Its full name 'Andres' Oranje As' honors a Jazz Age liquor from the Belgian town of As. This rare dahlia dates back to 1936 and has been in show all summer long.
  • Pink Petticoat- a recent introduction with ruffled white petals that fade to pink at the tips.
  • Bishop of Llandaff-  standout bronze foliage compliments the scarletred petals, a very stunning mix from 1927.

Some of my dahlias are just beginning to show off their blooms.  This was seeming late to me but it turns out they prefer cool weather and are most productive into the Fall.  Luckily we have not experienced a frost yet, but when we do the tips will die back in a signal to wait a week, then dig the tubers.  I noted the winter care instructions from a wonderful heirloom bulb company below......
WINTER CARE – IF you want to save tubers for re-planting the next spring, after
the tops have been “blackened” by frost, wait a week or so for the tubers to
harden and fully mature in the ground. The soil will generally protect them from
freezing. Then cut the stalks off a few inches above ground level. You’ll find
that the tubers you planted in early summer will have increased into much larger
clumps, so be careful when digging – start at least a foot away from the stalks.
Tag each clump with its name, wash off all soil, and allow it to dry upside down
in a cool, dry place for a day or two, no more.
Divide the clumps with asturdy knife in fall or spring. Be sure a piece of the “crown” – the thickened area where the stem meets the tuber – remains attached  to every clump, because the eyes (often more visible in fall) are located there. You may want to dust cuts with a fungicide such as garden sulfur. At the least allow cuts to air dry for a full day before storage. Store in plastic grocery bags, in plastic garbage bags inside boxes, or in covered plastic storage boxes to help keep the tubers from dehydrating. Pack in coarse vermiculite, peat moss, wood-shavings, or something similar. Store in a cool, dry, dark place, ideally at 40-45º F.
Check every now and then. Allow excess moisture to escape (look for
condensation) or sprinkle some water on tubers if they seem to be shriveling.
Or here’s an easy way recommended by Marian and Bernard Mandella and Richard
Peters in the Bulletin of the American Dahlia Society, September 2001. “Tear off
a sheet of plastic wrap 20 or more inches long and lay it flat on a level
surface. Place a [divided, dusted, and dried] tuber on one end and roll the
plastic wrap over one complete turn. Lay another alongside and roll again. Be
certain that no tuber is touching another…. You may wrap up to five tubers or so
per package, but in the last 5-7 inches, fold over the side portions of the
plastic wrap and continue to roll to completion. Fasten with a piece of masking
tape that is labeled with the cultivar’s name…. There is essentially no loss
from shriveling or drying.” Some of our customers who grow dahlias in pots
just bring them inside and let them dry out and over-winter right in their pots.
Others grow them in 5-gallon or even 1-gallon black plastic nursery pots that
they bury in the garden and then dig up and store in the basement through
winter. You may want to experiment with these extra-easy storage methods, too!
I will need to remember to dig my glads as well, I hope the tubers will store well over the winter.  How do you keep your tubers once dug?

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Garden Finale

THE GARLIC IS IN!! Eight rows of cloves from three different varieties, phew! We had our water heater go and woke up to a wet basement Saturday morning. This was followed by a new television purchase which required some weekend warrior type work before it could be installed, so the garlic once again went on the back burner. While sowing the cloves I realized they are all soft neck, so no yummy garlic scapes from my garden next summer. (Me pouting.)

The predicted low temperature for this evening is a crisp 32 degrees, so all that was harvestable was harvested. Many fruits were not mature- eggplant, winter squash, and melons. Many of the vines were dying so there was no sense in leaving them. The largest of the muskmelons had begun to rot (top right in the photo) and I could smell it's sweet aroma as I approached the trellis. Too bad we never got to sample any of the many, many melons that eventually began to grow. Rumor has it an immature winter squash can taste better than summer squash so I will put this theory to the test and let you all know what the verdict is. The potato bed was harboring some renegade potatoes, the roots kept putting out tubers with out any foliage. The former tomato bed is littered with tomato seedlings which I find interesting since the seeds I sowed are no where to be found aside from a few fortunate spinach survivors. Go figure.

I decided to pull up my Carmen pepper plants and hang them in the basement. Why you ask? I believe I read one can do this somewhere in an effort to ripen them further. I am hoping so since there are at least a dozen peppers there. Have I completely lost it?!?!

Friday, October 9, 2009

I miss all the garden blogging, I have not been in garden mode of late. I have been busy worrying over possible H1N1 infection and academics. The official word from school is 101.4 degrees + sore throat = H1N1 flu. As of the end of last week there were already 4 kids with pneumonia out of the pre-school and kindergarten classes. Scary stuff!

We are all on the mend, but my little girl almost had a few trips to the ER over her inability to breathe, the poor thing. She always gets hit the hardest and is whom I really worry about with this coming cold and flu season.

As for academics, we are seriously considering home school. It is a HUGE decision and one that is absolutely best for my child in my opinion, but it is such a life change. I am on the fence. The other factor to consider is the services he receives.....they most likely would continue in some form other than an IEP, but it's one more thing to mull over. So that is what I have been up to of late with a little garden therapy thrown in here and there, I hope you all are enjoying the turning leaves and cool nights of October. Cider anyone?