I’m doing this post from my phone for practice on the trail.

Took Wrigley out for a bike ride “maiden voyage” with the doggie hauler I made from an old jogging stroller.

Huge snow pile is just about gone.

We have some pictures of spring. Garlic, rhubarb , daffodils and skunk cabbage.









3/31/15 chickens by west garden

3/31/15 chickens by east garden

4/2/15 dust bath for all

4/2/15 dust bath for all

April, 3rd, Lil prepared 6 bowls of goodies for the chickens to celebrate their 3rd hatchday.IMG_1111For Easter Sunday dinner, I dug up some sun chokes. I’m not sure if this is the last harvest from last year or the first harvest from this year.

4/5/15 sun chokes

4/5/15 sun chokes

Lastly, pictures of the east and west gardens and the uncovered chicken run. Note the snow. Also note the destroyed fencing of the east garden, there were a group of deer that took it down trying to get out late last fall.

4/5/15 west garden

4/5/15 west garden

4/5/15 east garden

4/5/15 east garden

4/5/15 chicken run

4/5/15 chicken run

4/5/15 going in for the night.

4/5/15 going in for the night.

Personal note, I’m going back to the Appalachian Trail for a month or so, starting April 30th.  I’m now a section hiker.

My hiking blog is

Let’s do the disclaimer first.

There is never enough time for the garden, ever.  This season even more so.  I injured my knee in April, which slowed me down.  Had it operated on in June, which slowed me to a stop.  I am on the mend and trying hard to follow my Doctors advice. But laying about isn’t something that I’m very good at.  I did go play in the garden last week, nothing strenuous.  But not a bright thing to do, my knee hurt real bad that night and I spent the next day on the couch with ice and my leg raised.  So now I am trying to follow my Doctors advice.

So on to the garden.

My spinach is done.

I’ve cut my last asparagus and it was a very good year for asparagus.

My beets have stopped growing and seem to be shrinking into small red seedlings so I turned them all under and planted carrots in their spot.  These are in my mouse-proof bed beside the first planting of carrots that are doing very well.  Maybe you can’t plant carrots and beets together.

first planting of carrots, beets were planted in front of and beside them  6/23/13

first planting of carrots, beets were planted in front of and beside them 6/23/13

Lettuce crop is just starting to bolt (go to seed).  Have planted some more and they are coming up.  I only plant 10 or 12 at a time which is generally more than I use.

lettuce  6/23/13

lettuce 6/23/13

The 3 types of kale are doing well, my wife made her favorite chicken and baked kale last night.  Our second cutting.

from the bottom, turnip, kale, swiss chard, kale and a wall of peas  6/23/13

from the bottom, turnip, kale, swiss chard, kale and a wall of peas 6/23/13

I was very late getting my squash, pumpkin, melon and cucumber seedlings planted, they were small and very yellow.  Some of them, now that they are in the gardens, have turned to a nice dark green but they are still small.  We just have to wait and see, I think I may have started too late for some of them.

butternut squash seedling   6/23/13

butternut squash seedling 6/23/13

My corn is being over run by weeds. Because of how close I plant them, with a sore knee I just can’t twist and bend right to do the weeding.  No one else has applied for the job so the weeds are taking over.

My tomato plants are suffering also. I haven’t been able to tie them up yet.  There are small green tomatoes on some of them.

tomato plant  6/23/13

tomato plant 6/23/13

My peas have been spectacular.  I planted them very heavily and they just grew into a mass of vines and pods.  After hand picking a couple of times, I pull the plants right out of the ground and sort through them on my potting shed table.  I started freezing them for this winter.

first peas  6/24/13

first peas 6/24/13


potting shed table, sorting peas with the ladies helping  6/30/13

potting shed table, sorting peas with the ladies helping 6/30/13

My chickens enjoy watermelon on the first of July and it is hot and humid.  My deer, well maybe “mother natures” deer, enjoy the blackberry patch.  How do they eat the plants thorns and all??

Chickens with watermelon  7/1/13

Chickens with watermelon 7/1/13


Deer eating blackberries  7/1/13

Deer eating blackberries 7/1/13

Last item, anyone want to guess what this flower is??DSCF0001

Hint, it makes a very tasty jelly.


Over the years, I have collected a lot of flowers and shrubs from family and friends.  My largest collection has been Irises.  Most of my Irises remind me of family and friends, some of them are no longer with us.  I have one from my Mom, not a spectacular bloom but it is from my Mom. Here are some pictures that I took this year.

My Mom's Iris

My Mom’s Iris 5/22/13

Pat and Tom   5/22/13

Pat and Tom 5/22/13

I bought this one  5/22/13
I bought this one 5/22/13

Bob's  5/22/13

Bob’s 5/22/13

Emily's  5/25/13

Emily’s 5/25/13



“New England Plant Swap Planned for June 1st in Walpole”  This was the headline in the local paper that caught my eye on May 1st 2013.  I did a post about it   and have been looking forward to it since then.  Yesterday I dug up some rhubarb, wisteria, siberian iris and transplanted 3 black cherry tomato plants to bring to the Swap.

The GPS said it was 35 minutes away and off I went.  It was a little more than 35 minutes but not much, I got there just after 9:00 am and they hadn’t started yet.  There were three rounds of plant taking, round one was everyone who had brought a plant could go and take one plant, round two was you could go and take half as many plants as you brought, ( so if you brought 10 plants you could take 5 in the second round) and the third round was you could take the balance of your plants. This worked very smoothly, probably because gardeners are nicer and more patient than non-gardeners.  Just my opinion.

I had a ball.  All of my expectations were met and exceeded.  Jim, with his official looking New England Plant Swap shirt, pointed out Lance Robinson as the master-mind behind this Plant Swap.  Lance started this last year and the day was cold dreary.  Today was sunny and bright, actually HOT. I thought it was well attended, well organized and location, location, location.  Adams Farm is a beautiful piece of New England.  The Walpole Garden club has a butterfly garden there that is stunning and there is a community garden with 62 plots.  Good sized plots.

Spending the morning talking to people with green thumbs and dirty fingernails, was most enjoyable.  Marcia and I swapped stories about chickens.  Peggy offered me strawberry plants from her community plot.  I can’t say enough good things about this.  Thank you Lance, great idea and job well done.  I will try to give my new plants a good home.  This is what I got  strawberry plants, 2 types of hosta, 1 day lily, some Sedum autumn joy and 1 red hibiscus.  Quite a haul if you ask me.

I didn’t count how many tables were set up for the plants, all were covered and there were plants on the floor around them.  I have 2 pictures that were taken after the first round and maybe after the second round, I was busy picking out plants.

plant swap 6/1/13

plant swap 6/1/13

plant swap 6/1/13

plant swap 6/1/13

Did I mention that I had a good time??

Thanks Lance


A simple way to propagate new plants is a method called layering.  Forsythia plants do this every time a branch touches the ground, within an hour roots are starting to grow and a new forsythia plant is started.  I may be off on the amount of time it takes but an unattended forsythia bush soon becomes a jungle.

My pink rhododendrons are also very good at rooting new plants.  My white rhody is a little slower and my red rhody is very hard to get to root.  So my yard has a lot of pink rhodies, a fair number of white ones and just a few reds.

I have bent lower branches of dogwoods and rose of sharon down to the ground, staked them down and cover the stake with compost to propagate new plants.  The dogwoods generally root in a year and can be dug up and planted in a new location the next spring.  The rose of sharon needs more time to root.  I have done it in a year only once, failed on a couple of tries and succeeded with a year and a half to two year time frame.

I’m trying the rose of sharon again this year and my magnolia tree.  I’m not staking them this time, I think the stress of the bending is part of my failure rate.  I’m threading the branch into the side of a plastic  pot for the rose of sharon and into the side of a wooden bottomless box for the magnolias. Time will tell if this will work.

Experiment in layering a magnolia tree 5/13

Experiment in layering a magnolia tree 5/13

Rose of Sharon layering experiment 5/5/13

Rose of Sharon layering experiment 5/5/13

5/22/13  Rose of Sharon

5/22/13 Rose of Sharon


Three years ago I bought a bag of dahlia bulbs at a chain department store.  They grew very large and bright flowers all summer long.  Here in New England the winters are too cold for the bulbs to be left in the garden so they have to be dug up and stored for the next season.  I thought my cellar was too damp and warm for a successful winter storage so I did something else.  Beside my garage foundation I dug a hole in the soft back-fill about 18 inches deep, buried the bulbs and covered the dirt with a small pile of fall leaves.  When I dug them up in the spring most of them were fine.  I still bury them beside the garage foundation but I put them in a 5-gallon pail with the wire handle standing straight up, so the top of the handle is just above the top of the dirt.  This is a much easier way to find the bulbs in the spring and to retrieve them without damaging them with your shovel.  I dug them up this weekend, split the large ones into two bulbs and planted them.

5-gallon pail with dahlia bulbs  5/12/13

5-gallon pail with dahlia bulbs 5/12/13

dahlia bulbs 5/12/13

dahlia bulbs 5/12/13

My original spading fork after digging in New England soil, ROCKY soil, for many years and bending one tine back too many times, broke.  A three tined fork just didn’t work as well.  I didn’t throw it out, it might be useful somehow, someday.  Well 2 years ago when my back was screaming at me for too much digging and spading in the garden I thought about one of those T-handled digging tools that turned your garden by twisting the T-handle.  Being a “frugal yankee”  I took my old spading fork, put a broom handle through the fork handle and gave it a try.  It worked rather well, had to be wired into place but it worked.  Well, it did until the fork handle twisted off of the fork.  No problem, I bolted a heavier T-handle to the old wooden fork.  This worked all through last year and a little of this season.     Then the old wooden fork handle split with all of the twisting.  I needed something stronger.  An old piece of 3/4 pipe, some bending and a new T-handle and we are good to go.  This reused spading fork works great.  It has long tines so it loosens the soil to a nice depth and is very easy on my back.

old spading fork with a twist

old spading fork with a twist

Now the mushroom.  Three or four years ago I bought 3 types of mushroom plug spawn from Fungi Perfecti;  Maitake, Shiitake and Pearl Oyster.  The Shiitake and Pearl Oyster produced mushrooms for a couple of years and then slowed to a stop.  Or so I thought.  I found this Shiitake growing on one of my larger logs this weekend.  It’s going on the grill this week .

Shiitake mushroom 5/12/13

Shiitake mushroom 5/12/13

Shiitake mushroom, gill side 5/12/13

Shiitake mushroom, gill side 5/12/13

I grilled this shiitake mushroom for supper tonight.  Marinated it briefly in vinegar, olive oil, salt and pepper.  Ten minutes gill side down , flipped and added slices of mozzarella cheese. Removed from grill when cheese started to melt, cut in half and made 2 sandwiches. A very nice evening supper.


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