Sunday, January 18, 2009

Let it Snow...?

My husband and I trade off on the weekends to be the one to get up with the kids, and let the other stay in dreamland just a little (glorious) bit longer. Today was my turn to "sleep-in". When I was kid-free it wasn't uncommon to wake up in the afternoon on a weekend. Now, if I snooze til 8, it's sleeping late. And if I'm feeling really decadent, maybe I'll let hubbs handle the kiddies till 9. However, my sleep was fouled by the base rumble of the plow-guy seemingly trying to take up a little bit of asphalt with the snow he was plowing just outside my window. I think I was more annoyed by the realization that it had snowed enough for a plowing, and not that I missed out on sleeping until 8:30. Since the ice storm December 13th, it seems like every fifth day we're getting another wallop of the white stuff.
In hilly Pepperell, we have 2-feet in a few places. To give you a sense of the depth, I took a photo of snowfall outside our living room, where it's about 15". I put the pillow in the frame to give a depth perspective.

A few weeks ago, I read in the Boston Globe's 'Ask the handyman' column a suggestion about using your leaf blower to clear light dusty snowfall instead of pulling out the snowblower or, horrors, the shovel. At the time I thought, gee that sounds like a great idea, and I shared it with my resident snow handler. I am pleased to report that it works very nicely with the fluffy stuff, (heavy wet stuff, not so much) and lately it's been so cold that that the good skiing snow is th only kind we've gotten. Knock wood. Hubby with the bad back now prefers this snow removal method above all others. Here he is clearing the walk today. Hardworking and a snappy dresser too. I'm a lucky girl.

I am pleased to report that I took the first steps toward the basement grow room today. I cleaned it. Taa Daa. Here is what I hope will be my "before" photo. I have to share that the local hardware store people laughed (after we left of course) when we asked if they stocked seed-growing-kits. And I quote, "Uh, it's January. We don't typically stock that stuff 'tul Spring", in the unmistakable tone of; 'you Idiot.'

I can't help it, I can't wait.

Sunday, January 4, 2009

My 'To Do' List for 2009

I do have all kinds of plans - it might be premature to call them a 'to-do' list. A plan seems so much more innocuous. So here are my plans for my (and my hubbs) spare time this year.

1. Clear the scraggly brush in the front yard, open it up to more sunlight.
1.a. Consider the area for a veggie garden.

2. Pick up the leaves, spread the remainder of the mulch from last year. Order more.

3. Take the cut tree detritus in the wooded lot to the dump.

4. Put up a screen in the side yard *combination vegetation and fencing.

5. Widen the front walk beds.

6. Start annuals from seed in the basement.

7. Direct sow annuals from seed *based on cultivar tolerance.

8. Finish the floating deck.8.a. Lay out a patio at the base.

9. Move the playset.

10. Research the best time to move dogwood trees. Move the trees.

11. Create a rainwater collection system.

12. Clean up the compost area and use it more often.

13. Fix the parking area, layout with crushed stone.

14. Create walk from driveway to front porch.

15. Move the evergreen shrub from the front bed.

16. Grow the shade beds.

Of course there are the non-gardening plans that surround getting in shape and losing that baby weight, but I won't bore you with all that crud. Gardening and home improvements seem so much easier and controllable. As for the controllable stuff, I'm sure this is just the tip of the iceberg, and I'm sure there will be more to come.

Next...adventures in seed. I'm determined; plan item #6 is soon to be checked off.

Saturday, January 3, 2009

I Will Buy Local

It's January 3rd, the ground is snowcovered, and below that, frozen solid to a depth of at least 12 inches, with a bitter windchill (think zero) in the air. Yet here I am thinking about my gardens. My thoughts are fueled by two of my favorite idea generators; the White Flower Farm Spring Catalog and the March 2009 issue of Horticulture Magazine. The latter comes with a cover article entitled, "Ready for Spring". To which I reply, "Hell, Yes" followed by an even louder, "Hell, NO!"

Hell, Yes. I am ready to see green, not white, although technically we only began winter just over 10 days ago. And Hell, NO. I am not ready, because I have planned little and prepared even less.

Last year I went a little nuts between January and March, ordering, ordering, ordering from several catalogs. When the plants started flowing in the spring it was fun, but I have to admit when the seventh box of plants arrived in as many days, I was a little daunted when my husband turned to me and said, "um, where are you going to put all this stuff?" My answer, "I dunno. I'll find homes for everything" didn't really thrill him. My attitude is there are never too many gardens and there is always too much lawn. But what he heard in my response was a weekend of watching the kids while I garden. And he was wrong; it was more like two weekends.
This year, I have vowed to stay away from mail order despite the temptation and buy local instead. Come April and May, (seems a long time from now) I'm hoping to check out The Nashoba Valley Garden Center in Pepperell, Littleton's Cataldo Nursery, various Hollis, NH farm stands, and the Pepperell Garden Club's annual sale. I also am hoping to stay more on task and make a list of the plants that I need to fill in, instead of the "that looks cool" bug that I fall prey to every time I walk through the door of one of these fabulous places.

I have also realized (duh, as mentioned in other posts, the realtor's description was 'wooded lot') that I have a shade-heavy property, and yet, I am drawn to buy every more full sun plants. Which leads to ever more lawn shrinkage - again, a bad thing? naa - but I tend to ignore our vast tracts of shade and leave them just that; green and shady. Not this year I say! If ever there was a resolution I could follow, it is this; I will buy 2 shade plants for every one full sun plant that I fork $ over for. That way I can actually enjoy some color in my back yard, instead of having to traverse to the front of the house for a sighting of pink, yellow, or crimson.

Next...a to-do list.

Local Nurseries I've used