summer greens at Mountain Glen Farm

summer greens at Mountain Glen Farm

Saturday, February 13, 2016

I Am A Fan Of My Winter Garden Until...

I really enjoy every seasonal aspect of my garden.  Winter is not quite as colorful as spring or summer, but it does have its unique and appealing differences.
In my winter garden, some of my perennials have totally died back resulting in the remaining plants to take a more prominent position.  Some of those plants turn brown, crispy and oddly interesting in comparison to their growing season counterparts. The seed heads that remain are frequently visited by the winter bird population as a food supplement to their diminished food supply.  The leafless deciduous trees show off their intricate branching patterns.  Some plants remain green almost as if mocking the season.  They do not continue to grow, but they do add color to an almost monotone landscape. And, having no plant eating bugs is a real plus.
Then, we get a deep snowfall. My yard becomes the proverbial ‘winter wonderland’.
Again, a different and stimulating kind of beauty until…the snow melts.
The yard is muddy.  The grass is lined with gravel that has been plowed off the lane.  The once-erect and fascinating plants, both brown and green, are flattened to the ground.  Fallen branches, big and small, litter the lawn.
What was enjoyable to look at only days earlier is now one unpleasant mess.
I am ready for Spring.

Friday, February 12, 2016

Using My Greenhouse

I have not mentioned all the virtues, and there are many, of our solarium/greenhouse, but I will one day soon.
However, I will remark on today’s activity…finally getting around to planting some veggies. 
I know winter is almost gone (a bit of wishful thinking on my part) and spring is near enough to think about the planting of early spring vegetables outside, but…
I have finally filled four of my 3-gallon root pouches with potting soil which I just purchased doing last week’s errands. I have never used these pouches before, so I am putting a bit of faith in the product.  If all goes well, Glenn and I will still be able to munch a few veggies, our first to be grown in our greenhouse, before any would be available fresh from our outside garden.




potted Gerber daisy during winter residence I n greenhouse
more winter color from this small begonia

I planted Black Seeded Simpson leaf lettuce, Romaine lettuce and Cherry Belle radishes.  I just sprinkled the seeds over the soil, swooshed the top layer gently over the seeds to cover, spritzed with water and covered loosely with plastic wrap to help retain the moisture for germination.  I also planted some Roma tomato seeds that I harvested from last season’s tomato crop.  Those tomatoes were the biggest and best we had ever grown, so I hope I can replicate and the plants will grow true. The tomatoes are being grown for transplanting out in the ‘real’ garden.  I hope that I am starting them at the proper time.
plant corner of the greenhouse - opposite corner houses our inflatable solarium hot tub
Quite frankly, I am doing all this without the benefit of any internet expertise.  Not that I did not look, I just could not find any appropriate directions.  So, I am relying on my own basic gardening knowledge.  That could be scary.  At the moment, I am just chalking up the entire process as an experiment.
I will let you know if anything grows.

Thursday, February 11, 2016

Go and Find Your Peace


I went off-farm the other day to shop for some much needed groceries and to run a few errands that had been on my ‘to do’ list for about forever.   I had not been away from the farm since our most recent snowstorm back in January. I adore my bucolic recluse life, but once in a while, I do feel the urge to get out and about.


I drove to Staunton, to Waynesboro and then back home completing the triangle drive.  My normal path is to either go to Staunton or to go to Waynesboro.  I rarely go to both cities in one trip; hence, I had not driven the section of road between Staunton and Waynesboro for about one year.


I was appalled at all the changes. 


It seems to me that unchecked residential building has given way to aggressive commercial building.  Every new store was in a new building.  Businesses that were no longer ‘in business’ left behind vacant store fronts and warehouse with large  ‘For Lease’ signs prominently  displayed.  Now, some of these buildings have seen better days, but many are very contemporary and in high traffic areas. These recently once good bones and foundation of buildings are now beginning to deteriorate from lack of use.  Personally, I do not think that a derelict building neighboring brand new construction says much for the atmosphere of the community as a whole.


What is wrong with using these still very serviceable buildings?  It seems like everything has to be NEW, NEW, NEW. Cosmetic renovations do wonders to perk up a tired fa├žade.  Random open spaces can remain open adding to a relaxing, more inviting shopping experience.  The January issue of National Geographic had an article about the benefits of open, natural space within an urban environment.  Basically, being out among the trees and grass, even a small greenspace between buildings, can enhance a person’s overall health including reducing stress levels.  Really?  I just thought that was common sense.  But, it seems there is a need for many studies on the subject and as justification for the NatGeo article.  In any case, my common sense tells me to use what is available…reuse, recycle, repurpose.  Stop waste.


Maybe these businesses went out of business because they initially overextended their finances on a new building instead of starting small and growing as the business grew.  Common business sense?


Needless to say, my short drive drove my stress level up.  But, I am fortunate.  I am usually home among the trees, open fields, mountain views and wildlife - relaxing and reclusing (is this a word?) among the peace and beauty of my natural environment.  No study results are as conclusive to my stress levels as my own, tranquil state of mind.  Most people are not as fortunate to have a private refuge, but a public escape; a park, a riverside trail, even a cemetery, can provide a welcome respite.  Every person has his/her own characterization of what brings peace.  Go out and enjoy your personal retreat.


I know where I will be.

Monday, February 1, 2016

My Unexpected Expected Package

A package arrived for me via the USPS mail.
I ordered a book online, and I knew the package had to be my book.
But, it was the package that was really interesting.  Check this out….
the white squares of paper are covering the addresses - no need to share this info
I applaud the seller/sender.  This guy must have really searched the bottom of his desk ‘junk’ drawer to reap, not only a lot of postage stamps, but a lot of old postage stamps.  He was probably also very happy to finally be able to clear out a bit of the old inventory.
There were 8-cent Christmas stamps and 13-cent Quilt stamps on the front of the mailing box.
When I flipped the box over to the top narrow side, there were more stamps.  One-cent Tiffany Lamps, a different Christmas stamp (price was blotted and unreadable) and 29-cent floral stamps from 2011 - the year was printed on these stamps.
I had the beginnings of a stamp collection.
I am sending kudos to the postal worker who had to hand-cancel the stamps.  I bet this customer keeps his local post office in good spirits.  I know I would be waiting anxiously to see what the next package to be mailed looked like.  I can tell this guy has one great sense of humor. Or, he just really needed to do a bit housekeeping.  I can relate to the latter.
Another side of the box, as well as the bottom, was printed in Chinese or Japanese. Not knowing a bit of either, I do not know what the box originally contained.  Doesn’t matter.  Actually, the true bottom of the box was the now top of the box.  That juxtaposition abled the sender to utilize less packing tape to secure the box - brilliant.
I have never received, nor do I expect to receive in the future, a box with such amusement and character.
Packrat that I am, I will be saving this box for the ‘smile’ factor alone. 
Yeah…the book was OK, too!