Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Birthday Greetings to my mother

     I had to stop in to wish my mom a Happy 71st Birthday! We had lots of family here for dinner in celebration... mom made her much-loved Spaghetti Sauce, and I made Coffee Chocolate Cake for dessert.
     The coyotes have been howling up a storm... they woke me up at five this morning with all their yipping and calling. To top it off, two owls joined in the early-morning conversation, along with the 3 or 5 coyotes. As I was walking mom out to her car tonight, we heard them again. It reminded me that Halloween is but a month away!
     It has done nothing but rain here for several days, with only a few breaks in between. I took advantage of one today to pick raspberries and pack up an order for Sweet Annie and Bittersweet. I am grateful for the rain, as it has been very dry. However, we had planned on a kayak jaunt tomorrow, but it's not going to happen on account of the rain. But I will be babysitting my grandson, which is better yet!
    There are still a few more days to enter my SWEET ANNIE GIVE-AWAY! See the post below for further information!
    Well, it is near bedtime and I have a co-op order to put together first, so I must be off. I'll be back come October!

Friday, September 25, 2009

Enter my Sweet Annie Give-Away!!

My favorite non-edible herb is in full swing for harvesting here on Wildenblue Farm. It is known affectionately as Sweet Annie, due to its heavy sweet scent. Botanically it is known as Artemesia Annua. I just love harvesting and bundling up the boughs of my Sweet Annie and hanging the bunches wherever I want a primitive country feel. As it dries, I reach up and grab a handful to sprinkle on my braided rugs just before vaccuming them. It makes a bit of a pleasure of the monotonous chore!

Sweet Annie is also lovely for entwining into sweet-scented wreathes, or for use in potpourri or sweet bags. Never use Sweet Annie for culinary purposes. It is not meant to be consumed, but is used strictly for decorative purposes.

If you live in the continental United States, you may purchase Sweet Annie bundles from my Wildenblue Farm Primitives Etsy Shop, which you can click on to the left of my blog page, or on this link: http://wildenbluefarm.etsy.com/ They are available for a limited time due to the impending heavy frosts!

If you have the room and the desire, Sweet Annie is easily grown, but be forewarned! It self-seeds readily, and can become an invasive PEST! One of my Strawberry Beds (and Berry Garden... and gravel pathways... and Barnyard... and....) is loaded with Sweet Annie seedlings and plants, which must be removed before the seeds develop and drop, lest I have double the trouble next year!

Now, I have a surprise for a lucky faithful reader who is a residence of the continental United States. (I'm so sorry to exclude International Readers, but due to Postal Customs Restrictions, I cannot ship plant material outside of the United States.) If you care to send me an email, I will enter your name in a Sweet Annie Drawing! I will accept emails for ONE WEEK... til October 3rd, 2009... and on October 4th, 2009, I will draw a name and I will post the winner of a Sweet Annie bundle that evening.
To enter the drawing for a bundle of Fresh-Cut Sweet Annie... send an email with your complete name and mailing address to WildenblueFarm@aol.com
I will fairly select one winner who shall receive at no charge what-so-ever a beautiful fragrant bundle of Sweet Annie. This will be fresh-picked from my garden on the day of shipping as weather permits. Because it is fresh, you must unpack it as soon as it arrives, give it a gentle shake and hang it to dry in a dry, airy spot. Please know it will be wilted or will wilt soon after delivery... this is normal! DO NOT place in water.

Here is a link on some information about Sweet Annie that you may enjoy! http://www.herbcompanion.com/Projects/Annie-Sweet-Annie.aspx
Autumn blessings from Laura of Wildenblue Farm!

Saturday, September 19, 2009

Happy 3rd Birthday, Anthony!

Here are some pictures of Anthony's third birthday celebration we had tonight... HAPPY BIRTHDAY ANTHONY!!!
love, Gramma Laura

Friday, September 11, 2009

Garden update

As anyone who lives in the North Country knows, the potential for a killing frost for the gardens becomes more likely as the days tick away towards mid-September. The plants still continue their somewhat-slowed growth, seemingly unaware of what lies just ahead. The cucumbers, Kentucky Wonder pole beans, Yin Yang bush beans, and Butternut Squash stretch their tendrily fingers, bedecked with blossom rings, ever-forward toward fences and arbors, reaching to claim more of the space they occupy in the garden.

Pumpkins are taking advantage by day of what little is left of the warmth and sunshine, still sending out blossoms of gold despite evening temperatures dipping into the mid-forties and below. Other crops are submitting to the beginning of Autumn; the Spaghetti Squash, Garlic and Potato vines have withered and dried, offering their fruits as sacrifice and testimony of the time passed.

A smattering of blushing leaves have released themselves from the grasp of the red maple branches and pinned themselves to the mossy-green cloak of lawn... they beckon the others still on the trees to let go and follow along, for they know that cold winds are not far away, waiting to dislodge them all with one frosty breath.

Catnip and especially Basil are waiting to be harvested before frost blackens their leaves and takes away any will to survive. The Catnip has been nestled in a blanket of row-cover all season long, which offers protection from our seven marauding cats. Yet it will offer little protection from a heavy frost. Thus, this becomes a chore of necessity which must be tended to within the next few days.

When mom and I built the little greenhouse last October, she commented on how the cattle panels we were using in its construction would make ideal arbors for beans and gourds to climb on. Needless to say, when the garden went in this spring, so did the cattle panels. At about $20.00 per 16' X 4' panel, it proved to be a fairly inexpensive and very sturdy trellis for peas, pole beans, gourds, cucumbers and morning glories to meander up and over. They were easy to bend in half, and I secured them in the ground by driving a steel fencepost in the center of each side and using plastic cable ties to secure the panel to the posts. They stand easily 7' tall, and I kept them about 4' apart width-wise.

I would definitely recommend them for this purpose, and will absolutely use them again next year. They withstood the weight of birdhouse gourds which I planted on one side of a trellis. On the other side, I planted scads of Kentucky Wonder pole beans. The cattle panels didn't move in the winds, nor did they buckle or cave under the weight of the crops leaning on them. Out in the back garden entryway, I covered one arch with Hop's Vine and Morning Glories... both of which grew heavily and thickly to completely engulf the cattle panel. I can still grasp the top of the arch and hang my weight from it and it does not bend. I'm very pleased with mom's idea!

I am continuing to dig potatoes and garlic, and will soon need to start digging up some Jerusalem Artichokes. When it began raining this afternoon, I headed out to transplant over 100 autumn Forget-Me-Not plants and seedlings which had taken over a good chunk of the berry garden. I have some lovely fall Raspberries that are sending out still more side shoots, and because the berries are so large and prolific, I will transplant the

new shoots to a brand-new bed to get a good start for next year. So the rampant blue seedlings must go elsewhere. I'm appreciative of the gentle rain we've received this evening, and won't mind if it continues all night, for the sake of the transplanted flowers and a few fruit trees my brother brought up that I finally got around to planting the other day!

Tomorrow afternoon, there will be a Baby Shower here for Nicole, my middle son Jake's girlfriend. Sunday, we have plans to meader about the countryside in New York and Vermont for a Cheese Tour of Washington County. I'll bring my camera!
I will leave you now with a few more photographs from the garden today, and I hope you all have a lovely weekend! Til next time...

Thursday, September 3, 2009

Congratulations Travis and Ashley!

Travis and Ashley, August 22nd, 2009 Here is a photograph of my oldest son Travis and his wife Ashley, who were married here on August 22nd, 2009. They are the parents of my grandson Ryan, who is shown in his (serious) wedding finery above! Much love and best wishes!
This is my family... my brother and his wife, my mom and I, and my children and their families, except my grandson Anthony did not get in the pictures, as he was too busy playing!
Here is Anthony sneaking off with a fruit kabob!
Well, I figured I'd best get to writing here again, lest I be too forgotten! WHERE did August go to? And how did September get here already? Aside from the wedding, not much out of the ordinary happening around here. The weather has been beautiful, and the gardens continue to grow and flourish... unaware of the impending frosts that will soon come and end their lovliness. I've been dehydrating zucchini, mushrooms, and green beans, and making Hot Dill Pickles, thanks to an exuberant crop of cucumbers. They have been coming on so fast that the chickens and geese and guineas and ducks have been feasting on too-late-found, too-large cukes and zukes! Even though I planted a late crop of peas, the weather got too hot again and thus they are spent for the season. There are lovely orange Cinderella Pumpkins and some rather green Howden's coming along. Fall Raspberries are beginning to ripen, and I've had a few Ever-Bearing Strawberries to snack on as I continue to weed and tidy up. I really need to transplant the beautiful autumn Forget-Me-Nots that have taken over a portion of the Berry Garden. I started them from seed last July, and they scattered themselves all over the garden, even managing to spill out onto the pea stone pathways. They are such a lovely shade of china-blue!
The Morning Glories have been rampant in their growth, taking over the fence, sunflowers, and even growing along the ground, wrapping their tendrils 'round any plant in sight. For years, I've not planted any deep-violet Grandpa Ott Morning Glories, as they've reseeded themselves year after year. But I did seed several new varieties this spring in different shades of sky blue... each with a lighter-or-darker star in the center. They are rambling over the back fences and across the arbor that is filled with the Hops Vine that was transplanted this summer from mom's garden. I really need to pick and dry the Hops flowers, too. This morning, I finished harvesting and bundling bunches of snowy white Artemesia and hung them to dry in the garden shed. And I finally salvaged a single crop of Catnip from the evil paws of our seven cats, and that must be tended to this week. There are bunches of Basil waiting to be dehydrated for seasoning, as well as to be made into batches of Pesto. I made a triple batch last week and got that frozen, but must get the rest into the freezer lest a frost ruins the whole lot. So all in all, a very good gardening season, even though it got off to a late start due to cold weather. My daughter and I are anxiously waiting for Apple Season to begin next week. I pressed a bit of Cider last year with our apples, but due to spring frosts, we do not have many on the trees this year. Which is the best excuse I will come up with to visit our local orchard for Cider AND cider doughnuts!

If you want to try a recipe for Apple Pizza, look in my Blog Archives from 2008, and simply scroll down til you seen the Apple Pizza recipe, and click on that! Have a lovely Labor Day weekend!