It’s been a beautiful, long, cool spring. While so many others have been bored during this stay at home spring due to COVID-19, I found myself busier than ever. It’s been nice being outside tending my garden with temperature mostly in the 50’s and 60’s during the day. I have a lot of photos to share.
So far, social distancing because of the Coronavirus has been good for our garden. Last week we planted lettuce, carrot and spinach seed. Over the weekend, we planted onions and potatoes.
I should note here that our winter felt like a prolonged spring. Very strange. They say blooms are 3 weeks early this year.
It’s black kitty day and she posed so nicely for me.
A huge branch fell from one of the silver maples by the road.
I said I’d try to get the serviceberry tree in it’s fall glory and here it is. You might need to click on it to get a better view of it. I tried photographing it in at all times of day and in sun and clouds and it just wasn’t doing it justice. I think maybe it is because it is a delicate looking tree. The individual leaves are small and it is shaded by trees all around it.
I’m sitting at a table with an open window at my back and the breeze is glorious! The first three days of October were around 90 degrees which is crazy. Today is beautiful and we are even expecting some much needed rain on Monday so keeping my fingers crossed.
Dave usually walks Darcy in the morning and we both go in the evening. Dave’s requirement to report to work in northern Virgina two days every other week means it is hard to get his hours in so I’ve been walking Darcy in the morning when I can. She plops herself down when she looks back and sees people coming up behind us which is pretty much always since it is a well loved park we walk in. I literally have to drag her to get her going again. Then the people say “oh, she’s tired” and I let them know she just wants to see them. She runs around the dog park for an hour so I know walking with me isn’t causing her to be tired. I enjoy walking again and can feel it is good for my body.
Letting her have her little break.
The red chokeberry bush
in my nature journal
The paw paw tree leaves start turning color quite early. I harvested quite a few this year. They are best when I just pick them off the ground before they start to rot too much. I gave some away this year. Some people had them before and were happy to have them again. One had never had a paw paw and was surprised she like it.
Our one little pepper plant has given us quite a few large peppers. I expect this is the last of it. I made some sweet red pepper relish with these. The guys ate it on their chicken salad sandwiches last night.
Having issues with getting photos in a post and have now figured it out.
A photo from July – Dave and a harvest of green beans, cucumbers and tomatoes. The green beans did well for about a month and that was it. We’ve gotten a tomato here and there. The two plants just didn’t do well. Not sure why. We got so many cucumbers I canned bread and butter pickles and dill pickles. Without fail we have to make tomato sauce so we ended up buying seconds at the farmers market to do so.
Our big news around here since last post is that we adopted a five month old puppy. She is a labrador/hound mix. We were smitten at first sight even though I didn’t really want a big dog.
Her first visit to the vet.
She loves Dave best.
white wood aster
Darcy and the cats have made peace.
Darcy has been with us for six weeks now. I can’t imagine a home without a dog.
I’ll get to the bees in a minute. First some photos from earlier in the month. Here, the fringe tree and columbine are blooming.
What do Frida and Smokey want?
A replacement rhododendron – the others are white. I’m okay with it.
Blooming woodland geraniums and stonecrop
I love green and gold as a ground cover in our native garden.
Lichen (blooming?) on the old fence behind the barn.
Ready for the bees
Larry (we know him from hOUR Economy) had hives and not enough property. We had property and a desire to have bees with the help of someone with some experience. So we have partnered with him in beekeeping. The bees arrived last Friday in this box. The queen bee come in a little separate box. There is a piece of candy on one end and the bees are supposed to eat the candy over a period of a few days to release her. It gives the other bees the time to accept her as their queen. We opened the wrong side of the little box and released her too early. Either she was killed by our clumsy efforts of hive set up or the other bees killed her because we are pretty sure by the behavior of the bees that they are queenless. We even had someone with two decades of bee experience out here yesterday and that was her assessment. Sue wore only a veil and looked all around the hive, lifting the frames and lid to look at all the bees to catch sight of a queen. She couldn’t find one. She also thought they were without a queen by their high pitched buzzing. We are now waiting for another queen to come in the mail.
We have harvested nine quarts of strawberries. Most of which have been sugared and frozen for my mom ; c )
Poor Len took a turn for the worse recently and we had him euthanized a few days ago. He had been diagnosed with thyroid cancer 15 months ago. The doctor was impressed that he had lasted this long. We are now dogless and it feels strange though I was happy to get ride of the stinky dog beds.
I love my old oak.
Not really sure why we did it but we bought a second hive of bees. This one came all ready in a hive and was delivered to us by my friend Paul who keeps bees in downtown Staunton. One of his hives swarmed a month ago so he put them in this hive and they are busy doing their thing – making comb, the queen is laying eggs and maybe even making honey already. I forget what Paul and Larry said. There is so much to learn. This is a very small colony of bees but they seem to know what they are doing and are doing it. I guess because they have a queen. We won’t harvest honey this year because we want the bees to have it so they are strong and make it through the winter. We are of the mind that honey is better for them than sugar water. If both hives do well, we will harvest in he fall of 2020- some honey for us, some for Larry and we’ll leave honey in the hive for the bees. If they run out before spring we will supplement with sugar water. Paul says our garden will flourish with the help of the bees.
You know you are in the country when your neighbors want the beehive near their property ; c )
I’m feeling a bit under the weather so the only thing getting done around here is a bit of sewing, reading, sketching and light housework. (And if truth be told – watching a lot of youtube videos.)
I thought I’d share a few sketches since one is of our front door. The cityscape is of the Clock Tower building on E. Beverley Street in Staunton. The sketch of some of my toiletries and the door was done for an online sketching class I’m taking. I’m purposely focusing on sketching (and not drawing) because I’m not interested in trying to perfectly render what I see.
I’m having fun playing with my pens and paints and seeing a little bit of improvement with each sketch.
It’s time to start thinking about a vegetable garden. It has been too rainy to do any prep work. Right now we are just hoping for a few good days in early spring to get things started and then just planting some of the seeds we already have. No real planning – just doing what can get done.
I should mention here that on February 5 we had our precious goldendoodle, Duke, euthanized. It’s such a hard thing to do, but we knew it was the right thing to do. He had a good long life – 15 years – and was a great dog.
I think these photos are from 2015.