• Last spring my garden is alive after along winter sleep. Plenty of work to be done. Planted many vegetable seedlings grown in the greenhouse. Lettuce, carrot (sowed direct into the ground), collard, kale, Swiss chard, corn, pumpkin, potato, beet, summer squash, tomato and leek. The garden is doing great. Just yesterday I harvested several zuccinni. Right away I made zuccinni chocolate cake. It is always a joy to be able to harvest from your own garden and cook with the vegetable that you grow yourself. Gardening is an excellent exercise for body and mind. Regardless how big or small your garden is.
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Spring is almost here

The sound of tree frogs croaking in the distant meant spring is almost here.  Time to think of gardening.

As usual every morning I would visit the greenhouse to look if the seedlings need watering.  While busy looking around, I notice a tree frog not far from the peat moss container.  It unusual to see one so close.  I let the frog out into the garden.

Tree frogs are only about an inch long.  Which makes them hard to see even where they are plentiful.  Ponds and wetlands where they can be heard croaking on wet nights especially if temperature is above 40F.  Although they are excellent climbers they are rarely found in trees.

The frogs can be found at night with flashlight by quietly following the sound to the source, although they will quit calling when searches get close.  During the day they can often be found under boards or other corner in or near wetlands.  Just about any wetland habitat with shallow standing water that does not dry up before June is good place to hear and find these frogs.

 
                                       Photo courtesy Chris Carney stock.xchng

Gardening Calendar In The Month Of June

Woo hoo, finally the rain stopped.  I thought spring will never leave Oregon and today is the first day of summer.  The long-range forecast is for good weather, so I will take the opportunity to do some yard work.  More transplanting vegetable seedlings,  pruning the flower shrubs, mowing the lawn, etc.  I found by following a to do list is quite helpful.  Here it is…..

  • Apply fertilizer to lawns
  • Control root weevils in rhododendrons, azaleas, primroses, and other ornamentals.  Use beneficial nematodes if soil temperature is above 55F.
  • Remove seed pods after blooms have dropped from rhododendron, azaleas.
  • Prune lilacs, forsythia, rhododendrons, and azaleas after blooming.
  • Use an inch or two of organic mulches or sawdust or composted leaves to conserve soil moisture.
  • Pick ripe strawberries regularly to avoid fruit rotting diseases.
  • Control garden weeds by pulling, hoeing or mulching.
  • Thin apples, pears, and peaches when fruit is as big around as nickle.  Expect normal June drop of fruit not pollinated.
  • Late this month, began to monitor for late blight on tomatoes.
  • If  indicated, spray cherries at a weekly intervals for fruit fly.
  • Move houseplants outside for cleaning, grooming, repotting and summer growth.
  • Make sure raised beds receive enough water for plants to stay free of drought stress.
  • Learn to identify beneficial insects such as, ladybugs, ground beetles, rove beetles, spiders and wasps.
  • Blossoms on squash and cucumbers begin to drop, nothing to worry about.

Happy Gardening

Remembering My Garden Companion

Spencer was his name,  a Labrador Retriever trained to retrieve motionless ducks in the water.  But we never used him to retrieved ducks, instead Spencer became my constant companion everywhere, including the garden.

He loved to roam around the large garden, especially under a huge old maple tree.  Once awhile a squirrel would challenge Spencer for a hide and seek, which of course made him excited.  Barking furiously at the squirrel, running around the tree chasing the elusive creature until he tired of it.  Feeling exhausted and thirsty, he trotted straight to the pond for a drink.   Then Spencer find a peaceful spot to rest until the next adventure .    He also enjoyed chasing butterflies and small birds too, of course he never was able to catched any of them.  They were to quick for Spencer.

When the fruit season arrived, Spencer was over the moon.  Lots of food to eat.  He would sniff each fruit for ripeness.  One apple or pear was not enough, he ate many of them until he could not eat any more.

Spencer was a gentle, sweet, loving dog,  he enjoyed car rides and meeting people.  He was a people dog.  Gradually old age stole all his exuberance.  No more chasing  anything his energy was not there anymore.  On January 2000, my beloved garden companion heart gave out.  I felt heartbroken lost a friend who gave me joy everyday of my life.  My husband and I decided under the old maple tree would be a suitable final resting place for Spencer.  He would loved that as this area was his favorite playground.

Until we meet again……….

Here is a lovely poem to remember my garden companion.

RAINBOW BRIDGE  (author unknown)

Just this side of heaven is a place called Rainbow Bridge.

When an animal dies that has been especially close to someone here, that pet goes to Rainbow Bridge.  There are meadows and hills for all of our special friends so the can run and play together.  There is plenty of food, water and sunshine, and our friends are warm and comfortable.

All the animals who had been ill and old are restored to health and vigor; those who were hurt or maimed are made whole and strong again, just as we remember them in our dreams of days and times gone by.  The animals are happy and content, except for one small thing;  they each miss someone very special to them, who had to be left behind.

They all run and play together, but the day comes when one suddenly stops and looks into the distance.  His bright eyes are intent;  His eager body quivers.  Suddenly he begins to run from the group, flying over the green grass, his legs carrying him faster and faster.

You have been spotted, and when you and your special friend finally meet, you cling together in joyous reunion, never to be parted again.  The happy kisses rain upon your face;  your hands again caress the beloved head, and you look once more into the trusting eyes of your pet, so long gone from your life but never absent rom your heart.

Then you cross Rainbow Bridge together………

Source:

http://www.petloss.com

Dexter, our beloved Labrador age 11 passed away on September 27, 2010.   He spent one year in the Labrador foster home because no one want to adopt him.  We came along to adopt Dexter who was 8 month old, full of energy, playful, with a enormous appetite. 

We gave Dexter lots of love and a wonderful life, in spite of his health condition toward later in life.   The orchard was his favorite place to roam.   When the fruit trees heavy with apples, pears, plums and cherries,  Dexter would trot from tree to another looking for ripe fruit by sniffing.  Then, he pulled the fruit with such force the branch shook violently.  Naturally several would fall to the ground and he would gobbled them up too.  Harvest season was his favorite time of the year.  Not only eating was his passion, chasing squirrels, birds, occasional deer who came close to his territory.    He was an adventurous dog, enjoy roaming around the property.   We burried Dexter  near our other Labrador,  Spencer who passed away 11 years ago.

We gave you a wonderful stable home,   in return you gave us joy.  Have a good journey Dexter,  we will meet again……….

CANADA GEESE NOT ON OUR LAWN

     

Canada geese are not welcome on our lawn.  They are a menace, heavy feeder, especially on dark green healthy grass.  They leave droppings everywhere on the lawn that created a burn like circle.  I believe this come from nitrogen in their droppings.  The lawn slope to the water edge.  So my husband decided to install a yard guard (portable fence) that comes in 50 feet rolls, 4 feet in hight.  That did the trick, no more geese foraging on our lawn.  They are lazy bird, rather ambling to the lawn than fly over it.  Watching them on the water is quite a sight .  When they sense danger, bobbing up and down their head making a clucking noise.  Signalling they are ready to fly out.  The clucking noise went into a crescendo, their web feet start to run on the water, wings spread wide,  flapping furiously and slowly they lift off.  Flying along the McKenzie river to find another grass field for foraging.    

Did you know that the gander wingspread is as much as 5 feet and his weight approaches 14 pounds, wow that is heavy.  The gander is also a fierce defender of his mate and offsprings. Their habitats are ponds, lakes rivers, freshwater, salt marshes, and grain fields.  The nest is a hollow lined with plant matter and down.  Eggs 2-12, white, incubation 25-30 days, by female only.  Gosling leave nest soon after hatching, they will stay with their parents until next spring.  Their foods are aquatic plants, grass, and grain.      

From spring to fall often I look up in the sky geese flying in their V formation males and females honking greeting each other.  A beautiful sight to be hold in spite their annoying habit of ruining our lawn with their droppings.     

Happy Gardening……    

Canada geese resting on the edge of the lawn.

 

Wild Birds Frolicking In The Snow

 

 

These wild birds (Juncos and Towhees) were lucky enough to find food in a snow storm.  Oregon covered in snow for several days .  A winter wonderland seldom seen in the Pacific Northwest, except, of course in higher altitude.  Rain is common here.  I captured this photo from the kitchen window with a telephoto lens.  It was a joy to watched these birds enjoying their winter feast.