This is the garden of my early childhood.
To me, its herbaceous border stretched forever. At the end of the garden stood a weeping willow which seemed taller and grander than the one in the photo. One year, much to the horror of our mothers, Anthony and I climbed to the top of this tree, and, as imaginative children do, we took turns sprinkling laundry soap (pretend snow), whilst the other grasped armfuls of long, slender branches and slid to the ground.
Zinnias, Delphiniums, Campanula, Larkspur, Foxglove, and more filled that bed. I was dazzled. Smitten. Filled with awe and wonder. As childish jealousy’s go, I always thought it unfair my brother (William) had a heady-scented flower – the Sweet William named after him, and mine was the unfortunate-named Black-eyed Susan. (My given name was Susan). I can laugh about such silliness now.
Another memory is of the peony’s which flanked one side of the drive. I remember their perfumed red splendor. And on the bank behind the house, were raspberry canes, gooseberry bushes, and strawberry beds.
It is now, I reflect upon the impact these gardens had on me as a child. And, without being aware of it, I believe my parents instilled and nurtured within me, my love of gardening; that no matter where – be it apartment or otherwise, I always have a garden.
Or, dredging the past, digging up s—t, oops, manure, and dolly to rabbit?
My mother gave up dressing me in anything with lace. I’d liberate my clothing of the scratchy, hateful stuff, usually found on collars and cuffs. Similarly, after the age of six, I never received another doll, Barbie or otherwise. I traded my Barbie, and her wardrobe (some outfits lovingly sewn or knitted by my mother) — for a rabbit.
Oh joyousness! My first rabbit!
The dolly/rabbit exchange happened one day after school. I packed Barbie and her clothes in a shoe-box and rendezvoused with my friend. In the middle of the road, we made the exchange. Barbie and her clothes were popped into a gym-bag, and Scamper (yes, I grew up using words like ‘scamper’) was deposited into the shoe-box. No lid required.
The extraordinary thing, is, I have no recollection of where I housed Scamper – probably in my bedroom until my long-suffering, patient father built the rabbit hutch and run of my – er, his, dreams. I had no say in the matter. It was deluxe! With a ramp up to the hutch, the run was fully enclosed and had a latching door. The first of several such hutches he built for me over the years.
My mother wasn’t as impressed, but, too late, my father and I had formed an alliance. Thanks, Dad!
Well, that was a whacky week! Sunday night it began to snow and I awoke to close to a foot of snow on Monday morning. Roo delighted in shoveling and rooting about for his ball in the snow. Ever obsessed, he wants me to, “Throw the ball!”
The Garden: It is obvious the broad beans didn’t get planted, and won’t for a while yet. The highlight was rescuing a cold hummingbird from the porch. Such a sweet bird – it’s fine!
The Kitchen: Made a skillet of sumptuous Shepherd’s Pie. Picture and recipe under “The Kitchen” tab.
Aside from keeping the wood-fire in the house burning non-stop, no projects were done inside the house, nor the future goat barn. I’m hoping this week is more conducive to productivity!
Hoping everyone is staying warm and dry!
The website has undergone a facelift. Some of you may remember it as: Harold, Rupert, and Me. I’ve removed 99.9% of the old content. If you’re missing a particular post, let me know, I can add it back.
2019 will be a busy year, assuming it stops snowing!
The Buildings: I’m currently gutting the inside of the shed (future goat barn). Thankfully the drywall tested negative for asbestos, so I was able to safely remove it. Pulling nails, ripping up the flooring, and readying the interior are upcoming jobs. In June or July, I’ll replace the roof. Those are the priorities for this year. If possible, I’d like to get the fence posts in and sort out someone to help with the fencing. In all likelihood, though, that will be early next year.
The Gardens: On snowy days like today, it’s nice to sit by the fire and continue planning the veggie garden. Seeds are here, but it’s too cold to begin anything in the greenhouse and I’m on the fence about starting seeds inside. If it’s like last year, it was a cold, wet spring. First priority this year is sourcing and acquiring several cattle panels for the raised beds. I want to start some vertical gardening. Likely next year, I’ll add more 2X6’s to the raised beds. In March the bare-root elderberry sticks arrive. They’ll get potted out for the time-being. And, there’s the on-going maintenance of the existing herb garden, flower beds, and raised beds.
The Kitchen: I’ve been enjoying making and canning masses of bone broth, and making a variety of fermented foods. The latest were carrot-ginger ferment and curried caulikraut. As usual, I have a batch of kombucha going and love adding grated ginger to the second ferment.
The Chickens: Work will begin on the predator-proof chicken tractor end March-early April, then I’ll get four birds. Not lots to begin with, I need to get used to having them again. Years ago, I had barred rock chickens. This time, I’d like to get a few birds that lay different coloured eggs.
The Goats: I’m aiming adding a doe and a wether in 2020. The goat barn and other infrastructure needs to be completed first.
I love where I live. It’s a property that works for me — there will always a project!