Sunday, March 7, 2010

I see green, and adventures!

Well we are warming up a bit, and have had a bit of rain, and a bit of hail! i am in illinois you know, where if you don’t like the weather, well… just stick around. it’ll change soon:) so seeing more green in the landscape. in the cottage’s gardens i am seeing st. john’s wort, horseradish, strawberry, lemon balm, horehound, mullein, skullcap, lavender, black cohosh and angelica all emerging in the last few days.



seems kind of funny to see some of these plants before some of the others that live here. but in my little ecosystem, the above particular plants are in the sunnier spots, so even though one might think they would emerge after say, the crocus, well, the early things are in some of the shadier spots that are still covered in snow:) i’ve mentioned before my home gardens are like living just inside the forest. still a few sunny spots, but mostly shade to semi shade. here is a picture i took looking up at the geese through the trees near the hives


2 mature maples and a mature tulip tree in that picture. there are 3 other mature maples and a 10+year old white pine also. so, like everyone, my home environment has its own uniqueness, challenges and attributes:)

yesterday was a wonderful day. we had our annual master gardener’s big day at our local college. we got offered our choose of different sessions. the first one i took was on community gardens. lots of good info and now hoping to maybe get a spot in it to grow some sunny loving veggies. the school where there is going to be one start is just a few blocks from my house and i could easily walk there this summer:) i will keep you posted about that:)

the second session sucked. called the amazing bee and the only amazing thing was how bad it was. the presenter was nice enough, but i wasn’t really into looking at those sad almond groves in california, with there napalm looking rows where roundup had killed everything but the almond trees. seeing that freaked me out as i boycott almonds personally just because i despise their monoculture, chemical, unnatural way of farming them! gag! and the poor bees! fed corn syrup early in the year to build them up to truck them out to pollinate those  post apocalyptic  looking fields….! need i say more? i’m getting rebummed. honestly just bout walked out of that session…

but the third session on raised bed gardening rocked as did the compost session. those were both great sessions and i learned new things from both. really liked this idea for composting. they just took a normal trash can, drilled holes top, bottom and all around, threw on the ground and rolled it around once in awhile and ta dah, compost!


i guess i should have took time to photoshop and make bigger for you, but i didn’t so just click on it and magnify yourself if you want to see it better. :) we got a compost pile we turn, but thinking this might be a bit neater. to have a few of these, and where our pile is, is a bit too close to the poison ivy anyway. i am thinking to make one raised bed garden and use the compost i have now for that, and in the future, just do a few of these cans:)

my brother and my buddy val went with me to the event. i was fortunate enough to win a door prize and here is a pic of val and i


had a really nice time at the event, but was itching to get home as the sun had came out and it was near 50 degrees! when i did get home i dashed out to check the bees and open up their hives some.

here is a pic of where my hives sit in my yard. not an ideal spot with all my trees, but the best i can do:)



bees march 6th 2010

now today. my brother and i went out to our friend dan’s house, and just had a ball taking a tour of his farm and acreage. he was kind enough to let me harvest some cottonwood bark to work with. this will be my first time and i will keep you posted about that too. this is eric, dan and dan’s 3 goats that follow him around like the dogs did.


dan and his wife have a very wonderful home. they sell at local farm markets a variety of produce, flowers and honey:) we met dan through our beekeeping group and i really enjoyed getting to know him better, visit his farm and thank him so much for sharing with me:)

earlier this week, my husband had ran down to the river hunting. we still have lots of ice and he said it had scoured out alot of the willow, but he did bring me home some to do some herbally things with ( tell ya bout that when i do it). the river is a wonderful place to find unusual items floating around or mysteriously brought from afar by ice, etc. so the black box in front of these willow branches is a butterfly house! figured it wasn’t a bat box as the inside doesn’t have the screening you usually find.


whew, been a busy week and i need to get off here and get chores done before monday gets here again. tomorrow is my friend katee’s birthdays and dylan and i are going to pick her and her granddaughter sicily up for our monthly lap sit at the library.

rosie continues to improve and dylan and i have been working hard learning new things, and having lots of fun too:)



and lily, evan and i have started a new of me once a week going out to their school to pick them up at the end of the school day. they really love these days they get to be “car riders”! and i love spending some special time with them




big herbal and honey hugs to all of you who visit comfrey cottages:)


Lemon Verbena Lady said...

That always happens to me as well. Have a beautiful day and you are inside looking at slides instead of outside working in the garden! Just really gets me too! Looks like except for the almond guy, it was productive! A big hug for you, Leslie!

janet said...

My middle son always loved goats, he would love to live on that farm ;)
It feels so good to see our little herbal friends poking their heads out of the ground after a long winter, doesn't it?!
The kids are all adorable, hope you have lots of fun with them.

Anke said...

You've been busy... We've had temps in the mid to upper 60's and spend a lot of time outside. The sun feels so nice after those dreary and cloudy days. I need to check with our botanical garden, as far as I know they offer different classes. Maybe I can sign up for some...
Enjoy the rest of your weekend,

Comfrey Cottages said...

you too huh nancy? lol you are right, it was still fun and productive except for that bee guy..
that's cool janet about your son! yup he would have loved this trio! and oh yea, so good to see a bit of green again:)
anke that is wonderful that you and your family having been enjoying 60's! so nice to have the girls out soaking up some sun:) hey, that is a wonderful idea to check the botanical gardens out! our nearest one is just a bit far for me to utilize as often as i would like, but they offer fabulous things.
big herbal and honey hugs to all you ladies

Lisa said...

Leslie- I love your honesty about that second session! Maybe you should have gotten up front and taught the session yourself! :) I hope you are planing on using that butterfly house. I've always been curious about how well they work. I also think that if I looked in the dictionary under multi-tasker, I'd see your picture! Whew! You do keep busy gal!


Comfrey Cottages said...

i know lisa. i have always wondered if butterflys actually will use it. i am going to repaint it and put it in the gardens and will let you know if it actually attracts them! multi tasker, yup, that's me! there is always so much that has to be done, and so much i want to try and experience! i do keep busy! lol love ya gal

Sarah Head said...

Lovely post, Leslie - really felt I was there with you. Great to see your grandchildren as well.

*Ulrike* said...

I have finally gotten around to reading some blogs again! You have been busy! I would love to go to some classes, but we have nothing local unless you want to head into Atlanta, and who wants to do that?!!! I have a couple of questions for you. Did they say how long it would take for the trash can compost? And what are you going to do with the cottonwood?
Loved your video on the bee boxes. Ours were going full blast over the weekend since we had some temps in the 70's. Today is rain, cold, tomorrow severe storms moving in. That's life in the south!!
Take Care!

JoyceAnn said...

Enjoyed reading your post, at least most of the classes were interesting. The trashcan composter is a really neat idea , may give that a try myself.
Your Grandkids are cute , bet they enjoy coming to your house.
So happy to hear that Rose Marie is doing well.

~ Many Blessings ~

sunflowerherbfarm said...

Thanks for writing a comment on my blog,
I do love to farm and cook. This year has been a bit discouraging but we are trying to make the best of it. The course is called " The Science and Art of Herbalism" by Rosemary Gladstar. I researched all herbal classes and decided her philosophy about green living was in line with the way I felt. She makes it very easy to learn about herbs. (I thought it would give my herb farm a bit more credibility if I had some schooling behind it.) I have been growing and studying herbs for about 14 years now. Will soon start a 2 year culinary class which will help the bakery side of our new venture. (or adventure)
I hope to speak with you again, maybe we can trade some recipes and or techniques for making herbal products. So much to learn and so little time of day to do it!
Jan Williams, Sunflower Herb Farm

Lemon Verbena Lady said...

Was thinking of you today (March 21). Kitty was out in the front garden and it was stalking something and it turn out to be a bee or wasp! Fortunately, the cat didn't get stung! Never a dull moment! Hope you are OK and just enjoying the beautiful weather or are you getting snow!

sunflowerherbfarm said...

we in louisiana do not get much snow. We are enjoying beautiful spring weather! Everything is green and flourishing! Love the bees!

Anke said...

I "left" you a Easter basket over at my place, maybe you would like to participate...

Sharon Lovejoy said...

Joyous Easter!

Sharon Lovejoy Writes from Sunflower House and a Little Green Island