Bzzzz June 25th, 2013

I had visitors to my potager garden in early June. As they wandered around, one of the men turned and asked, “Just how much time do you spend gardening?”

potager in june

Part of me started to panic that perhaps he thought I should spend a bit more time weeding and tidying. Then I remembered that these folks weren’t gardeners, so his question was most likely amazed curiosity—something akin to my asking my neighbor with more than 20 cats how many cats she has.

Potager June 2013 3

Now, to be fair, I don’t spend nearly as much time gardening as some people I know. My friend at Fairegarden is out scrambling around early in the morning every day of every month of every year. She, like Gail at Clay and Limestone, even don head-to-toe clothing and netting to protect themselves from the tiger mosquitoes in Tennessee. And then there’s Layanee’s Rhode Island garden at Ledge and Gardens—a place so beautiful she must spend hours and hours keeping it just so.

But I do spend a fair amount of time out there gardening.

This year for the first year since we moved here that most of my time hasn’t been spent watering and weeding. Nature has favored us with regular rain and some beds have filled in so that weeds have no place to take hold. I have spent much more time planning and planting, moving plants to new locations and even just walking around and thinking about things.

june potager3

Although I enjoy the whole process of gardening, from the digging to the hauling to the plant shopping (yippee!), I admit that the best of the best is wandering around and just looking at things grow. I never, ever tire of watching how the garden changes from day to day and even from hour to hour as the sun moves across the sky. I am amazed at the variety (and quantity) of the butterflies and bugs that make their home here. I am grateful for having a sense of smell so that I can appreciate the garden with that sense as well. Honeysuckle, roses, jasmine and cut hay combine to make the air better than any bottled concoction on sale at Nordstrom.

So when that fellow asked me how much time I spend gardening, my response was simple. “Not nearly enough.”


Posted In: Gardening, Lifestyle

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Bzzzz July 22nd, 2012

I love my pet chickens. I don’t always love what they do to my garden.

If you have visited here before, you may know that I’m in the habit of letting the chickens go on walkabout for a few hours in the late afternoon and early evening. This is the time of day they have finished their egg laying chores and are ready for a little bit of exercise and fresh air. Generally, I’m either outside nearby or have the windows open so that I can hear the distinctive alarm that means “Warning! Warning!”

But I can’t always keep an eye on all the hens. They amble here, run there and generally take in the whole front and back yard scampering after bugs, worms, snakes and salamanders. Rarely do they travel in  one large pack. They usually amble around in twosies and threesies. Tina Turner is usually off in her own la-la land.

The fence around the potager keeps them out of trouble there. But they can play heck with the rest of the place with their determined scratching, scratching, scratching for bugs. And the Number One Rule of Chicken Foraging is:  Dig up anything Robin just planted.

The last straw was when they absolutely destroyed a beautiful new Heuchera ‘Mysteria’ . It was a gorgeous burgundy and pink in full bloom. They scratched it out of existence. Baaaaad chickens!

So, for one of the Lowe’s Creative Ideas projects I decided to build some cloches to protect the newly planted. Lowe’s provided a $100 gift card and let me loose to make something under the heading of “Furniture Fun.”

Now, let me state right up front that I have exactly ZERO experience doing woodworking projects. I have no woodworking power tools except for a drill. I had no pattern to follow. I just had an idea. So, here’s what I came up with.

Don’t laugh too hard. And don’t send me links of your own gorgeous woodworking projects to make me feel even more inept. I don’t think it’s bad at all for someone who never did her own woodworking project in her life. And it works!

For the project, I used the following materials and tools:

– Strips of craft wood – Chicken wire – L-brackets of two different sizes—big and less big (I think those are the technical terms) – Power stapler – Wire cutters – Screws – Screwdriver – Metal joint tacks – Hand saw – Hammer – White outdoor deck stain – Paint brush – Sanding pad

I cut strips of the wood and assembled them into squares. I used joint tacks to hold them together and then stapled squares of the chicken wire. I topped that assemblage with another assembled wood square. I attached the squares together using L-brackets and then painted the whole contraption—I mean cloche.

I will be making more cloches of different sizes. For the next cloche I will paint the wood strips before assembling the squares so that the naked wood isn’t showing between the sandwiched-together squares. It will also help to protect the cloche out in the rain. I think I’ll also investigate some of the classes that Lowe’s offers from time to time to see if I can get some real help learning more woodworking skills.

My first Lowe’s Creative Ideas project—a concrete planter—is here.

Check back here throughout the next few months, because there are more projects, giveaways and other bloggers’ projects to explore.

Lowe’s has some pretty cool Pinterest boards too. Go check them out.


Posted In: Chickens, DIY, Gardening



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