28 April 2012

What's For Dinner - April 29th Edition

So over at HJ Waxing Moon my lovely SIL made a great post about menu planning. While I am not nearly as methodical as she is about it, it's a practice that I enjoy. And so I figured that I would revive the sometimes regular practice of posting up my weekly menu! This week is going to be a nice, regular week, with nothing out of the ordinary going on, so it's pretty straightforward to plan for. Plus, I get the whole weekend off next week (and a couple of days after that too!) which means some nice relaxing time to cook, clean, and garden!

Sunday - Leftovers/Graduation Party Attendance
Monday - Mac n' Cheese w/ green salad and other veg
Tuesday - Beans with Sausage & Greens
Wednesday - Chicken Curry in the Crock Pot
Thursday - French Onion Soup & Mystery Dish
Friday - Steak Fajitas
Saturday - Pasta

I hope everyone else is enjoying their weekend, it was kinda grey and drizzly here today for U of M's graduation, but it was better then the snow that they were forecasting! Hopefully I'll be back out in the garden on Tuesday if the rain holds off to get the seeds in the raised bed, with pictures once it's all put together and planted!

26 April 2012

Garden Building Day 2

This was the second day of garden building! After getting the frame built yesterday, today it got filled. We broke up the sod underneath and then laid down a layer of newspapers to help prevent the grass from grown up through the bed. I would have removed it altogether, but our sod is very healthy (and thick!) so it stayed where it was. After 3 trips to our compost center, using recycling bins to get the good stuff, it was full. I laid out a rough grid with a nice bright pink cotton, so it was easy to see against the dirt. Then, since we did get some plants in addition to seed, the plants all went in the ground. Four kinds of tomato, three kinds of peppers, mustard greens, and collards are all happily planted. I'm still about two weeks before the last frost date, but I figured I'd risk it. As luck would have it, we have a frost warning tonight, so all of the pots and other small plants that I have are all fit in around the plants I just put in the ground and covered over with a tarp so they don't get damaged. I figure between the covering and the fact that the compost is still generating a little bit of heat they should be fine.

I also found out last night that plans I had made for next week were changing, so I find myself with 6 days off starting next Friday. So it looks like the twin to this bed is going to be built then and (hopefully) planted as well! So far, the lineup for that bed is: potatoes, squash, onions, kale, and parsnips. And I'm putting in my new herb garden setup. It's going be a modified gutter garden concept, moved closer to the house/kitchen for easy access (because that's mostly the purpose of growing herbs for me - yummy food!). I'm also considering tearing up another part of my lawn on the other side of the driveway and putting in a couple of rows of corn and perhaps getting some asparagus rhizome to anticipate for next year, because somehow, I almost always miss asparagus season at the farmers markets around here...  In any case, there are more plans and plots going on here at The Rose & Thistle, who knows what tomorrow will bring!





25 April 2012

Garden Building Day 1

Today was the construction phase of the garden building! We got out bright and early to Home Depot and got all of our supplies for the bed itself, plants (including some flowers for other beds), and seeds. After a bit of a slow start trying to get a shovel put on a handle, we were off and the building process went pretty smoothly. Towards the end of the project, once we had all the walls built, we brought the new chicks out to hang out in the bed for a bit while we changed the litter in the brooding box. So I give you, our day in pictures :-)




24 April 2012

Gardens and Sunshine

It's been a really long time since I made a blog post. I've been running and working and spring cleaning with a vengeance! I've also been spending a lot of time ogling the gardening that my SIL has been posting about over at HJ Waxing Moon. She's out in the Portland, OR area and so they are a bit warmer and a bit further along then we are in the Mitten right now. She and Mr. Moon have been doing a fantastic job at getting their garden spaces cleaned up and ready for the year. 

But, enough waxing on about my fab SIL, I've got gardening of my own happening! When we moved into our house there was a sad little raised bed in the front yard with a dead potted evergreen stuck on top of it, and two pseudo-beds on either side of the front door that had some scraggly looking bushes in them planted too close to the house. The two beds at the front of the house have since been reformed by taking one set of bushes out and using them along our south property line to form the beginnings of a hedge. This solved the problem of the bushed being planted too closely to the house, and then my MIL planted some beautiful red tulips in front of the remaining bushes. We also moved a very pretty crabapple tree that was planted a bit too close to the house as well. 

The next phase of the project was to reform the raised bed. The first part of this happened a few summers ago when I had my brother down for some forced labor help in the garden and we discovered that the reason that the raised bed was there was it was hiding an old tree stump that no one had bothered to remove, they just built up far enough around it to put a 3" layer of dirt over it! So I had my brother help me dig out as much of the stump as we could and added more dirt and compost and it became my herb bed for a couple of years. This is phase two. Donald and I are going to remove the old bed (after transplanting some of the herbs that are still alive after winter) and build two new 4'x8' raised beds for vegetable gardening. Tomorrow we are going to build the first of the two beds and then plant into it on Thursday. The second bed will be constructed after I get back from watching my baby brother graduate from Northern Michigan next weekend. So, here's my to-do list for the next two days and the planned layout of the first bed. Hopefully I remember to take pictures as we go so I can post them here!