Outdoor Yardwork

The past few weeks have been extremely busy as I’ve been tending to my gardens. I held off on a lot of planting because last month we got a lot of rain; fast-forward to the end of May and into June, and we are on the other end and not getting enough rain. Sigh… I’m hoping that we get decent rain very soon.

In addition to planting, I’ve also added a few more outdoor bird feeders with videos. I’ve been enjoying watching the birds immensely. I have always enjoyed watching birds, and I find it to be extremely relaxing. We also added bird baths, which brings more birds to the yard than the actual bird food. I’ll be sure to post pictures soon.

Hanging with nature; early morning gardening….

Gardening and early mornings seem to go together… you know? it’s usually much cooler, which means I can complete a lot of work; weeding, bug removal, harvesting, without getting hot.

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Around 5:00 am this morning, you could find me in our garden applying a homemade remedy to the plants.  It’s organic, and the insects, and some animals, don’t like it at all! Which works out perfectly for us! How fun would it be to be fighting with insects or groundhogs for fruits and vegetables? Beans were picked, weeds and insects were removed, and I did a bit of digging too. It’s a great workout.

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The above photo shows a portion of a garden row. What you’re looking at is pole beans (left), and broccoli (right).

On the other side of broccoli is one of our cabbage rows. I’ll have to take pictures since they’re huge. I was in the garden for about two hours, and now I’m back inside. The garden is about an acre.

I have a free day, since my client’s work is complete. I tossed the clothing into the washing machine, before I headed out to the garden this morning, and the only thing left to do is fold our clothes. Later on I’ll work on the knitted beanie hat, perhaps I’ll finish it today.

My daughter is still sleeping.


Mulberries: Stain under my nails… not dirt

We have a large mulberry tree in our back yard. It’s over 50 feet tall.

Mulberries 1

For the past week or so, around 6:00 each morning, I’ve been going out back, and gathering the berries that are on the tree. Tarp is laid on the ground, to catch fallen berries.

I also have long poles where I can whack the tree limbs, to bring down more mulberries. I gather the fallen mulberries into this 22 quart stock pot, daily.

Mulberry debris

Mulberries are washed outside and sorted, and the debris is placed into a separate bucket.

Mulberries storage bags 1

Once the mulberries are cleaned, they are placed in freezer bags and stored in the deep freezer. We regularly give our mulberries to others.

The entire procedure takes me about an hour to complete.

Naturally, my fingernails are stained…  The berry juice residue looks a lot like dirt, but I promise you, it isn’t.

On my to do list, is dyeing yarn with mulberries. I’ll be curious to see how that turns out. Success or fail, I will post pictures on Celebrate Life.

Naturally if it’s successful, I’ll be using the natural dyed yarn in my crochet and knitting projects.

Gardening: No gardening today; too much rain

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I won’t doing any planting today. It’s raining…

Yes, I knew the forecast was calling for rain, but I was hoping they got it wrong. It happens you know? However today they got it, and we’re receiving a lot of rain. Tomorrow is supposed to be clear, so hopefully I’ll be able to do some planting, and pull the weeds that I do see.

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Our green onions, strawberries, kale, collards, and cabbage are coming along nicely. The peach tree is starting to get small fruit, before we know it, we’ll be picking those to add into fruit smoothies, jams, preserves, and peach cobbler.

I took the above shots a few moments ago. I’d just returned home, from taking my daughter to school.

Singing in the rain? No, how about some dancing? I love to dance…

The rain dancing worked; plants are happy

Yesterday, I completed a lot of gardening; more onions were planted. We love fresh onions.

Also I planted cucumbers, and more tomato plants and flowers were set out too. So yes, Friday was busy!

Once the gardening was complete, I cut our grass.

Sure, I could have done it the easy way, hop on the riding lawn mower, and breeze through the acre of grass that needed to be cut, but I chose the push mower. The reason was simple; I wanted a good workout.

After tossing my funky clothes into the washing machine, I hopped into the shower. It felt great having the hours worth of dirt, sweat, and funk being washed away. Yes I was smelling funky, quite normal to stink, if you’ve been working outside for a while.

While in the shower, I remember thinking that it’d be great if we received some rain; After picking up my daughter from school, I told her about this, and we did our little rain dance. Truth is… it was just an excuse to dance. We love dancing!

Although I was planning on taking photos of all the yard work that I’d completed, it’ll have to wait until another day; it’s raining.

Bye bye drought; the rain dancing worked

Say goodbye to a garden full of half wilted plants and say hello to the a garden coming back to life. The past few days, we’ve received a buttload of rain here in Maryland, and I along with many other gardeners/farmers are doing a happy dance. The past several weeks, rain has been scarce in our neck of the woods.

Last week we reached 100F a few days in a row. I can deal with the heat; I sit in a dry sauna several days weekly. The temperature gets up to about 180F. However toss in the humidity, and the biting flies and it’s not exactly fun being outside tending to the garden. Regarding the lack of rain, watering parts of the garden with our garden hose helped with some of our produce, but others (even some that hadn’t been watered) couldn’t handle the drought and intense heat and they withered up and died.

So yes, we’re excited about the rain. It’s great to see brown grass turn green again. Also, nice to see the scarlet red peppers, and the dark purple eggplants flourishing. Thanks to the downpour of rain over the past few days. Checking out the grapes, it looks as though we’ll be seeing them within a few weeks. Hot pink blossoms are all over our fig tree, and it’s one of the favorite spots of the butterflies and bees.

I’m still eliminating items I’ve had for years in the house. We don’t use them, so why in the world am I keeping them? At times, it’s hard for me to get rid of things and I need to realize that I simply need to let go! Over the past month, the Purple Heart has been called at least twice and we’ll be following up with them again soon. The recent cleaning frenzy I’m on reminds me of the nesting bug that hit when I was pregnant with my daughter. Thankfully people stayed out of my way.

I’m hoping I get a chance to take some pictures today, upload them onto my MacBook Pro, and perhaps share a few photos here at I’m Celebrating Life. My daughter has piano lessons today, and I really need to stop into the Apple store. I have a few projects that I need to finish for clients before my daughter and me head out to the swimming pool later today.

My workouts are still going well; I listen to my body, and know when to take it easy. If you don’t you can damage your body. I have slightly sore hamstrings today. I worked them out in a different way. I’ve found that sauna rounds is helpful, along with massages where I add a homemade sport rub to the affected spot can be extremely helpful.

A few weeks ago I mentioned that I would be starting a raw juice cleanse. I most likely will be starting that at the beginning of August. Perhaps I should write down what I consume during the week, and list the benefits of the various juices I use.

Question: What are your plans for today?

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Gardening: The Benefits of Mulching

Mulch.05.30.10.jpgCongratulations, you’re garden has finally been planted. Now you can sit back, relax, and wait for your crops to grow, right? Hey, not so fast! Another important part of the gardening process is mulching.

Of course, mulching will add an extra step to your gardening time, but the benefits make it worth it. When mulching I tend to use about three inches of mulch around my plants. I don’t put the mulch against the plant, I tend to mulch up to a few inches around the plants.


Mulching: Adding mulch to the flowers (I had no idea my daughter was taking my picture.)

As someone who’s gardened with and without I can definitely see the results of adding it to your gardening routine.


Gardening: Peach Blossoms

I’ve decided to include some of the benefits of mulching below.

Benefits of Mulching

  • Consistent moisture for your plants.
    I use about three inches of mulch around my plants, I’ve found that adding mulch reduces evaporation and retains moisture.
  • Weed reduction
    Weeds can rob your plants of nutrients and water. Some weeds can take over a garden fairly quickly. Mulch can help smoother the weed seedlings before they have a chance to take control.
  • Mulch breaks down, over time they add nutrients to the soil.
  • Mulch keeps your soil from drying.
    Have you ever seen a heavy downpour and watched the rain run off hard packed/baked soil? Definitely something you don’t want, when you are wanting your plants to grow! Mulch helps prevent this since the ground isn’t exposed to the elements. Adding mulch keeps the soil brittle, enabling water and air to reach it.
  • Mulching helps plants roots maintain an even temperature

    Gardening: Vine loaded with grapes

    You can have a great garden without mulching, I’ve definitely noticed an improvement when I started adding mulching to my gardening routine.

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