Maud Humphrey

Maud Humphrey

Sunday, May 12, 2013

Mother's Day, Gardening, and a New Bye Lo Baby!

This is me, at about 3 months of age, with my mother.  Can you tell I'm a child of the 60's?  The bouffant hairdo, pedal pusher pants and smock top totally give it away.  I just love the baby carriage.  Can you believe my father threw it away many years ago?  He is not sentimental when it comes to "stuff", and probably figured that it was just taking up space.  'Sigh'.  I have, however, forgiven him.  He is my father, after all!  This picture is especially precious to me, since my mother passed away almost four years ago.  I can't believe it's been that long since I last saw her smile, heard her voice, and felt her touch.  If you are fortunate enough to still have your mother around, give her a hug and tell her you love her.  One day, sooner than you expect, she won't be there anymore.  And then there will be so many things you wish you would have said.  Trust me.
For the past week, we have been having some "too good to be true" weather for our neck of the woods.  Temperatures in the 80's and plenty of sun...enough to make one think that summer has arrived!  Sophie loves helping me in the garden--here she is, working the dirt in one of my garden boxes.
This is my compost area.  The bin on the left is finished compost, ready to be used.  The one in the middle has compost partially finished, and the black bin on the right is for our fresh food scraps.  I like that it has a lid so that it keeps out any wild critters that may be attracted to it.
I never in a million years thought I'd be taking a picture of dirt, much less posting it on my blog, but I'm just so proud of my finished compost pile!  Isn't it beautiful?  I suppose you'd have to be a gardener to appreciate it, but it just makes me so happy to think that all those food scraps, grass clippings, and leaves turned into this awesome, nutrient rich soil.  My plants are going to love it.
I currently have seven raised beds.  One is filled with perennial herbs and a birdbath, but the others are open for whatever I feel like planting this year.  Today I planted one of the boxes with five heirloom tomatoes, nine melon plants, a row of yellow carrots, and marigolds to deter bugs.  Our beautiful weather turned to rain today, so I didn't get to spend as much time outside as I would have liked.  I hope to add some radishes and onions into this bed tomorrow, if it doesn't rain too hard.
Here is my version of a mini greenhouse.  I've wanted a full size greenhouse for a long time now, but it just never seems to be in the budget.  However, a few weeks ago, I finally bought a cheap one made of narrow metal pipes and a plastic cover.  I was so excited, but alas, it only lasted about two weeks before it started to fall apart.  So back to the store it went.  I have since improvised, and discovered a system that works fairly well.  The above picture shows a clear, plastic storage box, filled with seeds planted in 5 oz. plastic cups.  I keep the lid on until the seeds sprout, and then I set the box out on the patio with the lid off during the day.  At night, the lid goes back on to trap the warmth and keep the little seedlings warm.  Once the seedlings are big enough, they are transplanted into the garden.  Because they have been spending their time out on the patio, they are already acclimated to the weather and don't need to be "hardened off".
Here's a close up of the box.  I picked it up at Walmart for around $5.
The seed starting mix and the little plastic cups are also from Walmart.  I believe I paid $1.98 for 100 cups, and the seed mix was $6.
Here's a sampling of some of the things I planted today.  The box holds 53 of these 5 oz. cups.  If you decide to try this, make sure and poke holes into the bottom of the cups for drainage before filling them.  I used an awl.  The nice thing about this method is that you can use a Sharpie to write directly on the cup, and then they can be reused next year, if you like.
Have you read this book?  It's a great help when it comes to squeezing in as many vegetables into a small of a space as possible.  It's also great for telling you which plants like to be planted with others, and how to make a great garden soil.  I refer to this book a lot.
Here's my Happy Birthday/Happy Mother's Day gift to antique Bye Lo Baby!  Ever since I got my tiny, 8" one, I've been dreaming of also owning a large one.  This one measures 18" in length, with a head circumference of 15"--life size!  I'm going to dig through my vintage, baby, clothing stash tomorrow and see if I can find her a sweater/bonnet set.  I think she'll be fun to dress.
My husband cooked me a wonderful meal for Mother's Day (salmon on the barbeque, my favorite!), and snapped this great picture of me with six of my offspring.  My oldest son was sick and couldn't make it, and my second son is currently stationed in Colorado with the Army.  He and his wife will be transferred to our area by the end of the year, so next Mother's Day I look forward to having all my children around me again.  I can hardly wait!  Hope you had a great Mother's Day, also.  Now, get outside and plant something!

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