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Tuesday 1 April 2014

Gardening In Early Spring

First I'll give you a peek at what I'm working on tonight.

Free Motion Quilting
This afternoon I had a cup of coffee for the first time in about a month. I've been totally off caffeine since I've been sick and in recovery. Thanks to that one cup I am now burning the midnight oil and quilting this baby! Helluva drug.

I am really happy that I'm focusing on finishing a few quilts before adding more projects to my to-do list. I finished up three tops! Let the quilting marathon begin.

David is so excited about his 3rd birthday party. His Nana sent him lots of party favors and goodies for a pirate party! He has been telling everyone about his "pie-wit pawty"

The chickens are smart enough to keep covered as much as possible. Here they are under the grape vines. Oh boy do I ever have some weeding to do there. The long grass is so out of control. At least the birds are appreciating the hide away. 

This grape vine reaches to the top of the Asian pear tree.
There are so many grapes and many of them just grow up and into the surrounding fruit trees. I only prune things every few years. For the most part I surrender to this kind of wild chaos and put my energy into vegetable gardening. The method of edible landscaping in place here is something that is gaining popularity in the permaculture world, called the "forest garden". The vines grow on the fruit trees, and in the understory are bushes and berries, in this case elderberries, black currants, and gooseberries.

Using mulch and cover crop.
The goats have given us a generous amount of fertilizer over the winter. It is being distributed in the garden as  mulch and will add lots of nitrogen which makes for lots of leafy growth. In the background of this photo you can see a square of what looks like grass, which is is fall rye that was planted last October. The thick sowing of this cover crop helped to suppress the growth of weeds, and now it gets turned into the soil, chopped up with a shovel, and allowed to begin to decompose for added nutrients and some yummy food for the worms.

And of course we compost all kitchen scraps, weeds, and soft garden debris. In our society we waste so much food into the garbage. It feels really good to turn this food waste into rich black compost that feeds the next year's crop of vegetables. All you have to do is dump your scraps into a heap, and wait. Every so often I add a layer of leaves or grass clippings or soiled hay from the goat pens, and also the compost pile benefits from being aerated by turning over with a shovel a few times a year. It is really easy and nothing makes plants grow like black compost.

This chicken has one brown feather. Just one.

Our first egg! It is pink, and speckled! Oh, wait... thats chocolate.

My friend Dave the basket weaver gave me this bundle of willow. If I start soaking it today it will be soft enough to weave a little basket for the Easter Bunny.

Glad to see feel the warmth of the sun shining today on our little island. Wishing you all a beautiful beginning to Spring, wherever you are.


  1. I am glad you are feeling better! I have been enjoying your recent posts so much as I am a would-be smallholder making the most of my allotment:-) It's lovely to see what's going on in your patch. Beautiful willow - looking forward to the basket!

    1. Thank you Catherine! I'm glad you enjoy my homesteading angle! I'd like to show more of that on the blog, while still taking part in the online quilting community.

  2. I am so glad you are weaving a basket for the Easter bunny! The excitement on David's face when he finds it filled will be priceless. Don't forget to color some eggs and hide them for him to find. Makes the best kind of childhood memories and great photos too. XOXOX

    1. I'd like to blow out some eggs and paint them like we used to do when I was little! I remember you painted some lovely egg shells that lasted for years.

  3. Emily, you are ambitious heh? Quilting and gardening, oh, my I wish I had your energy! But its spring time here, the snow is melting and soon we'll be right behind you! Hugs, Carli

    1. I sure manage to keep busy! Glad to hear the snow is melting and Spring is on its way :)

  4. You're so funny -- I was thinking that little egg sure looked funny LOL. Wouldn't it be fun to have a chicken who laid chocolate eggs though? Spring is a busy season when you're homesteading -- it looks like you're good and busy and having a great time. Glad you're feeling better!

    1. I would love to have a chocolate egg layer!! I'm so bad, I got some candy for Easter and we've been eating it already and my son is on to me! Thanks for the well wishes. I certainly have renewed gratitude for my health after the sickly shenanigans.



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