Home of Stella's Gardens

We are now living full time in Northeast Iowa, and working on the new gardens. It will keep us busy for quite a while...

As an avid gardener since I was about 7 years old, that gives me over 45 years of experience gardening in this part of the world. And every year teaches me a bit more.

Friday, April 3, 2015

Has Spring Maybe Finally Sprung?

It's the third of April. The last few days of nicer weather have melted the last of the 10" of snow we got two weeks ago, the surface of the soil is drying a bit, and I am thinking about doing more than JUST cleaning up last year's debris. Baby plants are sprouting and there are two more cedar beds to build...the new stone rose bed to put together and plant...grass to sow...Monday the first four of the new fruit trees arrive. Of course there is cool weather and April showers on the way, so I will probably go out tomorrow and dig the holes for those.

In the meantime the cidery/meadery has been up and running! Experimentation is fun. Sort of part chemistry, part biology, part witch's brew.  The best so far is a raspberry-accented apple cider, and Graham's English cider (more on the way!) Some blueberry-apple didn't come out very blueberry-ish, the two versions of cherry-apple are decent but not so exciting. Have a blackberry-apple and a strawberry-apple in secondary stages, looking forward to those. And several meads - plain, apple and grape - and some Skeeter Pee (lemon wine.) Lots of good stuff bubbling and in bottles!

Things that keep me from going bonkers when I can't get out and garden :-) This is not the whole set currently in fermentation, but it is representative....

Watching birds - including a sharp shinned hawk or two that have snagged several birds from near the feeders. So feeders are being reduced and redistributed. Did see this interesting fellow:

Thought for a moment it was a redpoll but he appears to be a purple finch with lots of white feathers. Only saw him the one day though.

Monday, January 12, 2015

So it's the dead of winter, and I am finally finding time to post. After a wedding and a funeral, selling the old house and getting settled in the new, the holidays and modest family issues, it seems as if we actually will have a little time to find our routine.

Doing the Cornell Feeder Watch this year (http://feederwatch.org/) and so all the feeders are out behind the house where I can see them from the comfort of the living room window. Took this pic this evening to show the arrangement, including the brushy and woodsy areas where the birdies live (and the view!)

Then moments later, there were cardinals everywhere - my record here, 11 in view, but I think only 8 or 9 can be seen here:

But now it's time to plan the gardens - including this area, destined to be lower perennials and grasses so the view from the lower level is not impeded. Butterfly and bird garden - there will be three areas in the back yard, plus plantings to enhance the "wild" area below, hopefully won't look quite as forlorn this time next year....

Happy winter to all!