Sunday, March 1, 2015

Cat on a Cold, Snowy Roof

We're all a little stir-crazy here in snowy New England, even the cat:


That's Fletch, looking like he's ready to pounce on any intruders from his perch on the roof of our side porch. We're not quite sure if he used a snow bank to help in his climb or just leapt up from the fence, but the poor guy must be incredibly bored. The only places for him to go are through our few shoveled paths, and his neighborhood prowls are pretty much impossible with all the snow on the ground. Hunting hasn't been great, either (though he did leave us half a mouse a couple days ago, so that's something). 


I love how in this photo Fletch looks like he's working on his vicious bobcat impression. Kirk, who caught Fletch on the roof while feeding the chickens, said that he was actually just mid-yawn. Still, I wouldn't want to run into him in a dark alley.


This looks like he's liking the drips off an icicle. I will never understand how or where that cat gets enough to drink, since he turns up his nose at his water dish regardless of how fresh it is. I guess if it's easy, it's not worthwhile?

Saturday, February 28, 2015

A Micro-Thaw and Harvest

Though the bulk of this month has been ridiculously frigid, once in a while we get a "warm" day. Take last Sunday, for instance: 


After an early morning icy-snow situation, the afternoon temperature got up to almost the average high that we could normally expect. We used the brief warm-up to dig out the tunnels and check on the leeks:


As you can see, the plastic is a little worse for wear after being beaten down by by the snow. Once inside, Kirk really had to wrestle with the leeks to dig them out. Though we've had one warm day, the ground is still mostly frozen, even in the tunnels:


He managed to get a few big ones out, though. The leaves aren't too much to look at, but the thick stems are still fine:


Even the part under the soil was mostly frozen, so these are definitely for cooking: they'll be soft when they thaw. That's ok, though. When's the last time you used raw leeks for anything?

We also took a look at the carrot cold frame:


We had long ago dug most of the carrots out of the center of the bed (where the soil is last to freeze), but there are still a bunch on the edges. Some came out easily, so we grabbed them while we were at it:



Our other cold frames have also been uncovered:


That's our mache. It's frozen right now, so those leaves are good and mushy. The plants are still alive, though, so once it warms up in the spring we should see some new growth for some salads. 

In the meantime, we enjoyed a delicious, cheesy leek soup:


Of course, the rest of the past week has been cold and windy and wintry. Good thing we took advantage of our one, brief window of opportunity to grab some fresh veggies. I don't think we'll get to the rest of the carrots or parsnips until May at this rate.

Thursday, February 26, 2015

Cutting Garden Seeds, Part 2

This week I've been self-medicating my winter depression with flower seed catalogues. We are just a couple inches away from breaking the record for the snowiest winter of all time here in Newburyport, but I've been thinking about color instead of white. My second stop for seed shopping was at Johnny's Seeds (my favorite). These pictures (obviously) are all from their catalogue. 


Florist Blue Boy Cornflower


Apricot/Peach Mix Strawflower


Covent Garden Market Baby's Breath


Sun Ball Drumstick Flower


Arena III Apricot Lisianthus


Chinese Forget-Me-Not


Animation Mix Snapdragons

Johnny's Sublime Formula Mix Larkspur

I really can't wait to get these started. It's like planting hope.

Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Cutting Garden Seeds, Part 1

What's the best cure for the winter blahs? Flowers!

Last year I didn't do much with the cutting garden because I was in Costa Rica for the height of the season, and Kirk isn't much of a flower guy. (And, to be fair, it would've been a lot to ask for him to take care of all the food and all the flowers.)

And even though the cutting garden is still under four to five feet of snowpack, I cheered myself up today by spending a couple hours of quality time browsing seed catalogues. I think this year I will try a lot of annuals instead of looking for more perennial for the cutting garden. Perennials are awesome but expensive, so going the seed starting route will be a bit more economical.

Here's what I picked out from Park Seed (all the photos are courtesy of their online catalogue, by the way). The flowers are all in the color palette I have already planned for, and all were chosen for their long, sturdy stems for adding to bouquets.


Chantilly Mix Snapdragon


Charisma Blue Lisianthus


Bunny Tails Ornamental Grass


Night and Day Snapdragon

This was just the order from one vendor. There's more to come!