Farmgirl Friday Blog Hop #190

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Welcome to Farmgirl Friday Blog Hop. Can you believe it is #190? When I typed that number I was blown away.

I was so inspired last week by the great blog that was shared by Unfettered Fox on Nasturtiums! Besides the gorgeous pictures that made me dream of warm days and color, she had GREAT information on all the wonderfulness of Nasturtiums. From their beauty, to their role as a trap plant and their edibleness. It made me want to plant these little critters everywhere! Aren’t they beautiful?

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I have started seedlings this week. That is the first step for me in gardening so I feel like I am back to gardening! Deb is still thawing out as it much of the east coast. What are you up to? Your posts are always inspiring to me. I learn so much every week.

So let’s do it shall we?

Be sure to stop by Dandelion House and Deb’s to send warm thoughts her way to melt the remaining snow!

 

Signs of Spring!

I love the four seasons! It is one of the reasons why I love Indiana so much. And just like I get really excited about the snowfalls and seeing white, I get equally excited about the snow melting and seeing signs of spring.

As I walk outside there is still a bit of the white stuff hanging out in shady areas.polebarn snow

I look across the little run of snow and see the bird feeders that have been active with robins, blue jays and cardinals.

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My mucks have mud on them instead of slush which is a great thing! Mud season is here!

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And things are budding and blooming. My Japanese Cherry Tree is budding.

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The daylillies and tulips are popping up; I was so surprised to see these after the melt! Can you see them in there?

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Walking around to the front of the house, the weather is such that we can FINALLY get our last dormer sided. We were so happy to see our “boys” (as we affectionately call them) today! I know the temps are warming up when they visit!

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In the pole barn Ms. Tupelo is getting a new tire for the spring.

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My table has my heat mat and planting supplies ready for this afternoon!  Getting dirty in the pole barn while blasting favorite tunes is my TRUE sign of spring. This afternoon awaits…

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My garden table is done and will be hauled outside to the lean to this afternoon! Oh my goodness!!!! It’s a beauty!

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And we can’t forget our buzzing friends. Our bees in the Trudeau hive have been buzzing around. We are so excited to see them. This is a critical time for the bees as we don’t have nectar flow yet so we will be keeping close tabs on them and supplementing with sugar water and pollen patties right now.

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What are the signs of spring in your area? What speaks spring to you?

Happy Unleashing Spring!

FGU

Farmgirl Friday Blog Hop #189

apronHowdy and welcome to Farmgirl Friday Blog Hop #189!

OK, I will say it— I LOVE DAYLIGHT SAVINGS TIME! Yep I do. I know some folks don’t like it for all kinds of reasons, but I love having light longer in the evenings (it energizes me) and I love that it signifies spring and summer are on their way and soon I will be in my garden at 8:00 pm loving life! So yes I will lose an hour of sleep, but I lose an hour here and there anyhow on a regular basis. I am just looking forward to Sunday evening and having the daylight a little longer, especially since my plans include starting some seedlings this Sunday. :-)

Deb and I are so excited about the latest edition of MaryJanesFarm Magazine. Mine has not come yet… maybe today??? The Girl Genius featured in Deb’s article is Sarah Hudock. Most of you are familiar with her artwork and love it like I do. I can’t wait to read the article.

Stop by Deb’s today, say “hi” and get the details on some fun articles awaiting us!

Let’s get hopping. What have you been up to? Were you snowed in again? Maybe that left some time for crafting or baking.

Enjoy your extra daylight in the evenings and I hope you are thawing out, but slow enough to not cause an issue!

Happy Friday! See you on the hop!

 

Birds, Bees, Gardens and the Dog

pretty treeWe (hubby, Jasmine and I) trekked out to the snow covered gardens, beehives and bird feeders today under blue skies. It is so beautiful and at the same time cold! Jasmine did not mind. Her favorite thing to do is to visit the bees and gardens. Her second favorite thing to do is to bark at all the birds on the feeders, so this was about the perfect afternoon geteaway for her! She led the way!

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to the garden

First the bees. It is waaaayyyy too cold to open the hive and check on them. But we did know that the snow had blown closed their opening. That is not good for their exiting for cleansing flights and it is not good for airflow so our first stop was there to open that up for them

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Hives with Snow Blockage

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Clearing

We got their entrance open. We also noticed dead bees in the snow. That however is not a distressing sign. I had a session leader at Bee School tell us that when he sees dead bees in the snow he rejoices because he knows there is life in the hive. A bee’s life cycle is short and seeing dead bees indicates that life is continuing on in the hive. Let’s hope so!

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Up to the gardens we went. It was so beautiful. I had to pinch myself to make sure that YES this is really where I live! Jasmine knows this route and again she was in the lead.

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Garden Walk

There’s one of my scarepeeps!

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And another friend!

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The gardens under the snow appear peaceful and sleeping. I know there is much happening under that snow and deep in the soil however. Life continues!

Covered Over

 

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A view back at our lovely snow covered home.

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Jasmine enjoying the snow and sunshine!

Tree and Jazz

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We began to head back.

Garden and Dog

Next the bird feeders! Jasmine led the way.

Jazz and Birds

Feeding Birds

I love feeding the birds!

Bird Love

It was a wonderful walk and great to get outside and see how everything was faring under the blanket of white

It was time to head back in; Jasmine again led the way.

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Did you get to enjoy some beauty today where ever you are?

FGU

White in the Yard; Green on the Brain

Like many of you we have white surrounding us.

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But I am deep into garden planning and my plan tells me that I am about to start seedlings!

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This weekend looks like I will be in the pole barn starting peppers, onions and eggplant. Starting plants is one of my very favorite activities. I blast music, get stuff under my nails and set my babies up for success!

Now for the line item that says to start prepping our gardens, hummm….well…. I don’t think so. Covered in new snow as of this morning, with ice underneath. It is going to be a bit before I am prepping outside. But I can start plants inside and I am so excited to do so.

The first line on my spreadsheet has the stuff I need to keep in mind in my planning. Most are self explanatory. If you aren’t familiar with the term “persephone” that is when daylight hours dip below 10 hours a day. That is really important for many plants and determines when you start things; especially if you fall and winter garden.

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My garden plan is in excel (like I have shared before I am a geek) and my garden plan workbook has multiple tabs.

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In plant varieties, I have specific varieties for each type of plant I would like to grow. Those that are not in green are seeds I already have. Those that are green, started as yellow– meaning that I had to get those. Since I have ordered and received my seeds they are now in green.

varieties in garden plan

Inside the companion tab I have plants that are great partners and those marked that should not be together. Yellow indicates same family of plants.

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In the rotation tab I will indicate which garden each variety gets planted into for the next four years so that they are rotated. Rotation is great for the soil and great for your plants if you are able to do that.

Cost is simple– I track each expense so I can see how much I spend.

Some resources I have used are the “Week-by-Week Vegetables Gardener’s Handbook”, “Carrots Love Tomatoes”, “The Vegetable Gardener’s Bible”, anything Eliot Coleman and my school resources (of which are many!)

I have not been this formalized in my first two seasons and while I have had many successes, I have also had learnings. Most of those lessons entail just doing something at the wrong time, so I was committed over the winter to get this together. My plan includes reminders on thinning, weeding, hilling tomatoes and sharpening hoes as well.

Do you have a formalized plan of some type? Could be post-its, could be on a calendar itself, maybe it is in a notebook because you prefer to write out your plan, maybe you use another tool like Evernote. Whatever you do I think that it is just the planning that is important.

Are you in planning mode or planting mode?

Happy dreaming of green!

FGU

 

 

Farmgirl Friday Blog Hop #188

apronHello and welcome! We took a couple of weeks off, but we are back blog hopping and we are hoping you can join in!

I know many of us are still dealing with the white stuff and cold, but March 1 is this weekend and that means before long I will be starting seedlings inside. I can’t wait to see my green babies again!

Seedlings

A couple weeks ago on the hop Tammy from Taylor Made Homestead shared her garden plan with us.

I loved it and her blog for many reasons and one being that she uses excel like I do on my garden planning. So her blog hit the gardener AND the geek in me! She has great tips about rotations and sunlight too. If you missed it, check it out!

I am very ready for a melt down here. Our sump pump froze last Saturday so I think it is ready for some warm temperatures also!

I do love the four seasons however and I am so grateful to have snow on the ground and sunshine on my brain!

What are you up to? How do you get ready for spring while still fighting the cold?

While you are hopping with us, be sure to hop over to say hi to my co-hostess Deb at Dandelion House.  She has some great information on a little road trip that looks like fun for those of you our east!

Let’s get hopping!

FGU

Frozen Sump Pump

Some of you may remember a blog I did on our sump pump– The Sound of Music I called it. I shared how I had come to depend on the reassuring sound of the motor humming followed by the “knock, knock, knock” that indicated water was being pumped out.

On Saturday afternoon hubby and I noticed the humming sound of the motor but the “knock, knock, knock” was missing. We looked at each other in horror and then shot down the basement to take a look.(It is a lovely thing isn’t it?)

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We disconnected the electricity and then the white pipe that is the exit pipe. We plugged her back up and she was working just fine- evidenced by us getting sprayed with water.

After determining the pump was fine we knew there had to be something else. We opened the area that allows access to the crawl space under the garage to see if the pipe had busted. All was well there. We knew the pipe had to have frozen once it exits the house. We bundled up and headed outside. Digging began.

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We have been wanting to redo the exit for our sump pump since we moved in. It is not buried properly (deep enough) which helped on our digging activities, but probably was the culprit in our pipe freezing. We dug the pipe up and then grabbed our plumbing snake to see what the issue was. About 3 – 4 feet into the pipe we hit something solid- it had to be ice!

We started heating up water to pour it on and down the pipe. In a bit Mike ran downstairs to see what joiner we had in case we needed to cut open the pipe. I continued to pour in water and low and behold an icicle floated to the edge of the pipe!  That was the best sight of the afternoon! I grabbed the snake and started breaking up the ice. The ice burst out, broke the pipe at the seam and water blew out everywhere! That was fantastic fun!

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Lucky for us we had one joiner and a 10 foot piece of pipe so we could piece things back together. A little primer, glue and finessing and it was all hooked back together with no ice!

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We still need to bury this thing, but for now it is back to humming AND knocking!

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Stay warm!

FGU

 


Snowed In Brunch

Nothing like a snowy day to keep you in jammies and eating brunch with your honey! Hubby baked bread last night…

whole wheat bread

and this morning we turned some of it into French Toast.

frenchtoast

It is cold, snowy and beautiful here.

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Ash Wednesday services are cancelled along with schools; temps predicted to dip to -30 below windchill later today and tonight. Some say turn lemons into lemonade. We turn bread into brunch!

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What are you doing to keep warm and cozy during the Arctic blast?

Warm thoughts!

FGU

Weekend Getaway

VdayHubby surprised me with a Valentine weekend getaway. He definitely is good at making and carrying through on a plan and this was no exception. I did not know where we were headed until shortly before we left. I love surprises especially when they include a little road trip. I was so excited!

 

He saw an article in Midwest Living magazine on old theaters that had been restored. Franklin, Indiana and the Historic Artcraft Theatre jumped out to him as it is just a couple of hours up the road. AND the Valentine showing was “My Fair Lady” which is a favorite of ours. Here is an old picture of the theatre from their website. Check out the schedule of all the fantastic movies for 2015 – 2016

The theatre popcorn is locally grown Indiana popcorn that is popped at the theatre. It is $2 and includes free refills! Water was $1 and admission was $5. I guess I am a cheap date! :-) The theatre was large and an MC introduced the show. Improv players did a 30 second skit to synopsize “My Fair Lady”, prizes were given out and a cartoon played prior to the main show. It was FUN!

Hubby took the other suggestions in the article and made a two night reservation at The Flying Frog Bed and Breakfast where we were treated to a lovely room, 3 course breakfasts and terrific hosts.

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We were so enthralled with the food and enjoyment of the other guests at breakfast we have no photos to show as we simply forgot to take some. You will just have to trust me that the Eggs Benedict, stuffed french toast, poached pears, fritata, dipped strawberries and more were all delish!

The Willard served up an awesome Margherita pizza, fried cheese cubes and mircrobrew just like the article said they would. It was a great first evening dinner!

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Our waiter recommended a place for dinner on Valentines Day and the next evening we were headed to Taxman Brewing Company.

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Taxman did not disappoint for dinner on Valentine’s Day. We headed there before the show and we loved the set up. Long tables on two floors that encourage not only good eating and drinking but socializing as well. The couple we shared a table with were so fun to share our dinner time with. We were fortunate to hit them early (5pm) as we had a short wait but by the time we left the wait was over an hour. This place really is a popular joint and for good reason! The mussels, frites, hamburger and kale salad was to die for. They have excellent chefs there and also talented brewmasters as the beer was really good!

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So much was within walking distance and although it was cold it was a cozy, relaxing weekend full of small town fun. And what would Valentine’s Day be without a good bottle of wine and chocolates. I was also treated to some awesome slippers that I wore most of the weekend while at our B&B!

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Hope you had a cuddly Valentine’s weekend where ever you were. If you live in Indiana or are passing through don’t pass Franklin Indiana up!

Keep warm!

FGU

Farmgirl Friday Blog Hop #187

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Howdy farmgirls and welcome to the Farmgirl Friday Blog Hop! Deb has been cold and buried in the white stuff. I have been cold without snow and looking at 50 tomorrow. Maybe a little outdoor activity will occur. I have been in the basement today digging through boxes and trying to slim down the storage.

I have been having so much fun planning our garden. I have gotten a bit more organized with a plan on a spreadsheet, done a seed inventory and ordered some seeds to fill in the gaps. I LOVE seed catalogs. How about you? Nothing takes the chill off like looking at summer squash, tomatoes and peppers!

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Do you have a favorite activity to do in these cold months? Quilting, crocheting, dreaming of gardening (like me)… share what you have been up to this week.

Deb and I are looking forward to your posts. Have a great weekend and week!

Let’s Hop!