Kicking Off Derby Week!

Whether you are a horse race fan or not you can hardly miss when The Kentucky Derby rolls around. Living in Southern Indiana (Kentuckiana as the area is known by) makes this time of year all the more special and it is impossible to resist getting in on the festivities!

The Delta Queen is rolling on the Ohio River…

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And Thursday (yesterday) the Kentucky Derby Festival (KDF) kicked off on the riverfront. It is very “fair like” with all the best of food. You know, Italian Sausage, Fries, Gyros, Elephant Ears, Funnel Cakes…well you get the drill. But the neatest part of opening night is GLIMMER. Associated with the Derby Festivities is The Great American Balloon Race, and on Thursday night, the balloons visit on the riverfront and give a light filled “glimmer” along the river. Isn’t it pretty?

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Friday morning at Bowman Field in Louisville, the balloons fire up and take off. It is so lovely to head out at dark, watch the sunrise, and take in the beauty.

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The “Hare Balloon” is first to fill up, rise up and take off. Today’s Hare balloon is US Bank.

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The other balloons and begin to fill up.

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There are so many balloons and they are all so unique and pretty. Here are a few. Wicked is my favorite every year!

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The order is orchestrated by an KDF Official. This is not the race, so it is awesome to watch each balloon fill up and drift up into the blue skies. This morning was a perfect morning as the winds were minimal and the sun was warming up the earth and melting the frost that had covered everything last night.

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If you would like to see some short videos I shot, click on the links below:

You may be asking “So this was a Derby Kickoff post and there are no horses????”…. they will be coming!

Happy Unleashing!

FGU

 

 

 

 

Spring Gardening

Things are still soggy and cool here but the calendar tells me that it is time to get moving on gardening tasks (and fun!). Gardening is my most favorite thing. I have so much to learn and every season I learn a little more and tweak my methods and my schedule. This month we are planting a spring garden and are laying cover crops in the summer gardens. These are new tasks. Some things are the same– I am starting my seedlings, but now on a great gardening table thanks to hubby.

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Here are some highlights of our week so far…

I cleaned out the raised beds that house the strawberries right before Easter. This week they are producing blossoms. We are hoping for a LOT of strawberries this year. The birdies and bunnies like them also so they remain caged all season!

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It would be hard for me to say what my favorite thing to grow is, but I am pretty obsessed with tomatoes. I started 1/2 of them this week (48) and the other 48 will be started in about 10 – 14 days. Some seeds were repeats like the Grandero tomatoes from Johnny’s and some are new tries from Seeds of Italy. My mouth just waters thinking about July and August! I have not bought any tomatoes throughout the winter. We have used our preserved ones from last summer (which are yummy) but nothing will beat the taste of our first picked fresh tomato weeks down the road.

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I mixed my own seed starter mix this year. Excited about this new activity!

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I also transplanted some seedlings that will be going outside soon. And I planted seconds of some peppers and eggplant. Things are growing!

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Last but not least we got our potatoes out this week. Hubby is an immense help in this. “Potato Hill” as we affectionately call Garden 6 used to be a junk pile when we moved in. We are still finding shoes, glass and all kinds of odd things there, but hubby worked hard to till this nicely and dig trenches for our potatoes. We planted Kennebec, Purple Majesty and Sangre Red. Last year we totally messed up the potato thing and still got some simply by grace. We are hoping that planting them correctly this year will reap some tasty goods!

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Next on the schedule is planting Garden 1 which will have the cool weather crops. Some are started and some will simply be sown. This should be completed by Sunday. I have not done a spring garden yet and I am really excited.

Last night we ate some lettuce that had over wintered in a cold frame and used a couple of spring garlic. It was a perfect finish to a day playing in the dirt!

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What were you up to this week? Are you just beginning your gardening like me or already way past the starting gate?

Happy Unleashing in your garden!

FGU

 

 

 

 

 

Farmgirl Friday Blog Hop #194

apronWelcome! April’s weather sure is bringing us a little bit of everything! Whether you are hot or cold, stormy or calm we are glad you are here.

It is amazing how much stuff we share here! Crafts and food and farm life… If you are ever searching for a yummy new recipe check out our Farmgirl Friday Kitchen Pinterest Board. You’ll find over over 400 down home recipes! You’re sure to find something deliciously homemade!!

Another useful resource is the April Meal Plan that Sunnybrook Farm shared last week. WOW the entire month just laid out for you! How easy is that?

I am having “Mimi fun” spending time with my little grandson this week. An added bonus is seeing all of my daughters on this trip and also dog sitting for my oldest who is in Grand Cayman Island! Yep, her hubby won the trip at work for being the “MVP” of 2014. How cool is that?

So let’s get hopping and see what you are up to. Have a great Friday and weekend!

Farmgirl Friday Blog Hop #193

apronHappy Farmgirl Friday and Happy Easter (and Passover to those that celebrate!).

Mom and dad are visiting this weekend and we will have grilling weather according to the forecast. I will be mixing traditional fare–asparagus, green beans and potatoes with non traditional Easter fare– cedar planked salmon on the grill. Hubby is making an apple pie. YUMMY! I cannot wait!

Are you busy planning your menu? Do you go casual, formal or eat out and let someone else do the cooking?

Deb has shared today a delicious looking quiche recipe today. I still remember her egg and onion quiche recipe that I made and was oh so good, so I am CERTAIN that this one will not disappoint.

We are glad you are here. Stop by Deb’s and say hello. We look forward to seeing what you share (as always!)

Farmgirl is a condition of the heart–MaryJaneButters

Farmgirl Friday Blog Hop #190

apron

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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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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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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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!

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We began to head back.

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Next the bird feeders! Jasmine led the way.

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I love feeding the birds!

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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.

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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