Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Gardening Glory- Redecorating That Pays for Itself

Now Playing: Return To Innocence, by Enigma

As I write to you this evening, I am cozily nestled into my office.  Candles are softly glowing around me, and the rain is knocking passionately on my roof.  Every now and again, my shelter rumbles as the mighty and powerful thunder let's me know of its great strength. 

In May I decided to focus on preparing our "outdoor shelter" that will nourish us through winter instead of redecorating an indoor room for the month.  For those of you that are new to my blog, every month I select one room to redecorate using ideas and useful tips from Martha.  So this month I thought our garden would be perfect for this topic.  I have posted quite a few pictures so that you might be able to get a glimpse into my world and see what it's like to live in Paradise with three children (two toddlers), a dog, rabbit, and guinea pig.  Oh, I can't forget our indoor worm farm too and the countless wild birds and animals that live among us.   

Over the next few months I will also share with you some gardening advice and tips that I have learned, as well as I will be sharing some gardening wisdom from Martha Stewart- the ultimate gardening expert.  Her website is filled with interesting, informative and very accurate advice on how to grow numerous vegetables, herbs, plants and flowers. 

At the present moment I am leading a gardening co-op in Roseville, California at Veera Yoga studio.  We meet once per month and in between we communicate via the Veeragreenroom online (part of the yahoo groups community).  The "greenroom" community is a great place to connect with other fellow backyard gardeners and to have your gardening questions answered.   

Side Note- I recently found a wonderful article on Martha's website about compost tea that we are going to be making shortly.  In fact, here is the link for your reference:

As spring begins to slowly creep into summer, outdoor life begins to gradually blend into outdoor living.  No matter where you live, the size of your vegetable patch or yard what you should be focusing on is just being outside.  Period.  From there, the rest will take care of itself.  Take it from me.  I've finally learned this lesson.

When I first arrived here, I was a farmgirl at heart with a city girl mentality.  Born and raised in several large cities (not to mention I lived in LA while attending college) coming to five acres was breathtaking, inspiring, exciting but also bewildering and at times, terrifying.  I was used to talking with my neighbors regularly, heading out to run errands or shop whenever I wanted, and was comforted by the low hum of city noise that always found its way into our home. 

Listening to the music of birds, airplanes (instead of cars), coyotes, trees, the wind and my children has changed who I've become and who I'm becoming.  I am now comfortable with hearing the sound of my inner voice.  That can be scary.  Life in the country requires us to "come home" in ways such as meeting our inner, true selves- sometimes for the very first time.  Life here requires us to choose necessity over wants, creativity over consumerism and solitude instead of crowds.

On the other hand, embracing this country lifestyle has led to a life that is empowering, fulfilling and manageable.  By embracing and accepting the wonderful gifts that Nature has to offer, we are allowing ourselves to come home to a life that is well-lived, celebrated and honored.  And that my friends is a good thing!

Photo Gallery

I had to put this picture in.  As you might already know, I'm a Whole Foods lover!  They always have such a fresh and beautiful assortment of flowers.  
I hope you enjoy the gallery of photos from our farm.  The pictures are in no particular order this time. 

Are you ready to explore?  I wonder what's down there?  I'll go first.

Wow, what a fall that was!

Here is a basket full of various herbs that I collected the other day.  They smelled so good!  These are great for sachets, incense, and/or wreaths.
This is the back garden plot.  We planted corn, beans, tomatoes, pumpkins, peppers and eggplant. 
Horehound!  This herb is has wonderful medicinal uses.  I have made incense from the plant and I'm going to make a Horehound Ale too.  We have a large patch of this plant on the property.
  This is Mugwort.  I love this medicinal herb and I usually travel across town to gather it.  The other day I finally found it at in our yard!
Some of our greens have set seed.  I am saving some seeds for fall and then cutting some flowers for decoration.
Here I am pampering my greens.
This is Purslane, a culinary and medicinal herb.
These are Strawflowers.  I used Sarah's boots that she outgrew to plant some pretty flowers in.
Shown here is Fenugreek.  It  is both herb and spice. 
The plant on the lower half of the picture is Lemon Balm.  It has a tasty lemon flavor that can be added to just about anything ranging from tea to salad.  It also has medicinal properties. 
Ben made these beautiful handmade trellises' for our tomatoes.  One of my very favorite vegetables to grow are tomatoes (technically a fruit).  I only grow heirloom or rare varieties here. 
This is part of our side garden.  We made sure to use a lot of straw this year to keep weeds to a minimum.
In the side garden, I have a small bistro table where I can occasionally sit and enjoy a good book, a snack with my husband or a conversation with a friend.  Or, the current issue of Martha Stewart Living.
Yay!  Here is the first tomato of the season. 
Sarah got dressed all by herself to come and help me plant 40 tomatoes out back.  Thanks, Sarah! 
Gabriel, Sarah and Chester decided to give me a hand.
May is a busy month.  Even still I make sure to sit down and enjoy what I'm creating.  Chester is a wonderful canine pal that follows me everywhere.  
More planting.
And more...
I really enjoy making wreaths. This is an herb wreath that is made from Rosemary, Thyme and Lavender. 
This is the same wreath but with some Bachelor's Buttons added for more color.
These are sunflowers in Gabriel's old boots.
Have you ever smelled fresh sweet peas?  I haven't until this year.  Every year these will be in my garden from now on.  The smell is intoxicating. 
This is our peanut patch that Ben planted.  He is a proud peanut papa.  I can't wait to watch this plant work its magic.  I guess at some point it projects downward into the soil.   
This is an edible Chrysanthemum.  I've been tossing the flowers into our salads for some extra spice and nutrients.
This is Florence Fennel and it was grown from seed (as with all our plants except 2) only a few months ago!  
Bells of Ireland look great in flower arrangements.
The grey-green color of Artemisia Absinthium is a nice touch in the garden too.  This herb is also medicinal.
I think that this is hyssop.  I'm going to have to wait until it flowers so that I can be absolutely sure.  Sarah and Gabriel have an affinity for my popsicle tags that I use to mark my plants. 
Milk Thistle is sharp and poky.  It sends up a beautiful red flower that carries medicinal seeds. 

This is Borage.  Look closely and you will see the beautiful busy bee.  This is herb is both culinary and medicinal.  I gather the leaves to make a wilted borage side dish.  It tastes really good.  The flavor can be described as having a cucumber, melon and spinach flavor all in one bite.
Nestled in between the rocks is Oregano. 
A few rocks down is the purple Sage.
This is Feverfew.  It sends out tiny daisy-like flowers and is also medicinal. 
I have some painted rocks in the side garden that Jordan made for me this Mother's Day.  Each child has their own mound of veggies growing with their rock marking the spot. 
This is a very colorful variety of Sage. 
Jordan helped the two younger kids make rocks with their names on them.  Here's Gabriel's rock.
I can't wait for my Zinnias to open.  I'm growing Persian Carpet Zinnias and Royal Purple varieties.
Nasturtiums make great companion plants for my tomatoes.  This variety is called Empress of India and they will get gorgeous red flowers on them. 
This is Sarah's rock.  Jordan did such a great job with the rocks.  He's very artistic.
Here is another pair of shoes that Sarah recently outgrew.  I planted some succulents in them and  placed them on her vegetable mound.
This is an heirloom watermelon that will have a vibrant orange center. 
We planted some sweet corn in addition to some broom corn.  We made sure to separate them in order to eliminate the possibility of cross-pollination.
The skyline here can be very dramatic at sunrise and sunset.  See the bird on top of the bird house? He lives there and is very chatty. 
When we first moved in this old tub was sitting out back.  I moved it into the side garden to create a giant flower pot. 
The other day Gabriel broke a flower pot of mine.  I decided to save some of it for a toad house.  Hopefully we'll be getting some residents in there soon.
This is another rock that Jordan made for me for Mother's Day depicting our farm.
This is one of our pumpkins.  I can't wait to have a big display of them this year.  Two years ago I grew 185 pumpkins. I took a break last year from pumpkins. 
Here is the back garden from a different view.
This bistro table is one of my favorite places to sit quietly.
The kids have claimed this tree as their "fairy treehouse". 
Look closely. 
We bought a Meyer Lemon tree too. 
We have several huge areas of blackberries that grow wild.  However, Ben wanted to try a golden raspberry variety this year so we bought three.
We also bought an orange tree.
Here is another bird house. 
The bird residents that live here are very busy as they are constantly coming and going.
This pair of chickens guards our zucchini patch.
I decided to take a picture from a different angle.
For some reason this bunch of bees insist on living near our strawberry patch and not in their bee boxes.
Another angle of the back garden.
I decided to climb into my outdoor clawfoot bathtub to capture the view from there.  The leaves on the left are from our grapefruit tree. 
Out front we also have a mini garden growing. 
This is our fig tree.  It yields delicious figs that make a wonderful spread.
Here are the trellises that Ben made from Oak.  
This is another heirloom watermelon.
Our apple tree will be ready for harvest in September.  You can already see the tiny apples growing nicely on the tree. 
This is Plantain.  It is considered a weed around here because it grows everywhere!  It has many medicinal uses and so I've recently been harvesting it to make some tinctures.
Another bird house.

And another one.  I think that it's very important to support our bird population as much as possible.
Here is another resting place tucked under an Oak and Maple tree.
 I have another round "incubating".
A pretty view.
This view is from our dining room window.  Beyond these Grapefruit trees are 5 acres and our back garden area.
  Franklin says hi.  He's our talking Guinea Pig.  Don't be surprised if he tries to chat with you when you walk by his house.
Here is Tinkerbell.  She's our lovely angora and lionhead rabbit.  I've been saving her fur since we got her in December.  I have no idea how to spin but I'm going to have to learn soon.
It was nice having you over. Have a safe trip back (or you can stay if you'd like) and remember to embrace the beauty of nature wherever you live.  Until next time...live well!


1 comment:

Carl said...

Thank you for the tour of Paradise Basin and your mini-farm. I had no idea just how many herbs, flowers, fruit trees, blackberries, concord grapes, dozens of vegetables varieties, including native and introduced trees are growing there. You have also enumerated the wildlife that either live or visit your land: bees, rabbits, raccoons, opossums, coyotes, deer, wild turkeys, foxes, hawks and dozens of species of birds some of which reside in either in nests in your trees or in the several birdhouses you provide for them.

Your kids are truly are privileged to live there. Under your stewardship, and Ben's, your land is free of pesticides and other harmful chemicals, and is a safe haven for the plants and wildlife that also live there. Your children are learning so much about healthy cooking, crafts, plants and animals while having so much fun doing so. You and Ben are such good parents. And your blog readers, I am certain, enjoy your experiments in the kitchen,your craft projects, your interior makeovers, your interaction with active kids, and your nursing plants that abound where you live.

Again, thanks for the tour. See you there soon.

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