Friday, April 24, 2015

Notes From a Springtime Cottage

I just thought I would share a few shots showing how things are greening up around here. Most of these were actually taken this past weekend, so even more changes have occurred already! That is one of the amazing things about spring: how quickly things begin to transform before your eyes!

I wanted a few shots of the garden "before." I will be interested to see what develops as the season turns to summer. I planted the hydrangeas on the corner there at the very end of summer last year and I am pleased to say that there are buds emerging, so they have survived their first winter in the ground! We had a mild winter this year, so I am thinking that helped.

The garden box at the end, closest to those hydrangeas is full of strawberry plants. This is their third year in the box, so I am expecting and hopeful that we will have a good harvest of them this year.

Apparently, I still have a bit of leaf removal in my future:

I am greatly enjoying seeing all the new shoots coming out of the ground. The chives are always some of the first things to brave the chilly, spring air. We've already enjoyed some of them mixed into our mashed potatoes!

And I love that when I am cleaning up the beds, I discover new life emerging underneath.

It all looks pretty scrubby yet. But I am excited to see that my tulips and daffodils - my first in 11 years! -  survived not only the winter, but the squirrels!!  They will fill out the spring beds nicely until I select and plant the annuals to plant among the summer perennials.

Last year I transplanted a lot of perennials from family and friends' gardens. I don't expect they will reach their full potential for another year or two. But I do have a few that were planted the season prior. That means this is their third year in the beds. So I am hoping that the adage about perennials is true:

"First year they sleep, second year they creep, third year they leap!"

So, I am excited to think this might be a leap year for some of my plants! :)

We'll see. My gardens rarely reach the states of glory that I envision in my mind. But then again, when I look back at photos of older gardens I've had, I think, "Oh, that looked pretty nice!" Kind of like I do with present pictures of myself! We're always so hard on ourselves. Note to self: "Be kind to yourself... and your gardens... in the present!"

Here are a couple pictures I caught of my girl, eager for warmer days to come as we all are!

From those photos, you can see that the deck needs to be refinished too. The people selling the house before we bought it just slapped on some latex paint. Not exactly weather-resistant. But, we are always forced to pick and choose just which projects we will tackle each warm season. I'm afraid the deck is farther down the list of priorities.

I think our spring summer projects - apart from the regular gardening and maintenance-  will be these:

Indoors: Paint downstairs bathroom and family room
Outdoors: Power-wash house and get new patio set

Finally, I have been in bike heaven these past few weeks. This week has been cold and yucky for riding. I did ride to church yesterday morning for our women's group. It was 38 degrees F when I left! I know that doesn't compare with Minnesota's winter warrior riders, but that was chilly for me! Mostly my face and hands were cold, but the rest of me stayed toasty warm.

Anyway, I took this week to have my bike better fitted for what my riding needs are. So it went from this:

to this:

In this process I discovered with the help of the guys at the bike shop, that my bike is a petite frame. This is fine for me, since I have a petite frame too, but, as you can see, the rack does not fit well and thus the basket I bought for the rack hangs off the back. But after spending everything I did for the needed gear guard, the new fenders, and new seat, plus labor fees, I wasn't willing to spend the additional $50 they wanted for the better-fitting rack after I'd purchased that one online for $20.

It's okay though. I don't plan on putting anything heavy in the basket anyway. I have the old Burley trailer I used for the girls to carry groceries and larger cargo. The basket is just for library books, small bags, etc. If it causes me trouble, I'll switch it out in the end, but for now I think it will work out.

I am hoping to take a longer ride this weekend if the weather cooperates. I need to learn how to change a flat, though. That's the last thing I need to do before I feel like I can really ride as much as I want to.

By the way, when I am not on my bike, but in my car, I have been practicing choosing slow as I talked about in this post. When I make the conscious choice to travel more slowly, I feel so much better when I arrive at my destination! I feel peaceful. It is funny how we get into kind of a competitive mode on the road. I will write more about this in future posts, but I just wanted to mention that I am still practicing slowing down and I am experiencing positive results!

Well, that's it from around these parts this week. Hope you're enjoying the new sights and smells of the season as we are and have a wonderful weekend!

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