Tag Archives: Cherries

Good by Snow Moon

2february-11-2017-2
Somehow we came to the end of February and the chores are all checked off of my list.

  • Soil Blocks made. I can see broccoli, cauliflower and cabbage sprouting
  • Winter Sowing didn’t get to those, but we did plant artichokes, and parsleys.
  • Fava Beans were the last to go in , but they are in!
  • Potatoes were beyond Chitted, we found our seed potatoes had sprouted.
  • Onions had a hair cut
  • Fruit trees pruned

Just made it! I had to put our yellow potatoes into dirt. There is a huge pot of yellow potatoes in the green house and a tub of potatoes growing just off of the deck. As I write this they are being snowed on. Last hurrah for the Snow Moon.

2february-23-2017-1 Late start on the greenhouse salad because of rat wars. YUCK They are not gone yet, but they seem to be out of the greenhouse. Thanks Ray! If I look closely I can see mixed Asian greens from Botanical Interests. Grab a pack if you ever come across them. They make a lovely spring mix. We like them while they are still tiny. I also see French Breakfast Radish from seed I saved a couple of seasons ago. Still waiting for winter Spinach and Scallions.

2february-23-2017-5 Artichokes and parsley are doing a nice job, Onions have had a hair cut, even the Tarragon has been divided and repotted. I was worried about my Tarragon. I’ve had this plant for as long as we have lived in Everett. If I had to buy a new start it would not be the end of the world. I guess it is a matter of pride that I’ve kept it alive and fresh all this time. Wa-hoo Creation!

2february-232017-3 Outside, under our kitty kover, the garlic and shallots are doing great! Every time I flip the lid off for the day the scent of the herbs inspires me to make soup. Yes, I see weeds, but they are not ALL weeds It looks like the chamomile is already coming back. I think it liked wintering under the kitty kover.

2february-232017-1It was late when I pressed the last Fava Bean into the chilly loam, but I promise the day was clear and bright when Ray and I went out to putz in the garden. Ray pruned our trees. There is a video but I have not tackled that yet. The new plum is covered with buds. On the espaliered apple tree I think he might have removed as much wood as he left. We still need to tackle the the different cane and vine berries, they are waiting for us. I planted my Fava beans near by that day. Now and then he wanted my opinion on what did I think about what he is cutting. Isn’t he awesome! Look at the beautiful soil under the chips. Sadly, the rows look a little red neck (I r redneck). There are not many open spaces for the dogs to run in the garden. The mini fences and blue bailing twine is to discourage the dogs from running through the new bed of beans.

2february-25-2017-1 Just a hint of whats happening in March, under the Worm Moon. Why Worm Moon? It is going to start warming up enough to make happy worms!

  • Choose your tomato seed
  • Get a bed ready for peas
  • Choose pepper seed
  • Get ready to plant onions
  • Are your early potatoes ready?

Now, Whose going to teach me about Dahlias?

febuary-toy-box-copy

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Filed under Back to Eden Garden, In the greenhouse, Urban Farm

a bento and my new cherry tree

First, the teachers lunch bag

April 4, 2016 (4)

Orange Chicken and rice, sweet potatoes, a lot more spinach then what shows and fruit, nuts and yogurt for dessert.

Next, the new cherry tree

April 4, 2016 (1)

4-way multi sweet cherry tree

So Ray and I had a bee in our bonnet. We wanted another dwarf multi fruit tree for our mini orchard. Specifically, we wanted a multi sweet cherry tree. Even more specific… we wanted it to be an espalier cherry tree. Now that was a bit of a trick! Some nurseries we went to told us, no one does that, you will not find one. She may have been right. We could find multi-cherry trees and espalier apples or pears, but no multi espalier sweet cherries.

So we made a trip out to Flower World in Snohomish, Washington for one last look. No espalier cherry trees. However, they did have one tree among their multi cherry trees that had all of the grafted branches going east and west instead of all around the trunk of the tree.

Forty-four dollars and ninety-nine cents plus tax and it was ours. Ray planted it right away. While I was at school today he put up the posts and wires to train the tree on. Beautiful… but do you see what he did to the top? Here is a better shot of the top of my cherry tree There were two extra (Bing) branches growing upward instead of east and west.

April 4, 2016 (2)

The two top branches of my new espalier tree.

My sweet man gave me a another valentine! (The first one he gave me is my Rudy Valentine) How sweet and romantic is that? As a Scottish man, he did not want to waste those branches, but as my honey he made me something special. Awww!

April 4, 2016 (5)

Tootsie Pop Bouquet

All that he got from me was candy… and he has to share!

Debs at the Toy Box Suburban Farm in Everett, WA where it is chilly and rainy (53/41). Sun rise was at 6:39 AM. It will set at 7:44 PM. Meanwhile there’s gonna be a whole lotta breeze blowen the deer tape around. (Happy Birthday Daddy)

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Filed under Back to Eden Garden, Bento, Urban Farm

Season 5 Begins

Season 5 begins.

Season 5 begins.

2014 at the Toy Box Sub-Urban Farm began with a whisper of snow. Creation is encouraging me to rest a while longer. The Snow Moon has faded into darkness, the Worm Moon is a waxing crescent glow somewhere beyond the clouds. No one told the storm that the time for snow was gone. Even so, the clock in my heart is ready to experience the scent of dirt, the kiss of the breeze and fresh green seedlings.

Greens, parsley and onions

Greens, parsley and onions

While the days were still short I started vegetables on a heat mat in the kitchen before moving them to our little greenhouse. Onions and leeks, artichokes and salad greens are all defying the winter chill. Broccolis, cauliflowers (the season 5 challenge) and more salad greens were started in soil blocks. Each of them have their 2nd sets of leaves. I worried that they were in the kitchen too long. Each variety has different sprout times. Since they were all in one flat, some became “leggy” in the kitchen window while waiting for their cousins to wake up. I am happy to report that after a month in the green house I have not lost any to weak stems (so far). I do not use grow lights, a luxury I have in the Pacific North West. We are famous for our rain but those clouds keep our winter nights mild.

Have you ever scene a rhubarb root?

Have you ever seen a rhubarb root?

There is more to season 5 then green house plants. One of the SFG (Square Foot Garden) has fragrant garlic and shallots coming up under a poly cover. A brand new rhubarb is sending up the first amber leaves in the front SFG. Peas and fava beans have already been pressed into the ground in other gardens. Because I am a belt and suspender gal, there is a back-up tray of peas planted in soil cubes in the green house, just in case some critter feasts on fresh pea sprouts growing unprotected outside. My fear of critter feasts are not strictly imaginary. All our kale and over winter broccoli have been eaten down to stumps. I suspect raccoons.

Herbs in the green house; Tarragon make a comeback.

Herbs in the green house; Tarragon make a comeback.

The fruit trees and blueberries are being moved to the front garden. Inspired by Back to Eden, Ray has built a boarder and is filling it with chipped wood for a perma-culture food forest (forest may be a stretch, it is more of an alley). My plan is to put the artichokes in this garden while the fruit trees, a multi-cherry, a multi-pear and an Orcus Pear, are still small. I am hopeful that there will be room for the pie cherries I would like to add to my dream of an orchard-forest.

The Pantry and Freezer are still comfortably full but I sure am looking forward to the first salad of baby greens.

Bomber and nuggets, Lil'bit, Stella and Birtha

Bomber and nuggets, Lil’bit, Stella and Bertha

March 6, 2014, Everett, Washington Showers turning to rain (do they say that anywhere else?) We are under a flood watch. The Toy Box Suburban Farm sits high on a bluff far from the river, even so, the ground is a squishy sponge.  A high of 56 F and a comfortable low of 47 F. Steady SSE wind of 10 mph gusting to 20 mph. More of the same for the rest of the week. 11 hours, 18 minutes of daylight (rise 6:41 AM, set 5:59 PM)

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Filed under Fresh from the garden

Cold, cold July (until today)

The Toy Box

Suburban Farm Episode #25 (Season 3)

I have no idea why or how you-tube chooses a cover picture. This looks liked my pumpkin vine growing outside of the fence. By the way, I did finally get my lawn mown. Sorry about the mess.

Is that a dragon fly sitting on my corn?

Today was warmer outside than it was inside, we have not had many days like that. Blue sky, 75/57 sunrise at 5:37, 15 hours and 15 minutes later the sun set at 8:52. I am missing my late walks with the dogs.

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Filed under Square Foot Garden, Urban Farm, Video

Pruning my fruit trees

Ray bravely takes a snip of an Orcas pear tree on a rare sunny February day in Everett.

Clippers do not frighten me. I am not afraid to snip back berries, even the apparently scary blue berries. Roses and lilacs…. cut, cut, cut. Knowing where to snip rhododendrons and still get bloom next season, no problem. But how to trim a pear tree and have fruit in fall? I have no idea.  My trees are young, but how many years can I use that excuse? But, at the right time, Sunnyside Nursery in Marysville, Washington, had a fruit tree pruning class. The teacher was good. I am pretty sure that I still do not know what I am doing. As I watched the video, I realized that Ray and I have opposite ideas of what a tree should do after it is pruned. Ray is the tree guy so I happily bow to him.

It is probably too late now, but have you got any helpful tips for me?

The berry class mentioned at the end of the video, Bountiful Berries, will be at Sunnyside Nursery in Marysville, Washington. It is a free class but you need to register. Ten in the morning at the nursery on Saturday, February 11, 2012.

Deception Pass, February 2005

After a solid week of blue sky and banana belt temperatures the rain has returned to Everett. Weather Underground has an optimistic “mostly” cloudy and makes the rain a toss-up at 50%. The cloud cover will keep it fairly warm tonight, 42 degrees F. Hey! We are almost up to the magic 10 hours of daylight, 9 hours and 52 minutes from sunrise at 7:27 AM to sunset at 5:19 PM (we should be at ten hours on Friday!!)

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Filed under Everyday Adventure, Urban Farm, Video

Winter Dreams

Frosty, foggy sunrise at the Toy Box. December 9, 2011

I have my plans. I am full of ideas for next year and beyond at the Toy Box. Not getting in a fall-winter garden for two years in a row is pushing me. The mill Ray works for is shutting down. I am more determined (or is that desperate) to feed us from what we can grow in the yard YHVH has graciously put us in. We talk of rabbits and fish tanks. Of Cherry trees and potatoes, wood stoves and outdoor kitchens. Expanded rain collection systems and hoop houses. At the back of our mind is the knowledge that we might be forced to walk away from all of this, but until that day we will live where we are, knowing the act of our Lord, the display his power that put us here.

Garden Sage

Garden Sage 12/9/11

Days before the holidays, garden catalogs are coming. Cook’s sent me last years catalog, apparently to keep me interested until their 2012 wish book (and truly Cook’s is a wish book) comes out. I am coveting a collection of their raspberries. Three each of black, an early red, a late red and a yellow. Jason and I are the only raspberry lovers in my house so why do I need these? I want to put one of each type into a huge pot the way we did with the collection of three from Flower World. But I also want to put a short double row in the ground where my determinant tomatoes are currently set. Vine berries are one of the few plants that do very well in the sorry excuse for soil we have in the Toy Box.

Marion Berry Leaves

Marion Berries planted spring 2011 on 12-9-11

Last year Ray and I put in Marion Berries and Logan berries after we noticed that the brambles and small wild black berries do exceptionally well just beyond the fence. The small sample of marion and logan from their first summer were wonderful. I have two more vines of each that I want to find a space for in an already crowded garden. We are desperately missing the jam that I did not make this year because of the new glass top stove. While reading about how to use the automatic oven cleaning feature I came across a blurb in our owners manual that promises me that I can use the glass top for canning under careful conditions. Ray still worries, but I am determined to give it a try. Having nothing but applesauce from 2010 in the pantry and only frosty herbs plus a few leaves of kale and chard in the garden is distressing.

Apple Leaves

Only a few yellow leaves still cling to the apple tree 12-9-1

The multi-apple tree is doing all right, the sweet cherry gave us a taste of her candy. We are still waiting to taste a single pear. The tree that does exceptionally well is the sour cherry. If we are able (trees are so expensive) we want to add two more sour or pie cherry trees. A dwarf orchard is planned for the front garden. The front garden is only partially fenced. Every dog walker in our community lets their dogs (and we think they are huge dogs) come visit our front lawn. That needs to be prevented with good neighbor fencing. We do not like most of the industrial landscape plants in the front garden. We chat about pulling most of that out and replacing them with my lavenders and some herbal flowers such as ecchenicca (purple cone flower), calendula and stinky but useful valerian. Sunflowers too since this garden tends to be soggy.

Custom Made Clouch

The last of the Cilantro under the Clouch (chard and parsley)

I can grow some protein in the Toy Box. We have discovered Fava (Broad) Beans and a small cranberry type of bean, treasured on Whidbey Island for years, known as Rockwell that provide some tasty protine. The nuggets give us eggs. Even so, we are talking about rabbits for meat (and poo that is gold in the compost) and a Talipa aquaponics. Ray actually seems jazzed about fish farming. All of it takes money to start.

The Old Windmill

Grandpa's old wind mill at sunrise

No one ever really knows what a day will bring. YHVH give us the privilege, the delightful hope, of dreaming about what we will do should he allow. We are sharply aware that the future belongs to our Elohim/God. We want to keep the eyes of our hearts on him. He is far more secure than healthy hens or  a pantry full of jelly.  Things can change in the blink of an eye. One day the mill sent the workers home with a letter informing them that the sale of the mill is all but done save for a few details, get your applications in to the new company. The very next day we found out that everything fell apart. 700 people who depend upon their wage from the mill will join the ranks of the unemployed. The temptation to succumb to depression dogged us most of the day.  As individuals and as a couple who have come through so many things before this, we had to stop and remember that our Lord has made one promise to us. He will never forsake us.

December 9, 2011 Windmill

December 9, 2011

We choose hope. It is hope, not presumption that keeps us dreaming about what we can do this coming year. It is the lovingkindness of our YHVH in his son Y’shua that causes us to stand firm (rather than proud) on his promise. We do not know where we will be next year, but we know it will be beyond what we are able to dream. We are blessed, that is all we know for sure. God shows us that he favors us again and again. The rest is just details…..details that do not fall apart in negations.

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Filed under Everyday Adventure, Urban Farm

Lavender-Sour Cherry (bread machine) Focaccia

Focaccia with lavender and sour-cherries (I think you can click on the picture to go to the movie I made for this bread)

Lavender-Sour Cherry Focaccia for a 1.5 lb bread machine loaf

Dry:

  • 4 teaspoons dry  yeast
  • 2 cups whole  wheat flour
  • 1 cup unbleached  bread flour
  • 1.5 Tablespoons  dry milk powder
  • 1.5 teaspoons sea  salt
  • 3/4 teaspoon  lavender buds

Wet:

  • 1.25 (1 and 1/4)  cups warm water
  • 2 Tablespoons  Olive Oil
  • 1.5 teaspoons  honey

Toppings

  • 2 cups sour  cherries (or whatever you have)
  • 1 Tablespoon  (organic) sugar
  • 1 Tablespoon lavender  buds (fresh or dry, use the same amount)
  • 2 Tablespoons  oil for infused lavender oil

Add the wet and dry ingredients to your machine in the order the  manufacture calls for. Set the control for manual.

Toss the cherries with the sugar (probably just before using  them on the bread)

In a small bowl mix the Tablespoon of lavender and the 2nd 2  Tablespoons of oil together. You may choose to heat this in the microwave for
30 seconds to speed the infusion process. Set aside.

To finish:

Preheat oven to 425 degrees F. The bread will bake on the bottom  3rd of the oven–adjust a rack.

note you may proof the bread once after it is removed from your  machine. I like to do this with whole wheat but not with white.

Generously oil a baking sheet. You can use some of the infused  oil.

With your fingers, press out the focaccia. (does not need to  proof/rise once it is in the pan)

With a pastry brush generously oil the top of the bread with the  infused oil.

If you have not already, toss the cherries with the sugar.  Alternately you can sprinkle the sugar on top of the cherries
and bread.

Press the cherries into the bread.

Note; for this focaccia you do not need to dimple the dough,  pressing the cherries will accomplish that for you.

Bake 20 minutes at 425. Remove from the sheet to a cooling rack  right away. Enjoy hot or cold.

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Filed under Fresh from the garden, Home Cooked