Monday, April 4, 2016

outside the house—at the brooklyn botanical garden

Last week I accompanied my husband on a work trip to NYC.  I had never been there before and it was a lot of fun!  (But boy are my legs and feet still sore from all the walking I did!!!)

While I was there I took a trip out to the Brooklyn Botanical Garden to see the early spring blooms.  They are known for their beautiful cherry blossom display in the spring which is undoubtedly quite amazing…however, there were only a few trees in bloom when I was there so I’ll have to take their word for it.  I enjoyed the visit, though I have to say there are gardens much closer to home that I find more visit-worthy. 

Nothing is really blooming here in MN yet (except a few lone crocuses) so it was really nice to see some more color in the landscape!

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Blooming cherry trees in their Japanese garden.

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The most dramatic part of the garden right now were the magnolias.  Some of the flowers were almost as big as my hand!

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I took these pictures on my phone and they just do not do it justice! 

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I thought these muscari among the hyacinths were so charming:

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But my favorite part of the garden:  the hellebores (Lenten rose).  Each one was different than the next, and each was beautiful in it’s own way which made you want to lift every one to look inside.

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All in all, I really enjoyed my visit and I got a much needed spring garden fix for a few weeks until mine starts blooming!

Friday, March 4, 2016

first peek at the spring bulbs

Last fall I planted about 500 bulbs, mostly daffodils, in various places on our property.  Guess what I found when I was out and about looking around in the flower beds!! 

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Yep, little daffodil shoots braving the still snow-covered world.  I just cannot wait to see the riot of color as they come up and bloom!  I have actually forgotten all the places I planted these, so it will be a bit of a surprise even for me!  I will keep you updated. 

It also looks like, for the first time ever, I will get some hellebore (Lenten rose) flowers this year!  Little fat buds are on their way up. 

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Thursday, February 18, 2016

growing winter greens for the chickens

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During the summer our small flock of chickens is free-range, eating all sorts of bugs and greens they find throughout our property, along with regular feed.  That all changes here where the ground is frozen and snow covered most of the winter.  The yolks of their eggs become a light yellow rather than that deep rich orange and I’m sure their general health is slightly less good as well, even though we give them a good feed and a supplemental seed/grain block to pick on. 

I heard about growing winter greens for your chickens last year from a friend when it was almost spring, so I decided this year to try it out.  I have two florescent light ballasts set up in the basement for seed starting, and since I leave them there year round I decided to put them to use.  I got a bag of oats from our local feed store co-op, spread them thickly in seed trays, and soaked them in water for a couple of days. 

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Then I drained them, covered them with plastic wrap (my seed tray covers are still put away—need to dig those out!), and put them under the florescent lights in the basement. 

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Within a day or two, little white roots start to grow,

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and then the greens start to come up.  Once the greens are a few inches tall, I put the whole tray in the chicken pen and let them at it.  I usually have a couple of trays going at once so they get a fairly steady diet. 

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They love it!  They get in there scratching and pecking, yum yum! 

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It is pretty easy (only takes a few minutes of time once you have the set-up!) and it makes me happy to give them some nice healthy greens in the middle of winter!