Wednesday, April 29, 2009

the greening of the greenwood

I have been taking photos most every morning for over a week, and I think we may have surrounded the time when the forest made the jump from bud to leaves, if not captured it on film! I'll be posting the photos later, but here's a nice 'beginnings' shot, of the greening of the greenwood.

I love spring. . . .

Friday, April 17, 2009

free flowers

OK, so I was all impressed with the fact that flowers I did not plant were blooming here at the greenwood. I planned to dazzle you with pictures of these lovely, natural wonders.

Then, I saw Ewa's Bloom Day posting, apparently part of a garden bloggers' tradition of posting pictures on the 15th of the month of everything that's blooming.

You won't believe what's blooming in Ewa's garden, in POLAND! [isn't it - like - still COLD there?!!] sheesh.

Oh well. Here are my modest little beauties, the ones NOT planted by human hands. viola odorata

And I believe this is some sort of Anemone. . . .

COMING SOON: new and amazing photos of the mutant martian spear plant. Alas, the king says its days are numbered. . . .

Thursday, April 16, 2009

the cookie tin

These have got to be Steve's best 'Jumbles' ever. Ever!

I have "the recipe". But it won't help.
1 cup plus 2 Tblsp all-purpose flour
1 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp salt
1/2 cup sugar
1/4 cup light brown sugar
8 Tblsp unsalted butter
1 large egg
3/4 tsp pure vanilla extract
1 cup semisweet chocolate chips
1 1/2 cups raisins
3/4 cup pecan halves (toasted then chopped)
1 1/2 cup whole almonds (toasted then chopped)
I have the "Secret" to the recipe. But it won't help, either. Or not much, anyway. (the Secret: soak the raisins in Capt. Morgan's or Myers Rum for several hours - or overnight - drain off and drink the rum from the raisins before mixing the cookie dough).

You see, Steve's Jumbles are always 'one-offs'. They're never the same, twice. And there's no telling what's in there for any given batch! The Christmas ones I tried under his tutelage were a disaster. These, however, are the best EVER.


In the refillable tin, which means I have to refill it and return in order to hope for more Jumbles!

I can't face the thought of another Jumbled debacle like Christmas, but luckily my friend Cheryl over at A Simple Yarn has just the thing with which to refill the cookie tin: Sugar Cookies.

Click over there for a second - don't they look good?!

Conveniently, I have a number of oversized cookie cutters that have yet to cut cookies. Here they are, posing in front of the Gaelige sign that says "Greenwood" in Irish: an choill ghlas. Yep, also from our friends over at A Simple Yarn. I'm a huge fan.

Monday, April 13, 2009

Invasion of the mutant martian spear plant. . . .

This thing is just plain scarey looking. I have no idea what it is, but it's growing like a weed in the middle of the meadow where little else will grow.

Here it is in context. It looks like it would pierce your foot if you stepped on it. Another thing that I should kill while I still can, while it's still small? "Small" being a relative term here. . . .

Speaking of killing small plants, though, I think the tomatoes are toying with me. They have not grown a bit since the last picture posted. Perversely, now I want them to survive! Maybe they heard my earlier threats and are on strike. I'm sorry, little tomatoes - please grow!

Now back to our mystery: does anyone have any idea what this pointy plant is?

UPDATE [Thursday, 04.16.09] - seen on king's to-do list: "Kill mutant martian spear plant"

Saturday, April 11, 2009

the arrival of the evangels

What is it? It's kind of gnarly looking. . . .

The story goes that at the king's last house, the landscape designer placed pathetic looking sticks of trees on either side of the entrance to the drive.

"What are those?!"

"You're going to love them."

"No I don't; I hate them. Make them go away."

"You've got to trust me on this. You're going to love them. If you don't love them, I'll come get them myself and plant them at my house. And I'll plant whatever you want here, instead. . . . But you're going to love them."

He loved them.

Here's what they looked like many years later, on our wedding day. Yes, it's the amazing green wall of leaves in the top left half of the photo, behind the string quartet. Towering over the man in uniform, son Antonio.

What is it? It's fagus sylvatica 'pendula' - a Weeping European Beech tree.

There were four of them, two at each entrance of the drive. I promptly dubbed them the evangels. They were impressive! A real presence, with or without leaves.

We have only two at the greenwood, so I guess we really can't call them the 4 evangels, but I still think of them that way. They finally went in yesterday (they're not exactly easy to find), and we discussed which two of the four we thought they might be the namesakes of.

"These guys look more like St. George and the Dragon." the king commented.

"You're right!"

The battle is on. Here's St. George. The dragon was the first one pictured.

Give them 15 or 20 years. You're going to love them!

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

flora update

More veggie rows are in within the garden enclosure, some boughten marigolds mark the end of the bean rows. That's an asparagus trench to the far left. It's still not much to look at, is it? Here, meanwhile, is a veggie garden that's gorgeous. I don't know if I can take the pressure. Precision lettuce?! Oh well. . . . the daffodils are out in full force. This one is gargantuan!This patch of white daffodils is the only patch I planted of all the same [named] kind: Thalia. They smell heavenly. Luther bit off the first bloom a few days ago, but there are more open today - and more to come, looks like.
Out back, the pod people have arrived.A couple of days ago, little green pips popped up all over the forest floor. You can see two of them in the picture, and a larger specimen that is already turning into a pod person parasol, otherwise known as a Mayapple. They'll cover the forest floor in a few weeks!

Friday, April 3, 2009


As promised, here are the flowers in the pot. . . . Give them a couple of days. They'll grow into it.

Thursday, April 2, 2009

problem vegetables. . . .

This is the funniest article I've read in a long time: The Locavore's Dilemma: What to do with the kale, turnips, and parsley that overwhelm your CSA bin.

I was hooked by the first line: "It was what I did to the macaroni and cheese that made me seek professional help." (wait'll you read what she did to the macaroni and cheese!)

Meanwhile, here's my problem veggie, the tomato. I don't like tomatoes, but I'm growing them. From seed. There are 5 of them now, total, in two pots. Three for three in this pot alone! Wait'll the tomatoes start coming. . . . (and no, I refuse to put them into macaroni and cheese!) If I had any sense, I'd kill them now while they're still small; while there's still time.

In other news, here's my problem planter. It cracked in the harsh winter. The shiny stuff is Gorilla Glue liberally applied in an attempt to stave off the inevitable for one more season. When the instructions say that it "expands" - believe it! Five minutes after this picture was taken, it looked like a fuzzy caterpillar snake was crawling up the planter. Luckily, it appears I can chisel that off, later - or paint it.

After the glue is mostly dry, I get to put all these plants in. Woo hoo! [stay tuned for the "After" picture]

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

the April fool

The first thing Lux Luther did on his very first day with us was to decapitate a peony blossom.

Unfortunately, we thought it was kind of cute, and laughed while he raced around with his pom-pom-peony. In short, we encouraged him.

It wasn't quite as funny when he started attacking the bush, and 'retrieving' blossoms like thrown tennis balls.

After a summer of intense flower-sensitivity-training and rehab, it seemed Luther was well on his way toward responsible canineship, in a live-and-let-live sort of dog/flower peaceful coexistence sort of way.

That ended today. He's had a serious brush with recidivism. No more Mr. Nice-guy! We have a floricidal maniac on our hands. . . .

He's decapitated one of the lovely double daffodils. Here: at least we can enjoy it for a while in photo-form - a little the worse for wear - nestled in the door knocker.
I regret to say that my language at the time does not bear repeating. We'll have to come up with a remedial training/disciplinary intervention protocol!

That, or else arm the fleurs. . . .