Twilight Color Palette

I've been inspired lately when walking through the garden, or standing under the oak tree, in those last moments before night truly sets in. The air, the trees, everything takes on an ethereal quality. The world turns blue in that last moment of dusk. Have you ever noticed how, as the sun sets, and dusk settles, there are stages of twilight?

The sunset blazes, the world is orange, yellow, purple and pink.

The sun sinks just behind the horizon, the sky is still ablaze, but the ground is colored with muted violet.

Then, in that last breath between night and day, the sun's light has faded from the sky, but misty blues and greens mixed with deep shadows and accents of moonlit white seem to spring up from the earth itself. Even your skin takes on a bluish cast. If magic exists, it happens in this moment.

 

I've created this fabric color palette for the Dreaming at Dusk mosaic contest at Stitched in Color. Head over to create your own palette and view the other gorgeous palettes and inspiration.

 

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To all the gross chairs

To Jenna at ColdAntler Farm,

This post resounds with me. I too, have hand-me-down overly used furniture. My furniture tells a different tale. The giant, once nice, but not my style, burgundy sectional sofa was a castoff from a family who probably has more money than sense. It was, however, generously offered and graciously received. There were a few small tears in the back, but not bad. After nearly two years in the the TLC of my three young boys, I found myself today thelling them to put giant wads of stuffing back into the couch and that it was not to be used as pretend snow for their blanket igloos.

My choices are reflected in that sofa too. I chose to be a stay at home, homeschooling, kinda crunchy (mostly from necessity), mom of 4 incredible kiddos. My husband works so hard to keep this dream a reality. It's not easy. Some days I dream of time alone, time for hobbies, for other adults to talk to, to get to go to the grocery store without reminding my rambunctious offspring not to climb and jump off the palates of flour or hide in the store refrigerators. I digress.

I am thankful for secondhand furniture because even though my burgundy faux leather and olive drab canvas sofas don't match, I can relax and laugh when my 7yr old practices jumping and flipping off them, or when the two year old uses the couch cushions like a slide, when my five yr old builds a fort with the cushions that ends in a dog pile from his brothers. I don't have to frantically run for upholstery cleaners to protect my investment when my baby girl spits up or a diaper change goes awry. These messes get cleaned up after my kiddos have been cared for and when it's convenient.

A wise woman once said, “You CAN have it all, but you can't have it all at the same time.” These choices have also added up to a dream I have held dear since I was a small girl. Other girls dreamed of wedding dresses and Prince Charming. I dreamed of Cowboys, adventure and owning my own farm and the Black Stallion. These dreams gave way before a dream I didn't even know I wanted, being a mom and wife. But I have nurtured my lifelong dream all this time through gardening, making my own food from real ingredients, and any small hobby that reminds me of the old way of doing things. I also live vicariously, through YOU and others like you. And after Eight long years of ugly sofas and carpet that needed replacing six years ago, I am This. Close. to maybe, just maybe purchasing that land, to build that barn, plow a new garden with a cow and have a whole mess of chickens, and be able to turn my kids loose on acres of land where they can run and scream and be as loud as they want without disturbing the neighbors while my husband and I look on while holding hands on the front porch.

So here's to you, Jenna, and all the falling-apart furniture that represents so much more.

~Erin

 

Garden Update May 2016

Nasturtium = Best filler plant ever.

My two Amish Pie pumpkins beginning to take off. Proof positive for melon pits. Thanks David the Good!

Peaches, Pole Beans, Black Krim Tomato

Florida Highbush Eggplant, Purslane, Pumpkin

My original garden doing quite well with (clockwise) tomatoes, collards, sunflower, broccoli, nasturtium, tomato, pepper, strawberry, blueberry, tomato, cucumber and my beans in the pot on the right.

The whole shebang.

Giant pumpkin leaves.

My newest garden box, double dug, partially trench composted, and currently planted with bio-accumulators: BOS Sunflowers, Burgundy Amaranth, and a Porterweed (not shown). Because I had them, I planted zinnias and eggplant here also as well as papaya, and sweet potato. Once the sunflowers and amaranth get bigger, I'll plant some bush acre peas also.

A tiny mulberry, oh so tasty.

Beautiful Broccoli, a giant, but fully edible plant. The hearts of the stalks are delicious!

Come on baby pumpkin!

The pumpkins are going nuts.

My seed grown Valencia Orange. Healthy, happy, and Citrus Greening free as of now.

Moringa

All 25ft of pumpkin plants.

My Floridaprince Peach loaded with its first crop of nearly ripe peaches.

Rattlesnake Pole Beans. These five beans should give me more than enough seeds for next planting.

 

Happy May All!

 

Fish Tank Greenhouse

I've been using my little homemade greenhouse for about a month, and I must say…holy cow, it's amazing. I used aluminum foil on the outside of the fish tank, a box with hardware cloth to set the soil block pots on to keep the seedlings close to the lights, and the regular aquarium hood outfitted with cheap compact fluorescent daylight bulbs. It's interesting to see how even though the eggplants and tomatoes all sprouted at different times, they all grew to the same height (distance from the light) and then leafed out. I really wished I still had my fluorescent T5 aquarium hoods from back in my freshwater aquarium days, but the cfl bulbs are doing quite well.

I started eggplants with the most success I've ever had and the tomatoes are short and bushy. Even direct sowing in the garden doesn't yield such excellent results!

I transplanted my eggplant and the four groups of zinnias outside to harden off in the shade two days ago. So far, so good.

You can see how the eggplant roots have really filled out nicely and seem to have been “air pruned” as the people that swear by soil blocking pots claim. I can definitely say transplanting them was a breeze.

The zinnias roots, not so much. They had three inch tap roots coming out of the bottoms of their pots. They didn't seem to mind growing into air at all. So, it may be related to the type of plants you grow. The tomatoes are “air pruned” and we shall see on my other types of plants how it works.

Sadly, I had a zero percent germination rate on my gifted pepper seeds. I know they spent about a week in the hot trunk of a car, and I'm not sure where they were stored before that, but my guess is the viability was destroyed on all the packets I was gifted. Oh well.

I tried my old corn seed next, but the corn didn't sprout either. So I've replanted with squashes, onions, and burgundy amaranth. The bunching onions and amaranth are already sprouting.

I'm loving this little seed starting chamber and would call it a giant success!

 

A bit more progress

This is what I was left with after the water drained, then I added Black Kow and a bit of peat moss and planted the first orange tree. I moved the sand back in place and carted the rest of the sand off to backfill the hole the boys dug under their swingset.

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I dug another large hole and filled it. With some cardboard and the entire contents of my white compost bin including the unfortunate vermin family living in it. Gross.
I planted my next orange tree and laid black landscape fabric and then mulched.

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I will espalier these orange trees to a trellis and plant squash in front of them and probably sweet potatoes in front of the glass.
And tomorrow I’ll be adding pickets to the sections of 2x4s. It was a good couple days progress.

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Adding Material to the Melon Pit

I dug my Melon Pit composting hole. It was a good size about 2 x 2 x 3ft deep. In the pit went:

  • Lots of cardboard boxes of all kinds
  • Dry brush and weeds
  • More cardboard
  • 3 small charred partly burnt logs
  • A ratty torn up pair of cotton jeans
  • A dead squirrel
  • Paper
  • Baby wipes
  • A little manure
  • All the food scraps for the last two weeks
  • Top soil with a little peat moss mixed in from a previous planting project

And this is how full the pit is now. To really get the decomposition started I ran the hose for several minutes and filled the pit full of water. It drained out pretty quickly, but now the cardboard will hold on to that water and give earthworms a nice place to live.

Since I don't want to wait to plant a little orange tree for espaliering and my cucurbits seeds, I'm going to finish up the rest of the pit with a bag of Black Kow then top it with weed blocker and leftover mulch from the garden. The sandy dirt I removed will go to backfilling under the boys swing set…again. They are unstoppable with a shovel.

And because you should see something pretty, check out the peach tree. I can't get enough.

Miss Norah naps in a shady spot the garden while we work. I believe in “airing out” the baby. Get that vitamin D! And don't worry, while it is winter every where else in the continental U.S., it's a balmy 83 degrees here, so lightweight summer garb was in order. Norah G. is quite sizable for being 10 weeks old. So squishy!

 

 

Melon Pits

In his book Compost Everything, David the Good teaches how to create melon pits as an easy way of getting rid of large amounts of compostable materials while adding some nutrients and water retention power to the soil. Well, I'm ready to give it a try. Some areas of my yard are sandy loam, tending more towards sand, but anywhere near the foundation of the house is sand.

 

It's a no-plants-land where only hardy draught tolerant natives survive. I had made a little pollinator garden of fire bush, porter weed, horse mint and milkweed to grow along here last year, but I wanted something more polished and that would allow me to use the space for food production. I'm hoping to eventually espalier my orange trees along this west facing wall, but first I need to fix the area up a bit. I pulled out two of the firebushes, the horsemint and porter weed to make room for the oranges. But this area needs some serious amending with something that's got some staying power. You see the rainwater runs off the roof all along the edge right about where the 4 x 4's are. This keeps the garden watered decently through the summer but washes all the nutrients and compost away like it was never there.

Enter melon pits. I believe that the melon pits would be a good way to fix up the soil because there would be things in there slow to decompose like wood and chunks of cardboard and some faster things like food scraps and paper. Anytime I trench compost, earthworms move in and hang around after the scraps are gone, so hopefully a big melon pit will really help fix up the soil more permanently.

I've been collecting a pile of brush and all the cardboard and food scraps to go in here. I'm also gonna add whatever partially broken down material is in my compost bin. I'm hoping to gather a nice heap of stuff before too long so I can start filling.