Sunday, May 31, 2009

A Look At My Community Garden

I finally finished planting the plot I have in my community garden. It's been such a wet and cold spring here in the Chicago area, so planting days have been few and far between. A large plot is only $15 for the season. Sometimes it is a struggle to get over there, even though it's only 5 minutes away. But it is a wonderful place to meet gardening friends and de-stress for a while.

Here is a picture of the garden a couple weeks ago. It is marked out with sticks. We have to use the rototiller on our own , but it's really not too bad. The soil is lovely and rich, but parts are more full of clay then others.

This is how it looks today. Everything is planted but still very small.
This is my lettuce bed on the left. The middle is cayenne peppers, separated from the other peppers on the other side. Also some celeriac and kohlrabi. The row on the right is eggplant.

Here are my various gourds and pumpkins. I just started the trellis, haven't finished it yet. Last year my winter squash got hit hard by some sort of vine-boring worm. So I planted radishes around each hill to try and deter pests .

These are some neat markers some gardeners have a few rows down. Just thought I'd show them to you.

Here is a larger view. I'll have to look for those for next year.
More pictures to come when things really get going!

Thursday, May 28, 2009


One of my most vivid memories from childhood is eating rhubarb right from the rhubarb patch. My brothers and I loved to play in that rhubarb patch. The huge stalks became swords or wands, and the large leaves made perfect roofs for our forts.
I only have one little plant at my house. But it was important to me to introduce my girls to the taste of it. They balked at the idea of eating this weed-looking plant, I told them- "Whatever you do- don't eat the leaves- they are poisonous." Of course they were fascinated by rhubarb then.(suckers)
My favorite way to eat it is raw- I love the tartness of it. The girls will eat anything with massive amounts of sugar in it. Since I'm not good making pies, I love making this quick and easy crumble recipe. The girls are hooked now!
Rhubarb Crisp

2 1/2 cups quick cooking oats
2 1/2 cups brown sugar
3 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 cup butter, melted
9 cups chopped rhubarb
3 teaspoons ground cinnamon
2 cups water
2 cups white sugar
1/4 cup cornstarch
2 teaspoons vanilla extract

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Grease a 9x13 inch baking dish.
In a large bowl, mix together oats, brown sugar, flour and butter. Put half of the mixture into the bottom of the baking dish. Place rhubarb over top of mixture and sprinkle with cinnamon.
In a medium saucepan, cook water, sugar, cornstarch and vanilla over medium heat until thick; let cool slightly. Pour over rhubarb and sprinkle remaining oat and flour mixture on top. Bake in preheated oven for 30 to 35 minutes.

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Memorial Day Poppy

In Flanders Fields
Lieutenant Colonel John McCrae, MD (1872-1918) Canadian Army

In Flanders Fields the poppies blow
Between the crosses row on row,
That mark our place; and in the sky
The larks, still bravely singing, fly
Scarce heard amid the guns below.

We are the Dead. Short days ago
We lived, felt dawn, saw sunset glow,
Loved and were loved, and now we lie
In Flanders fields.

Take up our quarrel with the foe:
To you from failing hands we throw
The torch; be yours to hold it high.
If ye break faith with us who die
We shall not sleep, though poppies grow
In Flanders fields.

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Nature Study....Robins

A couple weeks ago we found a little surprise in our bushes. Actually it wasn't a surprise because we noticed the mother and father Robin working feverishly, building their nest.The eggs made my DD squeal with delight...and then a hundred questions followed, as only a five year old can dish out! When will they hatch? How do they get out of the egg? Will the eggshell hurt them? Why are they blue? We went to the library to do research .

The anticipation was overwhelming! Then yesterday, they started to emerge. More questions and concerns....What do they eat? Are they afraid to be left alone? When will their eyes open? When will they fly?

They are cute aren't they? We had a lot of fun learning all about Robins. It was a fun springtime activity!
Some of our research materials.

Monday, May 18, 2009

Hillbilly Cucumbers

The plants have been loving all the rain we've gotten this spring! The peas I planted on St. Patrick's Day have almost reached the top of their trellis. They have never grown that fast before.
Last week I planted some of the cucumbers from my seed shelf along the side fence. I use my daughter's old crib bottom as a trellis. I think it works so well, but it makes my yard look like a hillbilly's until the plants cover it up.

It's hard to see, but this is a Turk's Turban Squash I planted along with the cucumbers.

Here is a better view of the awful way the crib springs look. Maybe it's more socially acceptable now because of recycling!

Today my Iris bloomed for the first time!

Thursday, May 7, 2009

After The Rain

What is it about spring rain that makes it so different from other times of the year? Instead of being dreary and gloomy it is light and nurturing.It doesn't keep us hold up inside, instead beckons us out to play.

Instead of being cold and clammy it is warm and fresh.

Is spring rain really different or are we just dazzled by our surroundings so much that we don't seem to mind?
In our minds we know it will end soon and beauty will surround us!

Is it all a matter of perspective? I'm always amazed when gardening how much nature mirrors life.

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

A Heart For Bianca

My bleeding heat has bloomed. When I saw it I was reminded of the heart in Bianca's blog title. So I had to post it to my Brazilian friend! Some of the feelings white flowers represent are purity, heavenly, sincerity, innocence, silence.

Monday, May 4, 2009

Girl Power

I went to my first ever water polo game the other day to watch my niece , Carly play for her high school JV team. It was quite thrilling to watch! Water polo is a fast paced game that is played while all the girls are treading water. The play is very intense. As I was watching I couldn't believe this was my first time watching the sport. I love anything where girls show their beautiful powerful true selves!

This is Carly, #14 , defending her opponent.

Instead of running you have to swim hard to get to the ball.

There is a lot of pulling, kicking and elbowing while going for the ball.

A well deserved time out...the only time to take a breather!

Carly is making a shot on goal.

I'm very proud of you Carly! You work so hard at everything you do! I can't wait for the next game.