Monday, January 31, 2011

Snow update

Well, we have been upgraded (or downgraded depending on your view) to a Blizzard Warning.  We have the possibility for up to 18 inches of snow with 25-35 mph winds with gusts to 40 mph.  My oldest is thrilled that school is cancelled for tomorrow.  My youngest was already in bed when hers was called, so she will get her surprise in the morning.  She is an early riser anyway and likely won't sleep in.  Sounds like the bulk of this storm is going to hit us tomorrow night.  Thankfully, we are not forecast to get some of the ice accumulations that people south of here are supposed to receive. 
I will be sure to get some pictures of this "historic snowpocalypse" to share with all of you.  :)

Sunday, January 30, 2011

Hoping for snow

I confess....I am a gardener that also loves winter.  I tend to be somewhat like a kid when it comes to a forecast of snow.  My latest facebook status was, "Wondering if reverse psychology will work on snow storms? If I don't get excited and hopeful, maybe we will actually get a good storm. You know...expect nothing and be pleasantly surprised and all that? Now to work on the not getting excited part......."  I get all excited only to be let down by meteorological error.  Who wouldn't want a job in which you get paid to be wrong?!!  :)
I woke up this morning to a Winter Storm Watch for the possibility of 12+ inches of snow.  This is getting difficult...remember, I get excited for a forecast of 3-4 inches.  12+ brings me to a whole new level. 
Before I get poo-pooed by the naysayers of winter, think of the possibilties a winter storm brings for gardeners.
  • Snow days in which to dream over brightly colored seed catalogs dutifully dog eared and full of post it notes.
  • Opportunity to plan and replan the veggie garden until the paper gives way under your eraser.
  • Time to enjoy the winter birds (and the neighborhood squirrel) that are thankful for your contribution of seed.
  • More time to clean and organize seed starting pots and etc. for the soon to come planting.
  • Freedom to read about new gardening techniques to try.  Lasagna gardening has me intrigued.
  • Cookbooks to read for new ideas on how to use the abundance of zucchini that will send your neighbors diving for cover when they see you coming with a weighted Wal Mart bag.  I confess that I have left them on porches and hanging from door knobs....
So, in the spirit of reverse psychology, there is no snow coming.....right?  :)

Monday, January 24, 2011

Aging seeds

Continuing to work on updating my spreadsheet of leftover veggie, herb, and flower seeds.  Boy are some of the seeds getting old...a few from 2005 and 2006.  I hate throwing seeds away.  I feel like I am throwing away the promise of a possible new plant.  When I use old seed, I tend to just seed a bit thicker than my usual and hope for the best.  It makes me smile to see an "old seed" come to life.  :)

Saturday, January 22, 2011

Garden catalogs

I gathered up my seed catalogs this morning....somehow I am missing a couple...Shumway's and Pinetree Garden Seeds.  I bet if I looked in Lauren's bedroom, I would find them, but I don't feel like risking my life in the pit today.  :)
I particularly like Baker Creek (all non hybrid, non-GMO, non-treated, and non-patented) and Seed Savers (for their work in the preservations of heirlooms), Bountiful Gardens (Safe Seed pledge and heirlooms).  Not that I don't like the others, don't get me wrong.  I order from them also.  Some feature items or seeds that I cannot find somewhere else, and I am not as opposed to hybrid flower seed.

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Today's snowfall totals

I brought out the ruler to measure today's snowfall total....1 1/4 inches.  Not a lot, but enough to cover the old melting snow that was looking dirty.  I love fresh white snow!  I am thinking that I need to find a ruler that photographs better...although my youngest daughter, Lauren, thought it was pretty cool that her ruler was featured on my blog.  :)

The Weather Channel has an interactive map with the reported snowfalls from this most recent snow storm that I found interesting.

Wednesday, January 19, 2011


Today I looked out the window and saw a bunch of robins.  They must have been thirsty.  They were drinking from the puddles made from the melting snow (FYI-the melting snow makes me unhappy.  I happen to like the white stuff.)  I had seen the first ones on New Year's Eve.  I usually don't see any in our area until around February.  A recent article I found stated that there have been more robin sightings in the central IL area than usual.  I bet they will be glad when the ground thaws and they can eat worms again!  :)

Monday, January 17, 2011

Part of my lesson in not giving up hope...
I like to keep my spider plants outside in the summer...they do so much better with the humidity and lots of natural light.  One of the plants I have had since I was in college over 20 years ago and the other I potted up, using "babies" from my main plant, for my husband when we were dating...also over 20 years ago.  Obviously, spider plants are very forgiving!  I made the mistake of leaving them out on night this past fall when we had a freeze.  I came home to limp, brown leaves and both plants looked beyond hope.  I couldn't bear to throw them away however.  I brought them into the potting shed (which is heated), watered them, and let time pass. 
One day a green shoot started on one pot.  I couldn't believe it!  For all practical purposes, these plants were dead!  Now I have 2 plants that are starting to fill out a bit.  Nothing like they used to be by any means, but getting there.  I still have to finish cleaning out the dead foliage, but I am just happy that they weren't gone for good!

Sunday, January 16, 2011

Backyard bird sightings

There have been a lot of birds at my various feeders the past couple days.  I decided to sit and try and catch some pictures of them.  I'm sure that my neighbors probably thought that I had lost my mind if they saw me just sitting out in the cold! 
There were so many cardinals in my backyard.  I especially like seeing them in the winter with the snow cover because they stand out so well.  My front feeders attract more species, but I had to sit too close and nothing was coming close.  These pictures were all taken with a zoom lens in order to get what I did.  :)

Friday, January 14, 2011

The challenges of a winter garden blog

Although I am trying hard to maintain regular posts on my blog since New Year's (I hesitate to use the word "resolution" seems a bit like a set up for failure to me), I am finding that it is difficult to work full time during the day and have something interesting to blog about since by the time I get home, it is usually dark or just about there.  This is that "in between" time of the year in the midwest.  In a couple of months, my potting shed will be coming alive again with potting of seeds to start new plants for the veggie and flower gardens.  It has been a busy winter around here, and I haven't had much time to look at the brightly colored catalogs that make me dream of late winter seed starting and spring planting. 
There are things that I need to complete prior to getting my seeds started:
  • Tidy the potting shed
  • Take note of supplies
  • Clean and sterilize seed starting containers
  • Check flourescent bulbs for replacements
  • Check seed spreadsheet for updates
  • Map out veggie garden plan
  • Order new seed as needed
Just listing this out has made me get the itch to be in the shed!

The sign to the right was given to me as a gift this week by a dear neighbor of mine.  I can't wait to find the perfect place to hang it in the shed.  :)

Tuesday, January 11, 2011


After a late night of college football (War Eagle!!), central IL was blanketed in snow this morning.  Not as much as I would have liked, of course, but beggars can't be choosers.  At least it is prettier to look at out there.  My attempt at showing the amount of snow on the ruler did not work as well as I had planned.  Seems that we have about 3 inches with continued light snows.  The wind is forecast to pick up with gusts into the 20 mph range later today and tonight.

Sunday, January 9, 2011

Weather and such

What is a garden blogger to blog about in the winter but the weather?  Even though I love gardening, I also love the winter and the snow that comes with the colder temperatures.  My theory is that if it has to be cold outside, it might as well be white rather than brown!  I have often wondered if people born in the winter are more apt to be winter lovers themselves....
I have been watching the weather all day, hoping that the weather will soon be headlined with some sort of winter weather advisory, storm watch, etc.  So far nothing...  The plains and south seem to be active with winter weather.  Send it here!
Snow is a benefit to the garden as well by providing insulation to plants and soil from the bitterly cold temperatures as well as providing water when it melts.
I am stocked up on bird seed for my multiple feathered friends who will find it more difficult to find food during the snowy times.  I think that most of the birds in the area are visiting my feeders by the amount of seed I have been putting out.  Chickadees, cardinals, dark eyed juncos, sparrows, finches, tufted titmice, and blue jays have all been seen recently.
With any luck, starting tomorrow night, they snow will begin to fly here in Illinois as well.  This gardener is on winter break and is ready to play!

Sunday, January 2, 2011

Happy New Year!

So maybe I am one day late in the new year wishes, but the thought is there...
The new year brings with it a tradition of resolutions in which we all make promises to ourselves and/or others to better ourselves in some way. If I had to have a gardening resolution, it would be to keep my garden weed free. The past couple of years have not been the best for gardens in my area. When the garden isn't thriving, it is difficult to give it the attention that it needs. Hence, I had the weediest veggie garden I have ever had this past summer. My flower beds got more attention than my veggies. Next year will be better...
For now, the seed catalogs are trickling in with the promise of a new season of plants, and I am keeping annuals alive in my potting shed and even have a sunny orange bloom on one of my Gerbera daisies.