Monthly Archives: March 2014

Free Fish!

We have spent the day outside and enjoyed the warmth of 15-C sunshine. There was no biting cold wind, so you could enjoy the warmth.The dogs loved it.Hubby has been busy getting the weeds out of the veggie patch.

I have been busy doing a lot of spring cleaning inside the house, when the weather has been bad. I have a pile of mending to do but I keep procrastinating in hopes that it will disappear on its own. It has not worked yet. I am trying hard to get that done before Easter and our growing season begins.

Our Neighbor L came by this evening with four large pike for us. That was such a welcome treat. Hubby skinned and file them and they are now sitting in our freezer in the basement.

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Reorganizing the front flower bed

When we moved here this flower bed was so over grown, that a lot of the flowers couldn’t break through the ground. This is the second time we have broken the lilies apart and replanted them with more space between each bunch. Last year I watered the beds with a manure water mixture once a week. It was a shock to us how much the root system had grown. Apparently the flowers liked all that extra fertilizer and had grown 10 fold. Now I know why I couldn’t dig them up myself with a hand shovel yesterday.

I had to ask Hubby to do the digging today. We put 40 liters of dirt into the bed as well. We plan to let the dirt settle and add dried horse manure and more dirt later. You can see how huge their root system has grown. I guess those flowers will take over the flower bed this year. We have daffodils, forget me knots, tulips and poppies in there as well.I know there is more flowers but I don’t know their names. I had planned to put thyme, rosemary, cilantro, curry, melissa citronella and chives in there as well. Now I don’t know if I will have enough space because these lilies become quite bushy when full-grown. I like them because they bloom a long time. The leaves stay green well into the fall. I have a rhubarb which we have planned to replant in the vegetable garden with our strawberries.

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dugout

Roots

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SplitingPlants

SplitingPlants2TransplantingDone

Let us be silent..

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Here is a small peek of where we live

This is Julia (the brown pony) and Ida (the white pony). They are still in their winter pasture. They have shelter in one of the barns, which the door is left open for them to seek food and water as well. I can see them from my east-facing living room window. They have a pond to drink from as well, when it is not frozen over.

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Coco and Dixie had just come out of the ponies pasture, after saying good morning to them.

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This is one of the 5 houses on this farm. This is Buster’s family’s home. I am standing in front of another pond taking this picture on my morning walk. We often find ducks nesting this time of year in this pond.

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This is the pasture gate which shows the trail that leads down to our private wooden swimming pier. I can see this veiw of the lake from my south-facing kitchen and living room window.

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These are the two goats I wrote about earlier. They are two notorious escape artist. This is the summer pasture for the ponies that I can see from the south-facing windows of our living room and kitchen window. It has a pond as well in the middle. There are apple and pear trees in it as well.

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This picture is taken from another swimming spot on the farm. This spot has a cement pier as well as a shallow sandy beach and a little house for fishing gear are behind me as I take this photo. You can see the brown and white house I showed you earlier. This is one of my favorite places to walk around here.I am only half way through this trail. It is tranquil, secluded and beautiful.

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I wanted to show some of the wild flower that are blooming here. This trail that I am walking on continues to another beach where we have a stone fire pit for grilling.There are wooden benches around the fire pit. There are benches scattered on the path to sit and enjoy the veiws of the lake. There are apple trees here too. This area is filled with a lot of endangered flower species that are protected. It is absolutely gorgeous place to walk especially during spring when everything is in bloom. Our landlord/neighbor waits until the flowers are done blooming and the wild fowl are done nesting, before he uses it for his cows. The cows are constantly rotated from pasture to pasture through out the summer. I like it because they keep the grass levels from over growing which otherwise makes it difficult to walk here.

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This is one of the trees on the trail to our private wooden pier. Buster’s family loves nature and work hard to perserve it here on the farm. They feed the deer and moose during the harsh winters. All the familes that live on this farm feed the birds all winter long. There are bird nesting boxes scattered all over the farm. The marsh area on the farm has a large variety of nesting birds here in the spring.

Last summer  university students were here doing a scientific report on the differences of the flora and fauna between commercialized farms and ecologial farms. This report is for Sweden and the EU. We spoke to one of the students, who was astounded by differences from a traditional/commercialized farms and ecological farms. He was excitedly telling us all the different kinds butterflies… that are here on this farm. He was so surprised to see what a diverse variety of insects on this ecological farms compared to the commerical farms.

Saving the planet just starts with one family at a time.

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This is a sure sign spring is here. Can you find the snake in this picture?

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I just wanted to let you see where we live. Now you can understand why we love living here and why we named this blog slice of heaven in Sweden.

The Prophet Kahlil Gibran

Then Almitra spoke, saying, We would ask now of Death.
And he said;
You would know the secret of death.
But how shall you find it unless you seek it in the heart of life? The owl whose night-bound eyes are blind unto the day cannot unveil the mystery of light.
If you would indeed behold the spirit of death, open your heart wide unto the body of life.
For life and death are one, even as the river and the sea are one.

In the depth of your hopes and desires lies your silent knowledge of the beyond;
And like seeds dreaming beneath the snow your heart dreams of spring.
Trust the dreams, for in them is hidden the gate to eternity. Your fear of death is but the trembling of the shepherd when he stands before the king whose hand is to be laid upon him in honour.
Is the shepherd not joyful beneath his trembling, that he shall wear the mark of the king?
Yet is he not more mindful of his trembling?
For what is it to die but to stand naked in the wind and to melt into the sun?
And what is it to cease breathing but to free the breath from its restless tides, that it may rise and expand and seek God unencumbered?
Only when you drink from the river of silence shall you indeed sing.
And when you have reached the mountain top, then you shall begin to climb.
And when the earth shall claim your limbs, then shall you truly dance.

French Intensive Gardening

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The last few days…

The last few days have been the warmest of the year. The nights have been cold dipping below zero. I have been out working in our flower beds that are against the house. I cleared all dead fall. I cut down the dead stalks on what is left of last years flowers. We have snow drops, two varieties of lilies, forget me nots, daffodils foxgloves, poppies… are coming to life and the rhubarb is even breaking grown.

It just felt good to have my hands in the dirt. I have missed it so much. I have heard that gardeners live longer and healthier lives. I always thought that was because of the exercise which is obvious. I really Think it is the state of mind working in the garden creates. The peace, tranquility, harmony I feel when I work in the garden. Stress melts away. Gardening takes patience and time. We are in no hurry to get everything landscaped in one season. We want to live in it and dream what we want to make it look like and then with time make it our reality.

Every year I find new flowers that come up that were under the over grown flower beds. I work the ground every year airing it with a pitch fork. Last year we worked the flower bed under the kitchen window. We removed a foot of dirt or rather compacted roots. It shocked me that anything could possible work its way to the surface through it all. Under all that there was dirt and all kinds of hidden treasures. We sorted through and set aside the bulbs. We separated them and broke apart the huge clumps of tubers. We replanted everything and added soil and manure. It was gorgeous all summer long. Our landlord came by and said it was really nice. He thought we had bought all the flowers. I laughed and said all these flowers were here all along. We just helped them come up.

Summer time is when we grill out most days. We like to sit and look at the garden and admire all our work. I been thinking about my recipes. I have a lot of recipes to put up, but I just don’t know whether to write the recipes or make them and photograph the process. It would take me a lot longer.

I guess I will have to think about it. Right now I am planning to experiment baking with Stevia instead of sugar. We recently discovered this product ourselves. It is a south American plant that the indigenous people have used for 400 years instead of sugar. It has zero calories and is a gluten-free product. The carbohydrates rates are so incredibly low. It is exceptionally good for Diabetics. I will have to learn how to cook with this new product. This will be interesting. We have tried it with coffee and ice tea. It taste great. It can even be used in canning and making preserves. I usually bake pies during the summer time. I guess I will write the original recipe and Stevia recipe for baked goods. Giving you the reader a choice.

The other product I am trying to learn about it is Quinoa which you pronounce Keen-WA. It is organically grown and the company name is Ancient Quinoa harvest. It is wheat free and a gluten-free product. It is a 100% whole grain. It is easier to digest. This is a product originated in the Inca Civilization. It is also made into a flour as well as other products. It is also beneficial for diabetics. I figure that I will like the Quinoa because I like all kinds of rice and couscous but Hubby is a different story.

Have a little patience because we are working on so many things. I am still rattled from some tragic news we have just received. Our long time friend has struggled with Glioblastoma Multiforme (an aggressive form of Brain cancer). The doctors removed the original tumor in September 2013. It returned a second time they removed the new tumor in January 2014. We just found out on March 5th that the scans taken on February 28th show that the tumor has already grown back for the third time….

It is hard being supportive when this news has devastated us like it has. I can’t even imagine what this family is going through. Our dear friend’s incision had just healed enough to begin Chemo- and Radiation therapy. We are awaiting news on what the doctors recommend now. Then we have to await our friend’s decision. We have been by our friend and his family’s side through out this period…. We know it is terminal. I try to remind myself that, The journey is heartbreaking, not the destination.

I am anything but organized at this stage of the game. I am working on it.. There is beauty in every facet of life. That is why the lesson for me is enjoy the present. Enjoy the life you have now. I count my blessings everyday.

My guardian Angel…

MyGuardian

Formulating Garden Plans for 2014

Today was a beautiful sunny day outside. We walked through the yard and garden checking the flower beds out and the vegetable beds out. We were discussing how to plant our rows this year. We are going to rotate the potatoes to the rock bed. We are cutting back the size of the potatoes we grow this year to ½ maybe even down to a 1/3 of what we planted last year. We are unsure exactly how much we should scale it down. We had too many potatoes last year. We won’t have to make new beds this year because we are doing this. We want to experiment planting in the French intensive gardening method.

”There are three points that,in combination, distinguish this system from all others:
1). very thorough soil preparation, incorporating all nutrients before planting;
2). preparation of beds rather than rows, each bed mounded up above normal grade to form a body of soil that warms quickly, drains well, and takes in air easily; and
3). close planting…..

Close planting gives greater crop productivity, stifles weeds, and acts as a living mulch- conserving moisture and regulating soil temperature. Repeatedly thin plants as they grow..”

We want to plant seedlings which is easier to space them than seeds. We want to rotate seedlings when the crop is done producing. I have read on it. Now we need to configure the beds in our growing space. Right now we are just standing and scratching our heads. We know it can be done and that it should increase the variety of vegetables we plan to grow. It should also increase productivity of the vegetables that we eat the most of all winter long.

We are trying to decide what projects we will have this year. We need to put horse manure on the Potato box, green house and flower beds. We plan to transplant the strawberries and Rhubarb into the vegetable beds. Transplant the chives. We need to dig up my mint plant and put it in a planter on our patio. Oh by the way it already has new growth on it. The green house needs maintenance. We need to write a list down. We need to set a time frame as well.

We have been debating making new beds for two years. I have been reading on the net and gardening books that I have at home. We go through all the material together and discuss it. We are trying to make the garden as efficient as we can be. We are bravely daring to try a different method.The difficult part is creating the space design of the beds.

There are signs of spring every where. My daffodils have popped up and a few of them have unopened flower buds. My lilies are coming up. I found my first blå sippor/wind flower for the season… SPRING IS HERE! I just saw the weather forecast for tomorrow. It said 10 C. That sounds like heaven to me.

We are touched by Angels…

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