Saturday, June 8, 2013

Weeping Willow Tree

Can you believe this tree was a mere stick just a few months ago?

Weeping Willow Tree

One thing I did not like about our house when we bought it is that it did not have enough trees.  The perfect setting for me is in the middle of the woods.  Yes, I’m a tree hugger!  My husband promised he would plant trees for me if we bought this place, and he did plant a few, but they can be costly and other things always seem to take priority over the budget.    And then they take so long to GROW!  Patience is NOT my virtue.
So last Fall, when my parents were selling the farm in Tennessee, Papaw cut a few branches about 2 ft. long off their big willow tree and gave them to me to plant in our yard.  When I got back to Ohio, I stuck them in a bucket of water until roots started sprouting at the bottom to help them survive once planted.  We dug holes, stuck them in the ground and watered them really good until Winter came.  I wasn't sure if they would survive but 3 out of 4 did!    I planted willow cuttings from the same big tree at our previous house in Kentucky but it was much easier because there was a creek running through the front yard.  I didn’t soak the branches to get the roots started or even dig a hole.  All I did was push the willow branches into the mud near the creek and they grew like crazy.   Easy Peasy!
I’m somewhat of a sensitive ole gal and I think it’s kind of sweet that these trees are babies of the big old weeping willow tree in the front yard of the place that I called home for most of  my life.  I like the idea that a little bit of the old farm is here with me in my suburban Ohio yard.  And you can't beat the price!
I’m amazed at how much this tree has grown so far this spring!    I wonder what other trees I could start from a cutting? 
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Friday, May 24, 2013

Three Sisters Garden 2013


Hey Hey Homies!  Spring finally came and I've been busy outside getting my little garden ready for the growing season!  Hopefully, those darned ole stink bugs won't return this year and ruin everything again!
And my better half finished up the new potting area on the back of our garden shed and I LOVE it! 
The deck and potting table were built with salvaged wood from the deck we replaced on our house a couple of years ago.   I was so happy that we found a way to use it instead of scrapping it.  The potting shed sits adjacent the garden,  and I love to sit on the porch swing when I need a break from digging or weeding and admire my hard work.  I’ve also discovered it’s a great place for bird watching!
From the porch swing, I’ve had a fantastic view of two bird families this Spring (one in the birdhouse Thomas and Konnor built, and one in the nest above the birdhouse).  
The tree is just feet from my swing and I’ve really enjoyed watching them build their nests and feed their babies.  From the swing, I can also watch the busy occupants of our bluebird house in another part of the yard.  And now the hummingbirds have returned as well.  The birds love all the worms in the garden and the hummingbirds love the flowers.

So, about the garden…….have you ever heard of The Three Sisters?
A couple of years ago, I put a teepee in my garden for growing green beans.   It has been a fun little project for the kids.  They liked to get inside the teepee and they have eaten lots of organic green beans. 

At that time I made the teepee for the green beans, my friend Becky told me about The Three Sisters gardening, a companion planting technique used by Native Americans.   The Three Sisters (corn, pole beans, and squash or pumpkin) all benefit from each other and help each other thrive until harvest (beans provide nitrogen, corn provides stalk to climb, squash provides shade and mulch), and together the three provide a balanced diet for the human body.  What a neat concept, huh?  Working together.......benefiting from one another........helping each other thrive.  If only we could figure out to make this work for the human race.  As I read more about the history of The Three Sisters, I knew I wanted to give it a try some day.
And that day came last week!   Instead of growing the corn in a patch though, since my designated garden space is limited and somewhat decorative with flowers mixed in, I thought about growing the corn in a circular shape around the wooden teepee frame, and somehow tie it to the teepee as it grows or maybe tie it together at the top when it gets tall.  I have never grown corn so I'm not sure if that is even possible.  And if the corn is formed into a teepee, how will the squash that I had planned to plant in the center of the teepee get enough sun?   Hmmm, maybe this corn-teepee thing isn't such a good idea after all.
I decided that the door (opening) to the teepee is positioned so that the squash should get adequate sun and it will take some time before the corn is that tall anyway.  No guts, no glory!  So I planted the corn in a semi-circle mound around the bottom of my wooden teepee frame.  As soon as the corn sprouts, I'll plant the beans and squash. 

When I was young, my Mom used to buy paper bags full of fresh corn and we would shuck it, clean it, cut it off the stalk, and fry it up with bacon grease.  We filled the freezer with baggies of "fresh fried corn" and enjoyed them all winter.   Mom's fried corn was always one of my favorites!  That was back before we knew how unhealthy it was to cook everything in bacon grease!  Believe it or not, my mom even fried our apples in bacon grease!   And they were/are the best! 
As we expand our garden, it might be nice to have a  real corn patch to fill the freezer, and maybe even a bigger Three Sisters Garden.   But for now, it will just be fun to see how this little experiment turns out.
Stay tuned.........

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