A Porch of My Own

A Porch of My Own

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

In the Garden

The garden is really taking shape now! We have already harvested squash and onions. The watermelon vines have tiny watermelons on them. Can't wait!

Rickie found two pumpkin seedlings that came up where we threw out some old pumpkins last year. He dug them up and moved them to the garden and they are growing. He will plant the rest of the pumpkins in their alloted row next week.

The grapes are pruned and looking good. Since we won't have any peaches this year (the drought hit them hard), the grapes are our only hope for jelly! And maybe a little wine. 

Our blackberries are in their second year. We may get a dozen berries this year! Life is hard for blackberries in our area. The Arapaho is doing better than the Navajo. 

The Maximilian sunflowers are coming up, which puts me in the mind of Autumn even though we just hit Summer! Papa always had a row of sunflowers in our garden when I was little. I always think of him when the sunflowers bloom. He was the first person to instill in me a love of gardening. He was a stern and a practical man, not really sentimental, but I took note of how he added flowers to the vegetables. His daughter, my mother, taught us how to shell peas, preserve figs, cook fresh corn in a skillet, and process and preserve the bounty from the garden.

I planted an old wheelbarrow with some plants that I hoped would like the climate, which is to say could live in a place hotter than hell! They are looking out over a metal hen and baby chicks, a gift from my sister Jackie to my husband who wants to get some live chickens one day. Until then he can enjoy seeing these easy care ones!

It's been a busy month at the ranch. Besides getting the garden going, I tried my hand at masonry work. It was my first attempt. I learned a lot and did a few things wrong but fortunately I like the rustic look! I stoned in around the garden shed. A few weeks before Rickie and I had added a hay storage lean-to on the garden shed. I am happy with how both the hay storage and the masonry work came out. My knees are happy that I have finished that work for a while!

We have had so many birds around the garden and the cabin the last few weeks. Painted Bunting, Scott's Oriole, Summer Tanager, Cardinal, Blue Grosbeak, Ladderback Woodpecker, House Finch, Lesser Goldfinch, and Hummingbird are some of the ones showing up at the feeders. The turkeys are still hanging around, a group of 4 mature hens and another group of young hens born last year. A couple of gobblers. And a few buzzards that come in and look for food scraps and drink at the water trough every day.

Each morning I feed the longhorns, fill the bird feeders with seed and the birdbath with water, grab a cup of coffee and head to the garden to see how it is doing. I love the garden. I walk among the plants and see how they are coming along; my grandfather and my mother walk beside me.

And the joy we share as we tarry there none other has ever known.


  1. Hey the masonry looks great, I'd love hear what you learned as I'm tackling a project of my own in upstate new york soon.

  2. Thank you! I learned when the ground slopes to start at the highest end. This way if you have to adjust, you can add more mortar instead of digging out! We are on rocky ground so didn't have to worry much about the base. I just used some of the mortar and let it set up a bit. Also I would do a level string like bricklayers do across the top. I used a level as I laid each stone and got off a little in a couple of places. I had some cut stone left from our cabin and ghat is easier than getting the odd shaped stones from the property. Had to do that to finish up as I didn't have enough cut stones. Decided to do only one course on the back and other side where the ground was higher. Then just filled in the gap with trim boards. Easier than doing a little row of stones as a second course.
    And just be patient and do some each day until you finish! Good luck!