Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Kitten Update & A Little About Our Dogs

Today's garden update will be a day late since I didn't get a chance to take photos yesterday.  Instead, I bring you these adorable fur kids.....

 7-28 Onyx (red) & Nox (blue)
They're coming up on 9 weeks old now....we think anyways

This is what happens when they have their bellies full.

 7-28 Onyx

They're both eating very well and have little bellies that protrude after every meal.

7-28 Onyx

They're both still taking the virus-fighting supplement since they're still sneezing.

 7-28 Nox

Nox is almost finished with his antibiotic...just a few more doses.

7-28 Nox

We decided to put break-away collars on the kittens to tell them apart.  It was easy in the beginning to tell who was who since Nox was just a skinny, fuzzy skeleton.  Now that Nox is eating so well and gaining weight it's getting more difficult to tell them apart.  Onyx's coat is shinier and smoother than Nox's.  Nox has hair that sticks up a bit and was really dull to begin with, but it's getting shinier and laying flatter now so it's been getting difficult to tell them apart quickly. We're hoping that as they age, there will be a noticeable difference in their tabby stripes which are very dark brown. 

I haven't introduced the dogs on the blog yet so here is a quick introduction to them.  They are all 3 just "house dogs".  They do play in the yard and get walked for exercise, but aren't left outside alone since they like to eat every bit of grass, dirt, mulch, moss, rabbit poo, etc that they possibly can.

 7-28 Koa & Charlie (Charlie is smiling because he's annoying Koa)

Koa is a Sheltie, almost 5 years old.  We got him as a little 9 week old puppy from a breeder while living in Hawaii.  He's a typical sheltie- loyal to us, but has some strange quirks.  He's scared of silly things like cardboard boxes and suitcases and anything that's "different".  

7-28 Koa & Charlie

Charlie is a long-haired miniature dachshund, 8 months old.  We got Charlie from a breeder last January at about 9 weeks old.  He's very active and is either "on" or "off".  There is no "in between" with him.  It was difficult just taking a picture of him as he was biting Koa and rolling around, trying to get him to play.  He's a cute little dog and very smart, but a little stubborn. 

 7-28 Koa & Charlie

And then we have Phillip, the Italian Greyhound, almost 10 years old.  We got him as a puppy while living in Connecticut.  He moved with us to Maryland & back to Connecticut & then to Hawaii & of course here.  He also went on a road trip with us from Connecticut to Florida & back.  You'd think that with all that traveling around, he'd be a social butterfly, but he doesn't like strangers- at all.  He knows who he likes and has a difficult time accepting anyone new.  He'd rather just sit on his bed or lay in the sun and not be bothered by anyone....including Charlie......
He didn't want his photo taken with Koa & Charlie.  He waited for them to leave his bed so he could reclaim it.  This is pretty much where he stays while indoors.  He does however, show interest in the kittens and tries to play with them.  Actually, everything Phillip knows about being a dog, he learned from a Siamese cat.  ;-)

7-28 Phillip

Monday, July 28, 2014

Potted Herb Garden


I love having my little potted herb garden on the deck, just outside the kitchen door.  I have a 4 foot raised bed in the garden for herbs as well, but prefer these on the deck.  The bunnies have been into the garden bed herbs and these pots are safe from the critters.  It's quick & easy to come out and pick a few herbs when cooking.
Those of you who have little space to work with or aren't ready to plant a veggie garden, a little herb garden is a perfect way to start.  It's easy and the fresh herbs will add so much flavor to your dishes.  Having your own fresh supply of herbs is much, much less expensive than picking up the little fresh packets at the grocery store.  You'll have more variety growing your own as well.
Once we near the end of the growing season, I'll be drying some of these herbs for using later.  I also have plans to overwinter as many of these as I can.

Here's a little tour of my potted herb garden~

Potted Culinary Herbs


Italian Oregano


Genovese Basil

Forest Green Parsley 

Italian Parsley


Dark Opal Basil


Horehound & Stevia

White Horehound - Growing info {here}
I plan to make soothing throat drops with the horehound leaves....Info on that in the link above

Stevia - Growing Info {here}
I'll be using the leaves as a sweetener in tea and will try it in coffee as well.
Eventually, I'll experiment using it in baking.

Mint Family Herbs

Lemon Balm - Great for tea, more uses for Lemon Balm {here}

Lemon Bee Balm - Great for making tea

Catmint - Grandview


That's my little herb garden.  In the herb garden bed, I have Dill, German Chamomile, Cilantro, Chives & Onions.  There is plenty of room for more, but I think I'll be using that bed for something else next year and I'll just keep all of my culinary herbs in pots.
Oh and I can't forget to mention the bay tree that I bought at the farmer's market a few weeks ago.  That is also potted up on the deck for easy use of the leaves.  

Check back tomorrow for this week's garden update and harvest photos.

Friday, July 25, 2014

Flowerbed Makeover Part Two

Here's a little tour of the flower bed with the wooden bench, dogwood tree, cherry tree & daisies.  Earlier in the Spring, I had spent several days cleaning out this bed and we planted the cherry tree at that time.  The tree has been surrounded by 5 foot fencing to protect it from deer.  Eventually the fencing will be removed. I've managed to keep this bed weed free and planted a few small perennials and annuals I had grown from seed.  The rabbits ate a few of them so I decided I'd just purchase some larger perennials in hopes the rabbits wouldn't bother them.  The bed is a little more than 40 feet long and about 4 feet or so wide.  I bought 11 perennials and 2 annuals to scatter throughout the bed, in addition to the wild thyme and other seedlings I had already planted.

Before the new plantings

Before the new plantings

After the new plantings & mulch

Even the gnomes received a makeover.  They were sprayed with a clear UV protective coating.
They had faded in the sun, but the coating brought out their colors & will protect them from 
further fading.  Two African Daisies (annuals) were planted here.

Freesia & Rising Sun Coreopsis (both perennials) planted near a small rhododendron

Originally I wanted natural stones to set the bench on, however our 
local store did not have what I was looking for so I opted for these cement stones. 

I grew "Wild Thyme" (a creeping variety) from seed and planted the tiny little plants between 
the stones.  I hope they'll fill the spaces in nicely

Freesias & Rudbeckia - Perennials

Gailardia & Coreopsis - Perennials

Blazing Sun Blanket Flower - Gailardia

 Red Head Blanket Flower - Gailardia

Eternal Flame Blanket Flower- Gailardia


Toto Gloriosa Daisy - Rudbeckia

I believe this is a Rudbeckia, but don't have the tag for it

Little Goldstar Rudbeckia


Rising Sun Coreopsis 

This bed looks so much better now....ignore the brown grass.  It had been very hot and dry.
I'm hoping these new plantings will fill out and multiply like the daisies have.

Thursday, July 24, 2014

Flowerbed Makeover Part One

July- Southeast corner of the house, front yard

Earlier this month, when my oldest daughter was here visiting, she helped me pull weeds and clear this large flower bed out.  It starts beside the driveway, follows along the front of the house and wraps around the side all the way to the back corner of the house.  We left all of the mature plants in place, only pulling one type of perennial, weeds, grass, and wild strawberries.  The strawberries are invasive, forming a thick ground cover that hardly produces any berries.  The berries are really small too, only about the size of a raisin.  Once cleaned out, only 4 hydrangeas, mulch & 2 solar lanterns were added.

Here's a little tour~

July- "Before" Southern end of house

Most of the weeds pulled

Just some stubborn wild strawberries left

Still working on those strawberry vines

You guessed it- strawberry vines!

All of that green vine cover....wild strawberries

Front bed, mostly East facing, beside the driveway & walkway, 
strawberries hadn't taken over here...yet

Day lilies in bloom 

"After"  Clarissa Hydrangea planted at very end (will fill out to 2-3 foot diameter), 
solar lantern added, still need to do something with the trellis & would like to find another 
lilac tree to fill that empty wall area...that's a lilac tree in the bed to the right.

"After" Lilac tree, with another Clarissa Hydrangea planted beside it (can't see it from this angle)

"After" Clarissa Hydrangea barely visible, rhododendron, trellis with new clematis 

"After" Another angle of this end of the house

I bought this and the smaller trellis at our local farmer's market.  
They were made by a local, elderly man.

"After" Sister Theresa Hydrangea, will fill out to 5-6 foot diameter

"After" Sister Theresa Hydrangea, Lamb's Ears, Asiatic Lilies, 
and a few other plants I haven't been able to identify

The "crazy" tree.  I'm not sure I really like this tree so close to the house.  I have a feeling 
it'll be cut down one day.  Just doesn't seem like a good idea to have it here.

"After" Bombshell Hydrangea and solar lantern added

Bombshell Hydrangea- will spread to 3-4 foot diameter

"After" Strawberries are gone, mostly.  I still find a few pushing through the mulch 
and pull them out.  I have a feeling I'll be fighting them for a few years.

"After"  Much cleaner look, but may add a few plants here and there for color.

"After"  Looks good, but not sure if I want to keep the 4 grass clumps.  
Maybe I should divide them and edge more of the bed with them?

"After" Part of our front porch, looks much better than before

Thanks for taking the little tour.  I'll be posting "part two" to share photos of the flower bed with the wooden bench.  It received a makeover as well.