Thursday, August 23, 2007

The tree and my garden...

While we were at the coast for our little "vacation", I thought that I better just dive right in with a project that I wasn't sure I had the skills to complete.

I felt like such a pioneer as I whittled a pencil to a point and drew on an unfolded paper bag. It was also quite liberating because I didn't feel like a mistake would cause me to "waste" precious supplies. (when did I become so anal-retentive?)
I then patched the pattern together with electrical tape...just like Laura would have on "Little House.."
Slowly, but faster than I expected the branches came together and started to look tree-ish. The hardest part for me was not the inside curves, but trying to figure out which parts of the material went under and which parts were tucked in.
Sometimes I had to fudge a bit, but that is OK!
I finally sewed the last little branch on and took an iron to the whole thing and all of the pesky (yet SO WONDERFUL) white lines just disappeared.
I think that my tree looks quite nice at this point and I am thinking about what kinds of leaves to put on it. I am also wanting some birds and some flowers. This could even be a center medallion for my own medallion quilt. (What do you think Diane?) In short, I am excited to have gotten this far and look forward to seeing where I can go with this.

Maybe this should be two different posts, but I have been taking stock of my summer and both my tree and my garden have been large foci for me these past few months. (not to discount the boys and all the energy I have given them, but these other things have been more of a personal challenge for me)
I was talking with my friend Laura at the beginning of the summer about my One Word challenge. She asked how that was going and I kind of sloughed it off, because didn't she see that I FINISHED a quilt in March?? Really.

Then we talked more and I remembered what a hard time I have doing the gardening in August. The past few years that I have planted tomatoes they end up rotting out there, because by August I AM TOO HOT. So, of course the nice friend that she is, Laura says "Well isn't that also a issue of completion too?"

THANKS! You are so right....

Every year I am so gang-busters in the spring and I poop out as the summer progresses. Thus, really inhibiting my ability to reap the rewards of all that hard spring and early summer work....the HARVEST. Please enjoy the latest pictures of what I am harvesting, it is quite amazing what a little box of bio-fish fertilizer can do. A note...I am just about 6 feet tall and I don't think that these canna lilies have ever been over 5 feet before, and that sunflower stalk is probably 12 feet high. Enjoy!
This year I really just planted what I wanted to, kind of all mixed up together. Below are some cosmos, cleome, nicotiana and some lettuce that bolted. I think that it looked great, even though the lettuce is too bitter to eat.

Also, I recommend putting a winter bird feeder in your garden filled with the black sunflower seeds. All winter we got a lot of visitors and we also get a bunch of volunteer sunflowers.

Below is a section of the garden that my husband thought was a "write-off" for the year. I think that he was dubious that any thing useful would grow because of all the annoying bind weed. I cleared the area 2 times and thought that I would just plant some seeds after the last time and hope that the veggies could out grow the blasted weeds. Well, as you can see I have crazy amounts of tomatoes (volunteers from last years rotten fruit) and squash. Hidden in there also are some bush beans and watermelon plants, that despite the "hairy" look to the area, are doing really well.
I also like how the echinacea flowers just kind of grow in the middle and add some interest to all that green.
Here is a picture of our hanging tomato garden. Next year I think that we will decorate the buckets (good idea Em!) but I love to watch them grow and they are also very fun to pick.

Below are some of our everbearing raspberries. The key is just to keep checking them every few days and them you are sure to be gifted a lovely handful of berries. The rains this past week made me a nice bowl for dessert last night!

These last few pictures are just me enjoying what I have grown and wanting to document for myself some of the things that I enjoyed in my garden this season....

Dahlia as big as my sweaty head!

Wonderful sunflower.

A nice border of Alaskan variety nasturtiums

Plant much color, so little work!

My eldest son planted a beautiful sunflower and the most bountiful tomato plant this year. He won't eat them yet, but it does make him excited to go in to the garden!

Here is a wonky kitchen-window perspective on how tall those flowers actually to love the ol' self-portrait!
How did you all spend your summer? Take a look, there might be more there than you first thought!


Diane said...

I think your tree is fabulous and would make a great center for a medallion quilt. Good for you, designing it yourself. I have a friend who made nothing but tree quilts for a couple of years. It's a great subject for loads of artforms! I enjoyed your garden snapshots, especially the orange sunflower.

emilyruth said...

oh my goodness!
you are amazing!
(ps i miss you!)

that quilt is so wonderful
i love it
i think it would be so great just as you have it now
but i can't wait to see what you add to it too
it really is beautiful
laura & her duct tape would be so proud of your pattern...

& that garden
oh wow
your back yard is just incredible as it is
but i loved seeing everything in it
& your commentary is so great
i might just plant some dahlias
they are beautiful
& i have a nice sweaty head myself:)
i am so impressed with everything you have done
so much work
(i can understand why you poop out)
but it seems like you are enjoying everything
as mauch as is possible with two energy filled kiddos & a husband
you should be very proud!

love you
& if i didn't mention it before
i miss you

ps thank you for not holding the '7' thing against me...i would throw it off my list if it came to that!

emilyruth said...

ps that sunflower is incredible!
i wonder if it is forshadowing that one of your little guys will get that tall...

Lazy Gal Tonya said...

oh that's gorgeous. I love that "write-off" garden - lush and blooming. Your tree is wonderful. I didn't realize they had electrical tape so many years ago. ha ha ha.

Left Coast Sister said...

When do you have time to do all this, or am I really as lazy as I seem?! You are so creative and motivated. As for me, I"ll keep my creations in my head and just pretend like I could do them if I watned to. I luurrrve your garden, the dahlias are amazing. Why do you say easy, I thought they were hard to grow (I haven't tried...) You win a mention in my blog, btw.

Yaz and Rob said...

Ok, first off, how did you do the upside down tomato plants? I want to do that! Also, I love the 12 foot sunflower. Yeah! I didn't really get to talk with you about the fabulous gardening you pursued all summer. Ok, well we always have skype.