What’s Happening in the Garden, and With Me –September 14, 2014

 

 

I’ll start with the garden.

That’s a good lead in to the “and with me” part. To be honest I don’t know what’s happening with me. Maybe some of you can help with that. The garden is okay in a kind of mediocre way. I’m accepting of my limitations and abilities but I have to admit that I expected more from the garden this year. Maybe it was the relatively dry weather, or my organizational skills, or all of the fun vacations.

When your a gardener you have to spend time in the garden!
DSC04737 That said we still have kale. Is it me or is this photo a bit out of focus? Sometimes I can’t tell.DSC04740 The tomatoes were actually pretty good. A little wilt but not too much and it came very late in the season. I think I want to grow more romas again next year, or maybe a variety called opalka that my friend Betsey shared with me yesterday. Their larger than roma and make a sweet, meaty sauce… I brought some home from a visit with Betsey yesterday and popped just one of them into a little pot of fresh sauce that I made for dinner from some of my tomatoes that needed to be eaten. I think there was a very big difference!DSC04742 I planted quite a bit of cauliflower but it looks like the bunnies, or maybe even deer enjoyed the flowers for us.DSC04744The marketmore cucs are done and I have to say that this variety was a success. We enjoyed lots of pickles and salads and cucumbery things… DSC04738Here’s some later planted swiss chard that just isn’t taking off…DSC04743A few candycane zinnias came up near the chicken coop door. Their cute and happy but not too prolific. DSC04745 I have one, yes one, watermelon still growing. I’m fertilizing it weekly as my neighbor suggested and hoping it makes it through the next few weeks. It’s about the size of a large honeydew melon right now.DSC04747 We had a few cantaloupes almost grow into edible fruit. This one is imploded and slightly rotted. It will be food for another project that I have going so it’s not a total loss.DSC04748 One pumpkin, yes one. This is the year of one, two or three of anything that I worked on over time.DSC04749 Of course the horseradish is happy. I don’t like horseradish but several of our friends and family members do so it will be fun to harvest it in a few weeks.DSC04750 The new little herb garden got off to a decent start. Next year we’ll hit the ground running in this area of the garden.DSC04751 I’ve got pots of potatoes growing. They haven’t flowered and have lots of foliage so I’m kind of unsure about where we’re going here. Generally they flower and then die back and you can dig out the potatoes. So I’m waiting to see what happens. I dug around a little bit the other day and I really think there are some good sized tubers in there.DSC04753 Parsley and basils need to be frozen in ice cube trays for the winter. DSC04754 The onions kind of worked out! Remember when I was inspired by Betsey and Ed and planted them back in the spring? No need to buy onions around here this winter!DSC04755Oh, and then there’s this little project. Guess what’s in the box? Here’s a hint:  It thrives on the cantaloupe.

Okay… about me.

I’m tired and busy and tired and worn out. I want to do right by my family so I took a major blogging break. I don’t think I’ve ever gone so long in between posts. It really has me wondering about what motivates me and what’s that best use of my time. Should I keep blogging? I like to blog because I love connecting with  people all over the world. I like to think that I might encourage or entertain someone somewhere. I definitely feel accountable about what I say here so it keeps me on a good path in the gardening sense and beyond.

Have any of you fellow bloggers gone through this? It’s kind of writer’s block, but almost more like a writer’s resistance. I know what I want to say. I have a long list of posts to write but I wonder about the value of it. Does it matter? Should I just garden for myself and call it a day? No one who I know personally has said a word about my absence. Maybe I shouldn’t expect that, but maybe I should use my energy for other things.

That was a pretty stream of conscious paragraph or two. Thank you, I feel better,

Pioneer Woman used to say “tap, tap… is anyone out there?” She doesn’t need to do that anymore but I guess I could…

Tap, tap… hello?

Leave me a comment or send me an e-mail. I’d entertain any constructive feedback you have to share.

Enjoy everything!

Love, Michele

My GARDEN Resolutions for 2014…

Hellebores
Hellebores (Photo credit: pfly)

Last January I wrote a list of resolutions based on Pioneer Woman’s post about New Years Resolutions. She and I made our lists starting with the first letters of the word “resolution”… For this year’s list I thought it would be fun to use the word “GARDEN.

Here’s what I came up with:

Go to the New England Flower Show in March.

Arrange a New England Garden Blogger’s Day here in Salem for sometime in the spring.

Ride out to visit the New England Wild Flower Society‘s garden  “Garden In the Woods” in Framingham, Massachusetts.

Dedicate one hour, three times a day to my home garden.

Expand my reach here at The Salem Garden. I’m thinking about connecting with some garden product lines and changing my look a little bit.

Notice the little things as much as possible, and take photos of them.

Yes, this is a very garden related list, but won’t it be an amazing year if I can accomplish some of these ideas?

–I’m aching to get to the Flower Show this year and the NEWFS garden has been on my list forever. I just have to make time and do it!

–I’ve been thinking a lot about how nice it would be to connect with other garden bloggers in person and I can’t really find any type of gathering here in New England. What do you think? Leave a comment or e-mail me at thesalemgarden@gmail.com if you have thoughts about getting together. It could be simple, low cost and fun!

–Now that my kids are a little bigger and we’ve settled in to the working mom situation I want to get back to my home garden with great focus. I may not make it out there three times a day but if I try to I think I’m more likely to succeed. My biggest obstacle is that once I’m out in the garden I don’t want to go back inside.

–I’ve been thinking about adding some things and changing the format here at The Salem Garden. We’ll see if that comes together in 2014.

–I see so many interesting views and details in my travels that I want to slow down and document with my camera. If will be great if I can, although there’s usually several people asking me to stop taking photos and keep up the pace, please.

Here’s last year’s list:

Rest more, I’m on the run (if not actually running) a LOT!

Eat healthier snacks (yesterday my 18 year old son said “stop making cookies mom!”)

Sleep soundly

Own every decision

Live in the present

Use my camera everywhere

Take my kids to the beach once a week (even in winter)

Increase my blogging skills

Owe no one

Next fall, plant some hellebores, I keep wanting to do that!

This was a pretty subjective list but I must say I did pretty well. Not so sure about resting and sleeping, eating healthier is always increasing, I have to remember to take my camera, blogging is coming along and with such a large family the budget is always a bit of a challenge. I still have some loose ends (like those darned hellebores) but overall we’re on a good track.

What does your list look like? Share in the comments, or feel free to comment about mine. 😉

Happy New Year!

Love, Michele

The Salem Garden— 2013 in Review

I was thinking about writing my own review for the year but WordPress composes and sends me this one and quite honestly, I like it. It’s fun to read about my top posts and how much traffic I’ve had and where my views come from with these nice graphics and photos. 2013 was quite a year. There was lots and lots of change and adjustment and re-grouping and figuring things out around here. Sending first children off to college isn’t easy, nor is returning to the workforce after seventeen years, or experiencing a terrorist attack, but I did all of that. I’m hoping that 2014 will be full of amazing gardening times and fun family experiences, and maybe some really good posts here at The Salem Garden. Thank you all from the bottom of my heart for reading and for all of your love and support. Your all wonderful! xoxo Michele

Here’s an excerpt:

The concert hall at the Sydney Opera House holds 2,700 people. This blog was viewed about 18,000 times in 2013. If it were a concert at Sydney Opera House, it would take about 7 sold-out performances for that many people to see it.

Click here to see the complete report.

The Salem Garden is a Year Old? Really? Your Kidding Me!

WordPress sent me a message the other day to tell me that I’ve been blogging for a year. Seriously… one year? They must be kidding!

Lots of great things have happened since I started The Salem Garden and I didn’t really plan on any of them. You know that I turn everything into a list, so here’s what happened:

1.  I found out that blogging is fun, interesting and maybe a little bit addictive.

2. I also learned that blogging takes a lot of time and energy.

3. However, the time commitment decreased as I kept blogging.

4.  But, the time commitment then increased because I loved reading other blogs and learning about the craft.

5. I connected with friends, interesting people and gardeners from all over the world.

6. I also connected with friends, interesting people and gardeners from right here, in fun, new ways.

7. I learned a lot about gardening. This happens when you read gardening blogs, so keep reading!

8. I found my blogging voice.

9.  I got a wonderful paid position as an adaptive gardening specialist (I had never even heard of an adaptive gardening specialist). My first job in seventeen years has given me the gift of vision about what I’d like to do professionally in the future.

10.  My family did well with all of the above, almost all the time.

A year ago I had no idea or expectation about where this would go.  I knew that I had something to say or do but I didn’t know what it was or that it would be life-changing. I had spent many years raising my young children and enjoying every minute so I couldn’t  imagine doing anything else.  Thank you so much for reading, following, encouraging and sharing your thoughts with me.  You have all made the last year into an amazing journey!

I love sharing photos, so here are some of my favorites from the past year. Click on any image to view them as a slide show.

With lots of love and gratitude,

Michele at The Salem Garden

Garden Blogger’s Bloom Day- April 2013

And now for something new and different–I  thought that I’d participate in “Garden Bloggers Bloom Day” this month. This is a group of garden bloggers from all over the world who share a post about what’s blooming in their gardens on the fifteenth of the month.  You can see all of the participants and link to their blogs here at maydreamgardens.com. It’s really fun to check out all of the beautiful gardens and see the huge variation by climate!

My one reservation about doing this is that it’s still early here in Salem, Massachusetts. I didn’t plant daffodils last year and everything is a few weeks behind due to the cold weather we’ve had. In spite of that I’ll show you quite a bit of green, and a little color. Don’t worry, in May and June we’ll be overflowing with blooms!

Since it hasn’t snowed or sleeted for the past three days the primrose popped out!IMG_0723This morning there was dew on the lady’s mantle.IMG_0695 And I had my first glimpse of the bride and groom plant that my mother gave me years ago.IMG_0699The chives are ready to enjoy.
IMG_0702 And the tomato cages are waiting. Our neighbors gave us the lupine plants last year. I’m hoping that these will be blooming as beautifully as theirs do soon.IMG_0705 This is largely a children’s chicken garden, as evidenced by the “sculpture” that Michael brought home recently and the three gnomes waiting for their summer assignment out in the garden.IMG_0706The chickens may not be blooming but they add lots of color and personality.IMG_0708

Lamb’s ear is poking out…IMG_0715 Siberian irisIMG_0716 And finally a little bit of bloom from the scillaIMG_0717and from the pansies that I planted a few days ago.
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Happy Spring from the Salem Garden! Thanks for visiting!

Enjoy everything!

Michele

Who’d Have Thought I’d Become An Adaptive Gardening Specialist?

I’m sorry that I’ve been absent from The Salem Garden all week. Sometimes life gets in the way and I have to step back and take care of things. We are in a pretty big adjustment period here because last week I began a part-time paid position as an adaptive gardening specialist! Yes, I can now combine my passion for gardening and my love of and past experience in working with adults with developmental disabilities. The agency that I work for provides opportunities for the men and women whom we serve to work and to broaden their life experience in a huge variety of ways.  We have an amazing garden on the rooftop of our building (hmm, did I talk about rooftop gardens recently?  😉  ) and we will have lots of things growing at ground level for those who can’t get up to the roof. I believe that gardening is therapeutic and educational on every level. I’m looking forward to using that approach to help others develop an appreciation for nature and their food supply, along with self-esteem, patience, hope, the list goes on and on. Needless to say I’m really excited to be there!  I have so much to learn and I hope to share a few parts of my journey here. A special note from a blogger’s perspective is that my blog served as a sort of resume for my new employer. Reading it gave my supervisor a way to look at my work and see how I might fit in to the program. When I started The Salem Garden last May I never dreamed that it would help me in this way. You never know where your blog may lead you. Keep blogging! Good things will happen!

With lots of love from very snowy Salem,

Michele

Thank You All and Some First Photos

Thank you all so much for your kind words over the weekend. It was hard to loose Dino. We spent the weekend talking about our short time with him.  I really feel that things happen as their meant to. Sometimes situations come and go in ways that we never expect and  the outcomes can be amazing. I hope that our experience of taking care of Dino builds resilience and character in my kids. Michael and I feel that it’s important for them to experience all parts of life, not just the pleasant, easy ones.

The fun part of our weekend included a birthday for me. I’m not telling which one it was but there’s now one ending in “0” coming quickly.  Going into this birthday I really needed a new camera. My little point and shoot was so frustrating to use,  I could see the shot but the camera wasn’t capable of taking it. The people who love me pooled their resources and I’m now the owner of a very nice Canon Rebel DSLR.  Needless to say I have a lot to learn about how to use it but I thought I’d share my first  flower photos. This camera is so much fun!!

I’ll start with the bathroom clock. Doesn’t everyone test out their new camera by taking a picture of their bathroom clock?
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Moving on, here’s a favorite print that my mom gave me a few years ago. This is hanging in our foyer. IMG_0146

And now– real flowers! Isn’t this sharp, clear and beautiful?IMG_0147

It’s not even set to macro, this is just the auto adjustment…IMG_0148 Puffy, white and perfect!IMG_0149 Good things are happening!

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I’m going to watch a chapter of the dvd that came with the camera every day.  Then I’ll practice the skills that each chapter teaches. Then I’ll use the auto adjust button to take pictures.  Just kidding, I’m really going to learn how to use it!  😉

Spring is going to be fun here at the Salem Garden~

Thanks again and enjoy everything today!

Michele

Financial Aid Forms vs Garden Blogging

I’m stuck again. Darn it! I have a nice long list of blog post ideas sitting here on my desktop and I cannot gather my thoughts, let alone photos, words or sentences to write about any of them. As I picked up from the weekend and thought about what to do I realized that the reason I’m stuck is because I have to, and I do mean have to finish the financial aid forms. I think that if I do just that one thing I will be free and able to get back to normal. You know that if I share this here in public I’ll do it. It’s amazing what I get done when I feel accountable to you.

Here’s my senior in high school.

IMG_0314You can read about him here and here.

I need to do right by this kid. He’s going places 😉

So wish me luck, I’m on my way!

Send me energy, send me math skills!

Thank you all in advance!

Michele

Resolutions by Pioneer Woman, and Me!

Confessions of a Pioneer Woman, written by Ree Drummond, is probably the first  blog that I ever read and it remains my very favorite to this day.  My oldest daughter and I met Ree when she was in Boston at a book signing last year and I can honestly say that  she is as nice in person as she is on-line, in print and on tv. If I need a little break in the action  I just pop over to see what’s going on out at the ranch. There’s always something that makes me smile.

Yesterday Ree wrote about her resolutions for 2013. She used the letters of the word resolution and came up with not one, but two lists. I barely made it through one, but here it is, as it appeared in the Pioneer Woman’s comments:

Rest more, I’m on the run (if not actually running) a LOT!

Eat healthier snacks (yesterday my 18 year old son said “stop making cookies mom!”)

Sleep soundly

Own every decision

Live in the present

Use my camera everywhere

Take my kids to the beach once a week (even in winter)

Increase my blogging skills

Owe no one

Next fall, plant some hellebores, I keep wanting to do that!

That’s it! I’m not a huge “resolutions” person, but maybe I’ll accomplish some of this, especially if I share it here on my blog.

Okay, your turn, go ahead and give it a try! What are your resolutions for 2013?

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2012 in review—Thanks WordPress!

The WordPress.com stats helper monkeys prepared a 2012 annual report for The Salem Garden. A lot of people who are thinking about blogging ask me about WordPress. I haven’t tried any other host, but I must say that I’m a pretty big WordPress fan. There’s always something new to try and I find it to be very, very easy to use. Check out this report that they sent me… I think it’s really cool! Happy New Year!

Here’s an excerpt:

600 people reached the top of Mt. Everest in 2012. This blog got about 7,100 views in 2012. If every person who reached the top of Mt. Everest viewed this blog, it would have taken 12 years to get that many views.

Click here to see the complete report.