Friday, June 19, 2009

The triumph of the Cherry!

It was three years ago that we purchased a slew of fruit trees from the Grange sale - prices too low to be ignored even in the face of a strong deer population that daily enjoys Hotel Zimmerman's delectable buffet. So, high hopes and dreams of future harvest had the residents of Fort Bale planting these trees.

We were not the only ones excited. The deer gossiped amongst themselves about the expansion of buffet choices and sent word to friends. Now, we chose not to fence these trees as we had our first few due to 1) fencing being expensive, 2) having a large amount of trees to contend with, 3) the unsightly appearance and 4) being naive enough to assume that the deer couldn't do that much damage. Uh-huh, we were stupid.

So, the first year the tree leaves were stripped off, branches chewed to bits, and the survival of these trees appeared dubious, making me feel like howling at the moon in frustration (most people when hearing howling assume it is coyotes or wolves - never realizing it could also be the angst of a thwarted farmer).

The second year was a bit of a repeat of the first, followed by a very harsh winter. Now, during this time, I kept my faith and continued planting even out of the fenced zones, which is why I think this year (the third) followed a different course. Yes, we still have hungry deer holding season passes to our garden, but with an ever expanding selection to choose from the trees have actually had enough respite to grow and one even produced - A CHERRY!!!!!

Do you see this sweet cherry tree here? Can you see the little lone ripe cherry hanging on it? Isn't it wonderful?!!?

Just in case it was hard to see, here is a close up of the fruit.
All of us wanted to try our first cherry, so I split it four ways and we each got a sample. And yes, it was worth the wait.

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Rhubarb and Strawberries and Jam! Oh My!




I have been busy making jam, and more jam! I was given a horde of rhubarb from Jeanine who cleared out her rhubarb patch, and I had gone to the strawberry fields with the boys earlier to pick strawberries, only to find my own patch is now producing at an incredible rate - i.e. I am able to pick a bowl of berries such as shown above every day for 4 days straight now even though there are two little browsing boys who frequently raid the garden.

Using this windfall, I have made strawberry, strawberry-rhubarb, rhubarb-strawberry, and rhubarb jams. Yummm! Yesterday, Arthur ate three slices of toast for breakfast (usually he eats only one) so he could test all the flavors of jams. His little tummy got full before he had the fourth jam, but it was a valiant effort and now he has another flavor to look forward to today.

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Visit with Grandpa and Uncle Ward

On Tuesday, Grandpa Ward and Uncle Ward came down for a visit and brought along with them a metal monkey bar playground toy that we are going to convert to a grape trellis. It was a great visit and they humored me thoroughly by oohhing and ahhing to my heart's content over the chicken coop, my birds, the gardens and flowers. In turn, Uncle Ward showed me his landscaping projects on his home in Florida which got me excited about hibiscus. Can I grow that here? Time for some research to find out!
Uncle Ward and Grandpa Ward posing for this picture that Jamey took.

The Zimmerman men in their natural state. :)

Jamey getting some loving before they head back north.


Monday, June 15, 2009

Poppies


I was lucky enough to buy some poppy seeds at a grange sale a few years back from a lady named Lillie Meek. Lillie spent many years cultivating two species of poppies and got fantastic results. I have since then continued the tradition of harvesting the seeds from choice poppies and replanting them. This year when my poppies bloomed they surprised me - both with colors and anatomy which I had never seen in previous growing i.e. a beautiful coral, a pale lavender, and a vibrant red, along with some flowers having a petal configuration that reminded me of peonies. In the picture above, you can see a red poppy on the bottom so heavily petaled that it reminds me of a lion's mane. I am most excited about this one!

I am looking forward to collecting seeds from the flowers I like the most and seeing what arises next year. I am sure there is much cross pollination occurring and I am very curious about the trend that may occur with my selective plantings.




Sunday, June 14, 2009

Jake Graduates!

My cousin Jake graduated from CAM High School June 11th. He did running start so he also finished a year of college to boot! We are all so proud of him and enjoyed getting to see his graduation. His goal now - to continue college and become a lawyer. I'm sure he will succeed in his goal and be great at it.

Receiving his diploma.

Jake and a very proud father.
And Jake with some equally proud cousins!


Saturday, June 13, 2009

End of the School Year

Another year at Green Mountain School has wrapped up. Jamey and Arthur had their last day of school on Thursday, June 11th and went out in style.

First, Mrs. Goglin read the class a story.
Then, Jamey and Arthur got to pass out the cupcakes that they brought (and eat them too!).


Next, the school held a spirit assembly where awards were given out.

Following the assembly the second/third grade class got together for an end of the year picture.

And lastly, goodbyes were said to good friends with promises of summertime play dates to come.

It was a great year at Green Mountain and next year is much anticipated. But first - we will enjoy summer!

Sunday, June 7, 2009

Denver Pictures

As James pointed out in his blog we had fun in Denver despite missing the Cohen concert. The boys were thrilled with everything - airplane rides, luggage carousels, shuttle buses, room service, cousins etc. Below are some highlights of our trip.

Jamey and Arthur were nutty over the hotel's pool, hot tub, and sauna. They spent hours splashing about, which was great for their swimming skills. We had the boys go all last year to swim lessons two times a week for an hour each day and by the end of the school year, they were doing very well. However, not having swam since last summer, it came as a bit of a shock to all of us how rusty they were. Arthur fearlessly plunged into the pool only to come up sputtering and unable to make it to the edge. After getting him on safe ground we assessed the situation and he took it cautiously the second go round. By the end of their swim time, everything started cementing together again, and both boys were swimming, diving, and splashing to their hearts' content. And when they got too cold, the sauna and hot tub warmed them up.
Arthur said he wanted a 5 minute nap the first day. Both boys were crashed out within 2 minutes of laying down - no joke.
I loved the Denver Art Museum. There was so much to see! If we get back to Denver, I'd like an entire day to explore. I also love how cute the boys look in their ponchos. Awwww... I can't stop looking!


We were lucky to have a chance to visit Aunt Jane and her two adorable girls. We had such a great time catching up the time flew by - making James and I wish we had another day or two. Jamey and Arthur loved playing with Annika and Mikaela while in Denver and have brought them up several times since the visit. And I loved actually getting the meet them for the first time.
All in all, it was a wonderful trip and I am so glad we got the opportunity to go.