May 16, 2022

The first rose of 2022

Life has taken on a surreal feel. With only four more working days left at the day job, I can't decide if I'm excited or dreading the loss of so much structure in my life. As someone who has been gainfully employed for fifty years, I may have been brainwashed, or at the very least brain-trained, to believe regimented days are a good thing.

Nope. That's not it. I simply want the next four days over and done with so I can finally, finally, finally move on and get on with "retirement." I have a set of lists, you see.

There's a list, actually a spreadsheet, for outside work, inside work, tractor work, gardening work, pantry work, equipment maintenance, and items to improve the humans in the house. I do so love a good spreadsheet when the cells get filled in with the color of completion! 

But there's one thing I can't put on a spreadsheet: remembering to take the time to slow down and enjoy the fruits of all my labor. 

Yesterday, late afternoon, the sky darkened and a front swept through bringing rain showers. The spousal unit and I had gone in different directions puttering at small tasks, and the rain sent us inside to the television. I glanced out the front window and noticed the season's first rose was blooming. How wonderful! 

The sunshine reappeared while the rain continued to fall. I love when that happens! Spring's green world glows! I snatched my phone and stepped outside to record a short video to share with whoever is interested but to mostly have to look at any time I remind myself it's time to stop and enjoy the roses. 

The Lady of Holly Tree Manor (The Hideaway) 

Holly Tree Manor, The Hideaway, simple country pleasures, roses, gardening, pantry prep, greenhouses, rain, retirement, to-do list, spreadsheets, country living, rural lifestyle, a writer's life

May 9, 2022

We upgraded the greenhouse

There's never a shortage of things we want to do here at the Manor, and it seems there's always a roadblock or two on the way to getting it done. I want to grow more veggies, and you'd think it would be a simple matter of tilling up a spot for a garden. Nope. Deer. We have a DEER PROBLEM. 

To go off on a tangent, this past hunting season was a bust. As in there were not many hunters in the woods. Why? Well, they couldn't get any ammo! Now all you left-leaning folks probably think that's a good thing. In real life, next winter, the deer will starve to death because there will be too many of them. Good going. 

But I digress...

With our local deer herd population, that is to say the little herd that lives in my woods and beds down in the thickets we leave for them, expanded to fifteen, there's no way in hell my veggies are safe. The small greenhouse I got two years ago is just that - small. So I upgraded to a 12x7x7 greenhouse, and amidst screaming wailing and gnashing of teeth from the spousal unit, it went up yesterday. I think it will work out fine. 

I should be able to extend the season for a few tomatoes and plant a few fall Brassicas. Next year, I'll be able to move my seedlings outside a lot faster, and that's always a plus. I may even be able to coax some herbs to live over the winter inside the greenhouse. 

This greenhouse is probably a stepping stone to a more traditional constructed greenhouse, one that won't need to sit on the leeward side of the house to be protected from the wind. I'll just have to see how I do with this one to more accurately gauge whether or not it's worth the investment in a more permanent structure. 

Like a lot of things in life, it's an experiment. It may work out, or it may not. This is just one more step in my life's journey to somewhere. It requires patience to allow everything to happen at a pace I'm not sure I control. No matter how it all shakes out, I know I'll enjoy spending time in the greenhouse on chilly winter days. Maybe it'll be a warm spot to read a book on a cold day. Wouldn't that be fun?!

The Lady of Holly Tree Manor (The Hideaway)

Holly Tree Manor, The Hideaway, simple country pleasures, greenhouse, gardening, Lady of the Manor, a writer's life, white-tail deer, hunting, ammo, veggies, herbs, stepping stones

May 7, 2022

Expect the unexpected (tree fall)

I wouldn't want to live anywhere else. I would not thrive as a city dweller. It's May 7, 2022, and everywhere I look I see shades of vibrant green! So much green! It makes the heart hurt it's so green.

Springtime in the country means rain, and rain means all sorts of things. Rain puts water into the ground, cleans the air, fills cisterns for farmers, and rain barrels for the gardeners. But too much rain can be deadly. While we're not in a flood plain, we do have a few issues that stem from too much rain. Two-thirds of the mountain is above us, so we have to deal with drainage long after the rain stops. Too much rain softens the ground to the point where some trees topple over, root ball and all. That's what happened last night. 

Around 2:30 AM, Deuce hopped off the bed, barking and growling. Being his doggie Mom, I got up to see if I could figure out why. The obvious culprits, in the middle of the night, are deer in the yard. I don't know how he knows, but he always knows. I switched on the outside lights but didn't see or hear anything above the sound of the rain and wind. Back to bed we went. 

This morning, I settled at the computer and looked out the north window and saw a tree had come down. The root of the tree is on the other side of the stone fence but it fell our way. I could go to the neighbor and ask them to remove the tree, but we want the firewood. And truthfully, out here, our neighbors would expect us to harvest the tree for firewood. If a tree fell the other way, we'd let it go to the neighbor for their woodstove. True country folk are like that. 

It's an easier job than it might appear. After the ground has a chance to dry up some, I'll take a battery-powered chainsaw over the stone fence and make a cut as close to the root ball as is feasible. It should release the trunk and top of the tree and allow it to upend toward our property. 

Expecting the unexpected is part of country living. The unexpected is not always a bad thing. Frequently it's a good thing, like receiving unexpected free firewood. It's even a good thing we'll have to do the work to harvest the wood. It will make us appreciate the gift of heat on a cold winter day even more. 

The Lady of Holly Tree Manor (The Hideaway)

May 5, 2022

A "what is it" wildflower

Last year I sowed a pack of wildflower seeds above the little knee wall I built. It produced some pretty flowers and I loved the cottage garden feel of it. I knew then I'd sow seeds there again this year regardless of what may have self-seeded. 

This little orange bloomer lived over our winter. I had no clue what it is and so I turned to Google for a bit of help. Google found an image of a Siberian Wildflower that's a match. Okay... something from Siberia wouldn't find our winters daunting. 

I'm not sure the name of the flower matters all that much. It's a pretty little thing and I'm happy to have four of them blooming, even if one is out in front of the wall and will be in danger of being decimated by the weed-whacker. 

This year's seeds have been sown and now I'm keeping an eye on the soil for signs of sprouting. Sometimes it really is the simple country pleasures that brighten our days. 

The Lady of Holly Tree Manor (The Hideaway)