Flowers



So, the tomatoes aren’t ours, and the eggs aren’t ours (yet), and the blue cheese isn’t ours, but who cares? The lettuces, arugula and pansies are ours. I didn’t plant pansies this year, but they re-seeded and are growing on their own. The greens were planted in September and kept under the frost blanket all Winter. We put this little dish on the side of the Orange-Sesame Pork Chops that Keith made, added a baked potato and a glass of wine, and declared it a fantastic dinner!

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The “I haven’t haikued in a while” haiku. (I recognize that “haiku” is not a verb, but I just made it one. Deal.)

Writing a haiku

Doesn’t take much work at all

Count on your fingers

Let’s face the facts. It’s freaking Winter, there are no flowers or plants growing of any sort. (Now that is a blatant lie. I have arugula and other greens growing under a frost blanket outside – just trying to get  a jump on the Spring. Also, we have lemon, lime and kumquat trees growing inside and the lemon is flowering right now, but I can’t put it all in one blog post. Sheesh, I have to save my topics to s-t-r-e-t-c-h the Winter. Be patient young one.) So, with the lack of greenery, it’s story time. Get your Snuggies (or better, yet, your Forever Lazy with, “But-Wait-There’s-More” hospital socks) and gather ’round.

I love my Mother-in-Law. I do. She’s just difficult to buy for. I do pretty well with clothes, but it has taken me the entire 14 years of our relationship to figure out what she likes. So, in the beginning, she basically got things that I thought were, well, “Safe.” And for me, “Safe” means, “Plants.”

So, for Mother’s Day she would get a gift certificate to her favorite nursery so she could buy her marigolds and vegetable flats for the garden. For her birthday, I suggested to Keith that we buy her an Azalea. A few years of this went by, and her garden grew. Hosta, bleeding heart, tulip bulbs, you name it. One Christmas, maybe our third year together, I picked up a few Christmas gifts for Keith’s side of the family. One of them was an Amaryllis bulb kit. You know of that which I speak (write, type, whatever). Those boxes at the grocery store, mega-store, drug store for like $10 or $12. They come in red, pink, red with pink stripes. Put the bulb in the pot, pour in the peat (included!), put in the sun and then water it. A green stalk grows for about a month and then big, gorgeous blooms pop at the top. Lovely.

So, fast forward to Christmas Eve. We were opening presents under the tree at the in-laws and the wrapped, square package was handed to my MIL. As the paper unwrapped and it became obvious what was being hidden by the bow and red and green paper, I wasn’t paying much attention. And then, I heard it. “Another fucking plant.”

Yes, I wrote it and she said it. Well, we were stunned, and then we laughed our asses off. She didn’t mean it cruelly, she had a smile on her face. It truly was funny.

Since that fateful holiday, that phrase has become one of our favorites. We often find ourselves buying “f’ing plants” or moving “f’ing plants” or weeding out unwanted “f’ing plants.” And each year, I buy an Amaryllis in honor of the original. So, without further ado, here’s another “F’ing plant.” It just started to bloom this past week. There are a total of four blooms. Enjoy.


Welcome to sex ed. Of course, as soon as I say, “Sex Ed” in my mind, I flash back immediately to…you’ll never guess (unless we went to high school together, and, if we did, you’re thinking the same thing I am) Mr. Hummer’s sex ed class. Yup. The kids called him Hummer. I think his last name was Holmes. He looked like Terry Bradshaw, but with less hair.

He was the school wrestling coach and always wore gym clothes to class. He was a goofy guy who somehow, got the job of teaching sex ed. 

Anyhoo, back from memory lane, it is time for sex ed on the DaisyPatch. Gather ’round kids. I may require permission slips for this one, it gets a bit graphic.

These pumpkins continue to amaze me. I will measure to be sure (the PUMPKINS, I will measure the PUMPKINS, get your minds out of the gutter!), but it looks like the vines are over 10 feet long. There’s also an errant compost pile pumpkin. How did I throw one away? Keith thinks that a seed might have taken root from some of our judicious composting. I like that theory. More random surprises in the patch to marvel at. I was thinking about relocating it, but I’m unsure how to dig it up because it’s roots start at the bottom of the little hill I throw the compost down into. No muck boot tall enough is going to protect me from that gore if I were to try to scramble down and dig it up. I might leave it there for an experiment. Which does better?  The bat-shit, Tiger-Bloom, Sex-Panther-fertilized pumpkins (i.e. purchased fertilizer) OR the rotten-leftover, garden-scrap, grass-clipping-fertilized compost pumpkins. We shall see. (5 points if you caught the Anchorman reference. “60% of the time it works every time.”)

Anyway, where were we? Right, sex ed. Yeah, so, Mr. DaisyPatch has been doing some reading on what to expect from (and how to fertilize – see above) giant pumpkins. He found out there are male and female flowers. Huh? I mean, I took biology and I know that, if you don’t buy self-pollinating fruit trees, you have to make sure you get male and female (right? Ok, I just had to look that up to be sure so I didn’t sound like an idiot. Yes, some trees are just male and others are just female. Thanks to an eHow article by Danielle Hill, “Dioecious plants are those species that have male and female flowers on separate plants. By contrast, monoecious species may have male and female flowers growing off a single plant. For reproduction to occur, one dioecious plant must be growing close to another plant of the opposite sex. Read more here.) and the same with holly bushes to get the red berries, however, this surprised me. I don’t recall any other veggies having the anomaly. It might be the case, but, well, I wasn’t aware of it. (And, if I’m going to be brutally honest here, I have no f’ing desire to read about the sex life of plants. I mean, could anything be more BORING?) (Wait! I did just go and read about the sex life of plants! Shit…)

Apparently, the female flowers have, well, a bulbous sort of…ahem…thing under the flower. That is the baby pumpkin.

The male flowers (below) need to pollinate the female flowers in order for the baby pumpkin to grow.

Otherwise, after the female flower falls off and dies, that baby pumpkin on the vine will wither and die as well instead of continuing to grow into a jack-o-lantern. Here’s the fun part for the gardener. Ready?

If you don’t have honey bees to do the pollinating, you gotta get out there and do it yourself. With your hands. Smearing the male parts onto the female parts (how would Mr. Hummer have worded this? I can tell you that a similar act was described by him in sex ed class and I am STILL shuddering in horror and NOW it is happening in my pumpkin patch? I need to go to church and be washed of these thoughts. My mind is wandering now to a gritty pumpkin porn with a bad plot line and poor lighting. I am SO having nightmares tonight.)

So there it is. Pumpkin sex. Happening out in our yard, under our very noses. I am so grateful for honey bees. So grateful.


 

Those who dwell among the beauties and mysteries of the earth are never alone or weary of life. ~Rachel Carson

Here’s the Patch in Pictures…August edition.


I continue to be amazed by MN (Mother Nature, you know her. You cursed her in January when we got 4 feet of snow.) This single hollyhock, over six feet tall is growing amongst (does anyone else use “amongst” anymore? What about “whilst?” Go ahead. Use “whilst” in a sentence. C’mon, try. I KNOW! I can’t either.) the weeds behind our Kitchen Garden (formerly known as “Peber’s Point”).

A few years ago, I threw some random, old seeds into the scrub. And forgot about them. Until now. Have you seen the seed pod of a hollyhock? There are, like, 8 seeds per pod. That is all. So, it seems that one took hold and decided to grace us with its presence after taking a vacation for a couple of years.

Should I lapse into squeals like the Double Rainbow Guy, (“WHAT DOES IT MEAN?”) or just recognize that the world works in mysterious ways. For examples, my sweet husband somehow picked me (Sucker!), flour and water on our windowsill gets “infected” with airborne bacteria to make our sourdough starter, and fairly old seeds thrown into the scrub yield a surprise beauty like this stately specimen.

I kind of like that. It sort of keeps a little homesteader on her toes. There are no guarantees. Each time is going to be different than the next. Forrest, please come over here and tell everyone Mama’s theory on life…

Hm, I wonder what Mama Gump would say about my garden.


Enjoy.


As I sat at the breakfast bar watching Keith prepare an evening snack last night (carbs were necessary, we were still recovering from the New Year’s Eve party), I was hit by a sudden thought, “It’s January 1st, 2011,” I said. “Yup” was his reply.

It was a short exchange, but full of meaning. Interesting, I didn’t ask it as a question. I just said it out loud as I realized it. It shouldn’t have been a surprise, I do not stay up until 2AM drinking champagne with best friends very often (although, hm, that sounds sort of nice. Add that to the resolution list!) 2010 flew by. It brought many ups and many downs, but overall, I am grateful and thankful for all that we have – health, home, friends, jobs, each other (yes, I am a sap and just choked up a little as I type this. Those who know me will not be suprised. Those who are just getting to know me through this little blog – let me introduce myself. My name is Jenn, and I am a sap. When Mr. Brady scolded Marcia for sneaking around when she was grounded, but she actually was mailing her nomination for him for Father of the Year, I bawled like a colicky infant. If someone gets engaged, even in a movie, forgedduboudit! Get the tissues.)

As I look forward to the new year in front of me, I find myself doing what I always do at this time. You know the resolutions, every magazine in the grocery check-out aisle around this time of year feeds to our desire to change, “Lose 10 Pounds in 7 Days Just by Changing Your Shampoo” or “Pluck Your Way to a Happier, Healthier You With These Revolutionary Tweezers” and of course, “Reduce Stress Like a Celebrity, Only Legally. Page 79 Shows You How.”

These aren’t the type of resolutions I want to make (although, one too many cookies has been ingested, so perhaps meneeds to rethink this…)

Anyway, changes will be along the lines of frugality and self-sufficiency. We plan to expand our little homestead, hopefully being able to build the coop and get chickens this year. (Yes, it’s definitely about eggs and meat, but I would be lying if I didn’t tell you that a small part of me wants to say “Dorking Cock” on a daily basis. It makes me giggle.)

I think I’m pretty good at it, but I would like to continue to recognize the beauty in every day and be thankful for what we have.

I would like to waste less. If we don’t eat it, it’ll go in the compost pile to be used on the garden. (And, yes, dear Erica, this does mean I plan to wash more ZipLoc bags than ever. I am NOT crazy, I just can’t stand the thought of all that plastic in the landfill just because I wanted convenience.)

I want to try more things…new plant varieties, new sports, new hobbies. I tried stained glass last year, but Keith tried to get me on the mountain bike with no luck, maybe this year is the year.

I am not going to go overboard here. I am realistic. These plans sound pretty good for now, although, maybe I’ll go get some of those tweezers…Happy New Year. Thanks for visiting the Daisy Patch.

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For those of you who need pictures, here are a few…

Basement Basil

Pineapple Sage

Flower Bud on a Christmas Cactus

DaisyMae

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