Monday, May 14, 2012

Summer 2012 Bucket List

We have worked on this over the past week, as a family, and the kids are very excited to help us tackle our bucket list this summer.  It is a list of things that we want to accomplish before school starts back up.  We have done a few before, but they are all things we want to do this summer. I will have two babies in school in the fall, can't believe it.  Jonathan will start first grade, and Lilah preschool.  For now, we will finish up the school year, and get ready to tackle our list.

1.  Spend a rainy day at the cabin
2.  Walk daddy home from work
3.  Go to the park with Tessa and Lili
4.  Play at a splash pad
5.   Play in the rain
6.  Make a sand castle
7.  Fly a kite
8.  See a waterfall
9.  Go for a bike ride
10.  Play family tennis
11. Help a neighbor
12. Have a campfire at home
13.  See fireworks
14.  Go camping
15.  Catch a firefly
16.  Go to the zoo
17.  Visit a museum
18.  Scavenger Hunt
19.  Watch a parade from our front lawn
20.  Go to a fair
21.  Visit family in Chicago
22.  Attend our local Concert In The Park and Movie In The Park
23.  Visit a new town
24.  Geocaching up north!!
25.  Plau Putt Putt

Friday, February 3, 2012

Planning Ahead

There are so many things to be excited for this year. Right now I am craving a little green. Something other than the brown trees, leaves, and grass that cover everything. Right now, there is not much green outside.

So instead, I am planting seedlings indoors, just the slow growing herbs for now, and writing in my garden journal.

A garden is something that I have dreamed of for years. Two years ago we attempted while we lived at the condo, and turned a large area of our flower garden space in to an herb garden, and planted a few small plants around there, and in pots.

Last year we knew we would be moving, but did not know when. I didn't want to leave a planted garden, but did not want to miss out either. I started a lot of seedlings, hoping we would be moved and I could plant them at our new house. However, with a moving date no where near, and plants outgrowing their starter pots, I transported them to my parents garden, where we grew over 18 tomato plants, watermelon, and pumpkins. At the condo, we mostly planted herbs, and a few carrots, beets, and onions, all in pots, so we could take them when we moved.

Here we are, all moved, and plenty of garden areas set up around the yard. We will be building a few raised beds in addition to what is already on the property.

Here are a few areas that we will be planting in, warning, it is very drab and boring with nothing growing right now. For those of you that visited last summer or fall, you may remember the overgrown jungle that was all of these flowerbeds.

This area is right by our garage, Last year we had a few pots here with herbs, carrots, beets, and onions in them. I am hoping this year to just have a few potted herbs and/or flowers here. The square pot is thyme, we brought it over from the condo, I am hoping it will come back this spring, as it was actually planted two years ago, and came up again last year.

This area is between the back of our house, and the garage. It is all brick back there, with a few small garden areas, the doors to our basement, and a compost bin that we are using during the winter (beats walking to the back of the yard to get to the other one). Half the area covered in straw is already garlic, probably about 24 bulbs that the kids and I planted in the fall. They started sending up shoots, which was not supposed to happen until spring. They are very confused with this unusually warm and near snow less winter that we have had this year.

I the picture below, there is a rose bush, and there was a trellis there that we removed as it was damaged. Hoping the rose bush will be a little fuller this year, I plan on planting something there with it, not quite sure what yet though. Probably an herb as there is not a lot of space next to the rose bush.

I have no idea what kind of tree this is, but we love it. The top gets covered in leaves and makes a big canopy. There are a few hosta plants below and cone flower/echinachia (sp?), hoping I can find something that we are planting that loves shade, and if so, that is the place for it, because the bottom gets a lot of shade. Eventually along the left side of the fence we want to put berries, still deciding on raspberry, strawberry, blueberry or a mix. That will probably be a next year project.

This is the back of our garage, I love this beautiful arbor thing, but I don't know how to use it quire yet. Thinking we may put a garden shed in the middle of the back of it. The seats are spaced pretty far apart to sit there, and there is not a table so we wouldn't eat out there. The kids like to play back there though, the beginning of the arbor makes a great goal for soccer. Miked talked about taking the fence part down, but I may plant a climber there like the green beans. This garden was so overgrown when we moved in, bit by bit we have been weeding it and trying to clean it up. I did some weeding in January (no kidding), and found a raised bed in the back on each side. The people who lived in the home prior to us did not like to garden, so everything in there, has been there for years. It is filled with lavender, lemon balm, a LOT of mint (peppermint and spearmint), about peonies that are different color, a Hawaiian looking flower (hibiscus?), some lilies, a rose bush, and much more. We plan to clean up the mint a bit, we like it for mojitos, but seriously there so sooo much, and I know we could make better use of the space. I am probably going to put mostly herbs in here, because it is pretty much an herb garden on both sides.

This is at the back of the yard, we put a hammock up on the tree, and the garden area is mostly ground cover, actually I think it is all ground cover. You can't tell very well because of all the weeds, but it is lined with stone. I want to clean it all up and I am thinking about putting the spreaders there. The watermelon, cantaloupe, zucchini, luffah guard, and cucumbers, and let them use the area all around the tree.

The garden area that goes along the back is partial sun, it gets a few hours or direct sun, but mostly indirect sun. After it is cleaned up, I am thinking of planting our corn, and maybe tomatoes? We will be putting a potato bin somewhere too, and I am thinking it will be back there somewhere. We get rabbits that come through the back of the fence and in to our yard, we need to come up with a plan to keep them out of the garden area. Whether we do a wire fence along the bottom of the wood fence, or find a natural repellant to use, I do not want them eating our garden!

The tree in this picture came down during a tornado a few years ago that went through town. We have put up birdhouses, it was that or grips for the kids to climb up it like a rock wall. We went with the birdhouses. Behind the dilapidated bench thing is our other compost bin. I plan to use it late summer and fall, and use the one closer to the house in the winter and spring. That area is all weeds right now, all weeds and ivy. After it gets cleaned up, I have no idea what we will plant there. Something, I just don't know what yet. We have more of the brick that is between the house and garage, I want to make a path with it going to the compost bin.

Also in the back yard, we will be building our raised beds. And planting an apple tree.

This little area is by our house, near the neighbors yard. If i remember correctly, I think there were black eyed susan's there? If not some similar sized flower, along with some hens and chicks. I plan to keep the hens and chicks, and hopefully get them to spread, as I like them, and I think I am going to take out the flowers and maybe put some of the ground cherries there, or move one of the peony plants there. Who knows. I will probably get denied by Mike and do something totally different.

Not sure what to do with this area. It is by the deck, a you can see, and there is a large Japanese Maple there. I want to clear out the ivy, just not sure what needs to go in it's place. I may put more calendula there, I put some by the stairs of the deck but want to plant a little more.

This is the window that goes in to our kitchen. I love the trellis here, but it is all ivy along the side of the hose, and we do not like ivy. I want to rip it out, and plant peas along the trellis, and maybe some marigolds in front. Sorry for the horrible picture, it was the last one we took, and Lilah started crying because she wanted to go for a walk, no time to retake.

The front of the house is a large flower bed, but it already has a few shrubs, Japanese Maple, lavender, hydrangea, roses, and a few other plants, and I think I am going to keep it as is, and maybe add more lavender.

There it is. My garden plans for 2012. Not that anyone else probably cares to see all of it, but I am excited, and wanted to share.