lilacs of late

Observant North Country folk will notice an abundance of blossoms appearing on woody clumps of bushes this time of year.  I’ve seen light and dark purple, pink and white blooms in this area. Most, and especially those in the wild, are light purple. The lilac’s scent is unmistakeable; it hangs heavy and sweet and travels on the breeze. Delightful.

Lilacs are zone three hardy. They can take anything the No Co dishes out, including weeks of subzero winter temps if necessary. (That degree of cold seems increasingly rare these days and that’s okay, too.) Some lilacs, like ours, hedge the property line. Others appear randomly, spreading along roadside or far back in fields. Lilacs return like tried and true friends.

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straw bale gardening (SBG)

Last spring I posted about our experiment with straw bale gardening. It’s high time I reported back on our experiment.

Supplies were minimal and some can be reused. We purchased nine straw bales, landscape fabric, six metal posts, and fencing wire; big bag of fertilizer and waterproof bin to store it in; a soaker hose, small metal stakes to secure it, and a water timer. A couple hundred dollars and carefully selected seeds and seedlings later, we were in SBG business. I’m happy to report I was pleasantly surprised by (most) of the results.

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amish co-gardening

tomatoesSeveral years ago we employed two young Amish couples on our dairy farm. One year the Hubs came up with the brilliant idea to collaborate on a vegetable garden. It sounded quite perfect to me.

I hated the idea of gardening because I despise snakes. Seriously. It doesn’t matter if they are harmless or small. A snake is a snake is a snake. (You may appreciate some of my dramatic snake experiences.)

The Hubs loved the idea of gardening but it seldom played out well. True to his “go big or go home” nature, he over-engineered. When reality hit in the form of acres to plant, mow, bale, or chop, the garden got short shrift. It was neglected to the point of joint embarrassment by early July. Even then, I refused to enter!

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retread#35: bruges and damme

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At long last, the final installment on our our 35th anniversary trip … of last summer!

Our last port of call was Zeebrugge, Belgium. I’d arranged a tour with Vera through Tours by Locals. The only hitch was that she didn’t provide transportation. We were to meet up with her in Bruges (Brugge), a 20-30 minute ride from port, then on to Damme. We had a full day planned and timing was tight.

 

 

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retread#35: county cork

Our third Irish port on our anniversary trip was County Cork, Republic of Ireland. We docked at Cobh on a decidedly gray day. It rained on and off until early afternoon but that didn’t much dampen our spirits!

Cobb itself is a lovely little city. Perfectly walkable and interesting in and of itself. I’d booked a tour with Helena through Tours by Locals to venture over to Kindle. We tooled around Cobh for a little bit, stopping by a beautiful and massive church viewable from the shop. Mass was almost underway so we didn’t go inside. Before long we were on our way to our primary destination, Kinsale.


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