Know what this is?

Yes, that’s right, its a prickly pear cactus bloom.
And what that means is that all of these buds,

could become fruit that look like this.

(image found here)

And then could become all manner of deliciousness like pricklybeena or jam.


So gardening went fairly well this summer, considering I had a job and could not fuss over it as much as I wanted to. I harvested a small pile of soybeans (they actually were not remotely prolific with flowers and pods), a bunch of pickling cucumbers which became pickles through the magic of vinegar and spices (it really does feel like magic!), 2 tomatoes, lots of rosemary and basil, some catnip, and several small cayenne peppers. So for my first season of attempting a container garden, I felt pretty good about it.
Now that it is cold, the garden has actually become quite the habitat for birds. I didn’t really clean it up at all, after it got cold, so its all spiky with stems and covered with dead leaves.
This morning brought me a bunch of juncos:


Foraging for food in the snowy garden.

I have been feeding them since the “blizzard” last month, and just switched out a bowl of frozen in carbonite seeds (which were very well protected, assuming they survived the freezing process) for a more accessible bowl. This attracted way more birds, and also provided much entertainment for my cats:

Cats hunting

Kitty-cat TV in full swing.

Apologies for the poor quality of the pictures, I was attempting not to spook the hunters or the hunted, and totally forgot to bring my telephoto lens on this backyard safari!

 deck gardenOver the last few weeks I have posted a few times about my garden, but have not actually really blogged about it. Which is an oversight for sure, because lately, when I’m not working on school, or knitting, I’m out on the deck watering things. Considering it is a deck garden, I think we’ve done quite well packing in the plants. Especially considering that we need to be able to access the grill and HVAC closet that are out there.

We have lots of soy planted – due to some gardening math errors on my part, we ended up with around 50 or so seedlings. Many emails were dispensed that day as I panicked and began trying to find new homes for as many of them as I could, and asked my mother if I could borrow a few pots (around 20 or so??).

See how pretty they are?

See how pretty they are?

We also have a whole bunch of basil, some parsley, chives, pickling cucumbers, calendula, cayenne peppers, catnip (not for us persay), a small rosemary bush, lettuce, microgreens (not entirely impressed with those, as I cannot tell when they are ‘ready’), impatiens and marigolds!

Lately, the gardening has become a bit war-like, as a pair of wrens have moved into the hanging basket of impatiens, and have been wreaking havoc. At first I assumed that the little holes I was finding were from squirrels, since they are known for their digging-in-other-peoples-gardens ways.  But then, I watched in horror as one of our wrens flew down into one of the railing pots, casually strolled over to a brand new soybean seedling, and ripped it out of the ground! And to top it all off, they now fuss at me when I’m on ‘their’ deck. Apparently marigolds are only good for repelling bugs, not birds.

On the upside, I am now glad that I made a math error on the seedlings, because at the rate we’re going, we’ll end up with just about the right amount of soy when the wrens are done with their evil garden pillage. Now to keep my fingers crossed that there is anything left when I return from vacation; I may need to get a scarecrow.

Someone has been digging in my “garden”!


Click to make bigger, hole circled for emphasis!

Click to make bigger, hole circled for emphasis!

If you see the culprits, please let me know so I can bluster at them ineffectively! I lost 2 calendula in the fray!! grrf.


And I grew it myself.

And I grew it myself.