About Me

My photo
Blogging about gardening in zone 4, marriage, our golden retriever and life in general.

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Return trip to the Palouse

My grandma Joyce Mae Druffel Heitstuman passed away on May 6. The call came from my mom about two hours after we pulled into the driveway on our return from Pullman for Gretchen's graduation. She'd ill for a while, and though she'd rallied in the past from a similar medical situation, she wasn't up for it this time. I'm quite certain that I'll miss her the rest of my life. 

Due to some crazy logistics, I ended up flying back to Spokane on Wednesday, hanging out with my sister, and then going down to Colton on Friday. Where, in true Colton fashion, I was soon drafted into moving farm machinery with my dad. They'd had a wet spring and couldn't get into the fields until the second weekend in May. It was a frantic race to get so many things done. 

My cousin Blake had to instruct dad on hooking things up. 

What, you've never moved farm equipment during your bereavement leave?

My chore at my grandmothers house was to fluff her garden beds in advance of the post-funeral open house. Remember my post from yesterday saying I needed to expand my color range? Yeah... my grandmother seemed to get it right. Check out her raised beds:

One interesting thing about my Whitman County family: they don't mulch their garden beds. I don't know why? I suspect it has to do with spending the money on mulch? That they'd rather have to hoe the garden than spread mulch? Or have to water daily since water evaporates more quickly? Either way, it's a mystery to me. 

In addition to spring bloomers, she had an interesting variety of sedums and succulents worked in.

Though the weather was beautifully spring-like the four days I was there, it did get cold at night. So cold, in fact, that my dad and uncle raced out of the house at 10pm to drain the water from a piece of seeding equipment in fear of a freeze. Good thing they did; it got down to 23 degrees. Down to 20 out at my grandma Jan's farm. Check out the difference between these two plants; the one against the foundation made it and the more exposed version didn't.

In a really funny twist of fate, my childhood friend Sarah is dating a wonderful guy whose dad is from Colton. Jeff's dad graduated with one of my dad's brothers. It's a small world. Since they'd have a place to stay, and since Sarah knew my grandparents well too, they came over for the service. It was very sweet of them. Sarah got to see my dad's mom, Grandma Jan.

 There are more stories to tell, of course. I'm still processing it in a major way. I'll miss my grandmother, but I'm relieved that she's out of pain. It was nice to have a chance to visit with friends and family, and nice to be in Whitman County on such a beautiful spring weekend.

Sunday, May 20, 2012

May 18 Friday Farming

I've missed a few weeks around here, haven't I? More on that tomorrow. For now, I need to catch up on my Friday farming posts!

The irises in our front yard, especially along the front porch, have exploded this year. The darker purple are from the lake and the lighter a gift from my friend Shannon when she split hers.

I'd never really known much about irises, other than these were free from my parent's lake place. Free is good. And I LOVE them!

They are HUGE; bigger than the bushes we have planted along the porch.

I think all of the plants along the south-facing porch benefit from how the cement retains heat through the night. These plants are far and away ahead of others further from the porch. The lilac bush in the back yard hasn't even bloomed yet.

Potted sugar snap peas.

The daylilly has looked like this for a few weeks now; buds, but not moving towards blooming. Maybe it realized that daylillies aren't supposed to bloom until late July and it is only mid-May?

Raspberry bush.

I think I ate 3 raspberries last summer. This year there are so many blossoms that I think we'll be eating them for a while!

Driveway beds.

The lupine is about to flower.

We'll see if I can coax blossoms out of the bee balm this year.

Kitchen beds.

 I love how this fern uncurls every year. I want to plant more of them!

Sticks are delicious.

 Out back the veggie garden is progressing. I ran out of room inside for starting tomatoes, and decided to chance it with putting mine outside. I've got Roma, Cherry, Brandywine, Early Girl and Black Krim in the ground so far. We'll see how they do. I also planted a couple mounds of zucchini and pumkins, as well as a carrot patch.

I also added marigolds and giant sunflowers.

The clematis is slowly climbing its trellis. I think I might get more out of the hollyhock this year too.

A biew like this out of the back yard is pretty hard to beat.

And finally, I put the broccoli in a pot with some lobelia. Hopefully the gophers won't be able to get into the pot...

 After Memorial Day weekend we'll fill the rest of the pots and hanging baskets around our house.

A couple of realizations: pretty much everything blooming at our house right now is purple. I apparently don't like pink. Or yellow. Or orange. Or... any other color. I need to work a bit more variety into the landscape.

We also really need to re-stain our back deck and touch up some white trim around the house.

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

May 4 Friday Farming (05/08)

So yeah... things got a little away from me last weekend. We went to Harrison on Wednesday night en-route to Pullman for Gretchen's graduation. Arrived back on Sunday. Finally getting a chance to load last week's farming pictures!

The best part about gardening? Free bedside flowers (please ignore the dust):

The tomato starts are doing well after I separated them into their own pots. 

The marigolds have blossoms on them!

More tomatoes.

 Outside, the pink, yellow and red tulips are coming in.

The whole bed is filling out a little.

Including my Autumn Joy Sedum.

Same with the porch beds. I am amazed at how much the irises have filled in.

As you can see, the alium and the irises are about to bloom.

Romaine lettuce starts.

Salvia close to blooming.


More irises.

To the right of the door.

Daylilly buds. This throws me a little; they shouldn't bloom until like mid-July...


Corner muscari and daffodil, with snapdragons coming in under them.

Driveway bed. From bottom to top: garlic, oregano, out of control chives, irises, bee balm, lupine.

Bee balm.



The raspberry sticks are coming along.

not too shabby, overall. Pretty much everything is crowded near the foundation, which is okay for now. The shrubs will fill in eventually and have more of an impact. I would like to do something more in our boulevard or along the sidewalk someday.

More tulips, a mix of light pink and yellow.

Fern gully is slowly coming alive.


I'm just going to say it with every post; I didn't kill the hydrangea!

Along the kitchen beds.

The back bed. This is the kind of shabby garden area. Also, nice dog pee spots, huh?



Forsythia sticks. We'll see if they actually grow into the ground.

The garden bed.

No sign of asparagus again. I'm not so sure the asparagus experiment is going to work...

May 15 is the last frost day, and then we're planting into the ground!