Tuesday, February 15, 2011

In The Sun

We spent a large part of the weekend in the backyard preparing for spring planting. This past Saturday marked the first "spring like" day for us, and the temperature stayed at a perfect 75 degrees all weekend long. The kids played in the mud, the chickens were allowed free reign of the backyard and it was a perfect urban homestead weekend. Don't be hatin' east coast and Canadian friends....you know how much I complain once our daily average temperature hovers at 110 degrees day after sweltering summer day. You give some and you take some....

Our first priority was fixing our watering system. Hubby had ingeniously rigged up an irrigation system last season so that our plants could be watered automatically and at least twice a day, which is mucho important here in the desert. The system worked beautifully until the end of the season. The scorching sun and hard water left our misters plugged and our tubing cracked. This year, instead of drip tubing, we are using small sprinkler heads attached to the main irrigation lines. This way, the water can be directed right at the roots instead of being sprayed all willy nilly. This system is much lower maintenance and hopefully, will save us some water when it counts. That hubby is awfully smart you know...

There was also much clearing of old garden matter and the digging up of forgotten winter veggies. We came across a wheelbarrow full of gargantuan turnips we left to "winter" in the soil, pulled some stubby rainbow carrots and a skinny bulb or two of fennel. After our week of hard freeze, we pretty much left the garden for dead. And for the most part, it was. But hiding there under the soil, there was still a little life left in her. I found one tiny, sheltered head of cheddar cauliflower that were roasted for dinner, along with carrots, fennel and one of the giant turnips. Everything else was yanked out and tossed in the compost bin.

The beds look naked save for their shiny new sprinklers but planting will come in the next week or two. This year, I ordered our seeds from Sweet Corn Organic Nursery in Showlow, Arizona. Family owned and local, they have a wonderful variety of heirloom, open pollinated and organic seeds. We're trying a few new things this year and I'm excited to see how they grow. I also ordered medicinal herb seeds from Rose Mountain Herbs so that I will finally have my own plants with which to concoct healing teas and maybe some salves and soaps. I'm planting lemon balm, yarrow, feverfew, chamomile, mullein, and a few others I can't remember but I'm excited all the same. 

Well then....I'm off to pamper my hardworkin' hands.Though I'm thrilled to see our summer garden taking shape, all that digging and planting and scraping my knuckles on the cinder blocks that make up our raised beds have left my farm girl hands sore and in desperate need of some lovin'. I finally acquired all the ingredients I needed to make a fantastic hand oil, whose recipe I found in one of new favorite books,  The Complete Book of Essential Oils and Aromatherapy by Valerie Worwood. A dab'll do ya and it makes those scratched, sore and dusty hands look and feel like new again. Almost...

Stay tuned for the recipe!


  1. I am so jealous! It actually has been quite warm here the past two days (read: 10 degrees C,or 50 F, thats warm for February in Canada!). But apparently we will be dipping WELL below zero in another couple days. These warm days have made me nostalgic for gardening and farmer's markets. Oh well, only a few more months, right? Happy planting!


  2. Bah! You caught me hatin' here in MI. ;) Your buried treasures made me smile though, and gave me hope that spring will eventually get here too.

  3. great blog. Following you from the green mama blog hop. Would love a follow back www.RaisingGreenRichmondKids.com