Now that the weather is warming up a tich we have been spending a lot more time outside. We’ve been slowly cleaning up the gardens and all the branches and twigs from the December ice storm, but we’ve also been adding a little bit of colour by way of a fairy garden.
After many summers of having my flowers picked, garden stones unturned, sticks planted, and my bird bath home to many witches brew by a gaggle of girls, this year I decided to give them their own dedicated space, and a portable one at that.
Grampa found an old wheelbarrow, cleaned it up and painted it. We drilled a few holes in the bottom for drainage and filled the bottom with styrofoam “popcorn” to keep it light so it can easily be moved around the yard. We added some soil and then got to work decorating. I purchased a few birdhouses at the dollar store and cut out the doors. We painted them with outdoor paint in vibrant colours and added them to the wheelbarrow garden. The paths are made with shells and glow in the dark stones and we added a bird bath made from shells. We just need to add some flowers (as soon as it warms up).
I have a lot of shade in my garden due to a giant, old birch tree. We thought maybe we’d have to take down the birch after the December ice storm, but it seems okay. The neighbour’s tree did more damage to the birch than the ice. I have one spot behind the birch that gets zero sun. There used to be some old shrubs that grew along the fence, but since our other neighbour half built a fence in front of the existing fence, I can no longer see into their yard (sigh of relief). And so, last weekend I dug out the old mangled shrubs. Now I have to decide what to plant there. I’d love a lush patch of various hostas, but then there is puppy. So shrubs it it. Any suggestions?
I’ve been saving all my muffin tins. There seems to come to a point when they no longer look like you should be making food in them. I usually use them as paint trays for crafting, but now I have another incredible use for them. Thanks to Cathy at Tar2trees who pointed out that you can use muffin trays to as a template for planting seeds. Genius!
I got hungry and I was thinking of the lovely smell of the roasted nuts you can buy from the street vendors in New York City. I’ve never purchased them, but they smell soooo good.
Sweet and Spicy Nuts
- 2 cups mixed nuts (I used raw almonds, walnuts and cashews)
- 1/4 cup maple syrup (the real stuff – table syrup contains high amounts of carcinogens)
- 1 heaping tablespoon raw honey
- 1/2 of a vanilla bean (scrape seeds out)
- 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper (more if you can handle it!)
- 1/4 teaspoon sea salt
Preheat oven to 350oF.
Bake nuts on a parchment paper lined baking sheet for 5 to 7 minutes until lightly toasted. Heat the maple syrup, honey, vanilla bean, salt and cayenne in a medium sized pot just until honey melts. Remove nuts from the oven and add to maple syrup mixture. On medium heat, cook the nut mixture until the syrup mixture reduces and really starts to thickly coat the nuts (3 to 5 minutes). Return the nuts to the baking sheet and bake for about 5 minutes. Keep watch so the maple syrup mixture does not burn. Remove and let cool.
The sun is shining, the air temperature is around 10 degrees Celsius, and I just want to take my shovel to the dirt and my rake to the lawn. But… it is too early. So instead, I’m going to get my gardening on indoors. I’m going to do some seed starting on the cheap, and a few other fun gardening projects from around the web:
That should keep me busy for a while, no?
Did you hear about the dog who detected his owner’s breast cancer after conventional medicine missed it?
Or how about the animals fleeing from Yellowstone National Park. What exactly are they running from?
Animals know more than we think. Is there a role for animals in cancer detection?