Tuesday, April 7, 2009

The Best Deal in the City

I'm so excited about the company that I've hired to do my planter and window boxes. This is the freebie that they planted and maintained throughout the winter to get me hooked. It worked!

Check out Pots and Plants (and tell them I sent you!).

The Compost Bin

The compost bin is filling up nicely. Last year was our first year of composting and the mix didn't ever get really hot. I'm hoping to create a better mix this year. Almost all of our kitchen scraps and all the bits and pieces of last year's garden have gone in so far. We've already almost completely eliminated our need to take our green bin to the curb. The only thing that still goes in there is pet waste and any fatty or meat based scraps.

The bin is still empty enough that it's easy to turn. I wonder what to do when it gets practically immovable like last year's was. I'd hate to have to have two bins on the go, but not as much as I hate having to throw things out! I've been wondering what else we could put into the bin to save it from going to the curb. Let's start with the paper egg cartons from the five dozen eggs I'm making for the seders! It seems I could even put in all those teeny tiny fabric scraps from my quilting projects if I wasn't going to use them to stuff doggies beds. There are lots of great lists online of little know compostables. Here's one and here's another.

Happy Composting!

Monday, April 6, 2009

Eggs and Bunnies

"Horticultural Design" on Bayview is one of my favourite florists, unfortunately they don't have a website to link to. I took a trip there today to pick up succulents to fill in the planter Alisa gave us for our Anniversary a number of years ago. While there I was inspired to buy some live moss to make a tabletop chachka terrarium garden. I don't know why Eyal gave me these bunny salt and pepper shakers but they look adorable in there. I added a couple of eggcups from the collection Judy started for me more than thirty-five years ago to fill out the display. I'm so glad to finally have a use for this cake plate! The people in my household who could use some extra calories (AKA the twins) won't eat cake, and the big people can do just fine without it!

On the mantle I placed a candle holder upside down over a Wedgewood plate from my mother's collection, another eggcup filled with some more moss, and a hand painted wooden egg.

On the piano I've placed a silver tray filled with the remnants of the eggcup collection. Sadly Eyal and I did not put enough effort into securing the custom made eggcup cabinet to the wall when we moved to Larchmont. It crashed to the floor breaking a large percentage of the eggcups soon after we hung it.

The owner of "Horticultural Design" says to put a little bit of rainwater on the moss when I don't see condensation on the dome. If the moss is going to thrive in there I'm going to have to think about changing up the display with the seasons. I'll have to find something red, white and blue to make a Canada Day/4th of July display and I'm looking forward to making a summer display with the western themed salt and pepper shakers that Rick and Kris brought us from Alberta.

Now that I've started decorating for Spring I'm going to have to find an excuse to invite people over. My house is too small to host a seder so we always go to my MIL for the first night and my sister for the second night. We usually head to my SIL's for a casual Easter brunch where the kids usually find something left for them by the Easter Bunny. Unfortunately Kris has to head out to Saskatchewan to look after her Mom for the next week or so. I hope Margaret is feeling better really soon!

I wonder if the Easter Bunny will know to hide a little something for the kids in our backyard this year if we invite my brother and a few others over for brunch on Sunday?

Thursday, April 2, 2009

More Signs of Spring. And probably more information than you bargained for!

Now that I'm in the mood to welcome Spring I thought I'd check out the deck off of our third floor to see what the raccoons had been up to. Our sleep is disturbed most nights by the sounds of them scuttling about above our heads. The wildlife company that we called in assures us that they have no access to our attic and that there really isn't much that we can do to deter them from traipsing over the raccoon highway every night on there way to some other poor soul's roof or attic.

But what about the feces on the doorstep and the daytime sleeping arrangements under the side table? Comfortable as it may seem we can no longer accommodate our friendly neighbourhood pests. Professional Wildlife Removal claims that raccoon repellents don't work. Trapping is only a temporary and expensive solution. Suggestions?

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

The Darling Buds of April

No fooling! My garden has started to wake up. I'm loath to call what it just endured a nap. I wouldn't want to nap with three feet of snow on my head! Although I'm sure that that nice heavy blanket of snow was excellent insulation through the colder winter days. I always feel sorry for those first buds. I just know they are going to get frozen and thawed a bunch of times between now and that magical last frost day sometime towards the end of May.

My Aunt Ursula moved to a retirement complex in Hingham south of Boston last year. Even in June of her first season there her garden was spectacular! And she tells me she doesn't even get started in her garden until the end of May. How does she do it!!??

I've been struggling with this yard for six years now, and it's coming slowly, slowly. Part of the problem is that I've never really committed to being in this house for the long term (again I need to think what Ursula manages to accomplish in a couple of months).

It's so hard not to over do it in the garden this time of year. I think that's the true meaning of April Fool's Day! You think it's time to play in the garden, when it's really six weeks away still!!

I couldn't resist spending some time in the yard today though. I threw a bunch of stuff in the rolling compost bin I bought from Lee Valley Tools last year: the remains of last year's vegetable container garden, the kitchen scraps, some leaves. Tidied up miscellaneous balls and kids' toys that were scattered about the yard. And searched for the first signs of new life.

Welcome Spring!