deck with a garden view

deck with a garden view

The weather this past week was beautiful. Lots of sun, some rain, and very comfortable temperatures. I think this has been the best summer in years. I was shocked to hear someone at work complain though that it wasn’t hot and humid enough. Gah! Go live in Florida then I wanted to tell her but I only thought it as my mouth dropped open and my eyes goggled at her.

In spite of the great weather I haven’t done much gardening. As much as I love it, it can get tiring, there is always so very much to do. So this week, aside from harvesting and Bookman staking up a few things that fell over during a heavy rainfall, we’ve given ourselves permission to not do much of anything but enjoy all the results of all the work we have done. It is so easy to not enjoy the garden. Every morning I walk through it on my way to the bus stop and all I can see are the things that need to be done or that aren’t working like I had hoped.

I’ve been taking photos every week of flowers in bloom but I have never taken any wide-angled photos so you can see the

garden view from NE corner

garden view from NE corner

whole garden, or large pieces of it. That’s because it doesn’t look like something out of Better Homes and Gardens. I have weeds. I still have a lot of grass in the garden (and it needs to be mowed) and so to my mind, it isn’t done, it isn’t ready to be seen. The pathway isn’t done yet either and we have piles of wood chips, dirt, buckets, concrete we haven’t broken up yet strewn around.

But this week, having given myself permission to enjoy the garden, it made me so happy every time I looked out my patio door. We have a sliding glass door in our kitchen that goes out to the deck that goes into the garden. This year more than in any years past, we’ve had so many birds and we don’t even have bird feeders.

mustard flowers

mustard flowers

There have been several robin parties in the garden this week with four or five of them hopping around all at once. The sparrows love the fountain and the sandy beach around it and have a raucous good time. We are suddenly being visited by house wrens. For such tiny little birds they can make a big noise. And the gold finches have arrived. I have also lived in this house for fourteen years and have never seen a hummingbird anywhere in the neighborhood. This morning as I stood on the deck directing Bookman where to water, a hummingbird flew into the yard, hovered over the scarlet runner beans, and darted away. I have never bothered to plant anything that might attract them having never seen any anywhere. Next year though, I will plant a few things with hummingbirds in mind.

garden view from SE corner

garden view from SE corner

And it’s not just the birds that have been a delight. There are bees of all kinds everywhere. And all those tiny crickets I noticed in my wood chip mulch early in the summer have grown and are chirp, chirp chirping almost all the time. I love the sound of crickets. I don’t know what it is, but their chirping is relaxing for me.

To top all that, the garden is so green and lush and delightfully out of control with the pumpkins taking over and all the early season things blooming or going to seed.

Yesterday as I was watching the sparrows playing in the fountain and the sand, I realized how silly it is of me to not want

front garden through the wndow

front garden through the wndow

to share photos of the whole garden. The garden is never going to be perfect, never finished, never look like it belongs in a magazine but that doesn’t make it any less beautiful in its own way. A garden is all process with payoffs now and then of flowers and fruits and vegetables. If I ever achieve a perfect garden my garden days would be over; there’d be nothing else to do. My garden goals are food, sustainability and habitat and I have done better this year at those goals than I ever have and that is something to be proud of. So I hope you enjoy the big-view photos sprinkled in this week.

daylily, ice carnival

daylily, ice carnival

Now, for what is newly blooming. Just starting to bloom are the green-headed coneflowers (rudbeckia laciniata) which aren’t really coneflowers but rather in the sunflower family. These can get up to 10 feet (3m) tall though mine, planted in my front garden under the picture window and not in full sun get to be about 6 – 8 feet tall (1.8 – 2.4 m). These will be blooming into the fall and look really great when the New England asters they are planted with start blooming. I also have a daylily (ice carnival) that is blooming for the first time. I planted it three years ago and almost dug it out this year because all it has ever done is put up leaves. But it was saved by me not having anything to put in its place. Maybe it knew it was in danger. I’m glad it finally flowered, it is quite pretty, a pale, creamy yellow.

Nothing else new blooming at the moment. We harvested two normal-sized zucchini this past week and there will be more to come. We’ve not yet made fritters but soon. And beans. They are never going to quit it seems. Our freezer is packed full

so many beans - my new blog title?

so many beans – my new blog title?

because every week we harvest a huge mixing bowl full. I learned a few days ago there is an urban farm store in St. Paul (urban farm, I love that!) and Bookman and I are going to try and get there this coming week to check out their canning equipment. We need a hot water bath canner thingy. We’ve done canning in the past but it has always been pickled or fruit and with that you don’t need all the equipment, you can heat the jars and lids in the oven and can things up beautifully. But for canning things like beans which are not acidic we need to use the boiling water bath or risk making ourselves sick. I am also very curious about what else an urban farm store might have. I recently learned that urban farming/urban homesteading is a thing. I’ve got to learn more! Will definitely share any interesting discoveries.

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