May kicked off beautifully in the garden, with more loveliness beginning to emerge. (From top left...) Our poppies, snowball bush, rhododendron, and Australian mint bush are in their full glory in particular, and the bees are thrilled!
The veggie garden is starting to truly explode as well. The potato bed (left0 is particularly ambitious, with six or seven varieties planted via seed potatoes (a new thing for me as I usually just save previous ones, but we wanted to try new varietals and boy will this be the motherlode at harvest time! Our tomatoes are also going wild, well before they ordinarily would thanks to the row covers I've got on. And now without the chickens, I'll be able to remove them in another week and let them get big and tall without any bird netting. Our big leafy greens are also doing exceptionally well, from collards to kale to chard...strangely our lettuce has taken much longer to take off. And finally, our blueberries are absolutely looking phenomenal, and I just can't wait to sample the berries in another month or so!!
And near all of this, the girls are definitely enjoying their springtime swims in the kiddie pool, splashing around like crazy in there before the hose has even filled it up! While we are wistful for the chickens, it was the right thing to do...and these four - not surprisingly - don't mind it one bit.
And finally, as our gardening extends beyond the flower garden and veggie garden out here in the country, I thought I'd share two other spaces. On the left is a work-in-progress to put it mildly, the concrete slab in our immediate backyard that once upon a time 40 years ago was the foundation for a workshop (thanks to my former next door neighbor for sharing that with me, as this was her grandpa's property back in the day), one that was torn down but the concrete never split up. We have used it for a multitude of work projects, from where I first sanded the reclaimed wood for our kitchen island to building our first chicken tractor to where my husband will work on his bike in the summertime, but no matter what, it's always been...ugly. My original dream back when I still had my very nice consulting income was to someday install a glass greenhouse, but after several years here, the reality check was that I didn't need one. So in the meantime, I've created yet another gardening area, as the raised beds in our enclosed veggie garden are all spoken for, and I wanted to grow our greens that we eat every single day in an area a bit closer to the back door. So I filled up our galvanized steel planters with kale, collards and chard, added the raised lettuce tables that I built over winter from existing wood in our barn and leftover paint, repaired the old arched trellis that used to be hidden behind the woodshed and connected it to the two lettuce beds, filled up more planters with chives and other herbs, built yet ANOTHER raised bed from leftover wood and screwed a trellis in for that to grow even more beans, and brought out our old picnic table that I'd built 3 years ago from a section of tongue & groove wood that was removed when we opened up the kitchen to the dining room. Whew! And to top it off, as I wanted to do something with the leftover concrete we had in the barn, I built some string light planters inspired by this blog, making the base from scrap wood and attaching solar string lights to the post. Hilariously, the lights only appear to come on when it's completely dark outside - not at dusk, so we've not been able to enjoy those properly yet. As for our large pasture, this is our second year at simply mowing a path around the outside and down the center - much easier maintenance, great for mini nature walks with the pup, and our honeybees LOVE it!