Asparagus Pee for You and Me!

This family? We are big fans of asparagus. All of us, Willem and Birdie and Boombox included. Heck, one of my favorite photos in recent years is a joyous me among the asparagus fronds at the Chase Near Eastside Legacy Center two summers ago:

20130613. Asparagus dreams at the Near Eastside Legacy Center.

So it’s a little odd that we haven’t taken the plunge and decided to try growing them. Honestly? I’ve been intimidated. Asparagus: intimidating little spears of deliciousness, let me tell you.

I think it’s something about perennial growing. Pretty much all of my growing experience are with annual vegetables. Oh, we have perennial herbs here and there and some blackberries and a couple of apple trees. But other than that, if something doesn’t grow well one summer, you just plant it again next year. No big.

This morning, though, I decided to take the plunge. At around 9 am, I decided we do, indeed, need asparagus. By 9:30 am, Willem and I were cruising around outside, (finally) taking soil samples for lead testing, something I really should have done years ago.

By 10 am, 25 asparagus crowns were ordered from Johnny’s Selected Seeds, and I was showing Chris where my dream asparagus bed will live. By 12:30 pm, Willem and I were hard at work, digging up a 3’x12′ chunk of turf in our front yard and shoveling compost.

20150411. Asparagus patch in development.

Less grass, more food! We also hosted our first seed swap and third organizing meeting for the Keystone-Monon Community Garden last night. Here’s my bounty (as if I needed more seeds):

20150411. More seeds! Keystone-Monon seed swap.

Our first fundraiser will be a seedling sale later this month (which pretty much means me selling off all the extra seedlings I have in my basement that won’t fit in my garden). There is so much to say about that project and too much to do/not enough time to say it. We’re working on land, funds, mission development, making friends, and garden design. All at once. 

20150405. Seeding growing setup.

Fleeting Fall

The leaves seem to already be falling to the ground, and I feel like I’ve barely had the chance to enjoy them shifting from green to yellow to orange to red on the trees. What’s the deal, fall?

We’ve been in the throes of fall cleanup around here. A few weekends ago, the chickens got their coop and run deep clean. Last weekend, I dug the sweet potatoes and put more of the garden to rest.

There’s always so much excitement to see what’s buried under the soil on sweet potato digging day:
20141004. Sweet potato digging day!

And then? Sometimes, this happens. Yup. That is the entirety of our sweet potato “crop” this year.
20141004. Sweet potatoes... And this is all we got, folks.

Sad trombone.
20141004. A rather lackluster sweet potato year.

Still left to do: planting the garlic, cutting back the perennials in the back, and cutting back our newer/smaller perennials up front. Then the snow can fly.
20141004. Putting the garden to bed for the winter.

This weekend? This weekend, I took care of most of the older perennials in the front yard. We usually leave the coneflower all winter for the birds and other little critters, but we were a little distracted this summer and didn’t do much in the way of staking them as they grew. The end result was a bunch of beautiful, wild, crazy flowers laying across the lawn and each other. So… they had to go.

I feel like we should be doing “fall stuff” with Willem – taking him on hay rides and to pumpkin patches and little kid costume parades. But really? At this point, those things would be more for us than him, and he’s just not terribly keen on big crowds. He had such a great time playing on his blanket in the sun this morning, watching me hack away at the bushes of false blue indigo, butterfly weed, and coneflower. So instead of pictures of Willem with pumpkins, we’ll have pictures of Willem on my Grandma Farm’s colorful quilt in the front yard.

20141012. Fall cleaning of the front yard and play time.

20141012. Fall cleaning of the front yard and play time.

20141012. Fall cleaning of the front yard and play time.

Can you also tell our latest exciting development? Willem now has two bottom teeth coming in! His gummy smile is a thing of the past. Sniff…
20141012. Fall cleaning of the front yard and play time.

I must say, though, I can’t wait until he’s old enough to snuggle up on the couch with us and watch a movie or go play at Conner Prairie or the Children’s Museum or really have a blast watching the Christmas train display at the Eiteljorg Museum. Don’t grow up too fast, kid… but when you do, we’ll have some awesome stuff to do.

20141012. Fall cleaning of the front yard and play time.

You’re Every Willem in the World to Me

A few more new mommy observations on this absolutely gorgeous Saturday. These days, EVERY day is a Saturday!

First Fourth!

Unfortunately, every day is also a Monday.

Kicking it with this beautiful boy.

Sleep. Sleep is, like, really super important. I am SO good at sleep. Ask anyone. I can sleep anywhere and rarely make it through an entire movie without falling asleep on the couch. I used to go on work trips, down a latte at the airport, and be asleep in my seat before the wheels had left the ground. So yeah… I know a thing or two about sleep, but I apparently suck at teaching others the fine art and sweet beauty of sleep. More on that later.

Willem's first check out at the library.

Also? Having a baby is kind of like having Stockholm Syndrome. You grow to love and adore your tiny, drooly captor and would do anything for him.

Hanging.

We were away last weekend visiting family, and Willem’s sleep schedule got completely jacked. It already took a turn for the worse around 3.5-4 months, but upon returning home, it was abysmal. So starting yesterday, we are now in baby-sleep boot camp (which really means “getting the kid on a dang schedule already”). I was bracing myself for a horrible day and night, but the little guy did pretty all right! He took three long naps in his crib for the first time EVER yesterday, and then I was able to get him to sleep until 7 this morning. I call that a huge success already.

Yes, I’m a little embarrassed to admit that my son had never taken all of his naps in his crib. And I bounced or fed him to sleep every time. And he had zero in the way of a bed time/nap time routine. No wonder his sleep is all jacked!

In other news, our house is dreamy right now:
June 2014.

June 2014.

June 2014.

June 2014.

The Grass Is Always Greener?

I know some people spend a great deal of time and energy to have lush, park-like lawns. I can appreciate that.

I, however, am not one of those people. At our place, we would prefer to not have to mow, to not have to wage war against dandelions and clover and the multitude of unidentified weeds working hard to take over our lawn. We also appreciate native perennials, edibles, and other pretties that will make a better habitat for bees, butterflies, and birds.

With that in mind, yesterday we took our first steps in turning our front lawn into… not lawn. Soon we will be digging up more of our front lawn to plant goldenrod, purple prairie clover, lavender, strawberries, and a few different kinds of aster (good for late season forage for the bees). And that’s just the beginning!

A little timeline of the front yard: May 2011.
20110513. happy homeowner.

First plans:
20120308. Front yard plan.

More sod removal, more herbs:
20130714. Less grass + more herbs = happy house.

And some inspiration (click on an image to jump to the source):

Basically, everything this woman, Rosalind Creasy, has going on is just fine by me:

And here’s what a garden “plan” looks like around these parts:
Front yard garden planning.

Next step: the backbreaking work of breaking sod. Oh, joy.

Eyes on the Skies

Lately, we have been a little preoccupied with the weather. First, we got excited about any old cloud that would cross our paths. No rain.

20120715. Nothing falling...

Then, we started obsessively watching the radar and checking the weather reports several times a day. Still no rain.

20120715. Studies in cloud formations...

We even unplugged the extension cords to the chicken fans a few times, to no avail. Still. No. Rain.

20120715. Waiting for rain...

THEN! FINALLY! Last Thursday, not only did it rain, but it poured. The streets were flooded four lanes across, lightning and thunder sizzled and boomed until we were sure our hair should be standing on end, and our rain barrel runneth over.

We and the creatures are happy.

20120715. Tiny praying mantis.

Armed with our renewed sense of hope, we decided to finish planning out our backyard. Mind you, we still have a watering and new landscaping ban in place, but where there was once dead grass and dust on our shoes, there is now greened up weeds and dew in the morning. Surely, our spell of bad luck is over.

Chris’ drawing is quite lovely:

20120720. Backyard planning.

Mine is a little more… free-form. But look! Purple, pink, orange, and yellow plantings circling the bench/picnic table. I love the idea of painting in flowers/plants.

20120720. Backyard planning.