Spring Cleaning

April 13, 2014

Yesterday was a beautiful day and I finally got out to start some clean up in the garden.  With the long winter I have had extra time for reading and have enjoyed a number of inspirational books.

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Will Allen received a MacArthur genius grant and I was fascinated by reading The Good Food Revolution.  He encourages me to keep trying new things.  I have had the plastic off the hoop for a few weeks now.  The kale of is coming along well.  I have lettuce planted and it is slowly coming.  Yesterday I went to a horse stable and filled my trunk with six big buckets of composted horse manure.  I was excited that there seemed to be a lot of worms in it.  I spread most of it on the vegetable garden and strawberry patches and put a bucket of it directly into the compost file, to help that process.  It was free, so I might go get some more if I find the time….

Garden 04 13 14 015Praying mantis egg sac on spice bush.  While cleaning up yesterday I saw two of these egg sacs on shrubs and four more on the miscanthus grass I chopped down.  I just take the sacs that are in the ornamental grass and prop them up in the crook of some branches until they hatch.

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While cleaning up I got distracted and started pruning the serviceberry bush and the lilac bush, just where the branches were crossing unhelpfully.  I brought in some of the branches to cheer up the kitchen.  I was hoping the serviceberry blossoms would not completely open before the frost tomorrow.

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When I came home on Monday, April 7th, there was a box of mail order plants that had arrived.  I was really not in the mood, as it was still cold.  But I bought some soil and potted them up in the garage.  Later in the week I started to put them out to harden them up.  Maybe I will plant them next week.  The big pot in the middle is goldenrod ‘fireworks’ that I pulled out of the ground yesterday, as it had gotten too big for its space.  I kept it in case I find a place to put a little of it somewhere.

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This morning I moved the Gilbertson bluebird house to a new location.  The sparrows had been ignoring it previously, but were suddenly all very interested.  This house sparrow couple claimed the house right away and the male chased away other males.  I have heard that the hole is really kind of small for sparrows, so we will see if they abandon it soon.  I am not very hopeful about getting bluebirds, but still, I will give it another try.

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Female house sparrow in birdbath with daffodils.  These non-native birds are everywhere and seem to live in the neighbors’ evergreen trees.

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Robin in birdbath.  Dan has been taking bird pictures again.  He captured cardinals, doves, sparrows and robins.  I have not seen many migrating birds this year.  I saw a robin gathering nesting material this morning.  He seemed to be carrying it to the evergreen tree next door.  I think the robin might have benefited from a few of the worms in the manure yesterday!

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These hen and chicks are not real birds!  They made it through another winter under the snow.

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6 Responses to “Spring Cleaning”

  1. pbmgarden said

    You have a lot going on. I’ve never seen Praying mantis egg sacs before. Hope the bluebirds find you. Not sure where ours are nesting but we have a lot visiting the feeders.

  2. Maybe I should have feeders, but I have not gone down that road yet. I haven’t really seen bluebirds this year.

  3. prb said

    I think it was end of March or early April…one of the first really nice days we have had….i was off work and in the yard cleaning up a bit and the sand hill cranes came by….they do here and there but on this day there had to be hundreds that flew over. i love them.
    i never saw a praying mantis egg sac before either….i will have to watch for them….hope i havent thrown them out before not even noticing them. i learn so much stuff from you!!!
    i did feeders for a bit and it got messy – i am contemplating trying a little patch in the garden for bird plantings….plants birds can eat from.

  4. Wow, praying mantis egg sacs (not a phrase I’ve ever typed before!) My children will love to see these…Nothing as exciting as that in my garden in the UK, alas – tho we do have sparrows!!

    • I was listening to an audio book a few years ago by Annie Dillard talking about seeing a praying mantis egg sac. I looked them up on Google and then started looking for them in my garden. I see more praying mantises each year, now that my yard is organic. Don’t you have them in the UK?

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