Featured post

Squirrely Garden Gets a Grant!

Squirrely Garden is the garden at Baby’s amazing Forest School. And I am the CEO of Squirrely Garden (best title ever). As an (unpaid) CEO I think up many duties for myself such as the obvious (weeding, digging, wheelbarrowing) but also documenting the garden’s progress with photos and emailing the school with garden to-do’s.  I also designed the layout of the garden when we first dug the plots back in May. When the school wanted to apply for a grant from Gateway Greening, I helped them fill out the application and when it was time to tour the folks from GG with the school owners, I wore a baseball hat that says “Plays in the Dirt”. Clearly I take my CEO duties very seriously. Well, we cinched the deal and got the grant! The install date was today and Squirrely Garden gained four raised beds, six cubic yards of dirt, a slew of garden tools for little hands and the piece de resistance…(I’ll let that one be a surprise for the end of this post)…

A great turnout for the installation of the raised beds!

A great turnout for the installation of the raised beds!

Baby and her friend checking out the action

Baby and her friend checking out the action

Everyone helping; and check out that shiny new shovel!

Everyone helping; and check out that shiny new shovel!

Baby taking a break on the death-trap concrete slide soon-to-be ice luge

Baby taking a break on the death-trap concrete slide soon-to-be ice luge

Woo! Dirt Delivery!

Woo! Dirt Delivery!

Weeeee!

Weeeee!

In addition to installing the raised beds, we also edged some of the existing plots and moved some plants and harvested green tomatoes and lots of herbs.

Dock, sans leaves

Dock, sans leaves

Moving lemon grass

Moving lemon grass

Three big lemon grass plants were moved out of the garden down to the playground area. Lemon grass is a natural mosquito repellant.

Many helpers...

Many helpers…

Little helpers

Little helpers

Weeding

Weeding

Lots of dirt to move

Lots of dirt to move

The chef composts everything. This is a method for getting air throughout the pile of green manure.

The chef composts everything. This is a method for getting air throughout the pile of green manure.

Move over Richard Serra, Robert Smithson and Michael Heizer.

Move over Richard Serra, Robert Smithson and Michael Heizer.

Squirrely Garden 9.20.14

Squirrely Garden 9.20.14

What's that?

What’s that?

A little garden snake! (I think it is a juvenile black rat snake)

A little garden snake! (I think it is a juvenile black rat snake)

All the kids got to check it out.

All the kids got to check it out.

Weeding

Weeding..and what’s that in the background…leaning on the fence…?

The piece de resistance…

Check out the shiny new sign!

Check out the shiny new sign!

Thanks Gateway Greening!

Thanks Gateway Greening!

Featured post

Late September in the Garden and a Decade of Marriage!

Changing Leaves

Changing Leaves

Golden Fall Light

Golden Fall Light

Can you spy Spy Garden? I like this view because it's sort of hidden because of the slope of the yard.

Can you spy Spy Garden? I like this view because it’s sort of hidden because of the slope of the yard.

Teepee

Teepee

Another view of the teepee

Another view of the teepee

Love this eucalyptus. I am going to dig it up and put it in a big pot to bring inside for the winter (as it won't necessarily survive a hard frost).

Love this eucalyptus. I am going to dig it up and put it in a big pot to bring inside for the winter (as it won’t necessarily survive a hard frost).

Sioux Tomatoes

Sioux Tomatoes

Purple Opal Basil (and other varieties of basil) among the row of tomatoes)

Purple Opal Basil (and other varieties of basil) among the row of tomatoes)

Herbs and Marigolds

Herbs and Marigolds

Facing north in the garden

Facing north in the garden

Minimalist Corn

Minimalist Corn

We always grow corn; mostly for the ornamental value (gotta have corn stalks for fall decor!) This year the corn set only sad little ears with irregular rows of kernels. I think this is because it was in a row that just does not get enough sun.

Sunflowers and corn stalk decor in progress.

Sunflowers and corn stalk decor in progress.

Upper Ground Sweet Potato on the Teepee

Upper Ground Sweet Potato on the Teepee

Big...

Big…

Mushroom

Mushroom

Pure White (colored by the fall light)

Pure White (colored by the fall light)

Late September Garden

Late September Garden

The knockout rose bush in the foreground has done so well this year. I pruned it aggressively in the spring and always pick off the buds left after the blooms are spent; this encourages new growth and lots of flowers. I’m thinking of expanding this little plot to be a larger rose garden. It would obscure this view of the garden a bit (this view is looking from the front porch of our house). But that might give it a more secret-garden feel! Eventually, will there be any grass left in our yard? ahhaah

Knockout Rose

Knockout Rose

Hibiscus

Hibiscus

Hibiscus in sunset-light

Hibiscus in sunset-light

Rouge Vif d'Etampes getting more deeply rouge (red) by the day!

Rouge Vif d’Etampes getting more deeply rouge (red) by the day!

A few hundred yards from our garden…a hike in the woods across the street…

Hiking

Hiking

Woods

Woods

There are tons of these bright orange mushrooms in the woods.

There are tons of these bright orange mushrooms in the woods.

The Spy

The Spy

Clearing

Clearing

Very...

Very…

Prairie

Prairie

If you walk through the prairie...

If you walk through the prairie…

Back in the garden…

What's this?!

What’s this?!

My wedding dress! Ten years ago, Smoochie and I got married! Technically, it was one decade and one month ago. We were so busy digging and prepping for the St. Louis Homes and Lifestyles Magazine photo shoot on August 20th, we actually forgot our anniversary and both remembered later that night. But, not to worry, we’ll do something fun to celebrate at some point. For now, a few pictures of my dress will have to suffice! We eloped in a garden in northern Vermont; so really this is quite fitting.

Wedding Dress on the Teepee

Wedding Dress on the Teepee

After we were married we took pictures; a few with a scarecrow where we pretended the scarecrow was the justice of the peace marrying us. Hahaha. Perhaps Spy Garden needs a scarecrow in honor of a decade of marriage?! A reenactment?!

Wedding Dress Floating in Mid-Air (hanging on the deer fence ;)

Wedding Dress Floating in Mid-Air (hanging on the deer fence ;)

Happy weekend friends! Do you have any plans for your fall (or to my southern hemisphere friends, spring!) gardens? Baby and I are headed to her school garden (Squirrely Garden) for an exciting event. The Spy and Smoochie are off to baseball practice. Later, we’ll be doing some fall clean up in our garden. A writer from St. Louis Homes and Lifestyles Magazine is coming to interview us (they want quotes from the kids too!) tomorrow! There is no better excuse to deep clean your house (and garden) then someone from a home and lifestyle magazine coming to call, right?! hhHAhahhaha

Featured post

September in the Garden

Arbor

Arbor

Atlantic Giant Pumpkin

Atlantic Giant Pumpkin

Arbor

Arbor

Chinese Red Noodle Bean

Chinese Red Noodle Bean

Windowsill

Windowsill

Baby

Baby

Painting

Painting

Pumpkin Costume

Pumpkin Costume

Still...

Still…

Fits!

Fits!

Fire...

Fire…

pit

pit

Longer shadows

Longer shadows

Teepee

Teepee

Jarrahdale and Upper Ground Sweet Potato winter squash on teepee

Jarrahdale and Upper Ground Sweet Potato winter squash on teepee

Ear Lick ahhahh

Ear Lick ahhahh

Atlantic Giant Pumpkin with Marigold Shadow

Atlantic Giant Pumpkin with Marigold Shadow

Featured post

Spy Garden iPhone

Spy Garden mobile…

Storm rolling in

Storm rolling in

Behind the scenes

Behind the scenes

Home Depot is very conveniently located near Spy Garden and cheaper than the non-big-box nurseries (that are plentiful near Spy Garden). And Martha Stewart likes Home Depot and has product lines there. And Martha Stewart is awesome. Ergo, prior to the St. Louis Homes and Lifestyles Magazine photoshoot I took a couple trips to Home Depot for fall flowers and plants. Here I am:

Home Depot's just so convenient.

Home Depot’s just so convenient. hahaha

The next time I’m in search of plants, I’d like to check out Fahr’s and Passiglia’s: both have been in business since 1950!

Swing...

Swing…

...ing

…ing

A painting by my very talented coworker.

A painting by my very talented coworker.

She paints so meticulously! After seeing her paintings it makes me want to gain patience when I paint. Since I always stick to the…

Lazy method of painting with jagged, spontaneous strokes and no attention to details. haha

Lazy method of painting with jagged, spontaneous strokes and no attention to details. haha

Garden Cat Nap

Garden Cat Nap

Weeee!

Weeee!

iPhone Garden Sunset

iPhone Garden Sunset

House in St. Louis (this shot is from Smoochie's iphone)

House in St. Louis (this shot is from Smoochie’s iphone)

St. Louis Art Museum

St. Louis Art Museum

Sightseeing. James Rosenquist. 1962 (at the St. Louis Art Museum)

Sightseeing. James Rosenquist. 1962 (at the St. Louis Art Museum)

James Rosenquist started his career as a billboard painter, creating advertisements and images of consumer goods on a monumental scale. His early training is evident in this work—vibrantly painted colors, block lettering, and enlarged details of recognizable imagery, in this case a bouquet of roses. Rosenquist drew inspiration for this painting from the back of a tour bus he regularly saw while painting signs in New York City’s Times Square. Sightseeing blurs the line between banal tourism and the supposedly elevated act of viewing art in a gallery or museum. (source St. Louis Art Museum)

Raindrops on Roses (knockout rose bush)

Raindrops on Roses (knockout rose bush)

Baby

Baby

Western clouds at sunrise

Western clouds at sunrise

Click here for a great article about protecting plants from frost by Maria from Sweet Domesticity. The picture reminds me of Christo and Jeanne Claude.

Featured post

September in the Garden

Mmm...

Mmm…

Blackberries

Blackberries

September Garden

September Garden

Smoochie, Baby and Spy checking out a...

Smoochie, Baby and Spy checking out a…

Praying Mantis

Praying Mantis

On the Deer Fence

On the Deer Fence

And who's this? Ewwww! (but good for the garden;) spider curled up for a nap on the deer fence.

And who’s this? Ewwww! (but good for the garden;) spider curled up for a nap on the deer fence.

Dexie Print

Dexie Print

Dexie, Spy, Smoochie, Baby

Dexie, Spy, Smoochie, Baby…and check out the pumpkins in the background!

Garden view from the garden living room

Garden view from the garden living room

Fall Ball!

Fall Ball!

#7

#7

A new challenge (Spy was hitting them over the 157' fence in the spring!) Woo home runs!

A new challenge (Spy was hitting them over the 157′ fence in the spring!) Woo home runs!

"The Reef"...but where are the fish?

“The Reef”…but where are the fish?

Swimming south for the winter! They are fish from South Florida, after all!

Swimming south for the winter! They are fish from South Florida, after all!

See you next spring!

See you next spring!

Snook

Snook

Very Colorful

Very Colorful

Can you spy two blue/green pumpkins?

Can you spy two blue/green pumpkins?

Jarrahdale Pumpkins

Jarrahdale Pumpkins

The other side of the teepee

The other side of the teepee

Eucalyptus, Asparagus, Lime Basil, Marigolds and Corn

Eucalyptus, Asparagus, Lime Basil, Marigolds and Corn

Goodnight Moon

Goodnight Moon

Featured post

Early Fall

Camouflage

Camouflage

Walking Stick

Walking Stick

It is getting blustery and chilly in Spy Garden: woooooo fall!

Target...

Target…

Practice

Practice

Target (a drawing of the Governor from the TV show The Walking Dead attached to a cereal box).

Target (a drawing of the Governor from the TV show The Walking Dead attached to a cereal box). HAhaha

Tomato that wants to be a pumpkin.

Tomato that wants to be a pumpkin.

Pumpkin

Pumpkin (Atlantic Giant; a small, 7ish pounder we picked)

After scraping out the seeds, I carved up this pumpkin into big irregular chunks (think tuna steak-sized) and added loads of spices (paprika, cayenne pepper, thyme, ginger, a Jamaican-jerk seasoning) and salt and a drizzle of oil and roast in the oven (flesh-side down) on a foil-lined baking sheet at 350 for awhile until the flesh becomes translucent. Then slice the skin off and enjoy! I dipped it in hot sauce and Dijon mustard.  When roasted in this manner, pumpkin really does remind me of filets of fish; fresh-caught wild pumpkin-fillets. haha  I should make some sashimi and pumpkin sushi to further illustrate my point.

The seeds of the Atlantic Giant are also large.

The seeds of the Atlantic Giant are also large.

I washed all the seeds and added the same combo of spices/drizzle of oil on them and also roasted those too. Yum! I will also save some of this variety of seeds (from the largest pumpkin). These Atlantic Giant pumpkins were grown from seeds from Baker Creek. Here is the description from their website:

110-125 days (C. maxima) Lovely, giant, pink-orange pumpkins can weigh over 800 lbs, and do so every year, with some reaching almost 1500 lbs.! This variety was introduced by Howard Dill, of Nova Scotia in 1978, and has since broken all records. (source)

Atlantic Giant Pumpkin Patch

Atlantic Giant Pumpkin Patch

There are seven Atlantic Giant plants and we had seven pumpkins; one small one rotted and we threw it in the woods and the other small one I picked and roasted (as described above). Five left to harvest; cooking, carving, curry, soup? So many possibilities for pumpkins. Winter squash is by far my favorite vegetable. So versatile.

A Jarrahdale Pumpkin

A Jarrahdale Pumpkin

Jarrahdale Bloom

Jarrahdale Bloom

Desription of the Jarrahdale from Baker Creek:

100 days. (C. maxima) Slate, blue-grey, 6-10 lb. pumpkins of superb quality. Their shape is flat and ribbed, and very decorative looking; also a good keeper. Popular in Australia; an excellent variety. (source)

Upper Ground Sweet Potato

Upper Ground Sweet Potato

Upper Ground Sweet Potato Leaf (with a tiny spider on it)

Upper Ground Sweet Potato Leaf (with a tiny spider on it)

Here is the description of Upper Ground Sweet Potato from the Baker Creek website:

(C. moschata) This heirloom is still grown by a few people in the South. An old, hardy type that grows well even in rather poor conditions and produces an abundance of medium-large, round-to-bell-shaped, tan fruit with moist orange flesh that is said to resemble that of the sweet potato, hence the name. Sweet, good quality, and it keeps very well. A really rugged variety that is going the way of the dinosaurs if people don’t work to save it. (source)

Giant Cape Gooseberry

Giant Cape Gooseberry

(Physalis peruviana) The cape gooseberry is native to Brazil and was grown in England by 1774. It was cultivated by settlers at the Cape of Good Hope before 1807. The delicious yellow fruit grow inside paper-like husks that are easy to peel. They are great dipped in melted chocolate or made into pies and preserves. Larger than the common ground cherry. (source)

Echinacea

Echinacea

Blackberries

Blackberries

Meyer lemons just starting to grow.

Meyer lemons just starting to grow.

Rainbow Swiss Chard

Rainbow Swiss Chard

Pepper, eggplant and strawberry

Pepper, eggplant and strawberry

Mexican Sunflower

Mexican Sunflower

Featured post

Pumpkin Yoga and a Katydid

Atlantic Giant...

Atlantic Giant…

Pumpkin Yoga

Pumpkin Yoga

Sukhasana

Sukhasana on a Rouge de Vif d’Etampes Pumpkin

Rouge de Vif d'Etampes picked before getting rouge. I accidentally picked it while hunting squash bugs. Maybe it will still turn color?

Rouge de Vif d’Etampes picked before getting rouge. I accidentally picked it while hunting squash bugs. Maybe it will still turn color?

Hibiscus

Hibiscus

Stroller ("I want to be a baby forever" haha)

Stroller (“I want to be a baby forever.” says Baby haha)

Eucalyptus

Eucalyptus

Herbs and Peppers

Herbs and Peppers

Hartman's Giant Amaranth Stalk and a...

Hartman’s Giant Amaranth Stalk and a…

Mexican Sunflower

Mexican Sunflower

Echinacea

Echinacea

Ooo

Ooo

Fork-Tailed Bush Katydid

Fork-Tailed Bush Katydid

Antenna

Antenna

About to Jump

About to Jump

Rainbow Swiss Chard

Rainbow Swiss Chard

Featured post

The Last of Summer and The St. Louis Art Museum

Pictures of the garden on August 31, 2014

Spy Garden August 31, 2014

Spy Garden August 31, 2014

Rouge Vif d'Etampes Pumpkin

Rouge Vif d’Etampes Pumpkin

Facing South

Facing South

Facing North (on the other side of the trellis)

Facing North (on the other side of the trellis)

Atlantic Giant Pumpkin Patch

Atlantic Giant Pumpkin Patch

Can you spy a pumpkin with a blue bow?

Can you spy a pumpkin with a blue bow?

Catching Bugs

Catching Bugs

Lemon Cucumber Stretching to the Sky (on the top of the trellis)

Lemon Cucumber Stretching to the Sky (on the top of the trellis)

See the tiny spider?

See the tiny spider?

Knockout Roses

Knockout Roses

Belgian White Carrot Seedhead

Belgian White Carrot Seedhead

Fringed Variegated Lavender

Fringed Variegated Lavender

Purple Opal Basil, Yellow Marigolds and Peppers

Purple Opal Basil, Yellow Marigolds and Peppers

And yesterday, a visit to the St. Louis Art Museum…

Columns with White Sky (St. Louis Art Museum)

Columns with White Sky (St. Louis Art Museum)

I was drawn to the classical painting and sculpture…

late 2nd century BC–early 1st century AD

Greek

Hellenistic period
(323–31 BC)

or Roman

Imperial period
(27 BC–AD 330) (source)

It’s all just a good guess really, I mean no one REALLY knows EXACTLY where these pieces were found or when they were made…It’s what makes ancient art so mysterious!

Spy Garden's own classical sculpture...in fire! (2013)

Spy Garden’s own classical sculpture…in fire! (2013)

Check out How to Sculpt for inspiration/instructions on how to make your own sculptures!

Matisse is one of my favorites…

Interior at Nice, Matisse, 1919 (photo credit St. Louis Art Museum)

Interior at Nice, Matisse, 1919 (photo credit St. Louis Art Museum)

I also like Frank Stella…

Marriage of Reason and Squalor, Frank Stella (photo credit: St. Louis Art Museum)

Marriage of Reason and Squalor, Frank Stella (photo credit: St. Louis Art Museum)

With a housepainter’s brush, Frank Stella methodically applied industrial enamel paint to the surface of this canvas. Thick black bands form concentric rectangles cut off along the bottom edge while thin off-white lines reveal unpainted portions of the canvas. The artist used an extra thick stretcher, a novel decision in 1959 that allowed Stella to emphasize that a painting is, in fact, a three-dimensional object. When asked about the content of his austere works such as this, Stella answered, “What you see is what you see,” underscoring the artist’s matter-of-fact, literal approach to painting. (source)

Richard Serra’s drawings to plan a large sculptural installation in St. Louis remind me of the Spy Garden deer fence plans:

Drawing Related to Twain, Richard Serra, 1982 (photo credit St. Louis Art Museum)

Drawing Related to Twain, Richard Serra, 1982 (photo credit St. Louis Art Museum)

Never underestimate a good sketch!

2013

2013

2014

2014

And the 2015 garden plan? Coming soon! But back to the St. Louis Art Museum…

DSC_0389 (700x634)

Andy Goldsworthy, Stone Sea

Andy Goldsworthy, Stone Sea

Andy Goldsworthy, Stone Sea, 2012

Andy Goldsworthy, Stone Sea, 2012

I also enjoyed the Native American exhibits…

Soft, warm cradleboards shelter babies from the wind and cold, and provide a secure place for mothers to keep their young ones safe while they work and travel. Children often become so attached to their cradleboards that they try to crawl back into them even after they have outgrown them. Family members create cradleboards and imbue these objects with love, symbolic power, and protection. This cradleboard is of exceptional quality and reflects distinctive elements of outstanding Tsistsistas (Cheyenne) work, a tradition noted for technical excellence, crisp, even beadwork, and design shapes that include outlined hexagons and stepped “tipi” triangles with interior square doors. (source)

With every step or rush of wind, the rows of diagonal fringe and metal cones encircling this dress would sway and make a pleasing sound. The creation of sound and a sense of movement are hallmarks of the Southern Plains style. The long sides and neckline preserve the shape of the deer’s hind legs and tail to emphasize the raw material from which the dress was made, and to invest the wearer with the spirit of the once-living creature. (source)

One more favorite painting from my visit…

oil on canvas, Canaletto (Giovanni Antonio Canal) 1697–1768 (photo credit St. Louis Museum of Art)

oil on canvas, Canaletto (Giovanni Antonio Canal) 1697–1768 (photo credit St. Louis Museum of Art)

Compositionally (if that’s not a word, file it under neologisms) similar, but back at home…

Catch

Catch

and a test…

Good job Spy! Though, I would give it a 99, he forgot to capitalize Tennessee. haha;)

Good job Spy! Though, I would give it a 99, he forgot to capitalize Tennessee. haha;)

Happy Wednesday, friends!

Featured post

Growing

Finally the teepee is getting covered with winter squash ("upper ground sweet potato" and "Jarrahdale pumpkins")

Finally the teepee is getting covered with winter squash (“upper ground sweet potato” and “Jarrahdale pumpkins”)

At the top of the teepee

At the top of the teepee

Hartman's Giant Amaranth

Hartman’s Giant Amaranth

Coneflower (Echinacea)

Coneflower (Echinacea)

Mums

Mums

Atlantic...

Atlantic…

...Giant Pumpkins

…Giant Pumpkins

Spirals

Spirals

A Heart Shaped Atlantic Giant

A Heart Shaped Atlantic Giant

Turtle Stretch

Turtle Stretch

Rouge de Vif d'Etampes...

Rouge de Vif d’Etampes…

Blooms

Blooms

Mexican Sunflower

Mexican Sunflower

Featured post

Late August in Squirrely Garden

Squirrely Garden is the garden at Baby’s school (and was named by the preschoolers). I am the CEO of Squirrely Garden, but have taken a bit of a break from my executive duties as of late. We went to Colorado, had to spiff up Spy Garden for a magazine photo shoot and most of all: it has been 100 degrees for two weeks.  Today was the first day I’d even set foot in Squirrely Garden since July 17th…

Squirrely Garden July 17

Squirrely Garden July 17, 2014

Squirrely Garden August 28, 2014

Squirrely Garden August 28, 2014

There is a garden in there, I swear!

There is a garden in there, I swear!

I meant to just take a quick look today, but confronted with this weedy jungle I was compelled to clean up least one of the beds.

For the record, these are not the proper shoes for impromptu gardening.

For the record, these are not the proper shoes for impromptu gardening.

The weeds are rampant, but the heat seems to have just about let up, which means the kids (and teachers!) will be back in the garden regularly. We made a plan to get the whole garden weeded in the next couple of weeks and the other good news is that more than just weeds are growing…

Watermelons! (There's about ten or so nearly ready to pick)

Watermelons! (There’s about ten or so nearly ready to pick)

And more teeny watermelons just starting to grow.

And more teeny watermelons just starting to grow.

Watermelon Blossom

Watermelon Blossom

The pumpkins got a late start in Squirrely Garden but they are growing well now!

The pumpkins got a late start in Squirrely Garden but they are growing well now!

The big grassy masses (among the weeds;) is lemon grass.

The big grassy masses (among the weeds;) is lemon grass.

I will definitely be taking some lemon grass shoots for our garden from this mass next time I’m up there: lemongrass is such a great flavor (and the smell…mmm!)

And check this out!

And check this out!

This eggplant variety is called Fengyuan purple and I am so happy it is growing in Squirrely Garden; the ones I planted in Spy Garden have yet to fruit.

Beautiful!

Beautiful!

Downhill from Squirrely Garden…

The playground awaits the kids (having breakfast in the dining hall in the background)

The playground awaits the kids (having breakfast in the dining hall in the background)

Playground Cave

Playground Cave

A view of the school from the playground.

Another view of the school from the playground.

Squirrely Garden is on the hill past the tree in this photo. And that corner of the school building is Baby's classroom (well, her INDOOR classroom: the real classroom is the forest/garden/great outdoors!)

Squirrely Garden is on the hill past the tree in this photo. And that corner of the school building is Baby’s classroom (well, her INDOOR classroom: the real classroom is the forest/garden/great outdoors!)

Seen on the bulletin board in Baby's class.

Seen on the bulletin board in Baby’s class.

But how nice to have a nice cool classroom when it is 100 degrees!

But how nice to have a nice cool classroom when it is 100 degrees!

Origami Mobile

Origami Mobile

Solar Dehydrator in Progress

Solar Dehydrator in Progress

Very interested to see how this solar dehydrator works out; might have to have Smoochie build one for us if it is successful!

Featured post

Late August in Spy Garden

Before (can you see the monarch wing inside?)

Before (can you see the monarch wing inside?)

After

After

Another After (and of course the monarch is flitting around the garden!)

Another After (and of course the monarch is flitting around the garden!)

Blazing Star wildflowers and marigolds

Blazing Star wildflowers and marigolds

White spider on the blazing star wildflowers

White spider on the blazing star wildflowers

Nasturtiums

Nasturtiums

(Purposely) blurry shot of the nasturtiums looking very painterly

(Purposely) blurry shot of the nasturtiums looking very painterly

Chinese long noodle beans. I didn't plant these this year, but volunteers are popping up in a few places.

Chinese long noodle beans. I didn’t plant these this year, but volunteers are popping up in a few places.

The variegated leaves are "upper ground sweet potato" (a winter squash) and the pumpkin is "Jarrahdale" (a blue winter squash). Both varieties are growing on the teepee

The variegated leaves are “upper ground sweet potato” (a winter squash) and the pumpkin is “Jarrahdale” (a blue winter squash). Both varieties are growing on the teepee

Yum!

Yum!

A green dragonfly

A green dragonfly

A perfect "early fall" shot!

A perfect “early fall” shot!

Evening Sky Over Spy Garden

Evening Sky Over Spy Garden

Hope your week is off to a good start! A Squirrely Garden (the garden at Baby’s school) update is coming soon. In the meantime, I’m sharing a school-wide email with you as a little sneak preview of something cool in progress at her school (and because it’s hilarious)…

Dear Friends,
Have you noticed the weird wooden box that’s been pretending to mind its own business by our front door?  No, it’s not a penalty box for obstinate children.  It’s a solar dehydrator!  And it will help us reach our food goal of “all local, all year.”
But there’s a catch.  We need your cans.  About 300 of them will do.  We need them for the solar panel.  Now we know that many of you would never own up to drinking soda or the various other…er…beverages that come in cans.  But we all know there’s some in your fridge right now.  So go ahead and tip ‘em back.  Then put on a brave face and bring those cans to in.  No one will judge you.
Oh, and don’t feel bad about the type of…er…beverage the cans are branded with.  They will all be spray painted black to absorb heat from the sun and protect the innocent.
Hahhaha
Featured post

Spy Garden Gets Glossy!

Who's this?

Who’s this?

A photographer from St. Louis Homes and Lifestyles Magazine! A photoshoot in our garden!

A great shot!

A great shot!

The photographer showed me some of the images on her camera’s screen; they were unbelievable! She said it’s all about the lens.

We got the garden in tip-top shape for the shoot.

We got the garden in tip-top shape for the shoot.

Onions, lemon cucumbers and tomatoes (and water with slices of lemon cucumber)

Onions, lemon cucumbers and tomatoes (and water flavored with slices of lemon cucumber)

We made dorodango for the tomato stakes!

We made dorodango for the tomato stakes!

The Spy and I rolled these balls from clay/dirt from our garden in about twenty minutes. We have high hopes for making some true dorodangos, but these added a little something extra to the tomato patch for the shoot!

The photographer said she had never seen a chrysalis like this before (I'd love to see the photo she took of it!)

The photographer said she had never seen a chrysalis like this before (I’d love to see the photo she took of it!)

Smoochie and the Spy found this butterfly cocoon (aka chrysalis) when trimming some tree branches next to the garden. We carefully attached it to a cut stalk of a sunflower (with some spiderweb thread I collected!)

...and propped it up in the shade in the garden "corner office".

…and propped it up in the shade in the garden “corner office”.

and yesterday it hatched a monarch butterfly! We still have the empty chrysalis. My photos really do not do the chrysalis justice; it was opalescent shades of blue and green with the shadows of butterfly wings beneath and accents of (what looked like) 24 karat gold: amazing!

Can you make out the monarch wing details?

Can you make out the monarch wing details?

The day of the shoot (Wednesday, August 20th) it was overcast and completely flat light all day. Just before the photographer arrived, the sun came out and cast it’s long, late-afternoon rays crisply through the garden.

The Reef

The Reef

Blackberries Blushing

Blackberries Blushing

Corn and Sunflowers

Corn and Sunflowers

Two Sunflowers

Two Sunflowers

Sunflowers have so much...

Sunflowers have so much…

...personality...

…personality…

Don't you think?

Don’t you think?

Facing Northwest

Facing Northwest

Facing North

Facing North

Hanging Rouge Vif d'Etampes Pumpkin

Hanging Rouge Vif d’Etampes Pumpkin

Another Rouge Vif d'Etampes

Another Rouge Vif d’Etampes

Whew! That was a lot of edging and weeding!

Whew! That was a lot of edging and weeding!

We also added some mums and asters for a bit more color.

We also added some mums and asters for a bit more color.

Can you spot Baby?

Can you spot Baby?

Asters

Asters

Marigolds Decorating the Trellis

Marigolds Decorating the Trellis

"Rosita" Eggplant

“Rosita” Eggplant

This area in the foreground is where the melons were and winter greens have been planted.

This area in the foreground is where the melons were and now where winter greens have been planted.

More of the kids...

More of the kids…

...being cute and...

…being cute and…

photogenic!

photogenic!

I will be sure to let you all know when Spy Garden is featured in the magazine (it may not be until fall 2015).The glossy magazine world is a lot less instantly gratifying as glog-world, right?! So exciting and fun to share the behind-the-scenes with you all, if well before the publish date! Hope you are having a great weekend!

Featured post

Three!

Happy...

Happy…

Birthday!

Birthday!

Eight and Three

Eight and Three

The garden was looking particularly festive today...

The garden was looking particularly festive today…

Lots of monarchs to...

Lots of monarchs to…

chase around!

chase around!

Aunt Spy and Baby

Aunt Spy and Baby

Mmm!

Mmm!

Baby and her entourage (our two dear friends from church!)

Baby and her entourage (our two dear friends from church!)

Woo...

Woo…

presents!

presents!

And Baby is three!

 

Featured post

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Delice de la Table

Delice de la Table

Our Delice de la Table melons are a French variety grown from seeds I saved in 2013. I imagine if Cinderella were French, her carriage would be a Delice de la Table melon.

Or maybe a Rouge de Vif d'Etampes pumpkin.

Or maybe a Rouge de Vif d’Etampes pumpkin.

Lemon cucumbers are also growing up this trellis.

Can you spot the lemon cucumber in the lower left corner?

Can you spot the lemon cucumber in the lower left corner?

They are crisp and fresh and have a perfect cucumber flavor. As a bonus, this variety never gets bitter (in our experience) and it is so easy to tell when they are ripe:

Ready to pick when they look like a lemon.

Ready to pick when they look like a lemon.

Hartman's Giant Amaranth and you can see the pumpkins hanging from the trellis

Hartman’s Giant Amaranth and you can see the pumpkins hanging from the trellis

Blue Swallowtail (on zinnias)

Blue Swallowtail (on zinnias)

Autumn Beauty Sunflower

Autumn Beauty Sunflower

It definitely feels like autumn! The air is crisp and cool. I know it doesn’t technically start for awhile, but since it is my absolute favorite season, I’m going to go ahead and start enjoying fall now!

"Falling" Sunflower

“Falling” Sunflower

"Blazing Star" wildflower

“Blazing Star” wildflower

Morning Sun Yellow Cherry Tomatoes

Morning Sun Yellow Cherry Tomatoes

If tomato plants become too tall for cages or stakes and curve over, as in the above photo, it is best to leave them as they are (especially if they’ve but drooping over for more than a day or so).  Attempting to stand/stake them back up makes the tomato branches more prone to snapping. Plus, we’re in St. Louis, so we can appreciate a nice arch!

Atlantic Giant pumpkin and Dexie

Atlantic Giant pumpkin and Dexie

Atlantic Giant Pumpkin Patch

Atlantic Giant Pumpkin Patch

What do we have here?!

What do we have here?!

Wretched squash bug (eggs).

Wretched squash bug (eggs).

Found lots of these sneakily-layed eggs.

Found lots of these sneakily-layed eggs.

Pretty, but deadly (to the pumpkins!)

Pretty, but deadly (to the pumpkins!)

I examined each and every winter squash leaf; especially underneath each leaf, which as you can see from the photos is where they often lay the eggs. Wearing disposable vinyl gloves I picked off (and squished) all of the eggs, plus some of the squash bugs that had just hatched. BLECH!  Also spotted some adult squash bugs and squished them too. I estimate I decimated 500 eggs/bugs! Wooo! Victory! It is great when you can stop these (literally) stinky pests at this stage (without using any sort of pesticides!).

Blazing Star Wildflower about to bloom

Blazing Star Wildflower about to bloom

Featured post

In Colorado

Sunrise in Missouri

Sunrise in Missouri

Windmill

Windmill

Bales

Bales

Oil Derrick

Oil Derrick

Kansas

Kansas

Kansas

Kansas

Colorado (Pike's Peak in the distance)

Colorado (Pike’s Peak in the distance)

We visited family in…

Suburban...

Suburban…

Denver

Denver

Window Garden

Window Garden

Williams

Williams

And Spy Sister (aka Spy Garden Reporter) checking out...

And Spy Sister (aka Spy Garden Reporter) checking out…

...third row seats at Coors Stadium.

…third row seats at Coors Stadium.

with her friend, who owns...

with her friend, who owns…

this...

this…

pig!

pig!

Pine

Pine

Rest in Peace to Smoochie’s brother, who died at the young age of 55 on Wednesday, August 6, 2014 at Sky Ridge Medical Center of complications of liver failure. He is survived by his wife, son and two daughters.

Pine Cone

Pine Cone

“It ain’t dying I’m talking about, it’s living. I doubt it matters where you die, but it matters where you live.” (spoken by Augustus McCrae)  Larry McMurtry, Lonesome Dove

The Spy

The Spy

Baseball Field at the edge of Arapaho National Forest

Baseball Field at the edge of Arapaho National Forest

Mountain Flower

Mountain Flower

In the Woods

In the Woods

Mountain Flowers

Mountain Flowers

Hiking

Hiking

Pine

Pine

In the Rockies

In the Rockies

Mountain Pose

Mountain Pose

Elevation 9,230

Elevation 9,230

Sunset

Sunset

Fairburn Mountain

Fairburn Mountain

Brrrrrr!

Brrrrrr!

Cold,

Cold,

Rainy morning at...

rainy morning at…

Golden Gate Canyon State Park

Golden Gate Canyon State Park

Hiking

Hiking

The cold rain didn’t last too long…

Hike

Hike

Wildflower

Wildflower

Stopping to check out the view

Stopping to check out the view

Craggy

Craggy

Yellow Coneflowers

Yellow Coneflowers

Hiking

Hiking

A snake!

A snake!

 

Yellow Mosses/Lichen

Yellow Mosses/Lichen

Wildflower

Wildflower

Mountain Meadow

Mountain Meadow

Valley

Valley

Toes in a cold creek

Toes in a cold creek

Wildflower

Wildflower

Mountain Climb

Mountain Climb

Great hike! (2.5 miles!)

Great hike! (2.5 miles!)

Mountain Flower

Mountain Flower

Panorama Point

Panorama Point

Panorama Point

Panorama Point

Panorama Point

Panorama Point

Back at the cabin...

Back at the cabin…

Swing

Swing

Fresh Guacamole haha

Fresh Guacamole haha

I wrote this in third grade (the Spy starts third grade on Monday!)

I wrote this in third grade (the Spy starts third grade on Monday!)

Dessert

Dessert

Good morning!

Good morning!

Goldens near...

Goldens near…

Golden, Colorado

Golden, Colorado

Featured post

The Jewel Box

Baby painting still life of tomatoes and the Spy making a crack-proof thing around an egg.

Baby painting still life of tomatoes and the Spy making a crack-proof thing around an egg.

Using straws and tape (and about a 60 minute time limit) try and build something that will protect an egg from dropping to the ground.

Egg Drop Batting Practice

Egg Drop Batting Practice

You can also use paper and bubble wrap (in addition to straws and tape).

The Spy and his friend

The Spy and his friend

Yolk

Yolk

Heirloom Tomatoes

Heirloom Tomatoes

Hahahaaa

Hahahaaa

Belgian White Carrot Seed Head

Belgian White Carrot Seed Head

Delice de la Table (melon; like cantaloupe)

Delice de la Table (melon; like cantaloupe)

Rouge Vif d'Etampes

Rouge Vif d’Etampes

7.30.14

7.30.14

Yellow Blooms on Red Romaine seed heads (and nasturtium in the background)

Yellow Blooms on Red Romaine seed heads (and nasturtium in the background)

Love in a mist (nigella) seed pods drying out and feverfew in the background

Love in a mist (nigella) seed pods drying out and feverfew in the background

Sunflowers

Sunflowers

Red romaine blossoms (nasturtiums in the background)

Red romaine blossoms (nasturtiums in the background)

Eucalyptus

Eucalyptus

Red Romaine and Nasturtiums (and the garden living room)

Red Romaine and Nasturtiums (and the garden living room)

Harlequin Marigold

Harlequin Marigold

Rouge Vif d'Etampes pumpkin

Rouge Vif d’Etampes pumpkin

Dexie

Dexie

Atlantic Giant Pumpkin

Atlantic Giant Pumpkin

Red

Red

Balloons

Balloons

Daniel Boone Bridge

Daniel Boone Bridge

Missouri River

Missouri River

Horses in Fog

Horses in Fog

Fog in Missouri River Valley

Fog in Missouri River Valley

Baby at School

Baby at School

Forest School

Forest School

And in other cool structures…

The Jewel Box

The Jewel Box

Blooms at the Jewel Box

Blooms at the Jewel Box

Built in 1936

Built in 1936

Awesomest green house: we need a (smaller) version!

Awesome green house: we need a (smaller) version!

Pretty Jewel Box

Pretty Jewel Box

Featured post

7.27.14

Atlantic Giant Pumpkin

Atlantic Giant Pumpkin

Leaves Pruned (from Russian Red/Ragged Jack Kale)

Leaves Pruned (from Russian Red/Ragged Jack Kale)

From left: Corn/Sunflowers, "Sunset" Lettuce going to seed,

From left: Corn/Sunflowers, “Sunset” Lettuce going to seed and nasturtiums as ground cover

Tree pose on coffee table in the garden living room

Tree pose on coffee table in the garden living room

Garden…

Living

Living

Room

Room

Maggie and Spy Sister/Aunt Spy

Maggie and Spy Sister/Aunt Spy

Trellis

Trellis

Rouge de Vif D'Etampes pumpkins growing on trellis

Rouge de Vif D’Etampes pumpkins growing on trellis

Harlequin Marigold

Harlequin Marigold

Doodles by the Spy

Doodles by the Spy

Tassel

Tassel (corn)

Sunflowers in the breeze.

Sunflowers in the breeze.

Lemon Cucumber

Lemon Cucumber

Delikatesse Cucumber Blossom

Delikatesse Cucumber Blossom

A windy, breezy, beautiful day!

 

Featured post

Late July 2014

Atlantic Giant Pumpkin

Atlantic Giant Pumpkin

"Titan" Sunflower

“Titan” Sunflower

Mexican Sunflower

Mexican Sunflower

Clockwise from left: hibiscus, corn, yellow strawberry and purslane

Clockwise from left: hibiscus, corn, yellow strawberry and purslane

If canning is "fun" I wonder why all these jars have never been used?! hahaha

If canning is “fun” I wonder why all these jars have never been used?! hahaha

White Tailed Deer

White Tailed Deer

Garden Living Room

Garden Living Room

Marigolds, eucalyptus, hibiscus

Marigolds, eucalyptus, hibiscus

Blackberry Bush is getting very tall (on trellis on right side of picture)

Blackberry Bush is getting very tall (on trellis on right side of picture)

Rouge de Vif D'Etampes pumpkins, Lemon cucumbers and Delikatesse cucumbers on this trellis (and amaranth on the right)

Rouge de Vif D’Etampes pumpkins, Lemon cucumbers and Delikatesse cucumbers on this trellis (and amaranth on the right)

Hartman's Giant Amaranth

Hartman’s Giant Amaranth

Amaranth is a grain you can cook like quinoa. I love the magenta seed heads and stalks. The grain (little shiny black seeds) grow in the fluffy pink tops of these awesome plants. I planted this variety from Baker Creek seeds several years ago and it re-seeds itself every year. Amaranth is one of my favorite plants in the garden.

Little Collection of Bones

Little Collection of Bones

The Spy found all these bones (and many more!) in the woods at forest-school summer camp. Friday was his last day at camp.

Gift from school

Gift from school

It was a fun June and July at summer camp!

It was a fun June and July at summer camp!

The Spy is off to other adventures, but Baby’s new school year at forest-school begins Monday!

Baby's Classroom

Baby’s Classroom

Baby's Clay Sculpture (with the artist's explanation haha)

Baby’s Clay Sculpture (with the artist’s explanation haha)

View from windows in Baby's classroom

View from windows in Baby’s classroom

See the cave? And at the top of the hill is Squirrely Garden.

More sights...

More sights…

from...

from around…

forest school

forest school.

Maze by the Spy

Maze by the Spy

Purple Skies

Purple Skies

Shallow End

Shallow End

Deep End

Deep End

Featured post

Vacation Bible School 2014

This past week we had Vacation Bible School at church every evening 6-8PM.

The theme was "Let's Build an Ark"

The theme was “Let’s Build an Ark”

Hence the construction tape and animal masks.

Hence the construction tape and animal masks.

This was my class.

This was my class.

Pre-K Class

Pre-K Class

Each evening we sang songs, had a 30 minute class where we learned some stories from the Bible, then had snack…

played outside,

played outside,

and then did a craft. A very full two hours (and a very busy week)!

Animals for the Ark

Animals for the Ark

The Spy helping to build the model ark. That guy who is helping is 90 years young!

The Spy helping to build the model ark. That guy who is helping is 90 years young!

Ark Workshop

Ark Workshop

Painting

Painting

Our pastor reading the Bible to the kids

Our pastor reading the Bible to the kids

Fini

Fini

God keeps his promises

God keeps his promises

…never again shall there be a flood to destroy the earth.” Genesis 9:11

A rainbow is a sign of God’s promise never to destroy the earth with a flood again (Genesis 9:12-17). The caveat: with a flood. Hahhaha;)

On the last night the kids sang the songs they learned to the parents:

Singing

Singing

“Once when the world was very, very bad

God made it rain, rain, rain, rain rain” *

*excerpt from one of the world’s most catchy VBS songs. Haha

We have a tradition at our VBS where there is a water balloon fight on the last night.

There were about seven big bins full of water balloons!

There were about seven big bins full of water balloons!

Ready...

Ready…

Go!

Go!

Quite congruent with the flood-theme!

Splash Action

Splash Action

For the elders (and photographers! haha)

For the elders (and photographers! haha)

Baby

Baby

Featured post

Cave Country

Field Trip!

Field Trip!

To…

Indian Cave

Indian Cave

Indian Cave is in Meramec State Park, right next to…

Fisher Cave

Fisher Cave

Fisher Cave is a very large cave that is only open for 90 minute tours at certain times of the day. I believe it is closed in the winter because of hibernating bats. Fisher Cave is open for tours now, but today, we opted to explore the smaller Indian Cave.

On the half mile hike to Indian Cave.

On the half mile hike to Indian Cave.

Snail

Snail

The cave's up there!

The cave’s up there!

Nice and cool inside

Nice and cool inside

Cave dweller? AHHGGGHH!

Cave dweller? AHHGGGHH!

Reminds me of that scary cave movie.

Reminds me of that scary cave movie.

Right at home.

Right at home.

In and out of the cave

In and out of the cave

At the back of the cave

At the back of the cave

Inside the cave

Inside the cave

Inside the cave, looking out.

Inside the cave, looking out.

Little Explorers

Little Explorers

We checked out the entrance of…

Sheep Cave

Sheep Cave

But couldn’t go inside…

Closed for bats protection

Closed for the bats’ protection

The kids still enjoyed checking out the big, picturesque entrance to Sheep Cave.

Sheep Cave 2012 (One of my favorite photos I've ever taken, when we explored the cave when it was open)

Sheep Cave 2012 (One of my favorite photos I’ve ever taken, when we explored the cave when it was open)

Featured post

Fecund Friday: Mid-July in Spy Garden

Pumpkins and Cucumbers growing over the arbor.

Pumpkins and Cucumbers growing over the arbor.

Delice de la Table melon (tastes like cantaloupe) should be ready to harvest soon!

Delice de la Table melon (tastes like cantaloupe) should be ready to harvest soon!

Carrot Blossom (so glad we let some of the carrots go to seed, the flowers are very pretty).

Carrot Blossom (so glad we let some of the carrots go to seed, the flowers are very pretty).

Lots of action in the corn fronds and stalks…

HAhahhaha

HAhahhaha

Love is in the air

Love is in the air

Predators?

Predators?

Pretty little tree frog

Pretty little tree frog

A white butterfly (or moth?)

A white butterfly (or moth?)

Knockout Roses

Knockout Roses

Little "Short Stuff" Sunflowers (certainly won't be able to get any close up shots of some of the sunflowers; they're about 12 feet tall now!)

Little “Short Stuff” Sunflowers (certainly won’t be able to get any super close up shots of some of the sunflowers; they’re about 12 feet tall now!)

Craning for a view of…

Another variety of sunflower (called Autumn-something or another)

Another variety of sunflower (called Autumn-something or another)

Woo Hoo! The very first tomatoes of Spy Garden! These are "Morning Sun" yellow cherry tomatoes. Tastes like sunshine!

Woo Hoo! The very first tomatoes of Spy Garden! These are “Morning Sun” yellow cherry tomatoes. Tastes like sunshine!

Precarious Perch

Precarious Perch

The above is a pumpkin called Rouge de Vif d’Etampes. They are growing up the arbor and I think I’m going to make some slings for them (a pumpkin bra!) to make sure they are well-supported. In other pumpkin news…

The Pumpkin of My Dreams

The Pumpkin of My Dreams

This one Atlantic Giant pumpkin is getting huge! I’ve always hoped for some freakishly large pumpkins, and we’re well on the way!

Another Atlantic Giant

Another Atlantic Giant

And another.

And another.

Mexican Sunflower

Mexican Sunflower

The petals are so velvety.

The petals are so velvety.

Eucalptus, one of my favorite plants in the garden

Eucalyptus, one of my favorite plants in the garden

Lots of blooms and looking lush!

Lots of blooms and looking lush!

A fecund Friday to you all!

Featured post

Notes from the CEO

A little Squirrely Garden update…

I am the CEO of Squirrely Garden, the garden at Baby’s school (also currently, the Spy’s summer camp). This is the first year of the garden. A deer fence was in early discussions of planning this garden, but is not yet installed. The deer have been jumping the fence and nibbling a bit, but we’re still getting some great results for the first year (especially considering we got a late start).

Baby in Squirrely Garden

Baby in Squirrely Garden

Check out those rock borders. The little kids hauled ALL those rocks from about 50 yards away!

For the record, kids love hauling rocks.

For the record, kids love hauling rocks.

A watermelon in Squirrely Garden

A watermelon in Squirrely Garden

Lots of little yellow squash in there (and note the nibbled squash leaves in the foreground)

Lots of little yellow squash in there (and note the deer-nibbled squash leaves in the foreground)

One of the teachers helping the kids harvest the squash

One of the teachers helping the kids harvest the squash

Picking squash from the other side (and check out that lush lemon grass!)

Picking squash from the other side (and check out that lush lemon grass!)

School in the background. Squirrely Garden is on a hill with a million dollar view.

School in the background. Squirrely Garden is on a hill with a million-dollar view.

Picking

Picking

One of the teachers encouraging the kids to twist off the ripe cukes.

One of the teachers encouraging the kids to twist off the ripe cukes.

Pretty good harvest!

Pretty good harvest!

The chef uses the produce in the menu. The ultimate goal is to get 30% of the school’s food from Squirrely Garden. This year it’s mostly picking a few things here and there, but with the deer fence added and lots of prepping through the winter, next year Squirrely Garden should be unbelievable!

To facilitate a little glimpse into the philosophy of the school; here are some excerpts from an email sent out by the school yesterday…

We source locally grown food, we maximize sustainability by eating seasonally, we connect children to the food production process through our garden and the seed to plate approach. All of this is made possible by our incredible Chef Katie, and now Chef Katie needs YOUR help.

…Eating locally means eating in season. So what do we eat in January? Why food we bought and froze/dehydrated/vacuum packed/canned during the growing season, of course.

That’s where YOU come in! All that freezing/dehydrating/vacuum packing/canning takes a lot of prep, and Chef Katie just can’t go it alone. We need more nimble fingers to do all the slicing and dicing, chopping and cleaning. So we are calling on parents to help us stock up for the winter. Just let us know when you’re available, and we’ll put you to work. Squirrels do it for their babies, and so should you!

A little slicing and dicing so Baby can enjoy peaches and pumpkin (etc.) this winter? Sign me up!

Squirrely Garden 7.17.14

Squirrely Garden 7.17.14

Featured post

Shaw Prairie Stroll 7.15.14

An evening stroll through the prairie at Shaw Nature Reserve…

So many different varieties of wildflowers!

So many different varieties of wildflowers!

And the smell! Flowery, fresh summer; the most fragrant stroll!

Shaw is one of my favorite places.

Shaw is one of my favorite places.

Wildflowers in the cool breeze.

Wildflowers in the cool breeze.

Cool breeze? On July 15th?! It’s 70 degrees!

Different areas of the prairie seemed to have different combinations of wildflowers.

Different areas of the prairie seemed to have different combinations of wildflowers.

In this one particular area there were tons of blazing stars (the purple stalk that looks like a pipe cleaner) just beginning to bloom.

In this one particular area there were tons of blazing stars (the purple stalk that looks like a pipe cleaner) just beginning to bloom.

Bright white blooms

Bright white blooms

We only saw a few of this type.

We only saw a few of this type.

Running through the prairie.

Running through the prairie.

And stopping to...

And stopping to…

watch...

watch…

the clouds.

the clouds.

These were some of my favorites.

These were some of my favorites.

Another view.

Another view.

More pretty white flowers.

More pretty white flowers.

There were lots of these frilly flowers.

There were lots of these frilly flowers.

Looks like and orange version of the milkweed in Spy Garden.

Looks like an orange version of the milkweed in Spy Garden.

Rich purple

Rich purple

Grass

Grass

The Rothko Shot

The Rothko Shot

Restroom Break!

Restroom Break!

Yes the green roof does look great and man, those bathrooms were sparkling clean!

Yes, the green roof does look great and man, those bathrooms were sparkling clean!

Be wery, wery quiet we're hunting wabbits.

Be wery, wery quiet we’re hunting wabbits.

Sneaky.

Sneaky.

Vibrant

Vibrant

Cheery Yellow

Cheery Yellow

Tons of variations of black-eyed-Susan-type flowers...

Tons of variations of black-eyed-Susan-type flowers…

Including this unusual variety...

Including this unusual variety…

Another.

Another.

Teepee

Teepee

Walking

Walking

These were awesome!

These were awesome!

Some of the wildflowers remind me of orchids

Some of the wildflowers remind me of orchids.

To see Shaw in winter click here.

To see the playground at Shaw click here.

To learn more about Shaw and the Missouri Botanical Garden click here.

Featured post

Just Like a Circus

Little...

Little…

Acrobat

Acrobat

Upside...

Upside…

Down

Down

Taming Lions

Taming Lions

Tamed!

Tamed!

Ferocity, Caged

Ferocity, Caged

Just a couple of...

Just a couple of…

Trapeze Artists

Trapeze Artists

Trapeze Artiste

Trapeze Artiste

Spy Sister

Spy Sister

AKA Aunt Spy

AKA Aunt Spy

Tricks over a pit of lions

Tricks over a pit of lions

We are ready to upgrade to a Mexican cloud swing.

We are ready to upgrade to a Mexican cloud swing.

No animals were harmed during the making of this post.

No animals were harmed during the making of this post.

Balance

Balance

In the wise words of Britney Spears…

There’s only two type of people in the world.

The ones that entertain and the ones that observe…

HAhahahahjha

Tools of the Trade

Tools of the Trade

Juggling Clubs

Juggling Clubs

Cirque de Jardin

Cirque de Jardin

Cirque de Jardin

Cirque de Jardin

What circus performers do after the show...

What circus performers do after the show…

Garden, of course!

Garden, of course!

Featured post

Seven Seven

Soaking it up

Soaking it up

Baby in the Garden

Baby in the Garden

Temptation

Temptation

Little Sunflowers

Little Sunflowers

Garlic Harvest!

Garlic Harvest!

All of this garlic (probably about 200 heads!) was started with a small handful of seeds some of our friends gave us about four years ago.

Garlic Seeds

Garlic Seeds

Garlic Seed

Garlic Seed

This particular variety of garlic has beautiful purple skins on the cloves (I will share more garlic pictures soon!)

This particular variety of garlic has beautiful purple skins on the cloves (I will share more garlic pictures soon!)

For now, all of the garlic is hanging up in this small breezeway at our back door. Garlic needs to cure for about 30 days; the ideal place for curing garlic is shaded with good airflow.

Last year I tied it in bunches and hung it from twine, this year I just shoved it in between the spaces of this hanging planter; worked like a charm!

Last year I tied it in bunches and hung it from twine, this year I just shoved it in between the spaces of this hanging planter; worked like a charm!

While harvesting garlic, we also dug up some onions…

Jaune Paille des Vertus on the Left, Ailsa Craig on the Right

Jaune Paille des Vertus on the Left, Ailsa Craig on the Right

Cantare Green Beans: very tender and delicious!

Cantare Green Beans: very tender and delicious!

Jalepenos

Jalepenos

Red romaine, and Swiss chard in the background

Red romaine, and Swiss chard in the background

Baby demonstrates how to eat a Delikatesse cucumber.

Baby demonstrates how to eat a Delikatesse cucumber.

Hibiscus Buds

Hibiscus Buds

Many little Delice de la Table melons appearing!

Many little Delice de la Table melons appearing!

Dexie in the Garden

Dexie in the Garden

Blackberry Bloom

Blackberry Bloom

Upper ground sweet potato squash has pretty green and silver foliage.

Upper ground sweet potato squash has pretty green and silver foliage.

Atlantic Giant Pumpkin

Atlantic Giant Pumpkin

How big will it get?

How big will it get?

7.7 Last Year

Featured post

From the Fourth

The fireworks started early!

The fireworks started early!

Ka

Ka

Boom

Boom

There's a saying about corn: "Knee high by the fourth of July." Ours is between 4-10 feet tall!

There’s a saying about corn: “Knee high by the fourth of July.” Ours is between 4-10 feet tall!

You can see the two types of corn in the picture above. The brighter green is sweet corn (“country gentleman”) and the darker, shorter corn in the background is ornamental “Wade’s Giant Indian” flint corn. The flint corn was planted three weeks after the sweet corn so that they won’t tassel at the same time (to avoid cross-pollination).

Baby ready for the festivities!

Baby ready for the festivities!

Helping to decorate!

Helping to decorate!

She said this is a drawing of a potato; she did it all by herself.

She said this is a drawing of a potato; she did it all by herself.

And I did this all by myself haha

And I did this all by myself haha

Woo USA!

Woo USA!

Some animals seemed to be celebrating too…

Festive Cardinal

Festive Cardinal

Skink

Skink

And...

And…

A fox!

A fox!

Then we were off to the…

Creek

Creek

Swimming

Swimming

Exploring...

Exploring the…

Creek Bed

Creek Bed

Baby found a vine.

Baby found a vine.

Rocks and Jocks

Rocks and Jocks

We found a lot of really cool rocks. I’m going to take a picture of each one and do a whole post on them (so get excited). Rocks rock.

Pitching and Catching

Pitching and Catching

Brrr!

Brrr!

Tomato Sandwiches: Summer's Greatest Food

Tomato Sandwiches: Summer’s Greatest Food

Snacking and Snoozing

Snacking and Snoozing

Zzzzzz

Zzzzzz

Zzzzz

Zzzzz

Beautiful Canopy

Beautiful Canopy

That X! Hope this huge tree isn't getting cut down!

That X! Hope this huge tree isn’t getting cut down!

Such a great place

Such a great place

But of course, the main event,

Our very own...

Our very own…

fireworks.

fireworks.

Light Show

Light Show

Glow Sticks and Fireworks

Glow Sticks and Fireworks

The Spy channeling Tron

The Spy channeling Tron

Sparklers!

Sparklers!

Woo MERICA!

Woo MERICA!

Baby's First Sparkler

Baby’s First Sparkler

We just got a couple bags of fireworks (about $40 worth) but they sure made for a good time and some cool pictures!

Finale!

Finale!

Looks like Space

Looks like Space

Far Out!

Far Out!

Hope you all are having a safe and happy holiday weekend!

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The End of June in the Garden and Concrete Sculptures

Facing North in the Garden

Facing North in the Garden

Cilantro seeds are drying on the teepee for now, but the pumpkins are just about ready to climb it. We’ve added a few ornamentals in the garden, including this hibiscus in the foreground with dark purple foliage.

The first cucumber (Delikatesse)!

The first cucumber (Delikatesse)!

Watering

Watering

The "Reef"

The “Reef”

Atlantic Giant Pumpkin Patch and the garden in the background (facing west)

Atlantic Giant Pumpkin patch and the garden in the background (facing west)

I spy a pumpkin!

I spy a pumpkin!

The Atlantic Giant pumpkins are very yellow! This one is about the size of baby’s head. In order to get the biggest pumpkins you are supposed to snip off all but one or two pumpkins per vine. I’ve been doing this and eating the little pumpkins as you would yellow summer squash. The garden is primed for some serious growing in July. We are hoping for the teepee and the arbor to be covered with squash vines in the coming weeks. All the garlic will soon be dug up and hung to cure. The only major problem we are facing right now are ants on the eggplant. I’ve tried coffee, garlic and baking powder and they are still all over the eggplants. Tomorrow, they die. Vinegar? Cornmeal? I’m going to try everything in the arsenal!

Baby showing off...

Baby showing off…

Our favorite...

Our favorite…

Umbrella

Umbrella

And now, for the concrete sculpture tutorial…

Bag of Quikrete

Bag of Quikrete

Add Water,

Add Water,

Mix well.

Mix well.

The Spy's facial expression foreshadows how well this project turns out.

The Spy’s facial expression foreshadows how well this project turns out.

Insert something about too many cooks here.

Insert something about too many cooks here.

Here's hoping for a planter (or a mini-firepit)

Here’s hoping for a planter (or a mini-firepit)

Alas, it was not to be.

Alas, it was not to be.

RIP

RIP

Moon Ball

Moon Ball

Well, its sort of shaped like a ball.

Well, its sort of shaped like a ball.

Lessons learned: start with smaller things. And if you try to make a ball, it needs to be set inside a box (like a cardboard box) so that the sides will be supported and it will be more evenly round. You can also mix portland cement with peat moss and perlite to make hypertufa and then your sculptures won’t weigh a thousand pounds but that route requires measuring and curing and googling ratios, which is why we went with the $7 bag of Quikcrete and just winged it. Haha. We shall see how painting these improves their sculptural worth.

Until next time!

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Home Run King

It was a hot and bright Saturday at the ball field. It was the bottom of the fifth. The games have a time limit and there were only 10 or so minutes left to play (so it might as well have been the bottom of the ninth). It was the Knights last at bat. Two on, two outs. The score was fifteen to eighteen. We were down by three runs. Morale was low.

They even required a pep-talk midway through the game.

They even required a pep-talk midway through the game.

The boys were missing a lot of plays. Not a good day of fielding; the ball rolled and bounced out of gloves and between little eight year old legs. The Spy was making some solid catches and plays at first base,

And some base hits...

And had some base hits…

but it just wasn’t enough. It already seemed like the Knights had lost. It was the last at-bat.
He stepped up to the plate.

#7

#7

It was windy and quiet.The wind up…ok, well there’s no wind up: it’s the coach dropping a ball into a pitching machine that spits out 38mph base balls. He swung at a low pitch: strike one! Another low pitch. A swing, a miss: strike two. Another swing: foul ball! One of the other dads said, “He’s got the wind at his back.”
He swings. Crack! Or in the Spy’s version it is…

“Kerboom BOOOM SSSshhhhh poughhhhhhh (explosion) (another explosion)”

The ball goes higher and higher and sails far over the fence.

157 Feet +

157 Feet +

Beaming, running the bases, cheering along with everyone, he pulled off his helmet and pumped his hands in the air and looked like the happiest person on earth. The whole team ran onto the field and met him at home plate. They were jumping up and down and so excited. The crowd went wild. The game was tied. They drove in one more run and the game was won! I was so excited I didn’t even take any pictures!

Fortunately, the following day, Sunday, was another game, and ANOTHER HOME RUN!

Home Run Swing

Home Run Swing

Rounding Third

Rounding Third

The Team's Reaction

The Team’s Reaction

Coming Home!

Coming Home!

To Home Plate!

To Home Plate!

Home Run II

Home Run II

Celebrating, again!

Celebrating, again!

Happy Team!

Happy Team!

Woo hoo!

Woo hoo!

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Limbing, Harvesting

Harvesting...

Harvesting…

But first, the limbing…

Timber!

Timber!

This big branch was shading a large part of the garden; majorly affecting the growth in the teepee area. Sort of scary to cut it down…WHERE WOULD IT FALL?

Perfect Landing!

Perfect Landing!

It fell directly on the grassy path (seen in the photo above): pretty awesome!

Love this shot of the delicate love-in-a-mist blooms: spared by inches of the heavy falling branch!

Love this shot of the delicate love-in-a-mist blooms: spared by inches of the heavy falling branch!

It did do some damage to our new plum tree, but it should bounce back.

You can see from this angle how long the branch was!

You can see from this angle how long the branch was!

The branch broke off pretty jaggedly when Smoochie was cutting it.

The branch broke off pretty jaggedly when Smoochie was cutting it.

But he cleaned it up: hopefully the tree will survive: it was a pretty big limb.

But he cleaned it up: hopefully the tree will survive: it was a pretty big limb.

The shape of the cut looks like a crest. Maybe we can design and etch in a Spy Garden crest!
So that’s the limbing. All the wood has been cleaned up and…

Stacked!

Stacked!

As for the harvesting…Not my strong suit. I realize the garden is a vegetable garden so that may seem weird. But, the first few years I grew vegetables the deer did most of the harvesting. Then last year once the deer fence was in place, a new predator moved in. Baby took a bite of most every piece of produce and then she and The Spy enjoyed flinging squash and tomatoes around the garden. And we don’t compost (YET) (JUDGE NOT LEST YE BE JUDGED). So, yes, we may have discovered the origin of the tradition of throwing tomatoes, but my harvesting skills still need fine-tuning.

Not just a subject for photos anymore!

Not just a subject for photos anymore!

This year, I’ve been making a much better effort to harvest and make my lunch everyday from garden goodies. My go-to method has been to: fill up the sink with water and put in the whole mess of veggies and swish it around: all the dirt falls to the bottom. Then dry it off, rough chop it, pile into a roasting pan with some olive oil. I’ve had a month+ full of salads, but the heat has finally turned the lettuces pretty bitter. I’ve heard that leaving them in the fridge a few days will remove the bitter taste, but I’ve tried that and it hasn’t worked in the past. I find roasting greens (yes! even lettuce) works well. Roast around 350 for 20-40 minutes (depending on the thickness of whatever you are roasting), then make a chiffonade of lettuce leaf basil, flat leafed parsley, thyme, oregano and purple opal basil (or whatever other mix of herbs you fancy) and garnish the roasted vegetables with it (and salt/pepper). Yum!

And a few more sights from around the garden…

Banana Plant, mid-planting (given to us by a neighbor)

Banana Plant, mid-planting (given to us by a neighbor)

Squash Blossom Puppet Show

Squash Blossom Puppet Show haha

Great

Great

Spangled

Spangled

Fritillary

Fritillary

A bee? A hummingbird? A moth!

A bee? A hummingbird? A moth!

Purple Flower

Purple Flower

Featured post

I Spy Howell Island Wildlife Area

Friday evening we visited Howell Island Wildlife area. We visited back in November, so here it is in summer!

Looking out towards the levy.

Looking out towards the levy.

Walking up towards the levy, Fick Supply Service Inc. is on the left. Fick’s has compost, mulch, sand, rock and many other things garden dreams are made of…

A big pile of logs at Fick's (seen while walking toward the levy).

A big pile of logs at Fick’s (seen while walking toward the levy).

Bee on Thistle

Bee on Thistle

I am not sure if this is a native or invasive thistle. I think it is a “Tall Thistle”.

Looking east (in the opposite direction of the levy)

Looking east (in the opposite direction of the levy)

We won't be exploring the island today!

We won’t be exploring the island today!

A few people were fishing off the "bridge" to the island.

A few people were fishing off the “bridge” to the island.

We were just “fishing” for some cool pieces of wood. Our friend met us there and she wore her…

River Shoes. Hahaha

River Shoes. Hahaha

We took a snack break.

We took a snack break.

And enjoyed the view.

And enjoyed the view.

Beautiful Sky

Beautiful Sky

Like a Painting

Like a Painting

The Spy is pointing with an awesome walking stick he found.

Pretty Sunset Walk

Pretty Sunset Walk

View from the levy

View from the levy

Sometimes "boring" weeds are so pretty!

Sometimes “boring” weeds are so pretty!

Hope you all are having a nice weekend!

Featured post

Summer Sights of Spy Garden

Yoga in the...

Yoga in the…

Garden

Garden

For the record, she picked out her own outfit.

For the record, she picked out her own outfit.

Lavender and Stripes

Lavender and Stripes

Lavender and what appears to be more yoga.

Lavender and what appears to be more yoga.

Nice shoulder stretch

Nice shoulder stretch

Love in a mist blooms

Love in a mist blooms

And another

And another

The love-in-a-mist flowers seen from a distance next to the teepee

The love-in-a-mist flowers seen from a distance next to the teepee

Butterfly on milkweed

Butterfly on milkweed

Hmmm...lots of ants on the eggplant

Hmmm…lots of ants on the eggplant

We have lots trillions of ants in the garden. Usually they don’t seem to cause much of a problem but I am thinking of putting down some fake sugar (i.e. sweet and low) as I’ve heard that will kill them. If anyone has any other (non-pesticide) suggestions for getting rid of ants, please leave in the comments!

Super saturated nasturtium

Super saturated nasturtium

Can you spy our little garden statue?

Can you spy our little garden statue?

Cilantro Blossoms

Cilantro Blossoms

And now, a break in the A/C…

Desk and Windowsill in the Spy's Room

Desk and Windowsill in the Spy’s Room

Hahah

Hahah

The Spy's Room

The Spy’s Room

Little Kitchen, Big Kitchen

Little Kitchen, Big Kitchen

Spotted Shark, by the Spy (acrylic on wood)

Spotted Shark, by the Spy (acrylic on wood)

And back outside…

Sunflowers and the corn about five feet tall now

Sunflowers and the corn about five feet tall now

Check out this little guy...

Check out this little guy…

SEE THE ALIEN HEAD?!!

SEE THE ALIEN HEAD?!!

Picking...

Picking…

Mulberries, MMMmm (they taste like blackberries)

Mulberries, MMMmm (they taste like blackberries)

Eucalpytus

Eucalpytus

Weeeee

Weeeee

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A Wildly Exciting New Addition to Spy Garden

Check out our wildly exciting new addition to Spy Garden:

See it?

See it?

KA CHOW!

KA CHOW!

Dexie found this in the woods and brought it up for us!!

Dexie found this in the woods and brought it up for us!!

It has a toupee!! HHahaha

Another view

Another view

I find this ornament to be particularly fitting because the deer used to devour our garden until we installed our deer fence…A symbol of our conquest against the pilfering beasts!

We've also installed the new teepee

We’ve also installed the new teepee

The plot surrounding it is pretty bare, but hopefully soon will be full of climbing pumpkin vines.

Garden twine on teepee ready for climbing winter squash

Garden twine on teepee ready for climbing winter squash

In this pumpkin patch...

In this pumpkin patch…

The Atlantic Giant pumpkin plants are living up to their name.

The Atlantic Giant pumpkin plants are living up to their name.

I planted marigolds and dill in this patch to deter squash bugs

I planted marigolds and dill in this patch to deter squash bugs

Garlic spiral; the garlic is still a few weeks away from being able to harvest.

Garlic spiral; the garlic is still a few weeks away from being able to harvest.

There's going to be a lot of garlic to dig up!

There’s going to be a lot of garlic to dig up!

Garlic grows so beautifully

Garlic grows so beautifully

Also among the garlic plants are a few onions that have gone to seed:

This one has a halo!

This one has a halo!

Like white allium

Like white allium

The first of the tomatoes have appeared!

The first of the tomatoes have appeared!

A few leftover Belgian White carrots from last year starting to bolt.

A few leftover Belgian White carrots from last year starting to bolt.

Fungus in the mulch...

Fungus in the mulch…

Or did some little creature chew one of these up and spit it out?!

Or did some little creature chew one of these up and spit it out?!

Electrified veins of Swiss chard

Electrified veins of Swiss chard

Popping the seed "balloons" of the love-in-a-mist flowers is always enjoyable

Popping the seed “balloons” of the love-in-a-mist flowers is always enjoyable

Bird-like Borage

Bird-like Borage

Bees are very attracted to these blooms.

Bees are very attracted to these blooms.

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Friday, the Thirteenth, of June

Happy Friday in Spy Garden!

Happy Friday in Spy Garden!

Can you spy the fish swimming in the garden?

Can you spy the fish swimming in the garden?

Milk Weed Buds

Milk Weed Buds

Baby stylin' in polka dots and...

Baby stylin’ in polka dots and…

Converse

Converse

Borage Buds

Borage Buds

Bubbles and Blooms

Bubbles and Blooms

The huge foliage of Atlantic Giant Pumpkin plants (see my foot for scale? the leaves are huge!)

The huge foliage of Atlantic Giant Pumpkin plants (see my foot for scale? the leaves are huge!)

Picking yellow strawberries

Picking yellow strawberries

Shirts are the most convenient harvest baskets.

Shirts are the most convenient harvest baskets.

Happy Friday!

Happy Friday!

Featured post

Early June in Spy Garden and Tronchuda Kale Chips

Pepper Plant, by Babyzilla

Pepper Plant, by Babyzilla

Cilantro Blossoms

Cilantro Blossoms

Rainbow Swiss Chard, Sunset Lettuce, Nasturtiums

Rainbow Swiss Chard, Sunset Lettuce, Nasturtiums

Rainbow Chard is so vibrant (and tasty)

Rainbow Chard is so vibrant (and tasty)

Love-in-a-Mist Seed Pod

Love-in-a-Mist Seed Pod

Love-in-a-mist bloom

Love-in-a-mist bloom

Looks predatory: he's welcome to stay!

Looks predatory: he’s welcome to stay!

"Atlantic Giant" pumpkin plants are getting big! The leaves are like umbrellas for Baby!

“Atlantic Giant” pumpkin plants are getting big! The leaves are like umbrellas for Baby!

Dexie and Baby exploring the garden

Dexie and Baby exploring the garden

Taken at one of the Spy's games this past week

Taken at one of the Spy’s games this past week

Pretty Summer Landscape (near Spy Garden)

Pretty Summer Landscape (near Spy Garden)

First Lavender Blossom

First Lavender Blossom

Butterfly and Thyme

Butterfly and Thyme

So long sucker!

So long sucker!

“Suckering” tomato plants is when you remove the branch growing in the crook between a leaf and the stalk.

Eggplant Blossom

Eggplant Blossom

Dexie's Best Friend

Dexie’s Best Friend

Playing?

Playing?

...or is it destroying?!

…or is it destroying?!

Raining outside, painting inside

Raining outside, painting inside

Little Paintings

Little Paintings

Many of the plants are now taller than Baby.

Many of the plants are now taller than Baby.

Spy Garden Backyard

Spy Garden Backyard (looking down towards the firepit)

Mowing the lawn!

Mowing the lawn!

Kale Chips

Kale Chip

The Spy loves kale chips and one of the things that often leads people (in internet world) to Spy Garden is this Russian Red/Ragged Jack kale chip post (that someone “pinned” on Pinterest). So here’s another kale chip recipe, with a different variety of kale: Tronchuda.

He likes them so much he wanted to design our own bag for them!

He likes them so much he wanted to design our own bag for them!

(That drawing at the bottom is the shapes of the garden plots: not including the teepee area or the new pumpkin patch)

Spy Garden Kale Chips

Spy Garden Kale Chips

Yummy!

Yummy!

They are so easy to make. Toss with a little olive oil, salt and pepper, spread out on a sheet and bake on 200 or less for 20 minutes or so until they are dried out and crispy.

Tronchuda Kale Chip

Tronchuda Kale Chip

Featured post

Squirrely Garden Update

The path to Squirrely Garden: Much more fun than stairs!

The path to Squirrely Garden: Much more fun than stairs!

Wheelbarrow Trips

Wheelbarrow Trips

The most recent dirt pile was delivered…

Up there.

Up there.

See? Right up there!

See? Right up there!

Three cubic yards to go!

Three cubic yards to go!

Sights at the top of the hill.

Sights at the top of the hill.

Can you spy Squirrely Garden?

Can you spy Squirrely Garden?

There it is!

There it is!

This big pile of rocks is a great vantage point.

This big pile of rocks is a great vantage point.

School playground down below.

School playground down below.

Also seen from the top of the hill.

Also seen from the top of the hill.

Back to work...

Back to work…

I made nine of those wheelbarrow trips up/down the hill today. The Squirrely Garden CEO (yours truly) is never afraid of a little manual labor! I also planted Malabar spinach and some peas.

The school chef treks up the hill to bring kitchen scraps to the composter.

The school chef treks up the hill to bring kitchen scraps to the composter.

Lemongrass (and kids playing with butterfly nets on the playground below)

Lemongrass (and kids playing with butterfly nets on the playground below)

More dirt to move, more seeds to plant: but Squirrely Garden is off to a great start. We’re a little behind the traditional garden planting schedule (since the rest of the property’s construction and landscaping has also been going on) but it is so exciting to imagine what this garden is going to become!

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Spy Garden Summer Begins!

Ready for Summer

Ready for Summer

Woo! Summer officially began in Spy Garden the first of June. I know “officially” it starts later this month, but we make up our own rules about seasons around here. The Spy started summer camp today…at Baby’s school! It is pretty awesome that they have camp for a small group of school-agers there. Today was his first day; most of the day was spent in the woods (“and they don’t make us stay on trails!”) so basically the Spy is in forest-school-camp-heaven! His class is going to wear tie-dye for “uniforms” so tonight we…

Made some shirts.

Made some shirts.

In less than 20 minutes...

In less than 20 minutes…

With these bad boys.

With these bad boys.

Spray bottles of tie-dye. Genius. No dipping, no hot water, no rubber bands. Spray, dye, throw in the dryer: done! Usually I do things (or at least WANT to do things) the hard, involved, messy way. In my dream-world, I would make the dye out of some things like tumeric or flowers freshly picked from the garden (or black walnuts!). Then dye some amazing, one of a kind designs on some homemade t-shirts (made from cotton grown in our garden obviously)…But for a Monday night, this was perhaps a more reasonable approach! And besides, I’m not growing cotton (this year! haha). In other uniform news…

Little League Summer Games

Little League Summer Games

Call for white jerseys!

Best Seats in the House (Baby with two of our favorite friends watching the game)

Best Seats in the House (Baby with two of our favorite friends watching the game)

The Spy at First Base

The Spy at First Base

Back home in the garden...

Back home in the garden…

Sweet corn and sunflowers are getting taller...

Sweet corn and sunflowers are getting taller…

The garlic scapes are looking awesome...

The garlic scapes are looking awesome…

And tasting delicious. Chopped and sauteed with veggies MMmmmm

And tasting delicious. Chopped and sauteed with veggies MMmmmm

Roller Coaster Scape

Roller Coaster Scape

Infinity Scape

Infinity Scape

They just never get old to me, I love the look of them.

They just never get old to me, I love the look of them. (and the taste!)

Featured post

Laumeier Sculpture Park

Working on Triangle Pose

Working on Triangle Pose

On a...

On a…

Triangular Sculpture

Triangular Sculpture

You’ve heard of Godzilla, but have you met…

Babyzilla?!

Babyzilla?!

RRrhaaaaaahhhgggg!

RRrhaaaaaahhhgggg!

Little Yellow House

Little Yellow House

Yellow House, Yellow Dress

Yellow House, Yellow Dress

Blue House, Yellow Dress

Blue House, Yellow Dress

Tall...

Tall…

Column

Column

Rock...

Rock…

Sculpture

Sculpture

Mulberries!

Mulberries!

AEIOU

AEIOU

The "Pretend-you're-pointing-at-something" Shot

The “Pretend-you’re-pointing-at-something” Shot

Yoga and Sculpture

Yoga and Sculpture

Aunt Spy

Aunt Spy

Also known as Spy Sister

Also known as Spy Sister

One with the sculpture

One with the sculpture

Baby's got the concept down!

Baby’s got the concept down!

Sky Diver Pose

Sky Diver Pose

Inside a Sculpture

Inside a Sculpture

Looks like a forbidden city

Looks like a forbidden city

Baby with Blooms

Baby with Blooms

More triangular...

More triangular…

poses

poses

A Stage?

A Stage?

Round Moon, Round Bun

Round Moon, Round Bun

Mounds

Mounds

The stair are over here.

The stairs are over here.

Up the hill...

Up the hill…

At the top.

At the top.

Same photos, sans color:

Up...

Up…

the stairs...

the stairs…

At the top.

At the top.

At the bottom.

At the bottom.

A great place to visit! There are lots more sculptures we didn’t even get to, so we will definitely be returning!

Featured post

Late May in the Garden

Orach (new favorite plant!) It's like magenta spinach.

Orach (new favorite plant!) It’s like magenta spinach.

Rainbow swiss chard, this yellow one looks like its plugged in and lit up!

Rainbow swiss chard, this yellow one looks like its plugged in and lit up!

Pearls on Garlic (bug eggs)

Pearls on Garlic (bug eggs)

Pearly Whites

Pearly Whites

Sweet Corn

Sweet Corn

In the Grass

In the Grass

Colorful bug (not sure what kind) eating a catepillar)

Colorful bug (not sure what kind) eating a caterpillar)

Same action, different view

Same action, different view

Swath (of mowed grass) and Stump

Swath (of mowed grass) and Stump

Love-in-a-Mist Bloom

Love-in-a-Mist Bloom

Garden in the mist. Lots of rain this week: great for the garden!

Garden in the mist. Lots of rain this week: great for the garden!

Featured post

Squirrely Garden Sneak Peek

School’s Out! But summer at Forest School is just beginning!

Forest School

Forest School

Dining Hall

Dining Hall

In Uniform (school t-shirt; green, of course!)

In Uniform (school t-shirt; green, of course!)

Forest Finds

Forest Finds

Customized Forest Finds!

Customized Forest Finds!

Tools and Inspiration

Tools and Inspiration

Squirrely Garden, the garden at Baby’s school, is looking great…

Sneak Peek at Squirrely Garden!

Sneak Peek at Squirrely Garden!

Most of the planting is finished, the teachers (and students!) have been working hard! One more dirt delivery and a bit more planting and she’s good to grow!

The plots are numbered, to make "to do" lists easier to communicate. An important feature of a community garden!

The plots are numbered, to make “to do” lists easier to communicate. An important feature of a community garden!

As the Garden CEO, my job will be to take frequent garden walks and communicate necessary garden “to-do’s” so the kids/teachers/parents know what needs to be done! First on the list today was: plant seed potatoes!

Squirrely Squirrel

Squirrely Squirrel

Back at home in Spy Garden…

Things are a little squirrely here too!

Things are a little squirrely here too!

Check out that fur!

Check out that fur!

Orange Squirrel!

Orange Squirrel!

Sneak peek at the new teepee!

Sneak peek at the new teepee!

Toad in Spotlight

Toad in Spotlight

Toad Three-Quarter Profile

Toad Three-Quarter Profile

Pensive Toad

Pensive Toad

Toad Portrait

Toad Portrait

Toad, Snail, Nasturtium Leaf Still Life

Toad, Snail, Nasturtium Leaf Still Life

Hahaha

Featured post

Garden Walks, Garden Talk

Hope you all are having a fun and safe Memorial Day weekend! If you are looking for things to do in the St. Louis area, check out the St. Louis Post Dispatch Summer Fun Guide…featuring…

Spy Sister! On the cover!

Spy Sister! On the cover!

Check out the bottom row of photos, third picture from the left…It’s Spy Sister (Aunt Spy!) at the Missouri Botanical Garden (photo taken by yours truly)! Pretty cool! Back in our own garden…

Pest control has begun

Pest control has begun

Pre-squished Colorado potato beetle

Pre-squished Colorado potato beetle.

We don’t use any pesticides and rely on lots of herbs and garlic to naturally repel pests. And lots of squishing and squashing! We have disposable vinyl gloves on hand (pun intended) for that job!

Pest-Free Garlic

Pest-Free Garlic

If I were a commercial farmer, I think I would chose to grow garlic: it is so hardy! Herbs would be a close second, along with certain greens…

Arugula (Or Ahr-wiggala as Baby calls it)

Arugula (Or Ahr-wiggala as Baby calls it)

We have lots of super spicy arugula volunteers throughout the garden. The other greens and lettuces growing don’t seem to be bothered by any pests…

Baby loves eating the red romaine straight from the garden!

Baby loves eating the red romaine straight from the garden! (Manicure by Aunt Spy)

I enjoyed a visit to my neighbor’s garden and we talked pest-control…

She is having a similar problem with those little black flea beetles chewing up her eggplants.

She is having a similar problem with those little black flea beetles chewing up her eggplants.

She has lots of marigolds planted among her crops to deter plants.

My neighbor's trellises

My neighbor’s trellises

Her trellises were inspired by the obelisk we made last year! Trellising vining plants (like cucumbers) can also help with pests.

Her asparagus foliage isn't covered with stinky beetle larvae like ours was.

Her asparagus foliage isn’t covered with stinky beetle larvae like ours was.

My neighbor's potatoes.

My neighbor’s potatoes.

When it is time to harvest, she will just dump out the trashcans and hopefully they will be full of potatoes. It is her first time trying this. Ours are planted in our raised beds, but I think I will try this method next year. Maybe Smoochie can build some potato boxes! My neighbor and I finished up our lengthy garden chat with a little trade. I gave her a big bunch of crunchy butter lettuce and she gave me an…

Elephant Ear Bulb

Elephant Ear Bulb

Pest control would probably be lowest on my list of favorite gardening chores. I love weeding and digging, but watering just isn’t my favorite either. However…

Baby...

Baby…

...definitely makes it more fun!

…definitely makes it more fun!

First Knockout Rose Bloom!

First Knockout Rose Bloom!

Dexie demonstrates...

Dexie demonstrates…

bliss in the garden!

bliss in the garden!

Agree, Dexie, garden walks (and talks) are the best!

Featured post

Gardening Night at Busch Stadium

The Cards have various theme nights throughout the season; so OF COURSE, we had to go to Gardening Night (sponsored by the Missouri Botanical Garden). We arrived early to check out the new Ballpark Village…

Walking up to Ballpark Village

Walking up to Ballpark Village

Ballpark Village

Ballpark Village

Inside Ballpark Village

Inside Ballpark Village

You can see the stadium from most every angle of Ballpark Village!

You can see the stadium from most every angle of Ballpark Village!

Ballpark Village (seen from inside the ballpark); it's like an extension of the stadium!

Ballpark Village (seen from inside the ballpark); it’s like an extension of the stadium!

Outside the baseball museum in Ballpark Village

Outside the baseball museum in Ballpark Village

Grabbing a bite to eat at Ballpark Village before the game (with a great view of the stadium!)

Grabbing a bite to eat at Ballpark Village before the game (with a great view of the stadium!)

Views around the ballpark

Views around the ballpark

Once inside the ballpark we immediately went to claim our…

Garden Gnomes!

Garden Gnomes!

View from our seats

View from our seats

Pre-game (can you spy the gnome?)

Pre-game (can you spy the gnome?)

There he is!

There he is!

Gnome Run!

Gnome Run!

Matt Holiday

Matt Holiday

Beautiful Night for Baseball

Beautiful Night for Baseball

Cards Fans

Cards Fans

Go Cards!

Go Cards!

Of course, I had to find something that belongs in a garden! This was a HUGE beetle!

Of course, I had to find something that belongs in a garden! This was a HUGE beetle!

But most importantly…

They won!

They won!

Featured post

Building, Painting, Sculpting, Gardening

Spy Garden got some major upgrades this past weekend! We (and by “we” I mean, my husband) built these:

Garden Couch

Garden Couch

Garden Chair

Garden Chair

The Spy and I painted them.

Garden Living Room

Garden Living Room

They are very huge pieces of furniture. The Spy and I can both fit in the chair and the couch easily seats four. Huge, heavy garden furniture is a good thing in Missouri, where flimsy chairs and tables can easily be blown away by blustery winds!

Decomissioned Teepee

Decomissioned Teepee

The teepee served us well, but it never looked quite right and a couple of the pieces had started to rot.

What do we have here?

What do we have here?

A minimalist sculpture installation?

That’s a very good guess, but no: those are the poles for the new and improved teepee, coming soon!

Loads of tender crunchy lettuce: yum!

Loads of tender crunchy lettuce: yum!

Lots of nasturtiums in this corner of the garden.

Lots of nasturtiums in this corner of the garden.

I like the tattered look of this dianthus bloom, with three fresh buds poking out right behind it.

I like the tattered look of this dianthus bloom, with three fresh buds poking out right behind it.

By the Spy (like Kandinsky, but better)

By the Spy (like Kandinsky, but better)

Franken-Animal by the Spy

Franken-Animal by the Spy

And Frankenthaler (channeled by Baby)

And Frankenthaler (channeled by Baby)

Featured post

Saturday, May 17, 2014

Pre-squished caterpillar

Pre-squished caterpillar

Anyone know what kind of eggsack this is?

Anyone know what kind of eggsack this is?

Love-in-a-mist flower bud

Love-in-a-mist flower bud

The Spy and his friend had a fun day in and around the garden today. They spent a lot of time in the woods and also at the new Spy Garden…

driving...

driving…

range!

range! haha

Baby and I enjoyed…

Picking...

Picking…

Yellow Strawberries!

Yellow Strawberries!I

I grew the yellow strawberry plants from seeds several years ago, now the plants are big, bushy and loaded with soon-to-be-ripe berries!

Pretty yellow strawberry plants

Pretty yellow strawberry plants

The variety is ever-bearing and they taste like a strawberry with a little tropical flavor.

Eucalyptus

Eucalyptus

One of my favorite smells...and shaping up to be one of my favorite plants too.

One of my favorite smells…and shaping up to be one of my favorite plants too.

The dog dragged this (partial) deer skull from the woods

The dog dragged this (partial) deer skull from the woods

In other extremely exciting garden news…

We have a new garden couch!

We have a new garden couch!

Baby focused on her yoga while Smoochie built it:

Yogi Petite

Yogi Petite

Downward Dog and Dogs

Downward Dog and Dogs

Planks and Plank

Planks and Plank

Level!

Level!

Entrance to the garden (we're still working on the gate).

Entrance to the garden (we’re still working on the gate).

I wanted there to be a garden “living room” at the entrance to the garden, so this “couch” (way more than a bench!) is a step in the right direction.

Bench Couch

Bench Couch

The "living room" is shaded all day, just getting the last of each day's sunlight.

The “living room” is shaded all day, just getting the last of each day’s sunlight.

Now we just need a coffee table, a few end tables, a chair and a TV stand with an empty frame on top so we can sit back, relax and watch the garden grow! Haha

Featured post

A Rainy Walk Through Spy Garden

Come out to play! It's only rain!

Come out to play! It’s only rain!

Top Secret Operation

Top Secret Operation

Shades of Dirt (and green!)

Shades of Dirt (and green!)

Rue

Rue

Orach, sneak preview!

Orach, sneak preview!

I’ll share more about the orach soon. It can be eaten like spinach, and does look like spinach; magenta spinach!

Garlic Spiral

Garlic Spiral

New Plum Tree! (A Mother's Day gift)

New Plum Tree! (A Mother’s Day gift)

Until next time!

Until next time!

Featured post

Shaw Wildflower Market

Members Only!

Tonight was the members-only preview of the Shaw Wildflower Market

Tonight was the members-only preview of the Shaw Wildflower Market

We enjoyed checking out the different vendors. Purchased some delectable blueberry jam, bread from homegrown and hand-milled grains…

Wine from a local vineyard...

Wine from a local vineyard…

Danced to...

Danced to…

the...

the…

music!

music!

Very fun!

Very fun!

Said "hello" to some chickens...

Said “hello” to some chickens…

Viewed a unique collection of handmade baskets...

Viewed a unique collection of handmade baskets…

Good times at the Shaw Wildflower Market.

Good times at the Shaw Wildflower Market.

And of course…

Marveled at the wildflower selection for sale...

Marveled at the wildflower selection for sale…

and other native plants.

and other native plants.

We settled on a couple...

We settled on a couple…

Rough Blazing Star plants.

Rough Blazing Star plants.

After visiting the wildflower market we visited the playground at Shaw…

Walking to the playground...

Walking to the playground…

We noticed many of the wildflowers we saw for sale!

We noticed many of the wildflowers we saw for sale!

Wildflower

Wildflower

Dreamy

Dreamy

A sign...

A sign…

Many colors in the prairie.

Many colors in the prairie.

So many different types!

So many different types!

I spy asparagus!

I spy asparagus!

Coming upon the playground, we got a drink...

Coming upon the playground, we got a drink…

found a forgotten toy...

found a forgotten toy…

And enjoyed more natural landscaping.

And enjoyed more natural, native landscaping.

I spy tentworms!

I spy tentworms!

Tentworms (ew!)

Tentworms (ew!)

Digging for bones

Digging for bones

The playground is in a lovely grove of old pine trees...

The playground is in a lovely grove of old pine trees…

Big pine trees

Big pine trees

The playground has many musical instruments...

The playground has many musical instruments…

Xylophone...

Xylophone…

Drum (can you spy the Spy?)

Drum (can you spy the Spy?)

Another sort of xylophone...

Another sort of xylophone…

And a…

Balance Area!

Balance Area!

Spy Sister

Spy Sister

aka Aunt Spy demonstrating the art of balance.

(aka Aunt Spy) Demonstrating the art of balance.

And the Spy too, balancing in a tree...

And the Spy too, balancing in a tree…

Climbing...

Climbing…

Perching

Perching

Another...

Another…

Beautiful outing at...

Beautiful outing at…

Shaw!

Shaw!

Goodnight! Happy Friday!

Goodnight! Happy Friday!