The junking bug is back!

For about the last couple of weeks I’ve been flying solo as my husband has been away on a trip. I was pretty excited at first with the prospect of watching a ton of click flicks and getting a bunch of projects done around the house. But the truth is, the novelty wore off after a couple of days and I was getting a little tired of eating crackers for dinner (cooking for one just seemed pointless). Also, those projects? Yeah, I really didn’t get to any of them. Chick flicks? I mostly just watched Beverly Hills 90210 DVDs for the millionth time (I heart that show). Most of my time alone was spent finishing things I’d already started pre-husbandless or doing work in the garden. So much work in the garden.

But I was getting bored with being around the house with just myself and the cats. It all started with an impromptu visit to the Goodwill when I was running another errand. I had some good luck there, so then I decided to try another place. More luck. Then another and another. And the next thing I knew I was calling a friend to go to a big vintage market. Of course, then the bug had basically taken over my entire body. It needed to be fed.

Vintage Finds

This is where it all started! A little metal filing drawer I will be using for my seed collection, a crystal candy dish (I’ve been looking for one for under $5 for a long time!), a couple of little china plates, and my favorite find from this hunt was the little Siamese kitten (because apparently I need more ceramic cats in my life)!

Vintage Finds

The next hunt was just as good! Some large china platters, a few heavy flower frogs, a little crystal & silver bowl, and two little lead piggies! The pigs are my favorite and remind me of ones we played with as kids that came from my Grandma’s house. After doing a bit of research, they are most likely pre-war, which makes them a bit more special in my mind.

Vintage Finds

I was in heaven when I stumbled upon this antique shop in an old church. Not only was the architecture absolutely stunning, but the curation was unbelievable. I will definitely make the trip out of town to this shop again! And the best part was I totally stumbled in to it, I had no idea it existed until it was right in front of my face.

  I thought it was finished feeding the bug after that 2 day ultra junking marathon, but then the next week I felt it coming back. So I went online and searched for upcoming estate sales. And starting making a list. And then I discovered some upcoming vintage markets which I thought were promising. It was basically a two week long junk-a-thon.

Vintage Finds

And the haul from my last excursion. I already have a bit of a teacup collection and I really haven’t bought any for several years. It was actually a point of conversation with a friend recently, where I mentioned I was laying off on the teacups as I needed to be selective about what I was bringing in to the collection. But I couldn’t resist when I saw these at an estate sale for $2.50/set! Plus the colors on the blue and pink sets are like nothing else I have in my collection. Trust me, it took all of my will power to only come home with four sets at those prices. And am I kicking myself now? Maybe a little, but more over the vintage vanity table I passed up for some stupid reason.

This bug usually hits me in the spring time, but for some reason this year it was much harder than normal. I guess I could be doing worse things. I’d love to hear about some of your junking adventures/scores!

May 2015 Garden Update

Let’s ignore the fact that it has snowed twice in the last week in my garden (I guess it is still May and I’m in Calgary) and check out what has been going on in the garden lately.

Lots of adorable things are showing their faces this week (hence all the close up photos!). There are the pink muscari, a few tulips (I do not remember ever planting bright orange tulips, so where did they come from?! Maybe it was gnomes?), and the big beautiful bleeding heart (I’d love to take credit for this thing but it was one of the very few plants that came with the house. I’ll take credit anyway and show it off in the below photo).

Bleeding Heart

One of my sour cherry trees is also in bloom (photo below), as well as my double flowering plum shrub (which unfortunately does not produce fruit). And I can see my Princess Kay plum tree is about ready to burst with flowers.

Sour Cherry Blossoms

Also I seem to have a mystery tree. I originally thought it was a lilac but it is not. I don’t know how I could have a tree growing in my small yard and not know it exists. It was either the gnomes sneaking in and planting things at night, or it came from a sucker from my neighbor’s yard, or it has been there the whole time and I’ve been chopping it down with the perennials each year, except last year when I noticed it was actually a tree and stopped hacking at it. The reason I thought it was a lilac was because it really did look like it had lilac leaves when they were small. But now it has flowered (the first time) and I’m 99% sure it is not a lilac. It has these beautiful fragrant white blooms which are identical to a tree my neighbor has growing in her yard. My hops like to grow over the fence and up her tree in the summer time, and I’ve apologized for it and asked if she would like me to cut out the hops, but she always says no and refers to this tree as a cherry. I knew it wasn’t really a cherry tree, so I did a bit of reading and I think the tree growing in my yard is a Schubert Chokecherry (sort of a cherry, I guess?). Very lovely, but they do get a bit large (like not really large, but not small either), and are infamous for having lots and lots of suckers. Anyway, long story, but I’m still trying to decided whether it is going to stay or not. I hate to be a tree murderer, but I don’t really want it. I kind of wish it were a lilac because I could easily manage its size. What would you do?

Strawberries & Garlic

I just moved all of these strawberries to this bed, closest to the patio, so I can snack on them easily. Garlic is growing below the strawberry bed.

But one unexpected, and good, surprise was the spinach. Apparently (and I don’t remember this), my past self knew that my future self would be really excited about discovering forgotten spinach growing in the garden. Presumably, my past self planted this last fall. I should be eating this spinach in a couple of weeks.

Aside from all the pretty things and surprises, I’ve been doing a bit of work outside as well. I just planted some radish, arugula and more spinach seeds, and my peas will be going in later in the week. I’m also starting to do a lot of serious planning for the rest of the garden, specifically all of the seedlings I currently have growing in my dining room that will need to be moved outside soon. And I might be feeling a little anxious about it, but hopefully I’ll have a plan set in stone by the end of the weekend (my current plan is “stick them anywhere I can”, but maybe that isn’t the most solid plan). Spring is the most exciting, but the most stressful for gardeners. Well, at least for me anyway. Someone remind me next year, in about March, to chill out on starting so many darn seeds. Megan, you do not need 38 tomatoes, 30 peppers, and 20 squash plants for two people.

Volunteer Pansies
Lots of these volunteer pansies have popped up in my shade garden this year and I’m happy to just let them be.

Anyway, I’m really excited for the long weekend coming up – I’m taking an extra day off of work to dedicate to gardening (fingers crossed that the weather will cooperate!), so hopefully sometime next week I’ll be able to tell you that I solved all of my dilemmas and now I can sit back, relax, and watch the jungle grow.

What I’m Growing: Prairie Crocus

Spring seems to really have arrived this week – things are greening up nicely and the trees are getting their baby leaves. And one of my favorite early perennials, the prairie crocus, has made an appearance! The prairie crocus has many names: pasque flower, prairie anemone, prairie smoke, wind flower, and I’m sure I’ve missed others. It is always the second flower to appear in my garden (the small crocuses I included in a post a couple of weeks ago are always the first). I made it a point to plant my prairie crocuses in my front yard, close to the public sidewalk so that I would see them every time I came home, and also so that passerbys could enjoy a bit of early spring color.

Prairie Crocus Pasque Flower

Prairie crocuses are actually a native plant in my area because I live in (you guess it), the prairies. But they are also native to the rest of Alberta, including the woodland areas, mostly in sandy soil (I grew up in the woodlands, near the Sandhills, so these flowers have always been familiar to me).

It seems silly that this plant would be called a crocus because it actually isn’t in the crocus family at all. It is an anemone. Of course, this won’t stop me from calling it a prairie crocus. But it does make you wonder how it got the name – I read that settlers referred to it as a crocus as it reminded them of the early crocuses back in Europe.

Apparently the plant is also quite poisonous if consumed, although I have read that parts of it were once used to make concoctions that would remedy muscle pains. In addition to this, parts of the plant (I’m unsure which parts) were also used to stop nosebleeds and draw out infection in cuts and boils.

I think my favorite thing about the prairie crocus is that it is a cute little plant with ferny leaves and flowers covered in these tiny silver hairs. The leaves don’t show much of their faces until the flowers are spent, but the flowers turn into starburst-like seedheads, which I really love. The plant itself is a stumpy guy and stays fairly compact – mine haven’t spread at all and don’t get much taller than 6-8 inches. Although, I have noticed a few new plants popping up at work in the garden, presumably from seed that was blown by the wind, but those beds are barely mulched, so I can see how they would spread in that situation.

These plants are also very drought tolerant, making them perfect for sunny, hot beds. The photo above is from my garden, but the photo below is from the dry bed at work where these flowers have spread quite a bit. I couldn’t help snap a photo of them early one morning this week.

Prairie Crocus Pasque Flower

I purchased my plants from a local garden centre, but I’ve read that they are easy to start from seed. Don’t take these plants from the wild though as they will not grow back – but feel free to take some seed if you do see those in the wild.

Seeing these flowers appear has made me so excited for the rest of my perennials to start blooming – next will be the double flowering plum and my tulips. Unfortunately I heard a rumor that it is supposed to snow some time over this weekend but I’m hoping that is a lie. Regardless, I am planning on throwing in my lettuce, spinach, radish and pea seeds. Sometimes you just need to ignore the snow and do what you’re gonna do.

Casual Fridays Part 6

I haven’t done a casual Fridays post for awhile – and since I’ve been under the weather this week, I just haven’t really had a chance to do much in the way of gardening, or cooking, or crafting. But I have had lots of time to sit around reading the internet! Here are a few things I found around this week that I really enjoyed:

1. You Grow Girl on Earth Day. I was driving to work on Wednesday morning and as I listened to the radio hosts talk about Earth Day, I definitely found myself rolling my eyes and groaning “Yes people, let’s give the earth its very own day along with National Cat Day or Secretary Appreciation Day”. But that’s not really what it’s all about – and this article really resonated with me.

2. 30 Surprising Stars Who Were on The X-files Before They Were Famous – I can’t say that I am at all excited for the upcoming X-files reboot, although I was a huge fan of Seasons 1-5. I’m not saying that I won’t watch the new episodes given the opportunity, but I’m not having kittens over here. I’m not usually a re-poster of these types of internet articles, but I did enjoy this one. My favorite not-so-famous-then-but-famous-now appearances were Giovanni Ribisi, Bryan Cranston, and Luke Wilson. Also, Michael Buble?! Who knew.

3. The Calgary Comic and Entertainment Expo last weekend had record breaking attendance! I’m definitely not a crowds person but I attended because I really, really wanted to meet the boys of Beverly Hills 90210. And I did! And I touched all of them! Haha. But seriously, Jason, Ian and Luke did a great panel (I wish it would have been longer!) and I was pleased to find out that they are all very nice and down-to-earth people, thankfully not crushing all of my teenage dreams.

4. I’ve been thinking about getting one of these mini patio greenhouses for a few years now but I’m still waffling. First of all, they are a bit pricey, and second, do I really need it? I already have a greenhouse in my back yard, but it is primarily for growing hot peppers. I think a mini greenhouse would be ideal for growing things like eggplant in a brighter/hotter part of my yard (I’m actually thinking right on my upper deck), but I haven’t had any success with eggplant in the past, so would it be worth it to try again? Feel free to chime in if you have any experience with these greenhouses, or if you think I shouldn’t even bother. I’ve also thought about building my own similar greenhouse, but I just don’t want to take on another project, especially since our growing season is so short already, I kind of just want to enjoy it and focus on ripping out the remaining sod in the front yard. I guess I have a problem committing to a large-ish purchase like this that may or may not yield results.

5. I’ve been reading along with Banjo’s Daughters and I’m really, really enjoying it. You need to start right at the beginning though – but luckily the archives do not go back very far yet!

I’ve been trying to post gardening photos on my instagram as much as I can. This week I am over the moon with my tiny dwarf tomato seedlings (pictured below) – they are the most adorable! These ones are called Red Robin. I grew them last year and while they aren’t exactly anything extraordinary taste-wise (better than a store bought baby tomato, but not as good as most of the other varieties I grow), I do love them because they are petite and grow a million tomatoes on one tiny plant. Plus, I am doing an experiment with them this year which I will explain in another post.

Red Robin Tomato Seedlings

Aren’t they just the most adorable?! I hope everyone has a lovely weekend!

Early Spring in Alberta

Unfortunately I’ve come down with a spring cold, so while I’d prefer to be outside cleaning up my beds, planting my spinach and radishes, or just enjoying the lovely weather, I’ve been stuck inside feeling terrible and living in front of the television (it doesn’t sound that terrible, but trust me, it got old after the first day). Anyway, before this curse arrived, I was able to get outside and snap a few photos of things growing in the garden last week.

Crocus

The first flowers to bloom in my garden are always these tiny crocuses. I remind myself every year to plant more in the fall but I always seem to forget when the time comes. I think once the remaining grass in our front yard is removed, I’ll make sure to plant a ton of different crocuses along the front of the beds.

Wild Rose

My prickly rose (also known as the Alberta Wild Rose) is the first of my roses to get leaves (I left the berries on for the birds but it seems they didn’t want them). I wrote about this rose in one of my very first blog posts last year here. I can’t wait until the intoxicating smell of the flowers arrives again!

Tulips & Alliums

This isn’t the prettiest sight from my front yard, but the tulips and alliums are coming up through last year’s corpses that I still need to clean up. The tulips will be blooming in a couple of short weeks.

Rhubarb

The rhubarb is going to be way bigger than last year, I can already tell. 

I wish I had more energy for a longer post, but I am going to attempt to nurse this cold in hopes that it will go away.

Is anything coming up in your garden?