March 12, 2010

two steps forward

One step back. At least as far as the weather goes.

Last week, we had three glorious days...warm, sunny, work in the garden, t-shirt days.

Spring paid a visit, and it did my heart good.

I have an earlier than ever start on my beds, and in a case of sunshine induced mania, I crossed a gardening line I have never crossed before.

I took the shop vac to my flower beds.

Yes, you heard right. I vacuumed my flower beds. I was meticulously picking dead leaves from the many branched base of my spirea, and got to wondering if I could just suck them out. It actually worked pretty good, and once I got started, I couldn't stop. I just kept vacuuming. It was kind of fun. Actually, it was really fun. And addicting. It took a while, but eventually I mastered the technique for sucking up the leaves while leaving the compost and dirt behind. I still haven't found a way to get it to suck dandelions, roots and all, out of the ground, but the shop vac may just replace my favorite old scratcher as the garden tool of choice.

So, after three very productive days, and a fully developed case of what my sister calls Garden Body, (you're familiar with Garden Body, right? It takes twice as long to get out of bed, and muscles you didn't know you have are screaming in pain? It's also commonly known as, "I Recently Decided to Start Jillian Michael's 30 Day Shred Body") then came Tuesday.

The snow was actually a welcome event, as I had vast amounts of laundry to do, and around here, history has repeatedly shown that when the sun shines, the laundry is the first thing to be neglected. Actually laundry and dinner, and since food and clean clothes just happen to be the two most quickly consumed items in my house, this leads to obvious problems. I wish I could juggle both inside and outside chores, but so far, I haven't found the key to making that work.

I'll leave you with one more spring treat found in our pasture this morning.

She's a twin, and for the first time for us, it looks like the mama has accepted both babies. Sometimes, the weaker one dies, or we have to bottle feed one, or try to get another mother, usually one who has lost a baby, to accept the rejected calf. I love their first hours of life, when you can pet them and they willingly pose for pictures. After that, they pretty much skedaddle when you get anywhere near. So cute.

So, what spring treats are showing up in your neck of the woods? Daffodils? Cherry blossoms? Baby animals? I'd love to know.


  1. How adorable is she! That reminds me of my younger days of my Dad driving calves around in his truck & the occasional calf in the kitchen - trying to warm it up and get it fed!

    I love the shop vac idea too! I used our gator & ended up with many piles of junk I hand picked out of the beds - I'll have to remember your idea next year!!

  2. I love how you captured the little details - those dew drops are terrific, you did a great job! And congrats on "the twins". Have a great weekend.

  3. Great post! I also love working outside and have a heck of a time getting dinner figured out when I've been outside all day. Couldn't my family just skip dinner on nice days? :)

    The picture of the calf is adorable!

  4. I vacuumed one of my flower beds last year too. We have LOTS of Tamarack trees here with their TINY needles. It just seemed to be the perfect way to clean up a bed that had a lot of large rocks around in it.
    It snowed here (E.WA)all day yesterday, too. It was a nice excuse just to stay inside.

  5. We use our shop vac for unintended uses, too but I'm afraid if I used it in our flower beds that we would suck up all the shredded mulch! HA! I have been known to use it on the drive in the fall when the leaves are all over it and stuck in the cracks and won't come out! Your calves are sweet...I love how those babies suck on whatever they can get ahold of: your shirt, your fingers, anything and man can they slobber! Ha!

  6. Love the little calf! We have sheep and have had similar problems. we rub the rejected one with the mother's milk, etc. you probably know all this...hahaha....
    We too had cold weather, and I'm trying to paint, and plant...neither worked! It is frustrating seeing things blooming everywhere...but home is covered in snow!
    Love your posts...just wonderful.

  7. I had to really laugh at the shop vac idea...Maybe you should try it on the weeds this summer, it would sure beat picking them! Sweet baby, darling face! We still are having winter...Sprinter...nothing blooming here! Come say hi :D

  8. We do have some daffodils coming through. I am so glad to see some green! I laughed out loud at the shop vac project! I think I need to try that.

  9. There are 18 bags of leaves on my porch waiting to be disposed of ... if only I were clever enough to have vacuumed them! And the associated Garden Body was Not Good. Due to the 'winter that wasn't', just about everything is coming up here -- daylilies, ferns, bulbs of all kinds, peonies ... any minute now it'll be Spring! -amy

  10. I cannot wait for Marty to see this...another application for her vacuum hysteria!

    B - Your photos are positively delicious. I am transfixed by the dew drops. And that wavy-mopped calf.

  11. I have daffodils showing up in unexpected places at my house (new house)I also just placed an order for around $80 worth of plants thank you spring fever!I just can't let my hubby know haha!! Your baby calf is precious!

  12. That's what I miss in AZ. There isn't the distinctive spring that we had in ID. It's just more warm but less hot than the other three seasons. Love the pictures and the calf.

  13. Oh that baby cow. Must.come.visit. We are starting to see signs of springs, the grass is greening up and my lillies and daphodils are poking their little heads above ground. We've had tons of rain here this week which is great for grass and flowers, not so great for real estate showings.

  14. Oh for crying out loud! If it weren't raining out, I'd be busting out the vac to do my garden beds. Oh I'm loving it!!! You are a genius! I've been wanting to get out to my beds and cut down perennials, etc...getting a good early start, but it's so danged wet, and I don't want to compress the delicate balance of the soil structure (literal translation - I'm trying to finish the dollhouse bedroom floor and the hexagon granny square afghan before Spring really arrives.)

    I want to smash that baby cow to smithereens. It's too cute!

  15. awww. I just love your pix! Let's see, in Austin we have the pear trees blooming! Wonderful, wonderful, best time of year ever weather is here. Beautiful weekend of gardening, cycling and eating frozen yogurt w/ my 2 year old grandbaby, Annie!

  16. I love your blog. It makes me miss our 2 1/2 acre little farm we had on the outskirts of Las Vegas for over 10 years. Keep up the awesome work!

  17. The more I read your blog, the more I believe we are clones!! Except for the fact that I hate housework!! I, too, used a shop vac last summer to suck up the seeds of some huge thistle plants I "accidentally" let get too far along inside my high-tunnel/greenhouse. Anal, yes, but far better to catch most of them than to risk letting them "fly" while trying to cut the dang thing down!! I think I had my daughter take pictures--I'll have to look for them.
    We may be "weird" by others' standards, but hey--it works for us!! We, too, have many unfinished projects around our farm, usually having the "parts" for years as well. Gotta' love those farmers--by the time they repair and try to maintain all the really important farm implements, ("that make us money", as my dear hubby reminds me,) our "honey-do" lists are pushed aside. I need to find one of those local handymen!! I'd have him on speed dial!!