Wednesday, May 6, 2015

What's Springing Up Around Here

My muscles groaned a little as I dragged from my bed this morning.  On my way to the bathroom, I flipped open the miniblinds to get a good view of the weather that was greeting me.  Just as the blinds cracked open enough, I noticed there was something new and unexpected at the base of our prairie dog hill. As my eyes focused, I could see that there were some wildflowers blooming that I had never seen before.  Intrigued, and delighted, I threw on some clothes, grabbed my ipad mini to take a few pics, and investigated.  Look at the pretty blooms God planted for me! 
The flowers have 4 delicate heart-shaped white petals.  There were also some pink blooms on the same plant.  Huh.  Grew up in Utah, and I've never seen these, at least not that I remember.  Later, I looked them up in the Utah wildflower directory online and discovered that they are called "Tufted Evening Primrose."  They bloom white blooms in the evening, and as they whither, they turn a pale pink.  Cool, huh?   I'm a huge fan of wild flowers.  

After I snapped this picture, the thought came to me, why not share a little spring tour around our property, just so our readers can see what it looks like here in the wild west during the springtime.  So, here it is, on a lovely spring morning the week before Mother's Day.

Up on Prairie Dog Hill (aka- our backyard), the prairie dogs are thriving and chirping in the hundreds. They hide when you try to take their picture, but they are out there!  They've recently had lots and lots of babies. I like watching them play in my backyard, as long as they stay out of my garden. Once they start vandalizing my garden and all my expensive hard work, my attitude changes. (Surprisingly, the meager fence we installed around our garden last year actually did keep the prairie dogs out of the garden.)
Pictured above is a prairie dog hole amidst the dirt, brush, and low-lying cacti.  The prairie dogs have a dense population in the field behind our property, and our backyard hill is swiss-cheesed with their holes.  
Look at the base of this water wheel and you will see a prairie dog.

This particular morning looked like a gorgeous day for yardwork.

The view from atop prairie dog hill is one of my favorites.

When I walked to the back of the property, there were new holes and even a dead prairie dog decomposing.  I wonder at the cause of its death. Maybe he was one of them that was shot by the farmer that owns the field behind us.   The farmer goes out nearly every day with his 22 caliber and shoots into his field at the little varmints.  You see, The farmer also keeps horses, and when horses step into prairie dog holes, they break a leg and have to be put down.

Moving past the dead prairie dog, I also found a nest that must've blown into my yard from a faraway tree. Aren't birds amazing weavers? 

Coming down off the hill, I noticed that weeds are popping up everywhere, even busting through the rocks and the weed barrier in our fire pit area. Time to get pulling... Again. 
If you don't get these buggers while they're young, they grow to be as tall as me (over 5 feet) and with roots to China.  Poisen doesn't bother them until they have flowered.
Speaking of weeds, I want to clear all of these ones out near the corner of my home and create beautiful legacy garden dedicated to our ancestry. 
Yeah, it's going to be beautiful.  It may be hard to envision now, but I can see it in all its glory. It's gonna look like this:
Moving on...

We recently had a fundraising service auction at our church and my mom bought us 6 hours of yard work from one of the teenage boys. She told him to bring his ATV and we hooked up this steel beam for him to pull around our property to scrub the land of the weeds, and even out the dirt a bit. He worked really hard and did an awesome job, and all of last years weeds finally got piled up and burned.

We still have this pile of rocks to deal with.
If we get our wheelbarrow tire fixed, maybe we can fill in more rocks by our fire pit.

On my walk around our home, I noticed this Barbie making "snow angels" in the dirt and then riding off on her trusty steed. 
See the snow angel imprint?

The veggie garden is in resurrection mode. After the spring break mishap and the snow storm, we had very few survivors. This is what we have now, and I just planted a few more lettuce seeds yesterday to fill things in a bit. 
carrots at the forefront and peas behind
peas on the left, radishes in the middle, and spinach (and several weed seedlings)
tiny little lettuces
weeds, and a few beets, chives, and parsley on the far right.
I'm pleased to see sprouts (however few they may be) of chard, beets, iceberg lettuce, buttercrunch lettuce, spinach, peas, radishes, carrots, garlic, chives, and parsley!  In fact, the only row that is empty is the one with the romaine lettuce and black seeded simpson lettuce.

The strawberries are starting to bloom, but they really do need a major haul-over. The rabbit in the snowstorm left a nice deep hole in the patch, and I haven't thinned the 5-year old strawberries ever, so there is a lot of density there, and we get hardly any strawberries from the little plants because of it. Also, I can't seem to get the grass out of this patch. I'm thinking I will transplant a few small strawberry starts in a new location, and say adios to that bed of weeds.
The lilac bush that I keep thinking is dead each year because it never grows, has blooms on it now and it actually looks like it's finally getting a little healthier. We've had it for four years and this is the best it has looked.

My neighbors are getting into the gardening spirit. Last week I saw them till up a little part of their property and plant some veggies (you can see it in the picture below to the left of the power pole). I love seeing a garden grow. You can totally tell where the property line ends because that's where the weeds begin on my side. It sure is a constant battle! My neighbors are lucky that they have access to a company backhoe that they can just take and scrape their land off from time to time and hardly have to lift a finger to decimate the weeds on their property. I wish that backhoe crossed onto our property every now and again!

Last week my girls made these birdfeeders, which are just pretzel rods rolled in peanut butter and birdseed and tied to the fence with some yarn. We love seeing the birds come into our yard!

And last but not least, we have the beautiful flowers are blooming in my front flower bed!
Spring is finally in full bloom here in the high mountain deserts of Utah.  All the vibrant petals everywhere are singing their warm salutations to us all.  Doesn't it just make you smile? 
And there are even flowers growing on the other side of my path that is waiting to get landscaped, not in the flower bed, but they still look gorgeous.
We've got lots of projects planned for the next coming weeks. We hope to get a sprinkler system in so we can finally get a lawn in the back, and some trees planted, as well as plant up our garden, weed, and maybe even haul in some rock to keep the weeds down. We plan to somewhat xeriscape the front. Landscaping costs a minor fortune, so we've been doing this frugally, DIY style, by baby steps. I hope to show a lot of progress in the coming weeks!

Tuesday Garden Party 
The Gathering Spot
Tuesdays with a Twist