Tuesday, April 30, 2013


Spring. Everything is beginning anew. The birds, critters, bugs and other animals are leaving their winter homes and coming out to gaze upon the new world. Plants are sending out leaf buds and early flowers to denote the arrival of what beauty is about to befall us. This is a magnificent time of year!

After having spent the entire day in my garden on Sunday, I can appreciate this even more!

The appreciation I feel is about more than just the warming weather, growing vegetation, and rerunning wildlife though. I'm thankful for the chores I find at my hands. To me, this is more than just work. It is a time in which I can reflect about life, I can create anything (well, almost) I can envision, and I am continuously rewarded by beauty beyond measure! Where some might see back-breaking work, I see life, peace, and potential.

 This time of year is so incredibly moving to me...if you couldn't already tell! I find myself waking early anticipating the time I can spend in my garden after I get home from work! I will be the first to admit though, the weather hasn't been all that cooperative these last few days. We have been graced with constant 15-20 mph winds and nighttime temperatures in the mid 20's...so I haven't been able to do too much outside. But, every morning as the sun rises above the eastern mountains, my garden is filled with the warmth of the early morning sun. And even as the wind billows around my homestead, howling through open doors and windows, I find myself in a place of such peace.

Gardens are practical. Gardens can provide nourishment. But a garden, my garden, provides me with so much more...it provides me with hope. Hope in the things to come; hope in the work that lies ahead; hope in something greater than myself.

As I gaze in wonder at my garden every sunrise and sunset, I am filled with the promise of life. I love spring!

What does spring mean to you? What kinds of things does your garden evoke this time of year for you? Please share...I love to hear all the joy others get from their gardens!

Sunday, April 28, 2013

The Lawn: Green Perfection

Growing up in the Willamette Valley, Oregon, I was acclimatized to very cloudy and damp weather. Lush trees and bushes were abundant, as well as was the moss! When summer would roll around and the climate finally decided to catch up to the season, the local vegetation would go into shock. Shrubbery and flowers would begin to wilt at the first hint of the intense sunlight; the soil would turn to stone from the lack of rain for two days; and the grass - at least our grass - would turn brown and die. This happened every year. It didn't seem to matter how much or how often we tried to water it, it would always die mid-summer. So after I was married and moved to Central Oregon, I never gave much thought or importance to trying to have a beautiful lawn. But Cam felt differently. He loves a green lawn and it is important to him to have a lush open area in which to look at, play and relax on.
So, for the past four years, I have begun to lean more about lawn care than ever before.

Friday, April 26, 2013

{this moment}

Today, I'm joining Amanda (soulemama) and Olive & Owl (a link to her site) with {this moment}.

A simple picture from the week. No words, no explanation, just a simple moment of time captured and shared.

Please feel free to share your moments as well! It's so fun to see what other beauty is captured in a weeks time!

Thursday, April 25, 2013

Obsession Review!

Ever since I stumbled across the article in the last month's Rachael Ray Magazine on eggs, I'm obsessed! I have always LOVED eggs, especially fried with a runny yoke...be still my heart! But it wasn't until I read this article that I gave any consideration to poached eggs; honestly, I wasn't entirely sure exactly what they were until now...let alone what they tasted like!

 As I mentioned in an earlier post, my first go at poached eggs was a delectable hit! I loved them!! The only thing I had trouble with was getting the whites to sort-of 'glum' together so my egg wasn't skirting all over the pan of hot water! I managed, but it took a little work. After supper, Cam mentioned a contraption his parents had that just set inside the pot of water and poached the eggs, perfectly, and the egg could be easily removed because it never sat directly into the water. This intrigued me. If there was one gadget that I would like to try right now, it would definitely be one to make poaching eggs easier and less messy!

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Of Water and Glass

There is something so magical about water to me. It captures my complete attention and takes me to a place that is so serene and peaceful. I love hiking along creeks and around waterfalls just to be able to stop and reflect by them. So when thinking about my different gardens, bringing water into them all was a no brainer!

When you go out my back door, you are instantly greeted by the sound of gently falling water. We created a waterfall the very first year we were in this house! It isn't perfect but I love the way it sounds and how it makes my garden feel when you enter it. I often find myself retreating here just to be able sit, close my eyes, and listen. Purely and simply; listening to the water trickle over the rocks we put so much elbow grease into just to pack them home and place them strategically; to the birds as they serenade each other in the breeze, or wind, or quite simply, the early morning calm.

In my front yard, I also had a water feature...to bring this tranquil aspect to all those who gaze and come into my home. It was basic; two pots, the large on the bottom and the small on the top, with water cascading over the edges of the smaller pot into the one below. It was cute and completed my front garden. But this winter, it got really cold really fast and I forgot to get the last bit of water from the bottom of the pot one night...when I awoke the next morning, I was greeted by a very shattered pot. As upset as I was, I also knew this would give me the opportunity to create a new water feature! This was definitely a task I was eager to take on!!

Now that the weather has finally decided to warm up a bit (even though it was in the mid-20's last night!) I felt it was time to build it. After some contemplation I finally decided how I wanted to make my new water feature...this is what I came up with!

Sunday, April 21, 2013

A Day in the Life...

Another weekend here in Central Oregon has come and gone.  We were blessed with some wonderful weather and a lot of motivation.  Each season brings its own beauty to our yard, and that can be said with an exclamation right now.  Our daffodils and tulips are in full bloom, painting our yard with vibrant colors of yellow, pinks, and reds.  This only makes checking things off my list that much more enjoyable!

 First goal of the day was to get the water feature back up and running that Cam and I built a couple years ago.  I began by removing the stagnant water - which has been sitting, freezing, thawing, re-freezing, and thawing all fall and winter - one bucket at a time. After about seven 5-gallon buckets had been removed, I finally had to turn to my trusted 'shop-vac' to get the rest of the water from the very bottom. My shop-vac efficiently removed all of the water and some of the leaves, but when the water was gone, I figured it would be just as easy to remove the semi-decomposed leaves and muck with my hands...so I dug in! Once the debris was completely removed, and one very 'yucky' find, I was left with only some scrubbing of the pond lining to do! Easy!

I filled it, plugged it in, and made a few minor adjustments to the rocks forming the waterfall, and stepped back to enjoy the very tranquil sound, and sights, of my newly working water feature!

I felt so accomplished...this took me a bit of time and a lot of work to finish! But with only a calm wind and a warm, yet cloudy sky surrounding me, I knew there was much more to be done, nay, and more importantly, that I wanted to get done.

Our garage has been a sore spot between Cam and I ever since we moved into this house...four years ago! He wants it one way and I dream of it another. Needless to say, it's simply a disaster now! His sports equipment and stuff  is everywhere, as is my gardening paraphernalia. We've both allowed it to fall into despair and now we're trying to figure out how to fix it! We finally decided that a small outdoor storage shed would be the perfect solution to our very cluttered garage. In order for us to make this happen, we needed to create a space in which a shed could sit. This was almost too easy because we have noticed a very sparsely planted bed along the south side of our house that is home to two very aggressive bushes. They are sending shooters through the entire bed and are even starting to grow under our siding...it was time for them to go!

So I spent the latter half of my day removing a very large and semi-old bush, and all of the suckers it has decided to try to create! A chore, but a fun one!

Needless to say, we've had a busy, but very productive day! I have enjoyed myself immensely which is something I've been longing for for the past several months...several days dedicated to my garden is heaven in my book! It has been wonderful!

At the end of the day, we had saved up enough energy to reward ourselves with a new and fun dinner recipe! We sought something fast yet delicious, so the shrimp in our freezer created the perfect jumping off point. With a little improvisation (due to lack of specific ingredients so I adapted the recipe to our 'on-hand' ingredients) this was a perfect way to end our day of rewardingly hard work!Here is what graced our plates tonight:

Lemon-Garlic Shrimp & Veggies
Serves 4
4 tsp. olive oil
2 large red or orange bell peppers
2 pounds of asparagus (or, I used garden fresh baby broccoli and tender kale flowers) cut into 1" pieces
2 tsp. freshly grated lemon zest
1/2 tsp. salt
5 cloves garlic, minced
1 pound raw shrimp
1 c. chicken broth
1 tsp. cornstarch
2 Tbs. lemon juice
2 Tbs. chopped fresh parsley

Heat 2 tsp. oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add bell peppers, asparagus, lemon zest and 1/4 tsp. salt and cook, stirring occasionally, until just beginning to soften, about 6 minutes. Transfer the veggies to a bowl; cover to keep warm.

Add the reaming 2 tsp. oil and garlic to the pan and cook, stirring, about 30 seconds. Add shrimp and cook, stirring, for 1 minute. Whisk broth and cornstarch in a small bowl until smooth and add to the pan along with the remaining 1/4 tsp. salt. Cook, stirring, until the sauce has thi9ckened slightly and the shrimp are pink and just cooked through, about 2 minutes. Remove from the heat. Stir in lemon juice and parsley. Serve the shrimp and sauce over the veggies.

(recipe adapted from EatingWell)

This was absolutely delicious! The tartness from the lemon with the rich shrimp, sweet veggies, and fresh parsley...my mouth is still watering! We served it over a bed of brown rice with a side salad.

I have been anxiously awaiting days like today! And now that they've returned, I'm determined to make sure I don't waste them or take them for granted! I'm so excited!!


Friday, April 19, 2013

{this moment}

Today, I'm joining Amanda (soulemama) and Olive & Owl (a link to her site) with {this moment}.

A simple picture from the week. No words, no explanation, just a simple moment of time captured and shared.

The beautiful craziness of spring!

Please feel free to share your moments as well! It's so fun to see what other beauty is captured in a weeks time!
As a quick side-note, I also want to say that my prayers are with those impacted, and their families, by the bombing at the Boston Marathon on Monday. May Christ hold them in his loving and comforting arms...forever.

Thursday, April 18, 2013

Seedling Update!

I know it has been a while since I've written about my many, MANY, tomato plants (and a few of the other seeds I decided to give a head-start to) so I think it's time!

After having started my tomatoes at the beginning of February, this is where I stand in the middle of April:

I'm fairly proud; though not quite as tall yet as those you would buy from a nursery or retail store, they are, however, all between 6-10" tall with good sets of leaves and thick stems that are growing steadily stronger. I'm so excited!

I have moved them into an eastward facing window, so they are receiving a good deal of strong morning sun, and I've been giving them dilute amounts of my liquid worm fertilizer. I also noticed that they were looking a little spindly. When tomato plants are stressed (from wind or things that threaten their longevity) they release a hormone that promotes growth, thus strengthening their stems. So when the wicked high desert winds blow, they can survive and thrive, and eventually produce fruit!

So, in order to mimic the outdoor environment, I placed a fan in from of my tender plants and turned it on a low rotation. For about 6 hours a day, they are exposed to a small breeze that will help strengthen them and prepare them for their summer home!

So now I must wait a bit longer...actually until the snow disappears from the top of Black Butte (an old gardeners tale that states that you plant tomatoes in central Oregon when the snow is gone from the top of Black Butte).

My seeds are also doing well outside. The bock Choy is thriving, as well as my spinach, broccoli, Swiss chard, peas, Brussels spouts, and other cruciferous vegetables, and my radishes and lettuces I just planted have also sprung to life!

Even though our nights are still down into freezing temperatures, I am so eager to do more and more in my small homestead garden!

What are you experiencing this time of year?
Whether you are in spring or fall, I'd love to hear how you are enjoying you garden and how it is impacting you!


Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Aloha: Part II

I know it has been a little while since I began my story about my Hawaiian adventure, so I think it’s time I continue on with the story. Here’s part II:

After our day of relaxation and exploration, we were given the opportunity to get up early and join friends and members of the Waikoloa Canoe Club for an excursion to remember: go out into the open ocean in a six person outrigger canoe and maybe have the opportunity to get close to some of the migrating humpback whales! Cam and I were thrilled at the opportunity, to say the least! 

Monday, April 15, 2013

Of Course It Is!

After all we have been through this spring - temperatures in the 70's, extremely high winds, rain, night-time lows back into the 20's, sunny, cloudy, did I mention windy? - the hail/snow mix we experienced today topped it off! I know every year possesses its challenges but for whatever reason, this season seems to have so many more extremes than years past. I have had to adapt, readapt, and readapt to my re-adaptation...I hope there's a learning curve!

Sunday, April 14, 2013

Garden Prep

Last month, I was fortunate enough to be able to get out and add some of my beautiful compost to my garden soil. The weather held long enough for me to till it into the cool earth, allowing it to enrich the soil that would soon house my vegetable garden.

Soon after that I mudded in my peas...and I waited. Then I transplanted my cruciferous vegetables, and again, I waited. And as spring approaches and nice weather MUST be nipping-at-our-heels, I feel that my soil work is not yet finished.

Today was yet another weather whirlwind. It was warm and sunny, then cold and windy and even flurries of snow graced us. But as all of this was taking place, I decided I had work that had to be done. I put on my big-girl-panties (sorry to embarrass anyone :-) and got to work. I started up the trusty tiller - on loan from grandpa, but it was great-grandpas! - and began loosening up the soil once again.

As I plowed my little plot, I wanted to make sure that this time, along with the compost already added, I would add one last additional supplement: Cascade Minerals.  This product is not a fertilizer; it contains natural minerals that are essential to plant health and growth. I am hoping that it will mainly help with my overall garden health, providing the tender plants with the nutrients they need to thrive. This is their product description:

"Cascade Minerals is made from finely milled volcanic basalt, the rock material from which many soils around the world have been formed. Over time, weathering breaks down the natural mineral component of soil which can result in low or imbalanced fertility. Applying Cascade Minerals to your lawn or garden is like adding a fresh deposit of natural soil minerals. Gardeners have reported that their plants are vigorous and fruits & vegetables are much better tasting when using this product. Because Cascade Minerals is not a fertilizer and contains no synthetic chemicals or man-made additives, it is safe to use around your plants, children and pets when used as directed."
 I simply applied this mineral supplement according to the package directions and tilled it into my soil. After tilling and raking it smooth, I decided it was time to plant my beets and Kohlrabi. After making sure the seed were safely tucked into their new homes, I covered them loosely with chicken wire to deter any local pests (cats, dogs, rodents, etc.) from digging them up. Snow, followed by the briefest of drizzles, graced my late morning so it was a perfect time to finish up for the day! Now I wait.
My compost does a phenomenal job on its own. We've had a great garden for the past three years using it. But this year I wanted to try something different; something to make it better than years past! By adding this to the soil I am hoping to see some noticeable differences in plant vigor and perhaps health and taste...if I continue to apply it according to their directions. And I intend too! Making this years garden GREAT is at the top of my to-do list and I hope this is the first step in that direction!
I'll keep you up-to-date on what I find :) Are you learning anything new in your garden so far this year? What types of things do you know work really well for you and what things are you excited to try this year? Share with us please...I love to hear it all!

Saturday, April 13, 2013

{this moment}

Today, I'm joining Amanda (soulemama) and Olive & Owl (a link to her site) with {this moment}.

A simple picture from the week. No words, no explanation, just a simple moment of time captured and shared.

The Mighty Willow
Please feel free to share your moments as well! It's so fun to see what other beauty is captured in a weeks time!

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Natural Beauty of Spring

When spring rushes in, it brings with it all the pure and flawless beauty that only awakening from a period of dormancy can bring about. The flowers come out in full bloom; perfect green leaves begin to show their tiny faces beneath exquisite and fragrant blossoms of fruit to come this summer; blades of deep green grass emerge from our winter lawns; tender seedlings spring from the soil as it warms in the lengthening sunshine. We can all feel it. It's a peace and hope of the newness to come. This is how spring feels to me.

But this season also brings with it moments of dreariness. Sometimes the skies are completely grey, the wind howls through the trees and our homes, and the rain will either entrench us in a drizzle or pour down upon us almost as if God was emptying his bath! These are the times we wish would quickly pass...."rain, rain, go away, come again another day!" We begin to long for the warm calm days of summer.

I know this will probably sound really juvenile but it is none-the-less true: "April showers bring May flowers." Stop and think about this nursery rhyme for a moment. If we never had these periods of warmth, rain, clouds, and wind, would we be blessed with beautifully strong plants through the hot and trying summer? Would we be as thankful for the long gorgeous days we experience in the summer, or would we simply take them for granted because they are so common? Honestly, and sadly, I must admit that I would probably not appreciate them as much if I did not first experience a need.

Spring is almost like the gray areas of life: that in-between place we don't like to admit exists. We like black and white...gray seems to just throw a wrench into our engines! Gray make things hard to plan and sometimes hard to foresee good things to come. But what I am trying to work on now is my willingness to just accept things as they come. Like the transition from winter to summer, facets must gradually change in order for the most beautiful elements to bless us.

It isn't always easy. Gardener or not, sometimes we just long for a day filled of warm sunshine, green, lush surroundings, no bugs, and a gentle breeze that skirts the fluffy clouds across the pristine sky! Bliss in our very own back-yard (or patio, or park, or wherever you find your garden:-)! I know I'm ready!

God revels everything in His perfect time. My anticipation and longing reminds me of Psalm

...The whole earth is filled with awe at your wonders;
where morning dawns, where evening fades,
you call forth songs of joy.
You care for the land and water it;
you enrich it abundantly.
The streams of God are filled with water
to provide the people with grain.
for so you have ordained it.
You drench its furrows and level its ridges;
you soften it with showers and bless its crops.
You crown the year with your bounty,
and your carts overflow with abundance.
The grasslands of the wilderness overflow;
the hills are clothed with gladness.
The meadows are covered with flocks
and the valleys are mantled with grain;
they shout for joy and sing.

The Lord has everything under control. He has planned out how everything is to progress...perfectly! It's time I trusted His promises. This verse serves as a reminder to me: He cares for all, unconditionally!

So when those gray areas creep up on me and create a sense of uneasiness, I will remember this verse. God has always, and WILL always, care for us. Spring is a transition into summer...everything will work together to create something remarkable! I can't wait!


How does this make you feel? What kinds of things are you experiencing this time of year? Please share...I love hearing from you!

Monday, April 8, 2013

Eggs and Lentils...They're What's For Dinner!

No matter how hectic and busy life gets, there is something so pleasurable about a home-made meal. For me, it's not just the meal though. It's the comfort, excitement, and fun that cooking actually brings...especially when its a new recipe!

We have had just a few very 'trying' days as of late and have been feeling the depressed mood that accompanies these moments. We learn and adjust but it takes time. To help us through, we have decided to try to make time for the things we enjoy. One would be cooking and trying new recipes.

I love reading cookbooks and cooking magazines! It is one of my passions. I flip through each page, reading and analyzing the ingredients and techniques, trying to retain all the new information and ideas to put to use later...not to mention the fact that I love to find recipes that peak my interest so much that I immediately know it is what I want for dinner that night! It has been fun and I have learned so much from this process.

Tonight is a perfect example how all of this reading and learning has paid off!

Cam and I really enjoy meat. We love having it in some form every night. But lately, we've tried to expand our horizons by cooking with ingredients that don't involve animal proteins.

We have really come to enjoy and appreciate legumes. So much in fact, Cam convinced me to buy a 10 pound bag of lentils (plus we already had many different types of beans in our cupboard)! So now I am constantly on the prowl for new ways to use lentils. We have tried several and have enjoyed them all but tonight I wanted to incorporate another element: poached eggs.

I've never poached an egg nor have I ever eaten a poached egg before tonight. I was reading through the latest Rachael Ray magazine when I cam across a whole section on eggs and the different ways to prepare them. There was something about the picture of the poached eggs that caught my attention, retained my attention, and drove me to desire to make them for myself. That is what led to my culinary inspiration tonight: Roasted Broccoli, Mushroom and Lentil salad with Poached eggs.

It's simple. Roasting the broccoli in the oven gives this already delectable vegetable a perfect smoky sweetness, accompanied by the meaty mushrooms, creamy lentils that are immersed in a Dijon-lemon dressing, and topped off with the richness of a perfectly poached egg and cheese. It was a dinner to remember! Our plates were licked clean, literally!

Here is that recipe. I hope you enjoy!

Roasted Broccoli, Mushroom and Lentil salad with Poached eggs
1 1/2 lbs. broccoli
8 oz. mushrooms
1/2 c. brown lentils
1/2 c. shredded Parmesan cheese
8 large eggs (4 eggs if making this for two, with only lentils left over)
2 Tbs. olive oil
1/2 lemon, juiced
1 tsp. honey or agave (or you can use sugar if you'd like)
1 tsp. Dijon mustard
red pepper flakes, to taste
salt and fresh ground pepper
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. Cut Broccoli into bite-sized pieces and place on large rimmed baking sheet. Drizzle with olive oil and salt, then toss to coat. Spread out on baking sheet and roast until broccoli becomes caramelized on the edges, about 15-20 minutes, making sure to toss half-way through cooking time.
In the meantime, bring 1 c. of water or chicken broth to a boil in a medium sauce pan. Add the lentils, reduce heat, cover, and simmer 15-20 minutes, our until tender but not mushy. Drain when cooked.
While the broccoli roasts and the lentils cook, chop mushrooms into small pieces and place into a skillet with a drizzle of oil. Sautee until browned and tender. Remove from heat and set aside.
Whisk together the vinaigrette ingredients.
In a large serving bowl (of if your lentil sauce pan is large enough, use that...save yourself another dish :) combine lentils, roasted broccoli, mushrooms and vinaigrette. Toss gently to combine.
While lentil salad marinates, briefly, bring a large skillet filled with water to a boil. Add a splash of white vinegar and reduce heat to bring the water to a gentle simmer. Drop eggs carefully into the simmering water, one at a time, and cover to poach. Cook, lifting off the bottom if they touch, until they reach the desired doneness: 3 minutes for pretty runny, 4-5 minutes for medium-hard, and  5+ for a hard egg.
Place lentil salad onto serving plates. Remove eggs with a slotted spoon and place on top of the lentil salad. Grate parmesan cheese over the eggs and lentils. Serve immediately.
 I hope you give this a try...I don't think it will disappoint! 
If you try this for yourself, let me know what you think! Is there anything that should be changed or added or removed? What did you like and what did you dislike? Any and all help would be most welcomed!

Friday, April 5, 2013

{This Moment}

Today, I'm joining Amanda (soulemama) and Olive & Owl (a link to her site) with {this moment}.

A simple picture from the week. No words, no explanation, just a simple moment of time captured and shared.

Please feel free to share your moments as well! It's so fun to see what other beauty is captured in a weeks time!

Thursday, April 4, 2013

Early Spring...Under Glass

I love to tinker. I love to collect "junk." I love to experiment, explore, and create. I love to roll up my sleeves, get my hands dirty, and work my tush off for the things I want to accomplish. This is me. And as I continue to grow in years, I also feel like I have come to appreciate this aspect of myself; it's no longer something to be shy or embarrassed about. No, it's time to embrace it and enjoy it in its entirety!

Having said this - almost as a warning for the off-the-wall crafts projects I come up with ;) - I have really come to enjoy the time I spend trying something new. And today was no exception! Aside from the intense winds that billowed around my house, today was a perfect spring day in which to putter around and create.

I was able to withstand the wind long enough to transplant my Brussels sprouts, cabbage, cauliflower, broccoli, swill chard and spinach, plant my arugula, radish, green onion, and mustard green seeds, and plant my lettuces in my lettuce table!! That was productive. But out of necessisity I also had some time to be simply creative.

The days are getting longer now and the temperatures are rising...slightly. Unfortunately, since we are in the high desert, the nights still get down into the low to mid 30's, which is still too cold for may delicate garden plants. But I have decided to try to come up with a solution. Aside from owning a greenhouse (which I one day long to have, but right now, I am limited on space and funds!), I know there are ways to mimic more desireable temperatures thus lengthening our growing season. Cold frames, high tunnels, hoop houses...the list can become expansive. But given our strong winds, and my lack of space, I feel I am limited to what I can do.

This last summer we finally broke down and spent the money to have three of our larger windows replaced (they were completely broken and falling out of their frames! It was about time we did it, ha!). Part of the instillation process included the removal of the old windows and frames. Being me, I asked the men if I could keep the old windows. You should have seen the look on their faces as I made my request. One would think I had just asked for a vital organ! It was priceless, yet I felt somewhat embarrassed to ask. But these were huge window panes; unbroken and unblemished. The possibilities for these double-paned pieces were something I was willing to risk embarrassment for!

Now, when Cam returned home from work that day...that was another story. I'm pretty sure the look he gave me when he saw the old windows still sitting in the front of our house and hearing that I requested they be left behind, was one of shock. He couldn't wrap his mind around the possibilities I envisioned. I saw a cute lean-to greenhouse to protect my tender plants; a wall of windows on a small Victorian chic inspired shed, where I could house my delicate - perhaps tropical - plants all winter and would be able to spend time consumed by my passion for the garden; a picture of a small Victorian greenhouse even passed through my mind. But Cam saw junk. Garbage that needed to be disposed of. Period.  I assured him that I would, at some point in the not too distant future, put these windows to good use but that did little to ease his mind. But my powers of 'wife' prevailed and he decided to let me store these windows, tucked into the back of the garage, until I could put them to use.

Several months have passed since that day. Fall and winter have come and gone. Now spring is upon us and I am anxious to get out there watch my garden grow and thrive! Unfortunately the weather isn't on the same page as I am at this point and I am learning a lesson in patience. But my gardeners desire is proving to be quite persistent and I find myself searching for ways to extend our short growing season of the high desert. 

My cool weather plants (broccoli, cabbage, cauliflower, Brussels spouts, Bok Choy, and others) are ready to move into their permanent outdoor home but admittedly, I am nervous for their survival. I have hardened them for four days, but the cold nights are still worrisome...perhaps because I am still a new gardener but I'm not ready to lose them all because I couldn't be patient.

A greenhouse would be ideal right about now, and one day I would LOVE to own one. I can only dream of how much I could do with one! But in the mean time I have tried to create a more economical way to help accomplish my goal.  I decided to finally put those discarded old windows to good use and create a little greenhouse to protect my small and young plants from the harsh elements! These are the two I've created and have put to use so far!

Last year I built a very rustic raised bed in my serenity garden (a name a refer to it as because it is completely blocked off form the dogs which keeps it pristine and all mine :). As I began to make plans for my garden, I decided this bed would be perfect for growing my bok Choy, radishes, and spinach. Knowing I wanted to protect these plants a little for the cold nights and extreme winds, I decided to take the largest of my windows, prop it against the outermost edge of the bed and lean it so it rested on the fence directly behind. There is plenty of ventilation but the glass warms the soil nicely during the day and holds some of the heat in at night! So far, my spinach and bok Choy are looking great!

The next is just as simple. I decided that I wanted a little more protection for my new Brussels sprouts that I planted into the ground away from any form of refuge. I decided that a little glass tepee  would be the perfect solution. I took two window panes and placed one on each of the outer edges of my planted area. I then leaned the two panes into the center - towards each other - so they came to rest on each other, sturdily. The warmth this creates from the sun during the day creates a natural hot house! My spouts are thriving!!

 After months of saving, I've finally put those windows to good use! My seedlings are holding up quite well in their new sheltered homes and I am hoping it may even help with germination times for the seeds I just set out! And another perk...I think they provide visual interest in my garden at a time when things still look barren. I'm enjoying it very much and hopefully I'll be reaping some of the rewards of early plantings soon! :)