Spring Gardening


Transplanted strawberries and the handsome fence is up, (Note the edge of our giant pile o’ brush.)

We had a busy couple of days in the yard and garden. I want to make a point of keeping up on progress in the garden because it is the most visible part of my little farm in town–which feels like less of a farm these days without the chickens.

I have a friend who is happily supplying me with various types of manure, including chicken manure, so my compost pile will be burning bright. Right now it is heating up impressively with some extremely fresh cow manure. That cow manure is like jet fuel!

Saturday we hauled a lot of branches from the willow, maple, birch, the cherry tree




we had to cut down this past winter, and some branches from one of the pines and various noxious brambles and rose-bush cuttings. We stacked them on the curb for the city to pick up. I saved the bigger branches for firewood. My husband did a lot of raking of leaves and willow twigs and mulched the raspberry patch. I hate raking. I’d rather get scratched up digging brambles–which I did!

Today, I spread compost and my husband dug it in. It is always a good idea to reserve a 30-gallon garbage can of this precious substance for spring planting. I always top up all of my containers with compost before planting. I also try to treat all of my planting beds with it either in the fall or spring. I was fortunate to get a load of well-rotted goat manure last fall, so I didn’t need to use as much compost this spring.

Spuds that started growing without permission in the perfect growing conditions of my dark, cool pantry.

Potatoes planted!

Glads about to go into the ground.

After the ground was prepared, I planted red, russet, and Yukon Gold potatoes; mixed color gladioli; early white kohlrabi; white, red, and watermelon radishes; green and red romaine lettuce; and some purple-topped turnips.  I also dug and transplanted everbearing strawberries while my husband took down the ugly (but functional) winter fence along the sidewalk and replaced it with the handsome black metal fence we put away during the winter to save it from corrosion and snowplows.

I did quite a bit of hand watering of transplants, the glad corms, and my two cold frames of greens, which are coming along nicely. In the process, I hooked up my rain barrels. Hopefully, we will get that thunderstorm tonight and I won’t have to do all that watering again for a day or so.

Sam just goes wild over stinkyness!

Sam was my garden buddy. He enjoyed the smell of goat manure and earth on the rake I used to smooth the front bed. We call him Mr. Stinky in part because of his fondness for stinky things like unwashed saddle blankets, sweaty human feet, and any type of livestock manure.

I’m tired. Begonia

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Bloglet: A Real Square

Yes, I am a real square. I can’t seem to stop making granny squares.  I donated about 20 granny square loveys paired with small stuffed animals to the Dane County Humane Society this past week and picked up about 20 more little stuffed animals that I will need to pair with 20 more!

This big batch of squares is destined to become my own big lovey, and I already have the  super-soft little animal I will pair with it! Begonia

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Pantry Candy: Four-Ingredient Fudge

I have a sweet tooth. I usually only make candy at Christmas time to give away as presents, but we were out of desserts and I didn’t feel like baking, so I decided to make fudge!

This four-ingredient fudge is foolproof. It is easier to make and never develops sugar crystals like my old recipe. There is no messy marshmallow fluff to fuss with and only one dish to wash when you are done.

Here is the basic recipe for Four-Ingredient Fudge:

  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • 4 cups (24 ounces) of semisweet chocolate chips
  • 1 (14 ounce) can of sweetened condensed milk
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  1. Line a 9 x 9-inch pan with aluminum foil.
  2. Combine chocolate chips and butter in a covered glass casserole dish, and microwave on high for 1 minute and then in 30 second intervals until it stirs smooth with all chocolate melted.
  3. Add extract and sweetened condensed milk to chocolate mixture and stir well.
  4. Pour into prepared pan and chill until firm.
  5. Lift out of pan and cut into 1-inch squares. Store in refrigerator.

You can vary the flavor of this fudge by using different types of baking chips. You could substitute or use in combination peanut butter, butterscotch, milk chocolate, white chocolate, mint, cherry, or cinnamon-flavored chips. You could also change or combine different flavored extracts, such as almond, orange, rum, or peppermint.

I added dried fruit and toasted nuts to my fudge: orange-flavored craisins, apricots, and toasted almonds, pistachios, and pecans. (Toast by spreading the nuts in a shallow pan and roasting them in a 350 F oven for about 5 minutes, stirring occasionally.) Add along with the milk and extract.

One piece of this fudge and a cup of strong coffee satisfies because it has so much flavor and sugar intensity. I hope you enjoy this recipe as much as I do. Begonia




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