Tuesday, April 17, 2018

Antique Tractor Show

This gorgeous spring weather got us outside for a field trip.
We visited The North Carolina Transportation Museum in Spencer
for the annual Tractors & Trains Festival.

This has always been one of our favorite destinations on vacations.
Now that we live so close by, we decided to purchase a family membership.
There are many events scheduled throughout the year,
so we know we'll be back again and again.

This place has so much to see,
especially for history buffs. 

The Roundhouse is filled with vintage trains that are serviced by 
an array of dedicated volunteers. 
We've wandered through this area many times.
You can read about one of our visits here.

 Today, the tractors took Center Stage.
Just look at this 
combine harvester!

 No matter what type of tractor you favor,
there was something here for every tractor lover.

Also on display were many of the vintage and antique autos 
housed in the workshop that is not usually open to the public.

The model railroaders were on site,
with a massive display.
I can't imagine the hours and patience it took to get them set up.
Everything is so realistic, down to the last detail.

We ambled through part of the museum on our way to the rest of the tractor exhibit.
There is so much to learn about our nation's early modes of transportation. 
What a fantastic homeschooling field trip!

 This sweet little mailtruck always catches my eye.
The mail used to be delivered using this buggy and a whole lotta horsepower!

We took a 20-minute train ride in a restored car.
One of the perks of obtaining membership at the museum
is that all train rides are free!
There's nothing quite like the relaxed jostling of the train 

 Several hands-on demonstrations were presented,
including this apple press,

 as well as this hand-cranked corn sheller.
Folks sure had to work hard back in the day!

Artisans Joe Allen (top), Sonny Howell (middle) and Tad W. Kepley (bottom) displayed their wares
We were able to enjoy several craftsman exhibiting their creations.
Hand-forged steel, iron sculptures and hand-carved spoons
were just a few of the items available for purchase.

 There was even a Master Gardener display.
Of course, I had to chat with these nice ladies for a while.
Their main focus at this event was to educate folks
about the importance of supporting bats.
Did you know that bats are pollinators?

What a fabulous place to spend some family time.

It seems that every time we visit,
there is something we learn anew.
It is indeed "The Museum That Moves You"!

so you can check it out before you pay them a visit.

Love to Learn blog hop | link up | linky | blogging | homeschooling | education | kids activities | kids craft ideas

Friday, April 13, 2018

Garden Friday

 Welcome to Garden Friday!
It's lookin' more like spring every day!

A check on the seeded lettuces tells me that it's time to transplant these
and sow some more.
Some of the kale will be ready to be potted up in another week.

 The straw bales are slow to germinate,
but the transplanted kale is doing well.
We haven't had much rain, 
so the soaker hoses have been cycled on daily.
We are hoping to be slammed with showers on Sunday.

 The potatoes are finally starting to peek through the straw
in the towers.
Once they get a bit bigger, we'll hill them up with more soil.

A couple of snap pea seedlings have popped up.
I'm thinking that I need to buy some new seed,
as this seed may no longer be too viable.
Sprouting some in a plastic bag sounds like a good idea about now.

 Three types of beets are being grown
and they have each started to burst through the soil.
We're growing Detroit Red, Detroit Golden and Chioggia varieties.

The Vates kale that sailed through the winter months
has finally gone to seed.
The delicate yellow flowers are similar to the ones I've seen on bolted broccoli. 
Just for kicks, I took a taste and it was still tasty.
We have seedlings going, so we can feel comfortable pulling this up.

Last week, we used this peat pot set to start our warmer weather seeds.
Cantaloupe, eggplant, peppers and tomatoes have all been grown before,
but it will be our first venture into watermelon.
I can feel the juice dripping down my chin already!

The germination rate was pretty good.
You can see the tomatoes (in the background) were ready to go!
What a thrill to see all these goodies coming up!

This week, C and I took the lid off of the compost bin in the side yard.
We found lots of little critters crawling around in it,
but it wasn't as composted as I'd hoped.
The fault is mine, as I wasn't very good about turning it.
It will remain where it is and slowly break down.
We moved the bin to another spot and will start over. 
I'm thinking of starting two or three piles inside of wire fencing in the fall, 
so it can more easily be turned. 
Thankfully, we have plenty of space out there.
This clay soil needs as much help as it can get,
and I will be working on amending every square inch of growing space.

 One of the discoveries we made while spreading the compost out
was one of our Halloween luminaries.

 This tree has been carted from Florida to the rental house to here.
It finally got planted out back.
We want more privacy and most of our wooded area is filled with
deciduous trees.  A few more of these evergreens should fill it in nicely.

 The birds are blessing us with their antics daily,
especially in the early morning hours, while I'm having my coffee.
This woodpecker visits the bird feeder but can't fit on the ledge,
so he acrobatically hangs by one claw and scarfs what he can reach.

This azalea bush is loaded with blossoms!
It must be loving the soil where it is,
so I dare not move it.

 There are multiple blooms on one stem, just gorgeous!

 It feels like spring now,
but I've been saying that for the last few weeks,
hoping the blast of winter would stay away.
I think we might be in the clear now,
at least I hope so.
There is so much to do in the garden
and now is the perfect time.

What's happening in your spring garden?

Tuesday, April 10, 2018

Savor the Sowing!

Happy Birthday, my dear friend Faye!

Last week got a whole lot better
when I received my Sow True Seed order.
When those seeds show up on our doorstep,
it's like Christmas and my birthday all rolled into one!
In fact,
someone from the company called me on Tuesday
about substituting a couple of things that they didn't have,
and I got the order on Wednesday!
This seed company treats you right,
and they are based in nearby Asheville.

Here's the spread.
There are a few things I can start right now
and a few things for a bit later.
I've always had great germination with their seeds,
and it makes me feel good
knowing they are open-pollinated, untreated
and GMO-free.

 This is the first time I'm growing beans for drying.
I use a lot of dried beans for vegetarian dishes,
so it makes sense to grow my own.
I'm looking forward to learning about a new crop.

 This Whipple variety was substituted for the October bean I ordered.
I can already picture it in some homemade chili!

 My farmer friend Lynn in Florida introduced me to Tatsoi,
which is a dark Asian green.
It grows compactly, so I'm thinking of using it as a border plant.
Scrumptious in salads or just for snacking,
it'll be a wonderful addition to the garden.

 Here's a new venture.
I've only grown onions with sets,
so it'll be interesting to see how these seeds grow.
We use onions almost daily,
so it sure would be nice to have our own stash.

 The cantaloupe and watermelon will be started in trays
and then transplanted.
Even though spring hasn't much showed Herself,
it's already time to plant some summer goodies!
I'm grateful that we have room on the property to let these roam.

One of my clients (and neighbors) had given me
this tray of peat pots.
I knew I wanted to use it for inside seed starting,
so I saved it for this occasion.

The tray comes with 36 peat pots already snuggled in their spots.
All that is needed is a little water and time to let it soak in.

The pots drink up the water and go from this

to this in a matter of minutes.
There is a fine mesh lining around the soil
to keep it in place as the plants grow.
Once the seeds germinate and get a bit of size to them,
the whole pot goes into the planting spot,
whether that is a container or a planting bed.

I'm pretty late on getting my tomatoes and peppers started.
But I'm getting a jump start on eggplant, cantaloupe and watermelon.
These will sit on top of the fridge until the weather decides to cooperate and get consistently warmer.
Then it can be placed outside in a spot that gets filtered light.

C'mon spring!

I'm not sure why it is so thrilling to get those seeds in the mail.
Maybe it's the idea that the packages represent 
a whole mess of possibilities.
So much potential wrapped up in one little pouch.
If you're a gardener, you know just what I'm talkin' about.
Savor the Sowing!

Friday, April 6, 2018

Garden Friday

 It's Garden Friday, y'all!
Spring is jumpin' and poppin'!
Let's take a look at what's going on in the garden.

 The straw bales have been planted, along with some containers.
We transplanted some kale (pictured) and green beans directly into the bales.
Seeds were sown for beets, broccoli, carrots, kale, lettuces, and snap peas right in the bales.
We haven't had much rain, so I've been using the soaker hose every day.
There are a few lettuce varieties coming up in the pots since sowing last Friday.

 On the deck, the seedling trays continue to grow,
especially after soaking them in a slurry of Mighty Grow and water.
These will be transplanted to containers when they get a bit more size on them.
It seems like everything is just ready to take off!

 A few things have popped up out of the ground in the past couple of weeks.
This clematis came right back all on its own.
It is being trained up the deck steps
and I'm hoping it will cover the entire railing posts.
This is a new plant for me, but one I've secretly admired,
so it's thrilling to have it doing its thing without a bit of help from me!

 These sweet violas were picked up at Piedmont Hardware in Maiden.
They called my name when I was walking past
and I just couldn't leave them there.
They will be installed in the next few days.
If you've never visited this historic hardware store, I highly recommend you do.
The folks there are so friendly and happy to help you get your projects done.

 This area of our property is outta control.
The loropetalum is huge and in need of a serious pruning,
but until I learn more about it, I don't dare touch it.
The azaleas in front of it are a mess,
but since they are now blooming and budding, 
any tidying up will have to wait.
This grouping of plants is sitting smack-dab on top of our septic tank.
I'm not sure what the previous owners were thinking...

I can't say the azaleas are my favorite flowers,

 but they do add a wealth of vibrant color to the garden.
They might be more appealing to me
if their placement were changed.
They just don't seem to fit the current space appropriately.

 We also have quite a variety of shades of tulips on the property.
Everything from this brilliant orange, to pink, yellow,

and this delicate white tulip laced in purple.
It's so amazing to see the degrees of beauty that surrounds us.

 I found out that this ground cover we have out front is phlox.
While it is a sight to behold,
I do prefer the more blu-ish shade.
In fact, my next door neighbor has some,
and I just may be bold enough to ask her for some.

There are still daffs coming up in tones of white, yellow
and a few others with a mix of the two.

The apple tree is blooming and although I'm not getting my hopes up 
about being able to pick any for our use,
I plan to leave it in place in case the deer wish to partake.
The gentleman we bought the house from
told us that the apples and peaches grown on the property were sickly
and I don't think any care was taken to improve the conditions of the trees.
After learning about how difficult apple, peach and pear trees are to grow here,
I don't foresee us acquiring any in the future.

Not sure (actually don't have a clue) what this beauty is,
but the flowers are gorgeous!
My smeller doesn't work well,
so it's hard for me to get clues about flowering plants by the scent.
It's a keeper, so I'll have to pay attention to getting it pruned
so that it stays healthy while I work on identifying it.

 This path connects the front lawn to the side gardening area.
The mammoth bush on the left will most likely be taken out,
although I do feel badly as the birds take cover there.
It's just too big and directly shades the bathroom window.
I was thinking of turning this lil' corner into an herb garden
with some lemon grass in the back and smaller plants in the front.
The loropetalum sits on the right side and will remain there.
I'd like to create an archway here and start training
a vine over the top.
Something fragrant would be wonderful.
Any suggestions?

Blossoms are bountiful right now
and I can only imagine that as it warms up,
the magic will become absolutely undeniable.

Has spring made Her entrance where you live?