Monday, June 13, 2016

Outdoor Mom's Journal - June

During our outdoor time in early-June, we went....

The latter part of May and beginning of June was spent outdoors planting. This year I planted blueberries and raspberries in the pumpkin patch that's near the bees.

Spending time with the bees takes about an hour each time we check on them. Each of the hives is doing well; and we've already added the second box so the queen has more room to lay eggs.

I still have strawberries and more raspberry bushes to plant. However, the latter still hasn't arrived from the seed/plant company. Looks like I may have to cancel that order since it's so late for planting this year.

We'll also be doing some staggered plantings of carrots, beans, and other crops so that we have produce throughout the late summer and fall.

•The most inspiring thing we experienced was...

My sister and I visited the Chihuly Garden and Glass in Seattle. There was both an indoor museum of some of Chihuly's pieces as well as an outdoor garden that integrated his work with nature. One of my favorite sections was one that was done in purple.

There were tall, slender purple glass sculptures along the back of the garden. In front, there were ferns, driftwood, and flowers.

I saw flowers that I had never seen before. It was almost as if someone painted them to match the glass sculptures. The flowers below are African Daisies.

•Our outdoor time made us ask (or wonder about)...

We were able to see the Columbia River on this trip. This particular section of it was so interesting because the cliffs on the other side showed layers of rock of various colors.

The terrain was rugged and dotted with fragrant sagebrush. At the bottom of the hill, near the river, were the original roads that were used to deliver mail from one town to the other.

At the International Test Rose Garden, I saw a hydrangea bush that was blue. I have white hydrangeas and have always wanted to have a blue one.

Somewhere it was written that you can change the white flowers to blue by making the soil more acidic. I'm wondering if that's possible, and if it would work on some of the flowers at our farm.

In the garden, we are planning/planting/harvesting....

Last week when I left for Seattle, all the garden-in-a-box kits were planted. Also had three flower gardens completely done and covered with mulch. What a difference the mulch makes in terms of finishing it off.

I still have quite a few gardens left that I want to plant this year with perennials (bulbs and native wildflowers), vegetables, and fruit. This summer will be a work-in-progress...a kind of "catch up" time after nine years of caregiving.

One of the things I kept seeing in Seattle were mass plantings of lavender.

At first I thought perhaps it was some other type of decorative perennial. was lavender that smelled incredibly good when it was touched. I wish lavender would grow like that in Minnesota.

•I added nature journal pages about....

Although I didn't add any pages to my nature journal, I do have a couple of topics to write about. When I was in the Pacific Northwest this past week, I saw two birds that I want to write about:
- yellow-headed blackbird. Saw one on the side of the road in Washington.
- killdeer. Saw quite a few in Idaho. Reminded me of the ones we saw when we moved out to Plymouth when I was a child.

I also want to write about the eco-region we saw that was east of the Cascade Mountains: shrub-steppe.

There were plants that I have never seen before:
- sagebrush
- hedgehog cactus

I could add a section about farm animals since I haven't written about them. My sister and I stayed at an alpaca ranch in Idaho; and had the opportunity to see these animals up close.

They were inquisitive and wanted a closer view of us...but not so close that we could touch them.

I also could add a section in the nature journal about wild animals that I saw while on the trip. In addition to the nine wild turkeys in Idaho at the alpaca ranch, I saw this deer on the way back to Seattle. We stopped the car to watch it eat. The young buck, with velvet still on his antlers, seemed unbothered by us watching him.

While we were on the train going from Seattle to Portland, we saw five deer as we headed into Portland. Three of them were young bucks, their antlers still developing.

•I am reading...

During the trip, I read two books about Charlotte Mason's educational philosophy and how to apply that to a homeschool setting. There were many ideas that I'm already doing. However, there were ideas that I want to start incorporating starting next year.

With the girls starting tenth and eighth grades, the time is going by so quickly. I want to make sure that we all are getting the most out of our time together...which is equally as important as the time spent with the academic work we do together.

•I am dreaming about…

One of the things I enjoyed about traveling to the Pacific Northwest was seeing things that we don't see in Minnesota.

On June 4th, when my sister and I arrived in Seattle, we drove to Des Moines (southwest of Seattle) and spent time at a farmers market there.

In the distance, we could see the Olympic Mountain Range. Most of the mountains are in Olympic National Park. Some day I'd like to go was just a bit too far for this trip.

Driving from Seattle to Idaho, we stopped at Snoqualmie Falls. There's a hydroelectric dam at the top of the falls.

On the way from Seattle to Idaho, we stopped at almost every state park. There were beautiful lakes, trees, and/or mountains at each one.

• Some photos I would like to share...

The last stop that we made on the trip was to the International Rose Test Garden in Portland.

The roses were in full bloom. There had to be tens of thousands of flowers and buds on the rose bushes.

Although it was raining on and off, it made for some interesting photos.

The rain drops sat in random patterns on the rose petals.

We saw roses in such a wide range of colors and color combinations. Many times, there were multiple roses blooming on each stem.

There were roses that I didn't even know existed - like the ones that had variegated leaves with yellows, pinks, reds, and whites.

One of the things that intrigued me was that on one rose bush there could be bouquets of flowers that varied substantially in color. They were so beautiful.


Every inch of space was used - even the hills and slopes were covered with roses.

There were unique ways that the roses were displayed - including a triple arch.

At first we went row by row to see each rose.

We would smell them, I would take a photograph of the name plate so I knew which ones were fragrant. I like roses that have a heavy scent.

Other flowers I enjoyed seeing because there were just so many together. I especially liked the single blooming flower surrounded by buds in various stages.

It was difficult to choose a favorite rose. There were so many that I saw that I liked.

I spent some time today looking up the names of the roses I liked and to see if they were available.

With the exception of a couple of roses, all them are available for purchase from either Heirloom Roses or White Flower Farm. Although I know we don't have the same climate as Portland has which lends itself well to helping the roses grow so tall and prolifically, it still would be nice to see which roses would grow here and be able to withstand the frigid winter weather.


Barb McCoy said...

Your trip sounds incredible! We haven't been to Seattle in a very long time but we were in Idaho last year....gorgeous! Thank you for sharing all your insights about the plants and habitats you visited. I wish we could sit and talk in person because learning about new things in nature is what keeps me happy now that I don't homeschool my boys any more. I find that when I am learning, I am happiest. Thanks again and have a great rest of your month.

Rita said...

Wow! Some of those roses are just stunning! Well, they were all gorgeous.
That was quite a trip. Hitting all the state parks you could was awesome.
There were killdeer when we moved to Fridley and a lot of the land was still natural prairie. Skinks, garter snakes, salamanders, ground squirrels, bats, crows, mourning doves, meadowlarks, rabbits (but not the huge jackrabbits they have up here in Fargo).
I hope you find some roses that would love to live in Minnesota!! :) :)