JoJo the Yorkie and I curled up yesterday to pick the top 11 stories that we posted during 2011 here on Acorns On Glen. Some of us curled up a little too much. Can you see where JoJo starts and the faux fur blanket ends? We started this blog in February as a way for us to realize and then give thanks for all the great things that happen in our lives. You just can’t take life for granted and this blog is a great way for us to reflect and cherish the fact that we have great family, great friends and now a whole group of great people that visit Acorns On Glen on a frequent basis. We’ve been blown away by the number of people that stop by and read our posts. Thanks to all of you who have welcomed us into your lives this year. The posts that have been visited the most are varied, but the majority of the top 11 seems to show that all of you, our readers, like good food and how to cook it. Here are 2011’s top 11 posts:
Our Notorius B.I.G. (Brooklyn Italian Grandmother) heads the list with her great recipe for cubanelle peppers.
You liked our sight-seeing trip down in Charleston, South Carolina.
The story about the begonia tubers I’ve had for years is our most viewed gardening post.
You like jewelry, eh? Yes you do, big stones with lots of sparkle is what you like.
My bio….you like me, you really like me.
Our first guest blogger shows us how to throw a great birthday tea for the little ones.
A truly magnificent discovery that landed on the back side of our house and stayed for a few days so that we could marvel at it.
Just like us, you enjoyed the cooking of Bill Taibe at his Westport, CT restaurant, Le Farm.
Who can resist this sweet-salty flavor combination? We can’t!
Our little orange and lime trees impressed this year and even gave us a few pieces of fruit.
Finishing off just the way we started, another hit dish from Notorius B.I.G.
So here’s to everyone who has helped make Acorns On Glen a success. We are truly humbled by the response, along with your words of encouragement, and can’t wait to share 2012 with you. We want to wish everyone a Happy New Year (wish I could pass everyone a glass of champagne now) and may 2012 bring you great joy and happiness beyond your wildest imagination.
This is another story here on Acorns On Glen about planting spinach. It’s a deja vu spinach story because I wrote about planting spinach in the Fall and harvesting it in early Spring during the beginning months after creation of this blog. The only thing that is different in this story is the location of where I planted the new Fall crop of spinach. I also hope that the harvesting of our early Spring spinach will be a new twist as well. To be totally honest, I hope that my harvest of any vegetables will make it to the pages of Acorns On Glen. If you review past posts, you will read a lot about planting and initial sprouting, but not anything on end-state harvesting other than a vegetable here or there. Why? Well as they say in real estate, location is everything, and so is the plot you use to build your raised bed gardens.
The trouble started in the late Fall of 2010, when I decided to have some local carpenters help me build my first raised bed garden. I remember walking through the woods outside of our fenced in back yard and finding a spot that was clear of trees and absolutely had the bright sun hitting it for a good part of the day. The garden was built over a few days and we actually used skinny trunks of trees to hold up the metal fencing that we used to keep the deer out of the garden. Everything sounds great so far, right? Yes, they were well laid plans except for one key element. The trees surrounding the clearing in the forest which borders our house did not have leaves on their branches during my Fall scouting adventure. So, of course there would be lots of sun shining throughout the day. What I didn’t plan into the equation was that when the trees had their leaves return in Spring, that those leaves would block off a majority of sunlight through each and every day until they fell off again during Fall! In other words, what I had built was a very expensive shade garden!
At first, when I realized that there were only a few hours of direct sunlight, I was in shock and really unable to process this new fact. It had to be something else! I sent a soil sample to my local agricultural extension, but found that I had really fertile soil. Then I thought it was bad seeds, but maybe one pack could be bad, but 20-30 packs? No way. It was time to man up and face this little mistake.
Thinking back on it, I exhibited all of the signs described in the SARA emotional model. Are you familiar with SARA? When a dramatic event happens in people’s lives, their emotional process in dealing with the event is often referred to as the SARA model. SARA stands for:
- Shock–I can’t believe I could make such a stupid mistake. That’s not like me! This leaves on trees thing has to be wrong.
- Anger–I am pissed that I spent so much money on a glorified shade garden! How could this happen!
- Resistance–I am going to keep planting and I know that these plants will grow. It’s just a bad planting season. This lasted most of the Summer as I planted seed after seed, plant after plant into the shaded raised beds.
- Acceptance–I am going to plant some new Fall spinach in an empty area of my flower garden in the back yard and fit in other vegetable plants there as well when it is time to plant them. It will be pretty. Now where did I lay my new book on shade gardening in raised beds?
All Spring and Summer long, I would be in my resistance mode and keep planting and planting. The seeds would sprout and grow about one inch and then that was it. The plants I grew under the grow light in my basement never really grew much more from the size they were at planting. Final result…I harvested three tomatoes, maybe a squash and a few small radishes. Everything else….you guessed it, there wasn’t anything else. So here’s to the garden of 2012. Let’s hope for a harvest (any kind of harvest) and let’s hope it starts with early Spring spinach.
There are a few areas which are fairly large in size in my flower beds in the back yard that I usually plant annuals in during early Spring. I’ve decided to use these areas for vegetables and quit with the annuals. I am going to plant vegetables in them to mix with all the great flowers and bushes that are present. For the spinach, I picked an area not far from our back door to plant it in over the weekend.
Again, I used the same spinach seed as I did a year ago: one is a traditional smooth leaf and one a savoy or curly leaf.
- ‘Space’ is the smooth-leaf variety. It has medium dark green leaves with are upright and smooth to maybe a little savoyed.
- ‘Tyee’ is the savoyed-leaf variety. It is considered the standard of savoyed spinach for its bolt resistance and vigorous growth. Dark green leaves with an upright growth habit. I was told it was ideal for over-wintering.
To protect the seeds during the harsh Winter, I again used a floating row cover pinned down by pegs to buffer the planted seeds from the elements.
Just like last year, JoJo, our Yorkie was there to oversee the gardening that was occurring. She sends her love to all.
The end result was the same instructions from last year, just in a new location and new hopes for more spinach than we can eat in the early Spring of 2012. This time around I have the seeds, the equipment and pure, bright, unfiltered sun light. This has to work!
So when you see me post something from now on about gardening, but primarily when you see me show a seed being put in the ground, please make me post the subsequent harvest. Help keep me honest and, more importantly, keep me from SARA in 2012. How was your gardening results for the 2011 season?
This is our neighborhood babbling brook. Glen Road has taken on a strict diet and exercise plan starting last Monday. Healthy eating and several walks per week is the charge. If you notice our food posts, most are desserts, so it is time to work a few of those calories off. Most nights this week, we put on our sneakers and put JoJo on a leash and we take off for a 45 minute walk. Yes, even JoJo has indulged a little too much this Summer and needs to lose a few pounds as well. What has been great about these outdoor walks versus walking on a treadmill inside of a gym is that you can really take notice of all the cool things nature has to offer. Like this little brook. We’ve driven over the small bridge that is on top of it for six years, but we have never really stopped and looked at the water that flows through it. We’ve never listened to the babbling water rushing around rocks and tree trunks. We’ve never really taken a look at all of the brook’s bends and turns. Our walks started for the exercise, but now have also gotten us closer to nature. Who would have thought? We never thought we would like to exercise, but this seems to work. What do you notice when you take a walk around your neighborhood?
This is JoJo kicking back and relaxing. Not much going on here on Glen Road this weekend. Lots of heat which makes it perfect for laying in the hammock in the shade and relaxing. What are you doing this weekend?
This is another edition of JoJo’s Journal here on Acorns On Glen….bark! Hello, my loves, it has been so long since the last time I wrote to you. Spring has been so busy for me given that I can actually leave the house now and run around the back yard and investigate everything. All of this running around leads me to my post today. When you are an inquisitive young pup like I am, it comes with a cost. The cost is that you get dirty a lot more often. It only makes sense. There are sheds to crawl under. Grass and mud to run through. Gardens to jump into. Here I am after a long and hard (and dirty) weekend. If only I could play outside and not get dirty. Why you ask? Because I hate to take a bath.
On Glen Road, which answer below let’s you know that it is time for me to take a bath?
- I stink.
- I don’t smell very good.
- My roommates on Glen Road pick me up and then put me down and say P. U.
- Everyone on Glen Road keeps saying ‘what’s that smell?’ and it turns out to be me!
- My roommates let a skunk come into the house last night and left me out in the yard.
- All of the above.
If you guessed number six, you would be correct. So this weekend, it was off to the tub for me. Never a pretty picture. So you can understand what it takes to make me so glamorous, I have authorized the release of these bath pics to the general public. Here I am after my initial spray….I am trying to flee by running up the side of the tub and out of the room.
Finally, I just surrender and let nature (and soap and water) takes its course. When I’m wet, I look about 10 pounds lighter. See how sad my little face looks in this one.
Then it’s a towel dry and under the hair dryer. I guess it is worth it because here is how I turn out.
I’m so happy to be done with my bath. I am also glad that you got to see that beauty is a lot of work. It is worth it in my opinion. As I’ve always said, “Beauty may only be skin deep, but ugly is all the way to the bone”. Take care my lovelies and I’ll talk to you again soon. I’m off to play in the back yard some more. Do you have a favorite pet that can talk to me here on Acorns On Glen?