Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Eggs Become Art!

The eggs from our backyard flock look like this

My knitting friend Mary-Claire's artist neighbor, Florence, transformed them into this!
Wherever she could, Florence incorporated the rich natural egg colors into her designs.

Welsummer eggs are this beautiful rich, dark brown

The background color of this one is also the natural color of the egg

This is probably a Peckatina egg (see below)

Detail of previous egg

This one says "thank you" on the other side. It was for me for providing the eggs...

although Peckatina just reminded me to tell you who really does the egg production around here
(and that every single egg is a work of art)!

Monday, April 21, 2014

A Vintage-Style Easter Table

Beautiful Spring! It just perks me right up. I never thought I'd be blogging again here, and just look at the posts lately--full of color. Bright red chairs on the patio! Flowers blooming in the garden! Lots of exclamation points!

I didn't spend any time at all on this table for Easter--nary a chick or bunny or flower arrangement in sight but, as Auntie Bucksnort pointed out, the colors were rather nice. I wish you could see the blue border on that faux-vintage fashionably-wrinkled ordered-from-Amazon tablecloth.

I was just making a rather prosaic baked ham with some green beans and fresh tomatoes on the side, but then good friends arrived, bringing a vegetable antipasto mixture with fancy crackers, strong Canadian beer, polenta (in the photo next to the tomatoes), fresh mango chutney, and roasted red peppers. Suddenly, we had color and conversation and a feast!

Happy Spring to you all! I guess I'm a little late with that...

Sunday, April 20, 2014

Spring in the Desert Garden

When we bought our little vintage adobe house in 2009, the yard was barren. There was a hot strip between the covered porch and the fence, and I was determined to fill it with color. 

It's been a learning experience for a gardener used to the abundant rainfall and loamy, rocky soil of New Hampshire. Here, we have almost no rain at all (maybe 8 inches total in a good year), blazing sun reflected off a south-facing wall, and hard clay soil. Some things work, like these flowering cacti. Some things do NOT work here, like the roses and irises I see blooming luxuriantly in other parts of town. 

Hollyhocks adore our yard and put on an amazing show every year. These older, short ones are just starting to bloom now. Our plants self seed, and I just move the seedlings around a little. My knitting friend, Diane, gave me a little packet of seeds from her plants up on the East Mesa part of town a few years ago, and the rest is history. I have sent my seeds, in turn, to gardening friends in Nevada, Northern California, and Washington state. 

I am hoping for great things from this scrawny-looking tangerine crossvine, just planted a couple of weeks ago. I would love to train it to drape from the porch roof. We'll see.

This brutal-looking plant is the kind of thing that really thrives here. It started from one cactus pad in 2010 and will soon be immense. I just hope we can control it, because you can't go near it to prune without heavy gloves and long-handled tools, and even then it will find a way to get you with its thorns (painful) and tiny glochids (stiff hairs, way more painful and very difficult to get out once they are embedded in your skin). Why do we put up with it? Well, it's here now, and is very beautiful in its way. It has many shades of purple and aqua in those pads, and it will be flowering soon, too. 

I should have taken these photos earlier in the morning. It would have been easier to see what I was doing and the photos might be in focus! The desert bird of paradise (known to us as The Bertie Memorial Tree) on the right and the Texas lilac out of sight just beyond it both provide some much-needed shade just three years after being planted. 

This was such a rookie gardener mistake--I thought that cacti would be slow-growing and planted these too close together. I like the sharp colors, though. 

These hollyhocks around the corner from the other, smaller ones may not look like much right now, but stand back! I'm expecting a wonderful show soon. The plants are at least 6 feet high and still growing taller ever day. They colonized themselves in a partly shady east-facing bed where nothing had grown before. There are some larkspurs down under there somewhere, which will add some more color to all the hollyhock pinks. 

There you have it, my April report for the garden. What's growing (or about to grow) in your garden? 

Monday, April 7, 2014

A Colorful Springtime Tea

My sister is coming over for tea tomorrow, so I thought I'd make a little relaxing area on our underutilized back patio. It's nice and shady--a perfect place to sit and chat. In true New Mexican fashion, I kept adding more colors and more flowers. I'm really pleased with the result. 

What you can't see in the photo is the lively spring wind we experience this time of year, so the tablecloth is pinned in place, that little hen on the blue table is well stuck down, and the chairs are about to take off unless someone sits in them quick. 

Now I'm going to put together my fountain that is made out of a copper bowl full of black river rocks and add that to complete the sensory experience. Then we'll have color and comfort and the sound of trickling water. The only thing that will be missing is something lively to look at.

Wait, this patio looks directly out at the chicken yard. That kind of view might be a little too bucolic for some, but we will enjoy our Chickie TV!