It’s been a year of changes at the Red Dirt Ranch. I am calling it a ranch these days because we have twenty-eight chickens, a bunny, three dogs and five cats (three in the garage and two in he house). We also sport field fencing and split rail, so it’s a very small ranch. In the past, I’ve had horses and goats. My dream was once for a Jersey cow, but since I can’t eat dairy, that’s one dream which needs to blow blissfully away.
Last year, for Christmas we had the blizzard everyone else in the country seems to be having this year. People still talk about those fourteen inches of the white stuff with a kind of awe. It is Oklahoma after all.
January was much more quiet. I answered gardening questions from a reader moving to Oklahoma. To keep busy while it was cold, I forced bulbs, baked gluten free bread and dreamed of the spring to come. With Fiskars’ blessing, I gave away a mower, and the contest was so much fun, I even involved YOU and my NGBF (non-gardening best friend) Aimee as the judges.
In February, I counted houseplants, wrote of my new love, terrariums and pondered garden stewardship. February is the cruelest month in my calendar, so I held another contest about raising lifelong gardeners. It was seed starting time, and I considered my lifelong love affair with tomatoes. A winter cloche party was on, and I went too.
Suddenly it was March, and Carol, Mary Ann and I began our yearly gardening letters. March in Oklahoma is all about pruning roses so I freed the Dowager Duchess and realized how much pruning is like raising teens. I reviewed books by two of my friends. In Oklahoma, we celebratedthe first day of spring with more snow. I was thrilled. Not really.
Woolly March left, and magical April came. With eight other writers (now eleven) across the U.S., I began writing for Lowe’s Garden Grow Along blog. It’s been a fun ride, and my latest post is about staying sane through winter. Just about the time trees began to leaf out, and birds began singing their dawn chorus, we had a hail storm so bad, it knocked holes in the sides of buildings and piled up like snow on the ground. Fortunately, it wasn’t that bad at the ranch. Just seeing the redbuds bloom made spring chores easier. I traveled almost an hour to Whispering Springs Greenhouse which was a new-to-me nursery, and I came home with loads of new plants.
With its color overload and peony impact, May nearly shouted hello. Is there a better month on the calendar? I don’t think so. The best and easiest vegetables to grow in Oklahoma were planted and harvested. I deadheaded furiously and still felt behind the eight ball although the last post was from guest blogger, Jennifer Benner. One of my garden mentors, Sharon Lovejoy, came to visit, and I was so happy to meet she and Jeff in person I could barely contain my enthusiasm. (I wonder if it showed.)
Because they were laying so many eggs, chicken love was always on my mind.
June vibrated with the hum of pollinators, like honeybees, and other insects. We went on vacation to North Carolina’s Outer Banks, and Diva kept the garden humming. She did a wonderful job. We fought a battle with raccoons over our chickens and finally won. My dear friend, Gail from Clay and Limestone and a new friend, Carrie, came to visit. The garden continued to grow and produce, and I got my first tomato of the season.
At June’s end, I celebrated the bright colors of the south.
The first half of the year was quite busy, but there is so much more to celebrate before year’s end like how grateful I am for all of you. Thanks my friends for coming to read my little blog. I think of you every day.