Tag Archives: peonies

Pretty Peonies

Almost every day I pick up my camera and go outside to take a picture of something that is blooming around here.  It is hard to keep up with posting the pictures because after all, it is summer and who wants to be inside and in front of the computer?

Last week I snapped these photos of my many peonies.  I have moved these plants from house to house as we moved through the years.  I could never bear the thought of leaving them behind.  This collection is out in my front yard.
peony1The only peony that I have actually purchased is this white one.  Although it is pretty, it just does not have the same strong fragrance as the old-fashioned pink ones that I have transplanted and taken with me all these years.
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I do love the white flowers mixed in with all the other varieties though.

I picked a huge bouquet of these beauties one afternoon to bring in the house to enjoy. I love to bury my nose into the flowers and inhale deeply.  What a magnificent smell!

peony3It turns out it was a good thing that I did pick some flowers that afternoon because we had a big rain and wind storm the following evening that really did a number on the peony plants, pounding and shredding the big blossoms that had already opened.

In addition to the large grouping out in the front yard, I also have peonies planted along the picket fence surrounding the vegetable garden.  These plants are from my first division of the peonies…maybe about six years ago?
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All of my peony plants are overdue for another division.

They do seem perfectly happy however, so I am in no big hurry to create the extra work for myself.  🙂peony6I still have some peonies blooming, although they are starting to wind down now.  The heat and humidity of the last few days definitely hinder the longevity of the blossoms.

I have never taken the time to identify the variety of peonies that I have.  Any ideas?

Lynell

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Spring? Finally.

Last Friday we received about a foot of heavy wet snow.  It was depressing and everyone was complaining and crabby, including me.  It felt like spring would never arrive.  April has been a strange and very snowy month.spring1

One week later and it looks like this…

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Yes, I think spring has finally arrived.  The last two days we have enjoyed temperatures in the low 70’s.  It is not expected to last all week, but it sure has helped to melt the snow and get spring kicked into gear.

Last weekend, when it was still cold, we hosted a smoking party at our house.  Jesse was going to fire up the smokehouse while the temperatures were still cool with the snow on the ground, so he invited friends to bring over anything they wanted to smoke.  We had a real assortment of good stuff:  almonds, peanuts, cheese, cheese curds, leg of lamb, pork chops, pork roasts, ribs, and chickens.  Once the smokehouse was loaded up, we enjoyed chatting and having some beverages while we waited for the smokehouse to work its cold-smoking magic.

We also started cooking sap to make maple syrup the same day.  The sap ran very late this year due to the crazy spring.  We were not sure if it would run at all, but the trees finally started dripping and actually produced a lot of sap.

Jesse found this stainless steel pan at a restaurant equipment store and it works great on our outdoor stove to cook the sap.  It has a lot of surface area to help with evaporation and to cook the sap down faster.  The sap looks just like water when you first collect it from the tree to start cooking.

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As it cooks longer, it starts to brown up and begins to have a sweet caramel-like aroma.  We cooked down enough sap last weekend to make one gallon of syrup.

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This past Thursday evening Jesse fired up the stove once again and cooked down the rest of the sap overnight.  In total, we ended up with two gallons of syrup.  Yum!
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Yes, spring is here.  The birds have been singing, the geese are honking, and the frogs have awoken and are singing their lovely spring song.

All varieties of wildlife are on the move. During the day yesterday, I was working at home and as I glanced up from the file I was reading, I noticed these turkeys come walking past the back of the barn and headed towards the river. I grabbed my camera and snapped a few shots.

We joke sometimes about living in a nature preserve.  I guess we have the river to thank for the wide array of wildlife we get to see and/or hear (the owls hooting at night are my favorite) on a daily basis.
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Along with the melting snow comes spring flooding.  The water has risen rapidly in the last two days and the river is overflowing.
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We spent yesterday evening and today outside enjoying the warm temperatures by starting our spring cleanup.  I cut down any perennials that stood through the winter and raked all the leaves out of the gardens.

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Tired of the chickens coming up by the house and digging in the dirt of my perennial garden, we decided to lock them in the vegetable garden fence today to enjoy the sunshine.  Ironically, we built this very fence in part, to keep the chickens out of the vegetable garden.  They loved kicking around the bit of straw, pecking at the grass, and digging in the dirt all day.
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Underneath the piles of leaves I discovered some flowers eager to get growing.  These tulips had obviously decided that spring was here, despite the foot of snow we received just a week ago.
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Likewise, the peonies are bursting out of the ground.  I love peonies so much.  They remind me of my grandma.

spring8Our old girl was out soaking up the sunshine today too. I love her an awful lot too.

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The beehives are sitting empty across the field awaiting their new residents.  We ordered two nucs of bees that should arrive in about 10 days.  The nucs contain some frames of brood and a queen, so they are already somewhat established.  Since we are starting over again after a year of bee-keeping drama (swarming, robbing, etc.), it will be nice to have the hives get up and running quickly.
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So, after a very long winter, it seems as though spring has arrived.  Finally.

There may likely be a few more bumps along the way, but we are definitely headed in the right direction.

Lynell

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Flower Power

Some time in January, my 87-year-old grandmother, who has always lived on her own, was hospitalized and underwent major surgery.  Eventually she was moved to a nursing home to recover.  She has been there ever since.  It turns out that recovery does not happen as quickly in an 87-year-old body as it does in a younger one.

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Controlling Lily-of-the-Valley Plants

Located in my front yard, covering up the electrical box for the septic system, is a bed of peonies.  I have collected these gorgeous flowers from various places, including saving some from an old farmstead that were doomed due to a road expansion project.

Some of the plants even descend from a plant that I divided from the farm that I grew up on. My obsession with gardening escalated when we purchased our first home in the city in 1991.  As a young married couple, we had absolutely no money and, as any gardener will tell you, gardening ain’t cheap.  So, I went home to my parents one weekend and took a division of some peonies to start my own perennial garden.

About four years later, when we moved back to our home town, I took some of those same peonies with to our new home as a foundation for my perennial gardens.  A few more years passed and we purchased the farm.  Once again, I got out the spade shovel and dug up those peonies to bring them along to my new home.

The roadside peonies that I rescued brought with them another beautiful flower, lily-of-the-valley.  These plants were a cute addition to the flower bed the first few years, with their delicate and fragrant bell-shaped white blossoms appearing in the spring.

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