Ipomoea Seedlings


We've tried for years (unsuccessfully) to start Moonflower (Ipomoea alba) from seed. The seed requires either soaking or scarification. Amazingly, despite our failures, we had never tried soaking them. So, this year I ran an experiment. I tried starting them two ways---the first I soaked in water overnight and placed in a ziplck bag with a damp paper towel. The second I just put in a ziplock bag with a damp paper towel (that was how we sprouted bean seeds back in elementary school in order to learn about the parts of a seed--cotyledon and so on. I figured what the heck, it had to be pretty foolproof if they were using it in elementary school....)

Sure enough, not just did we have luck with the soaked seed--but every seed that I had put in a ziplock bag with a damp paper towel germinated. Some of them were soaked, some were not. Some were in the light, some in the dark.

Moonflower & Morning Glory starts
Didn't even matter. Eureka! As far as I can tell we had 100% germination. After they were sprouted I put them in a little bit of recycled potting soil (ie old..) in reused tofu containers (small, deep plastic rectangular trays for those who are not familiar with them). Worked like a charm, and when they got too big I potted them up to old plant pots that we had kept for just such an occasion.

Old tofu containers--make great seed starting pots

We started the process a little late in the season, so it might be september before they bloom, but with any luck they will. I think it's just about time to plant them outside, though. (I hope the chickens and ducks don't try to eat the little plants...)

Have you ever had much luck with Ipomoeas from seed? (we started some 'Grandpa Otts' morning glory this year too.)

Weekend Update

Clockwise left to right: Ruby, Napoleon, Neptune, Dorian [Grey] (he's complicated...)

Left to right: chicken 1, chicken 2, chicken 3, chicken 4, chicken 5, ((chicken 6 not pictured)

Second: we got all of the walls on and began painting the inside of the chicken coop (for ease of cleaning).


We stopped painting because we'll need a roller for the insides of the walls and the floor. All that's left to do after that is the door, the chicken door, the roosts, and to put the nest box cover on. Oh, and we're going to try roll roofing...so there's that too. And, of course, painting the outside.
Oh, and the comments are working!

Homemade pizza with sun-dried tomatoes and prosciutto

For a while now, S. and I have been making our own pizzas for dinner on friday nights. They are absolutely delicious---and I love the different variations that we've tried. We've used, prosciutto, pepperoni, bell pepper, eggplant, sun-dried tomatoes, zucchini, pecorino romano, parmesan, mozzarella...yum.

So how did this all get started, you ask? Well one day I was surfing the web and I found this blog. And then I read it for a bit and happened upon this recipe. That looks easy enough, I thought. And so we made these (that was a much shorter explanation than you thought, wasn't it? But wait--there's more***...):

Yum---homemade calzones oozing cheese.

We only used the crust recipe, not the filling. That was ages ago, but I believe we just filled with cheese, sauce, and maybe pepperoni...I don't even remember, but it was yummy! (Slash the top a little bit to keep the sides from oozing as much, and if you wet the dough before folding the seams that helps too....)

And then one day we decided to make pizza.....but all of the recipes for dough required a much longer rise time then we wanted to wait (being hungry and inpatient and all)....so I remembered that crust. With only a 15-20 minute rest period and part whole wheat dough, it's fast and always comes out the right texture. It's not thin crust, and it's not super chewy, but it stays just soft enough every time (with a little extra flour, a little extra water, some seasoning tweaks...you know: artistic license). Ever since then we've tried to have our pizza fridays. We double the amounts in the recipe so we have enough for two pizzas, so we split the dough in half and keep the second half in the fridge in a bag for the following week. But seriously, I can't take too much credit--S. is the pizza dough maker extraordinaire.

Putting the toppings on--don't forget to put cornmeal on your pizza peel

Then just roll out the dough, put it on your pizza stone, top it as you like and stick it in a 450 Fahrenheit oven until it smells amazing and you can't wait for dinner any more (ok maybe like 10-15 min...I never actually timed it. We usually just go have a glass of wine while we're waiting.) Don't forget to let it sit a bit to cool or else you'll burn your tongue (speaking from experience here.) Happy pizza!


Now if you'll excuse me, we're making a margherita pizza right now :-)

Excuse Our Dust

It looks like the 'comments' aren't working, so I'll be changing the template back-and-forth some in the coming days in order to try to fix that. Please be patient =)
Chicken coop--note roof and walls

So yesterday we put 2 walls on the chicken coop. The chickens and ducks came out for a bit (it rained Saturday morning, but they came out Saturday afternoon---the ducks had several dips in their pool--they're getting big!) Turns out, after reading the bag of feed, we were a bit early switching the chickens over--umm...oops. You know, they spell it out for you on the bag, you wouldn't think it would be that complicated.....oh, well. Hopefully we haven't stunted anyone's growth.

Here's an updated pic of part of the garden--(Note Lettuce starting to bolt)

Peas from the garden--mostly 'Wando'

We harvested some lettuce, some kale, and lots of peas (our mesclun and mixed salad green seeds never did germinate. Not sure why---heck, maybe they washed away there's been so much darned rain this spring). Maybe soon we'll even have some beans ready to come in soon--there are some starting to set. Mental note: definitely plant the 'Wando" peas again--they are very large peas and prolific!

Butterfly bush

Our butterfly bushes are starting to bloom (they smell so good! I think at least one of the two is a Black Knight) and the daylilies behind the house are starting to bloom too. Last weekend we got some sedum (Autumn Joy), three celosia, and some ageratum to put in the front bed 'cause I just couldn't stand that it was June and there was nothing blooming in our front flower bed. I mean, what kind of poor planning was that? Oh, and a hanging basket with orange gerbers (we've had those perrenialize before--hopefully they will here and we can plant it in the flower bed later in the season).


You can see the roof rafters and the reframed walls here.

Nest boxes mounted, roof done. It needs some shingles or something (it's just plywood so far) but that can wait--it"ll be at least temporarily habitable with a tarp tied down. The chickens are getting really big so we want to get it habitable asap. We also added another layer of plywood to the floor (just in case...we never put a tarp over it so it was getting pretty weathered..)

Things are starting to bloom in the garden (tomatoes, peppers, beans....) All of the seeds are germinating (cucumbers, squash, okra).

Oh, and here are some updated duck and chicken pics:

This is the ducks' first time out in the yard.

The chickens are enjoying some time outside.

The ducks are taking a nap after their bath.

Our nest box for the chicken coop is done--looks good. (Update with pic from weekend of June 13th when we mounted it) The chickens are on the next step up of feed, now: grower/finisher. They're getting really big---and growing pretty tame.

The ducks like their baby pool! They're developing feathers with medium brown scallops on the edge--very pretty. Two of them are dark in color (one has a yellow/turning white ring on it's neck and the other has one leg that wobbles...think it's ok, though.) and two of them are light grey with yellow striped faces. All of them have those scallops, but the light ones have lighter brown tummies too..
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