July 30, 2014

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Kylee Baumle

Is the January Thaw real? PDF Print E-mail
Wednesday, January 16, 2013 4:11 PM

By Kylee Baumle

Oh, we love our traditions, weather folklore, and old wives’ tales, don’t we? The woolly worms have predicted a cold winter (aren’t they all?) as long as you encountered the right kind of caterpillar. We’re heading into the down side of January and we just experienced the “January thaw.”

Just what is that anyway? Is it real or just another one of those folklore things? Do things really thaw out?

Yes, Virginia, there is a January thaw. And yes, some things do thaw out. Towards the end of January, the temperatures warm up enough to melt snow and the top layer of ground thaws sufficiently enough to make things a little slushy and muddy. You start thinking that maybe spring will be early this year, but then you remember how much of a tease Old Man Winter can be.

Get in the Garden! PDF Print E-mail
Wednesday, January 09, 2013 6:36 PM

Christmas is over, New Year’s too, and never mind that it’s currently 28 degrees and we’ve got a thick blanket of snow on the ground. The seed catalogs have started arriving and it’s time to garden! Yes, NOW!

It’s called winter sowing and I’ve done it for many years with good results. All you need are the right seeds, some translucent plastic gallon-sized milk jugs, seed starting soil and some duct tape.

When I say the right seeds, I mean anything that self-seeds naturally or seeds that require stratification or scarification. Those “s” words sound important and they are when it comes to seed germination. Some kinds of seeds need help in order for them to break free of their hard seed coats and start growing.

A gardener's New Year PDF Print E-mail
Wednesday, January 02, 2013 4:25 PM

By Kylee Baumle

I love new beginnings. Whether it’s a fresh sheet of paper just waiting for me to make a list on it, a new grandchild just starting to make her way in this world, or another season in the garden, it’s like a breath of fresh air. Right now, it’s that brisk, refreshing winter air that’s filling me up with thoughts of the new year and what it will bring.

There’s always the anticipation and wonder of the unknown – those unexpected delights that you didn’t count on. (And some not so delightful, but we won’t think about those just now.) Take 2012, for instance. At the beginning of the year, I didn’t know that before 2013 arrived, there would be a little girl that would capture her grandma and grandpa’s hearts like only grandchildren can do.

Nor would I know that by year’s end, I would be putting the finishing touches on a book that will list me as one of its two authors.

New feathers for Pippa PDF Print E-mail
Wednesday, December 26, 2012 3:38 PM

It may not seem like winter’s really here outside, although we’ve had a bit of snow here and there, but one look at the chicken coop, and we know. Sometimes with the change of seasons, chickens will molt and two of our six hens are doing just that. There are feathers everywhere and Pippa especially looks, well, bedraggled.

Pippa is one of our Silver Laced Wyandottes, meaning she has black feathers with white edges and right now she has fewer of them than normal. It would have been better for her had she molted earlier when there wasn’t the chance of the temperatures dipping to frigid levels, but it will soon be over and she’ll have brand spankin’ new ones to keep her warm.

Layla, one of the Buff Orpingtons, is also just completing her molt, and is looking mighty fine and fluffy. Her fellow Buff, Goldie, molted a couple of months ago. The remaining three, Patty, Bianca and Violet, have yet to do it.

Botanical Christmas legends PDF Print E-mail
Wednesday, December 19, 2012 3:40 PM

By Kylee Baumlee

In less than a week, another Christmas Day will be upon us and we’ll celebrate in ways familiar to many, and with those known only to our particular families.

That’s part of the charm that this time of year holds for many of us, isn’t it? We keep traditions going, year after year, and it’s as important to us as teaching our kids to say please and thank you.

Even those who don’t practice the Christian faith will acknowledge the holiday in some way. Decorated trees glimmer with lights and can be seen in homes where God’s very existence is questioned. The custom of putting up a tree at Christmas is believed by some to have begun with Martin Luther.

What's in a name? PDF Print E-mail
Wednesday, December 12, 2012 5:09 PM

By Kylee Baumle

Flowers are blooming at Our Little Acre again! My first amaryllis of the season broke bud just last week and marks the beginning of a winter full of color in containers inside the house.

My love affair with amaryllis began about eight years ago, around the time I came down with gardening fever and I’ve amassed quite a collection of them.

I’d been looking through the many seed and plant catalogs that started arriving around Thanksgiving, when a striped wonder caught my eye. I was smitten by its unusual blooms, not having seen anything like it before. That wasn’t really saying much, since I’d been too busy working and raising kids to pay a whole lot of attention to flowers up to that point. But that flower was something special.

....and now the good news! PDF Print E-mail
Wednesday, December 05, 2012 3:11 PM

By Kylee Baumle

Last week, I was the messenger you wanted to shoo away, because the message was so depressing. Sharing the list of the “Dirty Dozen” fresh fruits and vegetables that are the most contaminated by pesticides isn’t exactly the news you want to read during the season of merry and bright. But, I’m going to make it up to you this week, just as I promised.

The Environmental Work Group also puts out a list called the “Clean Fifteen,” which consists of fifteen fresh fruits and vegetables that are the least tainted by pesticides.

This doesn’t mean that they aren’t contaminated at all; it just means that these are considered to be somewhat safer to eat than those other ones, when buying non-organic produce, because they were found to have low levels of residual pesticides on or in them.

First the bad news... PDF Print E-mail
Thursday, November 29, 2012 1:23 AM

By Kylee Baumle

I know we’ve just come out on the other side of Thanksgiving and we may be feeling a bit remorseful about eating a little too much. And, maybe, some of us plunked down a few too many dollars on Black Friday. So it isn’t as if you need any more bad news, but since we’re on a roll, let’s just get it over with.

The growing season has pretty much come to a halt for the year, especially when it comes to edibles. Oh, there might be some parsley or spinach still looking good, but for the most part, if we haven’t canned it, frozen it, pickled it, dried it, or otherwise stored it, we’re going to have to find another way to get fresh fruits and veggies if we want them.

Memories pressed between the pages of my mind PDF Print E-mail
Wednesday, November 21, 2012 2:44 PM

As the deadline for our book looms near, my co-writer and I are working to get all the photographs we need to illustrate the marriage of houseplants and design.

Just as I traveled to Austin in July to spend a week with Jenny, she was here in Ohio a couple of weeks ago and we visited local places to gather what we needed for our book projects.

It always takes me by surprise when I’m just walking along, minding my own business and a distant memory stops me in my tracks. We were meandering through the aisles at a greenhouse, trying to decide which plants we wanted for the book and there it was – a prayer plant. Known as Maranta leuconeura botanically, this little plant is one of those quirky wonders of nature that seems to have a personality beyond its cosmetic beauty.

A life lived in the garden PDF Print E-mail
Wednesday, November 14, 2012 3:26 PM

When I walk through the garden, the plants make me happy by virtue of their beauty. Their flowers can be fabulous, but it may be the way each plant plays off the others with foliage in shades of green, blue, white, red, yellow or pink. The textures of the leaves – spiky, rounded, ferny, lobulated, scalloped, shiny, fuzzy – also provide interest, especially when combined with the various architectural forms of trees, shrubs, and plants.

My garden isn’t a designer’s dream by any means. Much of what grows next to its neighbor got there by accident. Rarely do I visit a garden center with a specific purchase plan for the plants I buy. I’ll walk through, something grabs my attention, I buy it, and then I figure out where I’m going to put it when I get it home. I’m a plant collector.

While I aspire to assemble what grows in our gardens in an aesthetically pleasing way, that talent doesn’t come naturally to me. But now and then, a moment of brilliance strikes and the result works. Many people hire someone to design their gardens to achieve a desired effect, but for me, that’s just one of the aspects of gardening that I enjoy – playing with the plants, moving them around until I’m happy with how things look. My garden is one big learning laboratory where I perform all kinds of experiments.


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