More goat time

Yesterday morning I went to go see the goats again. They have done a wonderful job of clearing the invasive buckthorn and I am told they eat the seeds, so next year their job should be lighter.

The babies who were primarily nursing last week are also now feeding on the ground foliage. The difference one week makes.

Today my friend sent me this picture

Clearly the goats are wrapping up what they are going to eat on the ground level right now and are looking for yummies at new heights. They will soon be picked up and brought to their next grazing site.

Thoughts will then turn to next year. If the historical site is able to raise funds again the goats will come back next year for round two.

If you are so inclined, donations can be sent to Hastings Area Historical Society at 104 Fourth Street East in Hastings, MN 55033.

It’s hot! Best to get out early.

For anyone who may think Minnesotans escape the heat in summer, I can without a doubt say, we don’t. Summers are prone to heat spells like winter is prone to long cold spells. We are in a heat spell right now.

During those times, I like to get out early to enjoy garden tending. This morning I did just that. It was time to pull the tulip leaves, along with the few stalks from this spring’s blooms. In that few minutes outside, carefully pulling dried tulip leaves (that didn’t bloom) in the back center of one of the gardens, I found myself thinking, “Why did I donate those big Aureomarginata hostas again? They used to cover up the drying tulip leaves so well!”

Today’s picture is from a few days ago when the heat first arrived. The clematis looked much fresher then. But all’s well. The first blooms on hostas are about to open, and the asian lily buds are starting to pink up. Soon we will have more blooms.

Aging shrubs

Our gardens at the townhouse are 18 years of age. Adults, right? Or is there a 7 to 1 conversion ratio like with dogs?

When our lilac got very woody, I had it replaced. I was a poor choice by the landscaper for our initial plantings. It belonged in a hedge.

Our weigelia, one the other hand, is an old favorite. When the landscapers put it in the initial plantings, I was delighted. I like the color and how it seems to draw the hummingbirds – to the blooms, and to the feeder. Already this year I have also seen bees on its blooms.

It is aging, but I am working hard to keep it properly pruned. Each year it is right behind the tulips, blooming away in the corner.


This morning I went up to a local historic cemetary where a friend volunteers quite of bit of time and resources. She has lovingly researched the lives of many of the people who are buried there, sharing with written narratives placed at the grave sites as well as discussions during events and visits. Many of the lives of the people buried in the cemetary date to pre-Civil War, including two veterans of the War of 1812.

History is very important – how people lived, took on challenges, struggled, survived and worked to thrive. If we lose that information, we lose perspective – and that would definitely not be a good thing.

I also love old gardens, and old trees, and eco friendly solutions to handle challenges. Enter my impetus for visiting the cemetary today. Today was a visiting day – a chance to perhaps catch a glimpse of some temporary contributors, and definitely to see what they are accomplishing.

A couple local organizations worked to raise funds to bring in 61 goats to eat in the woods of the property, and were successful in achieving that goal. The goats will eat buckthorn, an invasive species, that has been a challenge in the woods at the site. What an awesome solution!

My friend, Shirley Dalaska, the local historian and author, has provided the attached pictures. These were from when the goats first arrived a couple days ago. Today the goats were far into the woods so you couldn’t see them, but you could see they had been there for sure – by the results. They’ll be there a week and a half to 2 weeks until they stop eating, and then they will come back next year for another stay. After two years it’s supposed to be way more controllable so the area could potentially be mowed then to keep the buckthorn growth down.

Cool stuff 😉

8 buckets!

A few days ago I finished hand pulling all the tree seedlings for this spring. 8 buckets! That is a crazy amount of tree seedlings. It was literally a mat this year.

Mixed in were maple, pine and cherry seedlings. Were it not for the location, it would be fun to see what could become of all those seedlings – what would survive. Their contribution each year, however, is a fair amount of exercise. Under the shrubs and hostas and daylilies, not just on the edges, but way into the garden.

In the end, a few had been missed, but not many. There’s always another trip through the garden.

Exercise program

A couple weeks ago I was on a call with some colleagues and – you know it goes – you’re a few minutes early and you all chat about whatever topic comes up. Indeed, because this past year has not been good for normal healthy socializing, we were even assigned “buddies” to encourage keeping in touch on a more personal level. But I digress –

The topic that bubbled up pre-meeting-start was eating clean and exercising. Yah. Well, you know the younger generations. They have all sorts of exercise programs and classes, many of which came to a grinding halt this past year. Some folks said they put together home exercise areas because they were really feeling the effect of being cooped up, eating for comfort … I can relate to eating for comfort, but I laughed that I was not nearly so disciplined in exercise plans and programs. I said my exercise program is walking the dog. All good natured talk, and the meeting started.

At the end of the day I walked the dog, and then, as is our spring, summer, and fall habit, we did our cool down on the patio – and I did a little weeding, and branch picking up, and adjusting clematis vines into place, and kicking landscape rock back into place …

The next day I was on a call with one of the same colleagues from the day before. We had a little pre meeting chit-chat. I said, you know how I said yesterday I just walk the dog? That’s not exactly true … She laughed. She knows.


This year, with all the activity in the past year, I was pretty lackadaisical with my seed planting. I gave the pods I bought to our daughter-in-law, and planted seeds directly in large pots of soil (covered with plastic). Nothing happened for 6 weeks indoors so I just put them outside. Well, that did the trick, but the timing has also coincided with birds nesting. I hear they need mud?

Now I have 4 pots of plucked dirt, 2 daylily seedlings, and some sunflower seedlings that I did not intentionally plant (but we do feed).

At least the forget-me-nots look great this year again.

I have ordered some protective grates for the pots. They should arrive this week. Then I’ll transplant the daylilies and put cherry tomatoes and greens into the pots.If the sunflowers survive and bloom – bonus!

It’s a simplified year.