I hope everyone enjoyed the Easter holiday! As with any family gathering, I think we all ate too much!
So, how about indulging in a zero-calorie strawberry tart?
The strawberry is needle felted with hand-dyed wool, stitched on wool fabric for leaves and a few black seed beads…and glued into a vintage tart tin.
And here’s another needle felted sheep pinkeep.
The sheep is needle felted and sits on an old thread spool that I covered/stuffed with wool. I embellished it with a few stitched daisy/crystal beads. I ripped muslin strips and stamped ‘pin-keep’, baa, etc and wrapped it onto the spool.
Last, here’s another needle felted sheep with bamboo skewers for little legs, painted with acrylic paint, poked and glued into the wool body. I added a few alphabet beads to spell ‘baa’ and tied it around her neck!
I never get tired of making sheep…
Since we talked about renovating my raised strawberry beds, I thought I’d mention a few tips on strawberry culture. Strawberries are well adapted to Michigan home gardens.
- They are hardy and the easiest small fruit crop to grow.
- They will produce a good crop in less time than other small fruit crops.
- One cup of strawberries will provide more than the daily requirement for vitamin C.
- Strawberries are sold as plants rather than seed (except Alpine variety).
- Two basic types grown in Michigan, June-bearing and everbearing.
- Strawberries require full sun and prefer well-drained sandy loam high in organic matter.
- Prefer slightly acidic soil.
- Strawberries should be planted in early spring.
- For June-bearing, remove the flower the first season so the energy is directed to producing daughters.
- Apply 12-12-12 fertilizer before planting, 2 wks after planting and again in another 6 wks; don’t allow the fertilizer to touch damp leaves or the crown of the plant.
- The following year, fertilize after fruit harvest.
- Minimize winter damage by mulching with straw and remove in spring.
- They require 1-inch of water per week on average.
- To renovate June-bearing strawberries: mow the plants after harvest leaving 1-inch of stem above the crown, till between rows, thin the plants and fertilize.
- Harvest fruit early in the morning after the dew has dried off; leave the green hulls attached to the fruit by twisting the stem.
- Avoid washing the fruit until just before it’s used to prevent softening and decay.
Now, the strawberry make-do (above) is made with hand-dyed 100 % wool, needle felted, stitched green wool ‘hull’ and a few black beads, glued to a glass candle stick base. AND….
I just couldn’t help myself…had to add a needle felted sheepy dangler!
That’s my story and I’m stick’n to it. This time of year, the gardens (or should I say weeds?) require much attention. Spring cleaning garden chores includes raking, trimming, pruning, thinning, transplanting, amending soil, turning the compost and finally, planting.
I have been known to ‘freak-out’ this time of year, but at my age, even freaking out takes up too much energy. So I have a kind-of mental schedule (I’m the type that gets easily distracted walking between the house and the barn to pull an unsightly weed or two) to work on one garden a day. Of course, by the time I’m finished, I can start all over again… or begin the next phase of gardening: picking and preserving. There’s never a dull moment or lack of things to do.
This morning I’ve transplanted hops and clematis (a fragrant fall blooming variety, Sweet Autumn). But, for the past week, we’ve been re-building our veggie raised beds – actually, the strawberry bed.
Evidence of twenty plus years of Mother Nature taking its toll on the timbers…
Hubby rebuilt the strawberry bed over a weekend; my task was to transplant the strawberries into their new home.
The black hose is for drip irrigation…some day?
Mission accomplished! We’re experiencing a bit of transplant shock. I was soooooo hoping to avoid purchasing new strawberry plants…time will tell. Well, three to go…and I don’t mean orders of take-out, that is, three more veggie raised beds to ‘rebuild’. I hope they last another twenty-something years!