22 September 2015

Life at Heart's Ease Cottage, Living Outside

Well, yesterday was 26 years since Hurricane Hugo turned our lives upside down, (click here for that story). In ways our present situation is very similar... we are once again living outside while the interior of our house is in shambles. This time though we have power, the grocery stores have food and the hardware store shelves aren't bare, and we don't have an infant and  7 year old to try and shelter and feed. We are vastly better off than that! But still it is almost humorous, (I did say almost humorous...), that we are living in a tent in the garden on the anniversary of Hugo.

Why are we living in a tent in the garden you ask? Well, that is kind of a long story, but the short of it is, that the refrigerator was secretly leaking under the stove and cabinets. Over time the wet wood started to mold. I am severely allergic to mold, I started suffering from headaches, sniffles and a cough that wouldn't go away, but I couldn't figure out why. One day I stuck my head deep in a cabinet to get my large stock kettle and smelled mold. We immediately began to investigate and found the culprit. Now the floors are all torn up, the cabinets and my beloved ceramic counters will have to be demolished to get to the water damage underneath, sniffle... and since I can't be in the house with all the mold that is now open to the air, we are living in the back yard.

 I have a kitchen set up out on the deck under a canopy, we have a table to eat at and some Adirondack chairs to relax in out on our back deck. Our tent is set up on my yoga platform near the deck at the back of our vegetable garden. The weather has been kind and life is going on pretty much business as usual. I am hoping that fall is a little late this year and the cooler nights hold off for awhile, since it looks like we could be out here for at least several more weeks.

The offending fridge is serving in the outside kitchen until the repairs are done and then it is going to salvage even though it is only a couple years old. I am not taking any chances of it leaking again!

The work area may be a bit Spartan but it functions pretty well. 

Heart's Ease Cottage is still a source of joy and peace to me, even in her damaged state. I can't be inside but who really needs to be when it is so beautiful outside! Everything is so lush, the hummingbirds are battling it out for the feeders, (10 hummers in all I think, although it is very hard to count them), the bees are all over the flowers and blooming herbs, busily prepping for winter, there is a lovely breeze and the garden is still producing.We are turning over crops as things get tired, the tomatoes will soon be done and will give way to lettuce, oriental greens, kale and cabbages. The peppers are in full swing and will be so until frost takes them, mature kale and Swiss chard are providing loads of lovely green leafies for meals and juicing. I just planted more squash and cukes that will produce more slowly but will provide us with goodies until the frost gets them. I have peas in and a new bed of beets. There are new seedlings for 3 kinds of kale, turnips and oriental veggies ready for planting as soon as I can get to them in. Some beds are fallow, waiting for me to plant fava beans, which are winter hardy. They produce huge beans in early spring, and fix nitrogen on their roots that will feed the soil when they are turned in after we harvest the beans in late spring. We use fava beans as a cover crop, but like buckwheat, they feed the soil and as a bonus they feed us too!

Rather than just talk about it, let me take you on a stroll through the gardens...

The west side flower beds are 3 feet high and growing
The east side Veranda garden is lush too!
The "Watering Can Garden", as we call it, is full of herbs and flowers. Some are done for the season, others are getting ready to come on. Next up, the bright yellow flowers of tarragon and the scarlet cascading blooms of pineapple sage.

This side of the herb bed holds many culinary herbs like rosemary and pesto basil as well as medicinal herbs and flowers

Lil' Swiss Miss, our 1957 Swiss Colony Camper is all decked out in  pink flamingos, impatiens and fuschia
The pergola where Lil' Swiss Miss presides is a cool place to sit in the heat of the day and view the herb garden and frog pond .It is also a great place to watch the birds.

The gold fish in the frog pond are almost the size of koi. The frogs were shy and leaped into the water just as I took this photo 

One of two pepper beds is full of hot peppers. In this bed are habanero, jalapeno, serrano and Thai bird chiles. The other pepper bed has sweet peppers, like bell and banana peppers.
The last of the tomatoes are ripening and then I will clear the bed for cabbages.

We have still got pumpkins coming on and some large ones ripening

Beds of kale and Swiss chard have been producing since last fall. Some of the perpetual spinach and Swiss chard (a bed not shown) are three years old.
I will have to dig up my ginger and turmeric before the frost and let it over winter inside. I can harvest as needed from it's pot during the winter and then plant it out again in the spring to finish off.
There is much more going on, but I am sure you are tired of scrolling by now so I will say good bye for today and hope that you will come back for a visit again soon!
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