Vintage greenhouse with door open

Vintage Greenhouse, Spring Cleaning Edition

Vintage Greenhouse, Spring Cleaning Edition

Chocolate Box Cottage Diary, Volume 3
Week 17: April 29, 2023

A sunny Saturday was perfect for spring cleaning the vintage A-frame greenhouse at Chocolate Box Cottage. I swiped down a winter’s worth of spiderwebs and breathed in the scent of πŸ€πŸ‹ lemon blossoms. Learn to grow Meyer Lemon trees from seeds!

The geraniums needed to be groomed. I plucked all the yellowed leaves from the porch pots and hanging baskets. I have several scented geraniums in rose and citrus flavors and I have to say they are heavenly! If you can find one at a nursery or take a cutting from a friend’s plant, do. They’re wonderful.

I made sure all the plants were watered and refilled my watering cans, snacked on the last Clementine orange fresh from the tree, reordered my garden supplies on the shelves, and swept the floor. I am looking forward to moving the potted plants outdoors soon.

Once all was in order, I stepped back and a lovely feeling of satisfaction washed over me. Hundreds of small seedlings are popping up in trays on an improvised table! Morning glories, sweet peas, herbs, flowers, peppers, melons, cucumbers, summer and winter squash. Meanwhile, the tomato and tomatillo seedlings have already been up-potted to 4-inch pots.

Later the same week…

VINTAGE GREENHOUSE ~ Up and Growing Edition! πŸ“°

At last it is warm enough to leave the door open on the greenhouse during the day. Seeds are popping left and right and there are some surprises! Follow along in the photos as I count tiny green joys.

And if you’re curious about the πŸͺ£buckets of murky water sitting in front of the greenhouse, they are there because our irrigation is turned off this week for maintenance and animals and plants are both hand-watered all week. Read about our vintage greenhouse repairs.

Of the dozen or so varieties of tomatoes we grow, a mere few are still available commercially through seed companies. Many of them are vintage varieties, heirlooms we have been growing for 10-20+ years, saving seeds each year for replanting the next. Read Full Circle Tomatoes πŸ… and Finally Tomatoes to learn more.

🌝🀍Moonflowers unfurl their first 🌱seedling leaves, reminding me of the moths and butterflies who will frequent them when their flowers open at night. Read Suppers in the Garden teepee to see both Moonflowers and exceedingly rare Mayo Bule gourds cover our teepee.

A variety of medicinal herbs and cottage flowers 🌼🌿 will bring beauty and healing to our homestead.

Better-than-expected germination of 2 pepper πŸ«‘varieties makes me smile! Blushing Beauty is an All America Selections (AAS) winner from 2000. It was a F1 hybrid created by crossing two peppers and saving first generation seed. Blushing Beauty produces gorgeous ivory bells that ripen through shades of pink on the way to red and is edible (and delicious) at every stage, though it is sweetest in the pink to red stages. Through years of careful selection and seed saving, I have developed an open pollinated variety.

Aloha Sunrise has a story too! Last summer I found spectacularly striped red/orange bell peppers in the produce section of my Fred Meyer (Kroger) store. Tiny stickers with the word “Aloha” gave me the idea for the name. I bought several peppers and saved the seeds (they were sweet and tasty!) This year I planted seeds saved from those peppers last year. It will likely take years of selection similar to what Blushing Beauty did before I have a stable variety that produces uniform and true-to-type fruit, but I will enjoy the journey.

While it feels like spring is way behind, in truth it is right on time.

New video

A second video on growing an indoor salad garden, by popular request!

In Part 2 of Indoor Salad Garden, I introduce 6 new colorful greens to add more flavor, texture and color to your salad bowl. Even if you don’t have a garden space, you can grow a wide variety of lush, edible greens in your own Indoor Salad Garden. You DON’T need so invest in special shelves, trays, racks, fertilizer, or lighting. You can use simple, everyday items you probably already have around the house to grow a never-ending supply of greens. Read the post and get the printable Supply List and 7-Step Guide.


Knead Peace, edited by Andrew Green

Knead Peace, edited by Andrew Green

Let me start by acknowledging the obvious. The war in Ukraine is being used like a political football. People in the US and probably other places are weary of hearing about it.

Please don’t let deter you from buying, enjoying, and baking with this book!

You will notice is is “edited” rather than authored by Andrew Green. Green was inspired by the resilient, determined spirit of Anna Makievska and The Bake House in Kyiv, who have continued to bake and give bread throughout the war.

Makievska spent 3 years and 1.5 million USD building the bakery of her dreams, which opened in October 2021 in the Podil district of Kyiv. Four months later Kyiv was a war zone. She had to pack up the mixers, bowls, and bannetons (bread proofing baskets) and move back to the basement of the old bakery.

It is hard to find ingredients and at times it is unsafe for the bakers to come to work. Distributing the bread is a logistical quagmire.

Green contacted some of the most esteemed bakers and bakeries around the world and asked them to contribute recipes; recipes that work in home kitchens. The collaboration resulted in a one-of-a-kind collection of recipes – many made with whole grain flour!

I just received my pre-ordered copy of Knead Peace. Recipes that immediately caught my eye include:

  • 100% Rye Sourdough
  • Lazy Wholemeal Loaf
  • Townmill Tin Loaf
  • Olive Oil Buns
  • Cardamom Buns
  • Currant Teacakes
  • Coffee, Cardamom, and Walnut Cake
  • Anzac Biscuits
  • Wholewheat Rhubarb Galette

As I have mentioned before, my Great Grandparents emigrated from Bessarabia to the US. If not for that, my family would be there in that war-torn region. So as I bake my Grandma’s recipes as well as recipes from Knead Peace, I will think of and pray for the people in Ukraine as well as Russia who are experiencing such devastation, not by their choice.

Homesteader’s uniform

Homesteaders uniform

Just for fun…

I am modeling my “classic homesteader ensemble” for you!

A skirt that moves with me, a pretty top just because, and an apron (one of many) with pockets to hold treasures like seeds, pretty rocks, and chocolate chips! On my feet are Muck boots, none too clean, but equal to the mud and other “terrain” I encounter in my day. LOL!

My makeup, applied early in the morning, has long since worn off but the most important thing I am wearing is a…smile! I am wearing a smile because I have joy in my heart.

I am thankful for my husband who brought home a load of firewood this morning, for my good health (no migraines in 2 months and fibromyalgia pain/brain fog are less pronounced), for my wonderfully imperfect family, for the hope of heaven through Jesus, and last but not least – no snow!

Wishing you a wonderful day, dear friend. And if it isn’t a wonderful day (because not all of them are) I wish you comfort from our Heavenly Father.

Love, Michele

Grace and peace to you from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ. who comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves have received from God. 1 Corinthians 1:3,4


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