...sometimes even a single feather is enough to fly. (Robert Maclean)



At her house this past weekend, our friend Theresa had a gathering of women she's met
 who have been bitten by the egg bug.  The psyanky bug, to be specific. 
Pysanky are Ukrainian style Easter eggs, made using a wax-resist method.
They're often decorated with traditional folk designs.  Many regions of Eastern Europe have their own types and styles, but your imagination is truly your only limit...

The "egg ladies" (Theresa, Terena, Mia, Sarah and Linda)
started early, and chatted and worked on eggs all day until the wee hours...
We stopped over for a visit because we were curious about how pysanky are made.
It was truly an amazing process to witness, & the ladies seemed to have a lot of fun throughout it all.
You can create pysanky with any kind of quality egg, whether it be chicken, duck, goose, ostrich, etc.

The contents of the egg have to be gently blown out.

and you can choose from a rainbow of dyes...


Most modern pysanky artists use electric styluses like these...
(aka kistkas)
Flame from a candle is needed for some methods, though I didn't get to see the flame in action...
Maybe next time!

There's so much geometry and symmetry involved...
And the results are worth all of the painstaking care...

Theresa showed us an egg she just got from a very talented fellow named Pieter Dijk.
All of the egg ladies knew who he was, though no one has ever met him.
Pieter creates with such absolute and intricate precision... 

We have both been lucky recipients of Theresa's handiwork... 
We each got a gorgeous pysanky ostrich egg for our birthdays!
 They are so special to us.
My mind boggles at how much time she must given to each egg...
Layers and layers of love.
 I think at one point in time, pysanky were viewed as talismans of protection.
I'm not sure of the most accurate present-day definition of pysanky,
but if someone were to ask me what they are,
I would say something like this:

They're exquisite little mandalas on the surface of an egg.
They are each a prayer, a tender offering.


peas, please

18 days later... 


There's nothing quite like the feeling I get when seedlings emerge,
when somehow all that magic happens under the soil
and their strength manages to break through the ground. 
After many days of checking the garden beds like a hovering mother,
 and hoping for the best...  at last, there are signs of life! 


planting peas

This is my first time planting peas
(besides my botched and albeit very lazy attempt last year.)
This year we have our raised garden beds all ready to go,
so that made it so much easier...
You plant peas in our area as soon as the ground can be worked.
All you have to do to get them started is take your handy hoe
and make a furrow (i.e. a shallow trench).

Follow the instructions on your seed packet,
but most peas like to be planted
1-2 inches apart (to be thinned later)
and 1-2" deep, depending on how heavy your soil is. 
I planted ours in raised beds that are next to the garden fence,
so I can hopefully incorporate the fence for support, if needed.

Aren't they just cute as... peas?
I'm trying out some new garden products and so far, so good.
12" wooden label stakes and weather-proof non-toxic markers...
Check them out here at the Natural Gardening Catalog.
The larger size wooden label is so much more visible and stays in the soil better.
And the markers, well, time will tell,
but this one has to be better than the black Sharpie I was using that faded into oblivion
and sometimes I had absolutely no idea what variety was planted where...
(When you want to save your seeds, it's important to know what's what!) 
What the heck, I decided to try this stuff, too...
If it will increase germination and yields of delicious peas, it's worth it!
It's a shake-in inoculant, and I found it at Territorial Seed Co.
It couldn't be easier -- I just sprinkled it in all of my furrows alongside the peas.
And then of course, the last step for now is to gently fold soil back over your peas. 
Voila, you're done planting peas!
I'm growing snows, snaps, and shellers:
'Blizzard' snow peas
 "Blizzard is still the best intermediate-vined snow pea we have ever tried.
The 3–3-1/2' vines produce an avalanche of sweet thin 3" pods in heavily concentrated sets
that are easy to pick." (Fedco)
'Sugar Ann' snap peas
"The earliest snap pea... Very good quality, sweetest of the dwarf snap peas...
Use to start the season."  (Fedco)
'Sugarsnap' snap peas
"One of the very best raw treats in the garden, far tastier than the dwarf varieties, although more work to grow. Tall Sugarsnap vines climb 5–7' and need strong stakes. Pods reach superb sweetness only when completely filled. Then they are incomparable." (Fedco)
'Petite Pois Precoville'
"These diminutive peas are authentic French petit pois and are ever so sweet. Precoville are ready to use at miniature size, when the slim pods are just 3” to 4” long. Each pod contains 6 or 7 tiny peas, less than half the size of regular shelling peas. Their buttery flavor & tenderness cannot be matched!"  (Kitchen Garden Seeds)
'Green Arrow' shelling pea
"Long pods with up to 10 peas per pod (more typically 7–8) on vines up to 3'. Seems to withstand miserable and extreme weather better than other varieties.
Easy to pick because pods tend to set in pairs at the top."  (Fedco)
You can see why we had to put raised beds in!
Our ground is so impossibly wet this time of year,
fortunately the raised beds provide better drainage...
Without the raised beds, I'd be mud wrestling with the peas...
and there's no doubt that the mud and the peas would win!