Friday, March 25, 2011

Keeping Watch

I almost made it out to the field the other day to cut hops poles, but wouldn't you know it, we got eight more inches of snow so I'm back to waiting for the snow to go down and the temps to warm up a bit. It won't be long.  The chickens ventured out before the snow came. 

Instead I brought some yarn up from my yarn bin and am knitting a simple vest to wear over my decidedly worn shirts.  If I like the way the vest looks I'll wear it to the Woodland Owners' Conference.  Then (a sure sign of Spring) I started some seeds in the basement:  Musselborough leeks, Danish Ballhead cabbage, Cal Wonder sweet green peppers, Thai hot, some of the hot pepper seeds grown in Laos I got from Bill and Linda -- I think I'll start calling them Laos Hot, Tabasco hot peppers, Rutgers tomatoes, and Fairytale Eggplant (not an OP or heirloom variety, but beautiful and tasty).  I'll start more seeds later next month.  Most everything else will be direct seeded.  And as soon as I can work the garden boxes I'll cover them with plastic and Agribon and get mustard greens, peas, radishes, carrots, cos, and onions planted. I saved some garlic to Spring plant this year.  I know you plant garlic in the  Fall, but I have heard of people doing Spring planting and I want to see what kind of garlic I get from doing so.

Yesterday I went to Phillips to pick up my order from the 4-H truck sale (that truck sale is the only place I can buy sliced frozen mushrooms in bulk) and while I was there I went to John and Floyds' house to drop off my farmers market scale.  They laughed when they saw me and said they had just been talking about contacting me to remind me they would be taking the scales down to Medford around Easter to get certified for the year.  They gave me a tour of their house and gardening set up.  It was a lot of fun!  I had no idea their operation was as big as it is.  They really have a nice local network going for them, too.  

While there we talked about what we planned on growing this year.  I was surprised that they agreed with me that it will be a cold summer.  Because of the Japan disaster I plan on growing most veggies under cover and growing a lot of potatoes and onions and other root crops.   John and Floyd are going to heavily plant beans.  

The March super moon was impressive.  It was kind of weird seeing the moon rise in the East while the sun was setting in the West.

Well, I could talk more but there are chores to do.  Take care!

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Breathe Deep

World events have me doing a LOT of meditation and deep breathing.  Beyond that, I always seem to revert to my old stand-by activity when I get stressed -- cleaning.  So today I shoveled out the chicken coop, and I did feel better.  If I need to keep the chickens inside the coop for a day or so at a time, at least they'll have a clean coop.  I remember that after September 11th I started crocheting a table cloth that took me two years to finish.  People are saying, "What can we do?" and "You've go to prepare!"  Well, my take on preparation is just to do what you would normally do to take care of your family and then take one day at a time.  For crying out loud, please use common sense.  Past experience tells me that no matter how much you prepare, you are rarely really prepared.  It's like when someone who has been very ill for a long time dies, you know that person is going to pass on, and you think you are prepared to handle the reality of the death, but when it comes you are still shocked by the event.  All you can ever do at any time is your best.  Leave it at that.  If you are in a disaster and lose everything, remember that your most important tool is the gray matter that lies between your ears.  Have faith in your abilities and have a positive outlook that you will get through whatever you may be facing.  I have a personal reflection that is easy to visualize:  When Life kicks me in the gut and knocks me down, I get back up and get out of the way before I REALLY get stomped on.  Look at it this way, by living through these historic times you'll have lots of stories to bore younger generations with when you get old.

I have to tell you about cleaning out the chicken coop.  I was removing the north side vent wind blockers (empty feed bags) when two black eyes in a head poked out from a bag and stared at me.  I shrieked!  It turned out that a little grey squirrel made a nest in the bag and had spent the winter in the coop.  I yelled for our dog to get it but Egg Sucker was busy so I swung my broom  in vain while the critter ran around my feet before it vanished out the door.  Well, I'm just glad it wasn't a snake!

April 9th the County Ag Extension is offering a Woodland Owners Conference in Rib Lake.  Lara, my sister, Mary, and I are all going to go.  Lara and I are going to go to the classes on growing mushrooms and identifying local wildflowers, and in the afternoon we will go to the fruit tree grafting class.  I'll have to play that one impromptu what with Lara being blind.  Should be a fun day. 

Tom's birthday was a few days ago and we went to Little Bohemia in Manitowish Waters to celebrate.  It is a restaurant we've wanted to go to for years.  Little Bohemia is famous because the gangster John Dillinger had a shoot out there with the FBI.  There are still the broken windows and bullet holes in the walls, as well as a display case with items that the gangsters left in their rushed departure.  And the food -- OMG -- was great!  I had Old World Pork Shank withSauerkraut and Buttered Noodles.  I'm telling you, it was the best food I ever ate at a restaurant.  Lara loved her Fettucini Alfredo and we didn't even have to harp on Ed to eat his ribs.  It was a nice outing for us all.

Till next time!

Friday, March 11, 2011

Sharpening Those Pitchfork Tines

Well, it's time to get the pitchforks and muck out the barn. . . .

To say that I am pissed off about events in our state Capitol of Madison is a gross understatement.  My fury at the trampling of democracy by Republican TRAITORS in our legislature has at least abated enough for my blood pressure to cool from plasma to a semblance of normalcy.  (My husband went to bed early to get away from me.)  I used to work for a great attorney whose personal mantra was, "Don't get mad; get even."   And my blood is starting to run very, very cold.

If you are awake to the current concerted effort to destroy organized labor in the United States and make ALL people who work SLAVES of corporate interests, here are a few links to goings on in Wisconsin:

Here's a link to buses going to Madison:

Here's a link to events this Saturday and Sunday:

If you aren't a union member but support workers rights, check out We Are Wisconsin.

Here is some information about the recall process in Wisconsin: (Petition) (Summary and FAQ)

I received this interesting link today from an old friend:

And if what the Republicans did was so righteous, why this --

Fox News is reporting that the skulking Republican senators and their families have received death threats. 

Oh.  Really?   I'm a Scorpio. Guess how I feel about that. 

And our intrepid Governor, well, what can you expect:

These events are just little pieces of a terribly complex, multi-layered agenda being levelled against all people in all the world who are not part of the global elite.  (Do your own research here; there's plenty of material on the Internet.)  While our society is entering an extremely dangerous period of time, I would like people to remember that we are witnessing the birth of a new social paradigm.  A new civilization.  A new day.  The clamoring of the globalists are actually THEIR death throes.  Ordinary people all around this world are awakening to the fact that they don't need government to tell them what to do, and they don't need money in order to survive and live with their neighbors.  St. Paul said quite succinctly, "Fear not."  And Christ summed it all up for us:  "The meek shall inherit the Earth."

Wednesday, March 02, 2011

Itching for Spring

The snow is melting steadily but not fast enough for me.  I am ready for Spring!  Yesterday it was cold enough that I could easily walk on top of the snow without breaking through the crust so I dragged my frozen seed potatoes -- all four bushels of them -- out to the compost pile.  When the temp warms enough I'll bring my good floor scrubber up from the basement and wash the wheelchair ramp where the potato juices stained it.  They are frozen to the bushel baskets they are in so I'll have to wait till the weather warms up to retrieve the baskets and clean them out with some bleach.

There are some patches on the driveway where I can see the ground, and that has me itching to plant -- anything!  And because the temps are starting to swing, I'm trying to decide whether or not to tap a couple of maple trees to make us maple syrup for this year. 

Normally I like boiling down the maple sap, but maybe I'll give the forest a rest.  It went through a lot last year what with the tornado and then the clean up logging.  Still, there are three big maples out on the front berm near the road that I could easily tap that I think would give me all the sap I need to make a couple of pints and tapping just those three trees I don't think would hurt anything.  I felt so bad last year when I tapped the 24 trees and then had to dump all the sap because it spoiled before I could boil it down.

I ordered some elderberry bushes, red raspberries, and five cranberry plants from Miller Nurseries.  I still have to get my order out to St. Lawrence Nursery in New York, but I can't make up my mind what I want to buy.  Is it two or four pear trees?  Should I buy more black currants?  And do I want just two more apple trees?  I better make up my mind or before I know it I'll miss the spring ordering deadline.

I did sit down and write out a To Do list.  As soon as the snow melts and the County declares "Mud Season" restrictions on the roads, I will need to get busy.  The first thing I want to do is cut hops poles and clean up the hops section.  For sure I'll post some pictures of that when I'm done.  Fifteen to twenty poles should do it for this year as several of the hops plants can be divided; I just don't know yet how many new plants I can get from the divisions.  Say, did you watch that show about hops on the Green Planet channel the other night?  It was real interesting.  BTW, did you know chickens like eating hops?  I gave them my last bag of dried hops and they devoured them right quick.  Anyway, I figure my To Do list has a full two weeks of long day work and it doesn't even include working on the fence!  It will feel good to work off these winter pounds, that's for sure.

I've cleaned off my seedling table down in the basement and am going through the seeds.  I've found that starting a lot of plants for some reason doesn't save you all that much growing time outside in this climate zone.  Because of that, seed starting will be limited to what I will plant in the garden boxes for the start of the farmers market, and everything for the field will be direct seeded.

That's about it for now.  Take care!