Sunday, May 29, 2011

Memorial Day Weekend

I've been hustling!   That new spring green on the trees really has me energized:


First off, the computer is finally fixed and I have been re-downloading my most used programs.  That takes a while but I am ecstatic to have my computer back.

Tom and I have been working on building the new greenhouse.  We got the base and roof put together, but  realized that the two of us couldn't  lift the roof onto the base so we decided to divide the roof in half and put it up one half at a time. Tom will do his best to install the part of the roof  that will have to remain undone until we have both halves secured to the walls.  And, of course, nothing can ever go smoothly for us:  as Tom was installing the last of the roof polycarbonate holders, the very last piece broke!  So, he had to go online and order that piece. We'll have to wait till it comes before we can  finish building the greenhouse.  Ugh!

greenhouse base and wall ribs

greenhouse roof halves

It only took me one day to dig up all of the herbs from the field.  There sure were a lot of them!  And when I looked at the knoll where I wanted to plant the forest garden, I admit I thought I might be out of my mind:

But not being a person that likes to be told, "It can't be done," I went ahead and planted that knoll until I very nearly dropped.  It is now filled with apple, pear, and plum trees, black and red currants, elderberries, gooseberries and raspberries, hazelnut trees, and all the herbs I brought back from the field:  vervain, wormwood and mugwort, yarrow, sage, oregano, several varieties of thyme, fairy fingers and valerian, heliotrope, rudbeckia and echinacea, chocolate mint and spearmint, hyssop, and anise hyssop.  Several of the herbs were placed so that they could run to their heart's content.  It doesn't look like much now, but in a year or two the plantings should be pretty well defined, especially as I prune and hoe and mulch.

I brought a trailor load of mink manure to the house to put down around everything.  I'm hoping to do that tomorrow -- after all, I need to work off all those calories from our holiday bar-b-que.

May 24th was a special day for Tom and me -- 36 years of marriage.  Where did the time go . . . .

Well, I've jabbered on for long enough except for one last note:  Memorial Day is a solemn holiday in the United States.  It remembers and honors the dead from all the wars of our history.  My husband is a Viet Nam veteran.  Our daughter is a veteran of the war in Afghanistan.  I am acutely mindful of how fortunate I am that my loved ones are still with me.  May all those souls who made the ultimate sacrifice for the principle of freedom be at peace.

Thursday, May 19, 2011

The Rush Is On

For getting the field ready, that is.  Today we took the new trailer over to our neighbor's house and picked up our first load of mink manure.  We will go every day except on Sunday to get a load to spread out on the field and on Tom's garden that is next to the farmhouse where Dad lives.  As soon as we get the first field section covered with manure, I'll take the BCS tractor and till everything in.  I hope to plant the first section  just after the new moon. 

Out in the field I checked the hops section and the hops are all alive and well.  I figure I can clean up that section in only one day and then we'll drop a couple of loads of manure around each plant.  The hard part will be digging in the poles.  I was a bit worried about the Brewers Gold and Zeus hops because they were the newest plantings, but they over-wintered just fine.  My sister is going to the upcoming Gorst Valley Hops conference.  That would be cool if she decided to grow hops, too.  

You should see how the beaver has chomped down the dogwoods around the creek.  I'll take some pictures next time I'm out to the field so you can see it.  I told Tom we'll have to take a walk down to the snowmobile bridge to see how big that beaver dam is getting.  With all the wood that has been chewed off, I wonder if there is only one beaver.

I am working on carting the pile of chicken manure from in front of the chicken coop and spreading it around the rhubarb, blackberries, wild roses, in the garden boxes, and the forest garden.  It's tiring work with just a wheelbarrow and shovel.  So far it looks like all the trees and shrubs are taking.  Only one Hudar pear tree (the one I had to dig up late and move last year before the loggers came) is iffy.  I gave everything a good drink of water last night so that may give that tree a bit of a boost.  I still have the cranberries to plant down by the marsh, and once I get them planted and mulched, I'll take some pictures as by then you should be able to see everything sprouting.  New trees and shrubs don't look like much, but I'm excited because I can picture how everything will look in a couple of years.

Speaking of pictures, I am still using the old computer which is slow as molasses and won't let me upload anything, so all pics will have to wait until the new computer gets fixed.  I called the repair company to find out what was going on and while they have received the go ahead from the warranty company, they are waiting on restore disks from Gateway, so it will be at least another week before I have the new computer back in working order.  Grrr!

The good news is that the greenhouse came today!  We will start building it tomorrow.  I can't wait to get it built.  The Fed Ex man who delivered it said that ours was the third greenhouse he'd delivered this year.  He said he's seen them built and that it will look nice.  I sure hope we don't have any trouble putting it up.

Had a weird dream the other night:  I dreamed there was a 10.2 magnitude earthquake in Antarctica of all places.  Never had a dream like that!

Well, that's it for now.  Take care and happy planting!

Friday, May 13, 2011

Taking a Break

Well, we didn't get zapped during the recent Mercury retrograde, but we got hit in the retrograde shadow.  I left my keys in the truck and drained the battery down to zip.  Then the toaster died.  Next, the hard drive in the new computer blasted me with the blue screen of death (I'm struggling on here by using the old computer that I fortunately kept because it runs all of my old Windows 95 and 98 software that will not run on 64-bit Windows 7).  And lastly, a high wind storm came out of nowhere and knocked the power out for long enough to make my life miserable dealing with family members that freak out from electricity withdrawal. Whew!

I've been hard at work planting. I planted the three Haralson apple trees, one Chestnut Crabapple, one each of Toka, Waneta, and Superior grafted plum trees, one Summercrisp and two Hudar pear trees, two Honeycrisp and the little Antonovka apple trees, all of the black and red currants that overwintered in the garden boxes, 12 Latham raspberries, and three each of Adams and Johns elderberries. The cranberries I want to put down by the marsh came in the mail yesterday.  I was able to plant some Bulls Blood beets, Paris Island Cos lettuce, St. Valery carrots, and French Breakfast radishes in one garden box that I covered right away with Agribon.  I still have all of the herbs and orchard trees in the field to move.  Well, I love the exercise, and I remind myself that the more focused I am on the goals I want to accomplish, the faster they will be achieved!

I am trying to get the fence put up around the new forest garden before the deer find it.  I have started a zig-zag or worm fence that is about a foot tall already along the road side of the garden.  (I want to make it six feet tall).  Along the back side I'm putting in the old wire fence that I had to take down last year before the loggers came.  The tough part there is digging the holes for the posts because the ground is gravelly.  The driveway and house sides of the garden will continue the zig-zag fence.  I think it will look pretty nice when it is finished. 

The foxes are still wreaking havoc.  I'm down to 14 chickens including Lara's rooster, Jamie Oliver.  (I call him Fortunate One.) With all of the rebuilding and repair work I'm doing, I don't know if I'll order any chickens this year.

As soon as I can I'll post some pictures for you all. 

Be well, and be safe!

Wednesday, May 04, 2011

Back on My Feet

I came down with the flu right after attending the Woodland Landowners' Conference and have FINALLY gotten back on my feet.  I was sick practically the entire month of April.  Ugh! Today was my first day of being able to work outside, and oh boy, am I way behind on my to-do list.  I worked all day at preparing the area for the new forest garden by moving brush and transplanting balsam trees for a privacy screen near the road.  If the weather cooperates tomorrow, I'll transplant all the bushes from the garden boxes and set them out on the knoll.  The grafted plum trees have arrived and I also have the six trees Lara and I brought back from the grafting class we took at the Landowners' Conference -- four apple (Lucious, two Northwest Greening, and Prairie Spy) and two Bartlett pear trees.  I'm still waiting for the Haralson and Chestnut Crab trees to arrive from the nursery in Neilsville.  I'm looking forward to watching that forest garden grow.  Once I get this immediate transplant work done, it's off to turn over the soil in the field and get everything there in the ground.  Hops are tough so the work on the hops yard will be done last.

Tom bought a nice trailer so now we can haul all the mink manure we can get from our neighbor, Dale.  We are trying to find a day to get to Menards to buy a storage shed, too.  Tom worked today clearing the area where we want to set up the shed.  All of the garden tools and farmers market stuff will go in the shed and we will finally be able to move around in the garage.  We also ordered the greenhouse which will come in three separate boxes on the UPS truck so we didn't have to worry about road restrictions and delayed delivery.  I can't wait to get that set up because the seedlings in the basement are growing by leaps and bounds.  The last thing I want to buy is a .22 rifle so I can shoot  the two foxes (there's a big one and a little one) that are decimating the few chickens I have left -- I'm down nine chickens since I first saw the fox. 

Cliff High's latest Shape of Things to Come report is out and available for only $10 from Halfpasthuman.  This report deals with the short term outlook and it is very interesting reading.  I personally find the SOTTC reports quite helpful and I truly believe that years from now Cliff will receive the honor he deserves for his work in pioneering the field of predictive linquistics. 

There is so much to do.  Take care and be safe!