The eight inches of snow that came down on May 3rd melted by the 7th and I have been busy since then working outside. Boy, does it feel good to be outside! Even though the soil in the garden boxes is still half frozen, I managed to get 600 onion sets planted in one garden box, and the garlic I planted last Fall in another garden box is already starting to poke up. I put three new gooseberry plants in a small garden box I used to use as a cold frame to see if they will grow better in a box than the gooseberries I have planted in the forest garden. I will plant the second half of the garlic box with more garlic and see if there is much difference between Spring planted and Fall planted garlic in our short season climate. My guess is that there is not much difference. Lara's fig tree arrived and I have that planted in the one big pot I have. It is in the greenhouse along with the raspberry plants I have yet to add to the forest garden raspberry row.
Out in the forest garden I have been following Geoff Lawton's mantra, "chop and drop", and taking note of where and how the snow melt ran off the knoll so I have an idea where to dig my swales and make little ponds. It is exciting to think how my efforts at water conservation will turn out -- especially in light of the predictions for widespread forest fires this year. I'm glad I have so much material ready to use for my mulch.
My fence work needs major consideration, however. The brush fence has to go altogether. I believe the deer think it is too much like moving through the woods and they have no respect for it as a barrier. The fence along the marsh side was trashed in three different places. Not sure what the problem was there, but I am going to take down the chicken wire and make a ladder trellis like I have on the house side of the fence. For some reason the deer left the ladder trellis fence alone. I have twine woven in and out of this fence and I wonder if the twine bothers the deer. The worm fence is OK and just needs to be added to.
My poor fruit trees look awful from being chewed on. At least they are alive. I have made a list for the next time I go to the hardware store for the ingredients in Sepp Holzer's bone salve tree remedy. I do feel sorry for the deer though. It was a hard winter for them and they are thin and look stressed.
The hugelkultur bed is looking good with the yard waste I've piled on it so far, and the rhubarb and horseradish I transplanted into it last year must have started growing under the snow.
I have moved the tomatoes, cabbages, and Mohawk tobacco seedlings out to the greenhouse to make room down in the basement for the many new seeds I've started. As it is snowing again today and very windy, I have everything in the greenhouse covered with row cover. I hope it is enough to keep from losing them to the cold.
My Red Cloud seed potatoes have arrived so field work is on the menu for next week. I'm glad I managed to get most of the front yard work done. If the weather cooperates, I may be able to finish it tomorrow.
Dad was right about the maple sap still running because the trees had not budded out. In today's newspaper there was an article about the long sap run with an experienced local maple syrup entrepreneur and he confirmed what Dad said. This guy is retired but still overseeing the business and has over 40 years experience. He said last year was the worst year for syrup he ever saw, and this year was the best. I almost wish I had left the taps in the trees a while longer, but Tom must have been afraid I was going to burn all his wood because he rousted Ed out from his recliner chair in front of the tv and had him help Tom move most of the wood pile into the garage for next year.
I lost 5 chickens in two days to that darned fox. All the people coming up for the opening of fishing season were probably wondering what that crazy woman was doing sitting outside in a chair with a gun till dark. I saw the fox twice but had no safe shot. When the fox couldn't get at the chickens he went down into the big marsh and rousted the Canada Goose nest down there. I think he got the goslings because both parents went flying over me honking like crazy. I was hoping they would grab hold of that fox's tongue and make him regret his thieving. The next day I heard somebody take a couple of shots nearby and I haven't seen the fox since. I think they got the critter (and it was a big fox, too). Thank you, whoever you are! Now Temujin, Börte, and the lesser wives can lay me eggs and hopefully give me some chicks to grow my Dominique flock in peace.
I was out early today fixing up my brooder box and was glad to get it in shape quickly because the temperature was obviously dropping and snow came when the wind picked up. It was a good day for housework and hot chocolate.
Be safe and well!