Thursday, May 29, 2008

Another Busy Day

Today I got a good early start -- up as soon as it was light. I did the laundry and hanged it all outside. It wasn't even 40F but I knew it would warm up. Took care of Lara, made coffee, planted more tomato seeds (I only planted Rutgers, Mortgage Lifter, and Chadwick Cherry; I'll save the rest of my good heirloom seeds for next year). By the time I was finished with the seeding, it was time to take care of Lara again. When that was done, I had about an hour before I had to roust Eddy out of bed so I went out to the compost area and started tearing the bin down again. The whole area is looking bigger and better. The compost is being turned and sifted. I am putting it in a long pile next to the driveway. The wood from the bin is being put in a big pile -- the longer, not rotten pieces will be used as fence posts, and the rest will be added to my "rustic" boundary fences. (When I'm done with the job I'll take a pic and post it for you). Worked for an hour, got Ed up, gave him breakfast and his (and Lara's) afternoon meds. Worked outside for another hour, then came back in to cath Lara. Then it was back outside till 2:30 p.m. when Tom left for his treatment. Brought in the laundry and put it all away, then started supper. Tom had mixed a nice meatloaf so all I had to do was stick it in the oven and make the rest of the meal (mashed spuds w/gravy and broccoli). It was good! I hope Tom feels well enough to put the new filter in the BCS so I can turn over the field and get the rest of my garden planted.

I took a good look at the little herb garden I planted last year by the propane tank and was really pleasantly surprised to see how many herbs made it through the winter. I have Apple and Chocolate mint, Lady's Mantle, French Tarragon, Greek Oregano, Thyme, Pulsatilla, Garden Sage, Aconite, Cinquefoil, Pasture Gooseberries, Rudbeckia, Echinacea, Wormwood, Tansy, and Yarrow. The Goat's Beard looks great underneath the trees, but the Eupatorium (Joe Pye Weed/Gravel Root)looks dead. I do remember that in Illinois my Joe Pye Weed was slow to come up in the spring, so I will give it some time. I see that the wild Trilliums are blooming so tomorrow I will bring my Goldenseal out of the basement and put it in the ground by them. I think I will add the Blood Root seed; I know that Blood Root is terribly slow to germinate so I will see how it does next year. Maybe I'll look for some roots instead of trying seed. Anyway, there are only two more days this month for planting above the ground crops so I'll dig around for more herb seeds and see what I can plant. I may not have any tomatoes for market this year, but it looks like I will have some fresh herbs for sale!

BTW, do you think these may be pics of earthquake clouds? I took them Tuesday afternoon while out in the field.

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Another Nice Day But Also A Shock

It was another nice day and I got a lot done. First I went out to the field and watered all the fruit trees and removed the winter tree guards. Two Wealthy apples, the Westfield-Seek-No-Further and one Golden Spice pear don't look good, but everything else is starting to leaf out. In the perennial bed, the gooseberries are already showing berries, and the horseradish is peeking. Even in the rhubarb bed (which I moved closer to the house last Fall) has new rhubarb growing. The garlic bed looks great. I think I will dig up the raspberries and put them in my "berry knoll" by the house. Ed and I put up a chicken wire fence around the knoll yesterday. It still needs work, but at least it's up. Anyway, I think I will rototill the area in the perennial bed where the raspberries were and plant more apple trees this fall. I went and checked the hazelnut trees and it looks like only two didn't make it. It was a hard winter and I'm actually surprised the damage wasn't worse. But my big shock came when I went to water the seedlings in the high tunnel-- almost all of my tomato seedlings were gone! Everything else was there, but the tomato plants were gone, not dead, not wilted, just plain gone. Talk about being bummmed out. I'll seed some more plants in a flat tonight, but unless we have a late Fall, they will probably not mature. I'm tempted to grow some cherry tomatoes in pots by the house just to see if I get anything.

This afternoon I hanged the clothesline and cut a 9' log in half and used the pieces as braces on the clothesline posts to keep them in place. Hopefully the braces will keep the posts from pulling out of the ground.

I took Ed with me and we started working on taking down the compost bin (the electric company doesn't like my "stick" bin by the transformer). I planned to put the compost on the field this fall anyway, so turning everything over and putting it in one big pile is ok -- I'll burn some calories doing this though. I will add the poultry litter from the chicken coop while I'm at it. I'm pretty beat, but it feels good to be back outside.

Sunday, May 25, 2008

Working in the High Tunnel

Managed to get to the high tunnel yesterday for a few hours. I finished turning over the soil and planted most of the tomatoes and basil. I covered them and the rest of the seedling trays with Agribon, and that was about all as it was already time to go and take care of Lara. Here are a few pics of some seedlings and perfect new fence posts the beaver has left me.

Today we are having a bar-b-que. Hopefully we will get it in before the rain comes. Right now it is nice and sunny, but there are bad storm warnings out for West of us.

Have a safe and happy holiday to all!

Thursday, May 22, 2008

The End of May Already

It's hard to believe we are at the Memorial Day Weekend already! This morning we had hard frost and 28F when I got up around 5:15 a.m. Tom had another long day with doctors and I was a bit under the weather so I didn't make it out to the field. Tom is down in Marshfield all day tomorrow, so I hope to be able to finish planting the high tunnel transplants at least over the weekend. We plan to have a bar-b-que as Tom is feeling up to it for our 33rd wedding anniversary on the 24th.

The other day Ed and I were able to get out to the field for a few hours. We straightened one of the apple trees that had blown down in the wind storm we had last week, and we checked all the trees we planted last year. I found a whole row of gooseberries that I forgot to transplant last fall growing well, and rhubarb was coming up where I thought I had dug up the whole plant. The asparagus bed is shot though, and I don't see any horseradish coming up although I expect the horseradish will show up sooner or later. As my uncle says, once you plant horseradish, you always have it. The raspberries that are still in the field are looking good, and most of the fruit trees are at least showing buds -- it's so cold even the woods are just leafing out so I expect to give everything a bit more time. The plums, juneberries, and hazelnuts are mostly alive and look good. (I moved the elderberries nearer the house last fall and this spring they and the rhubarb I also transplanted are happily thriving). My garlic looks great and I plan to give it some more compost. Our farmers market in Phillips opens this weekend, but as it has been so cold, I doubt that there will be many producers there. I don't expect to have anything to sell till the end of June. I think the Farmers Market Committee may need to reconsider our opening date for the market unless we can attract more producers.

In the high tunnel I tied down the zipper wall pulls and added some pvc pipe to brace the end walls, and the tunnel looks much better. I will have to get a roll of plastic though for a new cover next year. If I buy a whole roll and get 5 years out of each cover, the roll should last me 20 years. I managed to put in St. Valery carrots and curly parsley seed in one row. As soon as I can get the section next to the high tunnel turned over, I will plant the Southport Red Globe onions, shallots, onion sets, Chinese and Copenhagen market cabbages, collards, and several types of greens and herb seeds. In the high tunnel I will have the sweet and hot peppers, tomatoes will go overhead in grow bags hung from a 2x4 trellis, eggplants, and more okra will finish it out. I am keeping everything covered with Agribon for as long as possible, both in and out of the tunnel. I will need to get a roll of 9 guage wire to cut more wire hoops. Yesterday I took down the fence around the chicken coop so we can cut down a couple of storm damaged and cat-faced trees that are a hazard, and since I'm not having chickens this year, I think I'll put the wire around the section where I will plant the Mandan Bride flour corn; hopefully that will be enough to deter the deer until I can get out to work on fixing the big fence.

The 2008 PriceDirect Atlas will be going out in the Shopper on the 31st, so look for it. Just be aware that the cold spring has set all the farmers back so don't expect much produce to be available until probably around the end of June or early July.

We had an Iron County sheriff stop in the driveway the other day when Tom was walking out to the mail box. He told Tom that there was a moose down in our marsh to the west of the house. He had his camera out. Tom told him that I said I had seen a moose but that no one believed me. Well, I guess they'll believe me now!

Saturday, May 17, 2008

May 17, 2008

Today is a lovely day. The sky is oh so blue and the clouds are fluffy with hints of gray. The wind is rather strong and the clouds move quickly across the sky, but together with the emerging green of the grasses and budding trees, it is altogether a healing sight.

I gave up trying to load Sarah's graduation video. All I can figure is that the dial-up connection I have takes too long to load as the MB and Quicktime format is certainly within proper parameters. Oh well. When I feel more like messing around with it I'll try loading it somewhere else and putting a link to its location on this blog. Our girl is now somewhere with the Army's 783rd. Most of her "stuff" is (of course) back with us or scattered hither and yon with her cousins.

The dandelions are blooming so it's time to plant corn and potatoes. The cold weather belies that adage, but I'm going to try and get out today to get at least the cool weather crops in the ground. It's only been a couple of days that I've seen guys out with their tractors because it's been so cold and wet. The County must have lifted the road restrictions because yesterday I saw my first logging trucks.

Did I tell you I managed to get all the witch hazel, elderberries and hickory nut trees planted? I am waiting for the trillium to show their heads so I know where to put the golden seal and astragalus plants. I figure that all I need to do is one task a day and by the end of the season, I will have accomplished a lot. One step at a time.

I get very tired, but I think it is all the worry about Tom and taking care of Lara and Ed. I miss my chickens and I want to get out in the field but the in-the-house tasks won't let me. I try not to let it bother me; I know that everything happens for a reason and I've learned it doesn't pay to push things. I try to get as much sleep as I can because I seem to be able to get more done if I am well rested. My best time for working in the field is between noon and 3:00 p.m. Otherwise, I can do things close to the house. I'm glad I moved most of the berries by the house.

Mary is stopping by today with the cavalier's plates. I baked a couple of cherry pies this morning so I have something to offer with a cup of coffee. Johnny picked up Sarah's car and I am sure he is off and running with it. It was a cute car for a kid. I am sure Sarah will buy something more satisfying when she comes home.

Just a note that the Phillips Farmers Market is opening next Saturday, May 24th, and runs from 9 until noon. I don't know if there will be any vendors though because I don't know anyone who has been able to plant anything yet because of the cold. If you are looking for something, best to call the vendor ahead of time and see if they have anything yet.

Well, time to check on the laundry. Talk to you later.

Sunday, May 11, 2008

Sarah's Graduation

Well, we survived the trip to Carbondale and Sarah's college graduation from Southern Illinois University. We are SO PROUD of her! She earned two B.A. degrees, one in Administration of Justice and the other in English. It was a herculean effort on Sarah's part as she was under severe pressure to complete 18 credit hours of school work, working a s*** job for a miserable old battleaxe, being told by the Army that they were transferring her to an MP unit and sending her to Afghanistan, not to speak of having to fly to Detroit (where her luggage with all her uniforms was lost) to meet her new unit and for training in Minnesota (during finals week so she had to make arrangements with all of her teachers in order to even finish the English degree). And, of course, after graduation, she had to clear out her apartment, which gives her three or four days before she has to join her new unit. We don't know when we will see her again. We went to eat at the 17th Street Bar and Grill in Marion, the #1 place in the nation for ribs. They WERE great ribs. No doggie bags with our crew! Sarah's cousins, Melissa and Theresa, and her godmother, my sister, Theresa, were all with us to enjoy the evening. It was a happy time.