Monday, June 11, 2012

Still Planting

I was getting very nervous at how wild the forest garden is looking so I got out Sepp Holzer's Permaculture book and re-read it.  I calmed down.  Everything is OK out there.  Since I spent so much time last year working the forest garden, this year I am basically observing, and it is quite an eye-opener.  All of the fruit trees are thriving without watering or pruning, and most other plantings are growing great, too.  The foxgloves are spreading all on their own, the artemesias are doing their thing -- nothing much bothers them, and even last year's finnicky Valerian is growing well.  The hyssop didn't make it over the winter, and the gooseberries don't seem to like where they are.  Most importantly I am not seeing any insect pest problems, at least not yet.  I still have time to plant the perennial flower and herb garden just behind the fence I'm building, and I hope to get that planting done in the next few days.  All of the Grandpa Ott's morning glories are planted and the Scarlet Runner beans are planted next to them.  We had some good rain the other day and they seem to be holding their own.

Here is a picture of the field garden; I thought I'd take a picture of it before the deer get into it as I don't think I'll be able to get the fence put up in time to protect it from the deer.

This is my take on Buffalo Bird Woman's garden -- only I've added lots of raised beds.  Like her garden, the outside perimeter is filled with sunflowers.  Inside them are New England pie pumpkins and Blue Hubbard winter squash. Inside the squash are rows of Mandan Bride flour corn with Kentucky Wonder Brown pole beans planted around each corn stalk, and in between the corn rows are raised beds of Bull's Blood beets; Danvers Half-Long, Autumn King, and Atomic Red carrots; Southern Giant Curled Mustard; non-GMO sugar beets; Prague Celeriac; Hollow Crown parsnips; Laurentian rutabegas; Banish Ballhead and Red Ace cabbages; and two beds dedicated to Provider green beans.  Next to the corn are two rows of Moon and Stars, Charentais, and Green Nutmeg melons, and then a row of many packets of mixed annual flowers.  The raised bed at the front of the picture is Jerusalem artichokes and the bed next to it is my perennial allium bed that is filled with Musselburgh leeks, Egyptian Walking onions, and this year's Ailsa Craig onions.  I have a trench surrounding the entire section where I plan to dig in the fence posts.  As the plants grow, I will add wood chips and grass mulch that will not be removed at the end of the season.  My 350' of Red Cloud potatoes are in the half-section next to the hops.  I thought I had a picture of them but I can't find it so I'll have to take another for you.

Lots of wild life activity, some good and some questionable.  It's turtle reproductive season and they are all over.  We had a HUGE turtle come out of the field and cross the road into the woods next to Minnow Lake. Whether it was coming or going I don't know.  I couldn't tell what kind of turtle it was as I was driving the car at the time.  We also have lots of different birds, but not the usual ones.  I haven't seen a Nuthatch in almost two years.  We had our first Orioles,

but they didn't stick around.  There don't seem to be as many hummingbirds this year despite the fact that we set up two more feeders for them. I've heard cardinals but not seen them; robins and blue jays have been definitely been sighted,

but I haven't heard or seen any woodpeckers, either downy or big Red-headed, no Indigo buntings, or wood thrushes.  There was a lovely sounding song bird for two nights, but I have no idea what it was because I couldn't catch a sight of it.  There have been several different hawks around, and one morning I saw two crows bully a turkey vulture away from the yard.  Turkey vultures are unusual this far north.  I've only seen one doe with a fawn.  I don't know where all the fawns are this year.  We have lots of good-sized deer, but no fawns.  Perhaps my favorite animal sighting so far is of three river otters that I spied coming out of Minnow Lake and running across the road near my neighbor, Dale's house.  Tom said he thought they were going through the woods on our side of the road to get to the creek, and sure enough a couple of crows promptly started complaining.  I was so excited!  This is the first time I've ever seen river otters, and the fact that they are here is a great indicator of fishes in the creek and in Minnow Lake. 

While I was working on the forest garden fence I came across this fantastic flower:

Moccasin Flower
Moccasin Flower close up
I get really excited when I see rare flowers like this.  I will watch this spot carefully and see if the flowers increase next year.  I'm not sure how it propogates, but this looks like a seed pod:

I have managed to start two yellow gentians (also rare) in the greenhouse and hopefully I'll be able to plant them near the moccasin flowers.

Cousin It wanted to see how the chicks are doing so here a few new pictures of them:

These chicks are only two weeks old and are feathering out nicely.  They are already able to jump up onto the perch in front of the nesting boxes.

Well, I've been rambling on long enough for one night so I'll let you go.  Take care!

Tuesday, June 05, 2012

Recall Day

Get out and vote, Badger People!  And for those of us (admittedly, like me) who think the people may not prevail over corporate fascist out-of-state money interfering in sovereign state elections thanks to the Citizens United Supreme Court decision, here is a  glimmer of hope to read.