Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Staying on Center

We had our last snow on May 12th, and after that, the snow melted rapidly creating flash flood conditions.  Then suddenly the temperature rose and there was no moisture at all. Everything was bone dry and extreme fire alerts were posted all over by the Department of Natural Resources (DNR). Two counties over from us in Douglas County, Wisconsin saw the worst forest fire it's had in 30 years that burned over 9,000 acres of forest.  And as soon as the fire was put out, the rains came.  Heavy rains that flooded roads including US Highway 2 up in Ashland along Lake Superior.  We are expecting more rain, too.

We have been tossing trailer loads of mink manure in Tom's garden when we can, and I have been busy starting more seeds, potting up larger seedlings, and working in the forest garden. The deer may have chewed most of the trees, but as long as they are leafing out, I'm OK. It's hard to believe that the snow has only been gone for nine days.

Chestnut Crab Apple tree
Here are some pictures of new swales I dug in the forest garden. (I've ordered some books about permaculture from the library to help me get a better grasp of basic principles.  If I've messed up in the garden, I guess I can just grab my shovel and start digging again.)  I filled them with leaves I raked in the front yard:

 This is an almost finished small pond at the bottom of the knoll:

I have half of the forest garden left to make swales on.  I'm glad I finished at least what I did before the rains came.  All the raspberries that are sprouting up in the pathways are going to get transplanted into the berms.

The greenhouse is filling fast.  With the seeds I started today, there is not much room left.  Thursday it is supposed to get down in the 30's F and hopefully there will be no more cold weather after that. The sun is already so hot (when it does shine!) that I have to put some kind of shade cloth up (in this case it's my trusty Agribon fabric).  By the way, in that big center pot I planted Lara's fig tree. She can't wait for it to grow figs.  The four lemon trees I started from seed are in smaller pots in front of the fig.  If I can keep them all alive, I will keep them pruned to dwarf size and move them inside for the winter months.

This is Mohawk tobacco.  I've never grown it before and am looking forward to seeing how it does once it is planted outside.

Red cabbages and spring cabbages are looking good.  Tom is planting our main sauerkraut cabbages in his garden.

The hummingbirds came back on May 15th -- about two weeks early for us, and we have more orioles this year.  Yay!  Red, blue, and gold finches abound, and the chickens chase the wood doves, blue jays, and robins from "their" turf. Nothing is really growing yet out in the woods and I wonder if that is why so many birds are flocking to our feeders.

Speaking of chickens, I spoke too soon about the demise of that dratted fox.  I am now down to 18 chickens.  I also lost my beautiful rooster, Temujin.  Sometimes I wonder if I should even try having chickens.

Until next time, Be Safe and Peace Be To You!

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