Saturday, May 19, 2018

Good Gardening Progress and More Computer Trouble

How's that title for covering the good, the bad, and the ugly?

Ah yes, more computer problems.  This time I'm unable to send out any e-mails.  Computer guru daughter took a quick look tonight on her way home from work and says it will take more time than she could immediately give as she'll have to go "deep within the bowels" to straighten it out.  Pretty sure it has to do with having to switch over to Google as a main server which we did recently.  Sigh.  It is what it is, and I'm actually taking this latest glitch quite well.  (I'm probably just too busy right now to care.)  Please know that I'm not ignoring any of you who have been expecting to receive an e-mail from me.  I'll be back at it as soon as I can.

Spent a fantastically profitable day in the garden today.  The weather was blustery and cool, but the positive is that there are no bugs out yet, and I certainly didn't get over-heated.

No pictures yet, sorry to say, but so far I have all the broccoli in, half of the cauliflower (going to experiment with the other half), three raised beds of onions, snow peas planted with a new overhead trellis which I'm hoping will make picking a lot easier this year, three cherry tomato plants protected by Wall O' Waters, and a raised bed of transplanted salad greens and lettuce I started inside.

Papa Pea helped me put up three sixteen foot long shell pea trellises which I hope to get planted out tomorrow.

I'm tempted to set out my teeny-tiny pepper plants (under a cold frame) tomorrow, too.  Did I tell you about the first peppers I started inside?  One day the leaves looked a little shriveled and I thought perhaps they weren't getting enough water.  So I gave them a good drink.  Next day, the leaves started falling off.  One by one sad leaf, they just dropped off.  I have no idea what made this happen, but I had to start some seeds all over again.  Hence, the smaller than usual size of the peppers now.

And, oh yes, we ate the very first harvest of the year of asparagus for our lunch today.  A big plate for each of us with butter and salt.  Was it good?  You bet!

Wednesday, May 16, 2018

Anybody Else Feeling the Way I Am?

Yep, I'm feeling right up-to-the-gills overwhelmed, I am.

For me, it happens this way every year.  I'm all set and ready early on to get outside and get a jump start on the garden.  But Mother Nature won't allow it.  Both air and soil are way too cold to do anything.  Any seeds put into the ground would rot (death by hypothermia) and started seedlings set out would be frozen solid.  I can only watch the days on the calendar zip by without doing any garden work.

The, over night it seems, the temp sails up to 70 degrees and all things "garden" need to be done at once.  Right now.  Immediately.  Ugh.  Looking at it all makes me feel I'll never be able to accomplish it before the 4th of July.  By which date, obviously, it would be too late for crops to mature.  Ugh. 

So what have I done the past two days since our fickle weather has now turned summer-like?

I've spent it cutting, splitting and stacking wood.  We had help from Chicken Mama and Gilligan so the four of us really hit the wood working area with a vengeance.  It's a little mind-blowing to see what four people can accomplish working together as compared to two people (that would be me and Papa Pea) doing the same work.  It's not just double the amount that gets accomplished, but exponentially much greater than that.  We still have to get most of it under cover but having it all cut and split goes a far piece to having it done.

But tomorrow!  Tomorrow I am spending the whole day in the garden.  The.  Whole.  Day.  I must to assuage this feeling I have that I'm so, so, so behind right now.  Oh, it will take more than one day (that's an understatement) to get it all done.  More like a couple of weeks, but if I put concentrated effort on the task it will get done, and then I can breathe easier.  And stop acting like a very crazy lady who doesn't know which end is up.

I promise to have some pictures to illustrate my efforts by next post.  Hold me to it, please.

Saturday, May 12, 2018

Waiting for the Gardening to Begin

One day this past week, Tuesday I think it was, we had a smidge over 1/2" of rain.  This was the first moisture we've had since the last snow and, thankfully, moved our area out of the Very High fire danger down into Moderate.

We expected that once we got some precipitation, spring time would burst forth, and we would finally be able to say spring had arrived.

For almost a week, with the exception of that one rainy day, we've had wonderfully bright and beautiful days of sunshine, but temperatures hovering only in the 40s (maaaaybe nearing the 50s a couple of times) and nights cold enough (drat and blast) to show us ice on the poultry watering pans each morning.

I've turned off the grow-lights over my indoor started plants as they're getting so big I'm afraid they're going to suffer if I don't manage to get them outside soon.  (I haven't set any out yet, even under my cold frames.)  They're in front of a south facing window though so still have the natural sunlight.

I want to plant onions and potatoes and peas but have hesitated fearing the soil is simply still too cold.  Possibly not, but I'm waiting a bit more.  Bottom line, spring and our gardening season continues to be downright slow in arriving.  There's nothing one can do about it except dig deep for patience.  It's hard when I look at my calendar from last year and note that we took our first asparagus cutting just six days from now.  Today there's not a single asparagus even showing yet.

Gardening isn't easy in the north woods of Minnie-soda.  (Maybe if I changed my blog header photo it would help, you think?  The pond is totally free of ice now and the ducks and geese have all happily taken their first baths of the season after a long winter taking "sponge" baths in their drinking water!)

Thursday, May 10, 2018

She's A Keeper!

As I said to my husband today in reference to our indispensably talented daughter, "Aren't you glad we had her?"

Truly, this latest transfer from our local server over to Google's servers (a necessary change, we had no choice) has been a big, fat, ol' pain in the patoot that Papa Pea and I could never have handled on our own.  We could have called in someone from one of the local computer businesses (but I know they are all busier than they want to be), but having Chicken Mama do it was considerably cheaper (!) and she set things up just exactly as her fuddy-duddy, set-in-their-ways parents wanted it. 

We are so, so appreciative of the time she's given us since this is a particularly busy week for her in more ways than I'll relate here.

She manages and cleans a rental cabin for a couple who live in Minneapolis and, wouldn't ya know, this is the week they've blocked out guests so dear daughter could get some inside painting done.  And construct a safety railing in a loft they are turning into another sleeping area.

Then night before last she was called out before midnight to hurry to special friends' house to stay with their two little boys while the mom and dad headed out on the 2-1/2 hour drive to the big city to give birth!

As if Chicken Mama didn't have her hands full enough without this unexpected computer kafuffle.  She just left a few minutes ago and I do believe I'm back in business.  Papa Pea, too.  She was even able to coax his old, old, old Windows XP into accepting the changes.  I suspect she had to use some black magic on that one.

Now for me to catch up.  I'm pooped tonight but plan on getting up early tomorrow morning and getting at it as soon as I can.   Toodles until then.

We Interrupt This Message . . . .

Chicken Mama here.  Even tho Mama Pea told me to not take the time for it, I wanted to let you - her faithful readers - know that she's out of blogging / commenting commission until I can sort some technical things out on her computer.  Our local server is transferring over to Google's servers, and it's causing ALL kinds o' headaches!

I hope to get her back online tonight, though.


How Mom's feeling:

Wednesday, May 9, 2018

A Question For You Gardeners

When you have your gardening space on the flat ground, as opposed to in raised beds, how do you keep the surrounding grass (or in our case, weedy sod) from growing into the planting space and taking over?

I'm in the process of neatening up the edges of our flat ground planting areas (I swear the surrounding sod thrives and grows under the snow in the winter!), and I know I'll have to do it over and over several times this season if I want to keep the planting area from reverting back to nature.  Or sod.  Or lawn area.  Or whatever.

Here's one side of the blueberry/haskap berry patch that I haven't touched yet.  Granted, the whole patch needs to be weeded and a new mulch of peat moss spread, but you can see how the sod on the right of the patch is trying its mightiest to grow into that fertile soil that I want to keep free of weeds, quack grass and heavy sod.  It's worse at the far end that I didn't manage to get in the picture.

This is the west side of my strawberries which are planted in a section of the field garden.  I just finished tilling the edge with my Mantis tiller yesterday.  You can see some clumps of sod about half way down that I cut off the edge with the tiller, but if I don't go over them again soon or manually take them out, they'll root and start growing right there faster than greased lightning!

And this is a "new" plot we have been working on for the past two years.  Eventually, I'm pretty sure we'll start a new raspberry patch, one row of them right down the center of the strip.  (I'm totally tired of walking between three shorter rows trying to pick raspberries and feeling like I'm in the middle of the Amazon jungle, without a machete, and might not be able to fight my way back out.)  This year, I'm going to plant about two-thirds of our potatoes down the center of the strip to see if they might prefer this soil and grow to a bigger size than they have been in the field garden soil.  I edged this line yesterday.

Lastly, this is the edging I did around the asparagus patch nearly a week ago.  And it already needs to be done again.

Hoping many of you will share the way you handle this little gardening "problem" and give me some ideas as to how I might do it better.  Thanks in advance for any and all comments. 

Sunday, May 6, 2018

I Got Some Goodies!

I had a birthday recently . . . my 57th.  (Ha!)  That's a bald-faced lie.  But those same two numbers do make up my true age.  I'll leave it at that.

My sweet daughter gave me this bee-yew-ti-ful phalaenopsis orchid.  I've never had one before so I'm crossing my fingers I can keep it alive.  

She also presented me with a couple of other small special things (she is SO good at picking out presents that are just perfect) including this bouquet of flowers she made from the bottom ends of pine cones.

Here's a better picture of the colorations.  I think they look remarkably like zinnias, don't you?  I love 'em.

She and her dad collaborated on another special gift for me.  Papa Pea provided the cash (!) and dear daughter did the computer work of getting copies of my blog posts to the publisher.

You see, a few Christmases ago, she gave me a book like this containing my blog posts from when I first started blogging through the next nine months.  That was Volume I and the start of what has become a wonderful traditional gift for me on birthdays and Christmases.  This most recent is Book V and believe it or not, we're not close to being caught up to date.

I keep my growing collection on the top shelf of my desk and treasure them.

Well in advance of my birthday date, I asked my dear husband for this book and I'm sure he was tickled to get it for me since it's been his desire for me to learn how to make sourdough bread for a long time.  The book is by MaryJane Butters and has gotten really good reviews.  I love that the recipes and instructions seem very simple (for this very simple person), and there are LOTS of pictures.  It may be unrealistic (given that our busiest of busy seasons is here), but I sure hope to be able to find the time to delve into this book and get a start on learning to bake sourdough bread yet this summer.

Yep, it was a lovely birthday celebration with lovely presents . . . and I didn't even mind turning 57.  (Hee-hee-hoho-snort-snort.)

Friday, May 4, 2018

Good Neighbors Are Worth More Than Gold

I know I've mentioned before how fortunate (blessed might be a better word) we are to have D and M as our nearest neighbors.  Talk about being lucky-duckies when we bought this property that abuts theirs.

Kind of a funny story to it all though.  Hard to believe, I know, but they are the ones who insist how happy they are having us as neighbors.  I believe this becomes very easy for anyone to understand when you know that the house on our property when we bought it was a really, really tacky, run-down rental.  And, oh yeah.   Did I mention it was a drug house?

Whenever D or M say we're good neighbors, we remind them that after the previous occupants of the property, anybody would have been a marked improvement.

But back to the main reason for this post. 

As the frost has been coming out of the ground, we've noticed two big humps, sort of like small pitchers' mounds, that have materialized in the parking area by our garage.

The other afternoon I heard the rumble of a piece of machinery and looked out to see Good Neighbor D digging a hole in that area.  Papa Pea, who had been working elsewhere outside, came to the area about the same time I exited the house to see what was going on.

Seems D had noticed the two recently appearing humps when he had stopped over recently and knew what they most likely were.  You see, when we moved here, this particular area had been wooded, we cut down the trees, had the ground leveled and graveled. 

Knowing he could easily rectify the situation, D brought one of his smaller pieces of machinery over and very efficiently proceeded to dig a few rather large pieces of tree (roots, stumps, whatever they had been) out from under each hump.  (The darn pieces of nearly rotted wood had happily lived below the surface for 20 years until this year when they decided to make a break for it.)  Then D filled in the holes, smoothed them over and was on his way back home.

But before he left, he told Papa Pea he'd been steam cleaning his equipment and would clean and de-grease our tractor if Papa Pea wanted to drive it over. 

Not one to pass up a great invitation like that, off he went returning home later with one spiffy-clean tractor.

This little tale illustrates the type of people our neighbors are, quickly and efficiently helping out whenever a need arises.   We've all heard the expression that someone would give you the shirt off his back. Well, I know we could count on that if ever needed from these good people we were fortunate enough to buy a piece of land next to.