Thursday, May 31, 2018

The Season of the Elusive Balance in Life

Well, bunkerpoo!  Why even strive for a balance in life this time of year when most everything revolves around gardening and accomplishing those outside tasks that can be done only in good weather.  You've heard of making hay while the sun shines.  Not that we're making hay, but we do have a darn good-sized list of projects that need to be done during our precious spring/summer/fall seasons.

As far as the balance of life concept goes, we can plan our days to the extent of what we realistically can and can't do.  (And every now and then that even works!)  However, we have less control over Mother Nature who has been throwing us curve balls so far this spring/summer.

Little to no moisture since our last snowfall way-back-when has created the very real threat of forest fire danger in our area.  Everything is d-r-y.

A couple of days ago, my daughter planted a bunch of summer bulbs and corms in one of my raised beds for me.  She was frustrated because the soil was so totally dry that when she tried to dig a hole of the proper depth, the dirt just kept collapsing in on the hole.  At the same time, I was finding I was actually raising dust making furrows in which to plant seeds.  Plus, I've been having to water daily which is almost unheard of this early in the season.

Then the rains came.  The fire danger went way, way down which is absolutely great.  

Now I've been standing inside looking at my raised beds quickly taking on the appearance of small rectangular swimming pools.  Yikes, I had just planted out three beds with Swiss chard, spinach, beets and dill seeds.  Another bed was allotted to miscellaneous salad greens such as mizuna mustard, scarlet frill, kale, arugula, Osaka purple mustard, wasabina and radishes.  And the bed of California Poppy seeds which want to be barely covered with soil . . . well, I don't have much hope for them.  Should I replant all these seeds or wait a couple of weeks to see if any of them survived the copious quantities of rain we've received in the last 36 hours?

My 4-5" tall lacy cosmos plants I transplanted after starting them inside got knocked flat by the heavy rains.  Today I had to carefully pry their ferny stalks out of the mud and tie the stems back upright to thin wooden dowels.  

I fully intended to harvest a nice crop of asparagus spears the day before the rain started.  Didn't get to it (yeah, too unbalanced again) until this morning when I put on my mud boots and ventured into the patch.  (Slip, slosh, squish, slide, sloosh.)

Some of the stalks were a full two feet high and 'bout big around as telephone poles.  Unfortunately, the lower several inches of these stalks were too tough to save.

This huge bowl of throw-a-ways weighed a smidge over three pounds.  Organically grown asparagus at our co-op in town is now selling for $3.99 a pound.  That means I lost about $12 worth of it.  Ugh.  Well, the poultry will get some nutrition from the tough stalks anyway and unless I had gone out during the last couple days of constant deluges, there was nothing I could have done about it.

This morning, in between sprinkles (yep, it's still fairly wet out there), I harvested our first greens of the season.  Those of you who have been readers for a while know how much we celebrate this every season. 

Luscious leaves of spinach, chard and a variety of lettuces.  So, so much better than anything one can buy.  (To start with, how much fresher could it be?)

Back talking about the balance.  Perhaps that means simply surviving from one day to the next just now.  Oh, posh and paddidily, we're enjoying ourselves and doing what we want to do in our good lives so there's no real complaint about our balance being a little lopsided these days.  I just wish when I sit down at night to relax before bedtime, the yawns that overtake me wouldn't be so big that my jaw cracks and my eyes water so that I can't see to read or knit.  The fact that my whole body has the tendency to tip over sideways on the couch indicates it's time to seek out the balance (!) of getting into my comfy bed.

Tuesday, May 29, 2018

Wounds and Injuries

No, nothing serious, I'm glad to report.  Just a couple of clutzy owies sustained by my husband and daughter.

Papa Pea was doing some tree clearing today while I was working in the garden.  When we came in at dinner time I noticed a large bandaid on his right hand.  I asked what happened and he replied it was nothing serious,  just that the pointy end of a branch had landed on his hand.

As I was trying to coerce him into taking off the bandaid and letting me see the wound, Chicken Mama stopped in on her way home from work and she was exiting the bathroom when I heard a loud THUNK and her distressed, "Ow!"  She had walked smack into the end side of the bathroom door that apparently jumped out right in front of her.

She hit the door right on her cheekbone, and it started to swell immediately so I got some ice for her to put on it.  Looks like she did a bad job of applying too much blush, doesn't it?  I think she'll have some colorful bruising tomorrow.

"Okay," I said.  "Now we're gonna see what Dad's wound really looks like."

We made him take the bandaid off and show us.

He promised us both that when it happened, he came in and washed it thoroughly before applying Tea Tree Oil and the bandaid.

Good thing he was wearing gloves, eh?

When I told Papa Pea I wanted to take pictures so I could go blog about their two injuries, he said, "Don't you have anything better to blog about?"

Nope.  I'll do anything to avoid the sink full of dishes in the kitchen.

Sunday, May 27, 2018

Bug Season Has Arrived (Oh, Joy.)

We've all been hoping for a delayed and perhaps even less bothersome bug season.  We got the delayed part (because of our extreme dryness, I'm sure) but I can attest to the fact that the first ones that arrived today are not looking to be less bothersome.

To back up a little bit, some folks stopped by this afternoon to say hello to the little bantam rooster that now lives in our flock that the daughter (currently eighteen years old) raised as a newly hatched chick when she was ten years old.

Long story short, as so often happens in a sparsely populated community such as ours . . . years ago, this family had to move to a house in town where they knew they couldn't keep the rooster.  Friends of ours who lived out in the boonies near our fist piece of property in this area took the rooster and integrated him with their flock.  Unfortunately, shortly thereafter this second family had to get rid of all their chickens, so they called us asking if we would be willing to give the rooster a "forever" home.  We were glad to do so, and he's been with us going on two or three years now.

Aaaanyway, as we were all standing out in the poultry yard admiring how good Shivers, the rooster, still looks at the ripe old age of eight years, we all noticed little bugs circling our heads.  Huh, where did they come from?

They were apparently the scouts checking out the territory for the season's first batch of biting insects getting ready to make their presence known.

I can now confidently declare the bug season has begun.  

You see, Papa Pea volunteers to do dishes for me on weekends (yes, he is a dear) so when he attacked the huge pile of them (he prefers to let them stack up all day . . . ugh) after dinner tonight, I went back out into the garden to finish weeding the asparagus.  

If there is a biting insect within a hundred miles of me, I get chewed upon.  I think these tonight must have been those dastardly no-see-'ums because before I knew it, I had two bites on my left forearm, three on my right forearm and one in a very bad spot down the front of my shirt.

After the last bite, I had to quit with only about two feet of weeding left to do and ran into the house as fast as my short little legs would take me.

Now I'm slathered with calamine lotion but can hardly wait to get into the shower hoping that will make the itching abate a bit.

(No, I'm not going to show the last bite about which I spoke.)

Papa Pea has been suggesting recently that I don't push myself quite as much as I have been getting the garden all planted, but I've been telling him I have to keep working away because when bug season starts, I simply can't stand to be out there while they're in a feeding frenzy.  I may be getting certain periods (during said bug feeding frenzies) now when I will not be outside.

Thursday, May 24, 2018

Gettin' The Garden In

It's not all done yet, but I'm gaining on it.  Makes me feel much better to go from "I'll never get it done!" to "I'm gaining on it."

I took some random pictures late yesterday thinking I'd get a post up last night, but it didn't happen.  Now it's 3 p.m. the next day and I'm in for a short break before going back out to get a little more done.

I'm trying a new trellising method for the snap peas this year.  In the past, they've grown so tall that they over-shoot the top of their trellis and end up flopping over making it very hard to find and pick the pods.  Don't know if you can see it clearly in the above picture, but Papa Pea helped me bend a 16' cattle panel over the eight foot length of one of our raised beds.  I planted a four foot row alongside each trellis end and am hoping the pea plants will climb up and over the hoop.  Stay tuned to see if this is a hit . . . or a miss.

Yesterday I set out a long row of cosmos plants I started inside.  This is along one end of the field garden and, with luck, they should put on quite a show of colorful blossoms.  Our weather is still a bit cool for them so I put a not-so-classy distilled water jug "cloche" over each one until our weather warms up a bit more. 

Lo and behold, two days ago I discovered some blossoms on my strawberry plants.  This means we should have ripe berries about two weeks early this year.  And this despite our unusually cooler weather.  Go figure!

If you look closely, you will see a chicken in each of the above two pictures.  She's a renegade hen that has been managing to sneak out of the poultry pasture with regularity lately.  One day Papa Pea finally saw her squeeze through a fence post and gate.  He promptly remedied that situation, and she didn't get out for a few days.  Yesterday, there she was, scratching away in the strawberries where she shouldn't be.  Now the search is on once again to find out how she's getting out.

One variety of my garlic (Siberian) is doing well.  The other (Blanak) is not.  Very poor germination on it.  I think I'm going to write to the company I got it from because when it arrive it looked a smidge bit "shriveled" and not in the best of shape.  Dang.

The broccoli I started inside and then set out isn't looking as robust as I'd like.  Still hoping it will shape up.  It was in a cold frame until today.  Now it's out in the elements and on its own.

The cauliflower also had its cold frame taken away today.  It looks better than the broccoli.

The chives are growing like weeds and even have some blossom buds on them.  I've been trying to cut and process for the freezer a good sized cutting of them each night at the kitchen table while watching episodes of "The Golden Girls" I recorded from the Hallmark Channel.  (Yes, my life is exciting, isn't it?)

Here's a shot looking down a row of blueberry bushes with the haskap bushes in front.  I finished weeding the area today and have all but four of the blueberry bushes pruned.

When we first put in the haskaps three years ago, we read they would bear mature fruit before the blueberries.  But they've ripened the same time as our blueberries . . . at least up until now.  

Perhaps the haskap bushes just had to reach a certain age because this year they are currently LOADED with blossoms and the blueberry bushes barely have buds forming.  Looks to be a bumper crop of the haskaps this year.  Good thing we've discovered they make great alcoholic beverages, huh?  Hey, maybe this year the fruit will start tasting sweet right off the bushes.  (Nah, no chance.)

We're still in a drought period.  Have had only 1/2" of rain since our last snowfall.  I'm having to water almost daily.  Today the forecast was for a 70% chance of rain mid-afternoon, but although it's been gray all day, no moisture has materialized.  We're keeping our fingers crossed for a good soaking . . . soon.  If you're in an area that has any extra rain, please send it our way!

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.

Wednesday, May 2, 2018

First of the Month Comparison Pictures

I got the first of the month shot of the raised beds taken on May 1st.  Just didn't get it posed on the first!

Finally, it looks as though we might be actually leaving winter behind.  Although the gray, damp, dreary weather today with a temp of only in the low 40s doesn't feel as much like real spring time in our northern clime as the sunny 70-some degrees did yesterday.

Back to wearing my down work jacket today as I finished up the asparagus patch and started in on more work on the strawberries.

But enough idle chatter.  On with the comparison pictures.

March 1st
 Yikes, still very much in winter time, weren't we?

April 1st
 Okay, showing a little bit of hope.

May 1st
 Wow, quite the change!  Although we still have
patches of snow here and there, all my 
planting areas, including these raised beds,
are finally free and clear.
 The grass is even greening up. 

Just yesterday I got those two cold frames on the beds I want to get planted out early and first.  I'll use them mainly for radishes, lettuces and other tasty salad greens.  The salad fixings I've been able to purchase from our organic co-op in town this winter have been good, but what can compare to salads made from your very own homegrown, super-fresh veggies?  Can hardly wait!

Tuesday, May 1, 2018

What I Did and Didn't Do Today

We woke before our six o'clock alarm this morning.  Papa Pea popped out of bed with me following.  Slowly.  Actually, I think with the advent of (slightly) warmer weather and more daylight, our bodies are eager to be up and going these days.  Usually.

My dear husband worked on pruning the fruit trees most of the day.  This morning I made a double batch of Cream of Tomato soup, baked a blueberry pie, made a plate of deviled eggs and then put together grilled cheese sandwiches (laced with slices of raw garlic) for lunch.  Chicken Mama and Gilligan were here to join us and all was declared tasty for our midday meal plus, due to the ample amounts of garlic, no vampires were spotted all day.

After lunch and a gazillion dishes, I headed out to the garden.  Got the mint bed cleaned, weeded and ready for the season.  No picture as now that the weeds have been eradicated, there's no greenery to be seen.  Yet.

Edged the asparagus patch and tilled up the soil between the rows.  It's not done yet, but it's getting there.

Got two cold frames mounted on two of the raised beds in order to warm up the soil before planting.  After planting, the cold frames will stay in place for a while.

Started work on the strawberry patch.

This is what the plants looked like before rough cleaning which means I pulled a rake lightly over the plants to remove most of the dead leaves.

And this is after the rough cleaning.  Next I'll go over each plant with scissors removing any remaining dead stems or leaves.

After I raked the old mulch off that was between the rows, guess what I found.  Patches of that blankety-blank quack grass that had already taken hold.  Grrr.

Now for what I didn't do today.  Because I was doing other things.  (Just had to take advantage of the gorgeous day -- temp up near 70 degrees!

I didn't pay bills.

Or reconcile my bank account or do my other "first of the month" stuff.

Or get more seedlings started.

Or do my weekly ironing.

Or clean eggs and store them away.

BUT, it's only 6:21 p.m. as I write so there's a chance some of the "Didn't Do's" may still get done.  Or may not.

Tomorrow, I'll post the picture taken today of the state of my raised garden beds to compare with the pictures of the past two months taken on the first of those months.

Road Trip, Bees and Babies

Last Saturday Papa Pea and I made a road trip (we left at 7 a.m. and returned home about 5 p.m.) to pick up a nuc of honey bees we purchased from a bee keeper over south and west of us.  

I don't know if I've mentioned it before but we had six bee hives last fall and lost all of them over winter.

We belong to a small bee keeping group in our county and although a few of the members made it through the winter with one or two hives surviving, most of them lost all their hives as we did.  It was a bad winter for bees.

Nucs (a colony of bees with a queen) are expensive, but we didn't want to be without any bees as they are important pollinators and help our gardens tremendously.  We're going to baby this nuc along this summer and do all we can to help it make it through the winter of 2018-19.

The family at the place where we got the bees also raises dairy goats and they had a whole yard full of mama and baby goats.  The breed they keep is Oberhasli, goats originally from Switzerland.

This breed has extremely calm, friendly natures and were eager to say hello.

Getting some good shots of the kids was difficult as they were cavorting around their pasture, only slowing down now and then to take a refreshing drink from their mamas.

This doe had to have an emergency C-Section this year.  (Note the shaved flank.)  But she recovered totally and looked healthy and happy.  The daughter in the family shows these goats and this particular one is a two time champion, but because of what the doe went through this kidding season, they won't take the chance breeding her again which is unfortunate because there won't be the opportunity to get more great offspring from her.

No, we didn't bring one (or two or four) of the goats home with us.  Sigh.  Would have been easy to do, but right now it doesn't fit into our plans.  Darn.

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Although this is the first of May, my first of the month picture of the raised garden beds will appear tomorrow.   (Yep, a day late and a dollar short again!)