Wednesday, April 29, 2015

Garden report

Yesterday C. transplanted half a flat of Rosa Milano onions into the garden, and planted Lincoln peas, and transplanted half the tomato seedlings into larger pots and I moved them into the greenhouse. Day before, she planted leaf radishes and white Russian ruffles kale and matador spinach. On the weekend she planted two beds of potatoes. Planted a few shallots (can't find most of the ones she saved for seed). Transplanted strawberry daughters. Planted pod peas. So we have three or four fat rows of peas (I requested more shell peas last year and boy am I going to get them!).

The little cabbages have come up in little hoop house, but aren't doing much. The leaf radishes in the greenhouse have been appreciated by the rabbits as the first greens of the year, but they'll be pulled out to make room for the rest of the tomatoes. We'll be watching the forecast carefully, and pulling out the electric heater if needed to keep the tomatoes alive. They grow like crazy when they get out from under the plant lights and into the greenhouse. And weather willing, we can put them into the garden in a couple of weeks.

C. puts in long hours in the garden every day, planting, raking, spading over beds, reinforcing terrace walls. It's looking good.

Tuesday, April 21, 2015

Nobody is talking

Mysterious events Sunday led to Kewpie the peke being caked to her fat thighs in clay, Earl looking nervous, and two rabbits lurking in the subterranean concrete stairwell outside the boiler room.

The rabbits were supposed to be in the rabbitat, the chain link run outside their quarters. Kewp was supposed to be in the garden, helping C. dig and plant. Earl was supposed to be helping me fence.

The pile of school-supply clay (very plastic and sticky) outside the north door is full of dog prints. There's a big wad of angora rabbit hair on the patio. And a tunnel under the rabbitat wall.

I've tried threats, bribes and feigned appreciation for criminal cleverness, but none of them will grass.

They're grounded.

Sunday, April 19, 2015

Beautiful weekend

It's been 70 degrees out, sunny and gorgeous. I'm working on a PVC watering system for the garden, and Em and Richard came up and we worked on the new goat pasture. Their come-along sure makes fence-stretching easy. We got the south side nearly done, from the chicken yard down to the pump house. It was a gnarly job since the posts are in an very uneven line going down the rocky hillside.

C. is getting the garden in shape. She's planting kale and shallots today, and maybe some spuds from our sprouting stores.

Spring is definitely here. The skeeters are out. And the pair of swallows has moved into the gym ceiling. Makes it kind of fun to go in there and see them darting around.

C. is really good at finding things. Here is a crap photo of an amazing find – she lifted a rock and there was a wiggling blue-tailed-skink lizard tail. Just the tail, wiggling like crazy. Skinks can discard their tails when threatened by predators. As a survival technique it worked perfectly – we were so distracted by the bright-blue tail we didn't pursue the black-and-white lizard. He must have been completely freaked out by the lifting of the rock. On the right, a Wikipedia shot of the whole lizard.

Another sign of spring – a tiny bumpy tree frog on the north patio.

Sunday, April 5, 2015

Big moon April

The moon is full, and the swallows are back! A pair came zipping by me on the south porch yesterday, making loops in the yard, then just over my head. Must be how a swallow says "howdy." They live in the boarded-up north-classroom window, between the plywood on the outside and the sheetrock on the inside. Beautiful birds.

I have now grafted seven? nine? apple trees. Feeling pretty accomplished. Though we won't know if any of the grafts "took" for a month or so. Jim from the garden club set up his grafting-class equipment on his porch, showed me what to do, then let me practice on his trees since my rootstock hadn't come yet. And when my trees arrived a week later, he set me up again and supervised as I cut and banded and planted. Thanks, Jim. That was awesome!

I've been working on fencing all weekend. In slo-mo, of course, which is how I roll. I borrowed a come-along, drug out some chain, and pulled tight a stretch of no-climb fencing I got at the scrap yard. Then I popped the clips on, using a screwdriver like all the cool old guys on YouTube. In the olden days, about a month ago, I used to painfully wrap the clips with pliers. And my wire was too loose. The internet has made me a better farmer.

Em and Richard started putting up the old white picket fence we got from a guy on Shady Slope Road. I like it – it's kinda snuggle-toothed, and already looks like it's always been here. It's going up at the bottom of the garden, and will be one side of the goat moat that will (I hope) keep the deer out of the green beans. And the goats out of the beans, as well. You can see the remnants of my plastic orange deer-attracting flags behind the fence. Foolish me, I thought they would repel the deer.

We have bad news on the dog front. One-Eyed Jack and Earl had a brief altercation, and Jack is now None-Eyed. He's always been a pugnacious little butthead. Now he's a blind pugnacious little butthead.  He's adjusting pretty well, bobbling around the rooms like a little Roomba vacuum. It was a horrible, horrible experience and I will spare you the story and photos. C. says Earl will have to find a new home, but I'm hoping things blow over. Earl is a big doofus, and not mean. He's my farm dog.