Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Is that Sun I See?

Today was the first "real" day of spring - with warm temperatures and sun! When I looked at my To Do list for today, it was filled with indoor chores - mostly clean up the Easter debris. Once I stepped outside and realized I didn't shiver those plans went right by the wayside. Today was definitely an outdoor, get dirty in the backyard kind of day. My youngest son helped to clean up all the fallen limbs in the orchard. The dead stuff that natures fury shakes loose each year. I am looking forward to putting to use my father's chipper. It's a blessing to have freinds and neighbors who are able and willing to help keep all the equipment in running order. I often joke about taking a small engine repair class - but you know, it's probably not a bad idea! With the increased cost of living I find I am much more motivated to "fix" and "make do" than I used to be. What a throw away society we have become! Little by little I am learning how to use, reuse, fix and repair and yes, go without. Funny, I don't feel deprived at all . . .

Monday, April 18, 2011

Conspiracy Theory - you betcha!

Is it possible that the oil spill in the gulf is responsible for the tornados in North Carolina? According to the weather channel, rising temperatures in the Gulf contributed to conditions necessary to create the storm front that hit the south this weekend. So how likely is it that the excess petroleum in the water had any affect on water temperature? The conspiracy theorist in me says, there's got to be a connection. Or maybe I'm just suspicious by nature.

Not to mention . . . our return trip from NC on Saturday was most unpleasant. Torrential rain from Virginia to our driveway. Not fun.

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

This little piggie cried wee wee wee . . .

The pigs have arrived! Little by little my dream of creating a backyard farmyard is becoming a reality. It started with the chickens, then ducks, now PIGS! Thanks especially to our friends and neighbors who put in the fence and built a fabulous condo for the new residents. Couldn't have done it without all their help and advice. The plan is to raise the buggers using mostly scraps from The Family Foundation School kitchen, supplement with feed and ship them off the butcher in the fall. My long-range goal is to fence in the back meadow - creating four sections - and rotate the area with pigs, grass, and goats. I was absolutely amazed at how efficient the pigs are at turning the soil. I had read that pigs make great rotatillers, but until I saw them in action I had no idea how incredibly FAST they are at turning grubby grass into usable dirt.

Monday, April 4, 2011

Green Grows the Garden

Spring seems to be off to a slow start this year - the cold and snow just don't want to give up and go home. Nevertheless, I remain optimistic. I've started some seeds indoors - head lettuce (new to me this year), sweet bell peppers, bush beans and marigolds. The first tiny green sprouts are always such a delightful surprise to me.

This year I opted not to start tomato plants indoors. I really don't need that many and truth be told - I haven't had much luck with tomatoes. But I will keep trying!

Each year I add a little more to the garden. This year I added a pole bean tower which I hope will make harvesting the beans a little easier. I also am reusing an old trailer box as a raised bed. My intention is to plant potatoes in it. A friend gave me this advice - plant bush beans in with the potato plants and you'll get healthier potato plants. I'll give it a try.

I am using lots of shredded paper which I get in abundance from the office. I add it to my compost pile and use it as a mulch around the edges of the garden to keep the weeds out. I hope it will deter the wild mint that creeps under the fence and sprouts up everywhere.

I think what I like the most about this time of year is what I call the planning/dreaming/fantasizing phase of gardening. I walk around our property and although I see the brown tufts of grass, the furrows made throughout the winter by moles, windtossed branches and, of course, the mud - I am also seeing a verdant, green wonderland filled with wildflowers, apple blossoms, sunflowers and a vegetable garden overflowing with plenty.

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