Sunday, June 24, 2012

Now running (but not the computer), garden harvesting

Traumatically, my computer died last week.  I've partially revived it, but it's functioning on artificial life support, and can't survive without it.  I was very concerned that I'd forever lost all my family photos and videos, my current assignment (due in two days), and my Sims;  I'm not sure which I'd mourn the most.  But I'm relieved to announce the photos, videos, and assignment have all been salvaged and the rescue of the Sims is imminent.

I feel so proud of myself:  I'm a runner.  I started running a couple weeks ago, with the couch to 5k program, and can now run a full 15 minutes at a time.  I like to take my dog Beauty out with me in the evenings when Partner returns from work.  I've often admired Beauty, for her ability to constantly run;  I thought, my body is designed for that kind of action, too.  Running makes me feel strong and empowered;  and my goal is to participate in the local fun run next year.  Maybe Beauty will too.

My new cherry tree has a grand total of five cherries, just turning yellow now.  I tried to drape a net over it, to keep the birds off them.  I think I need more practice.  It's already fallen off three times.
I read that this June has been the wettest in 100 years.  Perhaps that explains the lack of growth in certain vegetables, i.e. tomatoes and peppers?  The cabbages, radishes, and potatoes flourish, however.  *As do the weeds and slugs.  I read that most of the weeds that grow locally are edible to humans.  I'm not sure about the slugs, but I know the snails are, too.  If you're into that sort of thing.    I harvested my first garlic bulb--not quite mature in size, but fantastic taste, and the smell permeated the whole house.  Lucky we love garlic!  My peas also finally have a few flowers.  I sowed the seeds in several intervals, hoping to get a semi-continuous crop over the summer.  The youngest are about six inches tall, and the eldest about five feet tall.  Oh!  And Franklin and I ate the first of the carrots, straight from the ground--soooo tasty.

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

The chickens, update on garden stuff

I promised chickens and here they are.  Partner has named the front two Nellie and Jessie.  He's named the other two but I can't remember their names, nor which one is which anyway.  I can tell those two apart because one is slightly smaller and blonder, and the other is speckled.  Franklin loves going into their fence and following them around.  They don't mind at all.

Though my sister has been and gone, I wanted to brag about her big accomplishment during her visit:  she cut down a tree!
Here she stands on the trunk at the end of the day.  Notice the hand saw.  This tree was cut down by hand.  My sister's hand, mostly.  She took off all the main branches and then the next day Partner got the hand-held power saw (not a chainsaw) and cut down the trunk.  Let me point out this tree was not planted;  it's an elder and they spring up everywhere as a weed, and if left to grow, will end up a tree.  An ugly, hugely prolific, extremely soft-wooded tree.

The space, approximately 4' x 8', was completely taken over by the tree and had been used as a dumping ground by previous owners (after pulling out the fourth broken plastic basket from underneath all the rubble, I asked Partner, "What was wrong with these people?  Why couldn't they just use the bin like everyone else?!").  The task seemed overwhelming, but after a group effort, a lot of it was cleared out and I even planted my runner beans in the newly sunny spot.  What we'd assumed was a four foot high mound of trash was actually a 3.5 foot high mound of dirt under a layer of trash.  We now think it started life as a compost heap.

When those runner beans finish at the end of the year, we'll clear it out to ground level and incorporate it into the rest of the garden.  I'm thinking raspberry bushes.  It's a private little spot with the garage on one side, a wall at the front, and next door's shed on the other side. 
Elsewhere in my garden, I've planted peppers and tomatoes in pots and half reside under my "cold frame" (aka the shower door). 
My remaining tomatoes are in the ground under my other "cold frame";  I know it looks unprofessional, but it works--promise!  I took this photo a month ago;  since then, the bed in front (where that carpet is) was planted with broccoli which have shot up like rockets. 

Oh and I'm saving those elder logs for a hugelkulture bed later this year.  I'm really excited to try it out--I've been hinting to Partner we should cut down the other three elders on the edge of our property so I can use those logs too.