Monday, April 23, 2012

Whump . . . Whump . . .

We had a lot of rain last night.  It was needed.  The temperatures slowly dropped as the day progressed.  The pellet stove was doing it job keeping us warm.

I woke around 6:15 AM.  All was calm.  Suddenly I heard a loud 'WHUMP" outside.  It was warm in bed, the wife was asleep.  I did not want to investigate.

A few minutes later I heard another "WHUMP".  This time, it seemed to come from the front of the house.

What was it?  Someone slamming a car door?  Nah.  We can't hear the neighbors.


I got out of bed and looked outside.


There was just a few inches.  It was warming up outside.  The WHUMP noise was the snow sliding off the metal roof onto the ground.

There were school delays and closing nearby!

As I came home from work, it was still raining.  There was a little snow mixed in.

The creek came up some.  It is running dirty brown.  It is cold and angry.

Just think - we were in the 80's last week.  This is why we don't plant our garden until Memorial Day around here.

Sunday, April 22, 2012

Happy Earth Day

I remember the first Earth Day back in 1970.  I was in elementary school.  We had a whole series of outside activities.  Our school system started a program called ECOS.  We spent a week each school year studying nature, collecting plants, learning outdoors skills, studying ecology.  I loved it.  I always likes being outside, seeing the wonder in nature.

I still love being outside watching nature.

The warm temperatures we have enjoyed these past weeks finally came to an end.  We had some highly welcomed rain yesterday, with more today.  The ground is dry, and the creek barely came up an inch.  We are expecting more rain tonight.  Excellent.

I put the tomato cages up in the new raised beds.

It will be some weeks before we can put them in.

I noticed the Knotweed is emerging!  It seems a few weeks later than previous years.  My guess is that it has been too dry.

I noticed that our female Holly bush was absolutely loaded with berries.  Maybe it was all the rain we got last year.  I'll need to watch what happens this year.

Keep watching nature and learning her lessons . . .

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Garden Beds

In a previous post, I mentioned that I had decommissioned our old garden beds.  It was a pain to mow around them, and we wanted to expand the garden.

We looked at just digging a larger bed, but the soil around here is all gravel - this area is old glacial moraine.  You go down 1 inch and hit gravel and rock!

We decided to put in raised beds.  The area in front of the barn is very sunny, and the barn would shield the garden from the cold north winds.  It was a natural place for the new beds.

We put in 8 4'x4' beds.  Two beds were double height.

I had to bring in some garden soil.  The beds needed about 2.5 yards of soil.  The minimum order was 4 yards!

Challenge accepted!  We got the soil yesterday.  With the dump wagon and a good short-handled shovel, I was ready to move some soil.

I stopped counting at 1000 shovels of soil.  My back is not too tired.  The beds are in, and the excess soil is back behind the old chicken coop waiting for some inspiration (maybe we'll put a few more beds in...).

So we will be planting:

  • Tomatoes
  • Chili Peppers
  • Pole Beans
  • Spinach
  • Leaf Lettuce
  • Basil
  • Potatoes
  • Carrots
  • Turnip
  • Broccoli

We'll still do lot of herbs in pots.

Maybe we should put in some beds for cucumbers and squash?

Do you want some soil?

Sunday, April 8, 2012

Happy Easter!

We have had mild weather the last few weeks.  No rain, and temperatures just below freezing up the the 50's.  

The creek is very low - it looks like summertime levels.

I've started back about the yard and gardens.  I raked out all the flower beds, including the 'White' garden and the 'Shade' garden.  The hostas are coming up.  The larger ones are thin in the center.  I probably should divide them!

The sedum are also coming up.  I moved one of our sedum that was near the barn.  This sedum we call the 'Nanny Regan' plant as it was from a cutting that my wife's maternal grandmother took from a plant from her mother!  I also divided it, so we have one to share.

The daffodils have been up for quite a while . . .

The stella d'oro lillies are coming up . . .

. . . as are the tiger lillies, irises, bleeding heart and peonies.  I've noticed the black-eyed susans coming in.  I am on the lookout for my lone trillium, as well as the shasta daisies and other favorites.

I transplanted an old rose bush near the barn where I don't have to mow around it.  It is a hardy plant and seems to do very well.

The warm weather has the grass growing quickly.  I did my first mowing yesterday.  I ca't remember mowing in early April!

I  'decommissioned' our vegetable garden.  I pulled out the stone border, leveled the space, and seeded it with grass seed.  We are going to put in raised beds in front of the barn in the next few weeks.   I expect we will triple the size of the garden.

I turned over the compost piles.  I consolidated them from three bins into two bins.  By the fall, I'll have 1/2 a bin of compost for the vegetable gardens.

The wife and I have to agree on the raised beds and what we will plant.  Tomatoes and green beans are always a favorite.  We might try potatoes.  We put herbs and peppers in pots.  We'll also grow spinach.