Tuesday, May 26, 2009

So much to say, so little time...

Just writing to journal what we've done in the yard so far this spring 2009.

*Learned that stacking wood higher than four feet is taking a risk. We've had to add support to our new stack of firewood. As it settles, it tends to lean.

* In early May planted one Bristol Ruby Weigelia (red flowering shrub), one butterfly bush, four three-year blueberry bushes. The two Bluegold Blueberry are closest to the house, the two Elliott Blueberry are further away. All are leafing out. The Elliott's each have a couple blossoms. We acidified the soil, fertilized and mulched with the sawdust from the chain saw. (Just checked the photos still in my camera, wow, things have grown just since last week.)

* Stacked enough brush that we are considering buying our own wood chipper. Last year it cost $500 per day to rent one! We have days worth of brush to mulch now and plenty of places to use the mulch.

*Started hardening our vegetable plants to cool weather on the porch in April. Transplanted plants outside on May 21st. Six Earth Boxes planted with tomatoes (2 Roma cherry, 2 Amish paste, 2 Cherokee Purple), peppers (variety of 5 sweet), cucumbers (small for pickles), broccoli (1), cauliflower (1), Brussels sprouts (1). My sister, "Hi, Barb", sent a Topsy Turvy and it is now hanging with two Cherokee Purple tomatoes. Hint for the Topsy Turvy - gets heavy when filled with soil and water. Make sure your support is strong enough.

* Earlier in May planted garlic cloves and sprouting yellow onions in order to save seed this year. The garlic should have been planted last fall but... We purchased 25 lbs. of yellow onions this past winter. Some of them started to sprout in the bag so I planted them outside. My Saving Seeds guide by Marc Rogers suggests that onion is a good place for a beginner to start saving seeds.

* The rhubarb and asparagus that I threw in the ground last year survived!! They are planted in the front yard near each other. Both require high soil nitrogen for leaf development so I purchased some dried blood. Working in a hospital as I do, just had to use universal precautions when handling this. Perhaps the kale and chard in the raised bed would benefit from the nitrogen also.

*Raised bed - so far contains zucchini, summer squash, cucumber - to vine out one end of the bed - onions, two larger tomato plants purchased from a nursery, lettuce. Today will plant some seeds perhaps peas (late, I know), spinach, Swiss chard, and cantaloupe. We do have one large flowering eggplant in a pot.

*This month we've had sightings of our resident bumble bee. Then it happened. Three bumble bees on the same bush at the same time!! Yeah. A Red-Bellied Ladderback Woodpecker visited our suet feeder and brought his family. The neighbor's four cats keep the rodent population under control even though they are a bit miffed at the vegetables and mulch in their "sand box".

*Other improvements are in the works. Dave has taken apart on old tent trailer to make a fold-down outdoor workbench attached to our metal shed. The wooden shed is being emptied, opened up, and repaired so we can stack some firewood out of the weather. We've had the chimney repaired with new flashing and paint, the front door and threshold replaced, and stucco cracks filled. Dave found a hand water pump, Made in Maine, that we purchased and will attach to our well setup. This should enable us to have running water without hauling bucketsful up from the basement. The generator electrical connection to the house is complete.

My granddaughters sitting on the hickory stump just outside the house. We counted 96 rings!

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