Monday, April 19, 2010

Peas and blossoms...

A quick update while I'm still in the process of getting all of last week's progress down...

The Blanco and Tall Telephone peas are coming up gangbusters... the Paso peas... not so much. Not sure if they got planted too deeply (some are coming up, but sporadically) or there's a timing issue with planting or germination. They're looking better than they were a few days ago, so there's hope.

The lettuce is sprouting up nicely (albeit unevenly) in their beds out front, with the black mustard taking the strong lead in both germination and vigor. The onion sets and garlic cloves I planted also appear to be doing well.

The Calabrese Sprouting Broccoli seedlings April helped me transplant into the field from flats yesterday morning (about 65 plants worth) appears to have weathered their first night, frosty morning, and day without much incident. Gave them another good soaking today and hope they take off growing soon.

Heidi is loosing and losing teeth like nobody's business now. As of this weekend she's missing a lower canine and has the dog equivalent of a little kid's gap-toothed smile.

Most excitedly, many of the formerly bare-root trees/vines/shrubs/bushes I planted this past week are all starting to bud out. I'd be lying if I said all of them got watered exactly as much and as often as they should have, so It'll be a real boon if I don't lose any.

I don't think they'll quite catch up and join the amazing crowd of colorful flowering trees that are slowly dominating the Ohio landscape here, but they'll still be a sight whenever it happens.

Friday, April 16, 2010

Rain barrel success!

I am working on the full week's update. It's a doozy!

In the meantime, I'm very pleased to report that we just experienced a short thunderstorm (our first true spring rain), and the several rain barrels I've so far managed to install using what I'll refer to as the "Funnel & Tube" system appears to be working like gangbusters!

I'm still getting a fair amount of water dripping off the other points of the roof besides where I have the funnel. So now I'm trying to cook up some method of installing a mini-gutter of sorts to run that water to the funnel as well...

Sunday, April 11, 2010

Vacation weekend #1 progress report...

Oh wow, sore. I am ever so very sore. But with the soreness comes a feeling of great accomplishment, and that's a good feeling indeed.

Yesterday we made some serious progress on the chicken coop, getting the base and middle sections connected together, partially painted, and the whole shebang screwed to the east facing wall of the white barn.

Today we planted (deep breath...): 10 Korean Nut Pine, 5 Highbush Cranberries, 5 grape vines, 3 apple trees, 3 elderberries, a black cherry tree, a peach/nectarine tree, a 4-variety asian pear tree, an almond tree, and a mulberry tree. Whew!

We also prototyped and installed the first real rain-barrel using our specially engineered (er, rigged) method of collecting water from the low points in my odd, round, circus-tent-like roof using commonly available gutter and downspout accessories. It works like a charm, and makes the house look even more like something from outer space.

My first shower in three sweaty days has made me feel much more like a human being, and now I'm just waiting for the Advil to kick in.

Thursday, April 8, 2010

Raintree order arrives...

Big order from Raintree arrived yesterday in the mail in a big box. This weekend is going to see a lot of planting going on....

Monday, April 5, 2010

Garlic Mustard Pesto!

After finishing up the day's work, I hit the woods to harvest some garlic mustard with which to make pesto.

The results were quite delicious indeed. Very excited that the foraging season has officially begun!

Saturday, April 3, 2010

April begins!

My first work weekend in April found me looking at a full weekend to work on the homestead with a reasonable expectation of nice weather throughout.

Took my leather gloves and shears to work with me on Friday and scoured the forest edges around my place of employment, snipping off the apical ends of a fair assortment of the wild, highly thorned Blackberry canes that run rampant there. I've been reading about propagating them, and had hoped to get some cuttings from these canes to root into new plants that I could then cultivate on the farm. I picked about 5lbs of blackberries from various plants there last summer, and they were quite delicious.

Getting home after work, I snipped them up and planted them in some old nursery cells, upside down as I read to in my best propagation book. Ended up with quite a bit of the cuttings left over, which I might try direct-planting in a location somewhere on the farm to see how they fare. I already have some healthy stands of blackberries along the wooded edge by the creek, so if I can get these going, it'll be interesting to compare them.

After a bummer of an evening on Friday night (my truck got broken into while I was helping a good friend celebrate her birthday in Columbus), I got up early-ish on Saturday and got to work. Managed to get two of the bigger garden beds across the front of the house tilled and raked even (after a week of no rain, the soil was the perfect consistency for this). I opted to leave it at that. Until I can get this space planted, it seems like a bad idea to tear up the rest of the beds.

Had help planting some more peas in the big garden bed, despite the gale-force winds that sprung up (no joke, I had to jump up and run to chase a 60-gallon barrel rolling across my yard, such was the force of the wind). I had hoped to plant some lettuce, herbs and carrots, but in wind like that, it would have been silly to even try.

So I went shopping instead, and picked up some T-posts, wire, and a post-basher-in-er. Used those to install a New York Muscat grape and the beginnings of what will be a support system for it as it grows.

The weather report suggests good weather tomorrow, so hopefully I can make up for lost ground and get some actual seeds in the ground. Feel like I'm really falling behind planting my early crops at this point...