Saturday, April 27, 2013

Too Wet to Plant

  Rain and more rain! I'm glad I went ahead with planting some of the pole beans and sweet corn the other day, because it will be a while before it dries up enough to plant again.

  We have had nearly 2 inches of rain yesterday and so far today, and it's supposed to rain much of the night and most of the day Sunday. There are flash flood warnings out for the county. We don't have worries about flooding here (other than the back pasture along the creek), but the following picture shows the corner of the front pasture near the mailbox. It is almost solid rock underneath (see the protruding pieces). One of my to-do projects is to put in a drain pipe underground to get this water out to the barrow pit ( or road ditch, or barrel pit, or whatever you call it in your neck of the woods!) 
  According to Websters, barrow pit: "a roadside borrow pit dug for drainage purposes.  Also called bar pit, bar ditch."  Apparently the term comes from "borrow pit", as in borrowing fill dirt for another purpose and leaving a pit. 

  Here is a shot of the wet garden and back yard.

  The cows don't mind..they just keep grazin' in the rain.

  Have you watched the Huckaby show on Fox, where he has to show pictures of his new grandson at the end of the show?  I kind of like that idea!
  Katie's family returned to Portland and to Iowa on Wednesday, so we are helping when we can. They all spent the night here Thursday night, Caleb by our bedside. Rita did the feeding and changing through the night and didn't call on me until 5 AM. Wendy spent the night at their house last night to care for him so that Dave, Katie and Jackson could attend an event at Lipscombe University to hear Phil, Miss Kay and Uncle Si from Duck Dynasty. (More on that in a later post.)
  So to conclude, here are 2 pictures of a mighty sweet boy. He's one month old tomorrow, 4/28.

Monday, April 22, 2013

More Planting; Garden Update

  Today was a gorgeous 75 degree day with very little wind. I spent a couple of hours finishing up weeding berry beds....those pesky wild onions (or wild garlic...whatever). Ran the edger along the beds. I love having the beds with grass strips between them but it's a constant battle to keep the grass from encroaching.

  The blackberries buds are just about ready to burst forth into bloom. Last year was so much earlier; they were in full bloom when we had a freeze on April 11 that took about 95% of the crop.It looks like we are safe this year, so looking forward to a great berry harvest.

  I have struggled to establish a row of blueberry bushes, but those that are doing well are blooming nicely.

  I have 3 beds of strawberries blooming well. Two of the beds will likely need to be replaced for next year, but this bed of Quinalt strawberries are looking good. Lots of little green berries. Last year we were picking strawberries on April 5-10.Nearly a month later this year.

  I was going to wait a bit longer but I couldn't help myself, so I planted a 20 ft. double row of pole beans...1/2 Fortex and 1/2 Blue Lake; also, a 20 ft., 4 row bed of sweet corn. (seen in the upper left of the picture below)

  I'm experimenting a bit with the sweet corn. In the past, I have planted a double row in each bed. But I planted 4 rows with a seed on every corner of a 9" square. The beds are about 42-45 in. wide so that worked out well for 4 rows 9" apart. We'll see how that works out. In the photo above, you see the potatoes on the right that continue to do well.
  Only 2/3 of my snow peas came up and this morning I see that rabbits have eaten 1/2 of those nearly to the ground! Going to need a cat or a rifle!

Friday, April 19, 2013

More Rain and Cool Temperature

    Thankfully, the severe weather alert was removed before bedtime. We slept well through the night and weren't awakened by any weather at all, but awoke to a green and wet world!

View from front porch

View from back porch

  1.4" in the rain gauge and yesterday's wind of 25 mph with gusts to 35 is gone. Just cool....86 Wednesday and only 58 today. I wanted to plant some garden this week but I am holding off until later. Expected low of 37 tonight and another storm followed by 2 nights of 37-39 next week.  Then it looks like we will have consistent highs of 70s and 80s and lows 50s and 60s.

Monday, April 15, 2013

Garden & Misc. Update

  Today was a very nice 80 for a high. The ground had dried enough from last Thursday's 1.65" of rain that I could roto-till and get all the remaining garden beds ready for planting. The potatoes are the row on the right. The Norland Reds are ahead of the Yukon Gold at this point. Middle row is onions. The Walla Walla's look best and the Reds are way behind. The third row from the right will be summer squash, and I stretched the wire on the 1/2 row for pole beans.

  These are the "back" garden beds. The snow peas in the foreground. The rest of these rows will be sweet corn, cucumbers, tomatoes, peppers and okra. 

  I wanted to get some planting done today, but I ran out of gas (me, not the roto-tiller!) I put the cows in the south pasture along with a new 6x6 bale of hay. By the way, we had another bull calf born 3 days ago. His mama has been very protective so today was the first time I got close enough for a picture. This is Bogart.

  He is the second calf from our young herd sire, Buster. Buster was just 11 months old when Bogart and Baxter were conceived. They are both really nice calves, so I'm happy I kept Buster. Baxter is a really big bull calf. Here he is at just 3 weeks old:

  And I must not make a post without more pictures of our new grandson. Caleb is a super fine little guy! He is so mellow; really never cries, just whimpers occasionally. Here I am holding him in his "Off to Grandma's" suit.

  And here is proud daddy Dave with his 2 boys.
  I'm thankful for family, health, springtime, and sunshine!

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

What's this? 86 degrees?

  Really warm today. 86 on my thermometer, and the low was 65. At 8 AM this morning, we were 67 and my kin in eastern Colorado were 10! This afternoon we were 86 and they were 24! That storm is coming here tomorrow. We won't be nearly that cold but the possibility exists for severe weather alerts.

The Candytuft and Phlox are liking this weather.

And the Forsythia is finally at full bloom, with the Red Bud tree opening up.

  With 1.5 " of rain expected tomorrow in a short period of time, the creek will probably overflow onto the pasture for a few hours. So I wanted to get down there today and clean out the winter debris that messed up my fences in the creek. The cows will get out when I turn them in there if I don't clean it out and re-attach the fence. Here is what it looked like before I cleaned it out.

  I took an "after" picture, but it didn't turn out. I need to take the chain saw down there and do a little more cleanup, then have a nice bonfire. 
  The grass is growing but it sure isn't normal for April 10. I guess that is the case in much of the country. I know some of you had a freeze yesterday and lost some things. My condolences.. that is tough to take.

Saturday, April 6, 2013

Grandsons and Gardening

  A family update....Katie and Caleb will finally be coming home tomorrow, 10 days after delivery. Just to summarize, Katie had a small perforation in her colon and was heading toward peritonitis. After several days, a GI specialist finally found the problem and she was rushed into surgery where they removed a substantial part of her colon. She has bounced back very quickly from the surgery and they will all go home tomorrow (Dave has stayed at the hospital 24/day the whole time).
  Here is the new, very fine grandson, smiling at the world!

  I am always amazed at infants hands, fingers, toes and such. Here is Caleb holding my finger. Such perfect little features, right down to the tiny nails. God is an amazing Creator!

  Jackson has been staying with us for 10 days. I had some gardening to do on this fine Spring day, so this morning, we headed out to work.

  Sitting on the tailgate adjusting our caps. I wear a size 8 so Jackson had to cinch his up all the way !

  When we were in town a couple days ago I just couldn't resist going over to Martin's, a Mennonite owned garden store. I bought 3 tomatoes and 2 sweet pepper plants. I wanted to put them out under cloches, so we had some prep work to do. We cut some 9 gauge wire in 6 foot lengths and then cut some squares of Agribon row cover fabric.

  Then I roto-tilled an area that was still in the winter crimson clover cover crop.

I raked up the larger pieces of clover and a few weeds and gave them to the chickens. Remember these? Peepers just 8 weeks ago. And they are about to eat me out of house and home!

  By this time, Jackson had gone over to Wendy's to play with his cousins before going to the hospital to see his Mom, Dad and brother, so I was on my own. I set out the plants and also planted one hill of summer yellow squash. I am calling this 1/2 row my "early garden". I curved the wires and put 2 on each plant as a frame,  then draped Agribon over it, then slid a tire sidewall over it to secure it in place. 

  I intend to start all my squash under these cloches this year. Hopefully, it allows the plants to start fast and get ahead of the squash bugs. 
  I was a little concerned about my potatoes; given the long cold Spring, I was afraid they might have rotted, but looks like we're in good shape.

  There is also more asparagus up today and the first spear that appeared will be ready to pick very soon. 

   Praise God for new beginnings! A new healthy baby grandson, a healing daughter-in-law, and Springtime in the garden!

Wednesday, April 3, 2013

Grandsons and other things

  Now here are two mighty sweet pictures.

  Jackson says, "I could hold him forever."
  Katie is still in the hospital, 7 days now. She is still fighting complications, but is improved and we pray she can get home in a day or two. Dave has been with her 24 hrs/day and Wendy is off on Spring Break from teaching this week and she has also been there most of the time. Baby Caleb is just fine and, as you can tell, exceptionally sweet!

  We are expecting rain tonight and tomorrow and then begin a streak of days in the 70's with warmer nights, so things should really start to grow. I weeded, fertilized and mulched 2 strawberry beds today.

  Last week I mulched a garden bed that is in flowers, bulbs and self seeding zinnias. I saw a kildeer nest so just mulched around it. Here is a picture today of the bird protecting the nest as I worked nearby.

  Saw this today...the first asparagus spear venturing forth. Hopefully, we will have lots of it soon.

  The grass is just starting to grow pretty well so I bought hay yet again. I got 8 huge bales 6x5 from a neighbor 3 miles away. Really good soft hay; he delivered them on a hay wagon behind his big John Deere and unloaded and placed them on pallets for me.  $50 each, but given their weight and quality, a better buy than smaller junkier bales for $30.

I tarped it as best I could, given the size.

Hopefully, Saturday will be the beginning of some serious gardening!