Monday, May 24, 2010

Back to the garden

I finally got back to the garden. I was frustrated with all the grass and no seedlings, so I avoided it for awhile. (That and it rained a lot last week!) Saturday I sprayed all the grass and weeds in and around the garden with Round Up. I know, I know, it's bad to use chemicals in the garden and I didn't want to, but without a rototiller, I didn't see how I was ever going to get all that grass out. The grass and weeds from around the fence were also creeping in. The package said the product is only active in the plant, not in the soil and it can be replanted in 3 days. Today was day 3. The grasses and weeds were definately at least half dead. I decided I would get the hoe out today after work and see what damage I could do. Summer temperatures arrived today, so it was too hot to go out until around 8:00. I hoed about 40% of the garden twice and then raked the grass into a pile. There is still some grass in there, but hopefully the Round Up is still at work on those. Tomorrow evening I hope to hoe the other 60%. Wednesday evening I am giving a training on early literacy activities, so I won't be able to get out that night. I would like to get some more done Thursday evening and possibly get some things in the ground before Friday evening.

I am really fighting a battle with those darn tent worms! They of course made tents in our large trees out back, but what has frustrated me is that the caterpillars crawled up to my new fruit trees and bushes! I have to go out there everyday and pick off the caterpillars and squish them on the ground. I am finding 4-6 caterpillars each day. That is a lot on my few tiny plants! I wonder how much longer they will be around. Hopefully not too much longer--I noticed the ones I squished today were getting pretty long. I wonder how people wil larger trees or larger numbers of fruit bushes handle this--I am sure they don't go out everyday and search every inch for caterpillars to squish!

Hopefully your gardens are doing better than mine! I still have high hopes, though! (and sore forearms!)

Monday, May 17, 2010

Fresh fruit, anyone?

Well, maybe not right now, but someday! Last year Josh got me 2 red raspberry bushes and 2 blueberry bushes. This weekend I got 2 more of each (bareroot--hopefully they don't die on me!), an Elberta peach tree, a Red Delicous tree and a MacIntosh apple tree! I also got 20 June bearing strawberry plants. The vegetable garden is still a disaster- I didn't touch it all weekend.

Don't you love how once you find something good on the internet, you often find more an dmore links to more and more good information? While looking at our local newspaper online, I found a free introduction to canning class for tomorrow evening I am going to try to attend. That led me to the website of the group hosting the class--Fair Food Matters. They have a variety of classes scheduled for the next few months--more detailed and advanced canning, making cheese at home, raising hens, eating local and root cellaring. I also found a link to a local farm I had not heard of that has all kinds of classes going on as well! I had no idea all of this was available to me and I am so excited!

Friday, May 14, 2010

Hodge Podge

This post is a hodge podge of updates.

Garden: It's doing terribly! The T posts keep bending in the wind. There's grass growing all over the place in there and no signs of anything I actually planted! Grrr!

Dog: Honey got into her first tangle with another animal yesterday: the fierce ground hog! She tore off after one and actually caught it. She didn't pick it up or anything, but I think she got it with her paw. The two of them were eye to eye for a bit, then Honey started barking and the ground hog screetched and they were at it. Honey didn't really attack her, mostly just barking and jumping around, but the ground hog was trying to defend itself. I tried calling her away but she wouldn't come. I had Sweet Pea go get Josh who was downstairs. Honey retreated after he called to her a few times. Both animals seemed to survive the ordeal, though Honey's tongue was bleeding--don't know if the groundhog got it or if she bit it when she was barking.

House: Josh has framed the basement all in and started the rough in electrical. We got bids for the HVAC and plumbing and it's not pretty. Not sure what we're going to do about that yet. We are still waiting for the builder to finish the railing on the front porch! Supposed they special ordered the pieces and they came in the wrong size, so they had to re-order them.

Garage sales: Yesterday I stopped at a garage sale on the way home from work. They had a bunch of really cool. old oil lamps--but they wanted $25 a piece. Today I went to a few more and found a cool old oil lamp for $3--so I bought it! I also got a sweater, a puzzle, a book, a gas can, and a bulletin board for Big Dog's room.

Job: I applied for a transfer to one of a few open positions, but did not get one. I'm disappointed, but still employed, so I can't really complain!

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Garden, pantry

A few weeks ago, I planted many of the seeds in the garden and put up a fence to keep the deer out. I used T posts and a fencing material made of a netting type fabric that has sleeves in it to slide over the posts. It seemed simple. It actually installed fairly simply. However, it is very windy here and following a particularly windy and rainy day, I came home to discover my T posts had bent in the wind. So, I bought more posts, put them closer together, replaced some of the bent ones and re-installed the netting. Much better. Until Friday's storm. Once again the post bent and the fence is laying on the ground. I guess the "good news" is that none of my seeds seem to be growing right now, so there's no need for a fence!!! It's been cold here lately and I think it's keeping the seeds from germinating. We're due for another storm Thursday, so I'm just leaving the fence as it sits.

I've always been a person who likes to have a full pantry. But now that the "corner store" is a 15 minute drive at 55mph, I really like to have everything we need at home. If I was missing an ingredient mid-dinner preparations in the city, I jumped in the car and was back home with what I wanted in 10 minutes. Now it's at least 35 minutes, plus the extra gas. (Unless it's late on Sunday, then I have to drive a bit further.) If someone gets sick, I want to have the basic medicines we need in the cupboard. If I get sick or break a leg and can't get the grocery shopping done for a few weeks I know we have plenty to eat right here at home. Even if we lost a job for awhile, we have lots of food here to save on groceries each week.

Before we left the city, we started eating from the pantry to avoid moving all that food. We didn't have a lot of storage space at the rental house, so it wasn't the best-stocked pantry around. My new kitchen, however, is a dream! I have a full pantry with deep shelves and so many kitchen cupboards, some are nearly empty! We've only lived here a month, but I'm working on getting everything stocked back up and it feels good to see lots of cans in the pantry and meat in the freezer.