A Super Day

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From freeze warnings to upper 70’s. The local weather blogger and news reporter at the local paper, posted dates in history where the area went from a freeze to 80+ degrees overnight. Winter is over, the trees are green, the peppers and tomatoes have spent two nights outside, so after some morning showers and a run to the garbage drop off, I started planting and light weeding. The tomatoes and peppers are in the ground and stakes pounded in on the edges to provide support for the string that will hold them as they grow. The far end of the third box south, 8 cucumbers were planted and post set to hold their trellis. Half of the bush bean bed was planted with 72 bean seed. In a few weeks, a second planting will be made so we have fresh beans all summer and enough to make dilly beans and freeze for the winter. The edge of the 3 sisters garden got a row of mixed sunflower seed, but it is too soon to plant the corn. I am watching the local gardeners and farmers on that. The fields that will get feed corn have had their winter cover crop sprayed, a practice I hate, but when they plant their corn, I will know it is time to plant mine. The pole beans follow a couple weeks after the corn sprouts. The pumpkins will be started indoors tonight so that they are ready to be tucked in among the sunflowers and help shade the soil for the corn and pole beans. By planting two kinds of beans, I won’t be able to save seed, but I would rather have the fresh beans and the dried pintos.

Every time I go out, I find more mint and dig more roots from that area. I hope I can stay on top of the garden and keep it as neat as it is now. The asparagus bed is not doing as well this year as the past couple of years. Son 1 asked if I had ever re dug it and thinned them and I haven’t. Early next spring, I think I will relocate it to the deep soil where the mint was (assuming I have won the mint battle), and will put a new growing box where the asparagus bed is now. The makeshift box that is around the asparagus had deteriorated to a few rotten boards with screws protruding. If I put a new box where the mint was dug, plant the asparagus there, I can put posts at the corners to tie up the ferns for the summer and still get to the other beds.

I have been busy spinning on my spindles and wound about 70 grams of singles into ply balls. I haven’t plied it yet, maybe after dinner, but it cleared 3 of the 4 spindles. Just in time for a 2 ounce package of rainbow punis to arrive to spin.

When I am out in the garden, the tree swallows seem to have no fear of me, they come and go from the two houses and sit on the fences so close I could practically stroke their iridescent backs. When I mow, they soar around the mower catching any insects that try to flee.

Each evening before our freeze warnings, I cut yellow bearded Iris and filled jars and vases all over the house. Now the remaining ones will bloom in the garden and that bed looks like it needs a major overhaul when they are done. Some of the purple ones that were thinned and dumped just out of the mowed area of the yard will have to be dug and some of them brought back to the gardens. The deck destruction and reconstruction as well as all the rocks moved and the soil compacted seems to have affected them where they were planted. The yellow ones came from a neighbor several years ago, along with a red one. The red one did not come back and I was going to dig more this year, but he did a burn pile right in the middle of the area he has them planted and there will be no blooms there this year for me to figure out which cluster to dig. Maybe next spring and by then the walled garden should be ready for flowers.

The seed and seedlings that were planted, just had a heavy rain shower to help set them in and now the sun is out again. The next few days look like warm and showers, just what is needed to get things started. Soon it will be time to harvest peas and spinach. The lettuce, radishes, and cabbages in the half barrels are beginning to develop too, so we may begin to get good home grown food soon.

I love garden season and hope I can stay ahead of it this year.

Polar or Equatorial

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Spring in Virginia can never make up it’s mind. Usually by mid May it has settled into predictable days and nights, but this week it is yoyoing. We had two freeze warnings for Friday and Saturday nights, yesterday, I worked in short sleeves. Today it is mid 40’s, gray, and very windy again with freeze warnings tonight and tomorrow night, but we are expecting daytime temperatures in upper 70s to lower 80s by the weekend.

Today’s walk was winter clad, wool hoody, quilted long sleeve jacket, gloves. The wind blowing down the mountain burned my face and though after doing some steep uphill walking I could partially unzip the jacket, I never did warm up.

I came up the hill right behind this tree with clusters of purple bell shaped flowers and still holding seed/nut hulls from the fall.

I took a steep but slightly shorter walk, just because of the cold wind.

Last weekend, I did a spindle exchange with another spinner from Minnesota. I got the one I was sending in the mail promptly and she mailed the one I was receiving also on Saturday. Much to my surprise and hers, it arrived in today’s mail. I’m sure she won’t see the one I sent for a couple more days.

This one has the largest wingspan by about a half inch, but is 3 grams lighter than the next largest one. It is made of apple wood, next smaller is Osage Orange wood, the larger of the tiny ones is Purple Heart, the smallest is Olive wood.

I have thoroughly enjoyed spinning on these tools.

Another hint at spring

After the 3 beautiful days, the temperature dropped from near 80 to low 40’s and it rained. Two chilly, dreary days. Today the sun came out, the temperature recovered to the 60’s with wind and a mild night, but tomorrow and Saturday nights, we have freeze warnings. After the two days of being cooped up, I gladly got outside today. The tractor helped me push over the big round hay bale. I have spent the winter peeling as much hay off the top as I could and had to tip over to get to the layers underneath the bale. The wet, compacted layers were hauled a strip at a time over to the garden gate and put down over the cardboard, weed mat, and to thicken the layers in the other aisles.

This will help keep the weeds down and make maintenance of the garden easier once it is planted.

This is Ms. Broody. I spent last summer fighting her broodiness and it has already begun for this year. I am going to put a leg band on her to make sure it is the same one each time and if it is, she will not stay as part of this flock. It is frustrating to feed a hen that plucks her breast feathers out and sits but does not provide over and over all summer.

On Monday, I received a tiny spindle that I have wanted for quite a while. The little tool spins cobwebs. The thread on the bobbin was spun on that little spindle, the thread to the right is sewing thread.

After filling the spindle twice, it plied to 48 yards and only weighs 8.81 grams (.31 ounces).

Tonight’s walk was off to the cow fields and then off road on our farm, to areas that can’t be mowed, that have the native fauna and flora, set high between two creeks.

The bony white cow in the back with all the calves is neighbor’s oldest cow and she seems to be the baby sitter, every time I see her she has a brood of calves with her and only one of them is hers. The “angel” sitting on the point was given to me by a boss when she retired. Every year since, I have received a holiday card from her with news of her kids and grand kids, and of a few former co-workers. I didn’t hear from her this year and have no one to contact in the area to see if she is okay. When she retired, she gave every member of the counseling office staff an angel to remember her by, she loved angels. When we bought this property, the angel was put on the point and visiting the point is getting more difficult now that nothing grazes up on that part of the farm. The bottom photo is a wild sedum of some sort that was all over the damp area around the point.