Between morning showers and afternoon thunderstorms, some garden work has been done. Daughter provided a windfall of cardboard boxes. The upper edge of the west side and the north side were done one day. Then she appeared with more boxes and today I got about 2/3 of the east side done and dug the Creeping Charlie from the last third. The potatoes have sprouted nicely so I shoveled a new layer of soil over them. Planted and tied up 4 Tomatillos, and weeded the planted beds.
As soon as I came in to shower and start dinner prep, daughter showed up to return our trailer she had used to move her furniture back into her house now that all the repairs are completed, and she brought me more cardboard. There is enough to finish the job and have a good path around the perimeter of the garden covered and mulched to help keep down weeds. While I was out there today, I also strung the electric wire to make the top of the fence hot. The new battery has been in place charging for about a week. The bush beans have sprouted with some damage where the hens scratched when they last got in the garden. Some of the cucumbers have sprouted and so have some sunflowers, but I still don’t see corn. The peas have blooms, so soon there will be pods and fresh peas.
Yesterday we got some flowers from the nursery and I planted half barrels and also Zinneas, which my Dad loved, in the bed along the back of the garage. I need to get a couple bags of mulch to spread around them. We have a curbside pickup scheduled at Tractor Supply for dog food and coop bedding so I will add a couple bags of mulch to the order.
I started digging out the area to be terraced where the mint bed was. Every time I go out with a digging fork or shovel, I dig up so much mint root still in that area. I hope that if I keep at it, I will win that battle.
The sun came out, it only dried off a little before it rained again, most of the afternoon, though not as torrential, mostly light drizzle. This morning was thick fog again and it is beginning to rain now and tomorrow. During the brief respite yesterday, I did get most of the catmint dug from under the garden fence line as well as the thick clump of that dreaded grass with the long stolens underground that send it everywhere. A little more weeding inside the fence was begun and then the rain started so I quit again.
Before lunch yesterday we made our weekly trip to get our curbside pickup from the local natural foods store and we always use my car when we go because the lift hatch on the Xterra doesn’t stay up unless someone stands there and holds it. A week or so ago when we went out in my car after a rain, there was a very wet floor mat on the front passenger side and some water in a dash cubbyhole. Early on in the 3 day torrent, I put my car in the garage because of that prior leak, not knowing where it is coming in. Yesterday when I backed the car out to load the garbage on our way to the store, I noticed that the passenger seat, armrest, and floor mat were damp, so obviously I didn’t get it inside in time. I think the seal around the sunroof and/or windshield is leaking. The car is 15 years old and has well over 233,000 miles on it. Not worth having the seal replaced, but maybe the entire sunroof can be sealed shut. I will ask our mechanic the next time it goes in for an oil change.
Daughter had a plumbing flood at her house a couple of months ago and because of the damage, had to pack up lots of books, clothes, and other goods to store until it was repaired. Her house is finally back together and stuff is being unpacked and returned to the home giving me a windfall of empty cardboard to use in the former chicken run around the garden. The entire perimeter is going to finally be covered with cardboard or weed mat and thick spoiled hay to keep the weeds down. With the fence line cleared from the outside, I should be able to get a clean line with the line trimmer around the garden. I really hope that I have created a lower maintenance garden this year. Any extra boxes are going in the walled garden and will be weighted down with more spoiled hay and ultimately compost and soil. I know it is going to get too hot to want to spend a lot of time in the garden soon, so having it lower maintenance will mean I can weed and harvest in the early mornings when it is cooler or at dusk.
This is from the bridge we have to cross over what is usually a calm creek about 15 feet wide to get off of our mountain, taken yesterday morning. There is a road to the left just before the bridge that runs along the creek, sometimes just a few feet above the waterline when the creek is high. That road was closed to all traffic yesterday. There are a few houses in low areas along the creek, I hope they fared well, one of them the residents just got back in their home from where it had to have major repairs done from having a large tree fall across the kitchen end of the house early last spring. We have never seen this creek this flooded before. There are reports and photos from the 1980’s where this bridge would have had water flowing over it, but we weren’t here then. I often wonder the wisdom of building in low areas near a large creek or river.
It looks like it may be Monday before I can get back in the garden.
After three days of relentless rain and wind from the northeast, it ended overnight. The temperature climbed all night instead of falling as it generally does at night and I awoke to thick as cream gravy fog. The weather and last few days of inactivity made me lazy enough to stay in bed much later than usual. I generally awaken when the sun lightens the sky outside the windows, but today I ignored it, turned over and dozed off and on for another hour.
The morning routine, everyone has one, after getting myself together is to let the pups out, prepare their breakfast, turn the kettle on to make tea or coffee, and either put granola and yogurt in a bowl for me, or toast a couple slices of homemade bread that get topped in various ways. If there is left over cornbread, it gets pan toasted in butter. As I sit at the table with my coffee or tea and breakfast of the day, I watch the birds. The Hummingbird feeder stays out and they are busy at it early, it is on the front of the house. The back has the Shepherd’s crook hangers and the three feeders that go there get brought in to the garage at night after they were taken down and damaged by something one night, shortly after we spotted the small bear in the hay field. The mixed flock of finches, chickadees, and titmice flit around it all day. Other visitors attend their needs. We have a Red bellied Woodpecker, a Hairy Woodpecker that are frequent visitors, Cardinals, a bully Mockingbird that chases everything else off, and this spring we have had Rose Breasted Grosbeaks, new to our feeders. First I would just see an occasional male, yesterday there were 3 males and 3 females. Lovely birds, I hope they stay. There are a few Eastern Bluebirds that pop by too, I think one has a nest in one of the boxes in the garden.
When I went out with the feeders and chicken scratch, the creeks were raging. The news said the New River crested over 20 feet overnight, flooding the low side of the river in Radford and probably other areas along it’s route. A road we take from Blacksburg home when we aren’t in a hurry runs along a low edge of the river and though we have never seen the water up to the road, it has flooded yards, the campground, and other low areas.
The topography of our farm is the highest elevation is at the entrance to our driveway. The house is about 80 feet lower. The west side of the farm has a creek that flows down to a sinkhole and drops through the ground at the base of a stone cliff. There is a second creek that is just a run off creek that will keep some water in it except in very dry weather, then it is totally dry. It flows the width of our property, across the road for about a quarter the width, then under the road in a culvert and angles along the top of the property until it is about 100 yards from the other creek and they converge in the sink hole. Down the west edge of our property and over on the adjacent farm is an old creek bed that dried when the sinkhole opened. When we have a lot of rain over several days, the drain hole in the bottom of the sink hole can’t cope and the flat bottom of the sink hole becomes a pond. If that pond gets high enough, the water runs down the old creek bed. Though the uncut hay was wet, after chores, I walked over to see the creeks from the top of the cliff.
Usually the creek runs clear even in heavy rain, but they recently logged up the mountain from us and I suspect that contributed to the mud.
Walking through the tall wet hay soaked me to above the knees.
Pants went straight in the dryer when I came back inside. The wood ferns are unfurled, the blackberries are full of blossoms, so there should be lots of berries to pick this summer. I can’t get to most of the berries until after the hay is cut.
After the sun comes out and dries things off a bit, there is some weeding to do in the garden. The beans are beginning to sprout, more potato sprouts are up, but lots of little weeds between them. The tomatoes and peppers survived the torrents. I still don’t see corn, sunflowers, or cucumbers. The herbs and pumpkins started indoors are sprouted and they were put out on the deck this morning to get some sunshine. While the ground is soft, it will be a good time to dig the catmint under the fence edge and also a clump of thick tall grass that has entangled the bottom of the fence so I can’t weed whack it. Last week when I did the major mowing and weed whacking, I came right in after, tossed all of my clothing in the wash, showered, and I still got poison ivy on my jaw line and the back of one of my fingers. I wasn’t allergic to it when I was younger, but wow, now I am.
Last night, not wanting to spin or knit on the shawl, I decided the rainbow yarn was going to become a skinny rainbow scarf. It has a plan and a possible recipient. We will see.