Some success

We wandered a bit farther afield for our walk today which took us by the nearest Rural King store. A stop there was made to check for the resin half barrels as they had lots last year and they had several tall stacks and a good supply of potted thornless blackberries that are good to -10 and -20 f which is way colder than our region every gets. Since the blackberries were potted, not bare root, and already leafed out, I felt safe buying them for transplant into the half barrels, so 3 of each came home with us along with 6 bags of container soil.

I had the idea that I would pot them up in the shade of the garage, move them one at a time in the wheelbarrow to the garden and lift them into place. I have moved many of the half barrels around before, but the soil was heavier than I expected and though I could get them into the wheelbarrow, it only fits on some of the garden paths and I couldn’t get it close enough to place the barrels above the in ground asparagus bed as originally planned. The edge of the garden where the compost pile is building had a large mulched area below it and my decision was that the blackberries would be just fine there.

The tags on both varieties said they were strong upright canes that would get 4 to 5 feet tall, but they weren’t too erect in the pots, so I staked them at least for now. They are currently getting watered in along with a good watering on the rest of the garden.

You can see that the pile of old garden boxes still haven’t been dismantled and burned, but while Son 1 was here last weekend, he found and ordered two rechargable batteries for my cordless drill, so I can now get that task accomplished as well as building the compost bins. The garden is just a bit too far away from the house to use the corded drills without connecting two together which I don’t feel is a safe practice. Those batteries arrived by UPS today and fit the drill and charger.

What a difference a couple days makes in the growth of the bush beans and the rows are filling in nicely. Soon they will shade the soil and weeding will be an easier job. In a month or so, we will have fresh green beans to enjoy.

This morning when I went over to release the pullets, I carried a bucket of water to fill their in the coop container. It was still about half full and as I have to step up into the coop to move it, I decided to just fill the small black rubber tub in their run. I haven’t yet been putting water out there this spring. When I picked up the tub to dump the hay and dirt out of it, I disturbed a field mouse who was building a nest with hay and chicken feathers under the edge of the tub. She hightailed it across my sandalled foot giving me a bit of a start. I didn’t look to see if she had “micelets” in the nest, I don’t want to know, but I didn’t see the velociraptors fighting over anything, so I think it may have just been nest building.

Each day, hubby chuckles at my attempts to corral Ms. Houdini. Lately she has been the only escapee and I still haven’t found her hidey hole. The mature hens are only producing 2 to 4 eggs a day, so the loss of her one is important. He says it is a battle of wits between me and a chicken and she is winning, though so far today, she hasn’t escaped.

Not the “Epic Gardener”

But the garden is growing, I see future deliciousness in the works.

After the hoses were tied up with the power washing efforts of the weekend, they were separated and reconnected to the yard hydrant and back outdoor faucet yesterday and the walled garden, then the vegetable garden each got deep watering, followed by very light rain showers. This morning as I was going over to let the pullets into their run for the day, I realized that all of the seed planted a week or so ago were sprouting. And that some weeding was needed. The hoop hoe was retrieved from the garage and as it was still very early and overcast, I had at the beds.

Popcorn and hubbard squash a couple inches tall.
Bush beans that may need some filling in if more don’t sprout in a day or so.

As soon as there is more size there, straw mulch will be applied and a new layer to the tomatoes, peppers, and potatoes.

Healthy peas with blossoms, so soon there will be fresh peas to enjoy.

And since last year’s pickles are disappearing with many meals and there are asparagus, I discovered that if I pack fresh tender asparagus in a jar with garlic cloves and pour saved Garlic Dill pickle juice over them, that in a few days, there are crisp, refreshing asparagus pickles. So any that I don’t eat cooked or raw, or don’t take to daughter and granddaughter, go in a jar with pickle juice to enjoy later.

While son was here, I dug 7 or 8 crowns from the old bed and packed them in wood chips in a lined tomato box to send home with him to get started in his garden in a raised bed. Digging the rest of that bed is going to be a challenge. They have roots the diameter of a wood pencil that go everywhere and deep. I may end up with two asparagus beds, one in ground and one raised. I will have to try to get the rest of the weeds out of the inground one and then heavily mulch it before I let the ferns grow out.

Also while I was in the garden between helping him last weekend, I planted a row of mixed sunflowers along the north edge of the garden after getting the grass out from under the fence. I need to get a weed barrier under that fence, it is very difficult to clear under it as it is set hard on the ground due to our hilly terrain. Maybe I should dig out the grass for a 18″ and plant perennials and heavily mulch them with wood chips and a low fence to discourage the hens. It would be easier to line trimmer along the edge if the trimmer line didn’t get caught or cut off by the metal fence.

Whew, I needed today

We were very fortunate to have Son 1 and Grandson 1 come to visit us this past weekend, but mostly to work at outside house maintenance that hubby and I just can’t do anymore. They powerwashed about half the house, caulked, attacked carpenter bee damage, and started re staining the logs. They worked far harder than I possibly could while I gardened some, stayed nearby to be a helper with scaffolding or ladder moving, gofer of items needed while they were up high, and to keep them fed and hydrated. It was hot! I had to wear long sleeves, long pants, and a big floppy hat whenever I was outside with them because I had 11 more pre cancerous lesions cryosurgeried off last week and they weren’t healed enough to slather on sunscreen over them. By the end of the first day, in spite of the heat, Son 1 was shivering as he was up close and personal with the power washing spray on the upper dormers and the water was coming from our well, so it was cold.

On Sunday, Daughter and her two kiddos came over to have homemade pizza with us and have a brief visit with her older brother while he took a break to eat.

After a final dinner last evening, once the weekend’s work was done, they headed back home for Grandson’s school week. There will be other weekends to finish what can be done on the ground and at least one with a cherry picker so the upper areas can be stained.

We were able to enjoy a large salad with lettuce from our garden last night, fresh garlic scapes from a friend on the pizza and tonight in stir fry as mine aren’t as far along as her’s were. The various gardens are producing flowers as well. There are lots of volunteer sunflowers coming up in beds, thanks to the birds. The bearded and Dutch Iris are glorious this year. One of my peonies actually bloomed this year. They are more than a decade old, but I don’t think they like their location. I love the flowers that look like a cross between a rose and a carnation.

Year before last for our February anniversary, hubby gave me a tiny rose bush in a thimble sized pot tucked into a little lady bug planter. When it finished blooming, I moved it to a larger pot and when the walled garden was completed last summer, the rose was planted in it. The deer found it to my dismay, so I put an upside down tomato cage over it to deter them and the rose has thrived. If purchased now, it would take at least a one gallon pot, though it is a miniature type rose and it is full of blooms and buds for more. When I was in younger, I used to keep a bowl with a bloom in it when I could, a camillia, a rose, a magnolia, whatever was available. This morning, I plucked 5 of the tiny roses and floated them in a small pottery bowl to help brighten the house.

Last week’s appointments and the weekend’s work slowed my spinning considerably, but I got a new Carob wood spindle in the mail and started on the last quarter of the month’s fiber for the May “I love this color” challenge. I selected Shades of Turquoise in Falkland wool to spin, a total of 4 ounces. I hope I am able to finish it in the next 7 days, but there is no requirement that I must. I don’t know what I will knit from it, but have a couple of shawl patterns in mind.

Though the temperature today was similar to the weekend, it has been overcast and since I wasn’t in and out all day, I was back to my above the knee skirt and short sleeves. I did put on sunscreen to take our walk and wore my big deep floppy brimmed hat that hubby says reminds him of “Dumb Donald’s” hat in Fat Albert comics. He says I should put eye holes in it. It isn’t really that bad, but it does protect my face and shoulders.