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Posts tagged beets

Grounded. At last.

Spring                                                                       Planting Moon

Yes!  Planted under the planting moon even if I couldn’t get the bloodroot up for the bloodroot moon.

We have Wally and Big Daddy onions in, 100 sets each.  Three rows of beets:  Bull’s Blood, Early Blood and Golden.  Pickling cucumbers and Dwarf Gray Sugar Snap Peas.  Of course there was bed prep, too.

With Kate and I wandering around holding this limb and that a bit tenderly I kept getting the image of a dinner bell, fried chicken and mashed potatoes, perhaps someone playing a little Stephen Foster on the grand piano.

Of all the gardening chores, planting is the most magical to me.  That tiny seed.  A beet, a cucumber, a pea.  Those small plants, a fat onion, or a thick leek.  Couldn’t plant the leeks today because the ground is still frozen at about 3 inches down.  How about that?  April 27th.

Had to cancel the Chicago trip due to Kona’s vet bills.  Keeping dogs is a choice and keeping 4 is the same choice 4 times over in terms of food and care.  Choices I have made and make cheerfully.

Workin’

Beltane                                                                       Beltane Moon

Flagged off my Latin tutor for this Friday.  Bees, garden, retreat, finishing Missing combined to soak up my good work time.  To do well at the Latin I have to have a full day; it takes me awhile to turn on the neural network that recognizes cases, remembers Ovid’s peculiarities and enjoys the play of connotation and denotation.  Once I get in that place, which may take as much as a morning, then I can translate faster, with more facility.  But.  I need that unbroken time.  Just the way I work.

Rain kept me out of the garden last Thursday so I’ve got to out there right now and plant potatoes and chard.  The garden’s looking good, daffodils and tulips, bleeding heart and hosta, pachysandra and maiden-hair ferns greeting the strawberry blossoms, the asparagus spears, the green shafts of the allium family:  onion, shallot, garlic and the small leaves of the emerging beets.

Today, too, is another round in the Can I keep Gertie in the yard game?  I added another wire and plan yet more moves.  I’m smarter; she’s more persistent.  An equal match so far.

Bee Diary: August, 2011

Lughnasa                                                                   Waning Honey Extraction Moon

Checked the honey supers this morning.  On the two package colonies that I do not intend to overwinter, we have approximately four full honey supers.  That is, we have for harvest the amount of honey they would have needed for the winter, close to 200 pounds.  Figure that 40 pounds is not recoverable due to drips, stuck on honey comb even after extraction then that should leave around 16o pounds to harvest.

If we chose to sell it at, say $7 a pound, that would create around a $1,ooo in sales after keeping some back for own use and gifts.  After the bee packages at $60 each and amortizing the honey extractor, supers and hive boxes, syrup, hive tools, smoker, pollen, queen excluders, honey jars, top and bottom boards and telescoping covers, we’d still be in the red for the first three years.  Don’t know what we’ll do with it this year, probably give away a lot again.  It’s good for barter and gifts for sure.

Artemis Hives has produced honey two years in a row now, an artisanal honey created by bees aided by the beekeeper, me, and the bee equipment and harvest partner, Kate.

Looking at the gardening year in total we will have a good, not great honey harvest, a good potato harvest, leeks, beets, chard, beans and possibly a decent tomato crop.  Kate has good success with her zucchinis and the decorative gourds have bloomed but produced no fruit yet.  The gardening and beekeeping year will wind down in September, just in time for us to finish our cruise preparations.  Caring for gardens and bees requires a lot of face time with the plants and hives, visits to nurseries, attendance at Hobby Bee Keeper meetings, not to mention all the work of harvesting and putting food by.

I’m at the point in the year when my enthusiasm has run out a while ago and the only thing that keeps me active now is the need to finish, to harvest.  When it’s done, it’s over for the year.

 

Bee and Garden Diary

Mid-Summer                                                                                          Waning Garlic Moon

Today I performed partial hive box reversals in all three colonies.  The second hive box of three gets rotated to the bottom and the first or bottom box rotates up to take its place.  This means that all the hive boxes have to be moved, so it is a labor intensive activity, especially so now that some honey has begun to be stored.  One hive box was very heavy, my back a bit reluctant.  Having done that I checked the top box on colony 1 and the top two honey supers in colonies 2 and 3.  None of these have much honey.

Since I put queen excluders on 2 and 3, I pulled those off, intending to leave them off for a couple of days.  At the hobby bee-keeper meetings I’m told this is a common way to get the bees to move up into the honey supers.  I’ll put the queen excluders back on maybe Wednesday.  Since I reversed the bottom and second hive boxes, there’s not much chance the queen will get up there.

So far the bee season seems to have hurdled the early cold and rain and settled into a more normal pattern.

The potatoes and leeks both have mounds around their stalks now, blanching for the leeks and more space for the potato plants to produce tubers.  A lot of gardening tasks are very time sensitive and these were among them.  When the potato plants flower (now), they begin to set the tubers.  As the leeks grow, only the parts covered by soil will blanch, turn white, and be useful for cooking.  As the young apples begin to grow, the bags have to go on before the apple maggots come out to play.  Also now.

The bees, too, require definite care and different kinds of care all through early spring and summer, then less attention around now, when the honey flow begins.  Later in August will come extraction, then preparation of colony 1 for overwintering.  Gonna try one more time.  Colonies 2 and 3 will move out near the truck lane, into the sunny part.  That’s for next year.

Our tomato plants started from seed have begun to mature, though they are far behind the two plants Kate bought at the green barn.  Those plants have blooms and green tomatoes.  It remains to be seen whether we’ll get any tomatoes from the others.

We’ve harvested one full planting of spinach, several of lettuce, some sugar snap peas and just this week, lots of strawberries.  We have onions, carrots, beets, more lettuce and spinach, plus pole and bush beans all underway.  There are cherries and plums in the orchard in addition to the apples and the raspberry canes are in good mid-season form.  We’re going to have a good season as we continue to learn how to use our garden to complement and supplement what we buy at the grocery store.

Week’s End

Spring                                                          Waxing Bee Hiving Moon

Kate and Annie (her sister) are off to Omaha, Kansas City and various quilt shops in between.  When asked what they do on the bus (she’s done this before), she said, “Talk.”  Me, “No quilt-road-tripsinging, no poker, no beer?”  Nope.

Brother Mark is here, decompressing from a tough six months, and inhaling American culture, “Something there, but being brought forward from far back in the mind.”  He’s not been back to the US in over 20 years.

Today is the first day I’ve had any lengthy time to myself this whole week.  Gonna spend it doing Latin.

The kale and chard starts have germinated; the tomatoes have yet to break the surface.  All this is under the lights.  I’ve not checked the beets, spinach and lettuce planted outside earlier in the week, but they should get started in the not too distant future.

Next weekend the bees should arrive, so there are bee related chores this week:  cleaning frames and hive boxes, moving everything to the orchard, checking the honey supers.  The smoker needs cleaning out, too, a lot of soot collects over the course of a season.  Tomorrow I have advanced bee keeping, open only to those who have kept bees at least a full season or two.

But, since this is Minnesota, first we may have to have some snow.

Garden Diary: April 10, 2011

Spring                                                                Waxing Bee Hiving Moon

The outside gardening season has begun.  Kate and I worked in the vegetable garden together this morning.  She (I’m in destructo mode) cleaned out beds, cut down raspberry canes, weeded and  pruned.  I worked more composted manure into the beds, then planted American Spinach, Golden Beets and Lettuce.  I also prepared beds for the leeks and the potatoes.  potato planting 2010The leeks will go in the next week, already begun inside, and the potatoes will go out a bit after they arrive, probably late week after next.  The garlic, strawberries, rhubarb, asparagus, raspberries and a few stray onions have a jump on the season, as do a couple of perennial herbs.  When they come, I’ll drop in the carrots and beans and peas.  Feels good to have the outdoor garden started.

I plan to be more conscientious about planting successive crops of beets, lettuce, spinach, kale and chard, so we can harvest, preserve and eat those throughout the year.  We’ll also pay more attention to the harvesting of beans, peas and asparagus especially.

Mark went to bed around 6:00 pm last night and is still asleep.  No wonder since it’s midnight in Bangkok right now.  He’s had a tough last six months, but I can see he will get past it.

Planting and Reaping

Fall                                            Waning Harvest Moon

The last forty bulbs, a monet tulip collection, have gone in the ground.   I planted a couple of hundred daffodil and tulips at various spots in the orchard, which we see from the table while eating breakfast.  The others, more daffodils and tulips along with a bunch of new lilies, went into the tiered beds off our patio.  Spring color has such an invigorating effect after winter.

It was more hassle, but I went ahead and amended the sandy orchard soil where I planted the monet tulips.  Without the composted manure/top soil mixture, the sandy soil would not support these tulips for long, especially since most tulips are biennials at best in our garden.

With all the bulbs and corms put to bed, I went to work taking out all the remaining root crops:  onions, beets and carrots.  We had a large number of each, enough to add to our stores for the coming winter.  I also picked four big leeks since I plan to reprise my leek based chicken pot pies.  Over the next week I’ll have to pull the remainder of the leeks and make something with them.  The last butternut squash came in as well.

With the exception of putting the bees up for the winter the only remaining necessary garden chore will be mulching once the ground freezes.  I have oak leaves and still hold out hope that I can find actual bales of straw somewhere.

Rusty Latin

Fall                                                         Waning Harvest Moon

Back into the Latin this morning with my tutor, Greg.  Boy, I got rusty in just two months off.  This language stuff requires constant attention.  When I went through college and sem, I took courses that I could set aside for weeks at a time, do a reading and note review in one big gulp, then be fine for a mid-term or a final.  I can’t do that with Latin.  It’s probably why I never learned a language.  The repeated application just didn’t suit the style I brought to learning.  Now, older, I’m more methodical, more patient with myself and feel no pressure for a grade.  Makes the process better, though not simpler.

So.  This ends the intellectually demanding week I’ve had since Tuesday morning.  Whew.  A bit of let down now, a kick back and read.  Then, I’m going to pick up the Latin again this afternoon after the nap.  Strike while the mental iron is still hot.

The weekend will see me finishing the bulb planting-24 tulips, harvesting carrots and beets and leeks and squash, maybe even some more greens.  I’ll also get the bees ready for their cardboard wraps, though I won’t put them on until sometime in November.

Harvest

Fall                                      New (Harvest) Moon

Second round of apiguard in the parent and the divide.  The top box on the package colony has gotten heavier, but I plan to feed them some more as I will do to the parent once the apiguard comes off in two weeks.  Sometime in early November I’ll get out the cardboard wraps and cover the hives for winter.  That will pretty much finish bee work for the year until late February or early March.  I’ve given away honey and plan to give away more.  Part of the fun.

A quick walk through the vegetable garden shows kale and swiss chard looking good, a few rogue onions that escaped the harvest, plenty of carrots, beets and butternut squash.  The harvest is 2010-10-04_0351not yet over and will go on until the ground threatens to become hard.

While I drove through the countryside on my way back to Lafayette on Monday, I passed field after field of corn and beans, some harvested, some not, about half and half.  Seeing those scenes put me right back at home, especially the corn fields.  Here’s a field near Peru, Indiana with the combine spilling corn into a tractor trailer for transport either to a corn bin, grain dryer or even straight to the grain elevators, all depending on the price and moisture content of the corn.

Indiana is no longer home, Minnesota is, but Indiana has a large section of my heart, the chamber of childhood and early young adulthood, a room full of corn fields, basketball, small towns, a baby sister and brother, county fairs and James Whitcomb Riley poems.  I was glad to be there the last few days and to walk again in the part of my heart filled there so long ago.

We move now toward Samhain, Summer’s End.  Blessed be.

Grounded

Lughnasa                               Waxing Back to School Moon

Finished digging the potatoes.  The crop seems smaller than last year’s, but I can’t tell for sure.  Still, we don’t eat potatoes often and we have enough to last us quite awhile.  Kate made an early autumn roast vegetable medley with onions, carrots, leaks, garlic, beets and one potato I pierced with the spading fork.  It was delicious.  So was the raspberry pie–of which we have two.  Our raspberry bushes have been exuberant.  We’ve still got leeks, greens, beets, carrots and squash in the ground.  Some of it will stay in the ground until the frost and freeze gets serious.  I made a mistake last year with the carrots and didn’t get them out before the ground froze.  They became organic matter for the soil.  We also left our entire potato crop out in our garage stair well.  When the temps dropped down, way down, the potatoes froze, then thawed.  Not good for potatoes.  We’re trying to not make those mistakes this year.  We’ll make new ones!

Working with Leslie today reminded me of the punch there is in ministry.  Yes, the institutional confines squeeze life out of faith, but the individuals, the people can put it back.  She asked me an interesting question.  We got to talking about Christianity and she wondered, “Do you miss it?”  I’m not sure anyone has asked just that question of me.  I don’t, not at a faith level.

I miss the thick web of relationships I once had there.  I miss the opportunity to do bible study.  That may sound strange, but higher criticism of the bible is a scholarly affair requiring history, language, knowledge of mythology and tradition, sensitivity to redactors (editors), an awareness of textual differences, as well as a knowledge of the bible as a whole.  I spent a lot of time learning biblical criticism and I enjoyed it.  Not much call for it in UU or humanist circles though.

By the time my nap finished it was too late to put the shims in the hives.  I hope there’s some clear, sunny time tomorrow.  Also need to put the feeder back on the package colony.

The Vikings.  Not sure.  Favre needs some better wide receivers, yes.  The defense played well.  Adrian Peterson did, too.  It felt as if we were outcoached the last two games.  Not sure about that, that’s a murky area to me, but something doesn’t feel quite right.

August 2017
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