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Posts tagged Garden

A Year of No Winter, Now With No Spring?

Imbolc                                         Woodpecker Moon

OK.  So, there was this place that used to have winter but had it replaced by a season of cloudy skies and what passes for cold in the southern states.  Then, that season ended and summer began.  Minnesota 2011-2012

Not kidding.  It’s 60 degrees here today, March 11th.  And this doesn’t seem to be an aberration, the temps go like this for highs:  59, 65, 70, 67, 68.  And that gets us through Friday.  It may throw the bee season into a conundrum since my package bees don’t arrive until mid-April and the bloom cycle could be accelerated by as much as a month.

This is also a year when I didn’t start any vegetables.  Not a one.  We moved the hydroponics into the garage for storage so we could consolidate the dog crates in one place. I imagine the places I buy plants will have used the same calendar as usual and we could waste a month or so of available warmer weather.  In other words we could have a growing season up to 6 weeks longer than normal.  But we’re not ready for it and won’t be.

The Great Wheel continues to turn, but the holidays may usher in different weather than usual.  Climate change is well under way.  I hope the climate change deniers have a ringside seat in hell to the catastrophe they’ve created.  I know, that sounds extreme, but I mean it.

The deniers will not and never could change the basic science behind global warming, all they could ever do was slow down humanity’s response to it, a slowing down that amounts to a criminal act, a felony against generations yet to be born.  They need to be held responsible for their greedy, stupid, infantile actions.

But they probably won’t be.  They’ll die off before the worst of it hits.  That’s why I hope hell has a special viewing room for these shrunken souls.

Would you like me to tell you what I really believe?

Under the Lights

Spring            Waning Moon of Winds

The United States themselves are essentially the greatest poem. – Walt Whitman

Business meeting and plants this morning.  The business meeting went just fine, our financial management continues to work for us and not against us.  Wish I could say the same for the financial markets.  Sigh.  Decided to check.  Wish granted: Dow Leaps 497 Points on Treasury Plan.  Yeah.

My seedlings, grown over the last couple of weeks, sprouted roots which is the time to move them to their next medium, in this case soil in peat and coconut fiber pots with the exception of four chard and one mustard green that I put in lava rock and in the hydroponics.  The broccoli, egg plants, onions, leeks, mustard and collard greens, cauliflower and huckelberry now have soil around their sprouting medium.  They are all under the lights still.   Moving to larger size containers strained my space, though with some jiggering I got them all in new places and still under the lights.

Some of them have to move out soon to make way for the seedlings that need to get started on April 1st and April 15th.  Just when they were getting comfortable.  Hmmm.  I may have problems here.  Seems onions started by seed should not go outside until May.  This will definitely cramp the April batch of plants.

Change and Changes

68  bar falls 30.06  0mph NNE  dew-point 38  sunrise 6:45  set 7:34  Lughnasa

First Quarter of the Harvest Moon   rise 4:49  set 12:17


Corn, Bleeding Heart, Impatiens, Beets and Beans at 3pm

This morning I got up, ate breakfast and went straight outside.  Posting in the morning has begun to interfere with other projects.  Even so, I like to do it.  The posting gives a start to the day.  Just too long a start sometimes.

Till noon I cleaned up old wire fencing so we can recycle it on Saturday.  At noon I began the sun/shade survey for our ecological gardens project.  Instead of shading in a map I decided to use the digital camera and print contact sheets of prints shot at 9AM, noon, 3pm, 6pm.  I stand in the same location for each shot.  It takes about 20 images to cover the whole yard.

After the nap I went out into the wide world to collect meds and some ink for my Canon color printer.  This is the first time I have purchased ink for this printer, in fact it’s the first time I’ve purchased ink for any printer other than my HP L4 since 1991.  The cost of color ink impressed me.  High.  Ouch.

About a year ago right now Kate and I attended a conference in Iowa City, Iowa.  Focused on climate change and the issues involved, I came away convinced I needed to get involved in some direct way.  I made a list of things to do at the conference, but as the year has gone by I realize I have gotten a much better handle on personal action. READ MORE »

He Feels My Pain

87  bar steep fall 29.56 4mph NW  dew-point 74   Summer, hot and steamy.  Cooking up thunder storms

First Quarter of the Thunder Moon

My peanut butter post drew a sympathetic note.  Sort of.  This came from a guy who sees peanut butter, toast and the morning paper a sine qua non of the civilized life.  He feels my pain.

Heat.  I don’t like it.  The plants need it.  The year wouldn’t be the same without a scorcher now and then, but mostly then would be fine with me.

The lilies have begun to bloom:  red, yellow, mauve, a faint pink, a mottled orange.  The stargazers have not opened yet, they are beautiful, white with pink centers and fragrance for dreams.  After several years at the perennial gardening, I’ve hit on what I think is a winning combination:  daffodils and tulips, bearded iris and Asiatic lilies.  This August I will consolidate all the bearded iris and Asiatic lilies and add more daffodils and tulips in the same space.

Joseph’s bronze plaque which reads Joseph Buckman-Ellis, OTS Graduation, June 18, 2008 is in the mail.  It’s an oval that will attach to the back of a rocker we bought for him.  He wanted something to remember the day.

The Life I Need to Live

74  bar steady 29.59 1mph ENE dew-point 68   Summer, heading toward stick

First Quarter of the Thunder Moon
“To think is to say no.” – Emile Chartier  Translated into Pediatrician:  To think is to be 2.

The flavor and tang of life has increased for me in the months of summer, an unusual occurrence.  Usually summer is, at best, a place holder until the serious seasons of fall and winter come.

The garden occupies some serious space, but as I’ve grown more skilled, it requires less of me.  This year the increase in the number of vegetables and the hydroponics has my attention and the wheels have begun to churn on certain questions.  How can we get more out of the space we have?  Where can we add space?  How many should be raised beds, how many mounded beds?  What have we done well, what have we learned?

The male rites of passage with Joseph and Gabe have ushered me into, all unsuspecting, the role of older generation.  The reemergence of the novel as a core part of who I am has challenged me and kept me excited.

The opportunity to serve on the Sierra Club political committee is the end result of a year-long self-examination that began at a conference I attended with Kate in Iowa City.  It was on environmental issues.  I decided then that my commitment to the Great Work had to have a political edge.  After floundering around for a while, I decided work with an existing organization best fit my current life.  Now I’m around the table and in the thick of it.  Feels good.

We’ve done a serious overhaul on our financial life over the last 7 years and the positive results have begun to pick up steam this summer.  That also feels good.

In one sense this is the retired life for me.   It is, as life could always be, the life I need to live at the moment.

Bozo the Clown and Jesse Helms Die

77  bar falls 30.01 1mph SW  dew-point 50  Summer, pleasant

Waxing Crescent of the Thunder Moon

Sometimes coincidence says things that would have not occurred to me:

Larry Harmon, longtime Bozo the Clown, dead at 83.

Former Sen. Jesse Helms dies at age 86.

Mulch goes down today.  Old leaves and grass clippings from last year stored in plastic bags.  Straw baled on a farm.  Organic matter that will blend into the soil, enrich it and give it better composition.  Before it does that, it will suppress weeds and keep the soil beneath it cooler, helping plants fight the extremes of summer heat.  An all purpose good deal, mulch.

A columnist referred to the 4th as the happiest of holidays.  It has sparklers, band music, cookouts, fireworks and family gatherings.  As for me, a solid northern European intellectually, I find it a sober holiday.  Our government, at its least competent level in decades, has not made tiny, forgivable, do over mistakes; no, they have blundered on the world stage as well as the domestic.  They have tanked the economy, made citizens suspicious of Washington, politicized the judiciary and made WC Fields and Mark Twain look like optimistic boosters.  On the foreign affairs we have reversed and three upped Teddy Roosevelt.  Now we speak loudly and shoulder nuclear RPG’s.

In light of this July 4th is, for me, a time to redouble my own efforts to bring down these clowns (apologies to Larry Harmon, mentioned earlier) and to change policy at the national, state and local levels.  My own focus now is the natural world, the world that can go along on its own without human interference, if it does not have human interference, that is.  In times past issues of war and peace, civil rights and economic justice were stage front in my political world.  They remain critically important, but I choose to pass that torch to another generation of activists.

On a lighter note I look forward to charcoaled hamburgers, potato salad, corn on the cob and cold watermelon when Kate comes home.  We also have a cache of sparklers to set out in the yard and light.  Star spangledness will live on in our Andover backyard.

Will I Build A Computer?

76  bar rises 29.76 6mph NW dew-point 51  Summer, pleasant and warm

New Moon (Thunder Moon)

A new head has been found for the red car.  Hopefully it will get placed on its automotive neck tomorrow and we will go back to two vehicles.  This is important with the rise of gas prices since our Tundra has a V-8 (may be an antique walking) whereas the Celica averaged 30-31 mph on the Alabama trip.  Co-ordination is not such a big deal for us, though that can matter.

The computer has shut down on its own, without warning, twice already today. I bought the tools to crack the case, get inside and clean out the cooling fan, but I’ve hesitated due to a hyperactive June.  Now available time and increased urgency have moved closer to taking the step.  In the back of my mind, the fantasy part, I see myself building a computer from parts.  The tools I bought would serve that purpose as well.

Ate lunch with Stefan at the Modern Cafe.  I had a lamburger and Stefan had a smorbord, pickled herring and beets.  Both were tasty.  We discussed his poetry and he feels I’m helping, so I’ll keep at it.

He wants to start a support group for children of successful parents.   My hunch is it would be big hit.

On the way home from the Modern (it’s in NE Minneapolis) I drove north of Anoka (really, west) to Anoka Feed and Seed where I picked up four bales of bedding straw.  I’ll use it to mulch the garden over the next few days.

Now, a nap.

My Car Has Lost Its Head

76  bar falls 29.60 0mph SE dew-point 59   A warm Summer night

Waning Crescent of the Flower Moon

My poor little red car is without its head.  Technicians found a crack in a spark plug hole and that means a whole new head rather than one ground for a more secure fit.  These things are not cheap.  Really not cheap.  Still, we will fix it and move on from there.

Posting Superior Wolf has had the desired affect on my writing.  I have four storylines at work and I move among them now each day, revising, adding more material, getting ready for the next time I need to post.  I’m not good with other peoples deadlines, but with my own, I can perform.  There is probably 3,000 more words in the manuscript than there were when I started last week.  That’s a good thing, because I’ve  thrown out far more than that from the manuscript as it was in 2002, the  last time I worked on it with any energy.

The garden is in the July hiatus right now.  The heat makes transplanting a bad idea. It’s not impossible, but not the best time.  Much of the major renovation work I have to do right now involves transplanting.  The vegetables are in a growth spurt, the heat helps them, but none of them are, nor will they be this month, ready to harvest.  The heat also makes work outside enervating.

We sent off a package to Joseph today with our old knives, some mail, dish towels and hot pads Kate made for him.  He’s setting up house without all the stuff he acquired in Breckenridge, which is still in storage in Denver.  He will get it, possibly late next month, but until then he needs to cook and sleep and sit.  From this point forward this will not be a problem since the Air Force will move him, but right now, it makes things a little discombobulated.

Descaping the Garlic

76 bar steady 30.05  0mph NW  dew-point 46  Summer, hot

Waning Crescent of the Flower Moon

The heirloom tomatoes we have growing, started from seed inside, required more support.  They have sent out thick branches from the central stalk, already within a tomato cage.  As fruit develops on them, they will sag and break or their fruit will dangle on the soil, going rotten before we can pick them.  At the same time, a few daisies had decided on a straggly path toward the grass, so I put support around them, too.

The garlic. Sigh.  I harvested four garlic plants yesterday.  They had not grown into large, juicy bulbs as I had imagined, but instead looked like large green onions, very large.  I read the culture instructions again.  I had forgotten to cut back the scapes, a curly stalk that shoots up from the center of the main stalk.  It carries the flower.  Allowing it to get much more than 10″ long discourages bulb production.  Makes sense.  If I’m gonna propogate by seed, why bother storing energy below the soil.

In a belated attempt to make up for lost ground I descaped all the garlic and will let the remaining plants sit in the soil a while longer, though I suspect my fantasy of large garlic bulbs grown in my own garden will have to wait until next summer.   All of gardening is a constant experiment, learning this from the plant, then that from the soil, again the message of the sun, then the gentle language of rain.  Like intimate relationships gardening requires close listening and a willingness to admit when you have erred.

My first visit to the MIA since May comes today when I go in for a refresher on the Africa galleries.  We have this one last check-out tour to give.  After it, we will be able to give tours of Africa only if requested.  I’m looking forward to getting back to the museum after a good time away.  No tours for me until September and I’m glad, still I miss the constant interaction with the art and the folks around the museum.

Garlic Harvest

77 bar steady 29.93 5mph N dew-point 49  Summer, hot and sunny

                      Waning Crescent of the Flower Moon

Wrote this AM.  Appended chapter 3 of Superior Wolf to its page on this website.  Next week I’ll take down chapter 1 and put chapter 4 and so it will go until I have written myself to the end.  We’ll see where it goes.

Moved mulch, created by renting the super chipper from Home Depot and grinding up branches, tree trunks and chunks of shrubs.  The mulch goes on the perennial bed first, keeping the weeds down as we move into high summer and also cooling the soil just a bit.  This involves a wheel-barrow, a pitchfork and a lot of moving from one place to another.

After a nap I unburdened the kitchen table of a couple of months of magazines, catalogues and desparate fund-raising pleas.  This involved a paper-sack, a lot of sorting and moving from one place to another.

Now I’m gonna cook supper, red beans and rice with some prime rib left overs thrown to make it interesting.  The now standard fare of lettuce, onions and cilantro from our gardens inside and out will join store purchased tomatoes, cucumbers and peppers for a colorful salad.  Later in the season we will have all of these ingredients. 

I also learned from a piece of paper recovered from the literary overburden of the table that I can  harvest the garlic now.  Somehow garlic has become my favorite crop.  Don’t know why.

June 2017
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