Thursday, December 8, 2016

Post Post

Is this now a post post journal in accord with our new post truth environment? I admit to being busy with so many different projects that the will to post has been minimal or rather, non-existent. To blog one has to make time or have time, an idea to flesh and flush out, images to give sight to sore eyes, and an editor -always have an editor. Is it that there is nothing new to report? Hardly -there are too many things to report.

The garlic is in last season's potato bed and even more at the neighbor's sheep farm. We may see Hudson Clove return to small sales next year. The bed of herbs is taking in the glories of climate changes that helped create the longest growing season in our region's written history. Depending on one's micro-climate it was possible to grow throughout November. I believe November 19 or so was the first time it froze long enough to do in the cold-sensitive plants and the brassicas lasted into December.

Our lawn has turned completely from grass to creeping charlie. I may use the language of the walking dead to describe it from now on: another area has turned. I could go into a description of creeping charlie, but a visit to Wikipedia should do. Creeping charlie was likely brought to our place, intentionally or otherwise, by my father in law. Our vegetable gardening created bare patches that allowed it to get stronger. The lawnmower chopped it into little bits; each sprouting into a new plant as the weather permits. Last summer and this summer the weather was all too permissive. It spread far and wide and quite literally there is now no more grass. It's also invading the perennial garden and after we had the dumpster removed from the drive, I discovered it growing underneath. Raking leaves is out of the question, unless you want it to spread wherever you move those leaves. My father in law raked and hauled leaves into the woods, over the slope -a good practice, generally. At slope bottom, however, there is now a large colony of charlie that I have low initiative to deal with. I've seen it in the middle slough, too and then again sliding down the slope into the back slough.

While everyone was lining up to buy things on black Friday, I lined up herbs and flowers to prep for a winter indoors. The rosemary was over-wintered in its pot last year and hung in there, but took until mid summer outside to really take off. Much larger and greener than last year, and not so delicately ripped from its summer bed, I hope it will survive once again. Along with lantana, it will be spending the winter in warm, dry, sunny bedroom window.

The pineapple sage wouldn't have made it to bloom if the season hadn't been so extended (although it may have in the greenhouse). There is nothing this red in November around here, poinsettia excluded (we overwintered and oversummered one from last Christmas). I've cut a few branches for rooting and even brought the whole plant in. I will cut it back hard after flowering is complete and see how it does.

Some Siberian cold (often the coldest place on earth) has been dislodged and is making itself felt now. The Army Corp wisely held up the DAPL so at least some of those protesting the pipeline would be inclined to head indoors. The ridiculously warm temperatures gave those not familiar with the Dakotas a false sense of our climate and would have been hit hard by the forty mile an hour winds and zero degree temperatures of the last few days. The cold and wind forced me to bring our agave and opuntia cacti in from the greenhouse. My educated guess is that these can survive zero degree F temperatures as long as they stay dry, but I decided not to chance it. They will also spend the winter in warm, sunny bedroom window.

I, however, will spend the sunny part of days out and semi-out of doors. You'd be surprised how easy it is to get used to 15 degrees F. I just spent 20 minutes outside this morning, sans jacket, to take some photos. It's the fingers one needs to worry about, especially where there's wind. 

Above is the south side of the studio building we've been working on for the last year. I think the temperature inside has stabilized at 34 degrees F despite the 17 degrees F outside and is warm enough to do some interior framing and insulating (where I'll be after this). With the luck of the longest growing season, the grass seed I planted here in early October not only sprouted, but grew in somewhat. Then, in one of the many furious acts born out of every last day above freezing, I tilled it all but a two foot wide grass strip in order to winter plant a native savanna garden from seed mixes I purchased from Prairie Moon.

I also tilled behind the building, on the west side, where I will broadcast a woodland mix of forbs and sedges. I do not expect this to be as easy as my milkweed experiment turned out to be. Disturbed areas like this are perfect for invasive plants (like garlic mustard) to take over, so I have to act immediately. In the greenhouse, towards late winter, I will also seed five inch deep cell trays with many of the grasses and some forbs. These will be planted directly around the building and elsewhere on the land where large oaks have fallen to create sunny openings.

As I look out the window, I see that it is flurrying again. Till next time.

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