Saturday, October 24, 2020

Forced March


The day was not ideal -but was it ever going to be? I mean, at least the wind was a breeze and the temperature above 30°. As far as I could tell it was the best day out of the following ten or the previous three. Sleet and graupel, thunder and lightning, snow, wind and temps dropping to ten degrees forced me to plant in the snow on a day more like March than October.


 I tilled last Sunday before I knew for sure what was coming and that tilling modestly displaced the snow so that I could mostly make out my rows. The little hump in the top center is a few kale I left in place should things change and another few leaves can be eaten.

Despite the drought this year, several heads of garlic sized up well and even when they didn't, there were plenty of large cloves. Above, Porcelain variety named "Music," a well known large garlic. My other Porcelain is the strain known as "Armenian."

wheel dib
The real trouble was the snow drenched soil which, as the image of my wheel dib should tell, clung hardily to my gloves and glued the cloves large and small to it! The weight of the accumulating goo slowly pulled my glove away from my fingers, disabling dexterity and my attempts to push the glove back with the slick left handed glove were fruitless. The soil, wet and cold, clung to soaked gloves made for cold hands, but that was the worst of it. I completed the project in a scant three hours if I cut the clove popping done in the morning from the calculation.

Garlic patch 
I’ve reduced my garlic count this year to about 500 -my lowest count since my first year growing garlic. At the end of the day, the patch looked like I had a fight with a tub of Oreos cookies and cream, but was glad to be done and not out there today or any of the days to come. 
I still have, ahem, a few projects sitting unfinished under snow. I'm holding out for a brief warm up that I tend to think will come whenever the temperature drops so incongruous with the season. So, some porch work this November, or if I am lucky, just before Halloween? Scary thought is how many things sit under the snow that were near completion or that I thought I could get to, but simply couldn't, by dint of weather and age.

Tuesday, October 13, 2020

Where Have I Been

It's been awhile, and maybe it shouldn't have been. As you can see by the square-formatted images below, I have been spending too much time working for Instagram. Much more of my warm weather time is spent repairing our house in the woods (prior post). Yet much of that work should be ending soon as we approach freezing.

I took a break -really forced myself to cease working on siding and house painting to make a visit to our neighbors, adjacent to our woods, on the southern edge along the powerline. Luck has given us great neighbors, a couple -half from Minnesota and the other half from eastern Pennsylvania. Their property was formerly part of a farm, as was ours, but ours was the woodlot and the wetland waste where old car parts, appliances, and other mysteries were dumped (ravines were farmers' dumping grounds).


We grow what vegetables we can in one hundred and forty square feet of raised beds in the sunniest portion of our front yard. The remainder of what we grow, including my garlic, happens at the neighbors' garden patch.  


  You’ll see some of my native and non native plants growing in rows here (for sale next spring!) and hard to believe -my first successful carrot (just one -is that success?).  


And the greenhouses -where I now have the pick of the last tomatoes which will be sauce as soon as I can get to it.

The balance created by visiting open space while spending much of my time within the woods is restorative. I grew up not far from the sea -I would go there whenever I needed that open space. The desert I lived in, now over twenty years ago, also provided it. Now, the neighbor’s cleared ten acres and garden patch does the same.