Monday, May 3, 2010

Sunday jobs and early heat

I guess I'd better post some pictures soon, so readers can see what I'm talking about. But we've been too busy to take any. Getting lots done, though.

Yesterday started with a bit of school work, but I didn't mind it. Editing a report due tomorrow. The hour or so I spent entering changes from another faculty member will make for a less stressful day today. Aimee and I may not have classes to teach, but there'll still be reasons we have to go to work on and off all summer, and so today is the first day of the non-class based summer schedule, and my big thing is this report due by noon. The student poster session is the morning though, and my efforts Sunday will let me go enjoy that, free of nagging worry about the report.

Feed the sheep some grain, mostly for little orphan Quinn's sake. I think if it wasn't for her I'd have cut back on the grain by now. But she seems strong and sassy, no sign of starvation even without mother Maggie's milk. Then let the woollies out to graze on the Front Lawn.

Aimee woke early for her on a weekend and went right back to her chicken tractor project.

While I put up yesterday's elm-wood. Disappointing, not even a quarter cord. But the firewood pile has begun to grow again for the first time since last fall. It has to keep growing a load at a time until we have the requisite three-four cords. This pile of well-seasoned wood, which sits in more or less full sun all summer, is much more reliably dry than any we ever buy in.

Then it was the onions. Two hundred feet of red and yellow onions is more than we've ever planted, but we do use them and they do keep. I've been wanting to gravitate away from the designer crops like Arugula, and instead plant more old-timey storage crops like plain old onions. It may not make economic sense to grow spuds and onions, but by golly we do eat them, and it's nice to eat your own food in December or February. Worth much more than $1.99 a pound to me at least.

I never eat the arugula anyway. Aimee does, of course. I do sometimes eat salad, but usually right off the plant in the garden is when I like to eat it.

My Grandad the English master gardener would have been proud of me. I actually used a string for the onions to keep the row straight. But it does make for easy weeding.

Then I gave the rest of the garden the second tilling. The first tilling, with the Kubota tractor occurs after the compost is spread, to help it break down faster. The second tilling, with the rototiller, is to make a nice soil consistency with the compost now broken down, and to kill the weeds that have germinated since the first. The "new" recycled motor on the tiller worked fine except for dripping a little gas from the carb, a real slow drip, like a dewdrop on a cold nose. Gas, otherwise poisonous to plants, evaporates immediately especially when it's hot, so this small amount didn't bother me, but I would be smart to order a new carb for this thing. And if I ever see another nine horse motor that might be cannibalized, I should get it too. This one won't last forever.

I even used the tiller to do the uppermost patch of the terrace garden, where a second's delay with the controls would undoubtedly send the beast over the edge. But no worries. Tilling on the edge. The beast responds well to its controls. Better than a Toyota, and a lot cheaper.

Aimee came back from grocery shopping, and I cut some bits of plywood for her chicken-tractor masterpiece, which must surely end up in the Louvre. Then a short nap.

The afternoon was spent sealing leaky guttering, planting the flower bed in front of the house, fixing a fence around the same because the chickens have claimed it for dust bath central, and fixing the sheep fence down on the front lawn where some silly woolly knocked it down last year.

All in all a steady day's work. Enough to keep the wolf from the door. Warm, though, 75 degrees or more. More like late June than early May.

El Nino
at work.

It was warm and muggy out there still this morning, too. A nice fragrant warm night, as well. I doubt it dropped below 60 F. No need for the greenhouse heater.

If it's like this in May, what will it be like in July?

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