Sunday, March 22, 2009


So I valiantly battled a virus-to-sinus-infection one-two punch last week. Finally caved and got some antibiotics. Thank you LORD those things still work. It passed the point when you thought you were going to die and went straight into hoping if you were gonna die, it would be sooner rather than later so you could avoid feeling so miserable. Anywhoo. Now that that is behind me....

I spend the day messing around in the garden. I planted a little over 3 pounds of seed potatoes. And because I just bought a handy dandy new kitchen scale, I am gonna find out how many pounds of potatoes that actually gets me. Some of them are in pots, so it will also be interesting to see how the pot yield differs from the in ground yields. Have I mentioned how much I love harvesting potatoes?

I also transplanted some lettuce, parsley, chard and beets into the garden. What I realize about the start ahead thing is that it takes a LOT of time so separate those little buggers and put them in the ground. Though I think the spacing will definitely be better. I always have a hard time ripping the extras out when I direct seed and things end up too close together. I may sneak out yet and direct seed some spinach and lettuce mix to get things underway.

I have come to the conclusion that the garden is not big enough. I put one and a half beds into potatoes. The other half is probably going to be eggplant/peppers to try to keep the solenaceae family together to make crop rotation easier in future. That leaves me only 2 beds for ALL the other things I want to plant.... I have more onions and leeks and beets and chard and kale and okra and beans and basil and fennel and peppers and squashes and about a million other things.... Looks like I am gonna be doin' some diggin' this summer.

Also last week, in the midst of the funky flu bug, I received and installed the new bees. Woo hoo. The queen is in the house again. (figuratively speaking, of course) I'll go out there again soon and check and make sure that she has been able to get out of the cage and is setting up house there in the box. When I put them in, there was the nice bonus of having a bunch of honey left from last year's bees along with all the comb that they made, so these critters should be miles ahead of the others. Let's hope the weather cooperates and they can take advantage of it....

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Good, Bad & Ugly

The bad and ugly are this cold I have been draggin' around for the past 6 days, though it feels like weeks. I am trying not to let it get me down, but being woken up at 4:30 or 5 every morning by the sore throat gets old. I say, Be Gone Cold. Or Else.

The good is that no one needed me at work today, so I stayed home. I slept REALLY late, went and got my milk a day early, and then messed around in the garden. I planted out the King Richard leeks and the Sweet Spanish onions. Also some chard and parsley in pots. The soil is too wet for digging, so the other stuff will have to wait. I sprayed the orchard trees with dormant oil spray and some Deer Off and continue to cross my fingers that we might get some fruit this year. We shall see. Where I took the leeks out of the starting flat I put in some broccoli. Late, but still possible for this year. My other seedlings are doing well. The peppers are FINALLY beginning to come up. They take a really long time. I am going to have tons of eggplant and tomatillo plants. Want some? Several varieties of each....

Still waiting on the word as to when the bees arrive. Soon, soon. I am trying to be patient, but it is so hard.....

Monday, March 16, 2009

Did I Mention?

No, I don't think I did....

When the SB was home on Saturday and we were trying to tie up a bunch of garden chores, we moved some rocks (that had been a highly illegal fire ring in the upper lawn) to allow for easier mowing. Under those rocks we found THREE salamanders and TWO teeny tiny northern brown snakes. All were relocated to similar places in the yard. Hopefully we didn't disrupt things too much.

Also, I am chitting my potatoes - at least I think that is the term....They are sitting in an egg carton on the dining table soaking up some diffuse rays and sprouting eyes.

There are three kinds, La Ratte (fingerlings saved from last year and sprouting like crazy after being in the basement since fall) Early rose, and another yellow type for storing. I have about three pounds .... plenty for the space we have available.

Just waiting for things to dry out to put in some of the early stuff. The parsley is looking quite fine, as are the lettuces.

And because the weather was yucky and the SB wasn't around to haul my ass out into the yard regardless, I stayed in and did some cooking. Ricotta dumplings in a roasted red pepper sauce. It needed some pasta to call it a meal, but it was pretty tasty if labor intensive.

So this is what I will be eating for the next 8 days, provided they last that long. I don't think cheese thaws so well or I would freeze some. I also made dill bread. And brownies. By the state of the kitchen afterwards, you would have thought I had just prepared dinner for Napoleon's army, but no, just lil' ol' me.

And on another note, this is my 125th post. Woo hoo.

Sunday, March 15, 2009

Much Needed Rain

I am trying hard not to complain about the days of rain we have been having. We need the rain desperately, but I would rather be planing. The SB and I had a very productive couple of days. Though still no duck house, we did a great deal of yard and garden work. We made a new bed by the orchard and moved the raspberries. This is the first of several and we are talking about having a LOT of raspberries, which suits me just fine thankyouverymuch. We put the garden fencing up, which is critical. We moved the beehive to allow for the chicken run. I still have to clean some of the frames, but it looks like the bees were indeed in residence for a while, but there was a VERY small number and they didn't make it due to cold or starvation (there was food above them, but probably too far above.... ) [Aside: I will tell you that dead bees don't smell very good. I think the next hive is coming next week - stay tuned.] The SB added horse manure and creek mud to the beds and we set our final garden bed (in the rain on Saturday before he left). The setting of beds is to make them level and look all pretty. It does look nice. It also takes about 2 hours. I try to look at it as an investment. With luck, we won't ever have to do it again - at least on the ones we have already placed. I am holding out hope that we will set additional beds this fall and on into the future as we continue with our garden expansion.

I am getting the potatoes ready to plant. You set them out in filtered light where it is warm so that they can sprout. I was hoping to have them in by now, but I didn't get to it before the rain. Now we will definitely need a few days of warms and sunshine. I have lettuce and chard and beets ready to go into the ground. Also onions and parsley. I would really like to get things moving, but again, it is going to have to wait for some sunshine and perhaps some breeziness. I am chomping at the bit. I don't have any room to plant new seeds and I can't move the others out.... The agony.

Thursday, March 5, 2009


Spring is here. I am pretty sure, anyway. I am looking down the weather forecast with lots of days above 45. That qualifies. And it will be even better. There are a lot of days above 55. OMG, so glad we are getting there. I know we will still have frosts and cold days, but the birds are on board now. There is a different morning chorus at the bus stop.

Tomorrow is "Spring Break Day" for academic staff, which I am lucky enough to be. So needed and so very much appreciated. I also have some leave time which I will be spending a chunk of next week with the SB. I figure I should take it while it is still available....Heaven knows what will happen in the longer term.

I went to the beekeepers meeting tonight and was both encouraged and saddened by the fact that LOTS of people lost hives this winter. My bee mentor (who rocks) thinks he may have lost all 20 of his (Yes, TWENTY). Which sucks. But I don't feel as bad about mine going. I have arranged for a pick up of the next package and I will only have to go a little west of Crozet to fetch them. I will spend the weekend cleaning the quarters and getting ready for the new tenants.

If the snow isn't off the garden beds by tomorrow afternoon, I am taking the hairdryer out there and finishing the job.

Monday, March 2, 2009


I hope this is the "in like a lion" part of March. I also hope it gets up to 60 by the end of the week like they are saying it will. I really want to do some outdoor planting next week during "spring break". The SB will be home late Friday night. I have limited sitting obligations and I am looking forward to getting lots done. Which means that the snow needs to go ahead and melt. "Nice to see you, don't let the door hit you in the fanny on the way out" if you know what I mean....

Later this week I go to the Beekeepers meeting. I don't go to them often, but this is the beginning of the season, and I am hoping to find someone to share a trip to Culpepper to pick up some bees. I am happy to scam a car, but it would be nice to drive up there for more than just my own 3# package of bees - and avoid having anyone else have to drive up there as well... That would just be silly. I am looking forward to having the critters back in residence. I need to get my butt in gear and do some bee work to get set up. I think I am in pretty good shape, but I need to take the hive apart and clean it out. Also, to level the area where the bee hive is. It drives the SB kinda crazy that the hive is leaning a wee bit to starboard.

I also want to go explore the sheds at my Papa's farm and see what kind of fencing might be around. No sense in buying anything that might already be around looking to be useful.

Also, while he is home I must decide what to do about the vehicle. Well, I don't REALLY need to decide, but I hate hanging around with indecision. Nothing but bad company there.

No summer veggies seeds up as of this afternoon. It has been three whole days. If they aren't up by Friday I am going in after them.