Monday, January 3, 2011

"Year Over Year" Journal Entries

My Mom got my gradeschool-aged nephews a digital microscope for Christmas. I am totally green and purple with envy. But, alas, that is out of my budget at the moment. I did, however, purchase a little 45 power field microscope with battery powered LED light - and while it isn't quite the same thing, for $5, it is a whole lot of fun. I would say, ounce for ounce and dollar for dollar, it is my favorite new toy.
Below are some Journal Entries from the last several years. Current comments in brackets [like this].

4 January 2009

Thinking of fencing off some of the west side of the chicken run so I can plant corn and stuff for them there. Then when the summer heat hits, they'll have shade and also stuff to play in. Open it up in sections so they don't destroy it all at once. corn, sunflowers, maybe try pease in the fall. [I never did do this. Perhaps I will do this in 2011?]

Can I really keep them [the chickens] out of the garden all summer? I am going to have to if I want any flowers or food [for us] out of it.

Last year was the Year of the Chicken... this year is the Year of the Garden.

Maybe next fall I [will] spend 3 months raising a feeder pig - but maybe not. We'll see just how far I want to take this farming thing. [I didn't, but the question comes up every year...]

I still can't believe that I am living the dream! It isn't perfect, but it IS very good. I am so very blessed.

Fresh eggs for breakfast - most only hours old, the rest laid yesterday! Gave away 18 to the neighbors. DSR is going to bring some to work tonight to give away. Whenever I end up with eggs that are over a week old, I feed them to [the dogs] and back to the chickens - glad they both like scrambled eggs! Yum!

10 January 2008

Snow last night [is] keeping my trees watered with "sweet" water as opposed to my salty, alkalai well water.

[Need to] clean and move my plant shelves. Then I will allow myself to start some seeds.

14 January 2007

Still frozen; no water [the water line from the well to the house and from the hot water heater to the house were frozen as we experienced nighttime temps in the 2-3*F range and daytime temps in the mid 20*F range. Yipes!]

[Reading] Cutting Gardens by Anne Halpin & Betty Mackey. [My notes on] Conditioning Flowers
  • Recut at a slant
  • Underwater Cut - carnations, sweet williams, dianthus, china asters, marigolds, marguerites, snapdragons, sweetpeas
  • Hollow [stems] - fill with cool water and plug with cotton - delphinium, dahlia, hollyhock
  • Sear sap bleeders - campanula, hardy mums, daffs, narcissus, dahlia, forget-me-nots, heliotrope, hollyhocks, hydrangea, lantana, lobelia, poppies, stephanotis
  • Tough flowers - split stems, dip in boiling water for 20 seconds - asters, chrysanthemums
  • Strip leaves that will be underwater
  • AFTER cutting treatments, put in cool, dark place for a while
  • Conditioner - 1 TBSP suger + 1 TBSP bleach [I don't state "in how much water" in my journal, but I am assuming per 1 gal water]
  • Foliage - lay in flat pan of water and soak
  • Silver Foliage - wrap in tissue, dip stems in boining water [for] 20 seconds, then [dip] in cold water
With this cold, I wonder how my tiny orchard is doing? [Survived.]

14 January 2010

First sunny day in a while! Makes me want to go out and dig in the dirt!

Snow if finally nearly all melted. I know it insulates things, but I hate snow. I hate weather below freezing, and especially weather below negative 10*F.

Still months away from seeing if any of my fruit trees survived - and if any have, did anything above the rootstock make it? Only time will tell. [Lost the cherry tree and the old apple tree brought from California to late snow.]

And another question - did my super rosemary survive [the negative degrees]? It isn't supposed to live through ANY of our winters, so I won't be too devistated if it's gone. Still, I'm rooting for it. [It did survive.]

Sunday, January 2, 2011

Is it Spring yet!?

One thing good about being past the Winter solstice - that means the days are getting longer and soon it will be Spring! But, alas, Spring will not be here soon enough. So for the first time in a long time, I am endevouring to bring Spring inside.
This is a small flat of basil and lettuce that was started about a week ago. The ultra-tiny seeds were glued to single-ply bathroom tissue to help keep their spacing. The tissue was then set on top of potting mix and more potting mix was gently pressed over the tissue to a depth of about 1/4 inch. Watering was done by gently dripping water from my hands as I discovered my misting bottle has been devoured by the black hole. You can see some of the exposed tissue where there are no seeds. While the seeds would probably stay in place better if I let the glue dry, they seem to have stayed reasonably well. I used Elmer's school glue - the washable, gel type.
Here's a closeup of some of the lettuce as they germinated. The flat is kept under ordinary (not "grow" type) flourescent lights controled by a timer - 12 hours on, 12 hours off. Day temps run about 75*F with night time temps dipping into the 50*F - 60*F range (they are in my unheated laundry room, and once the lights go out, the temps drop pretty quickly).
I love my camera - here's a closeup of one of the seedlings. This one is about a week old.

Saturday, January 1, 2011

Happy New Years!

Apparently Scout likes to help with "catching" the snow when it's time to shovel the back patio. Lows in the teens on the overnight, reaching the high twenties during the day. A little more snow predicted for tonight/tomorrow morning, but that should be it for a while. As for me, I'd rather stay inside and dream of Spring.
There are a few thoughts on what to do with last season's "trash." Some maintain that the left over crop residue should be removed from the field and composted, thus removing insect eggs, mold spores and disease. Others believe that the crop stubble will protect the ground, prevent erosion and hold water. Since the desert is in need of keeping every particle of organic matter and every drop of water that it can, I am going with the later method. Besides, I just like the look of dried corn "trash" after a winter snow.
The chickies are not particularly fond of snow, and when they realized I didn't have any goodies for them, decided that they would stay in the confines of their toasty coop.
I am, of course, using the weather as an excuse for not cleaning out the chicken coop. Too windy last weekend. Too snowy this weekend. Supposed to be above 30*F tomorrow. Maybe tomorrow. It isn't too nasty yet, but it will be if I don't get my act together soon. Besides, it's time to get the compost bin filled up with chickie-poo soon if I want more of that good stuff ready for the spring garden. Takes a good 3 months during the summer to cook the excess amonia out of it and turn into to sweet smelling compost. I assume it will take longer when the temps are regularly below freezing at night.