Photos are Back

Photo uploads are back!  Thanks to my tech support son!  Here are some belated flowers, E’s recent nice batch of challah, and a silly cat face.  I know the little blue flowers are a non-native invasive speedwell, but they still form pretty drifts all over the lawn.

Today I started stratifying five kinds of native tree and shrub seeds in the fridge: pawpaw, persimmon, witch hazel, serviceberry, and elderberry.  Now I just wait months until they’re ready to germinate, sprout, and get transplanted to pots.  Eventually they will vastly improve the quality of life of native critters, plus us.

L42’s Almanac: First Direct Sow, and Other News

The other day I sowed my first veg seeds of the year outdoors: snow peas, sugar snap peas, spinach, and radishes.  Daffodils are really starting to bloom en masse.

Also, my son and I got to catch up by phone, always a welcome, reassuring occasion.  Except for the sad (for me, not him) fact that he probably found a buyer for his house “as is”, and a rental house in St. Louis, and it’s all coming to a finale some time next month.  So that’s that.  I’ll have to put my pandemic practice to good use and continue to miss him after it’s behind us.  I wish him all the best.  We’ll still be here, holding down the TN fort for whenever it’s safe to come out again.

IF the pandemic is ever behind us.  At the rate these stupid repub governors are going, lifting all COVID mandates (if they ever had them to begin with), we’ll be right back where we started, with hundreds of thousands more deaths, just as things were starting to improve.  It’s like they live in some alternate world where somehow magically everything goes back to normal, while the rest of us are up against even greater risk of infection and death.  Insanity.

But life goes on, as it must.  I’ll continue restoring a more natural habitat, even as surrounding properties tear down trees and plant ugly houses.  All the more incentive to keep trying.  Soon we’ll be this wildlife refuge island in the middle of a nature desert.  At least that’s the plan.  I do what I can.

I’m having some (server?) tech difficulties uploading photos to my site, so you’ll have to just imagine flowers for now, until I can correct it.

 

 

Earning My Keep, Sort Of

Yesterday was unseasonably warm (70s), so I got busy.  I wasn’t the only one; the first chorus of peepers and tree frogs were out in force nearby, always my favorite time.  Hoping to attract frogs and others to a water feature some day, I started to dig out a hole (not pictured) for the larger pond liner, out in the “prairie”.  Simultaneously, I used the soil to reconstruct the boardwalk, redirecting it between trees.  It was hard work, in my winter flab condition, so after a few hours I left some for another day.  No sense having a heart attack in the middle of my project.

Another exciting sign of spring was the first blooming of daffodils and hyacinth.  I brought the first cut flowers inside.  It’s just the beginning of the flower extravaganza to follow.  I have no idea how so many hundreds of bulbs mysteriously migrate to all over the property.  I spotted a fat young groundhog checking out the garden, making plans!  I suspect it’s the little one that visited our front porch last year, only bigger.  I wasn’t able to get a photo, unfortunately.  Overhead, a couple of hawks were soaring and screaming, while down below, herds of squirrels were getting manically frisky.  Not me, though; I collapsed in a heap of exhaustion, being not as “springy” as I used to be!

 

 

L42’s Almaniacal Almanac

No sooner did I rototill the veg beds than it started raining…and raining…about an inch in just the last day or two!  I planned it!  It’s headed for the 60s, but tomorrow is supposed to be in the 70s!?!  This is that false alarm time of year when you have to resist the temptation to plant stuff outside.  Patience…

Still, I don’t need to go outdoors to find exotic botanical surprises.  Another hibiscus bloomed, and these adorable mushrooms keep popping up in pots, in this case among ginger root.  Yay, all my tomatoes are germinating!  If you squint, you can make some out.

Nosh Some Hamantaschen

Tonight the historical holiday of Purim begins.  To review: In ancient Persia, the evil trump Haman was plotting to kill all the Jews (a recurring theme, go figure), but Esther and Mordecai cleverly exposed his plot and he was hanged (long story short).  Yay, we lived to see another day of persecution.  A good excuse to get drunk!   And eat these nice hamantaschen baked by E.

Well, today I finally felt well enough to go outside and till both veg gardens.  Here they are:

This tropical hibiscus bloomed indoors today!

Never Too Many Flowers

What a day to be under the weather (different version, still not amused).  It’s almost 70º out, sunny and breezy, a perfect day for what I’d hoped would be tilling the veg beds day.  Oh well, it will get done eventually.  In lieu of gardening, here are some more flowers from yesterday.

I just have to say, I don’t care what petty complaints people have about politicians, whether it’s Gov. Cuomo, or Pres. Biden. They’re still a million times better than the alternative predator we had for four horrible years.

And insulting a presidential rescue dog, for [email protected]# sake?!  Don’t people have anything better to do?

With all the other catastrophic traumas going on every day, no thanks to the previous admin., it’s such a relief to wake up to news of competent leaders finally getting stuff done.  Yes, we should have been much farther along by now, but here we are, at least not going backwards.

After four years of bad news, on top of pre-existing anxiety, any progress, however small, is like therapy to my ears.  You won’t hear me complaining.  I lived through trump.

 

Farmer L42’s Almanac 2021

To review: I am L42 and this is my sporadic Almanac for the year 2021.

I just planted my tomato seeds indoors (plus more basil and cilantro).  Meanwhile, my eggplants and now peppers are germinating.  It’s a miracle.

Next up:  the next warm day I will rototill the veg beds again.  Then the first week of March or so, I’ll start outdoor direct sowing of the earliest cool-weather crops (covering them as necessary).  It’s still a bit cold, but resistance is futile.

Outside, the ground is covered with crocuses, and thousands of other spring flower shoots have spread everywhere.  Soon it will be a veritable flower lawn.  So much nicer than turf.

I’m excited about some native (to North America) tree and shrub seeds I just ordered from a reliable grower/seed saver in Canada. Finally I’ll get to try growing paw paw, persimmon, black elderberry, serviceberry, and witch hazel, all excellent natives for wildlife habitat restoration, and food/fragrance for all of us.  It’s a good start.

Here are some breads E made the other day, y’know, to help keep the house warm.  I’ll have a lot of working off to do.

Frozen But Not Defeated

Another plan bites the dust.  I was going to try ordering native tree and shrub bare roots and plugs from reputable native growers to be shipped here.  But it seems FedEx, their main shipping service, has been careless and unreliable with handling plant shipments, especially during the pandemic.  So I’d risk losing an expensive minimum order, either before or after delivery.  I still don’t feel safe personally picking up nonessential orders anywhere local, even with supposed COVID compliance.  So much for that idea.  Back to being doggedly patient/resigned.

That’s nothing of course compared to what Texas and much of the country are suffering in these monster arctic storms, power outages, water shortages, and related hardships and deaths.  As usual, Republican politics and negligence were involved.  They’d rather people be endangered and die, than allow the government to address inadequate infrastructure and climate change or provide relief.  These record wintry disasters are also delaying the vaccine rollouts and impacting hospitals.  So much misery persists, especially after four years of deliberate dereliction and ineptitude.  I’m just relieved that saner minds are now on the job.

But all is not lost!  E. TN has (so far) avoided the worst of the icy blasts.  Seedlings are coming up indoors and out.  Here are artichoke seedlings in my “nursery”, and daffodil shoots (and red mustard) defying the cold.  Some good changes can’t be inhibited.

 

Setting New Records

It’s so weird having temps around 50º with some rain, while most of the country is setting major historical records for below freezing temps, blizzards, dangerous ice, and encores of same.  Still, my brother and bro-in-law in CA easily upstaged us, as they’re relaxing at the beach!  Hard to believe we all live in the same country sometimes.

It’s weirder to be age 69, but enough about that.  Funny how the older you get, the fewer candles there tend to be!  Here are some scenes from my birthday.  (I’m a cheese freak.)  Not bad for being isolated in a pandemic, all things considered.  I do miss people, but I can wait.