Wednesday, April 02, 2008

4/2/08 Wednesday
Looking back I see the last entry was Friday. Nuts. I’ll look at the pictures I took to see if they help me remember what I did. This morning was a pain pill morning because of how hard I worked yesterday. It’s not really how hard I work but what part of my body I’m straining that aggravates the pain. I know I spent three or four days planting the first thirty of the Afghan pines we got for windbreaks. Yesterday I dug thirty more holes for the next batch. With those planted there will only be thirty left to go. They desperately need to get in the ground now as they are still in the box we got them in from the forestry service.

The way I’ve been planting them is I first use the post hole digger to make a little three of four inch hole, which I then fill with water. This softens the rock hard dirt and makes it much easier to dig farther. After it soaks in I use the shovel to make a basin that is about two foot across and dig a hole with the post hole digger a foot or more deep. After that I mix up a batch of dirt in the wheelbarrow. The wheel barrow is really suffering from all the work it’s done over the last year and a half. Cracks are showing up in the metal at stress points.

The dirt consists of compost I made last year (didn’t do it right but it’s better than sand) mixed with peat moss and some stuff called “landscaper’s mix” I picked up with the broke bag haul from Lowe’s. What a shame that is no longer is available. Not sure what it’s for but it contains lots of organic material and some perlite. That’s all gone now, used it up on the first thirty trees. I did get a good deal on sphagnum peat moss but I can’t tell you where. So I bought eleven bags of it. It won’t last long. Walmart has some on clearance for three bucks a bag which is great compared to the eight bucks I’ve seen elsewhere. Money is going to be real tight this month so I’ll have to be careful about what I spend. Maybe we’ll make enough from this garden to help us do things right next year. Anyway, I mix all that up and throw in some bone meal (Phosphorus that helps in root development) and some sulfur. The sulfur helps acidify the ph because afghan pines prefer an acid soil. I stir this mix in with the dirt I dug out for the trees and plant them.

I had planned on making a protective cage for them with fence slates but that won’t work out right now. Mostly that’s because of the time it will take me versus the need to get the trees in the ground. Perhaps I’ll find time to make them later. In the meantime I am staking the trees up to keep the wind from destroying them. I had purchased some of that plastic orange fencing you see at construction sites last week because it’s as cheap as I can find except in mail order catalogs. Along with it I got ten plastic stakes to hold it up at a dollar nine cents each. They were four foot tall. Needing stakes for the trees I decided to use them. You know, I use whatever I can find. I cut them in two because two feet was just high enough for the Afghans. But fifty cents times ninety trees is forty five bucks or so. That’s a lot of change to come out of our meager resources. Looking around I saw the stakes I had found at the landfill. I plan on using them in this garden for trellises and such but…there’s another need. By cutting them in half and then splitting each half I have good two foot stakes to use on the trees. Every penny saved can be a dollar earned you know.

I got a call yesterday from Steve. He’s the vice president for the Food for Everyone (or something like that) foundation. It’s connected to a yahoo group I joined that promotes the Metlieder growing system. He heard about me when I asked a question in the group. The foundation is starting something to help veterans so he wanted to see what he can do for me. Steve is going to email me some information on it today. I didn’t make it to Midland yesterday so consequently wasn’t able to go online. The PC card was able to connect to my surprise but it was the same old story. The signal strength was bouncing from good to not there at all. We discovered that there is a Wi-Fi hookup accessible where we get our water jugs filled in Stanton so I’ll go there to get online. Sorry I didn’t make it in Don. I really wanted to get you out and about yesterday, know it would be a blessing.

So what else? Let me look at the pictures to see if it brings anything to mind.

Ok, there are two things. While dumping dirt out of the old Styrofoam planter Janie didn’t want anymore I found some worms. Now I’ve been wanting to start up a vermiculture thing for a while to create the worm castings that are so good for gardens and what I needed was the worms. Now I am motivated. I took an plastic drum recovered from the landfill and cut it in half. After drilling holes for drainage and ventilation I scavenged some hinges off an old cabinet to attach one half as a lid. A little dirt and a little compost should do it. I’ll need to keep it moist, growing worms is like growing plants, water and food. Hopefully I’ll have tons of worms when all’s said and done.

The other picture shows how the rye is making grain already. After that one little rain we had it all sprang up quickly. All the watering I did with the sprinklers didn’t compare. It’s wonderful for me to see the sea of green waving in the wind. So my question is, how do I harvest the grain? If I had a scythe I could mow it down like in the old days, gather it up, and when it dries thresh it. I don’t have a scythe and they aren’t cheap. Up north you can find them in antique shops but not down here. They can be ordered new from Lehman’s but again aren’t cheap. I wonder if I can use the mower. It has a bag to catch the clippings and the force of the blades could well thresh the grain off the heads. Then I’d just have to let the wind separate the chaff from the grain by throwing it up like was done before machines. Last year I set up a vacuum to blow the chaff away from the winter wheat we grew. I’ll plant those seeds this year.

I know there’s lots more stuff that’s happened in the last few days but it’s not there, can’t remember. I haven’t been keeping up with this journal mostly because I’m working so hard and get tired so easily. That plus the pain level increases with the activity. But there is lots to do and no one but me to do it. Having multiple slowdowns (seizures) doesn’t help. Cherie helps some. That reminds me of something. Cherie looked up seed starting on line yesterday and figured out we’ve been doing it all wrong. She’s going to get moving on planting seeds again. The last few flats were miserable failures. Nothing survived out of over a hundred seeds planted. Hell most of it never came up. I really need to get the seed shack put together but that’s just another thing I haven’t been able to finish. It’s not that I am unable to, I just don’t seem to get to it. It is frustrating and depressing for me to not achieve these basic goals. I still haven’t mailed out the “Year in pictures” I struggled to finish since last November. They sit there forgotten. I remember but as soon as I get busy forget. It’s the biggest problem I have from the brain injury, the one that holds me back the most.

1 comment:

Amy # said...

Looks good Bob! Take care of yourself. Farming is hard work.

We will be busy this weekend too, planting an acre in corn. Not a lot compared to most folks, but this will be for us to eat, can and sell at the farmer's market. Planting pumpkins too this weekend for sale in the fall.

I'll be as tired as you this weened! LOL!