Thursday, March 21, 2019

Springing Spring

We were in the spirit of the new season yesterday, planting and working outside all day.

We planted the first sections of the garden: in the lower part of the photo we planted onions, beets, carrots and a few potatoes. The small mulched section where Larry is watering has a few cabbage and kale plants. There is cardboard under the mulch to block weeds and retain moisture. We'll go out this morning and cover this area with plastic as it is supposed to get right cold for the next two nights. These plants can handle cold but just to be safe we'll cover them.

Larry already had the electric fence working, but yesterday he also ran fishing line around the top and between the electric strands to further deter deer. We did that before and it worked well. Last year he just never got around to it and our late garden turned into deer food.

While he worked on fence, I spread mulch. I had 10 bags to spread but after 6 I was worn out. I have to lay my little garden fence on top of it for a while, to remind the dogs this isn't bedding for them!

More mulch--today's work.

This is the lettuce bed, under glass. It has come up very well!

Oddly, the radishes on the other end have not sprouted well at all. Still, there will be enough. White onions in the middle are showing the beginnings of tops now. The window will come off in a couple weeks, and we'll cover with chicken wire to keep the critters out. An ongoing challenge to raise food and get to eat what we grow.

Early daffodils are in bloom all over the place. I think these are my favorite flowers.

We ended the day at 5:45pm and lit the firepit (Larry had piled grapevine clippings on it, what a mess!) to welcome Spring at 5:58pm with a glass of wine.

I was more than ready for a good hot shower, I can tell you! Then we came inside for a small fire in the fireplace and the last of the Poldark series we've been watching. I think I'm well up on the story now in preparation for my trip to Cornwall this summer with my sisters.

Copyright Susanna Holstein. All rights reserved. No Republication or Redistribution Allowed without attribution to Susanna Holstein.

Wednesday, March 20, 2019

Leeks and Scones, Planting and Spring

I suppose I will always be a food-putter-upper. I wondered if the urge would ever leave me or at least die down but so far it seems to be going strong.

Larry did the shopping this week, and brought home a bag of the biggest navel oranges. I've written about drying orange peel before, and I have to admit that every time I peel an orange and don't use the peel for something I feel guilty. So yesterday, I thought I'd grate and dry the skin of the orange I ate, and save it for future use. But as it turned out, the future came really fast because I have been craving scones, so why not make orange-cranberry ones?

When I posted on Facebook about feeling guilty about throwing away orange rinds many friends offered their own uses for orange peel: in a potpourri mix with anise stars and cinnamon sticks, to deodorize garbage disposals, candied orange peel, put into a jar with vinegar for use on salads. I went looking and found a website with all kinds of great ideas for using orange peels so now I cantry out some new uses. Although I must say, the scones tasted wonderful. You can find my basic scones recipe here.
Leeks are another example of my food-hoarding habits. I love leeks--potato-leek soup, cock-a-leekie, leeks mixed into all kinds of recipes. Around here, leeks can only be found at certain times of year, which is so irritating. So when they came available right before St. Patrick's Day, I bought a bunch of them and dried them.

They dried beautifully in the dehydrator. I packed them into a jar and put them in a dark corner of a cabinet where the light will not bleach out their pretty colors.  You can find lots of recipes for leeks on this website.

Today won't be a cooking day, I'm thinking. After finally doing my taxes after a month of procrastination, I want to get outside today. A good neighbor came over the other day while we were off storytelling and tilled up our gardens so I am ready to get some seeds in gthe ground. Since it's the waning moon right now, we'll probably put in beets, carrots and onions.

Speaking of planting, the lettuce and radishes I sowed in the hotbed are now up and doing well under glass. Nothing says first day of Spring to me like little seedlings emerging from the soil.

Happy Spring, my friends! (A little early since it does not actually arrive here until 5:58pm.)

Copyright Susanna Holstein. All rights reserved. No Republication or Redistribution Allowed without attribution to Susanna Holstein.

Tuesday, March 19, 2019

Bye Bye Old Tractor

He was with me for 40 years or so, and today it was time to say goodbye.

He's been on vacation--or maybe he retired and forgot to tell us--for a year. We tried all kinds of methods to resuscitate him to no avail. New spark plugs, new coil, new points, new battery, on and on. But the spark was--literally--gone.

He was pretty much on last legs anyway. The ring in the #3 piston was broken so he sounded like one of those old hit-and-miss engines, but he ran like that for a long time. Brush-hogging, plowing and cultivating gardens, grading the driveway, pulling logs, old Massey did it all.

So today he rode away on someone else's horsepower. And in his place, we said hello to the NEW old tractor: another Massey Ferguson, but this one is a 245 and it's diesel which thrills Larry but leaves me underwhelmed.

Maybe I should wait to pass judgment? But I was beyond ready to trade one set of problems for another--at least these will be new problems.

Larry is as happy as a man can be with his brand new Husqvarna mower (bought with ebay and booth money, yay!). He's got a very real appreciation, finally, of what this buying and selling is doing for us. It's paid for trips and tires and car repairs and house repairs and all kinds of other things, but until that shiny orange mower showed up I don't think he really understood that all this work is paying off.

Now we have a new mower, a new-to-us tractor, and I have a happy hubby who is a lot more willing to do the lugging and hauling and repairs to all this stuff I drag in. Win-win, I call it.

Copyright Susanna Holstein. All rights reserved. No Republication or Redistribution Allowed without attribution to Susanna Holstein.
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