Monday, February 11, 2013

mid-winter shenanigans


My little artichoke seedlings are quickly outgrowing their soil blocks. I've been very pleased with how they've held together, especially considering the disappointing stories I read about them falling apart when the soil mix is not just right.

I ended up with only 10 germinating out of 22, but that might be a plus because I don't think I have enough space under my lights anyway for more than that. I used half-and-half cartons cut in half to transplant them into, which I hope will provide them with enough room until they get transplanted permanently out in the garden once it gets warm enough.

Jay built a plywood surround for 5-Spot so that I can haul some loads of Ultra Soil from The Mulch Company in Kingsport for more garden beds. It will be interesting to see the difference between the different beds I've built: mushroom compost vs. barn dust vs. the Ultra Soil. Hopefully, I won't need to bring in much more after this first year since I should be able to harvest manure from our chickens and piggies that we're planning on, compost it, and add it to the beds each year.

I finally placed our order for the chickens: 10 Speckled Sussex (1 rooster), 5 Black Minorca, and 5 Araucana/Americana. This differs from my original plan because I simply could not find one source for all five breeds I wanted, and I don't want enough of each to warrant orders from multiple sources. I started cleaning out the south side of the corn crib for the future coop while Jay started clearing the multiflora roses in preparation for installation of the pig fencing.

Tally and Moosie are shaping up into what we think will become fine farm dogs. I threatened them with an electric dog fence because they were resisting our heeds of call a lot, but lately, they have been showing good signs of obeying and doing what we want them to do (a little bit of on-leash training probably helped some, too). Namely, cuddling and being sweet and being scared of the cat.

I have no idea if whatever bulbs I threw in this coffee can planter should really be coming up right now, but I welcome the greenery anyway. (I don't know what they are because they were originally planted in my garden beds back in Cali, but I didn't put them in deep enough so they rose to the surface after some torrential rain, and I greedily scooped them up right before we moved since I knew I wouldn't have much of a decorative gardening budget out here.)

Also, I start my orientation/training with the USPS on February 26th, and then I'm off to Texas on March 3rd to visit my parents. I'll be road tripping back with a dear friend of mine in Ruby (pictured below with my beautiful Ma) on a girls' vacation of sorts!

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