Monday, January 10, 2011

A New Low

This morning has dawned a breezy and bitterly cold 17 degrees out. I knew it was going to be frigid when our heater kicked on last night right as we went to bed and ran alllllllll night long. It was set at 58 degrees. Normally, I build a fire in the (new) living room woodstove, and that keeps the house roasty toasty all night. However, yesterday, Ryan and I were both so exhausted that I didn't have enough energy to chop firewood (and start a fire) in both stoves. So I opted to just use the basement wood stove in our bedroom. A choice I now regret a bit...ah well. I feel so sorry for the donkey-sicles outside! I know that they are fat and fuzzy and have shelters they can go into at night and snuggle with one another to keep warm, but still! In 17 degrees that only gets you so far...I made sure to tell Ryan to give all of the outdoor animals extra hay rations last night though, so at least they would have some additional food to make up for it. I don't worry about the llamas - their coats are absolutely amazing feats of engineering, and keep them warm and dry even in the worst weather! But the poor donkeys...

Yesterday, Ryan and Gramps (in one of his more lucid days) used the tractor to get a large portion of Marci & Dixie's pasture scraped out and deposited on the compost pile (which has been steaming beautifully now that we are able to regularly turn it). Then they headed over to the 2nd Garden pasture and did some rearranging of poo over my prime spring planting sections. They didn't get around to rototilling it into the soil, but still, that was quite a bit accomplished! Ryan estimated that, even after cleaning out the entire donkey pasture TWICE, we still don't have enough manure to cover more than a 1/3 of the 2nd Garden. So, we are going to have to use a large part of the compost pile (which unfortunately means less compost for the Pasture Garden). However, we have been amending the Pasture Garden soil for 3 years now, and (while it's still a long way from not needing any additional nutrients) it's in better shape than the 2nd Garden (whose soil has NEVER been amended). Plus, I planted an large amount of beans amongst my flour corn last year, so that nitrogen will help with this year's crop in the Pasture Garden.

It's amazing to me how much LARGER the 2nd Garden pasture seems now that that horrid old shelter (shack?) has been removed! Granted, we still need to rent a dumpster and dispose of all of the pieces currently stacked along the fence line, but it's amazing how much more spacious it feels in there! I can't wait to get started with the spring planting in there!! Only two more weeks, and then I can get my purple heirloom fava beans, pole peas, and bush peas in the ground!

I noticed yesterday that one of my Violet de Provence artichoke seeds had sprouted in Tray #1. It seems awfully early for one of them (normally artichoke seeds take something like 14 days to germinate), but I'm not complaining! The Early Snowball Cauliflower seeds have also begun germinating, as have the Goldenrod seeds (collected from my own plants in the new formal herb garden last year).

Yesterday, I began work on the strawberry patch - clearing out dead leaves, and thinning the plants. Last year, they were so happy and prolific that they shaded each other out, and we didn't get very many strawberries out of the denser section of the patch. So my job this winter is to thin the patch out, and I am going to replant the runners and extras into a section in the 2nd Garden. I don't think Ryan agrees with me, but I think it's terribly wasteful to just throw the extra plants in the garbage when we can utilize them elsewhere. If there is one thing gardening has taught me, it's Do Not Waste! EVERYTHING gets used.

No comments: