Tag Archives: gardening

On Top of Everything Else

In the real world, writers don’t write when they should.

The real world overwhelmed my writer’s world on 10/10/2012. The quotation I posted that day became my mantra.


Here’s the text of an e-mail sent to a friend about my day. Read it and you’ll understand. All this on top of getting ready for husband’s surgery. Yikes.

Exhausted tonight. Trying to keep too many balls in the air.  So much to do before hubby’s surgery and to finish harvest and get ready for winter.
Cut hay today. Cut part of main yard and push mowed back yard. Planted fig tree and mulched it. Picked Swiss chard. For dinner used chard, tomatoes, pickled peppers and eggs from our own homestead. Made salmon patties with 2 veggies above as sides. The chard was amazing. Lightly steamed with balsamic vinegar-honey-butter dressing. Killer good.
Garden remnants:
I have ancho peppers to pick, de-seed, slice and dry. Banana peppers will get pickled. Green beans are plentiful and will get canned. Beets will be cooked for dinner. Remaining chard will be frozen. Potatoes have to be dug and stored. Sweet peppers and egg surplus will be frozen.
Got the haybine cleaned up after cutting tonight. It’s tarped and put away for winter. The cut hay looks good. I hope it dries nicely. Dew was still on grass in my yard in shady areas at 3 pm! It’s hard to get hay to dry in those conditions. Warm up will help.
Got the gate back on the hay wagon. It’s ready to go. Called the repair guy for the tractor.  Need it to get winter wood out of the woodlot.  I have to take my car for warranty oil change in next day or two.

Building Friable Soil in Your Garden

Okay. So I am lazy today. I am going to cheat and use something I wrote elsewhere here.

I visited one of my reader’s blogs (he has several) about his raised bed garden. He described how he built it up and what is growing there. He is enjoying eating fresh produce.

As a gardener, I have opinions about creating good garden soil. I decided to express mine to him via a comment on his post. Then I thought I would share it here, in case another gardener out there is like me and looking for new ways to improve the garden dirt. So here goes:

Thanks for visiting my blog and introducing me to yours. Not sure how long you will be gardening where you are, but if you do the following through the winter, you’ll be amazed at the tilth improvement by spring — that is if you have the organisms (like worms) in your clay soil to break garbage into compost.

Anyway, here goes. Take all your PLANT matter kitchen scraps, egg shells, and coffee grounds and dump it into 6-8″ deep holes in your raised beds. Cover the garbage back up with dirt. Mother nature turns it into a rich compost. If you do it for multiple years, your soil turns black and needs no tilling because the soil is friable. I have red clay. You’d never know it to look at the soil in my raised beds.

I also compost horse manure, used chicken coop bedding and spoiled hay in a pile for a couple of years. Once well broken down, I use that to start new raised beds, followed by the winter in-the-ground composting. I grow luscious vegetables with no added fertilizer.

As I re-read what I wrote above, I realize that my writing improves through a similar technique. I keep adding tidbits here and there, letting the matter percolate in my being. Over time, each bit of advice or new skill learned builds my skill set.

How about you? How do you improve either your garden or your writing?

My Summer Job

Not too long ago I told you about my summer job. It’s the work I do that let’s me keep writing. I’m farming on a very small scale.

I sold memberships in my vegetable garden. This week I make my first client deliveries. My customers will receive asparagus, Bibb lettuce, radishes, Swiss Chard, rhubarb and two dozen brown eggs from my darling henny penny girls. Next week is  unclear, though I think it will be mixed salad greens, spinach, radishes, peppermint, oregano, Swiss Chard and more eggs. My customers get whatever is ripe in the garden.

Over the past couple of weeks, I have planted 10 varieties of heirloom tomatoes — 40 plants in all! Somebody, besides me, is going to be preserving lots of red, yellow and purple fruits — tomato sauce, ketchup, jam, pickles and any other concoction one can dream up for tomatoes.

And don’t get me started on the varieties of peppers (capsicums for my Aussie friends) . . . .

Furthermore, I make hay on small fields — two to seven acres. Today I stacked 70 bales of mixed grass horse hay. Since I have three horses, I put up my own hay first. Then I will sell whatever I have left over. I use about 300 bales per year. That’s girly sized square bales about 30 lbs. apiece. Big ol’ burly man bales can weigh 50 pounds. If I pitched those, I’d need should surgery for a torn rotator cuff.

So if I happen to skip a day here or there writing on the blog, you’ll know where I am.

On Being Premature

Copyrighted 2012 by Fay Moore

The temperatures, prematurely warm, dance around the 70 degree mark for weeks. Incredulous, the novice farmer watches weather reports daily, certain that the laws of science will kick in; a reversion to normal is at hand.

Nevertheless, gardens are prepared, last year’s plant corpses tilled in to feed the worms. Manure is spread. Kitchen scraps get buried in holes randomly scattered in the raised beds. Egg shells are crushed. What the chickens don’t eat goes into the ground, a source of calcium for plants and people. Ashes to ashes, dust to dust.

On week five of early spring, leaf buds swell on the grape vines,  archetypal  slow bloomers to avoid the killing frost.  Tree pollen paints flat surfaces chartreuse. Bluebirds claim post holes and sparrows build nests.  All nature pronounces the danger is past.

On week six, still no low temperatures. Tadpoles squiggle in the fish pond. Spring frogs trill at night.  The woods sing. The farmer relents, planting seeds weeks before the instructions on the seed bag say it’s time.

On week seven, the hens seek roosters. The horses drop hunks of winter hair, rolling vigorously to scratch itchy skin. More seeds go into the ground. The farmer sweats.

On week eight, the flier goes out advertising the pre-sale of garden produce through membership shares. In the field, tender sprouts push out the first set of true leaves.

On week nine, normal prevails: frost bites.

Earth Hour

Earth Hour.

My new friend is introvertedblogger.wordpress.com. She’s a mum of three, living in Canberra, Australia. She blogs about living introverted in an extroverted world. As an introvert, I identify.

Anyway, she made me aware of a concept called Earth Hour. My personal twist on the subject is to do something more natural, more earth-friendly as part of my daily living.

For example,  I have become fanatical about turning off lights, television sets and the like when no one is in the room. My husband is hating me as he leaves a wake of electrical consumption ablaze wherever he goes. He may leave the TV on in the bedroom and wander, via the kitchen, to his office. His bedside lamp and the TV will remain on. The kitchen central switch light, as well as the zonal spotlights over both sections of counter space, are blazing. Nine times out of ten, he’ll have turned on the small kitchen TV set while fixing his coffee. The coffee pot is on, in case he decides to swill the dregs — an atypical choice. He likes to return to the bedroom 45 minutes later and find things as he left them.

He is adjusting, unhappily, to the change.

Also, I grow many of my own vegetables using sustainable gardening methods. I pick weeds and pests by hand and use a hoe. I enlist the help of our small flock of hens to rid the raised beds of slugs, beetles and stinkbugs. I use cheesecloth to deflect cabbage moths instead of using toxic sprays. I use raised beds, augmented with our own plant waste garbage, egg shells and the manure from our horses, so there’s no need for a rototiller. The earth has great tilth.

So, I am simpatico to Earth Hour.

I prefer heat from a wood stove to the heat pump. I cut the wood from my own wood lot, culling dead or diseased wood to make the wood lot healthier. I prefer my notebook computer, which can run on batteries for hours, to my laptop, which needs recharging after 60 minutes.

Each act is minute. Cumulatively, each act matters. I halved our electric bill through my new obsession. My husband liked that.