Thursday, July 22, 2010

The Chicks

A little time has passed since I wrote. In May I had my left shoulder surgery. With weeks of recovery and all the drama that goes with that. I have had a lot of help and am pretty good now. An hour of exercise in the morning, [when it doesn't hurt too much] and bit by bit I am seeing more movement and strength. Soon it will be August, the month when I should be strong enough to do things here again. Did you notice I didn't mention the garden.... Perhaps some salad and a few beans and beets. Handling the tools and pulling weeds was just too much. This month it has been raining ever week and it is wonderful for the ground. It is too much for me. I think I'll get my vegetables from the Farmer's Markets. That is good too. I'd like to meet some of the other farmers.

I wanted to write because my 2 week old chicks are comedians. They are starting to get serious about eating and being 'characters.' They were in a little protected well heated area for a week. Now they are in a partly heated 6x12 area. They run and climb and travel in packs. They love to get on the top of anything. This noon I put in a three foot 'big girl' feeder tray. It has a rod on the top that can spin, to keep girls from walking in the food. It is a good thing, about 30 can eat at a time. About a dozen little birds walk up to the tray and start to eat. Good new! One bird jumps up on the rod, The rod starts spinning, the bird is flipped off. Another bird jumps on, the spinning rod flips her off too. And I start to laugh. And laugh. It isn't a feeder--- It's playground equipment. They try and try and get spun off. I laugh and laugh. I have been so serious so long. Tonight I came back to check them. They were all sleeping, most flat on the chips, with wings and feet spread out. And there was one bird at the feeder having a good night snack.
I stepped outside, clipped the coop door and heard the coyotes on the hill. Just talking and yipping. I got the shivers in my back.

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

May Garden Walk

Today is warm-70s, sunny, and the wind is calm. So this morning was a good time for a walk-around. The lower East garden is mostly tilled bare ground. The bare ground is 3 gardens that rotate companion-ized vegetables. Our last frost date is June 10. So this year,with the weeks of cold weather and arm surgery, I am a lot slower with my planting. The LE garden has a long [50'?] asparagus bed. So guess how much weeding there is? About 2 hours
and it will be fine since the birds are so busy in the early morning. In a week I will know how my arm is healing and start with onion sets.
The other gardens are waiting and warming too. I guess my goal is to keep up with weeds in the herb garden and build up my strength again. A good deal all around.

Thursday, April 29, 2010

An Amazing Sunrise

I seem to be writing in the morning before life gets going and I get into activity. The sunrise today is oranges, into purples, with bands of intense yellow near the Sun emerging spot. I can't believe how far north the Sun migrates in the year. Living in the city or in the world of trees, I missed that connection with the seasons. Now living in a 'Sun centered' house, we see the stunning sunrises as we start the day. Then we feel the light and heat as the sunlight comes through the big windows all day. Up in the High Field we can see the sunsets all the way to the horizon. We see above the roads, powerlines and farm poleshedseds. A full horizon sunset is incredible. Dress warm and pull up a chair. There are so many cycles, connections, and seasonal changes out here. This is a Science Teachers Dream. I never thought that when I moved out here that I would be so affected by the sky. I was thinking of the 'effects' of the Sun not the 'Affects.'

I wrote before about 'freezing nights' and the poor tulips. Well in the morning the flowers were on the ground, but as it warmed up they popped back up again, by afternoon the tulip flowers were open and basking in the sunlight. It must have just sent its water into the root so it wouldn't freeze. Then as the day warmed the water came back up the stem and the flower recovered.
Up in the woods, the early May flowers are out. One called the Bloodroot, has a single leaf with white daisy-like petals. On the cold mornings the flower is closed and the leaf is wrapped around the stem and the flower. It closes itself up like a clamshell with the cold and then opens up in the warmth. There is a lesson here.

The garden is empty--- Just bare dirt. I don't have the strength to do the work. I have tried starting things but don't get far before the arms hurt. The surgery on my right arm is healing very well and it is so much stronger and with much less pain. The left arm hurts, I find out about a surgery date today. I have started a salad patch in the greenhouse. The little plants are an inch high and doing well. I just have to fit my mind into the cycles I see around me. So life is good.

Sunday, April 18, 2010

Cold Nights

It is 4:30 in the morning. The temperature has gone down to 26F. and will probably keep dropping until after dawn. We have had a string of warmish days and even a shower in the last few weeks. The asparagus is under a deep hay covering and insulated. The bulb flowers like the tulips and irises, the rhubarb, and overwintered onions are all pushing out of the ground and through the hay ground cover--growing and blooming. The flowers of the tulips were beautiful.
So I sit in the dark and I wonder, could I have done more? The weather this season has lulled me into thinking it was May and we should be planting. But the ground is still cold and the maples and oaks aren't budding leaves yet. Dad would say, 'Plant corn and beans when the new oak leaves were like a squirrel's ear'.
This week the weather switched back on us and we started getting North winds from Canada. They just pulled the warmth out of me. Back to layers again. My arms still hurt. I tried to shovel up a wash-out in the slough. I didn't do much but I had to quit and icepack again. I hurt when I have to extend my arms. I am a lot stronger when I can keep my hands by my chest. My right shoulder is getting better all the time. I think I am lucky to be healing so well.
Yesterday I sat with the radio in the greenhouse. I cleaned out the winter stuff that was piled all over. I got the weeds out of the bed and raked it a little, Slowly.... with my arms in. I planted it with hardy salad seeds and covered them with composed dirt. I added a lot of water, and now it feels like Spring. If I take care of them we can have fresh salads in three weeks. I know I can't do much, but I will try to do somethings. AND if/when I ask my neighbor and family are helping me with jobs I can't do. That feels good.
It is getting to be morning. 30 degrees now, there is light in the East, a bird is really fussing and I saw the lights from the car that delivers newspapers. The wind is down, the sky looks clear, another day is starting. It is time for a 'walk-around.'

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

November Carrots/ Jewels in the Dirt

The last rows of carrots got left over the winter. I tried to give them a break by putting bags of leaves over them. The Frost is out of the ground now and my daughter brought me a handful of carrots. The tops were soft but the rest of each carrot was crisp and sweet. What a moment! I'll dig a bunch up later this week.
It is raining now, a break in the drought we have been having for the last 3 years. All the time I have been out here there has been a drought. There are acres of wild raspberries up on the hill and I haven't taken a bucket up yet. It is nice to listen and hear rain all afternoon.
This morning I covered the asparagus bed and walking path with loose hay. If someone roto-tills for me, then they know what to miss. So there is a 30' by 5' bed soaking up some water. I was just walking around thinking about what I could do this year. The surgery has left me with upper arms that can't take stress, or twist, or lift. But I can hold things that aren't heavy. Maybe with help I could manage enough to fill the freezer and eat like a vegetarian all summer. Maybe.... Maybe....

Monday, January 25, 2010

2011 Garden ----maybe.

Sometimes it is hard for me to wrap my head around changes. I think I have been struggling for months to figure out what to do. Do I ......? or Do I not...?
Anyway, last summer I did days of too much lifting and heavy work. I hurt my shoulders. I thought I would get over it.... and besides I had too much to do and I couldn't stop. So this winter I have been going to doctors and a physical therapist. I am getting stronger but not healing. Next month I go in for Rotator cuff surgery on my right and in a couple of months, I get my left repaired. As I heal I start a 6 month recovery and I pretty much 'not do anything.' So I have to pass on gardening and raising chickens. The chainsaw gets to sit along side the lawnmower, the tractor and the weed wacker. What a deal. It seems like a black hole in my life.
The gardens? I'll get rhubarb and asparagus for sure! Left handed. I'll have herbs coming up again for cooking and salads, raspberries, apples, and mutant squash from the compost pile. Well thats ok. Maybe by August I could plant some fall crops.
No chickens. No lifting. No driving. But I can walk! I like that as much as anything. So I'll do OK. Maybe now I'll really retire........ Sure.