A Place For The Future Past

The Return of the Robins
February 18, 2007, 4:32 pm
Filed under: Community On The Earth

It started before dawn — with the sky lightening, I stood in the kitchen drinking coffee and looked outside and I heard it — the pure throated song of a single robin, staking his claim. In an hour were two more — each choosing the very tallest trees and calling out at the top of their tiny lungs.

By the time I left for work (mid-morning) there were dozens — quarrelling, swooping, singing — mobs of robins everywhere. Spring can come now, the robins are back!

Inside, more seeds planted — pepper (three kinds) sweet onions, tomato (two more kinds) lemon basil, sunflower, sweet peas.

Outside, the floorplan for the greenhouse is being sorted out. Remaining soil will be lifted from the walkways and chips laid, and wood framing for the beds assembled. In the center bed will be limed for beets, with side beds amended for lettuce and spinach. Soon, soon….


February Progress
February 17, 2007, 2:14 pm
Filed under: Community On The Earth

We are halfway through February — and though the groundhog had predicted an early spring, it is still too soon to set seed outdoors, and I have no cold frame set up yet, but seeds have been started indoors — my old favorite method, using eggcartons (the paper ones of course). Leek, tomato (three varieties), basil, spinach, lavender (two varieties), hollyhock, larkspur, cosmos, euchinecea, black-eyed susans and sweet peas, for now. The delphinium seeds are in the refrigerator — they germinate better if chilled for two weeksfirst). The trays are lined up along the livingroom window (southern exposure) — except the larskpur seeds, which must germinate in the dark.Outside, the greenhouse sod has been lifted and some topsoil there is being lifted and sent to various plantings. The order from Raintree arrived and is getting planted — blueberries, peaches, currants and pomegranite. One of the smaller bulb beds was cleared of bulbs and is ready to receive garlic (though we will need room for more!). The side front yard has been de-grassed and is now an attractive garden, complete with a path and a small bridge — the garden a combination of herbs and flowers. Along the orchard fence are planted the thornless blackberries.

Buds are building on the trees and vines — and the first daffodils will be blooming soon.

In the barn, the table dragged out of the corner pen and set up with a ramp and ties — and immediately we proclaimed it a hoof trimming day. Five hours and thirty six feet later, we were done! Even Penny got her feet trimmed. Surprisingly, the bigger girls were the easier ones — once they were well restrained, they ceased struggling and were resigned to the process.

In the woods, the yurt area is cleared — many beautiful ash and alder poles for building — and more trail cut. The race is on to get the wild blackberry canes (the ones with the wicked thorns galore) cut and burned before they start spouting…..

The big thaw
February 6, 2007, 1:22 pm
Filed under: Community On The Earth

The weather gods smiled briefly, and days have warmed. The first two days off with sun and no ice called for shovels and trowels and loppers! Much pruning has been done on neglected fruit trees, refuse burned, bulbs and starts planted. And sod lifted, yards of it. The vast expanse of backyard will eventually be grass-free — only gardens. But first a section at a time must be dug out and amended (FAR too early to plant directly) and most important — the area for the future greenhouse (one of many I hope) plotted and sod lifted. An amazing array of soil types have been discovered, from heavy clay — thick and pure enough to throw pottery — to pure sand. But with loads of lovely loamy rich soil, just begging to be freed of the choking grass.

Indoors a stack of seed packages have been arranged and examined. Indoor seed starting will begin soon, of herbs and perennials and vegetables. Four days ago the groundhog predicted an early spring — if the weather continues it will happen here, too.

Our first winter here seems forever. I am reminded of the first spring after my husband died, it seemed it would never come. I remember being surprised when the trees and flowers began to bloom again.

The horses and goats have been doing their job of clearing and munching. Unfortunately as the winter advances, many goat does have come back into season. Does this mean our new little billy has been shooting blanks? Hopefully not — it would be disastrous if NONE of our seven does freshened — the only one still being being milked is Lady, the herd matriarch — and her supply is dwindling. Soon she will need to be dried up and prepared for her next kids. Unfortunately day before yesterday she showed clear sign of returning into season, our first real indication we may have a breeding disaster on our hands. We set Walnut with her again — moving her proposed due date back to late June. If Lana (lady’s youngest daughter) took her first time she will¬†freshen in April.¬† So far she is growing bigger in general, but shows no sign of pregnancy (too soon to tell without ultrasound) — too bad pregnancy tests for humans don’t work for goats!