Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Back to the Garden.

It's time to talk about life. Garden life!  Our garden is going strong, most things have been in the ground for at least two weeks, the seeds were put in several weeks ago. I've also been planting a fair number of flowers. Many of them were ordered in the dead of winter and I'd half forgotten about them. I also ordered some transplants and they arrived several weeks ago. It makes for a pleasant surprise when you get home to a box labeled "live plants - open immediately" hee hee. I've had 5 of those in the last few weeks.

I tested both the native soil and the garden soil we ordered for pH, nitrogen, potassium, and phosphorus. The results were pretty good. Unfortunately I left the final reading on the purchased soil to my husband so that I could get to the barn instead of waiting for the soil to settle out of the water. He accidentally over-wrote the new soil results where I had the native soil results recorded. In any case, I know the new soil has a surplus of potassium and is slightly deficient in nitrogen. One of these days I'll retest.

Now, the list!
I lost track of how many plants of each variety were planted since many of the decisions were made last minute based on plant health. I try to be a good record keeper but don't always succeed!

   - 2 large varieties, one is early maturing
   - Italian plum variety
   - small cherry/grape, red
   - small cherry/grape, golden

    -2 large varieties, one globe, one long type that is early maturing
    - several hot varieties: jalapeno, cherry bomb, and a really neat type called "burning ember". They have purple leaves and the peppers are purple and mature red.

**You click on the pictures for better, larger versions.**

Beets - red and gold



Swiss Chard - kaleidescope (multi-coloured)
Cucumber - small, pickle type
Beans - these were given to me by a neighbour. He is a lovely old Italian gentleman whose English isn't strong and I have a hard time understanding him, so I don't really know what kind of beans they are. Pretty sad since I grew up being close with my Italian grandparents and could understand Italian no problem as a kid. Bah!
Garlic - I planted some last fall and spring garlic recently. I have never grown it so this is an experimental year (ha, what isn't!).
Ground cherries
Currants - red and black
Blueberries - highbush

I also have corn which has not been planted. I don't know if it's too late, if not I might plant it this weekend. Oh, and some strawberries arrived today. No idea where I'm going to put them.

You might have seen the beds when they were empty and serving as jumps for Hazel. After that, my DH ripped up the grass (which we used elsewhere) and loaded the beds with the new garden soil.  We looped a soaker hose through each bed to make watering easy and to eliminate loss to evaporation. That was then topped with garden cloth that is permeable to water.
One bed, marked out for planting.

Then planted & layered with cedar mulch.

The three main beds. Near to far: 
Cucumber, carrots & beets. Large peppers. Large tomatoes.

Some of you might remember that when I moved in last year we had a bit of an earwig problem. Well, I haven't seen a single one this year but we have ants. Make that ANTS!!!!!  Like nothing I've ever seen. And there are a few different types. I joked to friends last year that we killed the earwigs and the ants took over. I thought I was kidding, but it's true. 

We've been trying the boiled water routine with one particularly large nest that isn't near plants. There are still plenty of live ants, only now they are busy removing carcasses from the nest. I did another round of ant drops today (boric acid solution) in several places and it appears to be successful in that the ants are going for it. 
One type of ant eating their last supper (I hope!).

Found this plant almost buried in some false sunflowers 
(which are very tall and pretty late summer). 
It is called 'Mountain bluet' and it is just gorgeous.

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Obsessed with Oil.

I am obsessed with the oil leak in the Gulf. I am also incredibly disappointed with the media coverage. Yes, it's covered, but I don't get the same sense of horrific tragedy that this disaster deserves. I've questioned myself several times about my reaction. Am I over-reacting? I've also asked people a lot more knowledgeable about Earth Sciences than I am. The consensus? No amount of reaction could really be too much. Put simply, this is horrible.

I've collected some photos from around the net. I thought I'd share them in case they are hard to come by where you are, as they tend to be here. Some are from the last week or so and the last two are from today, May 20, 2010. I warn you, they made me cry. I don't care if that sounds weak or sappy. I am devastated. I am showing these because I believe not enough people are seeing them. Maybe I'm wrong, I hope I am. I also believe these aren't the worst of what's out there or what's to come, but they are what I was able to find and store over the last couple weeks.
Booms protecting shorline. In recent 
images, you can see the oil crossing
the booms.

A worker dipped his hands in the "water".
An oil-soaked bird struggles for life against a ship.

Waves of oil

Ships dragging boom make attempts at clean-up.
Like vacuuming your house with tweezers.

Oil mixing with chemical dispersant.

May 20, 2010
Wetlands on Elmer's Island in Grand Isle, La.

Coastline of Southeast Louisiana.

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Dependence of Another Kind.

There was a time when I was sure I would never become dependent on another person. It was just after high school and I had finally, finally, managed to extricate myself from a long-time abusive relationship. After a period of time of sleeping too much and blowing off shifts at my part-time job, while at the same time taking care of my grandmother and going to an adult high school for some courses I didn't need per se, but wanted, I was starting to feel like me. I liked feeling so independent.

Then I met, and ultimately dated, a man where power struggles just didn't exist. There was no jealousy, none of the 'who has the upper hand' BS. I didn't realize that it was possible to have a jealousy-free relationship! From the start, it was clear that this wasn't just any old relationship.

Shortly after we first went on a real date, he left for the summer field season. I wasn't sure how things would work out but I knew it was worth giving a chance. Over the years that followed, I was fortunate enough to go work in his camp for part of the summer. I learned first hand why he loved what he did. I loved it too. Despite getting eaten alive by the bugs! They really should do a "survivor" in Northern Ontario or central Newfoundland. I loved living outside, pushing my body to its physical max, and being mentally challenged at the same time.

Over the last 11 years, our lives have grown and changed. I moved away for two years for grad school. He's been doing field work most summers. We've gone from students to professionals (albeit goofy ones, at times).  He's my right hand man. Could I live without him? Yeah. But life is so much better together. What we don't do together, we divide and conquer.

This summer, I don't just have to say good-bye once, but three times. Due to meetings in another province and a conference overseas, he's come and gone twice in the last 10 days. In 4 weeks, I'll say good-bye until at least mid-August. I'm finding it harder this year. Maybe it's the new house. Maybe it's that I'm leasing a horse now and am sitting in front of the computer instead of being at the barn, where I should be. I was just too tired and had already spent over 2 hours driving today, got home late, and had nothing to eat. I've already used up all the pre-made meals I had stock-piled. I don't feel like cooking. I won't shirk my responsibilities to Hazel, who gets a lot of daily exercise. I'm tired. Exhausted, actually.

All of this has me reflecting on dependence. I have no problem admitting that I am somewhat dependent on my husband. I feel no shame in it whatsoever. It doesn't take away any of my strength or independence. It is just the inevitable way lives become entwined. This is, after all, why we gather in societies, communities, families. It's just easier. Not to mention a whole lot more fun! It takes a village to raise a child, as they say.

I know I will hit my stride and get used to a new routine. Somehow, I'll figure out how to ride my 3 days a week. I'll be fine and enjoy the summer in the house we've worked so hard to make happen. But I will also sometimes be lonely. I will wish my husband was here to see the vegetables grow. I will think of him when I pick the first currants and take the first bite of a sun-warmed tomato. I will also wish he was here to do some of the lawn-mowing and dog walking. I will long for someone to cook for. I will stretch out luxuriously and take up the whole bed while at the same time wishing his body was next to mine. I will laugh and I will cry, often at the same time.

I am dependent on you, my love. Dependence of another kind.