Archive for the ‘cleanup’ Tag

04-04-2015 Journal–The Spring Fever Virus!   Leave a comment

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Sixty plus degrees.  That’s all I have to say about yesterday.  I’m just about over this stupid virus that’s been kicking my ass for the last two weeks. Combine that with the warm weather yesterday and guess what you get.  The largest most contagious case of Spring Fever ever experienced.  I guess the longer and more oppressive the winter the more intense is that first burst of Spring Fever. Man I’ve got it bad.

I spent a good part of the day yesterday just wandering around the yard in a T-shirt with no gloves, no hat, and no parka.  As I slowly strolled between the remaining piles of snow I could see that blessed light at the end of the tunnel and no, it isn’t a train coming toward me it’s Summer.

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I couldn’t stop myself from going with the feelings and actually started cleaning up the winter debris strewn about the yard. I picked up tree branches and pine cones of which there were thousands.  I’ve never seen so many freaking pine cones in my life and they will certainly require an major investment of my time to pick them all up. That should tell you just how bad my Spring Fever really is that I’m actually looking forward to doing it.  I find that a little disturbing to say the least.

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I then decided to get my riding mower out of mothballs and ready for use this summer.  I filled it with gas, checked the oil, and reconnected the battery.  I was just standing there enjoying the warm air when I was overcome with love for that stupid tractor.  I hate to admit this but I found some rags, soap, and car wax, and went a little crazy.  That tractor got a hot bath and a good scrubbing, was dried off, and waxed to a high sheen.  How sad is my life?

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I need to pace myself a little better or I’m going to lose my mind.  I actually found myself drawn to the seed packet display at Walmart a few days ago.  They were silently calling to me to buy, buy, buy.  I maintained what little control I had left and just “Said No” and walked away. Unfortunately my better-half is worse that I am when it comes to Spring garden purchasing.  We both need some sort of twelve step program to help us through the next two months and to keep us from overspending like we do every blessed year.

I just received a giant package in the mail today and had to help the mail carrier bring the box into the house.  It’s the new part I ordered a week ago for my sweetheart, the mower.  Now she’ll be even prettier than usual as I cruise around the yard making the neighbors oh so jealous.

Eat your hearts out people, if freaking Spring Time.

09-15-2014 Journal Entry – Fall Has Fallen!   Leave a comment

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I really do like the Fall of the year.  It ends a rather busy season that I also enjoy but at times it’s a relief to see it end.  The better-half and I finally decided to call it a day with the garden.  We began the process of pulling up the plants and removing the fabric from the frames.  Then delivering those plants to the compost pile for use as fertilizer two years from now.

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The last cherry tomatoes were collected, the remaining cucumbers were picked and should keep us in salads for another week or so.  I’ll miss them as I always do once the snow fly’s and because I’m not all that crazy about veggies shipped into the county from south of the border somewhere.  Thanks for nothing Walmart.

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The remaining jalapeño peppers have been left whole, cleaned and canned for use in the future.  They should still retain some crispness since they were only cooked long enough to kill the bacteria on their skins.

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Some of the cayenne peppers made their way to the dehydrator and will be dried and ground into a fine powder.  A number were also strung on thin copper wires for displaying in the kitchen. They make for an attractive curiosity once they start turning into that bright beautiful red color.

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The only things remaining in the garden are the herbs. In a week or so just before the first frost I intend to further harvest a quantity of oregano, sage, parsley, rosemary, basil, and tarragon. Once dried they’ll be used to replace older herbs we have in storage.  I’ve discovered that if they’re stored in air tight containers they remain useable for up to two years.  Once they’ve lost their fragrance and flavor they need to be discarded and replaced.

I feel a little guilty wanting to see the garden end after all of the time and effort we’ve put into it but at the same time I can’t wait for it to be over so I can kick back and relax for a while.  I see Winter as the time I require to rest, recharge my batteries and begin the process of planning an even better garden next year.  I’m already considering building a small greenhouse, a larger cold frame, and even some sort of in-ground irrigation system.  For me half the fun of having a garden is the process of improving it each year and experimenting with new plants we’ve never grown before.

Our Winters here in Maine can seem endless if your not occupying yourself sufficiently.  Snow shoveling and snow blowing will only get you so far.

05-07-2014. Journal Entry – Garden Update!   Leave a comment

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Needless to say the Spring garden work and yard cleanup continues apace. The only part of my body that’s not sore or aching is the tip of my nose. Everything else is shot to hell and letting me know about it every time I move the least little bit. Fortunately all of the hard work is finally paying off which is rather satisfying for so early in the year.  The better-half who is in charge of the flower gardens is already seeing amazing results as you can see by these pictures.

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It occurs to me that the plants in Maine understand what a short growing season we have and make the most out of every minute with whatever rain and warmth they can find.  The grass can look like a field of dirty dead plants one day and within a week it turns into a lush green carpet that very quickly needs to be cut.  I added the first mowing of 2014 this week along with all of the other chores I had on my To-do list.

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The herb garden suffered a little more from the winter weather than I first thought.  The neighborhood cats will be highly upset when they discover the huge catnip plant has passed away. Our garden was a regular stop in their travels where they could roll around in and eat some catnip.  It was like the town’s feline opium den. I suppose I’ll be replanting it once again even though my cat  Stormy is unaffected by it’s influences.  I made enough room in the herb garden so that a larger than normal patch of parsley can be planted.  We use a great deal of parsley through the winter and we ran a little short this Spring.

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“Asparagus”

The asparagus roots have been planted and hopefully within the next two years we’ll have a thriving patch to harvest from.  I love it with my meals but it takes such a long time to establish before we can use it. It’s recommended that we don’t harvest from this planting until early in 2016. Patience for this I just don’t have.

The lettuces were planted yesterday as well.  I’ve put in three varieties this year along with spinach and two varieties of kale.  The kale is freezable and my better-half tells me that kale chips are in my future.  They don’t sound all that appetizing but I’ll withhold final judgment for now.

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“Spinach/Lettuce”

I’ll be waiting at least another week or two before putting in any plants that could be killed by a frost.  I’ve gotten ahead of myself in past years and been burned when a late frost wiped out a large number of my plants.  I guess gardening is a great way to learn patience but it’s not something I’m known for.

This garden is much smaller than most people think when they see the results each Fall.  The excellent level of production takes good planning, crop rotation, great compost, and plenty of good old sunshine and water. 

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I consider this a modern version of the old WW II Victory Garden. It takes a little hard work and investment of time but growing and eating your own crops makes sense to me. I know what I’m eating without fear of spoiled plants or diseases and it’s fresh and tasty. It hasn’t been sitting somewhere in the back of a truck or warehouse for weeks before the store displays it for sale. Enough of my preaching, it’s time for me to climb down off my soap box and go accomplish something.

Another week of this and I’ll be all out of a gardener’s best friend, Ben-gay.  I should start buying it by the case every Spring based entirely on how my butt and legs feel this morning.

04-21-2014. Journal Entry – Spring Has Sprung!   2 comments

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The weather has finally begun to change for the better here in God’s country. Over the last week the snow has disappeared and I’ve been able to get outside and breath some fresh air without a parka, hat, and gloves.  But as well you know everything in nature is a balance.  You get some good and right along with that you get some bad.  Now begins the actual work of cleaning up after Mother Nature once again.

The snow cover this past winter lasted much longer than normal which has it’s good points.  Most of my perennials in the herb garden survived the winter unscathed.  I normally replace twenty-five percent of my plants each year but it appears this year to be much better than that.  The downside is that any plant tall enough to stick up through the snow was damaged severely by the long term cold during February. I’ve cleaned most of the debris out of the raised beds and discovered other issues that weren’t easily seen before.

Yesterday my better-half was frolicking in the yard with the grandson and made the mistake of sitting on the edge of one of the raised beds.  There was a loud crack and the board she was sitting on snapped in half requiring an immediate repair job and a trip to Lowe’s for me.

We also were able to remove a downed tree we lost during the first snow storm last Fall. It was a struggle but we finally cleaned up the area and removed the branches and trunk to a nearby woods.  I may cut it up later for use in our occasional bon-fires since it’s been sitting for a while and dry as a bone.  It should burn nicely.

We have a set of steps at the rear of the house that were badly damaged when at least five tons of ice slid off the roof and crushed all of the railings and a few of the steps. Fortunately the main structural beams were unharmed. Another trip to Lowe’s for more pressure treated lumber to make those repairs. Along with the mailbox replacement this  has become an annual event and one I’m very tired of dealing with.  I’m in the process now of redesigning and reinforcing the steps and hopefully that will resolve the issue for new year.

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I took a walk through my garden yesterday and discovered that the deer have found us already and appear to be eating my chives as soon as they sprout. It’s been a tough winter on the wildlife here in Maine due to the heavy snow cover. I’ve been told that the further north you go the worse it gets.  The moose and deer have had a rough winter and I ‘m sure many of them didn’t survive.  The good news is the small herd that hangs around our house looks pretty damn healthy.  As I walked through my back yard I found piles of deer turds everywhere.  This just tells me that I’m going to be battling the deer for control of my garden all summer.  They’ve been spending a lot of time close to the house which in itself is unusual.

A few weeks ago I was in my man-cave doing my exercises on the treadmill when I looked out the window to see four or five deer casually walking by. They stopped near the house and were standing in the yard as calm as you please. That’s very unusual for ten o’clock in the morning on any day.  I’m afraid they’ve become comfortable near the house which will eventually make for a real battle this summer. It’s not only the deer but also rabbits and freaking groundhogs as well.  I’m going to be busy, busy, busy.

I was able to run for my camera and snap a few quick pics of those deer before they scampered into the woods. Here they are.

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Who needs dogs and cats for house pets when you can have a herd of deer?

12-26-2013. Journal Entry – The After Christmas Blah’s   2 comments

We’ve spent most of the last two months preparing for both Thanksgiving and Christmas.  Since it was the first holiday season where the grandson was aware of what was going on, we went a little overboard with gifts and preparations.

On top of all of that my fiasco with this broken leg made everything that much more difficult and put more pressure on my better-half. We survived the insanity we created but just barely.  I’m really hoping that next year we can learn from our mistakes and move forward just a little bit smarter. It’s hard not getting caught up in the excitement caused by having a young child in the mix because the holidays are more for him than the rest of us.

The let down with Christmas being over is unbelievable. The better-half has fallen into a post Christmas comma. She’s been sleeping for most of the day today just trying to rest and regain some normalcy.  I haven’t done much better myself. I’m slowly recovering but I’m like a effing zombie today.  I’m drinking a lot of coffee because my energy level is non-existent and all of my motivation to do anything else has evaporated.

We have New Year’s coming soon and thank God we don’t celebrate that holiday like these others. Two of our Christmas guests are now enroute to the Big Apple for the ultimate Times Square New Year’s Eve experience. They must be out of there freaking minds. My better half and I both get claustrophobic in a room with no more than 10 people, I can’t imagine rubbing elbows with millions of people in Times Square. That would scare the bejesus out of us both.

I’m hoping that our quiet time will continue for at least two more days where we can kick back, relax and enjoy the snowy scenery.  I haven’t mentioned but we received another 4 1/2 inches of snow over the last 24 hours. It’s one of the times every winter that I enjoy the most, having a cover of fresh white snow over all the slush and dirt. These pictures were taken earlier this morning and you can see what I’m talking about.

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It’s about time for me to put this computer to bed so I can get  to what I’m really thinking about doing today, a long, warm and quiet nap. I’ll worry about New Year’s when it gets here.

NO MORE SHOPPING DAYS – HOORAY!

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