Saturday, December 20, 2008

We all need heroes

This is a book written by a newfound hero I have, Diana Beresford-Kroeger. I first heard her speak on a Living-on-Earth program and I have been smitten ever since.  Her mind is a work of art; she even speaks fluent Gaelic.  This book details 20 trees found in the north temperate zone, all of which we should be able to plant somewhere on our land and most of which have medicinal and edible properties.  I was reading about honey locusts last night and it turns out that the eastern redbud tree (Cersis canadensis) is a relative of the locust with an interesting Christian oral history. The redbud is also called the Judas tree. Diana writes, "Jesus, before his death by crucifixion, was betrayed by his best friend, Judas Iscariot, who, anguished by the remorse of his action, hanged himself on a redbud tree....The history also holds a legend that the tree blushed with shame and was forever pink afterward." It turns out that Judas hung himself on a close relative of the eastern redbud, Cersis siliquastrum (found in Palestine), also known as the Judas tree.  
We have finally planted a couple trees on our property, thanks to a very thoughtful friend (Mark, you're the best!) who gifted me with two heirloom apple trees for my birthday.  They look very healthy and content next to the hoophouse, alongside the 70 ft row of daffodils we have planted.  I've been wanting to plant cherry trees and peach trees as there may not be anything more beautiful in the springtime than their blooms.  And honey locusts, redbuds, pawpaws, catalpas, pear trees, and any other lovelies needing a secure home for life.  


Greenhouse is complete! We still need to double plastic the endwalls for extra insulation, get a propane tank delivered and set-up, have electricians wire up the house, build the tables for all the seedlings to go on, put down landscape fabric, etc. etc. But it feels done to us, and oh what a feeling.

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Greenhouse work

Here we are drilling, framing, leveling, drilling, sawing, drilling. Our greenhouse is going to be so AWESOME! One of my brothers is coming out later today to help us lift the huge exhaust fan onto it's posts as well as the super heavy heater. I'd rather be figuring out how to grow cyclamen or something along those lines. However, having this house up and running should have a huge, positive impact on our growing season this year. We thought we would have this done by the end of Nov. Maybe too much racquetball??? There is also a picture in here of the great dilapidated house that is on our property that we currently use as a storage space/barn. We're not quite sure what to do with it---another project, another day.

Sowing the seed

This picture is from a week ago. We have sown arugula, lettuce mix, turnips, radishes, and beets for winter market. We saved two beds so we can have some veggies in late Feb./March as well. It's hard to time all this stuff, especially as it has been so cold this Dec. We've actually been under the weather with a head cold for the past week. While our greenhouse waits, patiently waits. We have sown white clover (already germinating!) in between our rows in the hoophouse---the seed is so fine and so much smaller than crimson clover. we've never worked with white clover before so we're hoping this isn't a bad move. time shall tell!

Taking it to the courts

So the cat's out of the bag; we love racquetball. We can even hold conference calls between games to get business done, just like in all those eighties movies (remember Wall St. with Charlie Sheen?) We are missing the cool clothes though. We played three games....I should've won all three, but I only won one. I think it was rigged somehow. I did get a victory dance in, as pictured below. Stuart's victory dance consisted of a leap against the wall; he's trying to recall the name of the breakdancing move this jump replicates as we speak. If you're looking for something to help you deal with winter angst, racquetball may be the answer. not that I think winter angst ever goes away, not until the redbuds and forsythia start blooming---but we've got to try something to cope.

Saturday, December 6, 2008

Ransom Visits

This past week we had the pleasure of having Stuart's younger brother Ransom help us out for a couple days on the farm. We finished seeding and mulching our driveway, spread gravel over our greenhouse floor so that water drains properly, and planted 750 daffodils. Daffodils take so much longer to plant than tulips or iris because they need 6 in centers. We originally wanted to put them in our landscape somewhere, but efficiency won out as usual and we planted them in a boring row next to our new hoophouse. We're hoping the squirrels don't get desperate and dig up the bulbs for food. They were the last of the bulbs so now we can move on to finishing our greenhouse. We all went to go see Synecdoche, NY, the new film by Charlie Kaufmann. Do yourself a favor--spare your mind the torture. The owner/manager of the theater was walking out as we were entering. He excitedly told us it is the best film of 2008 and gave us some food for thought before going in--"At the end of the movie think about what you thought the plot was at the beginning of the movie, and then ask yourself, What happened?" Not surprisingly, he also said there had been quite a few people walking out of this movie.

Dogsitting Ruby