Saturday, April 25, 2009

If you know me, I need your insights...

I have been feeling rather lost of late. I just put it down to "before new moon, unsettled" things, but it is likely more than that. And the Words of Wisdom came through today seemingly with my name written on them. "Look to your strengths. List them if you must, to see how they apply today."

Only problem is, like many folks I am only really good at seeing my weaknesses (or maybe that should read "seeing things as weaknesses" for I know what is a strength in one case may not be in another).

So I am asking for insight here... If you know me, help me out by sharing what you think some of my strengths are...

I can list:
  • stubbornness (one of those double sided swords) <>
  • can-do attitude ("I can do that..."
  • humble (I don't think anything is "beneath me."
  • belief (knowledge?) that the Gods help those who make an effort
However, my current lack of focus is still the biggest thing in my field of vision...

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Worm Rain

No, not a typo... though yesterday's rain was warm in one sense (it was NOT snow! LOL) and the weather did not cool overnight sufficient to make me cover the plants hardening off on the porch.

It was the first "worm rain" of the season, raining hard and long enough to wash the wiggly crawlers from the ground.

I don't have a rain guage up (thought I can swear I bought a replacement this year, it has not shown its head here at the house) but it rained a LOT yesterday -- off and on, harder and less so -- all day long and even as we were going to bed.

I was glad for the moments of "less so" as they seemed to be timed to our goings about by afternoon so I could dump my yellow rain jacket, which works great but is big and awkward. We glommed onto some vines from a Freecycler, suitable for wreath making, and it was good not to have to deal with the wet stuff in the rain. I did get K's Subaru rather dirty in the back, though, as they would not begin to fit into the bags I had taken and ended up just being pulled and pushed into the back of the car.

Since we had also go 2 80 lb bags of concrete (planting clothes poles is on the short list) I was glad we had already dropped the recycle stuff and I had two totes to turn over the bags of 'crete to keep them dry.

We'll have a bit of rainy weather for a spell, but I am hoping tomorrow to get out and plant the rest of the potatoes and the asparagus I bought at Bobs in Dover-Foxcroft yesterday, and the lily of the valley. Today I need to work in the house until my half-shift at the store. After having friends over at the last minute for supper last night and the accumulated general mess, there is much to do. Also one hex to be completed, boxed and mailed.

It is totally foggy out the window today, and I am feeling much like just being in. I had unwanted an early morning excursion in my gown and slippers, as I had to hop into the car and go out looking for Brandi. I had K let her out before I got up, as he was coming back to bed (he had been awakened early on by a massive headache and was just coming back to try to finish his sleep) as I planned to get up in a few to start my day. Well the mutt found the door to the "shed" (makeshift roof, only one wall) by the garage open and wandered through the recycles and old windows to take a walk. I found her 3 places up the road (and well beyond the sound of our hollering for her) and brought her home (on the front passenger seat, as the back of the Subaru is still storing the 'crete... and two bags of concrete does not go well with a large, wet dog, even one with recently clipped doggie toenails).

So I suppose if I get the chance I will go out and re-work the fence. I really don't like to have to walk around the garage to get to the compost and if I were to make the fence go straight out from the house, in a westerly direction, instead of between house and garage I could solve two "problems" with one change.

But that will have to wait until after housework...

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Spring rain!

My witchy sense tells me this is the beginning of the spring rain today. I wish I had planted peas now, along with the onions and 'taters, but perhaps this spell of rainy weather will give me a bit of clearing of a morning so I can make a furrow and get some more seeds in the ground.

I have ordered the wheel hoe (and it should arrive later this week... none too soon and when I think about planting, I keep seeing myself making a furrow with it, and then realize that I have only my hoe) and am still waiting on plants.. I need to check for shipping date on those asparagus plants, I guess. Also on the non-garden list, I need to send an old, favorite frame out to get my new Rx bifocal lens put into it, so I can send the existing version of that Rx back to get the (apparently quite cheaply made) frames fixed. I had thought to have done that on the weekend, but did not get a confirmation screen on the order, so was waiting to make sure I did not order them twice.

On the garden front, I have a new-to-me hardware store in Orono that I want to visit (likely Thurs, on the way back from a doctor trip to Milo) and today I will stop by Blue Seal just to see if they have (or are going to have) strawberry plants, which I need. We will be picking up cement to plant the clothesline poles the came with the place (uninstalled) as the clothes tree died in the wind last fall. I need to get K to consult on how to convert the new poles to using cotton rope, instead of the plastic coated metal stuff they have on now. I do not think it will be able to be strung in the same manner as the plastic stuff has a smaller diameter.

I am also committed to completing the hex signs that I did not quite get done in time for the trip out to the garden shop in Calais. I will not be able to deliver them Thurs, as I had planned, as I had forgotten a K appointment with his doc, but I will get them out the following week. Store opens for the season May 1.

I was also hoping to pull up baby trees to transplant on that Calais trip, but my friend is willing to pull the trees and send them back with another friend who is heading that way on the weekend, so that will be my route.

Now, to get breakfast out of the way and start the busy, rainy day. Oh, I love a rainy day...

Saturday, April 18, 2009

We have germination!

The first stirrings of life are showing in my garden today. After feeding the birds I walked down to where I had planted my first row, a few peas, some lettuce and spinach in the area that had been heavily manured last fall and -- lo and behold -- there were tiny spinach cotyledons here and there. Not a lot, but the beginning.

I had been wondering about the lack of pea growth and my friend Robin had suggested I dig down and look to see if they had rotted (which I had not expected, as my soil drains better than that) but I did anyway and found they have about inch-long roots. Just the cold and lack of rain has slowed them down a bit.

All of my early crops are now toughing it out on the porch, with a blanket over them at night. A few of the coles are showing a bit of cold damage but I am not worried. I think they will recover and if not there are still PLENTY!

On another note, much as I had expected, the tractor guy showed up on Thurs. while I was away learning to make soap. Fortunately K remembered where the garlic was planted and stopped him before he tiller there. I am not sure whether the garlic is still there or not, thanks to the plow guy this winter. We will see...

Tomorrow I will have a day off and will likely spend much time in the garden. I am going to see what can go in and how I can possibly protect some of the early cold crops if I get them out into the soil. I should have ordered row cover but haven't yet and haven't seen anywhere here.

the list of needs is growing longer -- a pitchfork (for the compost pile), a real long handled hoe (or maybe two different styles) and of course the rototiller that has yet to be found. If I can find a wheel hoe in anyones barn sale this year I will buy one. I loved that tool when I had one in CO years ago!

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

turning point

This is a turning point day in many ways. Master Gardener class is over (I still have the volunteer hours to complete but my Tues nights have been returned to me). Spring is here. I have leeks and lettuces staying outside overnight (we got down to 19 last night, I am waiting to see if the closeness to the house and blanket covering them was sufficient to prevent damage at that temp, they don't look badly affected though!) and am waiting for the tractor dude to show up and do the spring tilling.

I had yesterday off, but of course that was Tues -- a "non-day off" day off when normally the day gets eaten by K's appointments, trip to town, etc. We don't need food or feed so I made the decision to make only one trip south to Bangor, combining bank and PO running with the trip in for class. That left me sufficient time between the AM counseling and the PM trip to get the last of the income tax forms crunched out and paint put on several hex signs.

This is the last year (hopefully EVER!) that I will have to do 2 state and federal forms. After class I came home and inked, signed and sealed them. I should be getting a little back from the feds AND the state of NC, had to pay a little to ME, and it looks like I need to plan for that to be typical. I always had to pay a little to NC too on account of the business income.

I am crossing fingers that the Park Service project is complete today ("director's edits" ... I am told they are minor ones) and can be burned to CD and FedEx-ed off when I take the tax forms to post.

I keep thinking that I have three days off in a row today, so as to be able to get something done, but then remember tomorrow is another up early and out to Calais day, he soap making class having been postponed due to the order of lye not having arrived in time last week. No biggie... I am looking forward to this class as well as seeing friends again... and am hoping to get the small outdoor hex signs done to take as well, for consignment. Wish me luck!

I do wish the cats hadn't awakened me after only 5 hrs of sleep, though...

Saturday, April 4, 2009

This year we have BIRDS!

After a summer, fall and most of a winter of frustration over not seeing birds here, they have come... by drove and flocks and drifts (we have not yet seen a murder, but it may yet happen).

First were the drifts of snow buntings... then a robin or two and a red wing blackbird and the retuning sounds of something calling and circling overhead both morning and evening and into the night.

Now there are flocks and flocks of robins and the red wing blackbirds walking about on the lawn, pigging out on the underground critters that are emerging from their winters sleep.

And the circling, calling birds... finally have shown themselves!

I was glad to be able to sneak up on them enough to get a photo suitable for identifying them, as both pairs of binoculars had decided to play hide and seek for a bit (and of course, having done this, both have returned!) The are kildeer... which I had suspected after having heard just ONE calling as it flew by -- and jogged my memory -- while I was in the garden yesterday.

And yes, I have planted some stuff. Day before yesterday the soil temp was reading 45 degrees after a day in the sun and yesterday morning at 9 am was still reading 44, so I took spading fork to earth and found good tilth. All this was sufficient for me to put in my first, early, experimental rows of peas, spinach and black seeded Simpson lettuce.

The broccoli and cauliflower are up and tomatoes coming up in the house (and another light fixture acquired, though one of the bulbs refused to work when installed and will need to be returned on Tues). We are still waiting on the peppers and suspect we will wait a bit more, as there has been little sunshine to warm the seed trays and I don't have a warming mat, yet.

The kildeer were identified just in time as a coworker at the store apparently heard them the other night as well. These birds have unusual eyesight, so the online info said, enabling them to hunt both day and night. Said coworker was sure she was hearing bats -- not thinking of anything else that would be hunting them and in that way, but she is not one who hears TV whines when no one else does.. and her hubby heard them too... so I taught her about the kildeer.

That's life in the Maine slow lane, early April...

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Off to school I go!

Tomorrow I will be one of the "visiting artists" at Hermon (Maine) middle school. My visit -- along with those of several other local artists and some of the teachers demonstrating artisan talents -- will be part of a "Spring into the Arts" event that has featured a literary day with a visiting author, and will end on Friday with performing arts day.

They contacted me as a result of my being listed with the Maine Arts Commission. How cool is that!

I have prepared a handout, collected a passel of student type drawing compasses and rulers and will be carrying along some of my work to show, as well as giving them instruction on a bit of the history (and controversy) surrounding this folk art tradition.

Because I was only able to be there in the morning (I am not sure why I told them that, this is my usual day off.. but in the end it was the correct choice as we found out after I had committed that K's kidney doc's office had scheduled him for an appointment in the afternoon) I will only get to play with the 5th and 6th graders; 7th and 8th have there sessions in the afternoon. Next year (if I am invited again!) I will plan to be there the full day, I think.

Tomorrow is going to be a long day, as we will be scheduling our usual Tuesday events in the afternoon after the doc -- a trip to Sams for meds, and to pick up cat food and olive oil for the folks in the soapmaking class that I have prevailed upon my friend Robin to give (next week... a reschedule from tomorrow, due to my having overbooked myself! LOL), to WalMart for another light for the plants, to Millers, to find me a pair of muck boots, unless I luck out and find some at Blue Seal where I need to stop and look for more seed flats, etc. etc. All this AFTER the doc...

Thankfully I will have a short work day Friday, though being a Friday, it will likely be very intense.

Some time SOON I need to:
  • get out and prune the maple tree
  • clean out the ditches of annual grasses and "weeds" and see what is there in the matter of woody plants that I wish to encourage and suppliment with other things that I will soon beg, buy or glean
  • check the ground to see if I can turn over the rabbit manure and plant spinach and early lettuce
  • clean up a winters worth of doggie poo (oh joy...)
  • dig holes in which to plant the clothes lines that came with the house
  • dig the last of the Museum archive files out of the garage and send them to the soon-to-be-former client.
and, while I am at it... we need to find:
  • a small tractor with tiller or a rototiller (working)
  • a snowblower (less urgent but needed never the less, by next fall)
( Universe... take note...)