Monday, March 29, 2010

From St. Patty to Uncle Sam: Planting Potatoes and Corn

The traditional time to plant potatoes around here is on or around St. Patrick’s Day.  We were a week or so later than usual because of the weather.  

When you have a friendly neighbor who lends his time and tractor the planting is much easier. 

While the trenches are dug, the seed potatoes are prepared. It is best to cut the potatoes so that an eye is on every section. Some just quarter the potatoes regardless. I suspect it doesn’t matter that much.

Before the potatoes are dropped about every 8 inches into the rows, fertilizer is spread. We planted about 110 pounds of potatoes this year. 

 With the remaining prepared rows we planted G-90 corn. This seems to be the corn of choice and the variety we have grown every year.  It is a very popular sweet, hybrid corn that does well in this area. 

A kernel or 3 is dropped every 6 inches. In the past we have sown  3 or so kernels every 6 inches. However this year we are experimenting. Could we cut our costs by a two-thirds by only planting 1 kernel for every 6 inches and still get the same yield? We had differing opinions. We'll just have to wait and see.

Finally the implement is changed and the rows are covered.

If all goes well we should be harvesting the potatoes around July 4th and eating sweet corn soon after. 

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Plugging Spores

As is evident from the blog we enjoy growing much of our food. Mushrooms are our newest adventure.   They take about a year to harvest and we are anxiously awaiting our first crop from last year’s planting.  In the meantime more spores were ordered and another plugging was on the spring to-do list. 

We have used White Oak logs for both plantings. It is best to make sure they are nice and wet. There have been a few rainy days this week so that part was taken care of naturally. 

Holes are drilled into the logs.

Next the spores are hammered into the holes. They look like small dowel rods wrapped in a thin cloth. I assume the spores are inside this cloth and spiraled around the wooden plugs.

After the plugs are inserted we countersink them further into the logs so that wax can be poured into the hole, sealing the spores inside and preventing any unwanted foreign spore from contaminating the log. 

Finally we find a shady spot to keep the logs. Nature does the rest. Although if the weather is extremely hot and dry we do water the logs.
Below are the mushrooms just beginning to show from last year's planting.                                  

There's nothing like men hard a work!

While this was going on outside, I had my project well underway inside. Cleaning, organizing, and purging our bedroom and closet. I had intended to do this is February but I could never bring myself to start. I knew what a mess it would be. Almost all the closet contents have been drug out into the room and sorted for keep, trash, or Salvation Army. I am NOT a nice person when my room looks like this. I've already had to apologize to all 3 members of my immediate family for losing my temper. We will all be thankful when this project is complete.

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

My 34th

Today is my birthday and my family did a marvelous job making it a special day. The weather could not have been better. The sun smiled on me all day.

My mother and step dad are here for the week. They brought ribeye steaks and Rex grilled them. Mom spent most of the day in the kitchen so that I didn’t have to. Bless her heart. That in itself would have been enough.

After ribeyes, potatoes, salad, and Auntie A’s homemade bread we retired to the porch where we entertained the valley with live music. Larry and my brother are fine musicians. Mom and I like to sing a song or two and are learning the fiddle. Uncle Randy is getting the hang of the harmonica and Rex banged the bodhran when the mood hit him. We laughed much and I am pooped.

My mom made me a beautiful quilt for my bed. It was a great surprise. I eyed the fabric a year or so ago while she and I were shopping. I can't believe she kept it a secret.

The note says that we have 6 Aracauna chicks coming in the mail on April 26th. 

Monday, March 8, 2010


I have an inborn affinity for fire. It’s not uncommon. I was grounded around the age of 9 for starting fires in our backyard and garage. Why are they so fascinating and beautiful?  
No one was grounded during or after the making of this fire.   

Thursday, March 4, 2010


I love you, I really do. 
But I'm ready for you to take a break. 
I'm ready to throw open all the windows and feel the warm breeze. 
I'm ready to look out my windows and see green, 
to walk down rows of vegetables, 
and to hear those loud summer nights when the sound of chirping crickets and cicadas ring in my ears (Rex says they ring in his ears all the time anyway). 
Thank you for your warmth. 
See you in the fall.