Posts Tagged ‘gardening’

Task List and the Cabinet Connundrum

Warning: I cover a lot of ground in this post. Sorry for the disjointed, free association. Consider it a snap shot of my brain.

Yesterday, our list of stuff to do looked like this:

Orchard:

  • Prune fruit trees
  • Fertilize
  • Plant cover crop

 

Animals:

  • Build new goat birthing shelter and enclosure
  • Electrify chicken coop for protection against predators
  • Fix horse electric fence (damn goats don’t mind electric fence)
  • Chicken duplex roof and nesting boxes need new shingles
  • Build stands for bee boxes
    • Ant proof bee stands

 

Garden of Good and Evil:

  • Amend garden beds
    • Add compost
    • Plant cover crop
    • Fix garden plumbing after pipes froze and burst
    • Fix greenhouse panels after wind knocked them out
    • Expand blueberry cages so chickens can’t keep eating the plants
    • Trellis raspberries
    • Plant garlic (better late than never) (Dave wanted me to say, better late than pregnant. I told him no but I’m doing it anyway because I love him and his odd sense of humor.)

 

I got exactly one of those items done. We can cross off fix horse electric fence. So what exactly did I do all day? Mostly, I drove around on the tractor. Blame Dave. I was all set to toil, and I did for a while. Then he asked if I would box scrape the back road and…well, that’s where my day ended. Playing on the tractor is a giant, enjoyable time suck. Yes, I could make a case that I was doing something useful but the case is weak. Driving the tractor was not on my list. I did help Dave move some rubber mats into the old horse’s dinner stall, using the tractor. That wasn’t on the list but it should have been. His stall had become a soupy mess. In my defense, I figured I would ride the tractor all day and on Sunday (now today) I would do all the garden stuff.

Procrastination - procrastination Photo

Why do today what I can put off until tomorrow? Alas, the short rain shower that was predicted yesterday, turned into an all night and most of the morning downpour. Now the garden is too wet to work in, without risking compaction. This is what I get for procrastinating.

Since it’s too wet to play outside, I will be self flagellating, forcing myself to suffer a fate worse than death and put together our order for kitchen cabinets. We’re getting a quote for ready to assemble cabinets, made in the USA but I have to figure out what exactly, we need. I was up until 2am looking at their literature but the options are endless and I eventually fried my brain. Today, I’ll tackle the task again, with a freshly caffeinated mind and some graph paper. If you think I freaked out over choosing pendant lights for the counter space, you should see me in action trying to choose a PERMANENT fixture. A while back, we went to the “Giant Not Orange Home Store” and had them do a CAD drawing of our kitchen cabinets, so I’m cheating and using that as the base for our quote. I figure the Not Orange Home Store takes enough of our money, loaning us one of their underpaid kitchen designers for an hour should be one of the perks of patronage. Not Orange Home Store didn’t have as many options though, so some things will have to be changed. If you are just dying to know what the Not Orange Home Store came up with, I have posted the pictures below. Feel free to offer up some thoughts. I’m not stoked on the awkward corner by the fridge, I think it will be replaces with an appliance garage and I find the design in the kitchen to be lacking in aesthetic appeal.

The floor plan

The floor plan

Cabinet breakdown around fridge

Cabinet breakdown around fridge

MILLER 5

Cabinet breakdown around sink

Cabinet breakdown around sink

MILLER 6

Cabinet breakdown around bay window

Cabinet breakdown around bay window

I don’t have the CAD rendering for that last area around the bay window, which is a shame because that’s the only area I really like. You can kind of get an idea from the cabinet breakdown. Not Orange Home Store didn’t have very many options for this area but The Cabinet Joint, where we getting a quote has some pretty nifty options. This area will have glass/chicken wire upper cabinets for storing the china and other pretty things, a wine/beverage fridge (this will free up an entire fridge shelf), liquor cabinet/barware storage, filing cabinets for all the paperwork which inevitably ends up on the kitchen table (if you can’t beat it, fix it with a better storage solution), storage for the lap tops and printer which lives on the table, and some really high cupboards for those items which only come out once a year but are still important enough to keep, like the nice linens and vases for fresh flowers (though I keep vowing to make those a regular thing.) This will all be topped off with an aged copper counter that tops the lower cupboards and the bottom of the bay window, which can be used as a bar area, buffet or seat during parties. I’m pretty excited about this area, though to be honest, if we run out of money, this is the last thing that will get done. Isn’t that always the way it goes?

Wish me luck as I build my quote. If you don’t hear from me tomorrow, send the men in white coats because I’ve lost my mind. You’ll find me on the tractor.

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Tomato Review 2012

 As you may have read yesterday, I did not start any of my own seedlings this year, unless they were direct sown things like greens and herbs and squash and cucumbers and flowers and carrots and radishes and…Ok, what I really mean is I didn’t start any tomato seeds this year. They are my pride and joy whose absence from my life left a big gaping hole. It turned out, I couldn’t bear the summer without those tastiest of summer fruits, so I bought a few plants from Love Apple Farm’s plant sale. The varieties I planted were, Amish Paste, Green Giant, Orange Russian 116, Anna Russian, Royal Plum, Michael Pollan, Paul Robison and White Oxheart. Then on a whim, Jules and I brought home a “Juliette” tomato from the Cabrillo plant sale, just because we loved the name. Alright, it was really because I’m an addict and I can’t stop buying plants but the name was a convenient excuse.  

Unfortunately, I did not get photos of the tomatoes or manage to weight or measure them. I’ve been busy. It was all I could do to eat them. To make up for this, I have provided links to people who spend more time than me, immersed in the world of the tomato. They have better photos and descriptions, anyway.

Amish Gold– This is the second year I’ve grown these and they continue to be spectacular. I expect I will grow these every year. This is a cross between a Sun Gold and an Amish Paste. If you have grown either, I have your attention now. This is a small, paste shaped tomato, in a brilliant shade of Hare Krishna orange. Krishna means supreme or all-attractive, so I suppose that’s fitting. These can be eaten off the vine (they are my go to garden snack) or cooked up into a great sauce. As you may well be aware, I detest the modern San Marzanos as flavorless usurpers to the real paste tomatoes. Amish Paste is the real deal. They do have seeds (because that’s how we get baby tomatoes!) but the skins are thin and easy to eat, even when cooked. Yay! No peeling tomatoes! They are the first tomato to ripen in the garden and the last one still bearing fruit at the end of the season. They survived last year’s awful tomato weather. They thrived in the year’s 90 degree heat wave. They are a winner.

Green Giant– I was worried about this plant. It looked pretty scraggly and sparse for a long time but I think that may just be its nature. The plants didn’t produce a whole lot of fruit but the tomatoes were big and delicious. They were acidic and sweet like ripe, green tomatoes should be and had a nice texture. They were excellent slicers and every tomato on the plant ripened. My biggest beef with this beefsteak is that they are very susceptible to sun scald. Knowing that, if I were to grow them again, I would prune them less and add a shade cover (I’m lazy and cheap so I usually just use a light weight frost blanket. We also don’t usually get as many very sunny warm days as we did this summer. I don’t know who this plant will produce during one of our foggier summers. It was a little late ripening, so I don’t hold out too much hope for it.

Orange Russian 117– I’ve been trying to grow these for three years but due to the mix-ups and mishaps with the tomato labeling, I don’t think I ever did. I’m glad I tried it one more time. These tomatoes were awesome. Lots of fruit from the plant. They were a fun dual orange striped color. I’m guessing by the size that they would do fine during a foggier summer but I also don’t think the fruit I got are typical of the variety. My fruit seemed smaller and not as heart-shaped as the ones at Tomato Fest. They had little to no sun scald and the vine itself was very hardy. The fruit ranged in size from a standard beefsteak to a smaller, slightly larger than golf ball size fruit. Due to the amount of tomatoes this vine produced, they were a popular gift. I won’t grow these next year just because there are too many types I want to try but I may grow them again, in the future.

Anna Russian– Now this, THIS is what a past tomato should be. Quick, throw out your hard, tasteless San Marzanos and embrace the Anna Russian. I’ve grown this every year and it just impresses me. The plants are early producers of medium to largish, heart-shaped fruit (with some little ones thrown in for good measure) with big taste. This is the plant my sister-in-law most often raided in my garden. Can you say that about San Marzanos? No. The last time I ate a San Marzano off the vine I spat it out and vowed they from the place where the sun now stands, I will grow no more, forever. Why why WHY do we continue to grow these inferior fruits when we could eat Anna Russians (or a number of other tasty tomatoes.) I have heard the argument that once they are canned, they taste fine but if you’ve had canned sauce from tomato with taste, you will understand why I will not even answer to that ridiculous statement. Crap in, crap out. Like its inferior but popular relative, Anna Russian has lots of meat and virtually no seeds. It’s not super juicy but it has enough that the tomato has a proper texture. We eat them on salads, we eat them like apples. I think the fruit I got from Love Apple’s plants are smaller than the fruit from the seeds I get from Tomato Fest but that tends to happen with seeds sourced from different growers. *Anna Russian seeds are on sale now at Tomato Fest! Eeeeeeee!*

Plum Royal- I assume that this is a hybrid variety, based on how the plants grew. They were not marked as a hybrid, which kind of irritates me but buyer beware, I suppose. In their defense,  did not pick up their extensive info sheet, which may have listed this variety as a hybrid. The plants are bright green, determinate bushes, with lots and lots of fruit. I was excited when I saw how loaded with fruit these plants were. The fruit grew early and reached full size quickly. Then, they stopped. They turned a mild shade of red but they never fully ripened. I pulled 20 lbs of unripe fruit two weeks ago and all of it tasted terrible. These tomatoes are exactly what you find in the grocery store. They look good but they taste awful. Needless to say, I won’t be growing these again. I have no link to these as I couldn’t find any good info on the internet.

Michael Pollan– I bought this variety because I love Michael Pollan like 10-year-old girls love Justin Beiber. He makes me swoon. I don’t always agree with him but his writing is terrific. Tomato Mania had said some good things to say about the plants. How the tomato tastes, I will never know. The spindly little Charley Brown plant reached 1.5 feet, had six leaves and produced one tiny, withering fruit, which caused the plant to slump against the side of its cage, where it gasped its dying words, “Tell Michael I’m sorry.” And then it was gone. I guess it was just a bum plant but I’m not willing to try again next year. Did anyone else get a chance to try this variety this year? If you did, give me a shout out and let me know how it tasted.

Juliette– I’m glad we got this little gem. This plant produced copious amounts of bright, red fruit, growing in bunches. The fruit was delicious and I did quite a bit of snacking on it while working in the garden. The small size fruit matured early and produced all summer long. It is a hybrid but I knew that when I got it. I won’t grow it again because I can’t save seeds but I would recommend it to beginner tomato growers. With some pruning, this would be an awesome balcony or porch plant, though it’s probably too big for most window gardens.

White Oxheart– I give up. I have tried to grow White Oxheart every year since I have been growing tomatoes and I have yet to be successful. I’ve been growing through all sorts of conditions so I have to say, it’s not them, it’s me. The Oxheart went the way of the Michael Pollan, but didn’t go as quickly. I tortured it for a long time. I think I will not continue to take up space in my garden with this plant. There are lots of great tomatoes out there that want to live with me.

Paul Robison– This variety is gaining in popularity, thanks to its listing in the Ark of Taste, so I almost didn’t grow it. I did it for the experience and to see if it really is as good as they say. Whomever they are. I’m hoping one day this variety will be the variety people ask if I grow instead of Purple Cherokee. If I had a nickel for every time someone finds out if I grow heirlooms and asks if I grow Purple Cherokee, I would be a rich woman. It takes all of my will not to scream, “That’s a commercial variety. You can do better! You can grow better!” Instead I calmly educate the unsuspecting shopper on the thousands of varieties of heirloom tomatoes which exist and how we have a responsibility to maintain genetic diversity. Then I tell them that there are better tasting and more fun tomatoes out there, Paul Robison being one of them. The fruits are a nice size for salads and they fit perfectly over slices of buffalo mozzarella in caprese salad. The plants were super easy to maintain and I had little to no problems with them. The taste really is all that. Man, were they good. Their listing with Slowfood is not undeserved. I won’t grow these again and not because they aren’t amazing. They are. I won’t be growing these because there are a lot of other varieties that need support. Paul Robison’s listing on the Ark of Taste assures its survival as a variety but for every variety that becomes popular, ten more varieties disappear.

January is the time to start shopping for and planting your tomato seeds. If you haven’t already bought all of the seeds you need, think about growing something totally different this year. Something you haven’t heard of before. Something you have to look up on the internet every time you type its name, because you can’t remember how to spell it.

If you can’t bear to buy a whole pack of seeds for one plant, feel free to stop by our seed swap and cocktails on February 9, at 2:00pm. We can plant a seed in a Dixie cup for you to raise on your balcony. You will not be sorry.

 

The Haps

I’ve been absent. Again. You should expect this by now. I’ve really missed writing and taking photos of Redemption Farms. Hopefully I’ll have some more time in the next year. As I write, I have my first (and hopefully last cold of the year. The good news is, I rarely get sick. The bad news is, when I do, I do it right. If things get rambling, we’ll chalk it up to meds and not blame the editor (since I edit my own work, the editor is also on meds.) Since I haven’t posted anything at all in the last…I don’t know…long time, I think we should catch up to speed. Here’s what you have missed in the last year:

We are living in the house full-time. Do not take this to mean that the house is anywhere near complete but we won’t be getting a call from CPS regarding the way we are keeping the children. We were camped out in one bedroom until recently. Now Dave and I have the smaller room and all three kids share the big bedroom. This is the first time that they have had actual beds with actual mattresses since Dave and I moved in together six years ago. My old house didn’t have room for beds, so on the weekends they were with us they camped on couches and air mattresses. They have been troopers through this whole process. Lesser children would have complained but not our kids. They have been actively involved in making decisions about the rooms, house, animals, pretty much anything they can weigh in on. The overall feeling is things are getting better and we may survive this remodel, after all.

This being our first holiday in this house and our first holiday in any house larger than 900 square feet, we hosted a holiday party in the house, with about 15 people. Everyone fit comfortably and no one fell through any holes in the floor. We had a beer tasting featuring the winter selections from the Eureka Ditch Brewing Company. (Full disclosure: that just means Dad sent me some of his homebrew for Christmas and I shared with everyone, tasting style but it was damn fine beer.)

There’s a lot of drywall going in. The dust has invaded our life and dried out my hands. It’s making me crazy. (Stop right there if you were going to say something about me already being crazy. When crazy is the status quo, more crazy become the new crazy. Kind of like navy is the new black.) Anyway, I can’t handle dry cuticles. I’m also a lip balm addict. There I said it. I’m also not interested in an intervention or seeking treatment. Speaking of, where’s my carmex…

Our meat bunny operation is in full swing. One of these days I will get around to posting pictures of the rabbit tractor which almost caused a divorce. We will call it: the episode in which the irresistible force (Marsha) and the immovable object (Dave) have creative differences. I will say this. I there is ever a tornado, I am heading to the rabbit tractor. We just had a litter of bunnies. They are so cute I could die. It almost makes me want to keep them all. Almost. Chaos wants to eat them all. She found one which had died and ate the whole thing before we could catch her. There was not one scrap left. I thought for sure she wouldn’t eat all the bones and fur but she did. It makes me wonder if wolves eat the whole thing, too. I’ll have to check that out.

The chickens have sustained devastating losses due to predation. We are down to six hens. The culprit is a bobcat. I know this because I saw him. He also tried to get to the bunnies but there were safely locked away in their Ft. Knox box.

We learned how to slaughter our roosters. I have a graphic post written about it, I just have to edit some photos. Yes. Photos. You should know where your food comes from. I found it easier than I thought I would, you know, being vegetarian and all. I plucked and gutted and was convinced it’s much less time consuming to be a herbivore. It certainly needs less clean-up.

The goats are pregnant. How does this happen, you wonder? You see…when a mommy goat and a daddy goat love each other very much…oh you mean how did I let this happen? We have new neighbors with a billy goat. Our hussy girls broke out of their area, then taunted the male until he broke out of his own fence. I was out of town and when I got home, I found all three in the pen together. They were wearing bell bottoms, smoking pot and lecturing us about free love. As all adults know, love is never free. Now they are paying the price with their growing itchy bellies and ravenous appetites. This weekend, we will be building them a predator safe enclosure in which they will rear their young. I’m so nervous. I wasn’t ready for kids. (Get it? Kids? No? Never mind.)

It was a banner year for tomatoes. I didn’t start seedlings because of the impending move so I bought 10 plants from Love Apple Farms plant sale. I planted late and still managed a very good harvest. In fact, I took the last of the fruit off the vines two weeks ago, only because it was starting to frost over at night. I have a tomato variety review coming soon. Maybe. You know how I’ve been lately. Maybe I won’t get to posting it until next year.

Due to lack of time, I canned nothing this year. I’m so sad and I don’t know how I will survive without my 100 lbs of tomatoes processed as crushed tomatoes. The kids were eternally grateful that they didn’t have to help, again.

Happy New Year! We went to Napa last night, to a party at the Westin. Being responsible adults, we planned to leave the car in valet for the evening, bring our flats and walk the half mile to Sarah’s house. After dancing until 2am in my heels, I discovered I forgot my flats. I tried to limp in heels for a while but couldn’t do it. I took off my shoes to find that the sidewalk was bone achingly cold. Fearing I might sustain a hypothermia related injury, Dave so kindly took off his socks and gave them to me. I’m sure it was quite a sight to see me strolling down the streets of Napa in my almost knee-high, men’s Christmas socks. What does this have to do with the ranch? Not a damn thing but it is a funny story and we do have lives away from the ranch, occasionally.

I almost forgot! Our trusty ranch truck (aka the Camry) died. I have replaced it with a Subaru Outback. Go ahead. Make your jokes but know this, I can fit three sheep in the Outback. I’m looking for a good Aussie name for her. Maybe Uluru, since my last name was (kind of still is) Ayers. If you don’t know what this means, please go to Wiki it. Then come back and tell me how clever I am.

I found a source for raw cow’s milk and have started making cheese. I just made my first batch of Monterey Jack cheese and I can hardly wait the two months to try it. I’m not sure if we’re going to try to milk our goats. Maybe just once. Just to torture ourselves. And then I will make feta. Or goat milk cheddar. Or…OK, maybe we will have to milk them twice.

The laundry room is almost done. We have to put the bead board back on the walls and frame the broom/water heater closet but that’s not much. It should only take us, oh I don’t know, maybe 9 or 10 months to get to that? I’m avoiding picking a color for the laundry room. I have option paralysis. I also know that once it’s painted, we will never move the washer and dryer and bad ass sink again to repaint. If I choose a color, It will have to be right. I’ve never said this before but I’m thinking white. Oh wait, it’s also the mud room. White isn’t going to make a bit of sense. Alright, I’m thinking mud color.

We are ready to start building the second pasture. This means we will be renting a skid steer so there’s potential for more photos for girls on tractors. If you don’t know what this means, you can see it here. It is to this day my most read blog post. Maybe this time I’ll find another girl to drive.

That’s all I can remember. My brain is in antihistamine overload. Hopefully I will have some time to post again in the not too distant future. Until then: Happy planting!

WAIT!! I forgot to mention I want to host a seed swap and sow, cocktail party, February 9 at 2pm. If you are reading this, you are invited. The more seeds to swap, the better. Your invitation is coming. RSVP. I hate to run out of snacks.

The Thorns

“But he who dares not grasp the thorn, should never crave the rose.” -Anne Bronte

It’s December and being the typical human (specifically, a human in America) I want precisely that which I can not have. I want warm weather plants. I want summer flowers. I want ROSES!

*As I say that, I am channeling my inner Rosalind Russell, because I watched Auntie Mame while on my brief blogging holiday hiatus. I am spectacularly melodramatic at the moment.*

Back to ROSES! I, of all people, have no business growing roses. I’m a fairly lazy gardener. I love that by November, I can pull out all of the old, sad looking tomato plants and throw them in the compost pile. I don’t have to fix any problems or try to remember if they bloom on old or new wood next year. I just toss them and go. Dave handles all of the long-term plants that require commitment, such as the orchard trees and the berries. I, with my short attention span, like things that don’t stay too long (like good house guests and windy days on the central coast.) So why in the world do I want roses? I blame Michael Pollan.

The whole idea for roses came when I was reading Michael Pollan’s book, Second Nature, while visiting my friends Dan and Zach, last year. He had all the same problems with roses that I do: they are labor intensive, disease prone and down right gaudy. There is not nearly enough return for the amount of work they require. Then he went on to say that he had discovered antique roses and they are everything one may want in a rose. They are more disease resistant, less laborious and have a demure sort of beauty. And because it’s Michael Pollan, who has never steered me wrong, I believed him. I decided to add antique roses to my future garden.

Moving on to the second part of the saga, I had no intention of buying heirloom roses until we moved in. Not that we are ever-moving in but if, on the off-chance we do get to live in our house we have toiled over, I am going to plant roses. So there Dave and I were, at the National Heirloom Exposition, perusing the vendors and exhibits, soaking up ideas, when we had a moment of brilliance. Actually, I think it was Dave who had the moment of brilliance but I was right there for support. We decided to plant a period garden. The “period” in question, would be the era in which our house was originally built: 1936. We spent the rest of the Expo seeking out ideas for that garden. At some point, we ended up in the booth for an antique rose society, discussing our idea for the period garden. The ladies were thrilled (some of them could have been a feature in the garden, by nature of their birth year) and set out to find me the perfect rose. They hunted through their stock of roses and found me two that are easy(er) care with a magnificent scent. Modern roses have nothing on the roses of antiquity, as far as scent is concerned. Since I’m a plant addict, I bought them. I couldn’t resist, even though I knew I had no place to put them.

We ended up driving home with HM Felicia pb 1928 and HT Red Talisman rp 1931, buckled into the car.

 

So there you go. I have roses. I’m not sure what is going to become of them if we aren’t in the house by spring. I’m even more concerned if we do move in and I do plan them because then I have to take care of them. But one bloomed this summer. Felicia put forth two gorgeous blooms that smelled like one imagines a rose should smell. We could smell them from six feet away.

I hope the promise of their beauty is enough to keep me interested in their high maintenance antics because today, in the middle of winter, I really want roses and I’m willing to deal with the thorns.

Scenes From an Elementary School Garden

This is the time of year that I spend my weekends planting and by Monday, I’m so sore I can’t move. Today is one of those Mondays. My hands barely work. Instead of typing out one of the stories from our weekend of laboring at Redemption, I’m just going to post a few photos from Live Oak Elementary School’s garden. Last week we sold and donated about 35 plants to the garden. I’m sure the project director, Nesh is busy putting the plants in the ground this week, maybe she feels like I do.

I’m was excited to find out that Live Oak Elementary School has a garden. I’m sure it’s not easy to justify with budget cuts but I think it’s a very important endeavor. There are tons of studies behind it but nothing but good things happen when kids get involved in growing food.

We are proud to support projects that connect kids with their food. We like anything that unplugs our children and gets them outside connecting to their food. If you know of a non-profit garden project in need of plants, let us know, we would be happy to donate plants or other things they may need.

If At First You Don’t Suceed, Redo It Three Times

The base of the new greenhouse is six inches of pea gravel. When Dave and I were planning the greenhouse, we decided it would be nice to use some of our extra pavers to create a center work area. That way we wouldn’t be sinking in all the gravel and I would have a nice stable place to stand. I am amazingly clumsy. So as  you know, my husband installed the whole greenhouse pretty much by himself but I think by the time he got to the part where the pavers needed to go in, he was over it. He put the pavers down, then realizing the floor was uneven, he dumped some more rock on top of the pavers and called it a day. Do not think for one second that I blame him. I would have done the exact same thing but of course because I didn’t participate in the building of the greenhouse, I couldn’t just leave it like that. Someone as uncoordinated as I, should not be walking around on a wet, slippery, uneven floor. So while Dave was out doing manly type chores, I decided to dig all the pavers out from under the rock and redo the floor.

I toiled. I sweated. I cussed. I used a level.

I wore my scrunchie.

After two hours of work, all I had to show was sore hands and a big pile of bricks.

If you’ve ever done any sort of home improvement project you know, using a level is harder to use than it seems. The concept is simple the execution is complicated. All directions need to be level and in six inches of gravel, I was fighting a loosing battle. I gave up; I admit it. It was Saturday and I decided that I would try again on Sunday. Not only was nothing actually level, I didn’t like how the bricks were placed. The spaces were too wide. I was afraid of sticking my heel in a crack and going ass-over-tea-kettle (a very real possibility.) And my knees hurt from crawling around on the rocks.

On Sunday, round three, we came in with a new plan. I enlisted Dave’s help and he thought he should put redwood 2×4’s down as a guide for the bricks. That sounded like a good plan to me so he got to work. I photographed and admired.

He wore his hat but I might have been wearing a scrunchie so I have no room to talk.

Then I stopped gazing at his tape measure and started working. I had the brilliant plan to flatten the ricks by using a piece of 2×4 and running it between the guide rails. I was thinking of it like cake decorating, when you scrape the extra icing but Dave says it’s an actual technique used by actual construction people. I want to know why actual construction people didn’t mention this the first time we put the floor in. I put in the bricks by myself…alright…with minimal supervision and miracle of miracles, they were even. I even adjusted the spacing between rows so it was more appropriate for someone of my level of grace.

I also got smart and borrowed a set of knee pads from Dave.

So while it’s not perfect, I’m pretty happy with our floor. I’m glad we took the time to redo it because I’m not sure I could have endured years of tripping and falling.

The Myth of Early Spring

I’m a little worried about this:

That is our first asparagus shoot, reaching boldly for the sun. I’m worried because he’s not the only thing at the ranch that thinks it’s spring. I tried to tell the trees that it’s February and despite what that groundhog said, it’s not really spring. I tried to tell them, global warming doesn’t mean what they think it means. I tried to tell them that this is a false spring and it’s going to freeze again. They were uninterested in my proselytizing and continue to bud. Youths. What are you going to do?

Like children, I can only send them into the world and hope for the best. I will mulch them and water them and hope they survive the last cruel weather winter is bound to bring.

I hope the frost hold out until this asparagus is ready to pick.

Is that weird after I compared my plants to my children? Is there some sort of Greek pathos in there somewhere? Are children delicious, too?

Eh, they probably aren’t as good as asparagus.