I start this on March 19 and I will just add to it till I get to where I can publish.
What they SAY was winter's last hoorah was over a couple days ago and I have been trying to get things moved into the garden and other places. I do not have very much time as I go in for outpatient shoulder surgery very soon. After that I may not be able to do much for awhile. If I have to I can take Hubs out, and he will do the things I cannot, if I show him what and where and tell him how. He doesn't get too involved with the garden except to till when and where I ask him to, and to mow where the grass grows, and to talk about it at the workout center. The doctor has told me he won't want me lifting for awhile. The MRI has revealed that I have some small torn places on my rotator cuff. Of course it is on the right-hand side. No, I don't know how it happened, I was fine till I knitted all those dang dishcloths around Thanksgiving time. I might've fallen, somewhere in there, I don't remember. I know I have fallen once in the last month, and considering all, it did no further damage beyond scaring the bejeezers out of me.
Today was a morning with not much breeze blowing, which is an oddity for us in the spring. Hubs has accumulated several piles of brush and I have been cutting it up into pieces that will fit in the burn barrel. The limbs, once shorn of the smaller branches, might make decent firewood if they were the right wood. One is the old peach tree, which didn't wake up this spring, and judging from the deep gouges the woodpecker has made into it, is probably full of termites. So not a good choice for the woodpile. The other piles are thorny lower branches of the Hedge Apple trees (Osage Apple, Bois d'Arc) that Hubs had been cussin' because they tend to reach out at him when he passes on the riding mower. So he took out every-other tree and trimmed off the lower branches of the ones that were left. These trees have a strong history in America's heartland. They were planted as wind-breaks and their wood was harvested for fence posts. Here's an article about them if you want to know more:
There are 57 comments on this particular page that are interesting and informative to read.
I know some people consider these to be "trash trees", and will be horrified to know that I actually planted them. But I like them, I like the "apples" that they make, and yes, I have a Mulberry "trash tree", too. Mulberry trees are habitat for the birds and they love the fruit. Just don't hang out wash while the mulberries are ripe, that's all I'm sayin'. These trees will grow where others will not, and unlike our pine trees, oak trees and pecan trees, have not been bothered by the roaming deer.
There are some people who say the Bois d'Arc wood makes good firewood, but I've also heard that it burns very hot and is dangerous to put in your fireplace. I found this website that provides more information on that topic: http://www.firewood-for-life.com/osage-orange-firewood.html . After having burned a lot of the small branches, I can tell you that the fire audibly snaps, crackles and pops and does throw out a lot of sparks. Which is really pretty and Fourth Of July-ish, as long as you pick a dewy morning to burn and don't have anything laying on the ground nearby that would ignite easily.
An early morning walk around the place reveals that the Fava beans are up and they germinated quite well. People have told me they hold each other up if they're planted closely together and considering the gale-force winds we get out here, I'm not taking any chances. I can tie them to the chain-link fence if I have to.
Every summer and fall I cut off the zinnia flowers after they've begun to lose their petals and started to turn brown. I keep them in a brown paper grocery bag and they seem to finish up drying just fine that way. At some point during the winter I go through the bag and strip the flower heads down to the internal "cone" and throw that away. It's too labor intensive to try to filter out the seeds from all the resulting "chaff", so I just keep it all and in the spring I cast it all out onto the ground where I want zinnias to grow. It has not failed me in the years I've been doing it, the chaff seems to help cover the seeds. And then after a couple of rains, there are seedlings. Earth to earth. So I cast zinnias this morning during my "walk-about".
Some of the Wintersown seeds have grown plants big enough to transplant now. I get varied results with Wintersowing. Sometimes nothing comes up. Maybe it got too hot in the milk jug. Maybe it was too wet, too dry. Maybe I had seedlings ready to emerge right before a freeze that were killed. You win some, you lose some.
About this time in the spring I cut the top off the jug, so any plants can begin the hardening off process. Where nothing has emerged, I just dump the growing medium onto the ground and mark it, in case there may be some seeds that will eventually germinate.
Where germination has happened sparsely, I tip the tray over into my hand and then back upright, gently, in a similar-sized depression I've made in the soil, somewhere. I mark this too, so that Hubs won't weedwack it down, or I won't dig into it, forgetting that it's been planted there, and thinking it's some kind of weed. Been there, done that. It's the plants that tightly fill the container that are the problem. they're in a tangle and many times hard to separate. Many people just tear the soilpad into pieces and whatever plants come with it get planted, where hopefully there will be at least one that has enough intact root to go ahead and make the transition to its new spot.
These are little bundles of Blue Vates kale that was done in just that way. They'll duke it out and the strongest will live. It's nature's way.
While I was out in the garden, I kept noticing a very sweet, somewhat spicy, scent on the air. It turned out to be the thornless current bushes that Paula gave to me last time I was there.
The birds just LOOOOOVE these. I'll have to cover them with netting soon. The Mockingbirds and Robins will eat the currents before they are even ripe.
I love all our birds, even though they tend to raid the trees. They do a lot of insect control. Every time I dig out a grubworm, I put it in a tray that has a raised edge, so they aren't able to crawl out, and next time I go to deposit one (or more), the one(s) I put in before are gone. I almost never see what gets them but Hubs says it's the Robins and sometimes a Bluebird. They are all looking over possible nesting places and searching for building materials.
Birds must have insects and worms to feed to their young, and there is a huge supply for them here.
This is now Thursday, March 23. We've had a little cold snap but nothing down into freezing. Gotta love Oklahoma. One day it's 92 for the high and we're about to need the air-conditioner on. The next day it only gets into the 40's.
Surgery is tomorrow, I'm trying to get finished up. I'm not going to get it all done, but I promised Hubs I wouldn't obsess over it. If the garden dies, it dies. I'm only doing what I can, coming in to take a break, going back out, and so on. We haven't had a decent rain in a long time, and there are wildfires burning at what, at this point, is a safe distance away from us. We just never know what the next day will bring. Storms are due tomorrow, and I'm concerned about getting caught in a hailstorm or worse while we are out on the highway between here and Tulsa. I can reschedule and I will if I think I have to, but dealing with the pain in my shoulder is really wearing me down and, considering that the weather people don't really know from one day to another what's going to happen, which is obvious every time I check the forecast, it's really hard to know what to do.
It is still windy as the bejeezers. Not good for our volunteer firemen fighting those fires. Not good for my baby plants being tucked into the garden probably a little too soon. Not good for plants coming up out there from seed in soil that dries out faster than I can keep it watered.
This is now Monday, 3/27. I had my surgery and am hitting these keys one at a time. Dr. did not talk to me but what I got from the information he gave Hubs is that I had a bone spur, which tore a place in my rotator cuff. He removed the spur and repaired the tear and said I should heal well. I am spending six hours on what I call "the wing-flapper", two hours at a time, each day, and am otherwise required to keep my arm in a sling. I'm not without pain but most of the time it's less than the pain I had before surgery. Except that I'm not allowed to use my arm and so the pain will probably come in at that point, which I assume is two weeks post-surgery because that's when the Wing-Flapper goes away. So I.m watching A LOT of TV and you KNOW how easily I am prodded into rants. It's just that now I can't make my typing keep up with my thinking.
We've had a couple storms and a good rain. The lilacs and redbuds are in bloom.
God bless you and God bless me. Hugs xoxoxo