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No Lost Time

April 14th, 2015

When you’ve been anticipating spring for so long you pounce as soon as it arrives. Yesterday it was 68 degrees and sunny. The 5×5 Challenge garden thawed out and I seeded it with radishes and spinach. We have several sliding glass doors that I will lay on top to act as a cold frame of sorts. That should help warm the soil even more so the crop gets going faster.
planting in spring 1
planting in spring 2
The potager in the back is also thawing out nicely. In a week or two I’ll be putting up the fence and planting all the lettuces from under the grow lights. It was so nice to get my hands in the dirt and feel the sun on my back. I’m really looking forward to the coming gardening season and all the delicious fresh veg!

What are you planting right now?

Soil Blocking

April 7th, 2015

Now that I have more rugged seed trays I started making soil blocks to see how they compare to the other seed starting trays/methods I’ve tried. I’m always excited to try new things, sometimes they work, sometimes they don’t. I’ve tried soil block a few years in the past without much success. This year I finally go the hang of it. I’ve never had my potting soil wet enough.
soilbocks 1
soilbocks 2
The next batch of seed I start I will also seed a plastic tray at the same time with the same variety so I can monitor them throughout the season. Soil block are supposed to produce seedlings that don’t get as much of a shock when transplanted because of the air pruning of the roots. The only way to know for sure is to try both methods at once. I’ll keep you posted on my findings.

Are you doing any fun gardening experiments this year?

Happy as Clams

April 2nd, 2015

All of the birds are happy as clams. As the snow recedes they immediately go to the fresh ground and start scratching away. No doubt there will be a few bare spots in the lawn where they have congregated for the past few weeks.
chickens in spring 1
Thankfully, more and more area are opening up so they can spread out a bit and kick through leaves, which they prefer to grass. They linger much longer outside now that the days are getting warmer, sunnier, and longer. I can’t close up the coop until it’s dark, even then there are often chickens outside the door trying to enjoy the last bit of daylight.
chickens in spring 2
With the spring will also come foxes and other predators. As soon as the snow melts it will be time to put up the electric fences and get them going once again. Until then the chickens will enjoy being 100% free range.
chickens in spring 3
I notice the wild birds are also out and about more. As I gather sap during the day I hear more and more birdsong. It’s a beautiful thing to hear and see animals and birds string in the wild once again.

Are you noticing more birds and wildlife as spring comes?

In Like a Lion, Out Like a Lion?

March 31st, 2015

You know the saying about March “In like a lion, out like a lamb”. That is not proving to be the case this year. Yesterday it snowed and snowed, then a little more snow fell. I was out visiting a friend and running errands, I almost couldn’t make it back up the driveway when I got home because it was so slick.
march 2
march 1
The spot of bare ground in my back yard is covered over once again. At least it will melt of quickly and show itself perhaps tomorrow or the day after. I remember many an Easter egg hunt as a kid with a dusting of snow and wearing winter coats. We tend to forget that spring is almost always long in coming, perhaps the anticipation gives us amnesia.

Do you have memories of Easter egg hunts with snow and warm coats?

Maple Sapping

March 30th, 2015

‘Tis the season for maple sap. This year I’m not doing as much as I usually do. The snow is still way to deep to get to many of my trees and collecting sap in snowshoes isn’t the easiest thing in the world. I tapped our Big Old sugar maple right across the driveway from the house (photo from last year, there’s still a foot of snow on the ground here).
maple tree
I’m also making it a light sugaring year because I’m having some chiropractic work done for my scoliosis, which acts up every now and then. I’m hoping to get it all straightened out before gardening season is in full swing. I’m keeping my fingers crossed the pain is much more bearable at that point in time, not carrying heavy buckets of sap through the woods should help. I should still get a gallon or so of syrup, even just from this one tree. That is more than enough since I still have three gallons left from last year.

What’s happening in your garden this week?

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This is a daily journal of my efforts to cultivate a more simple life, through local eating, gardening and so many other things. We used to live in a small suburban neighborhood Ohio but just recently moved to 153 acres in Liberty, Maine.