February 19, 2016

Garden revamp

The last couple of years I have not been happy with the way the garden produced so over the winter I had the soil analyzed. I was afraid that I had been adding too much old horse manure, throwing the soil out of balance. Surprisingly to me, I was told that the garden needed lime to sweeten the soil which flies in the face of every desert gardening book that states that desert soils are alkaline. This goes to show that soil tests definitely are worth the money and that books can be wrong.

When I first started the garden, I laid out 4 foot wide beds that really are a bit wide to manage comfortably and were larger than the wildlife protection cages. What good does that do? So this year, rather than adding tractor buckets of horse manure, I decided to re-dig all the beds and relay them out to 3 foot by 10 feet in length. This gives me more room to walk around the beds too. Dan is not one to garden, but helped with the digging and the re-layout was totally his job. We just finished today in comfortably cloudy conditions.

We will be visiting our friends Pat and Maureen in Florida for a week, so the beds can rest, and earth worms resettle, before appropriate amendments added when we return. It is a work in process.

The fruit trees are blooming! The pears are full of blooms, the early peach is almost being carried off by pollinators and the apricot should have lots of fruit, barring a late freeze. It is still winter, but also spring.

February 11, 2016

Prune day

What a difference a week makes! Last week I was dealing with a wrapped, frozen water pipe and today two of the fruit trees are starting to bloom. Temperatures are in the 70's and everywhere in the house the windows are open.

Phil came over today to "help" prune the fruit trees. I am learning, but the majority of the pruning is still done, or at least suggested, by Phil. The grapes and all the trees were pruned and a couple of them, one peach and the plum, underwent some serious trimming to give them shape for health as well as fruit production. As every Spring, the trees look great and I think our timing was perfect.

I am pretty excited as these are the first blooms on the Comice pear tree. I love Comice pears!

February 9, 2016

Spring day

After the cold of last week it is a relief to have a sunshiny day with temperatures in the low 70's. A snow day once in awhile is good fun, but the long and short of it is that I need to be outside to be happy. It is hard to believe that today a year ago I had an apple tree in bloom.

This morning saw me raking up the chicken yard and digging up another garden bed. There are no greens left for the hens now, so I put a flake of alfalfa for them to be entertained and get a little extra green, even if it is dry. The old matriarch, Goldie, recognized what it was and immediately hopped on, scratched the surface to loosen it, and dug in. The new girls were more hesitant but as I write, everybody is having a great time.

While digging in the garden I had some company: one of the Cooper's hawks was on the fence, digesting an early bird. I wish he would stay around and concentrate on rodents instead. I could use his help in the garden, judging by the tunnels I found and fence not withstanding.

February 1, 2016

Some snow, some wind, some cold

This is what it was like here early this morning but, as usual, storms do not last very long. I always worry about the animals, throwing out feed by buckets. Everybody seems to adapt, sitting in the lee of the house waiting for weather to clear, hummer included.

I considered leaving the horses in their stalls but, given enough food, they don't seem to mind either. Cody, the Oregonian, adores mud and both he and Bueno ran around like happy horses.

Emma and I are cozy inside on the couch. A good day for working on the garden seed order and some clam chowder, while Dan is staying warm photographing wildlife in Yellowstone National Park.