Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Cold Snap

Just when I get everything going in the greenhouse the weather up and does a turn around. Spent a good while today moving everything back into the basement on hurriedly set up benches and rigged lighting. It will have to do for a few days while the night temperatures fall below freezing. Actually, I can keep the greenhouse warm enough if the temps don't fall too low but I'm trying to germinate seeds and that takes warmer instead of cooler. Still haven't started the tomatoes yet but all the peppers are up and growing so that's something. I've also got a good little stand of broccoli and cabbage going that should be able to go into the garden in a couple of weeks. Progress.

I did get one great gift from Mother Nature yesterday. I saw a pair of Pileated Woodpeckers in the woods behind the house  which was special.

Friday, February 21, 2014

Two Months Wasted Near 'bout

Been a few days since I posted anything but I have an excuse. Besides all my other issues with recovering from the surgery Madam decided it was necessary to bring home a head cold. She suffered with it last week and through the weekend and I took over the first of the week. I hit the zinc and vitamin C hard, rested and drank gallons of water with lemon and I am actually feeling better today. I also didn't mention the very painful stye that erupted on my lower right eyelid the other week. Still a bit of hematoma there but it is much better. I'm pretty sure the imbalance in my system from the stress of surgery coupled with the lack of exercise had something to do with it. My blood sugar had been about 20 points higher than it should be since the surgery and only in the last week has it been creeping back down to where it should be. My native staph population seems to act up when my blood chemistry goes off and even if I didn't check my blood sugar I would know it was off just from that.

Pretty nice weather this week...even shirtsleeve but the head cold kept me from getting anything done in the garden. I did get all the early seeds in trays and set on their way. Onions(cippoline), shallots, and leeks along with broccoli, cabbage and Brussels sprouts. I'll wait a week and then move on to the herbs and flowers. Another two weeks for tomatoes and a second batch of peppers. The second batch of peppers will be strictly for putting by and will mostly be an heirloom Greek pepper or pepperoncini of the variety Stavros. I'll also put in some chili Arbol which are nice an small and which dry well on the vine. They have good heat and have the added bonus of not being an annual. You can keep them over the winter in the greenhouse or even a Southern window and get fresh peppers year round. I had a beautiful one in the greenhouse that was about 5 years old but the hard freeze we had this year got it since I wasn't paying attention and didn't bring it in. Truth be told, it was in a pot that was too heavy for me to lift while recovering. I saved seeds though so I am ready to go.

Supposed to be a nice weekend and I am hoping one more good night's sleep will bounce me back enough to get going in the garden. I did get the beds cleared and all the debris in the composter but they all have to be turned and readied for the spring planting. We had a good thunderstorm last night which dumped some rain we really didn't need but one of the advantages of the raised beds is that they drain well. It's only going to be a couple of weeks (tax day) when I put in potatoes and green peas.

Madam and Miss Zoey should be back from "That Dirty Dog" and Zoey's bath and toenail clip soon and I actually feel up to cooking dinner tonight so I'll get that underway. Let's all keep our fingers crossed that yours truly can move beyond this lost first two months of 2014.

Monday, February 17, 2014

Spring Commit

OK, all the pepper seed is started as are the egg plant and hardy herbs. In three weeks the tomatoes join in. It's the race until April 15th and the beginning of serious gardening. Of course, between now and then we will be planting peas, potatoes,and all the other "spring"  stuff as well. I am two months behind on building beds and still not cleared for heavy stuff so it will be close.

Tuesday, February 11, 2014

Winter. Part Two

Looks like we are in for it again this week. Right now it is snowing here in the Northern burbs of Atlanta though according to the weather folks it is supposed to be raining. Snow is better than rain when the temperature is hovering near freezing. The big hit is supposed to be tonight and tomorrow with about 18 hours of precipitation and freezing temperatures. Let's hope it is snow and not an ice storm, which in these parts are really bad. The local pines don't do well with the layers of ice and come down everywhere. If it is an ice storm then we will likely lose power for some time.

I've got a batch of sourdough bread fermenting and a mess of pinto beans soaking. I have a gas range so even if we lose power I can cook. If my bread comes ready to bake and we have no power I will have to do it in a Dutch oven on the charcoal grill. Still another reason for me to get going on building my wood fired oven, right?

So I guess we are down for the next few days. Madam is supposed to have a Valentine's party with her cronies today at noon. The roads are still fine so I guess they will still go ahead with it. Other than that we are ready for whatever comes.

Wednesday, February 05, 2014

Not The Best News

I went for my post op today and whole the actual healing is going fine it seems I have a hematoma as a result of the surgery and that explains the pain and swelling almost three weeks since the procedure. Evidently it happens on occasion when all the juggling around of body parts during surgery causes some damage. The net result is I am still grounded and will be for another 4 weeks. The good news is I can ride a stationary bike,,just no weights. Going to challenge me to get the garden in.

Sunday, February 02, 2014

It's A Forest/Trees Thing

David Atkins over at Hulabaloo has a good take on the frustrations we are having with trying to get the reality of climate change talked about as seriously as it should be. Couple this frustration with the latest idiot decision on the Keystone Pipeline and it becomes insane.

The thing is, we humans have real trouble grasping the true "big" picture especially if it is something we would rather not hear. We like to reduce it into manageable bites, that may individually be pretty bad but not nearly as bad as the "big" picture.

The Keystone XL pipeline and tar sands are a prime example of this. The pipeline is awful. It will leak...we know it and it will leak in the worst possible places. It will virtually destroy the most important aquifer in the world and pollute the breadbasket of the world. The ancillary environmental damage will be awful and who knows how many men, women and children will be affected by the pollution. All tragedies and all multi-generational...maybe a couple of million people will actually die. Expanding the use of tar sands will be insane as well...increasing pollution globally. Horrible.

While millions dying or sickened by the pipeline and the tar sands is bad it is actually not that bad when compared to the "big" picture. The reality is that if we make it possible and actually burn all the oil extracted from the Canadian reserves we will destroy the planet and that means humans and the majority of all other life gone forever.

We can dither and wobble over pipeline leaks and pollution and cancer and all but it is just a distraction so we won't have to think about the end of life on the planet.

The sad thing is that I am not sure the race has the mental fortitude and stability to actually grasp and tackle the problems we are truly facing. If I am correct then we are doomed to a painful death in the near term.

Blessed Imbolc

Here we are at the midpoint between the Winter Solstice and the Spring Equinox known as Imbolc. Imbolc is one of four major pagan sabbats, or holidays, along with Beltane, Lughnasadh and Samhain. For some it is also called Brigid's Day, Imbolc honors the Celtic goddess of fire, fertility, midwifery and the young.

The term 'Imbolc' derives from Old Irish and means "in the belly," or alternately "ewe's milk." The interpretation lends significance to the holiday as a celebration of fertility, reproduction and the young -- all overseen by the goddess Brigid.

Imbolc observes the waning of winter and approach of spring. Pagans often use fire and other forms of light to encourage the lengthening of day.

Imbolc is also called Oimealg by the Druids, and is the festival of the lactating sheep. It is derived from the Gaelic word "oimelc" which means "ewes milk". Herd animals have either given birth to the first offspring of the year or their wombs are swollen and the milk of life is flowing into their teats and udders.

Now is is the time for the Blessing of the seeds and the consecration of agricultural tools.

Today marks the center point of the dark half of the year. It is the festival of the Maiden, for from this day to March 21st, it is her season to prepare for growth and renewal. Brighid's snake emerges from the womb of the Earth Mother to test the weather, (the origin of Ground Hog Day), and in many places the first Crocus flowers began to spring forth from the frozen earth.

For those of us that try and follow the old ways and are focused on our gardens and our own little bit of the earth this is truly a high holy day and a very important time for us. Spring is just around the corner and we will soon be placing the first of our seeds and tubers in the ground.

Have a blessed day and wondrous spring. Don't forget to light a candle today to encourage the increasing light.