Saturday, February 29, 2020

February's Garden (2020)

Sometimes you can't win for losing.  Last month I complained about a slug infestation so I left the hoop houses open for the birds. Without warning, a snowstorm slipped in during the dark of night.  The covers had been removed so everything was blanketed in snow.  Nothing was damaged because it melted quickly.

Today the garden is almost empty - only enough is left for a few more meals. It is a disappointment when compared to past gardens in February.  Next winter we want more.

To achieve that goal, I must overcome two major failures from this past year: summer drought and an early hard freeze.  Many plants died during the summer drought and the early, unexpected freeze that killed 60% of the winter garden seedlings (the temperature went from 75 to 26 degrees (F) in one day).

Working harder is not an option since I am physically unable to do more. Working smarter will be my plan.  

To combat the drought, I plan on organizing my garden better so water won't be wasted.  Water guzzlers will be planted together and next year's hoop houses will be side by side so the sprinkler can reach all of them at once.  Installing a drip system is also under consideration.

To fight the early, hard freeze, all hoop houses will be installed long before any chance of a hard frost. In a normal year (does that even exist any more?) the weather slowly cools so the plants can adjust.  Using a double layer of coverings for the first hard frost might help so it will be tried. 

Assorted Swiss Chards

Enough seeds and seedlings were planted, but too many were killed by the harsh weather. As a test, my favorite buttercrunch lettuce was never harvested and it managed to grow all winter. It is possible to grow over 300 different varieties of vegetables deep into the winter in lower middle Tennessee zone 6b/7a. Winter vegetables are rare and awesome - next year I will have more. I just need to figure out how to do it.

Buttercrunch Lettuce

Last Month's January Garden (2020)
Last Year's February Garden (2019)
February's Garden (2018)
February's Garden (2017)
A Snow Day Adventure
Through the Garden Gate

Sunday, February 23, 2020

Scooter's Abyss

It has been raining non-stop forever and when we finally had a clear day, I (Scooter) offered to lead Mom and Dustin on a neighborhood reconnaissance mission.  Fresh mud puddles have the best flavor and highest nutritional value.

As protector of my pack, it falls to me to sniff out anything dangerous.

Mother is oblivious to everything except wildflowers; but, since there weren't any, she decided to admire the local rocks.  Why, oh, why does Mom love rocks?

Being a genius investigator, I discovered something dangerous lurking at the edge of our road.  It just appeared and isn't noticeable until you are close. 

Do you see it now?

A massive pothole is devouring my road!

Of course, I discovered it first.

I yelled at Dustin to warn him, "DON'T FALL IN!"

He clings to me when he is afraid.

It is the biggest, most hazardous pothole in the universe and since I found it, we all agreed it should be named after me.  Explorers often name discoveries after themselves so it is decreed to be  "Scooter's Abyss." (Maps and GPS coordinates will soon be updated).

It was unsafe and threatened to swallow cars so Mom called our local county's Department of Pothole Annihilation and requested a road repair crew be dispatched.  They quickly obeyed.

Their excellent work met my strict standards.  However, everyone knows potholes will multiply if left unguarded.  Since it is in my territory, it is now my responsibility to watch over this vanquished enemy so it never returns.  The world can sleep easy tonight - I am on duty!

Rocks in My Neighborhood
Happy Birthday, Nana! Love, Scooter (Another exciting neighborhood walk)

Saturday, February 15, 2020

First Blooms of the Year!

Only because it is a family tradition, today I went in search of a cheerful blooming crocus to show to my Mom.  It was not a success.  As soon as any buds appear, a storm blows in and shreds it to pieces.  This is the best-looking bunch and it isn't impressive.

If it wasn't for the pansies Reese gave me last year, my yard would look dismal...just like the middle of February! (Have I mentioned before how much I hate the month of February? Especially when it has an extra day.)

My daffodils are waiting for a bit of dry weather and sunshine before they come to life - the same can be said about me.

There are 48,960 minutes before spring and I am counting each one.

First Blooms of the Year! (2019)
First Blooms of the Year! (2018)
First Blooms (2017) Hope is on the Way.

Saturday, February 8, 2020

Snow Day Adventure

I awoke at sunrise yesterday morning to an unforecasted snowstorm.  Changing the prediction late at night to "light snow flurries possible" doesn't count as a fair warning in my opinion.

The family was asleep when I again checked the weather report (like they were going to be right this time after being so wrong yesterday?)  It was "supposed" to quickly warm up to the mid-forties, there had been a violent rainstorm the day before so the snow would not last long on the warm ground.  If I was going to play in the snow, it had to be now.

It was Bill's day off, he was sleeping late, surely he wanted to be awakened at dawn to see the snow?  Right?  

I said to him, "Earlier this week you said you didn't want to spend the weekend doing chores but instead wanted to do something fun.  Let's go driving in the snow!  You can fight the icy roads with the heater on high while I ride with the window down taking pictures.  It will be an adventure!"

He wasn't convinced but drug himself out of bed anyway.

It was a breath-taking winter wonderland!  The temperature was hovering at 31 degrees (F) so the wet flakes were huge and for a short while, it was magical.  However, the brown dappled horse was unimpressed - he's seen it all before.

Every scene was transformed, even the railroad tracks I cross daily became a mystical place. 

Since I had promised Bill an adventure (plus breakfast at his favorite restaurant), we turned down an isolated backroad with dangerous warnings.  Not a place to be after two days of heavy rain.

It was worth the risk for the views.  There was a large flock of turkeys stuck in the road unable to figure out how to fly over the fence to join the others in the field (turkeys are really stupid birds).

Their friends safely inside the protected field didn't seem to miss them.

As the snow began melting and the creeks rising, we began to see the reason for the warning signs.

Nope.  Not crossing that creek.  It was time to turn around and head to town for breakfast.  The adventure was ending.

It was marvelous for a little while, well, at least for me and then I spied these weather-beaten daffodils beside the road.  They are the first I have seen this year: now, I have hope spring will eventually arrive...someday.

Another stupid turkey link
Not Yet a Butterball

Linked up with: The Barn Collective @ Tom the Backroads Traveler