Friday, January 29, 2021

January's Garden (2021)

Methinks winter has arrived.

Below is December 26th after five days of bitter storms.  The nighttime temperatures were in the lower '20s (F) and during the daytime, it hardly rose above the '30s (F).  The wind blew so hard it knocked the chairs off of the front porch twice.

Everything looks damaged but they are really fine. This previous post explains how plants survive and why their flavor improves in cold weather "Winter Garden - Sunlight Hours".

They can endure cold, wind, and low sunlight, but not all three at once.  This time it was the high winds that made it hard to endure. If I lived in a windier area, I might use more protection like a thicker cover or two layers.

Two days later on December 28th, the storm passed, the weather improved, it warmed up to the '40s (F), and the plants recovered. 

Below are the collard greens on December 28th. 

The picture above is of the same collard greens as in the picture below.  The picture below is exactly one month later on January 28th - nothing has changed.  The collard greens have endured additional storms and haven't died but neither have they grown.  This is the reason it is necessary to plant so much in the fall to last us through the winter: there is almost no growth. The other rows of vegetables that can't withstand the harsh weather have been eaten.  

Big gaps are appearing in the rows as the supply dwindles.  If it were any other time of the year, more seedlings would be shoved into the empty spots.  Wintertime is only for harvesting and resting.

This Tatsoi has begun to bolt.  We are past the winter solstice, the days are lengthening, so they have been triggered to go to seed.  

As for the rest of the garden, there is still an abundance of greens.  

However, not everything is perfect - it never is when gardening.  Nothing in the middle bed below is doing well.  I didn't weed it because there were radishes planted between the bigger plants.  When I opened the hoop house, the leaves were dripping wet.  

The root is rotting on the Conquistador Celery and the leaves are turning brown on the Cascade Glazed Collards.  Neither of these two plants have impressed me this year - the celery tasted bitter all summer until after frost and every bug and slug in the world is attracted to this collard.

The De Cicco Broccoli has black on the leaves and head but at least the new growth is better.

I left the cover off for a few days so the birds could solve the slug problem.  However, I think there isn't enough circulation due to the weeds. My solutions are to either: sit out there in the freezing weather and weed (no way) or to pick what I can and then plow this area (yes) and next year plan on putting all the root crops in a separate bed and mulch the rest of the garden (yes, a good plan indeed).

First crocus of spring attempting to bloom on January 19th.

I am already planning for spring. The last of my seed orders arrived yesterday. Today, I stopped by My Favorite Country Store to see if potatoes and onions are in yet. He said everyone in town has stopped by to ask.  Seems like we are all eager for spring.  In a few weeks, I will be starting peppers but there is no big rush to do anything right now.  There is still plenty in the freezer, pantry, and garden to keep my menfolk happy.

Winter Garden - Sunlight Hours

Friday, January 22, 2021

Happy New Year! 2021

Happy belated New Year.  I couldn't put up my highly anticipated annual New Year's Day Memorable Mailbox post because we were without internet.  It was 2020 - nothing that happened last year was normal anyway, so, better late than never.  The following is an award presentation of the exciting mailboxes I have driven past in 2020 whilst ignoring quarantine. There is nothing illegal about taking the longest route to the grocery store. I have always been a rebel at heart.

The first award is for "the most creative use of material that happens to be on hand."  Bill spied this one first.  He stopped the car in the middle of the road, looked at me, and said, "Don't you see it?" Expecting a huge buck with a massive rack to be hidden in the woods, it took me a while to notice the mailbox. The owners cut a hole in a tree trunk and shoved the mailbox in!  

The first runner-up was either originally a stone mailbox that had been smashed by a car hence the abundance of reflectors across the front and side or the owner plopped the box on a stone wall and cemented it down. What a mess. Even though they tried to hide the unsightly trash can behind it, this piece of art doesn't work. The whole thing was an eyesore not to mention the mailman had to jump a ditch to reach it. 

As for third place in this category, there is a fine line between being creative or just plain lazy.

The next category is, "What is that thing, where did they find it, and what possessed them to make it into a mailbox?"  

This one wins the award for the most threatening mailbox.  It orders all by-passers to:

It worked - we slowed down to gawk at the sign.

This mailbox is awarded the "most lonely."  The street address was #1 but nowhere was there a #2 or any other mailboxes.

There also wasn't a driveway, a house, car tracks into the woods nor powerlines.  We drove up and down the road looking but found nothing.

This is an example of excellent craftsmanship and beautiful artwork that was made by an artist with talent.  The owners were brave to leave the bear sitting beside the road where any thief with the address of 2820 could snatch it.  It is impressive.

These are the honorable mentions.

The best was saved for last and placed in every category.  "What is it?" Does anyone know what this is or what it used to do? "Creative use of materials close at hand." It must have been stored in the barn for decades and the owner was tired of stumbling over it so it was rolled out to the street. 

The workmanship was impressive.  It was built to last forever and appears to be able to do that. It even placed in the "lonely" category because there can't possibly be another mailbox like this in the world. Without being threatened, we slowed down, parked, got out, circled it repeatedly, and took multiple pictures.  Obviously, we gawked.

The winner of the best, most memorable mailbox I drove past in 2020 is this thing...whatever it is.

Here's wishing everyone a dull and boring 2021!  Doubt it will happen but here's wishing anyway.

Reader Rose identified the unknown mailbox as an antique manure spreader! Creative people can think of ideas no one else ever would. I suppose that is why they are creative.

Picture from Pinterest

Previous year's mailbox awards.