Sunday, May 7, 2017

Sunday Walkabout 5-7

looks like Gus is watching the sunrise
(in fact, he's got his eye on a fox)
For weeks now, I’ve been looking for some sense of light at the end of the tunnel, some sort of sign that things are getting back to normal and we’re on our way to putting this behind us.

…and for weeks now, that has eluded me.

Maybe it’s time to stop looking and simply go on, making the best of the situation at hand.  
When we’re out there working together, it’s quite easy to forget about the events of the past six weeks, the concerns of the past six months. So... it’s time to just get on with life. Adjust to the “new normal” and work the plan. The surgeon says the healing process is complete. The Boss says he feels good. Yep…it’s time to stop worrying over what might happen and just BE in the moment.

swallowtail on lilac bush

Maybe this seems possible because any current problems seemed to pale in comparison to last week. The Boss has resumed many of his regular duties. The animals behaved, there were no cooked seedlings and personal meltdowns were held to a minimum. And, I think I may just have a handle on the health issues that have been dogging me for a long time.

on the way to Market

The fact that the CD player in the car bit the dust in a dramatic fashion seems barely worth mentioning. Talk about a first-world problem! But, I keep thinking how grateful I am that it didn’t go out while he was in the hospital. Quite honestly, I don’t know if I could have made the repeated solo trips over the mountain without Kenny Chesney’s "Cosmic Hallelujah"  (which is currently imprisoned in my broken CD player) I have no idea why this album helped me “find my zen” despite the frightening scenario and  the dreaded commute over the mountain with all its traffic issues. Maybe it was just a way to accept the whole situation…

 Well they say the sea is rising, well that's alright with me
'Cause there ain't no other place than on the sea I'd rather be
And that second comet's comin', it's right around the bend
And some day could be any day this world is gonna end
But that's alright, that's okay

There ain't nothin we can do about the whole thing anyway

We're just a hands-up roller coaster flyin' with no brakes.
We're just a speck of salt rollin' down a tidal wave.
We're just a Babe Ruth baseball hit over the wall.
We're just a drop of rain over a waterfall.

It's a hang on kinda ride,
We're spinning through space and time,
Rockin' this big old rock just tryna have some fun...

Let's take another crazy trip around the sun

Music has always been my therapy. It provides me focus or grants me comfort in ways nothing else does. So, to say I am relieved that the Boss says he can even do the repair work (saving us some serious $) is somewhat of an understatement.

But, maybe we really are making progress. Maybe we have gotten over this hurdle and can begin to move on with our plans…

...maybe there really is light at the end of the tunnel...maybe we just need to look for it...

morning light through the pines

Back in December as we were mapping out the gardens and making our plans for the year, the Boss assured me that “this would be the year...!” So far, 2017, has definitely been one for the record-books, just not the way he was predicting. But, maybe, just maybe things are improving.

sick plants
When all the brassica plants in the greenhouse began to look sickly back in early March, I couldn’t figure out what was wrong. (I really didn't need any more "issues" at the time) The Boss was called in for a consult. But, he was just as confounded. The sick feeling in the pit of my stomach grew as I watched all the leaves turn yellow, wither and fall off. No new leaves grew and approximately 95% of the crop withered and died despite my best efforts. I wanted to sit down and cry (or at the very least throw something). But, my only recourse was to try again. New flats, new potting mix and we were off again. This time the little plants thrived. (our best guess as to the problem was that somehow the potting soil had been contaminated---it was free because of the big hole in the bag---) But we were running at least two weeks behind…
healthy plants waiting to go in the garden

Setbacks, changes in plans and flat-out failures just go with the territory. You make a note of it and go on. Generally, our biggest issues are somehow weather-related. After 20 years of planting here on the hill, we have learned that patience is indeed a virtue and we’re not at all aggressive in our planting schedule.  We long ago stopped trying to be first to Market with certain crops. We’d rather be assured of success than take a chance with the weather. The plan was to put the brassicas in the garden during the week of April 18th. That didn’t happen.

Brassica planting day 2017 was May 3rd.
brassica planting day 2017

Considering that nearly all the plants died, the Boss had major surgery AND we had copious amounts of rain in the past month, we were amazed that we got the planting done at all. But, to just be two weeks behind…now, that may just qualify as a miracle! And, the plants were the perfect size.  (if the first plants had survived, they would have been far larger, terribly root-bound and may not have survived the transplanting) I guess everything really does work out in the long run.

marking the row

the plants are dipped in organic fertilizer

...and then hand-planted

All done!
praying for rain

Oh, and did I mention that we beat the rain? The day after we planted about 900 broccoli, cauliflower and cabbage plants we received nearly 2 inches of rain. So, the plants are off to a great start. In about 6 weeks, we should begin harvesting.

well-watered broccoli

The Boss even got some beans seeded, getting us even closer to our original schedule.
seeding beans

When the rain set in, I headed to the hoophouse. I am finally beginning to see some progress in #1. It’s been a long, hard haul but I’ve gotten a little more than half of the beds planted. I hesitate to say this out loud, but we may even have some greens for next week’s Market…
I was in my "work zone" and had no idea I was being photographed!
(until I downloaded my camera card)

Hoophouse #2 is a different story.

inside hoophouse #2

If I tell you we’re taking a different course with this structure, it may sound like I’m trying to put a positive spin on the fact that it presently looks like…well, it’s been abandoned and being reclaimed by nature…which I suppose is precisely what is happening.  But, if you can get beyond the mess, it’s kind of fascinating to see. Some weeds are truly beautiful.
wild lettuce seedhead

We really do have a plan and hope to get to executing some of that this week. (stay tuned for details)

Presently we are experiencing a bit of a lull in activity. Seeds have been started, but we are awaiting germination. It’s too early/too wet for a lot of outdoor work. The lambs are just growing...

Here they come!

following the shepherd

The broilers are just eating/growing—but, next week will be another “week of the chicken”. Since the Boss is slowly returning to his regular duties, I have no real idea what is up with the other chickens. I’m just thankful I don’t have to deal with broody hens!

Believe me
she is NOT a nice chicken! 

wet lilac
We had rain for Saturday’s Market (again). You can see the Boss' photos HERE.

If I have said it once, I’ve probably said it a million times…RAIN is NOT the forecast word you want to hear when you make your living at an open-air Market. But, since there is nothing one can do about the weather, you simply make the best of it. and, I’m here to tell you that this year isn’t as bad as we have seen it. One season (I think it was ’99) it rained for TEN Saturdays in a row. TEN. Fortunately, that record is not in danger this season.

The rain ushered in Blackberry Winter that took a lot of folks by surprise. I really don’t know why. Nearly every year we have a cold, damp spell in early to mid-May where we begin to wonder if those warm days of April were some sort of cruel joke. Sweaters and jackets must come back out of storage and smoke hangs in the hollows as those who heat with wood fire up the stove for what they hope is one last time. The old-timers say that this cold snap is necessary to the future bramble production (hence the term blackberry winter) and it generally only lasts three days. But, for those who put their tender plants in the garden during the beautiful warm days, it can be more than a little stressful.

this blossom represents a BLT in the future

There is a chance of frost again tonight and tomorrow, making us glad that we left the tomato plants in the greenhouse for a little while longer.

tomatoes in the greenhouse
The young brassica plants can handle the cold, and while the potato plants may get nipped back a little, they will indeed survive.
potato sprouts
(look closely, there is a potato beetle eating the plant BEFORE it emerges
guess pest eradication is another job for the week)

Weather is indeed the biggest challenge in this whole deal.

Today's cool, cloudy weather gives me a chance to catch up on some much-needed indoor cleaning…and perhaps a little down-time which is also much-needed.

watching the sunset

Hope you’re having a Happy Sunday! 

Thanks for stopping by. Come back and visit again real soon!


  1. I think "new normal" is an excellent way to describing things. Good that you can see the silver lining in some of your set backs. I hope everything continues in a positive way from here on in! -Jenn

  2. I am so pleased that things are looking up for you both, Barbara, You have been through a bad patch indeed - as I am now doing - but we must be positive and look forward. Sounds as though the Boss is feeling strong again - your new plants all look healthy and strong - you have weathered the storm and should be proud of doing so. Hope you have a good season all round.

    1. Thank you, Pat!
      You're in my thoughts and prayers.

  3. Wow, what a ton of work you do in a week! I'm so glad your hubby is on the mend, it can be so stressful trying to deal with health issues and a workload like that on your own.

    1. Thanks for taking the time to read and comment, Debbie!
      Come back and visit again. I'm off to see YOUR blog.