Category Archives: Growing and gardening

Pond-tackling day!

Organic matter? Who, me?

It didn’t take terribly long to tear out the old pond liner.  Although it’s brittle and full of slits, I consider it very valuable still for suppressing weeds and grass in other places.  It’s heavy stuff, still, en masse, and  moving the sediment and displacing the small pocket of remaining water and swamp was dirty and tiring.Could it be that easy?  Of course not.  Naturally, there’s an older liner beneath the black, 5ml poly, only peeking out in places, and mostly entirely buried under no less than 6” of thick clay.

I'm getting better at taking before pictures

That’s the bad news.  There’s much more clay than I thought.  Also sand, and not too well mixed together.  It seems once water flowed through this pond, and left considerable sediment over the poly layer, which had original sandy soil beneath it.  Now there are distinct layers, and I’ve been hours slowly tugging and working out the plastic from between the two, so that it can be tilled. Continue reading Pond-tackling day!

The five pallet compost

First things first.  We need a compost.

Before
After

The flu released me this morning.  After three days of staggering anytime I needed to move, and fearing fainting at any moment, I’m surprised to feel practically full strength immediately.  I cleaned up a number of little nests of junk that were making my eyes hurt today.  That was quite esthetically satisfying.

One of the major nests was lamentably in the ideal location for a compost bin (thanks for finding it, Mogi).  By the horse manure pile, where stink and flies already make their home, out of sight of our dwellings, and in Mucky’s turf, where the bear fears to tread.

It all went shockingly smooth and faster than I expected.  When does that happen?  Lumber (and random fencing, barbed wire, garbage, tarps, etc) out, pallets in, and … we’re done.  Practically built itself.  There’s only about a half-dozen nails in this.

Pallets rule.  I have weird affection for pallets, because I appreciate the (very, very, I know) simple elegance of their design and their underrated versatility and workhorse endurance.   Continue reading The five pallet compost

Pumpkin seeds

Washing pumpkin seeds before the last pumpkin pies of the year from my modest garden.  These were very nice sweet pie pumpkins with rich golden orange flesh, and I look forward to growing next year from the saved seeds.  Just thinking of how many pumpkins the seeds from one pumpkin could produce, and then how many pumpkins the following year…it’s as boggling as counting stars!

Fat cat; raw cat food recipe

The queen in her cozy glory

Kevin is bobbing her head to smell the air as I stir up a batch of bloody meat, liver, and kelp for her.  What is that alluring aroma?

I was concerned about Kevin having enough meat on her bones to stay well as it gets colder.  She had a little sneeze for a week that made me feel terrible.  Seeing as our environment is only partly temperature-controlled, and she’s so skinny, I went on a campaign to  fatten her up, and it’s working!

The chicken hearts were a big hit.  Sometime after those, she noticeably put on some weight, and now she looks more proportional for her petite size.  Continue reading Fat cat; raw cat food recipe

It’s zucchini season!

Every year, there’s that time in August when everyone you know asks if you can use any more zucchini, and then lays one on you the size of two footballs.  We did not plant any zukes this year, leaving command of the garden to various squash, which preserve better.

CIMG9903I forgot to take a picture until after using 2/3 of the largest one (seen cut), and a preceding zucchini equalling that size, which has already been turned into muffins.  Muffins are my preferred method of making zucchini edible.  You can’t hide something that size in a salad.  Production is well into the hundreds of muffins made so far, many of which enjoy freezer cryostasis atm.  While plundering local egg resources, I’ve also been using up lots of old rye flour and cocoa in the same swoop – how I accumulated so much cocoa powder is a mystery.

This is the best zucchini muffin recipe I’ve found.  Note- high zucchini to egg ratio, and you can get more zucchini in there than it calls for, too.  Easy combining – I prefer “throw it all in a bowl” instructions to mincing around with delicate arcane techniques like “sifting” and “folding”.  Folding is for bath towels!  And very flexible.  Have added sunflower seeds, pine nuts, cocoa, coconut, oil vs butter, fake eggs, dates, milk, apples, and almonds as they came to hand, and the muffins still work.

A succulence of tomatoes

CIMG9905This is my favorite way to eat tomatoes, en masse!  Wedged, drenched (or is that, “dredged”?) in fresh ground black pepper and swept with sea salt.  Meow!  Definitely can’t stop at just one.  Like spoonfuls of creamed honey direct from the bucket when I was little, I can go through tomatoes like this until I feel ill.

Today my big mission, considering my current limitations, was staking the late tomatoes- the second round of starts that are just showing their first fruits.  I gave the early tomates some love too- doses of organic fertilizer all around.
Most of my tomatoes are in pots but the one with free roots in the garden is eNORMous, with over a dozen thick stems loaded with giant fruit.

I wasn’t fast enough with the camera, but I watched a happy jay pull a peanut out of a tomato pot I hadn’t reached yet. I hope he was surprised as I was.  There were no peanuts in there when I planted!  Mayhap the jay was plundering a squirrel stash.