Sunday, March 27, 2011

Last Week of March - 2011

This is that time of year when there is so much change, so much beauty and so darned much going on it's hard to keep up!

Yard and Garden update
We gambled on the weather; bought and planted a lovely clump of geraniums. (Probably some deep-seated if misguided craving for color.) We are waiting anxiously on the peas & beets. Of course the sprinkling of radishes are a spray of green fuzz down at one end of the east bed. The strawberries are poking up--just adorable. And we have daffodils everywhere. The plants themselves are very handsome, but I'm not sure we planted them so as to really set them off nicely. (Hmmm.)

In the spirit of my attempt to capture general weather patterns from year to year, we are all still muttering about what a cold one this was, with that minus-twenty spell in mid-January. Now, in the latter half of March, temps have been running 10-20 degrees above normal. We hit 80 around the 17th or 18th. Yesterday the breeze was refreshing, but out of the wind it was HOT. Everyone who gardens is battling that nagging sense that we'll get one last freeze, which, now that the botanical world is in full-bloom, will have devastating effects. *Cross your fingers!* Oh, and you can't talk about the weather lately without lamenting the intense bouts of wind and the unusually dry air. Very low humidity--single digits last week. Several days with red flag warnings posted for most of the state. I also heard that the juniper pollen count was the highest it's been in 10 years. Almost everyone I know has red, irritated eyes and is suffering from sinus headaches.

A quick PS - The water is back in the ditch! Think it has been for ~10 days... a very welcome presence. G. cleaned out our little run of it this last week too, this year saving the leaves in a plastic trash can for composting.

Chicken Fortress
Gloria built the screened door during the week this week! (What a trooper. Those are a pain without lots of jigs and clamps.) We pushed ourselves really hard yesterday & were able to stand it up. Long live the trapezoid!! (See photos below) We also got a couple of books on 'micro-flocks.' And promptly got upset as the authors recounted mishaps with 5-year-olds accidentally killing chicks and raccoons grabbing pullets right through 1" wire, killing and eating it one bite at a time. Maybe that awful image will provide us with some extra adrenaline when we are in the middle of the back-breaking task of digging in and burying our mammal-confounding, hardware cloth perimeter.

Classes to become a Bernalillo County Master Composter!
I haven't said anything about this yet, but we have had the great pleasure of intense composter's training during the month of March. Wednesday nights and Sundays. At the moment, my head is about to explode from all the new information. But I hope to water and turn my mental pile over the next couple of weeks and convert all those raw materials into some mental gold! *Stay tuned*

PS - we did buy a commercial black plastic drum composter yesterday at Costco. Someone in the class bought one 10 days ago and was loving his. We HAD to give it a try. As of this moment, it's spilling out of its box but has yet to be assembled. :) And once we get settled with the hens, building a 3 bin system out of pallet wood is the next project. That probably means next spring, huh?

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

The Fall Garlic Bulbs Sprout!

Chuckleheads with 2x4s

This is the start of what we are lovingly calling the Chicken Fortress. We have 5 chicks coming ~May 10 or 11!! Hurry girls, hurry!

As of the end of the weekend (i.e. not pictured), we had knocked together the 2 long panels, fastened all the hutch wire on one, and purchased the siding--pre-cut to fit in the roost section.

Leek Seedlings 3-6-2011

First Whiff of Spring

Thursday, March 3, 2011

Photos of Costa Rica - northern plains

Such beauty, such a lush web of plants and animals and bugs, I am really in danger of being unable to write about any one bit of it. Which would be sad, because visiting a little tract of tropical rain forest is not something I get to do very often--it is SO worthy of savoring again and again.