All this last week while I had been away from the farm, I was afraid that I would miss a good time to get my little baby strawberry plants into the ground before winter really took hold. The dry and cold pattern made me hold off most of October and well into November. I did not want to try to plant the tender little plants while the ground kept freezing at night with lows in the 20’s.
These plants were the runners that I had coerced into trays of potting soil after the berry season had ended. I was able to keep the tender tips moist all summer and most of them sprouted roots of their own so they could be cut away from their mother plants and survive on their own.
I had driven home in the dark after several days away from home and the weather was still dry, so first thing in the morning I got the rototiller out into the garden and revved it up. I could already see little leaves of those dreaded buttercups poking up through the soil that choked out the last patch. I made a couple of sweeps through the garden and parked the rototiller at the edge of the patch thinking that I could give it one last go-over the next day. But showers had moved in overnight. Ditching the idea of the perfect tilling job, I planted two rows of plants.
Now I will sit back and watch Mother Nature put the little starts to rest for the winter and hopefully they will perk back up in the spring in enough time to have delicious strawberries in June.
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Mike has said on more than one occasion that I only like him for his bulldozer. It is true that is one of the reasons I like him, but I also like him for his tractors, and the Gator and his dogs, some of the cats and the cows. It is when the the dozer is needed on those pesky chores that are more than a person or tractor can do that really makes him appealing. Continue reading
Last fall when I wanted to work up the soil around the strawberries I could not get the rototiller running. All winter I fretted over the weeds and buttercups that threaten to strangle the life out of the strawberry plants. Once winter set in there was little I could do with the soil until spring. Continue reading
If the walk down off the hill wasn’t so treacherous with melting snow and slick mud, I would have been singing the old show tune at the top of my voice.
The project of seedling planted had been expected to take a very busy two weeks to complete. Nature stepped in and thwarted us at every attempt. There was at times too much snow or way too frozen to dig in the ground. Just when the weather looked like it would cooperate another weather front would roll in and it would be several days before another attempt could be made. The whole project became a weighty problem and we were all antsy to get it completed before the seedlings came out of dormancy or the ground became too dry. The short project stretched from two weeks to two months . Continue reading
Heckled, no. Chided, possibly. Forced, certainly not. I have been getting some flack about the lack of me in my photos of work, play and nonsense on the farm.
It is not because I am camera shy, although it is not my favorite past time. It is more because I am running the camera on most occasions and turning the lens on myself gives outcomes that are… well, simply gruesome.
So for those who have gently reminded me, here is a picture.
This is after the day of backpacking loads of trees from the drop off sight to the area where the seedlings will be planted.
Here you see me in my glory. Cold feet, drenched with sweat beneath rain gear, gloves soaked from melting snow and Butler the dog being a media hound.
It felt good to get off the hill and into a hot shower after a successful romp in the woods.
The February snow delayed our conifer seedling delivery by about a week. The seedlings had been lifted (dug up) and packaged for delivery from the southwest Washington nursery on the scheduled day and was awaiting to be picked up near Rainier when the snow stopped schools and clogged rural roads. As it was, the steep driveway to the barn where the seedlings were stacked in designated lots, needed a 4-wheel drive vehicle to get to the trees.
The bags of Douglas Fir are packed 120 seedlings to a bag and the Western Red Cedar are packed 100 to a bag. We had ordered the 1040 seedlings last June for this planting.
The bags that they are in are lined so that they are water and wind proof. The plants are dormant so being tucked in the bags protects them as they are trucked and backpacked to the planting site.
The green seedlings in the back of the truck were picked up on the way back to the farm after picking up the bags. They are planted in pots and are for the conservation planting along the riparian area.
Two cars filled with 3 adults and 5 teenagers came out to the farm to get a dose of exercise and nature. They became our planting crew for the day. We outfitted several of them with backpacks filled with trees and made the trek up the hill to the planting site.
After a few planting instructions, the crew worked to get the trees that we packed up the hill into the ground. While they were planting, Mike a few yards away, was digging seedlings that were growing too thick and needed to be transplanted.
Once we had the initial trees tucked safely into the ground, we began working on the full bags that Mike had ready.
It was a mild day and the rain that was forecasted held off until we were long off the hill. Two cars of mud-balls left the farm tired but happy from a good day out in the woods and we were off the hill in time to do the evening chores. It was a great muddy time and we are thankful for all the help.