On Two Acres In Town
I'd much rather read than write so it's not much of a blog...
Monday, April 29, 2013
Saturday, April 20, 2013
I'm having a terrible time coming up with even a modicum of enthusiasm for this year's garden but I do take some measure of comfort in the fact that NOAA is not forecasting drought for the Eastern U.S. thru July.
I have about half the number of seedlings that I've started in the past and I'm planning to grow primarily those things I can't find locally, like several varieties of cime di rapa and cardoon.
At the moment though, while most of my effort in the garden is spent dealing with an explosion of lesser bittercress we have again this spring, the rhubarb is coming on strong and the lovage that I thought a chipmunk had destroyed last summer looks promising.
As with so many other things, the key to serenity in my gardening seems to be in adjusting my expectations.
Wednesday, January 9, 2013
Rosie Meier, a grain merchandiser at the Great Bend Co-op in Great Bend, Kansas, told Bloomberg, "About 30 percent of the winter wheat in central Kansas has already failed, with further damage likely unless there is rain."
Pancakes are gonna get expensive...
Saturday, January 5, 2013
I guess the best way to sum up the past year on these two acres is to say it was one of transition. The process is ongoing but at this point we are pretty much 'retired'.
One of the changes we've made in the past year is the way we eat. We used to eat the conventional three meals every day but now most days we are eating a larger breakfast around 9:00 and a main meal around 2:00 with a light snack in the evening.
As breakfast became more important so did the problem of a griddle. Since I gave up my favorite griddle years ago because of the Teflon coating, I hadn't been able to find a replacement I liked. I had been using a large skillet but sometimes there were tell-tale flavors from previous heavily seasoned dishes and even a hint of garlic is not something I want in my banana pancakes, thank you.
A few weeks ago we made what I expect to be our last investment in high-quality cookware. We used our Christmas gifts from The Mister's father to buy a new griddle. It is absolutely perfect and the first breakfast of sour buckwheat cakes was delicious as was the sourdough French toast on New Year's morning.
Saturday, December 8, 2012
You know you're going to outlive a lot of people who have been important in your life but I'm surprised how difficult I'm finding these mounting losses. I suspect it may be that I'm less able than most to offset the losses with some measure of faith in the future but the future was a very different place when I came to appreciate the music of Dave Brubeck and Paul Desmond in the 60's.
I saw Dave Brubeck in concert whenever I had the chance, the last time being here in Syracuse in 2007, but of all the concerts and recordings, the image I love best is the one portrayed in a 2001 hour-long interview with Hedrick Smith, "Rediscovering Dave Brubeck". It's not often one can truly believe a famous person known from afar is also a fine human being but Dave Brubeck was just that.
Friday, September 21, 2012
The attic is quiet. I'll miss the flying squirrels but not the red ones.
With new coverings of hardware clothe and screening there's only the the sheet rock to replace and a couple of holes to patch. We've considered adding to the cedar trim but I haven't had any problems with moths in the woolens so I'm just going to fill a few old pillowcases with cedar shavings and place them around the room.
I've spent much of the past few months hauling stuff out of the attic. The last boxes of books, crockery & glassware, linens, Christmas decorations, etc. went this week.
The once cluttered and crowded attic is now almost empty and I can't for the life of me decide how I feel about that.
Labels: this old house
Tuesday, September 18, 2012
We can't remember the last time we saw a radar image like this. It is a truly lovely thing to see and I feel a sense of relief just looking at it.
The modest amount of rain we've had this month has made a noticeable difference in some of the trees. Some of the trees that were beginning to fade or yellow earlier than usual have actually 're-greened'. Those that are probably stressed by other factors besides lack of water however, are going to need a normal winter of dormancy and moisture to recover.
Sunday, September 9, 2012
Friday, August 17, 2012
Thursday, August 9, 2012
It's really quite pretty and not like any of the others I've grown. The silvery outer wrappers have a blush of pink and the cloves have just a bit more color. It has a nice full flavor without much heat. Even though all my garlic is small this year after I planted later than usual, I think I have enough good-sized cloves that I will be able to grow some full-size Georgian Crystal next season.
That's pretty much how I'm coping, by looking forward to next season. The storm systems that do roll through central New York almost always part as they approach us, going north and south, leaving us dry as a bone. We get the odd brief shower and it greens up the grass but does nothing for the more deep-rooted.
Everything seems to be in stasis, waiting for rain.
Thursday, July 12, 2012
It's July and I'm on my annual virtual vacation in France. J'aime Le Tour de France. I also adore Dave Harmon, Sean Kelly and Carlton Kirby, the Eurosport broadcasters.
Other than watching the cycling I'm spending most of my time schlepping hoses around the yard & garden. NO rain for weeks now and all I'm trying to do in the garden is tomatoes, eggplant and peppers, some beans and summer squash. After all, the critters have to have something to eat.
The bad news is that it's dry, the good news is that it's dry and so the 90º weather is surprisingly bearable. We haven't gone to AC more than a few nights when there was some humidity along with the heat. I'm just glad I don't have grazing animals to worry about.
The other upside to the dry conditions is that it's almost wiped out the nymph stage of the deer ticks.
Still, I wish it would rain.
Saturday, May 5, 2012
Today was the first day of the full Farmers Market. At first I was happy to see the vendors who don't come in the winter but then I spoke to an old-timer who has been one of the major fruit vendors for many years. He's despondent. I knew they had suffered a lot of damage last month but until he told me, I didn't realize last week's low temperatures pretty much finished off the rest of the crops.
There's been very little in the news but in Canada the situation is much the same:
"'This is the worst disaster fruit growers have ever, ever experienced,' orchard owner Keith Wright said Friday. 'We've been here for generations and I've never heard of this happening before across the province. This is unheard of, where all the fruit growers in the Great Lakes area, in Michigan, Pennsylvania, New York State, Ontario, are all basically wiped out,' the Harrow, Ontario grower said."
Saturday, April 28, 2012
Thursday, April 26, 2012
I'm doing a good job of not mentioning weather or climate, here or anywhere. In that overly used phrase, "It is what it is." I'm am however going to express my admiration for the Great Blue Herons nesting on the pond at Sapsucker Woods in Ithaca. Since the peregrine falcons in Syracuse don't appear to be having any success again this year, I've been checking this heron nest in the morning. Monday it was barely visible through the snow and there could be more of the same tomorrow but the herons seem to take it all in stride.
I'm trying to follow their example.
Tuesday, April 24, 2012
Saturday, April 21, 2012
Our maple syrup supply this year isn't local but its carbon footprint is phenomenally smaller than that of any I can find closer to home.
Berkshire Sweet Gold not only uses reverse osmosis to reduce the time and energy required to shed the water in the sap but they use solar generated electricity to power their evaporators. The end result is not only environmentally sustainable but wicked good!
Wednesday, April 4, 2012
Monday, April 2, 2012
Last year's tomatoes weren't spectacular but some did better than others. The old favorites, Jaune Flammé and Isis Candy were good as ever but the tomato I ate as quickly as it ripened was Super Snow White. It was my 'best of 2011'.
The first seeds have germinated including Super Snow White and the other cherry tomatoes, eggplant and bell peppers. I'm trying to use up the older seeds I have so the germination rates are hit-or-miss. I may have to try again with a few varieties but it's nice to see the little green shoots lined up in the flats.