Tuesday, March 21, 2017

It has begun

It has begun.  The season when we work outside so much that we stagger inside in the afternoon, ravenous and tired, wondering what the heck we'll do for dinner.

Mud is streaked across the floor from people rushing in with their gardening shoes on, just to retrieve a snack, or the phone, or the camera, an action so fast that it's not worth taking your shoes off.

This is the season when my fingers feel like sandpaper and my fingernails are perpetually stained, since I don't like wearing gloves when I work in the soil.

After record rainfalls for the past two months and not seeing the sun for weeks, it finally came out for a couple of days.  It came out full force, and so did we.

It went from the first picture on Friday to the second picture on Sunday.

On Sunday, we debated if we should take kayaks to Puget Sound and hang out on the beach in the sun, but then we decided that we would rather get some work done at the homestead.  

Lots of bamboo had been beaten down by the snow, and lots of other things needed to be pruned.

So while Steve applied the chainsaw and other sharp things to the bamboo and other overgrown thickets, I started weeding buttercup from my garden beds.

The buttercup campaign turned into a full blown "Wow, this soil can be worked! Let's plant garlic!"

Of course, I enlisted the help of my kids, who are a part of this homestead and know that if they want to eat, we need to plant things.

Eva helped dig and find worms, Luke helped broadfork the garden bed, and Kai separated garlic cloves.  And then all three kids planted them with me.

I am beyond ecstatic.  When all that snow and later on buckets of rain dumped on us, I felt nervous about the soggy state of my soil.  But it has so much organic matter and awesome soil structure after building it up for 14 years that drainage was no problem.

In the endless dark winter days I sometimes forget how much I thrive on gardening.  Burying my hands in the soil, smelling the fragrant earth and growing things make me come alive.  Happy, happy, happy.

Thus, the garlic got planted successfully!  And yes, we plant garlic in the spring, whereas most people do it in the fall, but in our wet climate, spring planting has been more successful for us, since we don't get the mildew or mold issues we otherwise get with it.

In the evening, we built the first backyard bonfire of the year and grilled our homemade pork/goat sausages.

I can't tell you how good it felt to be out there.  To be sure, it did get very cold once the sun went down, but the raging fire kept us warm.  

It also kept my sweet dog, Yoda, warm.  Plus, you can see I knit him another sweater.  He's a great outlet for my knitting passion, since he's so small, and I can knit one of these sweaters in two evenings.

Can you spy the little critter on my lap?

I really love that my kids are old enough to be a real help.  Preparing the garden beds and garlic cloves, broadforking, applying fertilizer, and then planting all these rows of garlic would have taken me twice as long without the kids' help.

I rewarded them by making apple cobbler with whipping cream for our cookout.  Food is a great motivator.

Talking of food, I've been making bread like crazy.  Below is my fermented bread I teach in my virtual fermentation workshop.  It is so, so easy to make and tastes better than the bread you buy at boutique European bakeries, if I may say so myself.

And our very own shiitake mushrooms are growing!  We inoculated a log two years ago, and the suckers are cranking!

Let me leave you with images of last week.

The first one is Eva with the socks I've been knitting for her while I have been teaching her how to read.

The others are from a recent walk, when the sun was miraculously shining for a couple of hours. Check out the one of the eagle I caught on my zoom lens.

I hope you'll have a splendid week!

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  1. Same deal here. I drop on the couch every night and fall asleep while the news is playing. Except we didn't go from snow. We went from rain, rain, and more rain. It's been fun to go to the bypasses on the San Joaquin river or Fresno river and see them bank full and more. Until the season began they were bone dry like they'd never seen water.

    We tilled in rotted horse manure into the garden and then over wintered it covered with corrugate and old hay. Now I'm digging and finding the corrugate rotted and hundreds of earth worms. Yay! We planted herbs, tomatoes and bell pepper (yes it's warm enough) zucchini and strawberries. We have to plant warm season now because in June (maybe in May) it will be TOO hot for anything that isn't established. Maybe even too hot, period.

    Yoda is the perfect name for that dog. Dog, I am? Love eagles. Love mushrooms. What a cool idea! You have to blog about how to do that and how it works out.

    Love and peace, Renee

    1. Wow, you have lots going on. And what??? What??? You are planting tomatoes and peppers! I cannot believe that!!!!