Let It Grow Organic Gardens

And I resumed the struggle. -Vladimir

Wednesday, August 22, 2012


This is another from our ever increasing Department of Someday We'll Look Back on This and Laugh.
I've lost most of this year's honey. The bees took it back.
I only had my back turned for a moment. That's all the time they needed.
I had a full super of honey ready to extract. The bees had left the super - one of those white boxes you see - and I isolated it. I sandwiched it between two pieces of plywood.
I had things all lined up. I was scheduled to borrow an extractor from our local extension office, and so I got everything ready. The extractor, however, was not. It had been borrowed by someone else. who kept it an extra day, and then another day. The honey would wait, I figured. The extractor was finally ready, but I had to work that night, and then the next.
As often happens in life, one day leaked into another, and then another, and then another.
I was all ready to extract yesterday, and was all excited. I went up to the hives, took the top layer of plywood off, and saw ... not one drop of honey.
They had found a crack in one corner of the super, a tiny, tiny little crack, and entered, en masse, and removed every last drop of honey. They brought it down to the hive proper, and stored it next to the tiny little bee larvae, all ready to feed everyone through the winter.
You can't turn your back for one minute.
I can't re-extract for two reasons. Most of the honey is now in brood frames, which means there's a cell of honey, and a cell of tiny bee larvae, and a cell of honey, and then a cell of bee larvae. I can't selectively extract - it's all or nothing.
Another reason is that I've treated the hive. I gave them all a little essential oil of thyme, a remedy to infections from vorroa mites. The honey in the hive will be quite tasty to the bees, but you or I might find a little off flavor.
They outsmarted me. I thought I had them. They had me.

Wednesday, August 08, 2012


I’m propagating rosemary right now. There are little stalks in glasses of water, one right here on the desk and a few on the fireplace mantle. Another on the nightstand.
I peer through the glass a few times a day, looking for little rootlets. Wispy, white threads winding around the bottom of the glass.
They’ve started. I grab a few and stick them into potting mix. They’ll either make it or they won’t.
These are for next year. And the year after.

I tore out the floor in the old bedroom a few days ago. It’s piled in the yard, waiting to be burned. I’ll cover the ground with rocks – field stone – and ultimately pour a concrete slab over all of that. It will be phase two in the overall house rebuild project.
I’m in no special hurry. I do it as time and finances allow. The rocks will sit there a while. Everytime I plow a field I’ll bring down another wagon load, lay down another layer of stone. It’ll all be nice and settled by the time I get around to pouring slab.

I’ve making time for camping and fishing this summer. Those are things that don’t always get done every year, but, this year, I’m making sure they do. It’s a lot easier when there’s a nine year old around. He’s always up for an adventure.
We stress the basics this year. Tent pitching. Sleeping bag stuffing. Casting. The stuff that sticks with you your whole life.

Thursday, August 02, 2012

I Haven’t Posted In a While; I’ve Been Dead Heading the Nut Sedge

Alternate Title: I’m Kinda New Here Myself

   When the anarchists came last week, we had to uncover the bridge. The bridge skips the branch that we rerouted. It used to go under the house where the anarchists were having their street medic training; now it wraps around the front of the house, then goes through a rhododendron patch, under the highway and into Spring Creek.
   We found Japanese knotweed growing out of the bridge about a year ago. Just one little sprout at first, lookin’ kinda different, kinda out of place. Then there  was another, and another, and we recognized it as Japanese knotweed. The next week there  was a veritable forest of it.
   This year we decided to be decisive, to not screw around. We spread old pieces of landscape fabric and shade cloth all around the bridge area. Anywhere we saw knotweed sprouting, we covered with a few layers of something thick. That was in March. We saw neither hide nor hair of it all summer and thought we had gotten the best of it. Then the anarchists came. They moved all the shade cloth and et cetera so they could easily get across the bridge, and neglected to replace it.
   Five days.
   Five days later the Japanese knotweed was sprouting again.

   There has never been kudzu on the farm. There is a healthy patch along the road about a half mile down the creek, and I’ve always thought it was just a matter of time before it got here. So far so good.

   The nut sedge came the year before last. Don’t ask me how. I don’t know. Bird poop? Wind? Mud wedged into boot tread? Tire tread? Is it but a decree from the Fates and the Furies and I am a fool to wonder why? Anyway, it’s here. And flowering.
   I was all cocky at first. I just knew I could weed eat anything that came along, keep it from going to seed, and score a victory against nut sedge. Yes. I would eliminate nut sedge from the farm. Vanquish nut sedge. That’s what I would do.
   Pretty easy. You see it flowering, you dead head it. You weed eat it down to the ground. You let those little nylon strings dig down and flail the roots into oblivion. You move on.
   The nut sedge beat me. It’s everywhere.
   Don’t get me started on the rose brier.



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