April 25, 2007 – Fruit Blossoms = 3 Day Rain

It seems like every year you can pretty much expect a 3-4 day low pressure system to bring constant rain and wind during the peak of the fruit blossom time (hampering the bees from pollinating).  This year is no exception. Only this year’s rain is a lot harder than most years (5.5 inches of rain so far the last two days, and one more day to go).  About 0-2 times a year the low spot in the back pasture becomes a river.  Today is one of those rare days.

You can see what’s left of the willow mulch in the left-center part of the picture – looks like about 3/4 of it was washed away.  Willows were planted there just because of such periodic events.  I just hope the ground doesn’t stay under water for an extended period while the willows are getting established.

I ordered 150 windbreak/Christmas trees yesterday and they arrived in the mail today!  But, by the looks of it, no trees are going to get in the ground today.

one year ago…

April 24, 2007 – Congrats to the Hermnivores!

Yesterday, Claire’s “Envirothon” team from Marshalltown High School (The Hermnivores) competed at the state Envirothon competition. Here’s a description of the program from the sponsor web site:

The Envirothon is a team competition for high school students. In the field and classroom, teams of five students are challenged to use their knowledge and critical thinking skills to conduct hands-on investigations, solve real-life scenarios and answer written questions covering five categories: Aquatic Ecology, Forestry, Wildlife, Soils, and Current Environmental Issues. The Iowa Envirothon is a state-wide program developed in conjunction with the National Envirothon policies, with the top team in the state representing Iowa at the Nationals. Past participants have equated the Envirothon to the competitions Odyssey of the Mind, and Mock Trial.

Claire’s team placed 2nd in the state, just behind Decorah, and ahead of Iowa City (any time a school from this part of the state can beat a school in Iowa City, it proves things are right in the world)! It is nice to know that Claire and her peers can stand academically with any other school in the state!  If for any reason the Decorah team can’t make the national competition, the Hermnivores will go.

one year ago…

April 23, 2007 – Apple and Nectarine Blossoms Appear!

At least some of the apple blooms will make it.  This tree is the most hopeful. 

Blossoms as they are about to burst are a beautiful bit of magic.

The nectarine is the happiest of all the trees this year.

And as an aside for those of you who know me well – you’ll all be pleased to know I got through an entire physical, shot, blood work and all, remaining alert and conscious through the entire procedure!
one year ago…

April 21, 2007 – First Round of Garden Planting

Today was a rare day.  The spring garden was ready to receive plantings, we were all home, all day, and all the equipment ran as expected.

Here’s bit of a new idea for us that you probably can’t see too well yet.  In the middle is a straight trellis of sorts for sweet peas for cut flowers – on either end are cattle panels “hooped” up to make tunnels – vining crops can go up the trellis and we can plant spring crops like broccoli and cabbage underneath.

Today, among other things, we planted potatoes, onions, and the rest of the strawberries (Claire dug the last 70 holes).  I filled up our 2 new raised beds that some chickens were perched over last summer with black soil, put a locking latch in the barn as Nellie has learned to unhook the latch with her nose! Sharpened the blades on the mower deck and even had to mow part of the yard where the grass was getting long.

one year ago…