Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Spring in Name Only

Sorry for the silent Monday but it was a challenging day. The two youngest grandkids were cranky and I spent lots and lots of time cuddling. Then when our daughter came home from work I ran outside to start shoveling, manure of course. The wood is stacked and now the trailer was full of manure. Was being the most wonderful part of that sentence. Luckily the 20 foot trailer wasn't as fully loaded with manure as last time and it was finally empty about the time it was too dark to see. My hubby who doesn't get home until late pitched in and helped me shovel the finally six wheelbarrows full. You guessed it. I awoke in the night with leg cramps and an aching back but oh how good it felt to have the project done. Well, done until I arrange to have the trailer filled again with manure. I figure I'll need 1 1/2 loads more.
You see, I have a garden that slopes north at one end and that's a no, no. The ideal is to have it slope south 5 degrees to form a sort of solar panel to catch the suns rays. That is if you live up north like we do and need all the heat you can get. We live on the side of a hill but it slopes north. After reading Coleman's book I wish we lived on the other side of the hill where it faces south. Had I only known 29 years ago what I know now. So this spring I'm in the process of moving old railroad ties along the north end of the garden and stacking them up to retain the increasing amount of manure I will be hauling in over the next few years to tilt the garden toward the south. It will be an ongoing project. Partly because the manure breaks down and hence shrinks and partly because I don't have the equipment or money to rent it to make the garden tilt the other way all in one year.

The one advantage of being on the slope of the hill is that heat rises and so we are warmer than the houses at the bottom of the hill. I know this because when you walk to the corrals their is a chilly 15 foot section at the bottom of the hill. Some kind of wind tunnel I'd guess though the area is open prairie. The other reason I know it is colder down at the bottom is that's where a friend lives who gave me pumpkin plants last year and we both planted them at the same time. Hers froze my were only frost bit.
It might say on the calendar that it is spring but spring in Wyoming means snow. This is a shot taken this morning. Oh how I'm tired of waking up to either snow or high winds. Our last frost date is Memorial Day, the end of May though last year we had light frost in to the end of June.
Some plants do brave the weather such as raspberries. Not many but a few are peaking up out of the grown reminding me that they need transplanted to an other area of the garden. Where they are at is too hot and the ground is clay impacted.
The apple trees are budding. Doesn't look like we'll get much for apples as I don't see any blossoms starting yet.
The winter onions are up and I've yet to really use them since I planted them three years ago. They give me a nice sense of security though and would be handy if I didn't buy onions from the store. We could eat off them until the other onions were ready. I would guess this is what the pioneers did. The leaves are similar to chives in that they have an oniony flavor.
Five onions have sprouted up in the garden and I'll transplant them and see if they will form seeds. I also have some onions that I've started from seed in the basement under the grow lights. They don't seem to be forming much of anything fast. One planter the cat laid on yesterday. I guess he was enjoying the heat from the grow light. We'll see if they survive. If possible I want to learn the cycle of growing onions this year. My goal being to learn to save seed on as many plants as possible and hence save money on my expensive seed orders. A few flowers have sprung up on the prairie and the bees are piling dead bodies at the entrances of their hives. Spring cleaning you know. Yesterday would have been a good day to get inside the hives and have a look see but so much to do, so little time. Today isn't to be so warm and we've more snow in the forecast. Old Man Winter has a tight grip on this country.

Hopefully, I'll get some more work done on the garden because I should be able to plant some spinach, corn salad etc. next week. If I get as far as rototilling. My grass is going to need baled if I don't get to it sometimes soon. They did forecast for high winds today. It looks pretty nice out there so my daughter and I had better fill the truck up with stuff to haul to the dump while the getting is good so I'd better kick it into high gear.
If any of you have winter onions and cook with them I'd love some inspiration to get me started on that project.

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