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Apr 2017
S M T W T F S
           
           


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Tomato seedlings

Monday was potting-up day for the nightshade family. Tomatoes, of course...

Baby pepper plants

...our favorite lunchbox peppers...

Eggplant seedling

...and even a few eggplants. I'm not sure I'll be able to prevent flea beetle depredations organically (the reason I usually skip this crop), but I saw a guy selling heirloom seeds at the farmer's market and couldn't resist.

Double decker seed starting station

Aaaand now we need a fourth shop light.

Posted Thu Apr 19 06:00:19 2018 Tags:
Truck mirror image of me and my Mom.

Mirror image of my Mom and me talking about trading a cow for magic beans.

Posted Wed Apr 18 06:00:55 2018 Tags:
Covering up the spring garden

I looked back through the blog and found that I seldom mentioned Redbud Winter in the past. I'm not sure whether that's because I was planting at a more reasonable time back in Virginia or whether we just tended to get cold spells a week or so later (at which point it becomes Dogwood Winter).

Strawberry flower
Whether this is the new Ohio normal or just a fluke, though, we had lots to cover up before the current cold spell hit. Broccoli and peas and lettuce of various ages. Newly transplanted parsley and thyme. And the first few strawberry flowers just beginning to bloom. Here's hoping it doesn't get cold enough to nip the flowers through the row cover!
Posted Tue Apr 17 06:00:23 2018 Tags:
Farmsteaders Documentary.

We watched a sweet and beautiful documentary about a local cheese making family Sunday at the 2018 Athens International Film Festival.

Farmsteaders is a unique glimpse into a small cheese making operation over the course of 5 years.

The cinematography is stellar and you really get drawn into the joy and struggles of what it takes to get the cheese made and sold.

Posted Mon Apr 16 06:00:21 2018 Tags:
Hydroponic lettuce in soil
Do you ever get an urge to plant the remnants of vegetables from the grocery store? Many of them will grow...although it might not be worth your while to nurture them into producing a second crop.

Lettuce head with rootsI'd read about folks planting carrot tops and other detritus from their salad-making, but hadn't been buying enough grocery-store produce to even consider giving it a try. But when the lettuce head at the left ended up in our kitchen this winter with a big mass of roots still attached, I couldn't resist the urge to set it out in the garden.

I planted that lettuce under a quick hoop in the middle of February...and it sat there for weeks doing nothing at all. The photo at the top of this post shows the plant's current state nearly two months later. It's finally almost large enough to pick a few leaves from...although, for the sake of comparison, leaf lettuce direct-seeded on the same date is nearly as big:

Direct-seeded lettuce

What's with that lettuce root growing so slowly? I suspect that February lettuce from Krogers is hydroponic produce grown at the perfect temperature and nutrient levels. In the wild weather of an Ohio garden, hot-house varieties are going to lose the sprint to harvest to my hardy Black-seeded Simpson every time.

Posted Sun Apr 15 06:00:22 2018 Tags:
Saw Stop close up at the Maker Space in Athens Ohio.

We got to see a sneak preview of the new Athens Ohio Maker Space.

The wood shop has most of the big wood working tools.

A punch card is what we will start with where you pay per visit compared to 70 dollars a month for more serious Makers.

Posted Sat Apr 14 06:00:22 2018 Tags:
Broccoli flat

With the spring garden, I plant by feel rather than by spreadsheet. So when the weather turned warm and wet for a week at the end of March, I set out a lot of things that likely shouldn't really have been planted then. Of course, then last week's cold spell hit (mid twenties and a couple of inches of snow), which left me scurrying to cover everything up and hope my babies would survive.

Broccoli comparison

Now's the moment of truth --- did I make a mistake? On the broccoli front, I probably would have been better off waiting. None of the outside plants were damaged badly enough to need to be replaced when I gave them a once-over yesterday, but they were also significantly smaller than the ones still in a flat inside. I set out another couple of beds with reserved plants and will be curious to see which planting date leads to the earliest and best heads.

Transplanted lettuce

On the other hand, lettuce, thyme, parsley, and peas also transplanted on March 27 passed the cold-weather test with flying colors (although the row-cover fabric I had over them until this week certainly helped).

Peas and lettuce

And how about the direct-seeded vegetables? They look pleased as punch now that their row cover is off and they're once again exposed to full sun. Soon we'll be rolling in lettuce and peas!

Posted Fri Apr 13 06:00:58 2018 Tags:
Covington sweet potato starting.

We decided to expand our sweet potato family to include Covington.

Now is the time to start encouraging seedling activity.

Posted Thu Apr 12 06:00:49 2018 Tags:
Eagle dance

Last week was a multicultural week on the campus of Ohio University. Even though the events were mostly for students, I insinuated myself into a couple anyway.

Dabke

The International Street Fair didn't require insinuation --- it's an open-to-the-public event in which you can try your hand at Chinese writing, sample delicious ethnic foods, and even watch and participate in a few dances. Can you find me in this rousing rendition of the Arabic dabke? (Thanks for snapping the shot, Jen!)

Native American dancers

Even more visually stimulating was the Native American Dance and Song Workshop, which was really just for students, faculty, and staff. They let me in, though, and I loved the drum beat, which we were told is meant to mimic the beating of the heart.

Okay, I'll admit it, there's nothing homesteading-related about this post. Except...don't forget to spend time expanding your horizons and feeding your mind as well as your belly!

Posted Wed Apr 11 06:00:41 2018 Tags:
Ford F-150 rusted panel.

Our 1997 truck has quickly become a valuable part of our homesteading team.

I took this picture to document the worst section of rust.

Eventually I should try something that might help slow the rust from spreading but I guess I'm curious at what rate the hole will get bigger and if I'm okay putting it off for another year or so.

Posted Tue Apr 10 06:00:36 2018 Tags:

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