Author Archives: Ann

4th Week May 2022: still planting, weeding — AND BEGIN PREP FOR NEW YURT!

PLANTING

On Tuesday four podmates prepared the raised bed in front of the third house and planted sweet potato slips there.

Daniel displays one of the “slips” with puppy Shadow, bottom right, watching.

Come on, Marita, Evaan, Daniel, and Aya, SMILE for the camera! (Evan, BTW, is here only for one month, about to take off for legendary Findhorn, in Scotland, to take a Permaculture Design Certificate course!)

I prepared a tiny bed and sowed spinach. Joseph, our go-to guy to remove any emerging poison ivy — he’s only mildly allergic — was hard at work. Thank you, Joseph!

Friday morning work party, more planting, this time peppers. Marita and I focused on removing vines, especially kudzu, which is trying to take hold here under the giant maple tree.

Meanwhile, the many sudden drenching thunderstorms have us wondering whether we really do need to take the seedlings in and out of the greenhouse over and over again. Did we do this in prior years? Don’t think so, or only rarely. Are there more sudden, strong storms this spring? 

YURT PREP

The yurt is to arrive June 1, from campingyurts.com. A long-held dream of mine (I lived in a 20-foot yurt in the Tetons for twelve years before coming to Indiana), the yurt will be a sleeping place for visitors, woofers, and so on. We decided on a 12-foot diameter yurt with 10-foot high ceiling, mold resistant marine canvas, and another cover over that in case of heavy rain. Other features too, like the number of windows, type of door, etc.

We will put the yurt on a platform, and set the platform at the northeast corner of the Overhill house back yard. We’ve had to remove or reduce several garden beds to do it, but it seemed like the most logical place. Even before the platform is built, the corner wall — an awkward, hard to repurpose remnant from the long strange, even fascinating, shadow-dancing story: the Cob Oven Saga — which has been standing about four feet out from that corner for years, has to be moved back. That will take a number of people to accomplish. But even before that can happen, we knew we’d have to eliminate what remains of a tree (plus a bird house, unfortunately), since both are obstructing any effort to move the corner wall back . . .

In any case, this whole project is my idea, and so I’m the one that has to make it happen. I asked neighbor Devin at our Community Dinner nearly two weeks ago, if he could cut down the tree. He agreed, in exchange for “two-hearted ale, glass bottled.” Okay!

That weekend rolled around. Nope. Several days ago I sent a pleading email reminder, and he responded, saying yes he would do it sometime this weekend. So yesterday (Saturday) morning I went to Big Red Liquor to get him not one six-pack, but two . . . And, when I got home — divine timing! — Devin was just arriving, with his electric saw. The tree turned out to be not so easy to cut down, but he got ‘er done, and luckily the bird house was not in use this year.

THANK YOU, DEVIN!

I’m thinking that when I send out the announcement to the Green Acres Dinner List Tuesday for this week’s 7 p.m. Thursday Community Dinner, I’ll include a request that anyone who is physically able, would you please come 30 minutes early and help us move that damn corner wall back four feet? It will take the coordinated effort of about six people. 

I’m going to sweeten the request by telling anyone who agrees to help that he or she can spend a night in the new yurt, once it’s up, likely by the end of June. 

 

 

Third week May, 2022: Invasion and Bounty!

This past week went by in a blur, not helped by the fact that I forgot to take photos, of either work parties or Thursday Community Dinner, held for the first time this season on the patio. 

Mainly, our concern was weather, and specifically, heat. Temp went up to 9o° one day, and stayed in the upper 80s for several more days, definitely not expecting that this early in May. Concerned that the lettuce in the Garden Towers would bolt, we doubled down on picking it for salads, both individually and communally. But, amazing: it did NOT bolt! The towers look as good as ever this morning.

Three podmates were out of town for all or most of the week: Annie to New York to visit John, a former Green Acres Village resident, Daniel as best man in a wedding somewhere in Indiana, and Aya to a workshop in I think South Carolina. That left fewer of us for work parties, but we did manage to do a lot of weeding, sow a bunch of cosmos and poppies, plant sugar snap peas and cucumbers along trellises, plus one smallish bed with tomatoes and basil.

However, weeding nowhere near done. Some plants just like to take over . . . For example, jewel weed (the juice in its stems an antidote for poison ivy).

And motherwort . . .

Though we love motherwort, this is NOT the only bed it’s invading, so some will have to get pulled.

A few more pics from this morning, one from my porch looking towards the main garden.

One in the main garden.

One of the beautiful light green cover (what is it?) that’s starting to line the sides of the former pond (now a wetland, thanks to bambooish plant that invaded a few years ago).

And finally, the amazing sight of kiwi fruits, still teensy weensy, visible sorta here. . .

 . . . but in fact covering the entire porch structure above. This is the first year kiwis have fruited on more than one or two branches, so we’re going to have quite a harvest!

Notice sunlight dappling the wood . . .

BTW: this woody area above was home to a mourning dove nest, and the chick successfully hatched and flew away.

 

 

 

May 2-7: And how does our garden grow? PHOTOS GALORE

Two work parties, as usual, Tuesday and Friday mornings. On the agenda? Tomatoes Tuesday, “three sisters” (corn, beans, squash) Friday. But first:

Notice that Garden Towers are really going to town with lettuces. (Tops were planted only a week ago.)

Daniel and Marita (and puppy Shadow) in the greenhouse, check tomatoes and decide which ones ones get planted in the bed we prepared last Friday.

Evan and Marita planting.

Thursday Community Dinner (with visitor Rich, see this post; he’s the one momentarily near the sliding door to the porch) spotlights Annie, who wanted to wash all the dishes by herself. 

Then, the next morning, at Friday work party, she wanted a nice picture of her, weeding. Okay.

Marita, on the other hand, wanted me to show her about to eat soil off a shovel. Okay.

But then Aya wanted to fake extreme concern over what shall we do with this yellow dock root? Okay!

That root was buried deep within a strangely shaped bed.

We all stood around for at least ten minutes, wondering how to make all parts of the bed available without stepping on the soil. Four keyholes? But that would move a hell of a lot of soil. How about four brick paths, north, south, east, west? Well, okay. Hmmm. . . better set them in a bit, or the person who steps on them is sure to wobble. Okay. However, already, the bricks are beginning to settle in a bit too far. Let’s just say figuring how to best make this bed navigable is a work in progress.

The bed, BTW, is for the three sisters, corn, beans, squash. Here, we’ve already weeded it; Daniel is forking it.

Here’s a few from afar of all the characters in this play. 

Our guest, “Rich from Idaho,” had just left the scene, having decided that the best use for him would be to repair the main gate! YES! Not only that, but he happened to have brought all his tools with him. Here he is, in fake ego mode, about to get started.

“All I need is some wood,” he said. We’ve got plenty of wood! And of course he had his saw with him. 

When he was almost finished he asked if I, or anyone, knew where the other part of the latch had gone. Nobody did. I volunteered to go to the hardware store to get what he needed. “I prefer to figure something out,” he responded, and sauntered into the greenhouse where a bunch of stuff is stored. Chose a single screw of a certain size. Voila. Presto. The repaired gate is now both much stronger —

— and sports a DIY latch. Plus, it will reminds us forever of his brief presence in our lives.

Way to go, Rich! THANK YOU SO MUCH!

Okay. Three more photos, all bird-related. First, I went outside this morning and found this cardinal nest with broken egg beside it on the porch. It’s hard not to blame Tiger cat, but who knows! At any rate, I’m going to get a bell to put around his neck.

The nest was up somewhere in the tangled mass of kiwi that serves as a shady roof in the summer here.

Oh wow. Eagle-eye Dan just noticed another mourning dove nest (the other one is still on top of an upside down rake), this one up near where the cardinal nest must have been. See it? Third square over at the top. Here she is, close up. See her? At the bottom of that square.

 

 

 

April 19-24, 2022: Hilarious Discovery at Community Dinner, plus Garden Plantings and Pallets

Before this typically delicious Community Dinner, Thursday evening, Dan (facing the camera) — who lived here for five years, and my trek-mate for Easter Sunday’s outing, where he took photos of an entire list of what are called “ephemerals” (short-lived spring perennials) — sprung a surprise on the smallish group that had gathered for our weekly meal. “We need to go outside and see the trillium and bluebells, right in the Overhill front yard!” WHAT!

YES.

Trillium

Bluebells

These are two of the same perennials we found on a path in the woods around Yellowwood Lake, probably 25 miles away. They’ve never sprung up here at home in all my 18 years in the midwest.

 

Above, one more bluebell, hard to see, at center bottom of the leaves. (Wait a minute. Is that really a bluebell? Or is the other one, with no leaves showing, not a bluebell? Or does the bluebell flower come up before the leaves? Confused.)

Our work parties this week mostly focused on planting seedlings grown in the greenhouse. Our two rotating, worm-composting patio Garden Towers, planted last week with lettuce, got their compost tubes refreshed, with Marita doing the hard part: pulling out the compost made in them last year, and then washing off the trays and drawers.

The next day, I put new table scraps and newspaper strips plus worms from our worm gardens in the empty tubes to get the tower composting system going again. We have yet to decidde what to plant in the tops of these towers.

Joseph, Daniel and Aya focused on the main garden, planting bok choi on Tuesday, kale on Friday.

Notice the compost area in the background. Very productive (thanks, Marita!) but gross, falling apart, and right by the main garden gate (which itself needs to be fixed). We’re going to move the compost area to the back of the third house, and put a table inside the main gate, to hold extra vegetables we grow, to sell or donate to people who walk by. Probably put a chair or two out there as well, for a little neighborhood sitting area.

On Tuesday, Aya and I took her partner’s aging truck out to get ten new wooden pallets to make the compost bins, from the warehouse where Garden Towers are stored before being shipped out. (Damn. Forgot to bring my camera, as it’s a fascinating place. BTW: My son Colin Cudmore is the GT inventor.)

The arugula, planted two weeks ago? —  is finally sprouting. YES! Daniel is thrilled, says he’s been checking that bed daily, giving the seeds love, love, love.