and my fingernails are still dirty

I’ve never really had much luck with root vegetables (I distrust vegetables when I can’t see the important part growing), but yesterday I dug up, cleaned, and hung about 70 or so bells of garlic, so maybe my luck is changing?

Garlic

Some of the bells were smaller than I might have liked (especially the ones that I didn’t bother to re-cut the scapes on — scapes grow back… who knew?!), and I’m annoyed that I can’t find the notebook in which I carefully noted which of the three varieties that I bought from Territorial Seeds last fall were planted where.  But, all in all, I’m pretty happy with this little experiment.

Full Harvest

For now at least — I’m still a little paranoid about the drying process.

hello kitty, hello world.

Happy Easter Monday Internets!

I’m not really going to bother trying to capture how much fun this weekend was in words, but I will just say that I need to have spontaneous bonfire parties more often.

The crud that I was fighting last week has completely thrown off my workout/eating right schedule. I haven’t been to the gym since Friday 3rd, and I’m feeling like crap for it. I plan on fixing that this evening, hopefully I haven’t backtracked too much strength-wise.

Garden-wise, my string of bad luck with small engines seems to have ended (this might have something to do with me understanding what a “choke” is for), and I managed to get both Nerd 2’s chainsaw and Mantis tiller running with a minimum of fuss on Saturday, so a lot of wood got cut up (helpful for the afore-mentioned bonfire), and I’m set to till my major garden plots this coming weekend — my topsoil was still too wet for safe tilling on Saturday.

Finally, a slight break from format, since this isn’t really a music video. But it is awesome and mind-twisting and silly and wrong all at once, so I know you’ll love it (or be horrified, either way, I’ve done my job).

It takes until around 1:30 to really get going…

veggie tales

After a lunch which ,on my part, consisted of the flesh of two different species of animal (plus peanut butter!) Amber and I filled out the paperwork to purchase a CSA share for 2009.

CSA stands for Community Supported Agriculture, and can take many forms: weekly boxes of vegetables, half a cow (processed), chickens, eggs, even fresh, contraband milk. Basically, a farm (or group of farms) offers to the public a number of “shares”, which entitle the purchaser to, well, a share of the output of the farm for the season.

This gives the farmers a steady and predictable source of income (no worries about over or under-planting their demand), and provides the shareholders incentives to eat more meals that actually contain green things.

Once I hear back that we actually got into the CSA that I’m hoping for (a lot of small farms will sell out by March/April, which I found out the hard way last year), I’ll post the specific details. But if you’re interested in joining one, a good place to start (if you’re in the Twin Cities) is the Land Stewardship Project’s page which lists a number of MN and Western WI farms. Another resource that is nationwide (and I wish was better designed) is Local Harvest which is a database that collects CSA Farms, farmer’s markets, and various other ways to avoid getting scurvy.

One thing I haven’t decided yet is what this means for my backyard garden. With just me to feed (the cats aren’t so big on salads), I’m looking forward to taking a year off from hardcore vegetable cultivation and letting someone else do the seed starting and the planting and the watering and the harvesting for me. I’ll probably still grow some things (not having a container of basil going all summer just seems like a waste of dirt) but maybe I’ll stick to just one interesting variety of tomato, or put all of my growing efforts into maintaining a truly epic giant pumpkin patch.

Which reminds me…it’s time to start looking at seed catalogs again…

the best idea i’ve heard all summer

I’m not sure what it is about me and cockamamie yard care schemes that involve fire, but I can’t help but feel, deep down inside, that I desperately need a weed torch to help me deal with the depressing state of my driveway right now.

Or, I could just cover the driveway in kerosene and drop a match.

We’ll see…

plants for sale

Plant sale season is kicking into full gear. There were a couple last weekend that I missed, but this week I intend to be at the Ramsey County Extension Barn for their Master Gardener Plant Sale. I’ll probably also swing by the Minneapolis Farmer’s Market for some extra goodies too (I’m looking at you, Dehn’s Garden).

in which our heroine tempts the forces of nature to smite her

Yeah, so, wallet full of cash + Minneapolis Farmer’s Market + Bachman’s + bright sunny day = expensive + projects.

Last year, I pretty much ignored all things garden (except for a zucchini/pumpkin patch, which was really more about keeping the weeds down than anything). This year, I’m planning to ramp my vegetable production back up (I actually have seedlings that I started from seed that I might be able to plant, and get a usable harvest from) and I’ve also had an uncharacteristic hankering for flowers. So Sunday morning, I headed down to the farmer’s market with cash money and an eye for annuals. I didn’t really do too badly there, $16 on some creeping thyme from Dehn’s (why shouldn’t my ground covers be edible, dammit?) and another $20 on some girly-looking annuals (they are even called pansies…eesh).

The real trouble started when I decided on my way home that it would be a good idea to stop by the garden store to see what their selection was like. It’s possible that I maybe left with two 1gal perennials (they were peonies, that’s like my kryptonite), three dahlias, a sprinkling of alyssium, and one terracotta mushroom (more awesome than words can describe…pictures to come later when I am finished…modifying it). When I finally got myself out of there, it was 3pm on a Sunday and I had a couple hours of digging ahead of me. On the Sunday BEFORE Mother’s Day. A full 11 days before the average Southern Minnesota last frost date. During the coldest spring that I have experienced since moving here.

Yeah, that’s going to work out just great.

In other news, I started reading Then We Came to the End last night…coming into this office this morning hurt quite a bit more than it normally does.

Last but not least (yeah, I know this post is going on forever), remember when I was going on and on about the What Ale’s Thee podcast (well, maybe only Amber remembers). They kinda disappeared after last summer, which made me a little sad but it looks like Jason Alvey (the one with the accent) hasn’t given up on good beer, and is opening a “specialty beer store” in St. Louis Park. I can’t wait to check it out (even if it means cheating on my beloved Cellars).

That’s the news for this Monday kids…think warm thoughts, ‘k?

it’s almost cruel you know…

compost.jpg…posting something as awesome as this to taunt the garden geeks at the end of November.

But I’m a cruel kinda girl, so click on the right for a full image of just some of the critters found in 1 cup (250ml) of compost.

[via]

Sometimes, it’s nice to have a Nerd.

Most of the time, I love my yard. Both front and back. The backyard is nice and big and fairly level, with plenty of space for me to have a 4 block square foot garden, and for Nerd 2 to grow giant pumpkins. The front yard has a nice slope upwards towards the house which keeps me away from the street and helps to guard against flooding. However, there are times when you burn through the better part of an afternoon carting 8 wheelbarrow loads full of mostly mulched leaves out of the front yard and suddenly you realize that 0.75 acres was the worst purchase you’ve ever made.

I don’t know how the leaf problem got so bad this year, the backyard cleaned up fine with one swipe of the mower a few weeks back (the ash tree drops early). And last year, I only had a rake to work with, but for some reason, the front yard wants to kill me today.

We decided to start packing it up after we started to feel a few drops of rain, and I’m a touch ashamed to say that Nerd 2 is still out there trying to blow the rest of the leaves into a pile. So far it looks like he’s got them piled up about 3 feet high around the trunk of the basswood.

In other news, the American Cancer Society’s World’s Biggest Garage sale is going on into next week. I grabbed a bunch of fun items which included a Hello Kitty pillow and the soundtrack to The Sting on vinyl. Too bad they were out of record players. Here’s the info if you want to check it out. I might just be heading back on Wednesday for the half price sale.

i think i’m going to be needing this

Found this cool online garden planner via curbly today. I can’t do any real planting in the back garden yet because the fence isn’t all the way up yet, but I hope to get started soon, so I should maybe commence with the planning, right?

There’s a lot going on this weekend – too much for me to even hope to keep up with, but here’s a brief synopsis:

Friday night – Electric Six at First Ave, then maybe taking Nerd 1 to a gay bar (because it would be the right thing to do).
Saturday – Arrive Oakdale at 8:30 am…someone owes me…big time. After the move, I’m hoping to fit in a trip to the Science Museum, as it’s the last weekend for the race exhibit. After SMM, maybe I’ll swing by Arborfest (though probably not, because $40 for beer when I’m too exhausted to really enjoy it seems a little pricey). Weather permitting, at dusk I will be at the drive-in, enjoying Nicolas Cage, Tobey Maguire, and Luke Wilson doing their respective things (ok, 2 out of 3 ain’t bad).

Sunday – Dim Sum somewhere. The plan was originally Jun Bo, but that seems to have been kaiboshed by people jumping the gun last week and going early, so it will probably be Yangtze. I haven’t had dim sum for a while, so I’m looking forward to this a lot. After lunch, I plan to wander down to REI and spend the dividend that has been burning a hole in my wallet (seriously…that thing is printed on cardstock). I’ve got my eye on this, or maybe, if I’m feeling spendy, this.

retail success!

I finally bought a Wii yesterday. On a whim, I consulted my spreadsheet with the phone numbers (and phone tree paths) of the Wii retailers around me (obsessive? moi?) and found out the the Circuit City nearby had two left. Before dude had finished telling me that “they are first come, first served and I can’t hold it for you” I was out the door. When I got to the store, I had to ask where the Wii’s were (they are so rare they don’t even bother putting them out on the shelf), and refused to browse for games/extra controllers until after I had purchased the device and knew it was mine.

After my happy time at CC, I decided to swing over to Home Depot and see if they had any of that stump rotting stuff that I had heard about (I have a 16″ wide birch stump hanging out in my backyard which I’d like to get rid of and maybe replace with a pond). They do have it, it’s called Stump Out, and it is the most amazing stuff ever. Because after you drill a bunch of holes in your stump (foot-long spade bits FTW!), pour the stuff in, and wait for a month, you get to refill the holes with kerosene and light the stump on fire. It burns down to the roots, and you are left with a hole full of ash. I am so unbelievably excited about the impending stump lighting and hopefully getting to watch flames shoot out of the ground that I might just throw a party to celebrate (actually…now that I think about it, I could probably time it to line up with my birthday party).

I haven’t hooked up the Wii yet, because it was too nice out yesterday to go inside and I decided to play with my leaf blower (another new purchase yesterday) and chainsaw and firepit for a little while, which ended up stretching until nearly my bedtime. I may or may not have time for it today, since it is still painfully beautiful out and playing video games when I could be riding/drilling stumps/swinging on my hammock drinking beer just feels foolish to me.