Over the Fence Chat -- May 19 - May 25, 2002

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Just starting this up for this week, so Alan doesn't have to do it on Tuesday! ;-)

Still very cool here, but supposed to warm up and finally be seasonable this next week. Rented garden plot still not tilled up, so nothing going there, although all I'd be doing at this point would be putting up fence and mulching with newspaper. That is my plan for this year, heavy newspaper mulch with straw on top. Until the straw is delivered, I'll probably put plastic sheeting over it and weight the whole thing down. The newspaper/straw combo was most successful last year. I used that perforated plastic on most of the beds last year, and it kept the weeds out, but disintegrated into little pieces at the end of the year and was wretched to try to get out. I'm planning on just planting right through the newspaper.

I MUST make much stronger tomato supports. All of mine were inadequate last year. I ended up with tomatoes lying on the ground, where some critter bit them. Also this year I intend to try burying bottles (upside down, with bottom cut off) next to each plant to optimize the watering, and possibly doses of seaweed emulsion and/or fish emulsion.

My corn was pathetic last year. The ears didn't fill out, and there were numerous bug attacks and smut. I suppose I could just look at it as growing Halloween decorations . . . Ack! Don't know if I'll try that again or not.

Say, my sunflower seeds didn't really develop well either. Plants looked great, but the interior of the seed, the nut part, was miniscule. Any speculation on what was wrong? I grew a few Russian mammoth. Man, the stalk on that thing was so thick, I probably could have made lumber out of it (ok, I'm exaggerating a LITTLE).

Has anyone grown delicata squash? How did it come out?

Had a scare the other night. I scorched something on the stove so I opened the glass slider to air out a bit more. The bottom of the screen is a bit torn (there's a good reason I haven't had it rescreened -- later). One of the cats was hoping up and down next to it and meowing. The other cat was nowhere to be seen or found. And she had previously escaped out another screen (one that, until then, I hadn't known was torn).

Of course it was entirely dark out by this time. I spent 45 minutes outside looking for her, with a head lamp and two flashlights, getting more and more worried. She is not used to being outdoors. I finally had to go in to use the facilities. That's when I discovered the other cat now in front of the closet door staring at it. The closet where I had hung up my coat a few hours earlier. Sure enough, there was the missing kitty! Well, I was glad to see her safe and sound, at least.

The first torn screen has been rescreened long ago. I can't get this other (still torn) one out of the track, because a pair of plastic slider storm panels were installed outside the whole unit. I'm sure there is some way to do it, but I haven't figured it out yet. I would never want to purposely put in sliders that open right to the outside. They are a pain! And of course, the tear is right above the aluminum frame, so there is no other section of screen available to "sew" it back together with wire or fishing line. I keep wondering if there is a way to rescreen it in place.

-- Anonymous, May 19, 2002


Just me. Nonstop company for the last two or so weeks, and I can feel how wiped out I am. Still, it's so good to see folks!

Last night we celebrated a birthday and anniversary with a couple of neighbors at their house. Had clams and barbecued salmon, and some roasted vegetables (there's a guy around here that is brokering out- of-state (?)organic vegetables, plus raising some of his own, and he delivers these big boxes to local folks ...neat idea! He's trying to support a family of five or six. I haven't used his services, but our friends tried him. The vegetables were good, varied, and the guy is quite friendly and honest). Anyway, we walked through our friends' woodlands with a few of their cats (they have 20) as the sun was setting; came back and ate, and then sat around their fire pit until 1 a.m. last night listening to good bluegrass. It was fun. We talked a lot about Frontier House! My friend kept saying that we should sell out and move to maybe Tennessee or Alabama, and get down to some real homesteading (and in a warm climate). They have a lot of solid skills, but I don't think I'd ever want to try that kind of adventure with friends! Well, maybe...

I had spent the day earlier walking around with my aunt, mom, and cousin...we went to a little tourist town on the water north of here called La Conner. My aunt bought me a book on how to knit socks on two circular needles. I've never seen that done. We then went to my cousin's beach house and watched eagles (at least a dozen) soar over Port Susan Bay.

Today, some good friends came up (another birthday to celebrate) so we walked in the woods around here, played with the sheep, regretted not being able to garden much yet this season, and came back and ate pizza.

Did I mention that we also had a potluck after church?

The laundry never dried on the line today...no rain, but cool and humid. M. S. is studying for a Spanish test in the living room, so I'm sort of holed up in the office. I took a nap in the bunkhouse today, but I didn't light a fire, and it was kind of coolish, even under an afghan. It's going to be early to bed tonight.

Rambling, but checking in. Hope you all have a good week.

-- Anonymous, May 19, 2002

The Weather Gods Must Be Crazy.

It's mid-May for God's sake, the temperature has been going to between 90-95 for weeks and that's normal. No rain, which isn't fine, but it's supposed to be hot at this time of year. So what happens is that Saturday afternoon we *finally* catch one of the scattered showers that they keep predicting. Not much really, just enough to lay the dust. The temperature goes down with it too but that's normal. Spent the whole day in Orlando at a gun show so got home just after it rained. Get up on Sunday to solid cloud cover, the occasional light spit of rain, constant 15-20 mph wind and a porch thermometer that never read over 60 degrees the whole day. Had a load of work to do so I went on outside and finally got that olive tree in the ground. Decided to rain a little harder so I shooed the baby inside and put the tools up. The baby and I went for a ride to the other end of the county to get some pelletized lime now that I've finally found a reasonably priced source for it. Mama's got a lot of school work for the new semester, the baby resolutely resisted all of my stratagems to lull her into a nap so we take a long drive through the countryside. Found a new swimming hole right on the Suwanee river over to Fanning Springs. Finally gave up on her going to sleep and headed home. Wind never stopped blowing and it's still heavily overcast but hasn't actually dropped any rain in hours. Once home got out the tools again and finally planted the three Cattley guavas, limed all the trees in the orchard and washed it all in. Threw in the towel after about an hour and went inside and got a light jacket. A steady damp wind at 60 degrees begins to really seep into the bones. Gainesville claims to have gotten near to two inches of rain but I don't think we got better than a quarter inch to DunHagan and that spread over a day and a half. Supposed to be more of the same for most of today so maybe we'll get a bit more.

Got a big mess of squash and eggplant out of the garden last night which I cooked up with some of that good Jimmy Dean sausage. Watched Cold Comfort Farm again. Am mulling over whether to torture myself with Eyes of Fire again but I'll have to do it when mama's not at home since she has stated flatly she doesn't want to see it.

Warmth and precipitation to all.


-- Anonymous, May 20, 2002

"Cold Comfort Farm". I LOVE that movie! Definitely one of my all-time favorites for a good-time!

-- Anonymous, May 20, 2002

Man, is everyone here preoccupied or what? No one got a life they want to talk about anymore?

My wife started her new job today with the UF Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences as their librarian. So far, so good.

Planted three camellias a couple of days ago. Have to mulch them in this weekend.

The Florida Folk Festival is going down this weekend up to White Springs so I'll be taking the wife and baby on Sunday.

I've got this incredible Jones for chocolate just now and I don't konw why. Want a big rare steak too. Weird.


-- Anonymous, May 24, 2002

Are you pregnant, Allen? ;)

-- Anonymous, May 24, 2002

Well, I've been on vacation this week; because Jessie graduates from high school this evening (just waiting my turn in the shower now!) When I've been able to get my self up off the couch; I've been outside working in the garden or yard or berry patch. I keep getting this miserable stabbing pain in my epigastric region - probably a dang ulcer! - makes it kind of hard to do things when you're standing there with the heel of your hand pressed into your chest, and trying to breathe shallow to make the beast go back into hiding! Of course, I can't get into the doctor til Tuesday...

We got frost early this week that wiped out my pepper plants and took a toll on the tomato leaves as well; tho it didn't kill off any tomatoes. Usually; May 10th is our definate frost free date - guess I better write this one on my calendar so I can tell the grandkids about it in 30 years or so!! I clipped the tomato leaves and bought new pepper plants and got them planted. Bought some red cabbage too; and since I can't keep dill alive, I bought some salvia to put in the centers of my brassica beds - I figure that sage is sage, and any of the aromatics are supposed to be good with brassica. Also bought Pop some Pampas grass that he'd been asking for - I think the man is trying to turn my garden into a perennial bed, tho he denies it: "I just think it would look real pretty there by the path." Uh-huh. Yeah. Sure, Pop... Guess if it really bothered me, then I shouldn't be dragging home the stuff he asks for; should I?!

The strawberries are starting to ripen - slowly! Bailey (Pop's gf's little girl) is taking care of the ripe ones for us so far! She is so delighted when she finds a ripe berry that none of the rest of us have the heart to eat them yet! Nothing else ready right now in the garden. I need to get my fanny out there and get another salad patch planted; along with the beans. Pop and I planted a couple rows of sweet corn with the little push planter yesterday; I reckon Uncle Ivan will get to the rest of it next week, after the rain decides to stop again - it's raining now and supposed to carry on through tomorrow as well.

Pop went in town this morning and helped get the flags up in town for the Memorial Day weekend; tomorrow, he will help put them on the veteran's graves at the cemetary. I bought the things to put together a new wreath for Mama's grave; I need to get it done so he can take it in tomorrow morning as well. There's a cookout on Sunday for Jessie that we'll be going to; then I'll stop by on my way home from work on Monday for the ceremony at the cemetary.

Whoops - shower just shut off - guess I'd better go take my turn! You folks have a good weekend; take care...

-- Anonymous, May 24, 2002

Are you pregnant, Alan? ;)

Hmm, now that you mention it...

Now were *did* she put those sticks? Are they supposed to turn blue?... : ) : )


-- Anonymous, May 24, 2002

Yay!! It's over! I'm done with high school for the 2nd time around! Jessie's diploma is in her hot little hand - and it's even signed and everything! I honestly think I'm even more relieved to have gotten her through school than I was to get out myself!

Still sprinkling rain off and on here; enough to keep us out of the fields, but not enough to keep me out of the garden! Pop and I finally got all the beds in the new part re-arranged and set where we think they will stay - really stay; now all I need to do is get them filled in and planted! Thought that I would have enough room in the main garden to plant my beans; but Pop sneaked in some stuff while I wasn't looking, so into the new garden they go; along with some potatoes and "other stuff". Dang, I forgot about the okra - where'm I gonna put the okra!? I don't even know why I'm planting it - I don't LIKE okra!

Gotta get things done in the garden so that I can be ready for berry season to hit. I'm not going to supply the store this year - in fact; I'm not picking for anyone but us this year! I do have a kid who wants to pick for folks, so I will put him on retainer for the LOL's who want their berries picked - and put Pop to watching him! Hah!

Neighbor Mike and his wife Jan borrowed our planter a couple of times to put out berries and I handed the store business over to them with nary a qualm - it just ain't as much fun as it used to be! Pop's gf Lisa lives right on the highway in town, so if we get overflow of berries (or anything else) I can have Pop sit in her driveway and sell it. I really liked the U-Pick business; but with the 12 1/2 hour shifts, I just can't stay awake on the days that I work to do it. Just wait 'til Hubs retires! BWHAHAHAHA! Good thing he doesn't read this board! He thinks his Honey-do list is long now! It'd scare him to death to know what all I've got planned!

And speaking of lists; mine for today is almost as long as his - guess I'd better get out from in front of this computer and get to it; so that I can be sure to have MY stuff done so I can boss him through HIS list when he gets home from work this afternoon!

You all take care,

-- Anonymous, May 25, 2002

Not much doing here. Trying to get the garden in but it is quite a job when you have very little help. That tiller is going to be the death of me! Honestly there were times this morning when I was so frustrated I almost quit to sit there in the dirt and weeds and bawl my eyes out. @#$%front tine tiller!!! But I just keep saying to myself that its better than digging by hand by myself. Tell that to my blisters. whine whine whine. Then I came in and started on the laundry. After I get something to eat and a shower I think I'll go out and start getting the beds reshaped (tilled right through the paths etc) and the path covering of carpet strips laid back down. Richard planted potatoes on Thursday night after my tilling session that afternoon. I would really like to get the peas, swiss chard, lettuces etc in today. Then next week or the week after I'll set out the cukes etc. The onions and garlic need to get in today or this week too. They are calling for rain afyter today so there in lies my sense of being hurried. Animals are fine. My favorite ram lamb may end up going to a home rather than the freezer. Remains to be seen though. The duck got off her eggs and seems to adopted the ducklings I got with my chicks. Gotta go. Have a great day.

-- Anonymous, May 25, 2002

Hmmm. Rams and ducks and strawberries, and what? Little sticks that turn blue?! Interesting week!

It is soggy and drizzly today (our usual Memorial Day Weekend weather)...Mr. S. sez that we only get one nice summer holiday weekend, and it's usually Labor Day. The Fourth is often spent in parkas, although seems to me the last few years have been okay, even hot a couple of times.

I have more perennials to plant out today, drizzle or not, so I'm kind of procrastinating over my last cup of coffee before venturing out. I have to run into town to get something to serve company this evening, too. What do you serve to vegetarians, one of whom is on Weight Watchers? Guess I should just wander around the garden for a while! Actually, I'm going to get some spuds and some exotic stuff for salad. Copper River Salmon (from Alaska) is in the stores now, on sale for $4.99 to $6.99/lb. Our freezer is out of fish. Of course, if I buy some, it'll be for us and for some other time I guess. If our guests are not going to eat flesh, I guess we should forego it for the meal, too. Maybe I'll just make some quiches and forget going into town! Except that I need to get the mail...

Exciting life, eh?

Mostly, we're just hunkering down, waiting for the summer to get here (around July 10th statistically). No corn this year. Hey, Mr. S. is going to make me a small greenhouse...guess that's exciting news. He bought 12' timbers (I'm surprized we didn't have any lying around...come to think of it, we might...have old creosoted railroad ties that used to be our fence corners, somewhere at the bottom of the pasture)...anyway, he's going to make a skiddable 8 x 12' structure. Not real big, but okay for starting stuff (mostly his beloved sunflowers, no doubt!).

Anyway, have a good weekend. I hope the sun is shining where you are, and the temperatures are to your liking. Hope the flies and skeeter leave you alone, too! Have a nice barbecue! Polly, congrats on the young'un!

-- Anonymous, May 25, 2002

Alan, I have properly smacked myself upside the head for mispelling your name! So sorry; I have no idea why I did that.

Has anyone seen this site? Kinda cute:

Coincidence or Conspiracy?

-- Anonymous, May 25, 2002

I have no idea why that link didnt work; I was so sure I did it right, but my viewsource is not working. Here's the address anyway:


-- Anonymous, May 25, 2002

It's been a pretty busy week here. On Tuesday night I went to a club to hear 7 Nations, they're a Celtic rock band out of Florida. I was supposed to meet up with my friends Jason and Raejean, I went a little early to grab a table. There was a line because the doors hadn't opened yet, and guess who I got stuck in line behind. That guy that's been causing all the problems for me and his cronies. It was pretty awkward but I played nice and said hello and they played nice and asked if I wanted to sit with them. Fortunatley I was able to use my friends as an excuse for not sitting with them. The band was good, although I think the local band that opened for them, MotherGrove, was even better.

I was out so late on Tuesday and my lungs and sinuses were a wreck from the smoke in the club so I called in sick to work on Wednesday. I was feeling better by noon so I ran a few errands. Kroger had whole ribeyes on sale for half price and the store would slice them for free, so now I should have enough steaks in the freezer to get through the summer and each one was less than a Big Mac at McDonalds. :) I'd like to be able to raise our own freezer beef someday so I have more control over what it's fed, but until then watching for the good sales will have to do.

I've been trying to get a part-time job as a massage therapist at the dayspa by my house, so on Wednesday night I had to give the owner an interview massage. I was very nervous about it, and I just kept telling myself that it would be OK, I could just do my basic Swedish relaxation massage routine that I've done dozens of times already and I'd be fine. So then I go into the interview and the owner says that she doesn't want me to do a basic Swedish relaxation massage, she wants me to do a deep tissue massage, identify where her trouble areas are, and tell her what my treatment plan would be. She also informed me that she has metal rods implanted on either side of her spine due to scoliosis. Talk about being in a panic! I made it through somehow. She was supposed to call me Thursday night to give me feedback and do the rest of the interview but I still haven't heard from her.

Since I was hanging around home waiting for the spa owner to call, I didn't get a chance to go to the grocery store until today. I hate grocery shopping on weekends, it's so crowded. After I got home I made some strawberry freezer jam, and also put some sliced strawberries and some corn on the cob in the freezer.

Tomorrow is the Indy 500 and we only live a few miles from the track, so the traffic will be horrible. We're pretty much stuck at home all day, although I am hoping to be able to sneak out to the garden store for a few bags of composted cow manure so I can get the second bed ready for planting. Good thing I have Monday off from work, I think I'm going to need a day to rest. :)

Happy Memorial Day!

-- Anonymous, May 25, 2002

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