Thursday, February 28, 2013

Almost March

Not the BEST picture as he was sitting on the purple leaf smoke bush about a foot away from my living room window looking in, so the screen was between me and him when I took the photo. This is a sharp shinned hawk, he was feeding at my bird feeder (or should I say cat/hawk feeder). He sat there looking into my living room for a very long time.

Well we are at the end of February now. We must be over with our drought as we have had more rain/ice storms this winter than I ever remember before, so much ice under the snow that when the snow is shovelled or plowed I can no longer walk down my path or drive to the mailbox (can't find my TRAX somehow they got misplaced..wah).

We also have had a much colder and snowier winter for February than we have had in many years (last year we had 80's and 90's in February). But that is probably a very good thing as last year we also had all of our fruit trees bud out so early that when the weather turned awful cold in May and June we lost all of our fruit buds and only had 2 pears and a few other fruits, not enough to sustain life for sure.

We are very optimistic here this spring that we'll have a good fruit/nut season this year, although they are forcasting the next three months above normal temps and precip, I don't think it will be so dangerous for the fruit.

I have a several baby cherry and peach trees coming this spring and some kiwi vines again, I've tried kiwi several times and never had any luck with them but I'm going to really baby these. I hope they come in good shape.

Many of my baby food forest fruit trees should be of bearing age this year or next, hoping for at least a sample of fruit from them this year. And some should be well into bearing this year, esp some of my pear trees which gave me a sample last year despite the freezes.

I'm also expecting almonds on my Hall's Hardy Almond this year as it is quite large now. I got my first Hazelnut crop last year and it was great for a first crop, they look like they'll bear well again  this year. My other nut trees are too young to be bearing any real crops for a while yet.

I also am hopeful for some plums this year, the plum trees are all still very young, but one can hope. I have one peach that might be of bearing age in the next year or so, so I might get one or two peaches off of it. My other peach trees died so I'm replacing them with standards this year rather than the dwarfs I have put in in the past, they don't seem to be very strong. I also lost a sweet cherry last year and had damage on another sweet cherry, so I have 2 replacements coming this year, but my 2 sour cherries and my bush cherries should be able to bear a small crop this year.

I also got a small crop off of some relocated grapevines last year, and they were really yummy, but the remainder of my grapevines should begin to bear this year. My 100 year plus old antique grapes over my front arbor bear every year but they are only good for juice or jelly, not for eating out of hand.

I actually took a bunch of cuttings off of my seedless grapes this fall and just stuck them in all along my lattice fencing around the garden to see if they might take (they were basically just my prunings)..if so I should have some nice vines growing all over out there.

I always get a good crop of black raspberries and blackberries from two areas of my property, but the berry hedge I've been trying to establish out back just isn't doing very well, so I have hopes for that this year to catch up..if not I might rip it out this year..might  not be the best place for them?

This will be the first spring for the logs I innoculated with lions mane and shiitake mushroom plugs ..I have high hopes for them. One log was contaminated with some other fungus but professionals tell me that they still might be OK. I'll be keeping an eye on them. With the forcast for more warmth and moisture than normal it might be a really great mushroom year here there is also great hope for morels and other forage mushrooms.

This will also be the first year for planting my new hugelbed that Joel built for me east of the pear tree garden. Ron has been depositing some ashes on top of it this winter, and we put some refuse from some pots that were used to grow other plants, worn out potting soil. I have some composted manure that I'll be putting on it just before planting and hope to mix in a little shredded paper with the compost and I'll be trying to get some ash chips to mix in as well, to make a good planting bed on if I can find a good source for some mulch as well.

I also have a dream of maybe putting some protein fish into the pond. The goldfish have been muultiplying very well in the pond and would make a good food source for a few protein fish, I'm thinking also of some other forage fish from the fish hatchery, but that might have to wait a  year?

The plan was for chickens this year, but I'm thinking that won't work with Ron's difficulty with animals and he has had a difficult winter. I don't want to create more stress with that as the chickens are my dream not his, and he really doesn't want them or any animals for that matter.

Well, I'm desperately hoping for some warmer weather soon, I need to get outside and walk if nothing else, but working in the yard would be so much fun. Just as long as we don't get buds too early like last year..I'm OK.. 23 days till Spring.

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

rhubarb uses

5 Ways to Use your Extra Rhubarb:
  1. Boil stalks down into syrup, and concoct a tart and tasty rhubarb drink.
  2. Create a tangy homemade barbecue sauce with sliced rhubarb as your secret ingredient.
  3. Two words: rhubarb jam
  4. Slice stalks, and roast them in honey for a delicious gourmet side dish.
  5. Make your surplus into pies, and start a successful home business.
Found the above on an email from a seed catalog, but there are other ways to use it as well.
There is strawberry/rhubarb sauce, rhubarb pie, rhubarb leather as well as above..add your own in the comment section.