Sunday, May 18, 2008

Cold and wet spring

I haven't been posting much this spring, but dad hasn't volunteered to use his retirement to take over blogging, so I had better start updating again. It's been cold and wet lately, so we haven't gotten much in the ground. In fact, the peppers and tomatoes are getting so big in the greenhouse that we may have to prune them before getting a chance to plant them.
The greenhouse is crowded with other things too: small lettuces, basil and other herbs, zucchini and cucumbers, cabbages, and a few flowers. The bigger lettuces and cabbages have been put outside to conserve space and to keep them from wilting on the sunniest days.Despite the wet weather, a few things are in the ground. Here's the first batch of lettuce planted by hand because the slope is rather steep for the transplanter to run well on. Above it you might make out the blue-green stalks of garlic among the weeds. The plan is to harvest this lettuce as soon as it is ready, because this is the flower garden, and the holes in the plastic will be planted with zinnias, marigolds, and sunflowers once the lettuce is cut.
Dad's put a few more plantings of corn in. The first ones are up several inches now, and you can see that they were planted in rows when you look across those patches--it's not just a few scattered sprouts that might be blades of grass any longer. Here's the corn planter; one of the few pieces of equipment that is John Deere green, since Dad is generally a Case equipment man.One final picture for this post. Can you identify the vegetables growing below? (Hint: click on the image for a larger view.)I'll post the answer in the comments.

"Buckeye" tree blown down

Two weeks ago, mom and dad woke up to find that a quarter of the "buckeye" tree had blown down overnight. They were fortunate that it had fallen away from the house.It tore down the wires from the pole that carries electric to the barn, wagon shed, and other farm buildings. The power line on the road was pulled to be over the middle of the road. You might be able to see how much they are distant from the phone lines in the picture below--it's very faint.After Dusquene Light came and fixed the wires, they cut and stacked wood and put the brush on the wagon to haul away. The tree will have to come down.We've always called this the "buckeye" tree, but it is a really a horse chestnut Aesculus hippocastatum. This venerable tree grew from a buckeye (or chestnut to be particular) that grandma brought from a tree near her house in Beaver when they moved out to the farm.

It was badly damaged in a storm, so her father took a chain and pulled the split trunk together. The trunk healed around the chain, so that just the ends stuck out from the trunk. You can still see one end where four links hang down, and you might be able to discern the other end of the chain in the rotted part of the trunk.