Friday, May 15, 2015

Who Knew Hanging Laundry is Garden Motivation?

Look who I found by the compost pile in the garden.  A garter snake.  How cool!  This one is pretty small, but bigger than I've seen before in my yard.  I think I've finally accumulated enough piles of sticks, logs, and compost to provide some good habitat for garter snakes, which don't mind to live near people as long as they have a place to hide.    

I discovered the little garter snake when the chickens and I were examining the weeds in the asparagus bed, and I decided to move the ugly cardboard in the background, which I was using to smother weeds around a compost pile.  I kept finding things like that to do whenever I looked at the weeds in the asparagus bed, which is why there are so many weeds.  Putting off pulling weeds doesn't make this job get easier, I know.  Ugh.  This big job was about to become a huge job that would require heroic effort to  tackle, which has it's own rewards, for sure, but I was getting afraid I would never muster up enthusiasm for it if I let it get much worse.  Just do it, Rain!

The pale green weed that is growing densely among the asparagus spears is lambs quarters, which is edible.  I debated leaving it, decided to harvest it for the refrigerator, then realized that it was full of other weeds too, so I just started ripping it out by the handful.  Once I got into it, I enjoyed the work.  June really enjoyed my work too, and scratched and pecked in the dirt right beside me.  It wasn't long before I was wondering why I dreaded it so much.  

I've always said I suffer from inertia.  It's hard to switch gears sometimes.  If I've been sitting in my temperature controlled office all day, thinking office thoughts, by the time I make my evening commute, and come up with a plan for dinner, I feel wiped out.  I wonder how I'm ever going to find the strength to feed myself, much less pull weeds.  Housework beckons.  Blah.  

Thankfully, I have a few things that help me snap out of office mode.  The dog wants to go out right away, so we go say hello to the chickens and the garden.  Deep breath -  aaaahhhh, it's nice to be home.      

I'm a little surprised to find that I've been giving thanks to the laundry for helping me break free from the office and commute funk.  Like on Monday of this week.  If asked what I was going to do when I got home, I'm pretty sure my answer would be to bury my head in a book and not look up until it's time to go to bed. I might have said I would look at the TV while I eat take-out for dinner, but that's the extent of my energy.  I didn't even want to read a good book, that requires thought, I wanted to read one of the romantic novels I've read a dozen times, so I wouldn't even have to pay attention.   But the housework still beckoned when I got home and saw the state of things, so I decided to at least get my robots working.  Load the dishwasher, load the washing machine, and load the dryer hang up a load of laundry outside.    It's been six months since we had a dryer.  Hanging laundry in the sun is sort of like getting a solar charge.  By the time one load was up, I decided to water the garden, hose off the porch (stupid chickens!), and then found myself taking on the big job of weeding the asparagus.  After more than an hour of puttering around outside, I felt good enough to cook some of the asparagus with mushrooms, peppers, and pork chops.  Thank you, laundry! 

I've mentioned before that having something that will die without my attention is extra motivation to get outside and move my body after a sedentary day at work.  So on Wednesday morning I promised the tomato plant that's been sitting on my front porch that I would put it in the ground when I got home.  But first, I better hang a load of laundry to take advantage of the sun, right?  By the time I finished those two pleasant chores, I was feeling pretty good, and remembered the ceramic garden markers Shanna gave me for a Christmas gift.  I finally get to use them!

They came wrapped in a padded package with some burlap and twine wrapped around them.  The markers have cute flowers with a light blue glaze, and were for chive, corn, asparagus, arugula, kale, thyme, tarragon, collards, and cilantro.  I was excited to find that I already had some of the right plants growing in the garden.  

I think the chickens like the asparagus marker.  

I find the markers to be great fun when taking pictures of the plants.  Not only do they add a focal point to a leafy bed of green, like the kale Jamie and I planted in March, but they label the picture, and give it some scale.

These are great for marking plants that volunteered in the garden, like this cilantro, that I want to remember to not pull up.  

I was really tempted to label the turnips with the collards marker, and label the kohlrabi with the arugula marker, just so I could use them, but I restrained myself.  I did notice that this radish is growing above the soil surface.  Just a few days before it was a tiny red pea, and now it's at least the size of a nickel.  I wonder how big it will get when it's not even growing in the ground? 

The peas are blooming.  The plants from the seeds I planted are taller than Jamie's, but he had better germination.  Not that's it's a competition.  Did I mention mine are taller?  

The early spinach seeds we planted only resulted in a handful of plants.  Scrawny looking plants too.  If we are going to be spinach farmers, we may need to up our game.  

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