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Wednesday, May 20, 2015

How I "Pagan"

A chance conversation at my knitting group recently -- one of the members trying to figure out how I knew some folks (not knitters) that we have in common on social media -- the subject of gaming and a conclusion of that being the commonality caused me to correct the assumption. No, not gaming... though I do know a lot of folks who play, I am not part of that community. The commonality, I said, is Paganism, which brought a bit of a puzzled look. Since I do not regularly attend events in Bangor, neither the quarter and cross-quarter rituals held at the UU church, nor the moon cycle events at the Temple of the Feminine Divine, I am not associated with that brand of spirituality.

This got me to thinking about why I do not travel to these events regularly (I have never, actually, been to the Temple though I have attended several rituals at the UU's facility since 2008) and exactly how it is that I do my Pagan thing. 

First off, while I DO drive and DO have (usually, at least) a running vehicle at my disposal, I do not LIKE being in town. Bangor is not bad as towns go, but I have spent lots of time in towns over my life and really would prefer never to have to go there. Town folks just seem to have different priorities, a different sense of time, not to mention the fact that towns are filled with people and cars and such.

I also have a very busy, crowded life here on the farm and time is always at a premium. When I was working in town (mostly mornings and usually early mornings at that) the last thing I really wanted to do was hang around for hours (usually with nothing productive to do) until evening came and it was time for a scheduled event. Town folk don't usually think about the fact that a 2 hour event that may require 15 minutes travel time for them turns into close to a 4 hour event when you count travel from an outlying town. The timing likely pushes supper time early and/or bed time late which not only affects the attendee, but also the rest of the family if they are not involved.

There is also the fact that I work with very specific Deities, who have some very specific ideas about how their followers need to live. I know many Pagans are actually quite satisfied with rituals that invoke an unnamed God and Goddess; many others are not even actually Deists, but more follow the lines of animism or other related paths, which they are welcome to do. However, generic ritual format, especially for "seasonal" rituals, when the season being celebrated or welcomed is weeks from its actual appearance in the Northlands, really does nothing for me. And, more importantly, nothing for my relationship with my Gods.

Frigga would much prefer that I be honoring her by cleaning my stove than by chanting in a circle. Mani (moon) and Sunna (sun) are not even viewed in my practice as having the same gender identification as is accepted in most Pagan circles. And while my practices are in a Northern Tradition, I am not of an Asatru community either, nor am I looking for one. There is too large an element of UPG in my practice (not surprising considering that the beginnings of my journey involved nothing more than inspiration -- or direct communication if you will -- from the Elements, celestial bodies and various Gods and Goddesses.) I began my journey, as I continue it, solitarily and based in my home and on my land. Have there been other people, books, etc. from which I have learned along the way? Yes, there have.. starting with a philosophical conversation with a young friend in which I first heard the word "pagan" applied to what I thought, believed and did. Have those people, books, etc been at the core of my practice or learning? No, never.

I "Pagan" by what I do, day in and day out, it's a "chop wood, carry water" kind of thing I guess. My Gods guide my mind and my hands as I tend my flocks and fields. I honor them as I harvest and preserve, as I spin and knit and weave and sew. Blood sacrifice? ...every time a fowl goes to "freezer camp," yes. Offerings to the spirits of the land? With every bucket to the compost, yes; with every "first harvest" pick of fruit or vegetable held aloft, the call of "Hail! and Thanks Be!" most definitely. With every Friday's Needfire and time of communing with Frigga, and fire at the dark and full moons (wind willing!) I honor the incremental turn of the earth, and the Powers That Be that guide us and I give thanks. With every dawn's greeting "Hail to the sun..." and "penny dance" abundance ritual that follows "From the Gods to the earth to us, from us to the Gods, that there might be much for many."

There are, I think, as many ways to "Pagan" as there are to "Christian" (and possibly to do other paths, though those are the two with which I am most familiar.) I was raised as what I call a "Christmas and Easter Christian." We regularly attended church at those times. Sometimes more often and my mom taught Sunday School for a while, but as I grew up, I learned that the church in which I was raised was a compromise for my folks and mostly they joined because it was socially required to be associated with a denomination. There was no prayer, typically, in our home; the Bible was not read regularly. There was no religious paraphernalia nor icons about. I know other Christians for whom Sunday attendance was mandatory, but little else was involved and even the ethics of following that path were ignored regularly. And I know still others for whom daily prayer, study and Christian ethics of charity and compassion take the forefront of their practice.

I am equally sure that there are Pagans for whom attendance at regular rituals is all that is required. I am also sure that there are many who include daily practice along with public or private group ritual.

Do I think, sometimes, that it would be nice to have a friendly Pagan neighbor just down the street, who might drop by and join me on a Friday night if s/he heard the drum or saw the flicker of my fire? Occasionally, yea, I do. But mostly I do like being alone, far from the madding crowd: the witchey crone surrounded by fields and fowl.

Friday, May 15, 2015

Asparagus Week!

setting up "nursery beds"
crowded babies into new digs
I am calling this "asparagus week" 'cause the early spring veggie has been front and center most of the week. I started out improvising nursery beds for my seedlings from old cardboard boxes. Friends who live close to the river -- with a very high water table -- showed me many vegetables successfully planted in this sort of improvised raised bed. They are, of course, not permanent, but their boxes lasted through the season and I think I can get these through the winter if I properly support and mulch them. At least it gives me a place to give my abundant crop of saved-seed-grown plants a start. I had to buy a bale of potting mix (about $30) but at current prices, that would not buy many started roots! I have been recycling the little soil cubes to which I initially planted asparagus seed and keep finding baby "spear-grass" in all my other starts! Below, you can see some coming up in the larger blocks into which I transplanted the marjoram. These babies will go into the beds when I plant out the herb. There are some in some of my other seedling trays as well.

...and they WANT to GROW!
...and be harvested!
 And I am happy to report that the first -- and now second -- small pickings have been made from the existing asparagus patch. I have the second picking in the fridge and will look tomorrow for additional spears. I am looking forward to a second lunch of creamed asparagus on toast as a birthday meal!

I have not been planting this week; we had a nice bit of rain early on and I did spend some time digging the dandelions and runner grass out of the garlic bed that I had not mulched before winter. I am glad to see it survived (I was concerned it might not have) and hope to get mulch laid down this coming week. The bees finally have become active as well; I worked around them digging the 'lions.

I spent Thurs afternoon running around Bangor to do the major grocery resupply. Went down after having a wonderful massage and some energy work and will NOT do that again! "Massage brain" and efficient errands do not go together. I ended up frustrated and stressed, not finding everything I had on the list, going nuts having to wander stores looking for things I do not typically buy and then forgot to pick up and put away some of my groceries, so the dog dug in my bag for string cheese and somehow dragged the bag of turbanado sugar all over my work room, spreading tan sugar on a tan carpet, which K did not discover on his way to bed (lights off and shoes on...) but I did when I got up. UGH!


36" Heart Chakra hex sign, shipped this week to TN
This is the hex that I shipped this week.. a 36" Heart Chakra design. Now I am working on a 30" Mighty Oak, with others to follow.

With my birthday coming tomorrow and new moon on Monday, I am looking forward to the hearthfire this evening. Thankfully the wind has abated.

Friday, May 8, 2015

So many projects, so little time!

Now that spring has finally arrived (with unfortunate hints of summer already...) we are both pushing to the limits.

Tractor Guy got Fergie back into running order, with her hydraulic hose replaced and her flat front tire taken to the nearby garage to have an inner tube installed.  Good thing, because making furrows into the untilled-since-last-spring ground was highly problematical. I did a row for the carrots and beets, swinging the hoe like it was a mattock. Put Tractor guy to work making the furrow for the peas. His choice was to use the Wheel Hoe, which resulted in it getting some repair work done, as the plow blade just would not stay put. But the row is done and the seeds soaked and in the ground. Ditto for the spinach. I finally got the catch pan cleaned out from under Rufus Rabbit -- it has been far too long -- and hand dug and then manured, re-dug and planted the seed. Hoping the rain this weekend will be in time as we have not been able to find the soaker hoses yet. Grrrr.

I did finally complete the three small hexen I have been working on: two custom indoor signs and a small Abundance, Prosperity and Smooth Sailing through Life.
Custom indoor sign for prosperity
and love, on bleached muslin.

Custom indoor sign for prosperity
and love, on bleached muslin.
Abundance, Prosperity and
Smooth Sailing through Life.

I also received photos from one of my customers, showing the large signs he recently orders as they are displayed on his metal building!
The 36" Blessed Year sign, right and the 48" Welcome ("Wilkom") sign, left, are hanging in Delaware. The customer has recently ordered yet another sign! Yay for repeat business!!

Mulch hay bales
I am currently painting on a 36" Heart Chakra sign and have a 30" Might Oak waiting in the wings. It is wonderful to have weather that is amenable to sanding and painting the primer and background coats outdoors!

Other farm projects recently have included getting the 75 new strawberry plants in the ground and getting the strawberry and bush berry (cranberry and blueberry) areas re-covered with cardboard as needed and mulched with some of the mulch hay from the 4 big round bales we hauled last week. It was pretty much one bale to an Artie-load but well worth it. I was able to roll out a bale and pull off
Highbush Cranberry
Mulched berry bush rows
sheets of hay to place around the strawberries and with the help of Tractor guy, roll the bales along next to and between the berry bushes to have them lay down a blanket as they went. It was good to have his help in the berry bush area with the cardboard, too! While I love the almost-constant winds as a bug repellant, it makes it hard to keep large sheets of cardboard in place while you work. With one of us to place the stuff and one to stand on it to hold it down, it pretty much stayed put. Hopefully this will keep the weeds down and the moisture in and the two layer approach definitely has a nicer visual appearance than just the cardboard.

TG also got a confinement pen put together for the 6 young layers and they went outside this week.  They are in a small pen, inside the chicken pen as they are still too small for the general population. Moose, our guardian dog pup, was QUITE confused at first by the new stuff and new critters but thankfully settled down before the day was done.

"The Hussy," our hen who seems to want to flee the coop each year, and Lady Grey, the hen turkey, are both hard at work sitting on eggs. Mama duck seems to think she
Lady Grey on the nest, Mama duck
looks on.
is broody too... and started out sitting on the turkey eggs but it seems LG got the idea and took over, so now the hen duck is just setting on an empty nest in the turkey pen. I hope to connect with a few more Khaki Campbell hens before long, so I can put our lone hen back with the ducks. Two drakes and one hen is NOT a good mix.  Fred, the single turkey from last year's hatch that survived the wild raiders, has taken up position outside the poultry fence, along with "The Looster," our spare roo. Fred seems to roost at night on the fence or the top of the hen house and so far has survived just fine. I cannot even think about putting him in the freezer at present, as there is literally no space.

I went last Sunday to help friends process their boar, who had become intractable. Apparently he chased the farmer around a tree a day before, as the final straw to his having gotten more attitude than necessary. I often help them on pig day as a meat cutter, but this was the first time we had done such a big beast! I was told he weighed 700 pounds after they gutted him and removed his huge head. Even the hide, which I was lucky enough to be able to help remove, was too heavy for just one person to move! The pieces of pork are huge and between filling my friends' freezers to capacity, and mine, they had more meat to share with the folks who helped with the killing part. Even that had to be delivered the same evening as the project, as there was no place cool left to store it until the morning. Processing meat in the spring is not optimal, but neither is not being able to mend fences because of a mean animal. I bought an 8 quart crock pot this week, in hopes of being able to cook the larger pieces of pork and still have fat in the refrigerator to render down. Hopefully I can get that into a roaster pan in the oven today; the temperature is supposed to stay cooler and having the extra heat will not be a burden.

And that's life in the slow lane...

Saturday, May 2, 2015

Spring is HERE!

Broccoli last year, growing through the
paper weed block.
Each roll is 25' of home made weed block.
Spring sprung, it seems, almost exactly on May Day, though I have been pushing it along through the not-quite-warm, not-quite-dry days of late April. The soil has become warm enough to tolerate the transplanting of some of my cool season seedlings. The onions, leeks, lettuce and brassicas have all been transplanted, the onions and brassicas into rows of feed sack weed block.
I have also been busy cleaning up and painting the handles of all the garden tools bright yellow; the metal parts will be red, but I haven't taken a picture of that part yet though they are almost done and ready to go back to the garage and into general use. Long ago I found that this color combination not only made it easy to recognize my tools when working on a community project, but also made them much easier to spot both in the garden and in the garage. 

The baby chick that Tractor Guy surprised me with early in the month are
almost feathered enough to go outside in this pic, shot a week ago. They ARE fully fledged now, we just don't have a chicken tractor for them to live in yet! Interesting color patterns... I was told they were a cross of Rhode Island Red and RI White.

Out in the yard, our lone duck hen "flew the coop" -- likely to get away from the two drakes who have been feeling their oats -- and ended up in the turkey pen. I caught her setting on the clutch of turkey eggs and figured she had gone broody. Now I am not so sure, and some times Lady Grey is on the nest, sometimes the duck and sometimes no one. Hoping for the best.

Besides getting the seedlings out and the first row of direct seeded crops (beets and carrots) we spent one morning hauling mulch hay from a nearby horse operation. This pile is destined to help hold down weeds in the strawberry, blueberry and cranberry rows. These berries will be joined by the first two in a row of lingonberry plants. I went out to Fedco to pick up my tree orders (two pears, two cherries and two hazelnuts) and while I was there picked up two more cherries and 100 more strawberry plants. They had a sale on some "oops" packs... half price, they are likely "this" but may be "that."

Hex projects continue as well. First of the week I will ship a one foot Abundance, Prosperity and Smooth Sailing through Life and two custom indoor signs, complete with "monogram style" initials reversed out in the center. Pix soon!

Tuesday, April 21, 2015

What are you passionate about?

That question has been on my mind this past week, but it's a bit of a round-about to get to why...

Early ;ast week, I was reading the Bangor Daily News, as I do each morning and was attracted to an article under the heading "HOMESTEAD." It was about a "classic Maine farmhouse" in Winterport which, while interesting, really didn't seem to speak at all about anything homestead related, at least in my understanding of the word. The article ended with a call for submissions: Send us stories about your house and land... 

Being me, I immediately put fingers to keyboard and addressed the topic of homestead as I understand it. After I hit "send" I did a little more research and discovered that they were using the term in a different manner... as a rebranding of their "family" section in the paper.  I also seem to remember somewhere, though I cannot find it now, a call for contributors that ask the question I posed as the title of this entry.

I did hear back from an editor, who wanted to speak with me further, and asked for photos to illustrate what I wrote. While we never talked, I did send her some photos from last year and shortly thereafter received a draft of the piece with her edits and captions for my photos, and it appeared in the online edition April 15.

On the same day I was able to answer the question in my own mind. I am passionate about "not losing the old ways." Yes, I am talking about what some call the Old Ways, with capitals, referring to the spiritual ways of our ancestors. But even more I am talking about what might be termed "secular" old ways.... growing, cooking, eating food without the use of chemicals or factories, being provident in the use of resources, being thrifty, fixing and not replacing when possible, sewing, mending, darning and even spinning and weaving to give a few examples.

I am most assuredly not "a prepper," neither am I Menonite or Amish. I don't do this out of fear of impending societal collapse or a sense of doom (though, honestly, I wonder how much longer things can continue to follow the current path) or for specifically religious reasons but out of a belief that "appropriate technology" includes the ability to use both new and old technology and skills.

I love the convenience of the Internet for communication. Social media is like chatting over the back fence or having a coffee klatch with a groups of friends, only not just with the back yard neighbor and folks in your town. I love the ability to research questions at the drop of a hat instead of having to make notes and hold onto them until library day. And I love the ability to quickly communicate via email with most folks in a time that suits me and have them respond in a time that suits them, as well as having a record of what was "said."

I know many consider telephones and mobile devices essential and appropriate; I have never enjoyed talking to disembodied voices on a telephone, not even when I was a teen girl. When I have had one, I have considered that it was a device for MY (not others') convenience and that it was not necessary to drop everything and run just because it was attempting to summon me. Now, using Tractor Guy's telephone account, I let everything go to voice mail and if necessary, return calls at my convenience. But I still prefer to avoid it.

I take advantage of the convenience of a supermarket, but prefer to buy ingredients and hopefully only those that I cannot grow. Even in pioneer days, folks typically shopped for coffee, tea, sugar (though in far less quantity that we do now) and even flour and baking powder. And I am glad that, if necessary, I CAN buy a package of frozen peas or a jar of canned tomatoes, though with luck and proper planning I hope to put up a year's supply of all such things.

I think it is important that we all be able to cook "from scratch" sufficiently to nourish ourselves. It need not be fancy and not necessarily even terribly varied but it should be stuff we like. And yes, if we were raised on packages and boxes and take out and fast food, I think it is important to learn to like foods made from basic, natural ingredients!

I think it is important that we consider waste as an important aspect of everything we do and certainly everything we buy, and strive to waste less. If you are in doubt that waste is a problem, especially food waste, check out this Earth Day offering from MSNBC Wednesday night,  April 22.

On another aspect of waste... who, these days, actually wears their clothes OUT, other than some small children? We do! When buying clothes we look for natural fibers and practical designs and therefore "good" or "town" clothes, when they become worn or stained, get turned into things to wear at home, on the farm. Farm clothes get mended... seams repaired, holes patched... until the fabric gets thin and then they help populate the rag bag. The Rag Bag... do you remember this? Old cotton clothes cut into pieces and used in place of purchased bales of shop rags, dish cloths, paper towels! And speaking of paper towels, there is no need for such things in our house, as tasks like draining bacon can be performed equally well by newspaper or brown paper bags.

I think it is important to, when you must buy, that you buy quality stuff, stuff that will LAST, and then keep it, repair it, use it or not buy at all. And, for me, buying such things already used adds to the value.

I am passionate about mending and darning, about home repair and small appliance repair.  I am passionate about growing a garden (of food to EAT) from seeds you planted to seedlings you grew to plants you transplanted. I am passionate about not letting that effort and those crops go to waste, so I can, freeze, dry and share with friends.

I am passionate about knowing my food, calling it by name, loving it, raising it up and processing it by my own hand. And I guess I am also passionate about sharing these passions. What about you?

Friday, April 10, 2015

Late winter? Later spring? Not really!

I know everyone here abouts -- or so it seems -- has been on the horn to Old Man Winter and Ma Nature about the apparent slow departure of said old man. Like this it is unusual here to have snow, cold, etc. this time of year. While patience may run thin, especially for farmers and gardeners anticipating planting season and with starting racks and greenhouses bursting at the seams, it seems that we are not too far off from last year, truth be told.

April 11, 2014 view of the garden
April 16, 2014 view of the garden
 These two photos, taken mid-month last year, show that we still had snow on the ground, and snow falling and accumulating, in April. When you consider that the AVERAGE last frost date is mid-May, and you remember how an average is determined if you didn't sleep through math class in school, this really should not be very surprising.

April 4, 2015 view of the garden
April 7, 2015 view of the garden
 So, patience is something that we all need to cultivate while we are seeding those soil blocks and flats, in gleeful anticipation of sunburnt days of planting ahead.

We have had a bit of a warming trend, thankfully, in the weather but the lows continue to be below freezing and my soil temperature test this week proved that planting is a way off, as it read 36 degrees at 4 pm on a sunny day. We have had rain and snow, and the rain has taken a bit of the white away but there are still large areas covered, not just the piles and drifts. The melt has, however, solidified the snow sufficiently that I was able to walk without snow shoes to replace lines on the clothes poles and take down the first load of the year, which I left out overnight, but which was thoroughly dry.

Tuesday, Tractor Guy ended up stopping by Tractor Supply for -- no surprise here -- tractor parts and discovered they were having Chick he brought home 3 Rhode Island Red and 3 Rhode Island White chicks. NOT what I was expecting, though he had been in town much longer than expected. Most guys would offer flowers or chocolate in such a case; I got chickens!  LOL  Of course I love the little gals (they are all supposed to be pullets) and they are currently in a tote in the living room under their heat lamp.

Otherwise, things have been slow here on the farm. I continue to work on hex signs, of course. Today I shipped this 36" Protection for Livestock - Horse sign.I was thankful that the rain abated so it could be loaded in to the Subaru and hauled into UPS easily and kept dry! Livestock Protection Sign for Horse

Moving ahead, the next project is an Earth Star Flower in the 2' size.

Friday, April 3, 2015

It's been a slow week at the sign of the Fussing Duck...

Necessity almost always wins. I had planned to talk with my knee surgeon about getting on snow shoes again but not having made my appointment, having missed the scheduled one -- and having broken through the snow multiple times while doing chores on Friday -- made the donning of my big feet pretty much a no-brainer without medical approval. K injured his ankle Friday night, hurrying through the dark and breaking through the snow to check on the fowl after Moose alerted us to the presence of a skunk ( yay Moose! Good guardian dog!)  and glowing eyes shined back at us in the beam of a flashlight shined from the back porch.  When he got to the area where the eyes had been, nothing was to be seen, thankfully. But having injured his ankle, and being pretty sure of being able to do chores with my big feet on now that the snow has melted enough to allow the gates to open wide enough to snow shoe through, off I went. It was pretty much like always, did allow me to move about more easily AND with seemingly less stress on the knees and legs.

Friday, after breaking through and needing assistance to get un-stuck, I iced the right knee for a while (long enough to knit 4 rows on my hat...dunno how long in clock time that is, but I am not an especially fast knitter) and took a dose of Tylenol. Knee felt pretty darn good all day, so I decided to do the icing again today, even though I did not feel especially swollen or painful. We will see if that becomes a routine.
Been trying to focus on being a better steward of our abundance, a department in which I fell far short this winter. Pretty much our entire crop of carrots will be compost; we did not even get them all dug and what was dug and put into bins did not get moved out of the back porch (which freezes solid even in a more mild winter) and into the back bathroom as I had planned. They all froze and are now thawing and rotting.

Saturday I processed two of the varieties of garlic for the freezer. One was pureed in olive oil and the other just frozen, loose, as cleaned cloves. I have one variety left, which seems to be the best keeper thus far; unfortunately I have forgotten who is who. Since I cannot currently get to the deep freeze, which is blocked my indoor laundry drying racks, the garlic and several packs of slightly beaten egg are in the fridge freezer for now. I had hoped to be able to begin hanging laundry as soon as I was able to get on snow shoes again -- and way eagerly eying the warmer, sunny day forecast for tomorrow -- but then I realized that when we quit hanging, it was because the lines were failing and need replacement.  Put that on the list for the coming week, along with another shop light for the
Something like what we plan to install for line drying!
grow rack. We are planning to replace the clothes poles this year with "Maine style" wooden "goal post" ends and relocate it, as part of our updated farm plan. We are looking ahead to relocating the fowl houses and pens in such a way as to maximize "snow drift voids" for the future and our current plan will occupy the space where the clothes lines now stand. But until we get there, new line will at least give me outdoor drying capability again. I hope that Mallside has cotton clothesline rope, otherwise a dedicated visit to Reny's will be in order as I have seen it there on every visit.

Sunday brought the MOFGA seed swap, a chapter pot luck and my first long solo drives, which went quite well. I enjoyed the swap, though I missed one of the friends who was coming there to give me some seeds and thoroughly enjoyed the pot luck, though this time I went solo. Brought back some fruit and a couple of large bags of bagged chips that will be food for us and the fowl. My hosts gather post-consumer food from schools and other institutions for their pigs and often get donated unopened bags of chips and uneaten fresh fruit that is not even close to being past prime, which they set aside for people food and share. This is our second "helping" of chips; we thoroughly appreciated the single serving size packages of the varieties that we enjoy and the fowl have fun picking on the rest. Last time we got several bags of pork rinds, which Stormy has been enjoying, a few a day as a high-calorie treat, as we try to put weight back on our sickly pup. While I was gone, Tractor Guy made short work of the dishes and cleaned the stove for me. I am most appreciative! Now I am thoroughly motivated to get the rest of the kitchen shoveled out to begin making soil blocks to start a wide variety of tomato and pepper seeds. That, and working on the hexen in process will be the projects for the day.

Weather-wise, it looks like we are once again back on a more spring like warming trend. Though the lows remain below freezing, the highs look to average around the low 40s for the next week or so, which should bring and end to the basic snow cover. The massive piles, however, will of course take longer.

I have installed the new 4-tube shop light on the grow rack and made seed blocks for many types of tomatoes ...
tomato - cosmonaut volkov - f - 2012
tomato - bonny best - p - 2014
tomato - glacier - f - 2012
tomato - nova - t - 2013
tomato - mortgage lifter - p - 2014
tomato - oregon spring - p - 2014
tomato - saucey - t - 2013
tomato - heinz 2653 - f - 2012
tomato - san marzano - - 2012?
tomato - peacevine - hm - 2010
tomato - long keeper - t - 2013
and from wintersown:
Liz Burt ND 70-75
Marmande DET 67
Gloria van Mechelen IND 72
Manitoba DET 70
Livingston's Gold Ball IND 70
Golden Jubilee IND 72
Ace 55 DET 75
Brandywine Red  IND 75
Grot DET 65
Coyote (yellow cherry) IND 65
and a few pepper varieties which include some "rat turd peppers" from the MOFGA swap, a hot pepper assortment and a bell. I am hoping that the overnight temperature stays moderate enough that they will germinate without added heat, as our wall propane space heater is out of fuel and I have made the executive decision to hold off filling a big tank until closer to when the cooking fuel will run out. It is chilly, but not overly cold thus far when I get up at sunrise and the kero heater warms the place sufficiently until the solar heating takes over (which by the look of the forecast, we will NOT have during the coming week...) Also soaked the remainder of the asparagus seed that I did not take to the swap, and I shall plant it today. Really wanting to increase the bed, and slowly beats expensively!

12" Mighty Oak hex sign shipped this week to Ohio
I shipped a small hex (left) and have begun working on a couple of Livestock Protection signs, one at 12" for beef cows and a 36" ones for horses. We no longer are getting large piece of cardboard from signage shipping from my former place of employment, so I am looking for a source of good clean cardboard in pieces up to  50" square. If you are in central Maine and have a source for such, please let me know!!

Meanwhile, the temperatures continue to be above freezing in the daytime and the snow is receding. At this point, about half or more of my garden is brown -- but frozen still -- and our driveway is mud and ice. When I went to ship the hex on Thursday, Boo made like an icebreaker!

I am hoping to connect with the replacement clothesline rope this coming week, but am not in a terribly big hurry as it appears we will have rain, snow or some combination every day but one in the 10 day forecast. "April showers" bring mud season!