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Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Slowly on toward Spring

It seems that autumn, for us, brings "car follies." Anything that might go wrong on our car or truck, does so. Pretty good timing, all told; better than the mid-winter (or, this year, STILL winter) Brake Job From Hell.

And spring, it seems, is the season of tractor follies. Actually, the root of this came to light last fall, but without heat in the garage, or it having a large enough space, really, to work in with the door closed, on anything as big as a car, truck or tractor, these things get put off until spring. When, of course, the tractor is needed.

Except maybe not so much so this year.

Our tractor is ok, this issue is with its tiller. It won't. Basically the "working guts" are at least half disintegrated. I am pretty sure no actual tractor implement mechanics will be reading my blog, so I will leave you with that, my non-tractor-guy understanding of the problem. Tractor Guy says it is fixable, likely, and will of course need parts, and therefore money.


Instead of fussing and cussing, I am taking a different route and planning to do my early planting pretty much directly into the garden. yeah, it has grown a good crop of fist- to walnut-size rocks, but plants can grow around them. The tilth is not bad, and where I need to incorporate some of the composted manure into the row, like for the spinach, there is the Banty Rooster baby tiller. I am planning to take it to the asparagus bed this weekend (after the rain and a bit of time for the soil to drain) while the old fronds are still in place, so I can work in some more manure, and replace the
Mulch cardboard
failing weed block cloth with my large cardboard pieces. I will likely need to use some of the recent crop of rocks to help hold the stuff down, as I don't have either a source for mulch hay or a way to haul it. But getting the cardboard (I currently have 2 good size trailer loads, hauled from a nearby factory) in place is the important thing. Hopefully I can hit the perennial section HARD and get the strawberries, asparagus, blueberries and cranberries done, including the area in between the rows, so the tractor won't be needed there this year.

After the rain (we have two much cooler days forecast starting tomorrow, with rain in the mix) I'll start hardening off the early seedlings... lettuce, onions, leeks, brassica. It's time to start the second round of lettuce seedlings, and there are tomatoes, peppers and herb soil cubes crowding the growing rack.

We also need to start setting fence posts for the electric anti-deer fence. Plan for the year is to enclose the entire front of the property, which will include both gardens, all the trees, the clotheslines and the fowl. Not that the latter items are in danger from the deer, but not having to go through fencing makes everything easier. We won't be having to take the fence down for the tractor work, either, which will save lots of time and energy! This, also, will require more posts, more wire... and therefore more $$.

Fortunately the hex orders are beginning to pick up. And I am crossing my fingers for some "free" publicity from a local TV personality in MN, of all places. The Lifestyle commentator messaged me on Facebook about a segment he is planning on "decorating for abundance and good fortune" and apparently immediately thought of hex signs. He seems like quite an interesting fellow with a good following and a career that is going places, as he leverages his charisma, wide interests and good taste with both TV and social media. We'll see what happens. I sent him a couple of signs.
A bird ON the hand is worth...

Red Rangers -- chicken dinner on the wing
Also adding to the chaos, and fun, are a dozen Red Ranger meat chicks which arrived the day before Easter. They are currently living in the living room, except when Tractor Guy snags one and brings it to me while I am trying to work on the computer!
Hopefully there will be a few new ducks soon too! With any luck I will soon trade a custom hex sign for several young replacements for our flock And as a result of this project, I now have a new line of "livestock protection" hex signs on the web site.