Friday, June 11, 2010

getting it in the ground

       A lot of the plants I started in March are now out in the garden, and have been for a couple weeks. (We don't get too ambitious here in upstate NY).  Today the hub and I  extended a garden patch about three to four feet wider than it had been before.  In order to do this we had to remove a rose bush that I think had been there since the time of Adam and Eve.
     I have transplanted a rose or two in my time, but I have NEVER seen a rose with a root system like this!  It was amazing.  To start with, the darn thing had suckered all over the place and was even growing out of the stone wall it was planted near.  The main root on this plant was at least 2 inches in diameter - possibly larger - it was raining,  I was frustrated, and I just wanted the darn thing out!  I had to dig underneath the root ball to try to get this out - broke several lateral roots off, and still couldn't move it.  My husband tried - he failed as well.  Finally he got a rope, tied it under the roots and pulled as I pried.  It finally released.  We moved the darn thing down by our shed.
    The rose is a mystery to me.  It was here when we moved in. It is a tall, rambling thing - not really a climber in the sense of a Don Juan or something, and it has pink  blossoms which arrived once in the summer and that was it.  It has little or no fragrance.   I was tired of getting stabbed by it every time I walked near the corner of the patio garden.
    I now have a little more room in the lower bed for veggies/herbs and sundries.  The two raised beds have always been the veggie beds, and this lower bed we tilled a couple years ago o my daughter could have her own garden.  That lasted about two weeks after the planting - basically until the weeds came up!  Her tomatoes did well there, as did the cucumbers and corn last year.  SOoo, this season the lower bed has the cukes and zukes (I had trouble with vine borers in the other beds - time to rotate) some carrots, two types of lettuce, a couple pepper plants (I am stuffing them in every bed to see where they are happiest), as well as some tomatoes, sunflowers, amaranth and basil.    The upper beds are a bit more traditional with the tomatoes, peas, beans, watermelon (if the darn slugs leave some), more cukes, borage, tomatillos and most of the peppers.
   I swore  I was never going to grow any more bell peppers - they always fail for me - they rot, or just don't set fruit.  I do fine with banana peppers, hot peppers, but not bell.  But, my younger kids love them as do I, so once more I will try.  My husband bought some plants from the store and has them in containers on the patio - hopefully at least a few fruits will come of this!  if anyone has any tips about peppers, please feel free to let me know!
    Checked on the bees today - Lordy! I was behind in my hive maintenance.  I had a ton of burr comb on the new hive  from the nuc.   Those girls have been busy, and I had better get the upper deep on tomorrow.  I have bees exploding out of the older hive - literally falling out as I check the frames.  I do not understand why, if they are so crowded, I am not seeing more activity in the super.  I scraped off a bunch of burr comb and a possible queen cell or two.  I do worry about swarming.  They are very healthy - although I did see my first mite on a drone larva.  Hmm...time to hit the books again.
    HAPPY DAY - I finally found the queen!!!   This is the first time in over a year that I have seen the queen. The last time was when I put the queen cage in the hive after installing the package.  I was thrilled - perhaps I am getting better at this!.
   Today was fun because as I was working with the hives, my mom and niece arrived and I was able to keep a running talk on what I was doing, and show them a bee "being born" - emerging from her cell.  I was also able to show them the queen.
      I think I was down there about 1 1/2 to 2 hours - probably a little slower than usual due to the conversation, but also the number of frames that need checking has now grown.  What a great way to spend a sunny afternoon!

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Of canoes, plays, horses, spinning wheels, and the end of Pre-K

    My daughter was busy over Memorial Days Weekend  (as were we all) racing in a Canoe Regatta.  The General Clinton Canoe Regatta is the longest flat water race in the world and people up here take it very seriously.  It is a 70 mile race - for the adults.  The youth regatta is held Saturday of that weekend with scouts and other youth groups completing.  What a year!  Last year we had so much rain and the river was so high and filled with debris that the coaches cancelled the relay and just had the younger girls doing 5 mile sprints.  This year we have had very little rain (until today!) and the river was so low that there were several normally navigable sections that required the girls to get out and walk the canoe.  Tricky race, but they all had fun.
back paddling to reach the dock

bringing the canoe back to the trailers

    At the finish line in Bainbridge, there is a carnival which coincides with the regatta.  My youngest son had never been to a carnival, so we took him on a few rides and his sister played a few midway games.  It was a lovely day with perfect weather.
    No rest for our family, Sunday we had a design run for the show I designed costumes for (and hubby is acting in) The Complete Works of Wm. Shakespeare (Abridged), and Monday our daughter was marching in the Memorial Day parade with the middle school band.

    As promised, I have a picture or two of our eldest son at his riding center.  He is really enjoying this time with the horses, and he helps walk them out to the pasture after the lessons.
Bringing the horses to pasture

   Yesterday, I started a spinning class.  I have a friend who is a former student, who is willing to sell me her old spinning wheel.  The big hurdle was to find someone to teach me how to use it.  Well, a lovely woman opened a fibre studio in town, and I took my first lesson yesterday.  I can tell you that I already love it.  It is something which requires you to pay attention, but you can still be thinking or talking while you spin.  Lovely to see the roving turn into a twisted yarn!  So, now I am writing a couple cheques and my friend, Mel, is having her mom send out the wheel.  Oh joy!
    With all the work and excitement of the end of the school year, we cannot forget our youngest and his new adventure.  Friday is the last day of Pre-K.  He has been at a wonderful school which is associated with our college.  The people are terrific and the entire atmosphere is one which allows learning and growth, but is nurturing. They have done so many things this year - planted a garden (which has veggies used at lunch), learned to compost for the garden, gone to the fire house, visited an art gallery, performed a play in Spanish, marched in the Children's Parade - to name a few.   We have the farewell party tomorrow with cake and photos, and lots of fun!
    I hope the end of spring means a chance for this family to slow down - but I do not really think so!