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voyager

Summer 2016

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Having allowed new oaks to grow for 30 years, and in light of our recent fire and current fire danger, for two days Husband has been in "oak management" mode, curating desirable and viable trees, cutting down and digging out the scruffy and hazardous. By his estimate, he has removed over 30 small (3 foot and under) and 10 larger (up to 12 foot) trees, clearing the front of the property of all but generously dubbed "specimen" trees. In the process, he uncovered a sweet little native manzanita (which a neighbor sniffed should go in lieu of one of the oaks) and given light and air to an ancient forsythia.

 

He has worked like a beast. Some people actually relax at a weekend place.

 

Me, I've hung out inside, made a blackberry pie and doled out ice tea.

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I'll play. I've finished planting all of the vegetable garden (13 raised beds). But I still have 5 flats of plants, from various nurseries, waiting to be tucked into a cutflower bed or assorted containers for front and back decks. I'd have done that today, but I have 8 3-week old chicks in a starter coop, who will need access to the out-of-doors by next weekend (assuming the October-like weather we had this weekend gives way to something like summer). So I arranged protective fencing around their coop, which involved a lot of stapling, cutting, digging, staking, and securing – with a variety of screws, brackets, zip-ties, rope, and re-bar. That should keep them happy for another month, by which point they should be grown up enough to integrate with the rest of the flock (14 laying hens and a very chill rooster named Fabio).

 

After such a mild non-winter, spring here in Vermont has been...remarkably changeable. So far this June, we've had April, August, March, and October, but not so much June.

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I'll play. I've finished planting all of the vegetable garden (13 raised beds). But I still have 5 flats of plants, from various nurseries, waiting to be tucked into a cutflower bed or assorted containers for front and back decks. I'd have done that today, but I have 8 3-week old chicks in a starter coop, who will need access to the out-of-doors by next weekend (assuming the October-like weather we had this weekend gives way to something like summer). So I arranged protective fencing around their coop, which involved a lot of stapling, cutting, digging, staking, and securing – with a variety of screws, brackets, zip-ties, rope, and re-bar. That should keep them happy for another month, by which point they should be grown up enough to integrate with the rest of the flock (14 laying hens and a very chill rooster named Fabio).

 

After such a mild non-winter, spring here in Vermont has been...remarkably changeable. So far this June, we've had April, August, March, and October, but not so much June.

 

 

Hope you'll post some photos. I've missed your garden / preserve posts.

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I've had the luxury of spending more time in the garden at my mother's house 20 miles north of the city,something I've longed for after all the years working in kitchens. Since we have some tall oak trees,and lots of shade,it's mainly about perennial planting,and pruning back and moving lots of old growth ferns,monster hostas,and cleaning up...and poison ivy. Lots of potted and not potted herbs,lettuces and such...and I'm loving every moment of it.

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The oak tree leaves make wonderful mulch, once chopped by a lawn mower, etc. Dig them into the soil and the results can be magical. especially for blueberries, strawberries, etc.

 

Even thick, clay like soil can be coaxed to produce with generous amounts of chopped leaves, rotted chicken or horse manure, sawdust, etc.

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The oak tree leaves make wonderful mulch,...

 

So husband thought. But the variety of oak determines the "mulchability" of leaves. Most of California oaks are evergreen and have leaves much like holly: stiff, leathery, very slow to break down. Husband even bought a small rototiller in order to incorporate our huge quantities of leaves. (Paradoxically, evergreen trees drop and regrow leaves throughout the year.) It works, or at least helps. At least you don't have inches of slick leaves that make walking down slopes an Olympic downhill event, and should benefit future generations if not us.

 

27622594516_ed5bf79f4a.jpg

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A honeysuckle bush and cherry tomato plant have joined the other plants on the deck. Our strawberry plants have been yielding tiny but intensely flavored fruit over the last 2-3 weeks. One of the Meyer lemons is nearly ripe.

 

Sadly, caterpillars totally destroyed the baby lettuces.

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