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Fence: Part 2

August 15, 2011

To finish the fence I used a bunch of rusty nails to attach sticks and saplings to the log posts. I can’t use a hammer competently to save my life, but I got it done!

I learned some valuable lessons finishing the fence, including that riding a ladder on a rapidly falling 12 foot log while quite thrilling is not my idea of a good time.

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I ate wild mushrooms and lived to blog about it!

August 6, 2011

Nature called me out to behind the garden and there suddenly I noticed

WILD OYSTER MUSHROOMS!

I double checked the Interweb to be sure, but there are no poisonous lookalikes on this continent so I went ahead and fried them and ate them. The taste was most certainly “oyster”, but without the ocean taste that I love about oysters. Next time I’ll put them in a stir fry or something, by themselves they were a little too strongly flavored even for me. I harvested a little over a pound. This was my first time foraging for mushrooms – thank you to my mushrooming friends for the inspiration!

Heat Stroke: A Strength Becomes A Weakness & A Comedy of Errors

June 1, 2011

Heatstroke is a life-threatening condition that occurs when your body temperature reaches 104 F (40 C) or higher. Heatstroke can be brought on by high environmental temperatures, by strenuous physical activity or by other conditions that raise your body temperature. Whatever the cause, you’ll need immediate medical attention to prevent brain damage, organ failure or death.

If you have any of the signs or symptoms of heatstroke, seek medical help immediately. Heatstroke is a medical emergency. Do not try to treat it at home.

– Mayo Clinic

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Well, yesterday I rented a sod cutter (and a cargo van to move it) to prepare the field garden. It was a nice 360 pound beast, and the cool rainy spring had become unseasonably hot – high 80s/low 90s with high humidity. After an hour I was overheating but I was determined to get as much done as I could, so I kept pushing which wasn’t too hard since a strength of mine is the ability to endure extreme physical discomfort. After another hour the damn thing stopped working and I went to the house, having a little trouble figuring out how to get there (it ain’t that far and I know the way very well) and got my brother, who is a small engine guru & genius, and he got it started again complaining that I was speaking abnormally rapidly and that I was overly disturbed. I  I decided to wait until it cooled down to continue and went into the basement to cool down. That worked really well and after a while I had my brain back.

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I had thought I was only experiencing the symptoms of heat exhaustion as I had no physical symptoms, but late last night I did some research and found that three of the symptoms of heat stroke are disorientation, confusion, and agitation, meaning I was actually at risk of severe bodily andor brain injury andor death. I got dang lucky that I stopped cutting that sod when I did, I was probably within a degree (F) of brain andor organ damage.

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After it cooled down I went back and couldn’t get the damn thing started, so I pulled back up the hill. Then I got to the rocky part where it was steepest. I couldn’t pull it up that bit, couldn’t push it up, so I ended up turning it sideways and picking up one end and push that up the hill then the other end. This entire time I kept trying to start the damn thing. Got it up the hard stretch and my brother finally returned, reached over, adjusted the choke real quick like, and gave it one lazy pull on the starter and it started right up. Now I still got ~4200 square feet of sod to remove by hand.

1. Don’t rent power equipment – it most likely won’t be maintained properly.

2. I do not get the physical symptoms of heat stroke – my mind will go and my judgment will be gone and I will put myself at severe risk (the one other time I had heat stroke I also had no physical symptoms, but I did see angels carry me as I walked). When I get too hot it’s time for me to take a break.

I made these things LIVE!

May 25, 2011

I always thought I would have a very difficult time gardening, as everytime I’ve tried to keep a houseplant it died. I just can’t remember to water things. Fortunately I decided to use the Radical Altitude Irrigation Network (RAIN) and THINGS GREW!

Popeye chow

And this is a Clarkson Heavenly Blue Morning Glory:

Yes, for those who know and care and are wondering, this is indeed the "good one"

Not shown: Russet potatoes, Tong Ho Long Leaf greens, Purple Orach

Day Lily Tubers & Shoots for Lunch!

May 23, 2011

It was a bit of work but to my surprise it was well worth it. These are the orange day lilies commonly called “Tiger Lilies”. I dug up 8-10 plants (they are overcrowded and needed thinning anyway), cut off the tubers, cleaned them up, threw away the bad ones, cut off the stringy ends, and fried them in butter with sea salt and freshly ground black pepper. For the shoots I used the tender inner leaves, cut them up, threw them in the pan when the tubers were done, added some ume plum vinegar and some water and pan-steamed them. Delicious and nutritious!

Red Velvet Mite?

May 22, 2011

I’m hoping that is a red velvet mite. They build the soil. It could be something less desirable though, i.e. a chigger.

Fencing: Part 1

May 22, 2011

The garden space was once my mother’s garden. She hasn’t gardened there in maybe twenty years. The last time she had a garden the Garden Gestapo, aka the white tailed deer, came in one night and systematically massacred the entire thing. A woodchuck also recently moved into the neighborhood and it’s been none too eager to get into my stew pot, so I thought investing a little time, money, and labor into putting up a fence would be a good idea.

I started by digging a trench around the garden that was approximately one feet deep and three feet wide:

and as you can see, I lined the trench with a 150′ long roll of 4′ wide chicken wire with 1″ meshing, using 50+ year old 2 inch chicken wire fencing to fill in the corners – I put down three layers of this rusty not so strong fencing figuring that if it doesn’t stop the woodchucks they will die of tetanus. The garden is 25′ by 50′ and according to my calculations I had to move 8-9 tons of dirt. This was a chore that doesn’t make my short list of “easy ways to have a good time”.

I used a bunch of logs I had from clearing some land for fence posts. I had been planning to make the fence 9 feet tall and putting them 3 feet deep, so I made the posts 12 feet long. Unfortunately my arms aren’t that long so I could only dig 2 feet deep holes, making for a 10 foot fence.

I then strung a second roll of the new chicken wire fencing around the posts using a staple gun to attach it:

I then attached the entrenched fence and the strung fence together. At first I cut the chickenwire and twisted it together, but that was slow and tedious, so I manufactured a few hundred metal twist ties from the wire that had held the rolls together:

That went much faster and easier. I just cut the wire into little strips, bent them so one side was longer than the other, and twisted them around the fence.