Weather


Dear Gentle Reader,

Sorry that I haven’t posted much in the last several days.  I strained my back in my ZUMBA class.  So, I have been resting, using the heating pad intermittently, and taking Tylenol.  Ibuprophen would be better, but I am allergic to it now. 

It has been flooding a lot in the last two weeks, due to the heavy rains we keep having.  It poured last night, so much that Indian Creek, which is 1/2 block from us, flooded.  A couple of miles East of us, its level increased 12-feet in 3-hours!  Fortunately, it didn’t do that where we are.  Several roads around town are flooded.  One is even blocked by a mud slide.

We have heavy soil here.  It is totally saturated.  Our basement is flooding.  It sounds like a river is flowing through the basement, to the sump pump.  Thank the Lord above that we bought a new sump pump last week.  The old one died late at night, so we had to have the plumber come in the dark and put a new sump pump in.  It cost a fortune, with the emergency call and all, but I am really glad that we did it.  My DH was up most of the night moving things around in our over-stuffed basement, to keep them out of the way of the streams of water as they flowed from the walls and/or windows to the sump pump.  DH is getting some well-earned sleep this morning.

The back yard is a sloppy mud pit.  Plus it is HOT!  Feels like a sauna, it is so humid.  The mosquitoes are out in force.  Hope no one gets West Nile or Equine encephalitis from that.  I really need to put out some Bt, but it rains almost every day.  So it isn’t really worth it.  I did put some Slugo down in the gardens.  The slugs are everywhere, but the Slugo will hold up to the rain.  But that is really all that I have been able to do lately.

I hope things dry up soon! 🙂

Well, we sure have has a lot of rain.  Almost a solid week of COLD rain, some high winds, and some hail.  That made it really difficult to get out and do things.  But, I managed to get a few things done.

Plant Something:  Since I couldn’t plant outside, I planted starts for the summer, in Jiffy Pellets, which are inside.  If it warms up, I’ll take them outside.  Then, I can avoid the trials and pitfalls of hardening off, which I am alway too impatient to do properly.  I planted the following as seeds: Royal Calais flint corn (an entire flat), Mexican sour gherkins and H-1 little leaf cucumbers, yellow zucchini, Mammoth and lemon sunflowers, nasturtiums, parsley, columbine, pie pumpkins, and probably some other things, but I forget what. 

Harvest Something:  none

Prep/Want Not:  I am learning to bake sourdough bread according to Peter Reinhart’s Crust and Crumb.  

I really am enjoying this book.  Baking artisan bread is very different from what I grew up with.  For one thing, every single kind of bread starts with a “preferment” of some kind, which may be a sourdough starter or some kind of a “sponge”.  The sourdough that I am working with is a very mild sourdough that is made with wild yeast that lives on the wheat, and therefore is in the flour.  It takes a couple of days to make the bread, but boy is it good.  It is moist, with a tender, very fine crumb.  I am going to keep practicing, so that this becomes routine.

Also, I took a trip to Costco, to purchase staples, including a 50-lb bag of bread flour.  The flour is now safely stored in a 6-gal. bucket with gama-seal lid and a zip-lock polymer liner to keep air out.  There was quite a bit more than could fit into the bucket, so I filled several large Tupperware containers.  I’ll use that first, before I break out the bucket.  I also stocked up on maccaroni, spaghetti, dried beans, etc.  And, I organized my basement pantry.  I just have some heavy-duty steel wire shelves in the basement, but it works great.  The shelving units roll on wheels, and are super heavy-duty, so I don’t have to worry about sagging shelves.  They can handle a lot of weight.

Build Community Food Systems:  Unfortunately, we were not able to go to the farmer’s market, due to the downpour.  Interestingly, I learned that our local farmer’s market was price-fixing, and the KS attorney general got involved, and made the knock it off.  I know that three  or four farmers were given the boot by the farmer’s market.  We say them protesting on the opening day.  I heard that these farmers wouldn’t fix their prices and complained about the price-fixing to the attorney general, or someone, and were kicked out because they complained.  I could have some of the details mixed up.  In any case, we are going to try some other farmer’s markets around here.  Maybe we can get better deals.

Eat the Food:  Well, that bread I baked sure go gobbled up quickly.  Other than that, nothing.

Boy, has it been raining a lot around here.  And cold too!  The high for the day was 55F.   I would say that it has rained most of the last two weeks, and been cold.  Some of the storms have been windy enough for tornados.  Fortunately, we all have been safe. 

But it has put a huge damper on gardening.  I have been using my handy dandy Clyde’s Garden Planner to determine when to plant my summer crops.  The time is now, but it is too cold.

I have a lot of things I need to plant now, or two weeks ago, but it is too cold for the seeds to germinate.  So, I did the next best thing.  I got some Jiffy Pellets (in bulk from the local Nusery) and planted my corn, Zuchini, okra, two kinds of pickling cukes, pie pumpkins, hubbard squash, nastushums, giant sunflowers, Lemon Queen sunflowers, parsley, and columbine.  As you already know, I have three kinds of tomatoes growing outside (Al Kufa, Matt’s Wild Cherry, and Amish Paste).  They have been transplanted from yogurt cups to cottage cheese containers.  Can’t wait to pop them into the ground.

In the mean time, I picked up some beneficial nematodes, to take care to the radish maggots, and to make sure my dog, Lucy, doesn’t get fleas this summer.  They work great for fleas.  Kills to larva in the ground.  I might be able to put that down Monday evening.  I at least need a few days of no rain, so they can get into the ground/not get washed away.

Lucy

It was a slow week, as I has to work a lot.  It was frequently cold and rainy.  Today it is only in the 50s, with thunder storms.  Never the less, I was able to do the following:

Plant Something:  Planted more radishes.  I learned that the things leaving the little bites out of my radishes are a little lovely called a radish maggot.  Oh, hooray… so glad to have that problem…Not!  So, I meant to get some beneficial nematodes, but wasn’t able to hit the nursery that carries them.  Still, I transplanted my marigold,  pansy and shasta daisy starts.  Also, I direct seeded a LOT more marigolds around the edges of the gardens.  The Leeks are ready to harvest, but we are waiting until next weekend.  I got most of the wheat seedlings (from the straw mulch) out of the gardens.  Took most of a whole day.  My potoatoes are doing really well, I have them growing in “grow bags” from Gardener Supply Company.  I have completely filled one of the bags with straw and composted manure.  The other three bags are mostly full, but they are growing a little more slowly than the first bag.  But they should be more or less full by the end of next week, or maybe the week after that.

Harvest Something:  Radishes

Waste Not:  Lots of composting with kitchen and garden waste.

Prep/Want Not:  Ordered Mylar food storage bags and oxygen absorbers from USA Emergency Supply.  These will line some 6-gal buckets that I previously purchased.  We are shifting to buying some staples, like sugar, wheat, dent corn, beans and oats, in bulk.  It will save a lot of $$$.   I think I might have found a local farmer for the wheat, and maybe the corn.  I am going to experiment with growing a Mandan Indian dent corn this summer.  Also, I have a couple of heirloom beans that I am going to try out. 

Also, I am learning a new skill- baking bread with wild sourdough yeast.  It is a fair amount of work, as you have to maintain the culture, and baking a loaf of bread is usually a 2 or 3-day process (due to repeated ferments of the dough).  But it sure makes tasty bread. 

Build Community Food Systems:  Spent time in the garden with my 16-year old daughter, teaching her what was a weed and what was not, and discussing why we need to grow some of our own food, that we need to learn how to grow our own food now, what food availablility might be like in the commjing years, how much of our oil use goes into growing food and transporting it, and just having some nice mother-daughter time together.  It was a very nice Mother’s Day treat.  Plus, she was a really big help getting that wheat out of the gardens. 

I also discussed some of these issues with my husband.  Until lately, he has sort of been laughing under his breath and lovingly tolerating my need to do all of the Independence Days tasks.  But, he has begun to notice events in the news that foreshadow post Peak Oil trends and events; which is changing his thinking.  Also, he has begun to understand how buying in bulk and having a well stocked pantry can save money and is very convenient.

Eat the Food:  Of course, we ate the radishes.  In spite of the radish maggots, they were crisp and spicy.