It was nice yesterday so Will took me out to see a spot he’d discovered while making ATV trails through the dead, blown-down fir on our new Big Pines forty. It was a gentle hill, on which were nice maples just beginning to leaf out red, as well as some large, blown down pines and firs. (A few years ago, there was a very strong wind storm which blew through that forty acres, as well as neighboring land, felling big and small trees as it went.) We are always on the lookout for lumber-making trees as well as firewood, no matter where we go on our land. And we always have plenty of building projects, both of our own and David and Ashley’s cabin. Will brought the chainsaw with us and cut into a big fir he’d found on that pretty hill. The butt was bad but only one length up, most of the log is just fine. Hondo always goes with the four wheeler as he loves chasing rabbits and investigating wonderful woodland smells.
Our old Honda Big Bear ATV was dead and David wanted an ATV but couldn’t afford one. So he found a used motor and has been spending a few hours after work to replace the motor and fix up other things that were wrong with it. (It’s amazing how much we use our four wheelers around here! Many times every day — they’re real work-horses.) At first David was discouraged as he couldn’t get it to go into gear. But he worked and worked and took things apart. And, finally, yesterday, he got it running and drove it around the orchard a few times. It still has a few bugs but at least it’s running and shifts into all gears. Yea, David!
It’s time for me to get the cabbages, broccoli, and cauliflower started in the house. If the plants get too big before setting out in the garden, they become root-bound and do not produce well at all. That’s one of the most common cause of failures in these crops for gardeners — especially broccoli and cauliflower — often after buying plants from big box stores. I especially love Goliath broccoli and Purple of Sicily cauliflower. We love the nice big heads and the lovely lavender cast on the top of Purple of Sicily cauliflower! I can hardly wait.
Yesterday I set out all our tomatoes and peppers. Then a big wind came up and I couldn’t get them in fast enough. I had to water them as I brought them in and when I had finished, the plants looked pretty sadly wind-blown. But today they look like they have recovered well.
Our first rhubarb is almost big enough to pull a few stalks. I can hardly wait for that first pie of the year. (If you’d like recipes for pie, check out my book Jackie Clay’s Pantry Cookbook, or if you want to can up rhubarb or rhubarb preserves, check out Growing and Canning Your Own Food, available through BHM.) My friend gave me some dried-out raisins and craisins and as soon as the big rhubarb crop comes in, I’ll can up lots of rhubarb sauce and rhubarb conserve, using them. They’ll plump up just fine. They will also plump up when I soak them in hot water for a few minutes. So we’re in for lots of oatmeal-raisin cookies too. Darn — now I’m hungry! — Jackie