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Diary of a Boy Gardener

We are in the Berkshires, the beautiful rolling hills of western Massachusetts where the season is short and the frosts sometimes win. Visit Sally and David's Gardens and see how two old farts spend their time helping what plants they can find their place in this world.

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Location: Hinsdale, Massachusetts, United States

Retired Service Engineer. Installed and repaired diagnostic x-ray equipment. Trained and supported others doing the same thing.

Thursday, May 29, 2003

The rain has continued on and off and is scheduled to hang around another several days. The sun is out at the moment, but Sally and David already had a pretty busy day out there. Today and the Tuesday they cleaned out the south and east sides of the cottage in preparation for the big driveway upgrade, which means farmer Ronnie scuffs everything off, and changes the pitch and grade away from the wood shed and then black plastic and 3/4inch stone go down. So the edges first. Many wheelbarrows hauled away, lots of plants split and potted for those who stop by.
But the best treat of all was to notice that to the east, on the other side of a field, near the tree line about 150 yards away foxes frollicked in the grass. Looks like 3 or maybe 4 young ones with a mamma. Not exactly red, more tan and brown and white and black and red. They were spotted first thing in the morning, then after lunch, both times in the same place, so their den must be near by. This may explain why not a single rabbit has been seen this year, when normally there are 1/2 dozen or more in the yard.
The lawn is screaming for the mower, so later.....

Monday, May 26, 2003

Mostly the last several days have been cloudy, cool and rainy. David had to go off and work at several commencements, so has done little in the great out doors. Sally managed to clean up several areas when she could dance between the raindrops, but mostly she is moving sprouted seeds into flats, flats into pots and doing non-garden stuff. David is becoming very afraid of the lawn. Can't mow when it's this wet and it is well over the ankle already and mid calf is not too far ahead at this rate.

Thursday, May 22, 2003

So now come the dark, damp days. Which means weeds and grass grow greatly and luckily, so does the good stuff. Believe it or not, it took David 7 solid hours today to do the bank roses, which means trim them, loosen and clean around them, then 5 gallons of fish/seaweed drench down to the roots. That's 5 wheelbarrows full of trimmings and weeds and lots and lots of gallons of food. Hope they appreciate it.
Meanwhile Sally has been cleaning out the veggies, making more beds for more stuff (still need to do carrotts and more tattoes and others). She's also trying to figure out the best way to do the wattle house roof (grape vines the latest experiment). She is also preparing pots and boxes for around the place and down in town. All in all, two folks worked most of this cold and overcast day in the garden and are now pooped.

Monday, May 19, 2003

The kids survived the big frost OK and some pictures were acquired and will be posted soon. This morning brought another frost, but much lighter and easier to deal with.
David mowed the back yesterday and they walked around discussing how to form the berry patches this year. David finally got a non-electric weed wacker with a blade on it for willow and canes so they can better deal with those two invasive nasties.
There are lots of little black bugs in the face these days but one must just press on.

Sunday, May 18, 2003

Careful what you wish for!!!!
When there have been several cold damp mid May days one is inclined to greet that first sunny day with great cheer and happiness. Here on the ranch that feeling was tempered by dread as it became apparant that a hard frost would accompany that clear sky.
And so David's fingers are still a bit cold as he types. Last night all really tender stuff was covered with pots and or tarps or floating row cover. This morning at 5:30 the drained hoses were put into action and all other ghostly white plants were sprayed with water. The sun is up and it will be nice within a few hours when a walkaround damage assessment will be made.
Might as well dust of the camera and catch another moment or two in time.

Thursday, May 15, 2003

David has been a bad boy, blog wise. Rather than write about gardening and the website, he has been actually gardening and writing code.
So here are the updates:
Finally David has a working php/mysql picture page (2003 May) which $_GETS info passed from the month thumb page and then generates an html page for that picture with title and text and the picture. He also has a semi-automatic php month page with the thumbs, but at the moment it takes no arguements from a referring page (the next step). Having data base pictures and text then allows different ways to look at them, such that evenually the themes and indices will come to life as hoped over a year ago when this all got started. So that gets done in the morning and evening instead of making blog entries (remember RETIRED !!!).
Meanwhile there is the property and the plants. Out there a bridge got built, land levelled around it and recently seeded. Also finally leveled behing the retaining wall built last year. Yesterday about 1/3 the roses got trimmed and fed, the rest will have to wait as there are a few days of work and play on the schedule. Lots of cleaning and hauling going on. And the first mowing (three days of one hour each to go once around using a self propelled 22 inch mower with no bag).
Sally has managed to get all the potatoes, onions, garlic and leeks in the ground. The greatest deal was the first harvest of fresh spinach which was planted in the fall last year and greened up nicely. Had it under row covers for the last month and now it is big enough to pig out on. Um good.
There was a lot of near the road damage to structures and plants which have needed repair and care. Had lots of damage to a large rugosa where the plows just keep pushing the piles of snow so hard they crushed it, even though it was 6 feet from the edge.
Gotta work for a few days and then a day at Brimfield and then Sunday will be lots of mowing because with all the rain lately the lawn is absolutely thriving.
Looks like a good year so far......

Saturday, May 03, 2003

What a day!!! Nice cool clear day. The May flies and no-seeums can't handle it. So we did lots out there. David got the back off the woodshed and got it stored properly in the basement. Also out came the mowers (will put in use very soon) and other stuff squirelled away for the winter. The best deal was fixing up the poor old wattle house. Squared her up best we could by removing all 45 deg angle pieces (love those battery powered screw guns), then used some long sticks to push a bit here and there. Once square, re-attached the angle pieces, then off to chop down some 10 foot poplar sapplings, strip the branches and make a roof. Gonna have to take some pics just to show you what happened.
As the sun set in the west, David poured a wine and sat in the back yard looking towards the front. Not moving much, just a sip now and then. Suddenly about 20 feet in front of him lands a hawk. Preens a bit, then flies off low toward the front and banks hard left around the house. David waits ten minutes then slowly rounds the house corner, only to spook said hawk which was perched on top of the electric meter on the front of the house, commanding a fine view of two bird feeders and explaining the feather piles found about twice a week in the general area. Ain't nature grand?
Update 17 May: Here is a picture of the beginning of the wattle house reconstruction.

Thursday, May 01, 2003

David has been off other places working for green stuff. Roofing at 62 is NOT a suggested activity for the faint of heart. Proud to have gotten out of bed the next morning without any pain anyplace. Whew!!! Meanwhile the first barn swallow showed up and the wall, although just wainscotted, has not been painted. So a discussion about should we ensued and it was decided that the birds could handle it and so the wainscotting was painted with a white wash to match the rest done two years ago (my how long things take to get finished around here!).
Started out a rainy crummy damp cold day and ended up a sunny, humid HOT day. David removed the panels from the woodshed, but did not yet store them given the state of the basement at the moment. Always tomorrow, eh!?!?!
Sally did mysterious upstairs stuff, and no gardening was actually performed today, although some was discussed. Peas are up, spinach is thriving, it looks like a good year.