Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Memorial Day Weekend

What $70 of bark mulch looks like -- and this is the real stuff from Hull I haven't put any new bark mulch down in a long time -- I will probably end up using three loads over the course of June in order to get all the flower beds I want to do be done. One of the beds before: And after...once I get caught up I should only need one load a year or perhaps every other year: Then in the afternoon I hauled four loads of grass clippings from the dump. Had to use the hay fork to load it all in, and then unload it. I had wanted to finish weeding and fixing up the asparagus patch before taking pics...but after the work on Saturday with the mulch and a 15 mile bike ride on Sunday I was too tuckered to do anymore in the garden this weekend. This is the end of the garden I'm letting be mostly fallow this year...and hope to haul in copious amounts of grass and leaves to help boost the organic matter dramatically. Didn't quite know what to plant in this area, so I threw in a couple six packs of strawberries. The brush/weeds in the rear are on my shortlist to cut down this year, and I want to remove the stones and pile in plenty of organic stuff from the dump to help build up the soil. Next spring I'd like to extend the fence to include this area within the fence line (which requires cutting back more brush and removing some stones so I can mow around what will be the new back side). Really poor germination on corn again this year; last year I had a near total failure. This is an early variety of corn (the Silver Queen was an almost total failure). I plan to till up the Silver Queen bed again and re-plant with a second batch of this stuff. I <3 my Scuffle Hoe...made real quick work in the nice soil in these beds. Taters will need to be hilled this weekend :) Blueberries are starting to really mature:

Thursday, May 24, 2012

First lettuce of the year

Could've been picking it already, but been dealing with the Asparagus Onslaught :) Also picked some onion greens -- had some "leftovers" from last year I through in a corner when cleaning up, and they started growing again this spring. The bulbs won't be good keepers, but I can clip them for greens. Working from a home office sucks. Olive oil up the grill, light it, throw on meat, run down to the garden to pick some's a tough way to make lunch :D

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Weeding Update

Starting to transition from "Gardening" to "Weeding" :) The weeds are REALLY bad this year with how warm it got so early. This is more like mid to late June weeding. On the left are the row covers I bought where as nice as the good stuff on the right (that the mouse ruined half of...grrrr.)

Monday, May 21, 2012

People's Tramway

More on the rail trail in Killingly:
NEW HAVEN, Jan. 12 - The New Haven Road has just purchased through the People's Tramway Company of Danielson, Conn., the Webster and Worcester Street Railway Company. The purchase gives to the People's Tramway Company control of the trolley lines from Danielson, Conn., to Worcester, a distance of forty miles. The company recently acquired the Putnam and Thompson Street Railway Company, and later took over the Webster and Dudley system, the latest purchase of the Webster and Worcester completing the circuit. The New Haven Road will extend the People's Tramway line in time to Norwich, thus connecting with the steam road along the Thames to New London and forming a continuous line from Norwich to Boston, a distance of 120 miles. The People's Tramway system will run express trains, freight, mail, baggage, and passenger coaches over the newly acquired line. The express trains will make stops only at Putnam and Webster in the through run from Danielson to Worcester, and will run at an average speed of thirty-five miles an hour. A smoker will be added to the through trains. The price paid for the new roads is comparatively small. The Tramway stock is $400,000. Webster and Dudley $50,000, and Worcester $150,000, making with the bonded debt an outlay of $1,000,000. The road when completed will cater to fully 120,000 people. Railroad and trolley men see in the move taken by the People's Tramway Company a step in the programme of the Consolidated Road to occupy the trolley field ahead of the electric road companies. By taking over the new lines the New Haven Road stops competition at Worcester and controls all of the trolley business of Eastern Connecticut. The line will be used as a feeder to the steam roads at Worcester and Norwich. The New York Times New York, New York 13 January 1901

Nice simple lunch

A fish filet, brown rice, and garden fresh asparagus.

Filet was just one of those square breaded things I could through in the oven since I didn't have time to grill up a salmon filet

Rice was the first I cooked in my new rice cooker, does a much nicer job then boiling in a pan!

"Homemade" tartar sauce...ok, it's just some relish mixed with Miracle Whip

Sunday, May 20, 2012

Garden Update...

Not sure I can remember everything :)

Planted today:

Mortgage Lifter (6)
Cherry (2)
Better Boy (I think) (1)
Early Girl (3)
Roma (3)
Brandywine (6)
_______ (1)
Yellow (3) (Was a last minute addition after Mom said her father used to grow them and she likes them).

I have half of several six packs that I still have to decide what to do!

Sweet (3)
Jalapeno (3)

Black Beauty (3)
White (3)

Also planted yellow and green Kentucky Wonder green beans, pole style, along front of fence.

Saturday, May 19, 2012

Why I love Game of Thrones

Not sure this scene will get the full impact for those who don't follow...the quick plot summary here is Lord Tywin thought Arya, who was in hiding less she be taken hostage, was a commoner prisoner when he appointed her Cup Bearer. In that servant's role she's privy to conversations that would be very useful to her brother, who is currently fighting Tywin. Tywin also set in motion the events that resulted in Arya's father being betrayed and killed.

Plowing the Community Garden

So, last year while I was out looking at the tornado damage, I came across the awesomely big Wilbraham Community Garden and googling them found out that the Eastern Connecticut Draft Horse Ass'n has an annual plow day there. And I remembered about it! Went up for about a half an hour to watch them work -- so quiet for so much work being done!

The garden won a grant from Pepsi Bottling Company, so they had a bunch of folks up providing labor to go with the grant:

The electric battery driven hydraulics were awesome -- the plowman would just tap the foot pedals to raise and lower the plows. Very quick compared to the guys futzing with the manual levers.

But much better...

Did 7.8 miles on the "Washington Secondary Rail Trail" today...52 minutes moving, 10 minutes resting. Not a trail I could go to daily, but not a problem for the weekend. Parked at a small lot (six cars? four?) on Ayoho Road, Coventry, RI which I believe is the furthest west access on the paved portion:

This is a nice, long path unlike the short ones in Willimantic or Killingly.

There's 14 miles paved from Coventry into Providence. There's 10 miles dirt from Coventry to the Conn/RI state line; six miles are slated to be paved this year and the last four miles in 2013.

That will leave a four mile gap between the state line and the mile of pavement heading east of Moosup. God, if they ever get that finished that will be super easy for me to get to :)

About the name...
"Washington" is a village in the middle of Coventry, which would make it mid-point on this Moosup-to-Providence Railroad. "Secondaries" in railroading are "A designated track upon which trains and engines may be operated without time-table authority, train orders or block signals" as opposed to a Primary which uses those items.

The Hartford & Providence Railroad was chartered in 1847, with the Willimantic to Providence section opening in 1854. Wikipedia has a lot more on the complicated history of what became the New York & New England.

Pretty damn pathetic...

Ok...definitely not ready for the road (though I did hit 32.9mph in a 30 going downhill on a town road portion :) )...did the loop to the west of Silvermine in Natchaug...four miles, ninety frigging pathetic minutes.

Monday, May 14, 2012

Road Trip!

Took a four-day weekend.

Friday was lunch with April, run a bunch of errands, decided to price bike / kayak racks for the Fusion -- as I was pulling into Rack Attack in Framingham, Eric called. What great timing! After some talking I ended up buying the mount kit for the Fusion, on the way home picked up a bike rack from Eric, and used the cross-bars from the '92 Volvo :)

Saturday was fixing up the bike (replaced a dry rotted tire), mounting the Thule rack, some yard work, and went down to Point Judith where mom was camping to take her out to dinner for Mother's Day.

Sunday was go for a short bike ride on Killingly's Quinebaug River Trail south of the sewer plant...I don't think they quite finished it down to the town line as the map shows; it's just over 2 miles from the parking area to the end of the pavement. Did some gardening, went and bought a gel seat for the bike, and did some more yard work :)

Monday went for another ride on the same trail...should've bought the gel seat in the 90s :D This time 4.1 miles. It's an old trolley trail; best I can tell it was only in existence from around 1890 to 1920. Originally it ran from Central Village to North Grosvenor Dale, with later connections to Norwich and Worcester, and a branch to Elmville which connected to the Providence and Danielson street car line. The idea of electric street cars running on highways and/or separate rights of ways amazes me! Alexander's Lake was developed by the trolley company to provide a destination for riders on the weekends.

Monday afternoon I wanted to rest and not do more yard work. Around 1pm headed up to Kittery Trading Post to wander around window shopping for two hours. Sigh...why do I have such expensive tastes? Benelli Montrefeltro 20 gauge shotguns fit me and aimed soooooo well, for only $1200. There's a reason I make sure the checking account is low BEFORE I go in the door there :D Then along the coast...

Found Ongonquit Beach which I hadn't seen before:

Ah youth. Or alcohol? Seriously, it's May 14th in Maine!

This, however, just kept pissing me off more:

I'm sure there's some long, elaborate back story here. And I certainly understand about tight municipal finances, of declining volunteer membership, and the like...but for God's sake show a little pride if not in your department then your community itself!

And it just keeps getting worse. I was so disappointed to see what was stored inside the barely secured building, I didn't take a pic of the view across the's ocean front property! If you're not going to maintain it, tear it down and sell the land for 3 house lots for $500,000 or more and build a small museum at the main station:

Monday, May 7, 2012

Outside the Perimeter...

I got the cold frame frame built:

Decided there's no sense mounting the windows till this fall.  When I do I'll also get one of these (or maybe I need to strap a board across the windows and use one that screws in so the wind can't take it?):  automatic opener.

It's a's pressure treated, but my research says the leachate will predominantly go down, and crops like lettuce won't pick much up.  Lot less and easier to find than naturally rot resistant lumber.  I am sort of pushing it with my first crop in it -- I did include Carrots and Radishes since the soil is some of the deepest and best screened I have.  Also Chard, Spinach, and Walking Onions.  I'll put up some deer fencing to keep the deer and wabbits out.

Come this fall, that'll be my winter lettuce bed :D

Under the "Floating Row Cover" are Bush Cucumbers, Zucchini, Yellow Squash.

I'm hoping this, though more work for weeding and I'll have to hand-pollinate, will be the fix for the combination problems of Squash Bugs and Squash Vine Borer on the squash, and Cucumber Beetles and the bacterial wilt they carry on my cukes.  I've *never* had a decent cuke crop...I'll get one or two and the plant dies.  The squash do OK until they succumb to bug pressure of SVBs.

The only problem being a mouse had chewed a hole in the center of my roll of FRC...ruined (or at least made half-width) half of it or more.  Grrrrrrr.  Just lucked out what was still good was just the right length.  I have a couple other rows with vine squash that I'll need to buy another roll this weekend to cover.

To the right is the Potato Row.  I rototilled in 3/4 of a pickup load of leaves into it :D  (The other 1/4 is in the covered row.)

Corn is planted towards the front of the pic (with space to get the tiller into cultivate in the main garden), and along the driveway are lots and lots of flowers.  The car had to come down to jump start the truck...guess since I don't use the truck that much now, bee-bopping around the yard it doesn't get charged up.  It's loaded with about 1/2 the stones I pulled out this weekend (I used to have a small wall, that was a pain to weed/mow around.)

I wish I had more organic matter...I'd have to radically downsize the garden to match what I can get.  The tiller helps a lot to keep up with the weeds.

Between the fence posts will be the tomatoe, eggplant, pepper plants in a few weeks when I buy transplants.

And now that I'm done with that...I get to weed and plant some more "inside the perimeter" in the area fenced to keep deer and wabbits at bay:

Looks like that's it for this week with rain and showers predicted.

Going through my seed packets and such, planted since Saturday:
Yukon Gold Potatoes
Superior (?) Potatoes (can't remember what the other variety was!)
Silver Queen Corn -- 88 Days
Early Girl Corn -- ??
Cocozelle Zukes -- 50 Days
Spacemaster Cukes -- 60 Days
Early Prolific Summer Squash (Yellow) -- 42 Days
Summter (? tore label) Cukes -- 70 Days
Patty Pan bush scallop squash -- 54 Days

Flowers (all of these bought for 50-75% off at the end of last season and stashed in the fridge over the winter):

Aster "Crego Giant"
Aster "Early Charm"
Bachelor's Button -- Azulejo
Lupins "Russel Perennial"
Marigold -- Lemon Drop
Marigold -- Rusty Red
Marigold -- Cracker Jack Mix
Zinnia "California Giant"
Zinnia "Whirlygig"
Larkspur "Regal Mixed"