Bigeloil to the rescue

Had a week of hard manual labor. George burns firewood during the winter – lots and lots of firewood. Two substantial trees came down in the storm a week or so back – substantial means 80′ size oaks. Working about 4 hours a day, we cut, split and stacked for two days. We moved on to 2 dead bay trees on my property and 2 dead jack oaks on George’s – another day of cutting, splitting, and stacking. The next two days were spent at Rick’s house shoveling dirt. Rick had a depression in his back yard that had grown substantially since he bought the place and it needed filling. He bought a load of fill dirt, that would be 18 yards of fill. The fill was dumped on the driveway in front of his house, about 100′ from the depression, so the task was to move the mountain of dirt – visualize a pile of dirt 18′ long, 18′ wide and 6′ high. George has a small garden tractor so we attacked the task with two of us filling 25 gallon barrels while the other guy hauled it to the back, dumped and spread it. We worked two four hour days on the job before calling it quits and leaving Rick with about 25% of the dirt remaining. It didn’t make sense to drive back to his house for that small amount that he could knock off in a couple hours over a few days himself. Besides, we wanted to be sure he never, ever bought another load of dirt. On the last day of the week from hell, I cut and chipped a new load of compost clippings. That took the better part of a day and yielded another 3 or 4 cubic yards to start the pile. The surprise to me is that I was fairly sure I would have trouble moving (my body) after all that but just a few aches and no pains. Thank you Bigeloil.

Trying a slightly different technique on the newest compost pile. I started with a 6” layer of shredded oak leaves then a thin layer of wood ash from the burn pile; then a foot thick layer of shredded palmetto fronds with a veneer of wood ash again. Repeated the leaves, palm fronds and wood ash several times and near the top, a layer of old celery plants, well past their prime. From this point on, all garden and kitchen waste will go onto this new pile which I’ll turn twice a week to keep it aerated and cooking. In the mean time, the “old” pile is officially shut down for new material and will just do the slow cook thing for the next couple of months, also turned twice a week. I’m thinking July for spreading that pile. What I’m hoping is that the layering technique will speed the process and that the new pile is ready for use in October for the winter garden. I shaved a month off the process already by clipping off the woody stem of the palm fronds before shredding and then actually double shredding the fronds. I use the stems for training peas in the winter or burn for the ash in the summer. Nothing goes to waste around here.

Thought I’d found a solution to the armadillo problem. I found an expert online who recommended moth balls so I spread a box in the general vicinity of the sweet potatoes where the damage was being done. I think the digging the next day was less intense but no question, the patch was visited overnight. So much for expert advice. My new solution is to clip some of the potato vines and try to root the cuttings to plant in another garden area. I was going to experiment with this approach anyway but now it may be essential. I’m hoping the rooted cuttings do the trick because I wanted to spread the crop over a larger period anyway. I think the plants can deal with the heat so it would be much better if we could harvest on a regular, extended basis rather than all at once. If it works, should be able to go well into November before it gets too cold. Sweets for Thanksgiving from the garden.

Listening to the news of the trial, the defense attorney seems to be making a big deal about the fact that he had a roll of duct tape in the garage and used it on a gas can that had lost it’s vent cap. Is there anyone in the galaxy that doesn’t have a roll of duct tape on hand for instant repairs? A hammer, duct tape, and WD40 – the essential home repair kit.

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