Fix-it Month

Couple of garden surprises today: A few tomato blossoms already and on the potatoes too. The potato blossoms are purple – surprise, surprise. All the potato blossoms I’ve ever seen are white but then so are the potatoes I’ve planted. What I’m wondering is if the baby potatoes form underground the same as the tomatoes form on the vines so when we’re picking tomatoes, will we be picking potatoes? I’ll probably use that as a guideline to feel around under the plant for tubers. The corn is now 36” tall and I picked another double load of broccoli. What’s surprising about that is that we’re halfway through April and still picking broccoli. This particular variety, Packman, never seems to quit. We’ve been picking from these plants since December. We can’t pick the snap peas fast enough.

I’ve started the next project which is putting up a row of high trellis to support pole beans, peas and cucumbers in the future. The start part is buying the wire mesh that will be supported on poles. I bought a 50’ roll of 4’ high wire. The wire is a 4” x 6” grid. I’ll pick up the poles later this week. The plan is to get 5 or 6 eight foot long, 4” round poles. They’ll be buried 2’ deep on either 6’ or 8’ centers – haven’t made up my mind yet but am leaning toward 6’ spacing. I’ll hang the wire on the poles starting about a foot above ground and down a foot from the top of the poles, about 30‘ lengthwise. My concern is that when there’s a full crop of pole beans, it’ll create a sail that’s 30’ x 6’ and we do get some strong winds. I have a mental image of a trellis loaded with beans sailing off into the sunset. Can’t happen.

Critters taught me another lesson – they eat bone meal. I mix bone meal with regular fertilizer to give it a boost and left a bag out the other night along with a bag of fertilizer and a bag of Epson Salts – also a plant booster. They were all in a wheel barrow and rolled under palmetto trees for rain protection. I went out the other morning to plant a few new tomato plants and discovered that the bone marrow was history. Not a grain left just a torn plastic bag. I’m assuming it was a rat(s) but I guess it could have been a raccoon or possum; a squirrel?

This has been fix-it month. The dishwasher has leaked for a couple of years, which didn’t really bother me but my bride saw it differently and since the stock market is up, she called a repair guy. Three trips and $150 later, it doesn’t leak anymore. The free solution was to put a small towel under the door edge. Then her antique feather weight sewing machine jammed. She was pretty sure that it was a thread lodged somehow in the bobbin and that I should be able to fix it. She was half right. I messed with it for an hour or so and decided it was not anything I was ready to deal with. There’s a guy over in Ocala that fixes them so off we went. What a great decision it was for me to give up early. Turns out Nancy was correct, it was an errant thread in the bobbin mechanism but getting that piece out of the machine was no mean feat. The part is a highly machined precision part that is easily broken if not handled properly and that part is $250. For perspective, the whole machine is $350. For just over $50 he repaired it and sold her a bag of needles and a special vacuum cleaner attachment especially for cleaning sewing machines and other delicate equipment. Fixing these machines and refurbing old machines to sell is all this guy does and I could tell he had a nice business going. Some of the machines are painted special with 7 coats of high gloss lacquer and wild colors. The guy who does his painting does custom cars so it shouldn’t have been a surprise to find a candy apple red with a flame design. Some were like pieces of art. My favorite was when he looked straight in the eyes and said “young lady, this machine is not very clean”. A stab in the heart for sure. If I had said that, I’d have been eating the machine. That was worth the $50.

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