Garden updates

Well I’m finally getting ahead of the garden – not to be confused with actually producing any veggies. I have it more or less weed free, about 25% planted in seeds and seedlings, and two nearly full, completely decomposed compost piles recently enriched with a wheel barrow full of pot ash. I’ve used about half of one pile to fill low spots in the garden. The last job was to reconstruct the walking rows between the planting rows. I do that once a year about this time and it takes a week or so to do. I rake out a walk way about 18” wide and then line it with newspaper, cover the paper with palmetto fronds and top the fronds with dead oak leaves and/or pine needles. I end up with about 10 x 20’ walk paths so it takes quite a load of paper, fronds and leaves. We get the local Volusia County (Daytona) paper, the Deland Beacon, and the WSJ so no problem getting the paper but it does take a while to collect. Ditto the palm fronds – plenty of them available they just have to be cut as needed. Sometimes it takes a while to rake up the top leafy layer. After a storm they’re available and the deciduous trees are now starting to drop leaves but all in all it takes the better month of a month to construct. The paths deteriorate gradually and become compost by the time I’m ready to start over. Now if the weather will only cooperate for a couple of months. It dropped down to the low 60’s this past week -a good thing- and I need a couple frost free months with about an inch of rain every week – not hard rain but just a soft watering. It will look totally different a month from now – like a real garden – and we should be actually harvesting some chard leaves and tomatoes.

Donald Trump moving to Florida does not make him a Floridian – sorry Don. He’s pure New Yorker down to the smallest molecule in his body. I’m fine with his move and think it shows great decision making ability but he has to accept his alien status.

Nurse Joe to the rescue

I had an interesting day yesterday. It started out as a typical Monday which means a trip to Palm Coast for Nancy’s bridge game. As usual I went to the beach to fish the surf and as usual the conditions were less than optimum – ditto the fishing. I moved to Washington Oaks State Park and tried the fishing in the Intracoastal. Nada. So far on track as a normal day. Next stop Hooligans, a sports bar with a good selection of drafts and an expanding group of friends. Finally to “Publlix” to work off a shopping list that included a stop at the deli. It was semi crowded and right in front of me was an older lady being accompanied by a nanny. I was waiting patiently as this lady ordered several items, a few slices at a time. She starts coughing, was unable to stop and it became obvious that she was having difficulty breathing. I moved up very close and caught her as she started to crumble. She managed to get an inhaler out of her purse and the nanny was saying she was having an asthma attack. In a couple of minutes several managers including the pharmacist came over to assist. One took over my job of holding her up and getting her into a wheel chair. It was obvious she was breathing a little better and was surrounded by people who knew what they were doing so I quietly exited the scene. I know if I hadn’t been standing right there, she’d have crashed. So I had an exciting story to tell Nancy when I picked her up 10 minutes later.

Gardening has been really tough this year. The problem is getting the cold weather stuff going while the weather is so abnormally hot. I did actually pick some green beans yesterday. The few tomato plants that made it are skimpy at best but I did see a few blossoms. The big surprise is that the Swiss Chard seems to be taking hold and looking decent. I’ve always considered chard to be really sensitive to heat but maybe this particular variety is designed to handle the heat. The good news is that if I had one crop to pick for success it would be the chard. It’s most versatile, raw or cooked, and is a productive continuous harvest plant. I’m guessing we’ll start picking in late Nov and have more than we can handle thru April. Basically any place you use spinach, you can substitute chard. I have about a dozen going now so there will be plenty for Nancy’s bridge and crocheting buddies. I should know in the next two weeks how the kale crop will be but the first pass germination seems good. Not so the traditional – broccoli, cauliflower, and cabbage. Nothing positive with carrots either but it’s still early. Ditto lettuce.

I have figured out the perfect Christmas gift for Nancy. Guarantee it will be a surprise. One problem we have with the Buick is that the trunk/storage area is just a tad small. Where the problem manifests is that my surf rod is a bit too long and has to be positioned so that it extends to the front cabin between the seats. This bugs Nancy because she occasionally bumps into it with her left arm. I measured and a 9’ rod would work fine. I’d rather have the current 10’ rod but I’m thinking I can sacrifice and get a new 9’ model to make my bride’s life just a little nicer. She’ll never guess what it is.