The Migration has started

Nature news – I walk up to the mailbox every morning about 7AM. The roadway is under a canopy of trees the whole way but today was a different experience. There were hundreds and hundreds of Robins flitting around from the driveway to the trees and from tree to tree. Robins are migratory and I guess overnight they reached this far south. At 9:30 I walked the driveway again with Nancy to meet her ride to the crocheting club – not the first bird, not the first chirp. So it must have been a giant flock that overnighted here and then continued their southward migration.

Nancy and her friend Esther are still producing charity quilts at a good clip. Things changed when Wilma passed since her job was to hand sew the bindings. Nancy can do the sewing but can’t thread the needles. Surely I could thread the needles. With my fat fingers and old eyes that proved problematic. The eyes on the needle were just too tiny. I went to Walmart and found some needles that had big eyes – problem solved, I could thread them. But it turned out that the needles I got were “embroidery” needles and were too thick or something to pierce the binding material. I tried a mechanical threader aid but the needle eyes were too small for that too. We stopped at another quilt shop and I spotted something called self threading needles. Got home and tried them – they actually worked. Instead of just a hole in the needle, there’s a split along the top and you press the thread through the slot.

Finished the last of the garden paths. The last one was the main path right down the center of the garden – about 30’x4’ wide. The last path was paced by the availability of newspaper for the base layer. The combination of the WSJ, the Volusia Journal, and the Deland Beacon gets me about 3’ of pathway underlining per day. I have an infinite supply of palmetto fronds for the second layer and pine needles/oak leaves for the topping. This job should hold me until next October.

I’ve started my “spot” plant seedlings in the house. Spot plants are the ones I reserve to fill openings in the garden created by critter losses or whatever else does a plant in. They also fill in when I pick a single crop plant. For example cabbage and cauliflower. You get one veggie per plant as opposed to green leafy veggies that I cut as needed. The new spot plants are cabbages, cauliflowers and broccoli. Broccoli is actually not a single pick crop. You harvest the main head, but some varieties continue to put out new florets for a continuous supply over the whole season. I have two plastic containers going for the spot plants with seed starting soil.
Right now I have 15 cauliflower seedlings and 12 cabbages ready to move to larger containers.

Here’s an interesting observation – I plant a row of seeds in a plastic container, the kind you get when you buy strawberries at the market. Then set them on the kitchen counter, out of the way but under light. The seeds are tiny so I over-plant and then wait for the germination to thin the weaker ones. You would expect the germination process to be fairly random but interestingly, the seeds of each variety pops up within a few hours of each other. So you check at night before bed where none have germinated only to find 99% of the seeds of a particular variety to have germinated nearly simultaneously the next morning. Then nothing for a few days and then another batch, a different variety, pops up all together. There are usually stragglers that pop up maybe a week later but generally you have 90% of what’s going to germinate doing so together. After a week or so in the seed bed, I’ll transfer them to individual pots then plant them in the garden on a space available basis. For example, pick a cauliflower from the garden and replace it with one of the cabbage plants I have growing in a container on the porch.

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