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notes from the pasture and garden

March 24, 2008

It’s amazing what the weather does in March.  Last Thursday brought cool rain, Friday gave us an inch of snow, and Saturday morning we woke up to a hard frost.  So much for the grass growing.  Now, Monday morning, snow again.  But I know better than to be impatient.  I also don’t want to complain about the weather.  Most people are living where they choose to, so why grumble about the weather.  I can usually find something to do outside if it’s dry and there is always a mundane chore waiting inside.  Never a dull moment, to be sure.  Just another typical Pacific Northwest March.

 Thursday     3/20
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Friday   3/21
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 Earthworm casting – 3/19
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I’m looking for more of these.  A sure sign that the soil is warming up, and another reason those robins have been so busy lately.  Besides what my eyes and the calendar are telling me, this is screaming SPRING!

On Saturday, I was able to get my lettuce, spinach and misc. greens transplanted in the greenhouse.  However, having a large pup around who loves to sit on you and whatever you are doing at the time, made the transplanting a little more difficult.  He still has his winter coat, so he got tired of the warmth in the greenhouse BEFORE I lost my cool.  I decided to build a quick make-shift fence around the salad bed though, just in case.  I keep a secret stash of hog panels hidden from my husband, if I don’t, they tend to disappear.  These are my super, special,(read clean), never been seen by an actual pig. I keep these separate just for my shelling and snap pea trellises.  So I robbed my own cache, hoping Trace will respect the salad after being deflected away from the area for awhile.  But now, that means, I probably have to get more before pea planting time.  In my area that could be a month if I direct seed, or sooner if I transplant.  Some of my farmer friends,  have good luck transplanting, but they are selling their vegetables, so they are trying to gamble harder with Mother Nature.  My soil is still too wet, I have learned not to hurry.   If I let my paranoid self take over, I worry about being able to get seeds by mail – so  I try to garden as if I can’t go to the store and buy what fails on me.  So I get a little weird about wasting my seeds.  (That’s where that throwback thing comes in.)

I’m hot Mom!   A 65# lapdog is kinda big…
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Remember that salamander, here is her egg cluster.
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This gal is laying eggs too.     Pacific Tree Frog Hyla regillaClick for Full Size View

Pacific Tree frog egg clusters.Click for Full Size View

All this egg laying is taking place in a mud puddle that is in front of our barn.  Over the years, we have spent hours watching the process that starts with the nightly chorus of these noisy guys!  They are close to the house and when we have visitors they wonder what the heck is that? We try to stay out of the process, but have been known to add a little water in drought conditions.  Things will play out differently this year, the salamander laid her eggs here because the larvae feed on tadpoles.  So, this will be our test – NO INTERVENING – just watching and learning.  Amphibians are an indicator of a natural environment, we supply ample food for them, and they provide some pest control. 

This weeks haul of roots – still holding out pretty good!Click for Full Size View

Sadly, today while delivering a birthday cake to a friend, I saw another sign of spring.  The pink/orange look of a glyphosate (Roundup) treated field.  It looks like the lavender purveyor down the way, is going to expand his field.

6 Comments leave one →
  1. March 24, 2008 4:45 pm

    Beautiful post. It is sad to end it all with Roundup. I find it disheartening to think of the millions of acres over which it is spread.

  2. matronofhusbandry permalink*
    March 24, 2008 5:53 pm

    It is sad! The worst is that they will continue to use the chemicals. They don’t understand that they are just killing the plants that are visible now. As soon as they open up the soil, they will expose long dormant seeds, and start the process all over again. Clean tillage and bare fallow would work just as well. The practice around here on perennials, or nursery stock is to use Casoron, which acts as a pre-emergent. Recently, in the nearest town, a state biologist found frogs with multiple limbs. Sound the alarm! “It must be pesticides and herbicides coming from farmers.” The area in question is mostly subdivisions, surrounding nurseries and xmas tree farms, with a few berry farms sprinkled in. By law, nursery owners cannot sell plants with “weeds” so they have to use the chemicals. Heaven forbid some poor flower gardener or landscaper would have to do some hand weeding! Boo Hoo!! The other thing that pisses me off is, that most people when they read or hear about this, automatically think it is a food (livestock or vegetable)farmer that is doing the polluting. Ortho has done a very good job of making the populace think that they “need” to use these chemicals. People should quit fearing weeds, & bugs and enjoy their gardens and yards. Finally, home -owners are being scrutinized, so we can hope… OMG, sorry about the RANT, but this really makes me mad, because it is so unnecessary!

    • Ashley Lynn Chapin permalink
      June 23, 2018 3:36 pm

      I know you write this a long time ago but I agree 100 percent.

  3. March 24, 2008 7:57 pm

    lovely pics and post.

    I’ve seen the guys out with the handsprayers already, hitting the sides of the roads just outside of SF. Always so disapointing.

  4. March 25, 2008 4:25 pm

    Funny, I have a post in my drafts folder about this time of year and feeling impatient and antsy to get outside, trying to hurry up the weather and the soil. I try to be zen-like or even stoic about it all, knowing that the time will come, but the impatience creeps back in when I’m not looking.

  5. matronofhusbandry permalink*
    March 25, 2008 5:12 pm

    Hayden – I always feel sorry for the poor people who have to apply the herbicides as part of their job. One of the oncologists that treated my brother, believed there was a link to him doing that very job while he was in his twenties. He was a logger and they were just starting to use herbicides on the road right-of-ways at that time. (early 60’s) Rachel Carson was virtually unheard of at that time. An herbalist friend of mine, Cascade Anderson Geller, told me that it usually at least 20 years from exposure to when the cancer may manifest itself.
    We unfortunately have an extreme amount of county road frontage, and every year we listen for the spray truck. They have sprayed by mistake several different times over the years. They are always apologetic, but it’s too late. Words will not fix the damage.

    Danielle – I know what you mean – I’m trying to take my cues from the frog eggs. They will not hurry and they will hatch when the temperature is right!

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