Sunday, February 28, 2010

A Little Conservation Work

Since the only gardening work I did this weekend revolved around removing a stump in the way of my last two planter boxes and starting a tray of wheatgrass I thought I'd blog about one of my wood duck nesting project. Today myself and my son went out to do a little pre-nesting season maintenance on my South Pleasant Grove Creek project. I have 17 boxes currently in this project. It's located in Roseville and I have been doing it for 15 years now. Preseason maintenance today consisted of changing the cedar beddibg shaving in the boxes, throwing out last season's unhatched eggs along with the pieces from successfully hatched eggs. There are always a few dead ducklings that hatched too late also. I also moved one box to a new location as it had no use in the last two years. I added somw screws and tie wire to hold the lids on some new boxes I added last year (don't want the raccoons getting in). Out of the 17 boxes I had 2 nests being started with 2 eggs each, 1 nest with 8 eggs, and 1 hen already sitting.

I also spent a good deal of my time checking on Katie's (gardenpunks blog)health condition and praying for her recovery. I was elated to see she is slowly doing better. I'm going to be building and putting in my 2 new planters this week and hopefully filling them and planting potatoes.

Here are some pictures of my woodduck project though not from today.



Sunday, February 21, 2010

Pierogi Time

What will wear you out more than a day of gardening? How about a day of making pierogi. Pretty much the Polish/Russian/Eastern European equivalent of tamales in the effort required department, we spent today from 11 until 5 pm. making pierogi or perogie depending on what ethnic tribe you suscribe to. These were something my mom learned to make from a Ukranian boyfriend she once had. With her prolonged illness and then passing 2 years ago I have not had Damitz made ones in 6 years. I have been able to hit up the Polish American festival once a year in Roseville for my pierogi fix. It ws supposed to rain this weekend when I made my original weekend plans so gardening was put on hold and the idea to make pierogi was hatched. To make a long story short we used a couple of recipes off the internet that are very similar to my moms. She did like to deviate from traditional ones and add hamburger meat. After hours of cooking, frying, boiling and packing we ended up with 120 artery clogging, buttery bombs of carbohydrates. Most were potato and cheese stuffed (Polish) but we made some sauerkraut stuffed (Russian) ones as well. I got a reprieve from helping clean up as I had to respond to a vehicle accident. Here are a couple links to good recipes:

Here are some pics:

Yellow onions cooking in a stick of butter

Preparing the potato filling and dough

Potato and cheese filling

Dough shells cut out

Filling the shells

A couple of filled ones

Salt pork and onions to fry already boiled pierogi in

Pierogi boiling

The bounty. 120

Ready to be enjoyed with some sour cream

Saturday, February 20, 2010

A Day with the Graybeard

I took the old graybeard chocolate out for a little dog training today. A friend's young black female was out of control this morning and chased off the 4 roosters, we had put out for training, before anyone got a shot. We did manage to pick up one rooster that flew into our field but I did not get any pictures of it. The purpose of the trip was to exercise the dogs and get his son on some birds. We did not succeed on getting his son on any birds. Maybe next time.

My Savage 16 Gauge.


The Old Graybeard


Hang It and Many Birds Will Come

I had been lamenting the fact that the seed bags I bought and hung were not attracting any finches the first 4 days I had them up. Starting yesterday morning a few finches showed up. Today there's atleast a hundred or so in the sycamore in my back yard and another 50 or so in the pine tree out front. The hummingbird that lives in the pine out front is not happy. I might have to move the seed sack from the pine tree out front to the tulip tree out back along with the other sock. While I love the sound of the finches and seeing them I wonder if I'll be able to keep feeding them if their numbers continue to climb.

The sock in the pine.

The sock in the tulip tree.

Monday, February 15, 2010

It's a Garden Again

Yesterday's work and shopping sprees netted the need to perform more work today but not before some fun last night. A mid 60s day doesn't only excite the gardener in me it excites the barbecuer in me. Fortunately it excited the barbecuer that is my 22 year old college age son of mine. He did the barbecueing of yard bird and I cooked the carrots, kale and potatoes from the garden. After dinner one more shopping trip was in order, a trip to Nugget Market to pick up a few bottles of Pliny the Elder. Sitting around a fire in the outdoor fire pit and downing a few Plinys just screams early spring. Waking up today meant a trip to Country Acres to get some organic fertilizer and look at the bareroot fruit trees. I was able to resist the Asian Pears as they were priced double that of every else I had looked. Their regular fruit trees were comparibly priced to elsewhere but for some reason the Asian Pears were more. Once home I finished preparing the garden, planted the brocolli and cauliflower plants, and planted some more sugar snap pea seed. I mulched with alfalfa and now have a garden again albeit 2 weeks earlier than I had planted.


The kale and lettuce less weeds and mulched with alfalfa

The brocolli and cauliflower nestled in alfalfa

Sunday, February 14, 2010

Some Duckin Pictures

A friend lookin' for birds

Drake lookin' for birds

The old greybeard

One days haul

Another days haul

Some mallets

Opening weekend. A freinds son.

Same friend another hunt

65 and Lovin' It

What is it about the mid 60's that ignites a gardener's ambition? When I got in the truck this morning at 10 the thermometer already read 57 degrees. I was only going to Ace Hardware get a new edger blade. Today and tomorrow were for getting the yard halfway in shape as it is finally drying up some. I arrive at Ace but they don't have my blade. I left with nothing. On to Walmart. The broccolli and cauliflower catch my eye on the way in(did I mention I'm too busy and lazy during duck season to try to start anything from seed). Again no blade. I leave Walmart with a 9 pack each of brocolli and cauliflower,a pack of starter onions, flowers and a card for the wife, sugar free candy for the M.I.L., and a small finch seed sack for the birds. On to Home Depot. Bingo! I finally got my edger blade. I leave home depot with blade, a bag of steer manure, and 2 bags of Patio Plus potting soil (for growing wheatgrass). I get home unload and do my yard chores; edgeing, weeding, weedeating, and blowing everything off. After that I harvested all the carrots , weeded most of the garden, transplanted some onions that were in the main garden and planted the new onions I bought. We left again to go to the Cowpoke and pick up a bale of alfalfa (great mulch that breaks down into nitrogen instead of taking nitrogen from the soil) and another seed sack for the finches. Anyone who hasn't seen all the finches in front of the Cowpoke in Loomis on Taylor Road should go. For dinner we had fresh kale, carrots, and the last of the garden potatoes. I feel pretty whipped as I've had a bad sinus cold for 4 days but today just excited me. Tomorrow I'll finish cleaning and weeding the garden and plant the brocolli and cauliflower. Of course that will require a trip to the garden store for organic fertilizer. Maybe I'll pick up some bareroot Asian Pear trees. It's only money and time.

Put up a new flag to replace the storm ripped one.

The haul from Home Depot and the Cowpoke.

Seed sacks from Walmart and The Cowpoke

seed sack


Sugar Snap Pea Flowers

Sugar Snap Peas That Survived The Big Freeze

Kale surrounded by Weeds

The New Onion Bed

Garlic Bed

Squirrel Statues

Good Luck

Haven't posted in quite awhile. I've been duck hunting and had taken a break from the garden for a couple months. The other day my wife noticed some oriental people outside our livingroom window cutting sticks off a bush of ours that growns in the alley. She went out and asked them what they were doing and they explained they were Hmong and they needed the flowers to bring themselves, their families, and their friends Good Luck. I told her to let them take all they wanted. I just hope they left me some good luck.




Of course if they did harvest too much of my luck I do have this little fellow I picked up for $1 at a yard sale. He's going on the fence.