Tuesday, February 28, 2012

(Almost) Daily Green

Granny Smith in her new home.
I did not post a Daily Green yesterday because I spent much more time outside and much less time sitting at the computer than I have done in the past weeks. I started the Daily Green partly as a gift to a friend who had expressed a desire to see the greening of spring and partly as a personal challenge to find signs of spring with the camera every day. It is still February (until after tomorrow, anyway) and it has become increasingly difficult to find new green every day. Right now, the sign of spring is the fact that I feel certain deadlines approaching.

The deadline that felt most urgent yesterday was the transplanting of a young apple tree. I bought the Granny Smith apple in the spring two years ago. It lived for a while in a pot and I am not quite sure when I actually planted it in the ground next to the stone stairs leading from our back door. Because it had been in the ground for at least 18 months, I had expected digging it up to be a monumental task, what with trying to get out long, thick and deep roots while breaking as few of them as possible.

Its root system was not nearly as large as I thought it would be -- no long tap roots leading to who knows where -- and digging it out took little time. All the tasks I did around that one had me working hard all day, though.

Since I was going to take the pickup down the hill to the main orchard, I decided to take down a bunch of rocks, as well. We have been using large rocks to train the branches of our trees. Tie twine to the branch that needs to be pulled down and tie the other end to a stone anchor.
Fortunately, we have large piles of rock and dirt from some excavation we had done a couple of years ago, but they are on top of the hill. So I loaded a bunch of rocks into the pickup bed and went down to the main orchard at the bottom of the hill. I dug a pretty large hole that I thought might still be too small to accomodate the Granny Smith's roots (since I hadn't actually dug up the tree at this point). After digging the hole and unloading the rocks, it was lunch time.

After lunch, I loaded more rocks into the pickup, dug up the Granny Smith in a surprisingly short amount of time, plus a clump of yarrow that had been growing near it, filled a couple of buckets with water, then headed down the hill. I struggled a bit with filling the hole around the little (maybe 7-foot tall) tree and dumped on some water. But the hole wasn't quite filled and I decided a rake would make moving the last bit of dirt easier. So I unloaded the rocks and went back up the hill. Loaded up some more (but not quite as many) rocks. Got more water and a rake and headed back down.

Finally, the hole that could have been much smaller if only I had known, was filled in. I watered the tree again, unloaded my third batch of rocks, then planted the yarrow near a couple of the apple trees. According to the Apple Grower Michael Phillips, herb type plants create a better soil environment for fruit tree roots than does grass. I am happy to oblige by expanding my herb gardening to the orchard areas. More yarrow and other herbs will be transplanted and/or seeded there.

I hope to harvest all these little chickweeds in a couple of weeks.
While I was inside the tree cages, I removed some small, winter weeds and found little bits of chickweed growing around the bases of the trees. As we continue pruning our trees, I will be sure to take along a basket and scissors to harvest any of the chickweed that has reached a good size. I do love this little, early wild green.

My tasks at the bottom of the hill completed, I headed back up, put away tools, and took the laundry off of the line. After those hours of digging and moving rocks, my body was not up to an hour and a half of hard yoga, so I opted for a 45-minute cardio workout. After my shower, it was time for my husband to arrive home. The evening at home went by quickly with dinner and a movie (a cute French romantic comedy, "I Do: How to Get Married and Stay Single"). Crawling into bed felt very good.

Today, I will start potting up the cabbage, broccoli, kale, cauliflower and brussels sprouts seedlings so they will be ready to go into the garden in about three weeks. Time is flying!

Sunday night's moon (without her companion planets).


Meggie said...

I can totally relate to your day. I spend so much time loading and unloading my truck....rocks, mulch, lumber, rain barrels...and the list goes on.
Who needs to go to the gym to exercise when you live on a farm?

Lark said...

Whew! After reading all that, I might need a nap. Nice work.

Sandra M. Siebert said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Sandra M. Siebert said...

Meggie, I work out to strengthen all my muscles to prevent injury when I am doing farm work and to make the farm work easier. The workouts have helped me be more aware of how I use my body, and they strengthen supporting muscles so I am not building up just one set of muscles and letting the others wither. I have found that making time for a workout has been quite beneficial, as many of the chronic issues I once had have subsided since I started my workout program.

Kris H. said...

Loved the green and of course the Moon. Thanks so much. And whew, yes, working out by loading and unloading rocks! At least you didn't carry them down the hill in a wheelbarrow. :)

Sandra M. Siebert said...

It's difficult even taking an empty wheelbarrow down the hill.