Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Making New Beds

Aster 'Alma potschke' still blooming

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Getting late already and I haven't come close to the list of things which have to be accomplished before my head hits the pillow. One of the girls next door just left. 16 years old today and she had printer problems finishing up a school paper. The interruption was brief and it was fine as she's a good kid--but it was an interruption.

After work today Karl the Wonder Dog and I headed to the nursery to pull the water pump for the winter. Next year when I finally get an insulated pump house built, this whole procedure won't be necessary but for this year there is no choice. It's a half horse shallow well pump that sits atop a pressure tank and neither of those would fare well at 25 degrees below zero. The advent of winter strongly suggests precautionary measures when it comes to water pumps and faucets, water lines and irrigation.

We got to the nursery just after 4 and I took Karl for his regular perimeter walk. I really didn't want to spend so much time but he had been cooped up today as Gail and Alex had headed for Burlington before noon. As we returned to the truck, he refused to get back inside and he ran around in circles at top speed challenging with nips and barking sounds of "This is fun, this is fun." Dogs which misbehave bug me and I wasn't in the mood for another walk. Then I remembered he had been by himself until I came home, he does enjoy the smells of autumn and we are really friends.

It took an hour to disconnect the electric, and unplumb and drain everything but that was easy compared to carrying the pump up the clay-slick river bank to the truck. I secured it with some spaghetti straps and then sat in the truck with Karl, having a bottle of water and catching my breath. As I looked across the field, it was instant gratification of what we accomplished this year.

Just last week the new daylily plots had turned yellow and I began tilling them. Since these plots were closer to the river than the 24 I made last year, the tilling was easier as the soil is more loan, less clay. Just the same it took dozens of repetitions to begin to get things in shape. The 30 horse tractor is not a big rig but it plugs along and does a nice job. Although the weather prediction is for 1"-3" of white stuff tonight, I still have time to spread calcium sulphate over all this new work and then re-till one more time before serious snow arrives and accumulates.

Calcium sulphate is the miracle worker for breaking down the clay soil. It is an acid and that means that when the job is done I'll have to balance back to where I want to be, ph-wise. No matter to me as it's good stuff and it works better than anything I have ever seen. I spread by hand so I'll be talking to myself a bunch before that's over, perhaps accompanied by some I pod tunes and thoughts of next year. For right now, good thoughts are sufficient!

Writing from the mountain above Peacham Pond where Karl and I passed a sow bear and two cubs on the way home tonight. I'm thinking this was the same family that was here last night which translates to a walking tour of 3-5 miles for them since last night. I don't talk to bears unless I have to and I am pleased to say that none have ever spoken to me.

George Africa
The Vermont Gardener
Vermont Gardens
Vermont Flower Farm A website about our business and how we build thoughts and gardens

As a PS: Give Bernd Heinrich a read if you want to know what bears and other creatures do this time of year. His book, Winter World, The Ingenuity of Animal Survival is great!

1 comment:

Adria said...

Hi George,

Thanks to Walt I just discovered your blog. It's nice reading! I pass your place on Rt 2 at least 5 times a week and love to see the changes happening there. I'll check back often to see how things are plugging along for our local gardener!

Adria, Green Mountain Curlies