“Wyrd biõ ful ãræd.”

Friday, July 18, 2014

More rain.

The two days of good weather, with clear skies and low temperatures, are over.

I woke up this morning and it was raining. It is still raining at 1030 tonight and no sign of a let up.  This is just a "soaking" rain, not heavy but constant.

It has rained so much this spring and summer, that for the first time ever I have moss growing on my cedar shake roofs.  Not just a little moss, but big thick heavy green moss. The chickens are flying up on the roof and peeling the moss off, looking for bugs. Sometimes they peel the shakes off, as well.

The only way to get rid of the moss is for the roofs to dry out, then you spray them with chemicals specifically designed to kill the stuff. I have the spray, but I am waiting for the building roofs to dry.  So far, that hasn't happened.

The foliage around the house is so thick that it now constitutes an impenetrable wall.  I don't think you could hack through it with a machete in some places.  Everything is a dark green, and the meadow is the thickest and lushest I believe it has ever been.

This is the second year of very unusual weather. Last winter was pretty terrible, and then the spring and summer have been very wet.  The Atlanta news stations are warning that this summer we have examples of some bizarre disease that Georgia has never had before. I can recall several times when this has happened in the last few years, starting with people getting equine encephalitis from mosquito bites.  The state is going around making people who use old tires to plant flowers in get rid of them, as they say the mosquitos breed in the water that catches in the tires.

I thought this severe winter would rid us of snakes and bugs, but we have had a bumper crop of both, including the black snake that wound up in our living room and set off a ferret frenzy. The poor cat still jumps straight up in the air a foot high if there is a sudden noise in the house.

My gardening efforts are being destroyed by this weather. The rain washes the potting soil out of the beds. The black spongy potting soil soaks up too much water. I have no doubt that if something does grow the bugs will eat it, but the struggle goes on.  If , in the end, my experiment fails I plan to dynamite the whole thing, take a picture, post it, and say that my very successful crop of corn and tomatoes was unfortunately destroyed by an asteroid strike.

28 comments:

  1. It seems like a perfectly logical explanation. Hopefully you dry out soon and can tackle the jungle and moss.

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    1. These mountains. Either we have a drought, or we have a monsoon season. Last winter was the coldest I can remember, and this summer it has been like living in the Amazon jungle. I have been spraying the outer walls of my cedar buildings to kill some kind of fuzzy mildew that is trying to grow on them. I've never seen it before and I have lived here since '86. Interesting times.

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  2. Asteroid strike? Could happen. I was kinda hoping that your garden experiment would work out for you. Mother Nature has a way of tossing a monkey wrench into the best of plans, doesn't she.
    We have been enjoying the effects of that polar vortex they've been talking about, with temps in the 70s and cooler at night. But that is coming to a screeching halt over the weekend with 90s predicted by Sunday along with the possibility of thunder storms the next few days. Mother Nature doesn't like us very much, either.

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    1. An asteroid strike will be less likely to draw "I told you so" from Pioneer Preppy. But I defy Farmer McGregor to grow anything in this constant rain. Even the old pro farmers are having trouble.

      I don't remember ever hearing that phrase"polar vortex" until last winter but it certainly seems to have a powerful influence on the weather, doesn't it. We had two really wonderful days but now it's back to the rough stuff.

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  3. I thought growing stuff was easy?

    We need some rain up here once again. I am going to have to actually water the garden tomorrow for the first time this year I think. It's been so cool my tomatoes are not ripening very fast at all but I did get a few today. Hundreds if not thousands of green ones though.

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    1. Not even you could grow anything in this. There is so much water it just sits in puddles on the trail down the road. It's not a fair test if even the pros are having trouble. And anyway, my corn and tomatoes are just fine. I can go out at night and admire my huge crop by the light of a new star in the sky, which incidentally seems to be drawing closer even now.

      I don't see how we can be up to our butts in frogs and mosquitoes and you folks need rain out there. Dat ain' rite!

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    2. That is why I learned a few years ago, you know doing that easy stuff like growing things, that you need a mixture of raised beds and regular garden space to insure at least a seed crop produces. For instance the first potato crop goes into raised beds mixed with Sweet potatoes and about the time I harvest the regular potatoes the Sweet ones are taking over the bed. After the rains stop I can get the second and third potato planting done in the regular garden.

      When you are planting enough to really lay food back the entire dynamic changes. For instance this year the Squash bugs exploded because I increased the Melons from a few rows to almost a fifth of an acre last year. Had a good crop last year too but this year the Squash bugs have come out by the thousands.

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    3. Harry FlashmanJuly 19, 2014 at 1:24 AM
      One thing I noticed reading blogs by people who are big time gardeners is that almost all of them have problems with bugs. Many of them pick the bugs off by hand. I would just spray the insects, the bug spray washes off I presume. I don't see how you can deal with, say, thousands of squash bugs in any other way so I am assuming you sprayed them with insecticides.

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    4. People are always full of advice in dealing with the bugs but most of the solutions I see like picking them off or spraying them with anything, commercial insecticide to organic mixtures is really only useful when you are talking about a few plants. When you have a 30x30 foot square of plants that literally cover the entire area like a jungle, and that's just the squash we won't even mention the melons etc. there is no way on earth one person can find all the eggs and bugs hiding in there. My normal procedure is to try and account for pest loss figuring on quantity winning out. It actually works with most plant types but the Squash bugs will typically continue to build up. Now say Tomatoes you can actually hand pick the hornworms and stay ahead of them but Squash bugs and those damned Japanese beetles come by the 1000's or more.

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    5. So there's nothing you can do in that case?

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  4. Good weather for testing pyrotechnics. /hint

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    1. yeah, but I hate to expend hard to acquire items frivolously. Especially high value equipment.

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    2. Not that hard to acquire. In fact, I have it on good authority that they often magically re-appear in mailboxes. Go test!

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    3. I'll see if I can find somewhere that there is no chance of inadvertently interacting with pine trees. The best place would be in the middle of a big plowed field or out on the lake. I know a guy with a pontoon boat.

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  5. We had all kinds of rain last month. This month not so much as a drop. We are finally warming up after lows in the 50;s at night. I think this winter is going to be just as cold and snowy as last year.

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    1. I was listening to a shortwave radio program last night. They had a fellow on as guest who was supposed to be from some scientific association that examines weather patterns. No telling if he was what he claimed to be, but he agreed with your analysis.

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  6. Hey Harry,

    (captaincrunch)

    We are almost in a drought stage down here. Real dry....

    Harry, would a greenhouse help keep all the rain off your garden???

    This El Nino' is what's giving you all this rain and making us drier than usual. This winter things will be the opposite
    The weather for you should really dry out and stay warmer than usual and down here in South Texas we will have a very, very wet winter. We need the rain because many resovoirs are running low.
    The weather pattern that's opposite of El Nino is called 'La Nina.

    This went on several times in the early 80's and once kinda back in '1996, 1997. I also remember the late summer and early fall of 1989 was like this weather pattern too.

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    1. I've got a greenhouse built onto the side of my main building CC. I use it as a toolshed. I'm not looking to do a real farm like Pioneer Preppy but I need something bigger than I can enclose. I already knew bad weather would ruin crops so I don't feel like the problems mean I can't grow food here, only that the weather can ruin your efforts and even professional farmers with good soil can't do much about that.

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  7. I feel your pain. I have been working around the rain as well for a day or so.

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    1. Duke, good to see you again. I was wondering if they revoked your parole! :-)

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  8. Harry, AIM got in some swedish 5.56. Selling it for $375 a case in an ammo can with free shipping. http://www.aimsurplus.com/product.aspx?item=A556CG

    Thought you'd want to know after you missed out on the Danish stuff awhile back. Anyway it's a good deal. I would try to swing some myself but I'm worried about 7.62x39 so I'd like to snag another case of that while it is still under a quarter a round.

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  9. I'm torn between buying the Swedish 5.56 or two cans of the 30-06 loaded specifically for the M-1 Garand. Maybe I will take some money out of the account where we are saving to buy a new Jeep and do both. He who hesitates is lost when it comes to ammo. If my wife finds out I can always blame you, after all.

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    1. Harry, Torn here. Generally speaking without looking at your ammo counts on each I would put priority on modern fighting rifles over older guns. That being said decent deals on '06 ammo loaded for the Garand are few and far between.

      Right now the 5.56 situation is overall quite good. The stuff I mentioned is milspec and in a can which is a bonus but you can buy PMC M855 62gr 5.56 for $350-365 all day long. 5.56 will be available in a month or two, can't say that about the '06 Garand ammo.

      You can blame me for your purchase and I'll blame you for the case of 7.62x39 I bought today.

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    2. There you go. That sounds like an equitable arrangement. I have a case of 1000 rounds of Lake City 30-06 that I got from DCM, way back before it became CMP. That should fit my Garands, but I don't know that for sure. So I haven't messed with it. I don't like to open wooden cases anyway, they are for the long run. I have a lot of Korean 30-06 in Garand clips, so I know that's good. AIM imports this Prvi Partisan Garand ammo very rarely. I saw the Swedish 5.56, it's like the Danish, very desirable ammunition.

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  10. Its that darn polar vortex... Highs here today was in the upper 70s. We are getting the rain you and Duke had. It does make sitting on the porch at night enjoyable though.

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    1. I hated the polar vortex in winters but I like it now. At least when it means cool, dry weather instead of hot, humid days and nights. It has rained so much here in the last two days that big trees are just falling over, though there is only a light breeze.

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  11. We use raised beds, even it it is made with tree trunks, then we add leaves, horse manure, compost, etc. It keeps the soil in. My side salad garden did not have raised beds and the soil all ran out under a heavy rain. For potatoes we construct a potato tower using 2 x 6 boards (cedar cut on our band saw). It's maybe 3 x 3 ft. You have dirt and straw on the bottom, layer the potatoes, add more dirt/straw as the vines begin to grow. Keep doing this and you can either harvest a little at a time by removing the bottom board or all at once. I just dig down and take what I want, leaving the small ones to regrow. If you keep it up you can have hundreds of pounds of potatoes. It is about 100 lbs per tower. We do have to chicken wire over the top or the cats sleep in it or raccoon root around in it.

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    1. Wow. The more I learn about your set up the more appreciative I become of how much you have done to take care of your needs in house. A band saw would be a very nice item to have. I am dependent on trips to town to the lumber yard.

      I bought big bags of black potting soil, and my boxes are three sided, since the ground is so steep there's no need for a fourth side. But the soil gets "distilled" and runs out the bottom of the boxes, and on down slope.

      The big corn fields in the hollows are getting too much water and they don't drain, since they are designed to actually catch and retain the water in a more normal year. I don't know if the corn will be ok or not. It was already up big and green, but I am beginning to see it leaning and wilting in some places. I know from hanging out at the Farmers Depot with a coke that this has not been a good year for corn, although the hay made it by the barest margins.

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