Monday, June 28, 2010

Rainy day today

And that is good, we need this nice soaking rain. Its been a firly decent year so far, generally warm with regular installments of rain at the right times.

I'm glad i got all the weeding done yesterday. I had to do it all at once or the pain will catch up with me. Last night my leg hurt so bad it almost made me sick to my stomach.  I'll have to try and take it easy the next few days.

Hubby went  ahead and bought me a Havahart trap yesterday after he saw what the beasts did to my horseradish plants. We baited it with the remains of a few of the broccoli plants that took the worst damage, we also tossed in a chunk of grocery store broccoli floret for good measure.  If i have to trap and relocate woodchucks all summer (or for the rest of my earthly existence) i'll be ok as long as we get them before they get my veggies.
I think i might be able to rely on the fence a little more now that i think i fixed the issue of the lower wire height.  It was too high from the ground on the far side.  The way my raised bed slopes was part of the problem there. The wire looked low enough, but the slope of the ground made a perfect gap that a 'chuck could slide right under without contacting the wire.  I was going to mound it up with dirt, but i knew that would not be solid enough so i took some scrap boards and set them just under the wire to fill that gap, since the boards are on the inside of the wire they can't be moved from beyond the wire and they can't be used to jump over.

My descriptive powers are not good, so:

and the hopeful fix:

I really hope i get it right this time!  There have been a few not-quite-ideal situations with this fence. The fence itself functions like it is supposed to, but my end of the bargain has been lacking.

First, relying on one strand was naive.  It was effective on the neighborhood dogs and cats but not on a determined predator of vegetables.

Second,  i should have used Roundup along the fence line in the first place, hubby didn't want me to but i convinced him it was necessary for the fence to work.  I should have just done it instead of letting my point become obvious.

Third, i should have paid much more attention to the contours  of the ground and how the slopes created wide gaps.

Fourth, i should have included the asparagus and horseradish bed in the protected area.  I didn't have enough wire from the original kit to run two strands around all of it, but hubby bought me 1/4 mile of wire  a few days later and i should have restrung it right then.  I plan to fix this mistake next chance i get.

If it turns out that the fence is effective after all the tweaking is complete i'll be thrilled.  If not, i'll still keep using it to keep the cats from using it as a litter box and the loose dogs from trodding down my veggies.  I do plan to use the trap continuously each year to try and keep numbers down.  We'll have to find a good place to relocate them where we won't be causing someone else the same trouble.

Best of all, if the fence finally works, i can stop blogging about woodchucks!!!

Soon i should be able to buy the mini fridge for storing my seeds so i can get rid of the boxes, trays and such that i store them in now. I'll also have to buy a bag of silica gel which i can get in the cat litter section of the pet store. 
If i can get the fridge set up the first week of July i can sort my seeds and start replacements for a fall crop.

I planted the cilantro seedlings out in the gaps left by badly germinating parsnips.  I also planted my peppermint next to the pepper plants,  a couple of the sweet and hot pepper plants shriveled and died earlier this spring so i just stuck the mint in there. I may regret planting my mint right in the garden like this since i hear it can get aggressive and invasive...  but i'm throwing caution to the wind this time.
I had some buttercrunch lettuce seedlings that spent too much time in their flat, but i planted them in the gaps left by the eaten broccoli.  I'll see what they do.

I have some perennial seedlings that need to be potted up, they are still lingering in the 9pack trays.  I have been saving gallon milk jugs to plant them in until i can put them in a permanent place...  i mentioned to hubby that i might be doing that for this week's projects (he's tired of seeing the flats sitting at the edge of the driveway collecting silt and i don't blame him, i'm not liking it either, i have to  drain the trays after every rain and they look messy), but judging by his lack of response when i mentioned that is what i had been saving the milk jugs for...i have a feeling my jugs took a trip to the town's "Transfer Station". Which will be a bit of a problem.  My other option is to  go to  the local nursery and see if they will let me have some of their  discarded nursery pots.  I have gotten pots from them before, a whole bag of assorted sizes.  If they still do it, it should be all i need.

The cuttings are still hanging on, some better than others.  I have at least 2 of each type that are not drying up or gotten fuzzy. They don't look like much, so i haven't taken pictures.
I have another Autumn Olive seed that has sprouted and needs to be potted up, the first one still hasn't broken the surface of the soil yet.  No luck with the other berry seeds from that eBay order.
The Goji seedlings are still alive, they must grow super slow because they haven't moved an inch  yet. I think they still have only their seed leaves.  I might try potting them up or planting them in the garden  for the rest of the year.  I read they are a bit weak their first year to overwinter so i might have to bring them indoors for the winter and maybe store them in the entry of the basement inside the bulkhead,  or i'll have to set up a place for them with lights.

The dog has decided to be a brat the last few days.  Her former owners used to let her lay on the furniture. I can't allow this personally, hounds have a smell and i can't deal with it on my furniture.  I have a nice chair that we allow her to use just for her and its in the living room with everyone else so its not like i am isolating her from the family. She just isn't allowed on the other two pieces of furniture. 
Well i kept smelling 'dog' when i sat on my couch with my morning coffee and it was annoying.  Then i started catching her on the couches when i woke up in the mornings before she did.  She'd get scolded and then directed to her chair.  At night i started laying the baby gates across the couches to keep her off them while we were asleep.  Well, Bassets can be spiteful creatures so she retaliated by peeing on my carpet.  After three nights of finding puddles and scolding her (she was taken outdoors for a pee break last thing before bedtime each night) i decided to gate her in the hallway by the side door with the baby gates. Its a 6'x4' area and its tiled, so i folded a blanket into a bed for her, put her in and gave her a small treat and said goodnight.  No pee this morning.
This will be done until i have the money to buy her  a kennel (soon). She used to be crate trained so i hope she takes to it again.  A dog with an at-will and overnight crate is a happier dog in my experience. She also needs an escape spot to go to for when our toddler starts pestering her.

I started the homemade Vanilla Extract last night. I'll post the 'how to do it' instructions & pictures later today or early tomorrow.  It is an easy project.


Faith said...

Hey, how did you do those drawings? That's cool!

We had an indoor cat but the last straw for her was when she refused to learn to stay off the kitchen counters. I could deal with almost everything else with only severe annoyance, but when she kept getting on the counter, no matter what I came up with to teach her not to, she nearly died in my bare hands.

For her own safety she is now an outdoor cat.


icebear said...

The drawings are just MS Paint. I have been fiddling around with those illustration programs more than i ever used to, i'm finally used to this netbook's tiny touchpad and i can make stuff like that work now, lol.

I'm lucky our cat never had a thing for counter tops. Since we found him, he has had climbing toys that got to a much higher level than any old counter top, and we located them in areas where he could survey his entire kingdom on high.... maybe we were lucky or it was a key to success. He has plenty of allowed scratching areas too, so he rarely uses anything else and then its only to 'pick' cause he knows the sound gets our attention and initiates a playful chase.

My hubby detested cats before we got Caper, but now he has an appreciation for all kitties because of him.

I don't think i could tolerate a cat on the counter either. When we got the dog i was not thrilled to learn that she was not taught to not eat the cat's food (i grew up with very well trained Shelties)... but i couldn't break my rule and have not just the cat on the counter, but his food, no, no.... So i had to set him up a small end table against the wall, flanked by the bird and hamster's cage stand and another of the cat's tall loungers -so the dog can't reach to the back of the table where the food bowls are. I'm so glad Bassets are short. They can't jump over anything higher than their nose it seems.... or ours isn't very ambitious enough to try.
She did steal a piece of chicken off the kitchen table a few weeks ago by putting her front paws on one of the chairs. The small bite she got before i caught her was almost her last meal.
She was shunned for a while as punishment.
I love animals, but i am a very firm owner. I spoil them with toys and treats but i expect obedience in return. :o)