Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Hello Neighbor

I went out to our acreage for a status update (I'll talk about that in a bit). Upon leaving I was walking down what will someday be our driveway, when I decided to say hello to the neighbors.

I don't know their names but they sure like attention. But that's not the story. While I was having a chat with my equine friends, I heard a rustle in the grass. I didn't think much of it. Then I saw something moving through the grass. I got a visual on it. It was a snake about 18 inches long. At first glimpse I thought it was a juvenile bull snake. But then I thought to myself, that is a bit too stout for a bull snake and the head is a bit too wide. So then I begin to worry it is a rattle snake. Bull snakes are common in this area, rattle snakes are not as common but not unheard of. So, I backed away to try to snap some pictures. It didn't work so well, but I did get one that would allow me to identify it. Actually, my Dad identified it. My Dad taught biology for many years and has far more knowledge on the subject than myself. Anyway this guy

is a western hognose snake. Not dangerous to humans. Being an amateur science geek, I thought the whole experience was pretty exciting. I hope to see more of the little buggers. I love the country! Here is a better picture from google images.

On a different note. I now believe that the poplars are doing better than I thought. Our spring was just too cold for them to sprout. I counted 46 of them showing green. 46 out of 300 hundred doesn't sound good, but it tells me that I gave up on some of the buds too early. I think I may meet my benchmark of 75%.

I haven't done a garden update lately, I don't have pictures nor the time right now but hopefully this weekend I will. I can tell you though, that we are now eating broccoli, leafy greens and snap peas.

Thursday, June 11, 2009

OP-367 Update

I'm starting to smell the stench of failure. Don't get me wrong, some of the poplars look like this.

Most of them do not. I was looking for about 75% of the cuttings to survive in order to call it a success. Granted I have never done this before so I could be wrong, but it is looking to me like I am going to get about a third of them to live. Not a success in my book. Tomorrow I'm going to email the guy that I bought them from, and see how many of the cuttings he will replace and how I can do better. So far his customer service has been excellent. I think it is important to share failures as well as successes. Along those same lines, here are a couple of things I would have done differently.

1. Weather - Ok, so I can't control the weather but I can tell you we are having an unusually cold spring complete with the occasional frost.

2. Longer Cuttings - Since we have sandy soil on our land, I think longer cuttings would have been in contact with more moisture. Also, our soil seems to "float" the cuttings to the surface when it rains. Longer cuttings would probably anchor down a little better.

Only time will tell how many poplars are really going to live. The good news is, I can take my own cuttings in the future if I do ever get them to grow.

Thursday, June 4, 2009

The Maple Experiment

While walking through the neighborhood, I noticed how many "trees" go unplanted each year or become "weeds" only to be plucked out of flower beds. Stay tuned for the results. And ... yes that is the color of the floor in our laundry room.

In other news, I made a little hoop house to keep the bugs from eating the broccoli before we do. It is made from 9 gauge fencing wire and floating row cover. I hope it works. Never mind the extremely tall grass just outside the garden. I better go do some trimming.