Friday, April 13, 2012

Corn planting stick and Esme comments

I think we are ready to plant the west field with field corn, but we are not going to till it again.  The earth there is just too hard for the moment.  It has been broken with the tractor but not tilled fine and deep.

I am going to make a corn planting stick today, which is a simple but useful tool.  A piece of plastic PVC pipe large enough for the seed type to go down, with one end cut at a 45 degree angle, and a piece of electrical tape taped around the bottom at the proper depth for planting that seed.  You will need to 'measure' it against yourself to find out how long it should be to have the bottom on the ground and the hole at the top at a comfortable height to work without bending. It keeps from having to stoop and make a hole for each seed but would not work too well in wet soil.  The sharpened end makes the hole, squidge the pipe back and forth and lift it to loosen the soil that is driven inside the pipe, drop the seed down the pipe into the hole, cover up the hole with your foot.  Continue to the next seed all the way down the field.

ACTUALITY: Like all good things - it can be improved upon.  We made an 'advanced' corn planting stick by cutting the top of f of a two liter bottle for a funnel, heating up the screw top end and putting it into a 3/4 PVC coupling, then attaching the coupling to a 3/4 inch PVC pipe.  Then we duct-taped it down well.  Using the stick was different than I had imagined it, as well.  I had to scrape the ground clear with the pointed end and make a furrow with it, as the earth was very rocky and hard and there were sticks etc in it. I did have to bend down several times to throw sticks and rocks out of the way and spent a lot of time 'chicken scratching' with my feet to even up the better soil that remained.  Once I had a clean furrow I used the stick to space the seeds evenly without bending over and covered up the furrow with my feet.

We are waiting for the temperature to get a little higher today before going out.  It is 50 now and an expected high of 70 today.  The other night was expected to be the very last frost.  Next year I will check the 'long schedule calendar' for frost dates - but I am glad to have a month headstart on everything that we have done.  Esme has had a bath for her sinuses and is playing with kittens.  They are getting big enough to pounce and wrestle each other now and usually come running to their dish when they hear a cat food can open.  They are definitely Pogo's children - when they open their mouths nothing comes out.  They are supersonic mewers.

Greenhouse seeds are not up yet - it has only been three or four days.  Our golden hubbard (sometimes called red hubbard) seeds have come, and I am trying to decide if I will put those in the little garden or out in the west field.  I need to plant a Jarrahdale or two from last years's seed, as well.  They are both maximas, as is the table queen that is already planted in the little garden.  I actually had an image of my Mayflower beans come to mind this morning when I was waking - not quite a dream, but a memory.  I have been intending to plant some of those few saved seeds from the plant that survived last year - but have not done it yet.  Reading The Resilient Gardener before bed, beans and squash wandered often through my mind in between sleep.  I enjoyed her anecdotes about her ducks, dropping pumpkins from heights to crack them (instead of risking trying to cut the terribly tough skin with a knife, and all of the different experiments and record keeping she had done while she bred her varieties.  I doubt I could ever keep that good of records of which plants produced which seeds with which qualities!

Aren't we just terribly stylish in our outside in the garden clothes?  And the Christmas decorations are still up because Esme really likes them.  Remember it was 50 degrees or so when I started, ie the sweater and dockworker knit hat was deemed necessary attire.  That is the sweater I made last year and it is extremely warm, even without a collar, and tpants made of a thick cotton material that has not torn when grabbed by thorns or on my knees weeding in the garden.  Esme hadn't put her coat and hat on yet, or that would have been quite a sight to boot.  She did grab a tray of seeds and told Daddy to take a picture of her posing with me and the corn planting stick.

Planted today:  Strawberry popcorn, 5-10 days germ. 100 days maturity, field corn blue/yellow in the west field, golden hubbard squash (6 seeds) in the west field.

Esme comments from the last few days:

I can't spell that word Mama. (for I can't remember that word).

He is pirates, the hand, he is pirates, on your yarn, pull the string on the boat like pirates.  (she was unravelling my knitting yarn hand over hand pretending she was pulling a boat in).

Mama, I offer you a gretchen. (ask you a question) In the big town, a truck with a man and it (sings).  ((long description with hand signs and large gestures showing how an ice cream man has a truck with a slide up window and he has people line up and hands them ice cream one by one and they eat it))  And now it's GONE!  Can you take me there?  Please?

We are ladies.  You are a lady, and I am a lady, too!  We make cakes and foods and then we bite them LIKE THIS and are happy! (said before she went to sleep at night days after we had made her cake for Grandma)

Mama, put on the batteries on this door please?  And then it go sing and you fix it go sing please?  But Mama, you are STRONG, you can do it, come on.  Please?
Mama, I will bring you this, your beans, and you will be happy?  (no - those are seeds, I don't need seeds right now - we put those in our garden)  But, you eat them, they are your beans!  (we want those ones to grow and make more)  Oh, haha, okay.
When we said we might go look at a donkey for sale in the paper to see if we liked it she started off on this conversation:  We like donkeys.  But, I don't like horses, I am scared of horses.  Horses, your hands, they will EAT them, LIKE THIS (pretends to bite off both of her hands and sucks them into her sleeves of her shirt).  But, donkeys, they are nice.  You can pet them, like this (pet something in midair and pretend to look at it adoringly).  We like donkeys.  //what?//  Mark and I both just rolled our eyes at that one.

No, Baths are for morningtimes it is night time all dark outside! (screamed at the top of her lungs as I had suggested she take a bath at 3 am because she was crying her sinuses were blocked and a drink had not helped).  She did calm down after another drink and eventually fell back asleep until 7 when I did talk her into a eucalyptus bath, which helped a lot. 

It is morningtime, it is blue outside (the sky), and it is hearts (a shirt she sees) and pants like go to work (my jeans).  I see them.  It is no work, you don't go to work today.  You going to stay HOME.  (yes, I am going to stay home today, yay!)  She expected a fight on that one like usual, and wasn't quite sure what to do when she was right and I was staying home HA.  

Mama, you find it please I need three. (she had three).  You have three, one two, three.  No, the three, she is there, I move it, you look I can't find it anymore!  (I looked under the cabinet and there was a fourth of what she wanted, pulled it out).  This is not the bumblebee lady, she is more, find the bumblebee lady more please?  Apparently there was a fifth to that toy set, too -- but I could not find her and she was very sad.

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