Friday, June 20, 2008

Walking Onions

I really like the idea of walking onions. I like the idea of anything perennial, or that's easy to save seeds from - like berries, asparagus, garlic, or beans. Thus, I was moved to order some Egyptian Walking Onion sets. I planted the little sets in the ground around October/November, when I planted garlic. They came up looking a lot like any old onion. The above photo is of walking onions that I planted last fall; the photo was taken May 5th.

I'm not sure when to divide and replant the onions. These are onions that were new last year, and are big and thick and in a group this year. I do know that walking onions don't form bulbs. You eat them early in the Spring before they form topsets, or you can eat the topsets like pearl onions. You only need a little. They are supposed to be very potent. I haven't eaten any of mine yet because I wanted to save my topsets to increase my stock. I'll probably eat some next spring.

Here's an onion just forming a topset. The first thing that happens is a swelling at the end of an onion... stalk? leaf? with a thin white membrane covering it.

The membrane splits open to reveal baby onions inside. Pretty cool!

Another shot of topsets just opening up. All of these photos were taken May 5th so the onions are a good six weeks further along than this now. I'll see if I can't get a few more pics soon and post about their progress.

If anyone knows about when I should divide and replant my older onions, I'd like to hear from you. I figured I'd wait until the tops died down... but by the time they did it was COLD and the ground was frozen. They're hardy! Mine overwintered without any extra mulching, though I did lose a few. The lowest temps last winter were probably about -8F.

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Thursday, June 19, 2008

Cherry Picking

Here's Louie with a haircut, supervising the cherry picking preparation. He's completely shaved except for a mop of hair on his head and a fu manchu beard. Well, technically, a fu manchu is a mustache but I couldn't find out what the beard part is called.

We used to use rickety ladders but now we use the tractor.

We let the kids climb in the loader, then we lift them up and they pick their little hearts out. Rolf is getting in on the action. My husband says we should have named him Visa, because he's EVERYWHERE we want to be.

We have three cherry trees here. This year two were absolutely LOADED and the third had practically nothing on it. Same type, same location. We picked 6 pints our first picking and there will be lots more as they ripen over the next few days... as long as we get to them before the birds and chipmunks!

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Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Nests

What's that in the canopy of the tractor??

It's a bird nest, and it's been there since Spring 2007. This is its second year and I swear I think it's grown, so I think it got used again this Spring. I don't know how a bird can get into that nest, or how it likes having its home moved around. Spring is a busy time for a tractor.

This is a bit of my garden, one of the beds I haven't yet yanked the weeds out of and planted. I *should* have cleaned up last fall but I didn't and this is the result. Yuck! But look what's tucked into the cattle panel by the T-post (I use cattle panels as a trellis for my peas, cukes, and tomatoes).

It's a newly hatched baby house sparrow, with three eggs still to hatch. Needless to say, this garden bed will stay weedy a while longer - or at least this section will!

A cropped version of the above pic, that I didn't scale down. You can click on it to see a larger version. The little bird's leg is clearly showing and its head is in the shade. Before I ran to get the camera it was sitting up with its tiny mouth wide open, waiting for mama to bring it some food.

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Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Kittens at Six Weeks



Meccie (MEK-ee) had kittens about six weeks ago. They're fluffy, cute and BUSY! This morning they were all together in a chair in the pantry. They were being extra cute, but a pantry does not make an attractive background so I've tried to edit out some of the noise in these pics.

We think we might call the black one Rorschach, Rory for short. The gray and dark multi-colored ones are both girls, but they haven't revealed their names to us yet. They are playing coy. That's Meccie with her back to me in the lefthand portion of the photo. She's playing coy, too.

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Friday, June 06, 2008

Dad's Garage

Yay! I can upload images again. Let's hope this time it stays fixed.

This is the garage my Dad built with wood he sawed himself on his sawmill. He still plans to put doors in the big openings but it works just fine like it is. This particular opening is actually used more for walk-in access; the drive-in access is from the right as we're viewing the garage now.

Here's where you drive in. Plenty of room for a pickup and a tractor.

The garage is framed with large timbers and then 1-bys are put on the outside. Kind of like a board-and-batten structure without the battens.

This is a closeup of the support beam on the right-hand side of the previous picture. Dad charred the post to prevent insect damage. He also doesn't let the wood walls go all the way to the ground; the bottom portion of the wall is tin roofing. This prevents rot and insect damage by keeping the wood dry and away from the dirt.

He made window flashing above his windows.

Inside view of the windows. They lock closed with a piece of wood that turns, and they open only so far, thanks to a bit of string.

My Dad is an unbelievably clever "can-do" type of guy.

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