May 2020

by Bob on May 10, 2020

Somehow, it feels like nothing has changed in the last month, although it has, but…

The cool temperatures and frequent rain are still with us.  The present forecast promises some relief two weeks from now and we can hope that the $1,100 in propane we got two weeks ago will last that long.  Peonies seem to have escaped the frosts and are continuing to grow, with some buds showing on the earlier maturing varieties, but they are growing slowly with more variation in maturity than we remember in more normal years.

We are starting to harvest flowers, but, alas, have no way to sell them.  We now have columbine, cosmos, dahlias, bells of Ireland, and the first dianthus.  Let’s hope the gov opens up the state soon.

We’ve been busy pulling out blueberries, moving sedum yarrow and rhubarb, fixing greenhouses, changing the watering system, fixing equipment, and waiting for the (world famous) asparagus to put in an appearance.  Soon it will be hotter and drier than we want, but we sure would like some sunshine and warmth now.

The photographs show the growth inside the big greenhouse and the peony beds.  It’s interesting to  compare these with the ones included last month.

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April 2020

by Bob on April 12, 2020

Well, we’re off to an unusual start, aren’t we?  The virus is one part of the equation and the weather just adds to the confusion and difficulties.

Growingwise, inside everything is relatively normal – the usual SNAFU situation.  The seeding got done on time, or somewhat early, and we had mostly good germination.  The small electrically heated propagation greenhouse, which we recovered last summer, is working better than ever except for the electricity bill, which jumped from $125 to $300 a month.  We recovered another greenhouse last summer and it too is nice and tight, but the electrical controls for the gas furnace failed yesterday just before freezing temps last night.  Fortunately, we were able to get a new controller working before dark.  The big greenhouse is up and running and fully planted (see the photograph) after modifying the gas distribution system and adding a new pressure reducing valve.  We took a step backwards earlier this week when we drove a metal post through the underground waterline – more fun and games.

Large greenhouse, long rows are dahlias

Outside it’s a mixed bag.  Our winter was mild with way below normal snowfall and above average temperatures and in late winter we began to get unusual warm periods – which brought plants out of dormancy and fooled them into thinking they should start growing.  Then it would get cold again, like last night (30 degrees and a trace of snow).  Some of the buds may have frozen, which will reduce or eliminate flowers and fruit.  Fortunately the asparagus is still sleeping underground and we hope it stays there until the weather is more settled and consistently above freezing.

Peony beds showing plants still emerging

Then we have the effects of the virus.  As an agricultural entity we are exempt from the lockdown and are still able to buy supplies and have workers.  However, until the lockdown is lifted our ability to sell flowers will be severely limited.  Weddings are being rescheduled or cancelled, floral shops are closed, services for the deceased are eliminated or delayed, etc, etc, etc.  Unless this changes, we may be growing for our own amusement.  We’ll hope for the best.

Overall, our activities haven’t changed very much from other years.  This is a busy time, as usual, and we only leave the farm for supplies and groceries, so in that respect nothing has changed.  We don’t need coloring books, jigsaw puzzles, TV, or Netflix to fill up the days.  We’re homeschooling the dog (who just ate our early crop of turnips) but not children (who probably would have passed on the turnips but created other problems), so life continues somewhat normally in our sheltered/isolated world.

Be assured, reports of our passing are greatly exaggerated. We’re interested in what’s next.  Stay tuned to find out.

         Bob

The Flower Guy aka The Creaky/Cranky Curmudgeon

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January 2020

February 26, 2020

As Bob Dylan wrote in his song back in 1964 (that’s 56 years ago –  Wow!) “The times they are a changing”, in many unusual, if not unique, ways.  Those familiar with our past will recognize that we no longer go to the weekly farmers’ markets.  We enjoyed them, but they were stressful and required […]

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