Wednesday, May 06, 2015

Kitchen Garden, Visit from a Marine, and Fight Club

Terraces + raised bed = ~900 sq. ft. 

Kitchen Garden

Last year, I expanded the raised herb garden by terracing the slope. This gave me four ~16'x2' beds separated by old railroad ties.  The terrace beds have good drainage and the ties give me a place to walk such that I never have to step on the soil. Consequently, it doesn't require any digging before planting really, though I did dig in my compost and some leaf mold in last fall.  The soil, like much of that in eastern Nebraska, is clumpy because of the clay, but with regular applications of compost and leaf mulch combined with a multitude of earthworms, I expect rich loamy soil in time.
Just like the picture
on the seed package. 

This month we also used the broken concrete from the back patio to make stepping stones from the front walk to the garden, then on around to the patio.  This makes it easy for me to dart from the kitchen to the garden with no shoes. Additionally, it saves us from hauling the concrete to the landfill or somesuch.

The radishes are "French Breakfast" and have a milder flavor that other varieties. The grow quickly and I've been planting a few every two weeks to space out the harvest. I chopped up the radish tops, sauteed them lightly, and had them for dinner atop brown rice with a couple of eggs.  My folks have chickens who patrol the farm for grasshoppers and other bugs, as well as earn their keep turning the compost piles. In turn, they produce the most delicious eggs which my mother generously drops by the house when she's in town.

A Visit from Corporal Brown

Nick treated us with a visit this month and we hosted a small garden party.  It was a bit early and the weather was windy and chill in the  morning, but by late afternoon when people began to arrive, the weather had warmed and it was quite pleasant.
4x4s and cinder blocks provided expanded fire pit seating.
This view will change substantially this year.
The Founders All-Day IPA proved popular. 

My little darlings. 

Solomon's Seal and the last tulip graced the buffet table.

After most everyone left, Lyle ventured forth. He prefers pond water to his kitchen bowl.

Lacerations and Punctures

Speaking of the three-legged wonder, there's a new member at fight club - we'll call him Fangs. I suspect a feral tom cat from the severity of the wounds Lyle is bringing home.  The first time, it wasn't too deep, but the second round merited a visit to the vet.  Fangs digs into the right side of Lyle's neck, then shreds his belly with his back claws.  It isn't pretty and Lyle's new name should probably be "Scarbelly". 

In response, we tried to keep Lyle in, but if you've ever heard him yowl, you know it's impossible. So, we made a short fence using chicken wire.

This wouldn't contain most cats, but Lyle doesn't have much of a vertical jump, so it kept him in so long as he had
supervision.  If you went inside or put him out at night, he found ways to get under the fence. 
The wire didn't hold him for long, but for a couple of weeks we kept him contained and his wounds healed up. This last weekend, however, he ran into Fangs again and again has neck wounds.  This time, no trip to the vet.  Instead, I stocked up on vet supplies and have been taking care of it and things seem to be healing nicely.  The real challenge is how to keep Lyle from running into Fangs in the future. 

Although a bit high-maintenance, the rare short-legged tripod feline
makes it all worth it when he greets me at the door and
insists on post-work lap time.


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