Reprieve

I just noticed that last post is number 500 on this incarnation of the blog.

A reprieve from winter today: glorious, spring-like day, with a light breeze, a clear sky, and the scent of air that makes you want to draw in breath after breath, deeply inhaling some of the best Mother Nature has to offer. It was me and the boys today, traipsing out to turn off the taps and uncover everything so the plants could enjoy our one day stay of winter weather. We’ll start up again tomorrow in our quest to get summer loving plants to survive through what will be a brutal week here on the ranch: we expect to get into the upper teens here around mid-week, which will be a challenge in protection under the covered wagons. I have no idea if things will make it through, but that’s sort of the point in all this, isn’t it (until I can build a real greenhouse, that is): experimenting.

Another experiment we’ll be trying here on the ranch: growing garlic for seed stock, not just for our own use. It occurred to me while chatting with some folks that this would take expansion, but what if we went vertical rather than horizontal, terracing it much like the rice paddies at the feet of mountains in far off lands? There are seven eight foot fence panels at the back of the pool, and over that fence is nothing that’s in use. The failed attempts to grow corn in that area gave way to a massive effort to rebuild the sand/clay into real soil – an effort that has worked, I might add, since I worked to break up the area and then sow it with alfalfa, clover, buckwheat, and other good nutrient-dense vegetation. There is no question there will be no corn planted there in the immediate future, but a series of steppes along the back of the fenceline would provide more area to grow a crop that is tasty, economical, easy both in terms of maintenance and growing, and that yields good prices when sold for seed (especially if grown naturally, without chemicals as we would be doing). With that, of course, will necessarily come some meetings with my accountant and lawyer, as no doubt there are rules about this sort of thing, and why do that research on my own when that’s why I pay them?

I started five horseradish roots a couple of months ago. Someone helpfully dug the holes for me and filled them with a nice mixture of soil and compost to give them a fighting chance. At first, I thought they’d died right off, as the roots had been languishing in the fridge throughout the summer of surgery and recovery. As it turns out, the roots will last practically forever if they’re kept chilled, and they have turned into quite healthy things indeed, with giant leaves soaking up sun and moisture. The boys, though, keep peeing on them, so a fencing adjustment is in order for those and for the berries that we put in along the main fenceline (grapes, blackberries, blueberries, raspberries).

We’re also considering selling seed – organic only, if possible. This and the garlic would be a good starting place for Lazy Dog Ranch branding, I do believe. At least, the dogs don’t seem to be presenting any particular objection.

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