Turning Point

Greenhouse and High Tunnel

Germination House and High Tunnel

LAKE MACBRIDE— A cold wind blew across the hilltop where the sheep barn is situated. The barn doors had come loose from the bottom brace and were flapping in the wind. There was no securing them, so I walked over to see the lambs. Spring’s hope wobbling about the pen.

The goal was to pick up get ten bags of soil mix for the day’s work. A couple of deer legs were laying around, scavenged by the dogs. They wanted me to play fetch with one of them, but I wouldn’t. There was work to be done and it seemed a bit weird.

Seven of us were working in the germination shed and high tunnel. The table space in the germination shed was filling up as I made 28 seed trays in two and a half hours. Seedlings planted in March were being transplanted to the high tunnel for the spring share. It was a busy place. One worker, who I hadn’t seen since last fall, asked if I had a good winter. I did and we went about our work.

Not many in Iowa grow celery, and the seeds I planted weren’t germinating very well. One farmer said give it time, comparing it to parsley. She also mentioned someone who wanted to put in an acre of the vegetable. Local celery would sell if it could be grown.

I discussed my low lettuce germination rate with another farmer. After a couple of her questions, we determined the problem must be moisture levels, which can be remedied by watering frequently.

After work I headed home, stopping at the grocery store.

Walmart is something I would like to get out of my life, and to do that, I need to get some things they carry, but our local grocer doesn’t. I found the buyer and asked him if I ordered a large quantity, would they get me a case, or bin of them. Things like organic kidney beans, that apparently no one but me bought when they did carry them. He said he would, so I will place an order later in the week.

Upon returning home, I spent the rest of the day in the garage and yard. It was the first day of working with the garage door up, listening to the radio. I swept the sand from the street in front of our house, and replenished my supply of five cat litter buckets for next winter. This annual event is combination of frugality, cost avoidance and practicality. Why buy sand when there is plenty available?

I cleaned the garage floor of dirt and grime delivered by the cars, and cleared my work bench. I dug into a large pile of paper goods to find the yard sign for the county attorney, who has a challenger in the June 3 primary. It was on the bottom, as she hasn’t had many challengers. I found a wire that fit and stapled the sign to it. It’s ready to place on the lawn tomorrow.

The seeding operation was near the water heater, where it was too crowded. I moved it to the garage, making quick work of mixing soil batches and preparing a couple of trays. I seeded 120 cells with celery in hope of getting enough seedlings to plant a row or two. The other tray was planted with six kinds of tomatoes. All of this was overkill, but I want to have enough for our garden and to share.

Coming inside for dinner, I watered all the seedlings, did three loads of laundry, a load in the dishwasher, and re-arranged the trays on the table in the bedroom. Not a lot of dramatic or exciting stuff to report. It was a turning point in the year, and that is enough.

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