Kitchen Garden

Spring, but not All

Seedling Starter
Seedling Starter on a Heating Pad

LAKE MACBRIDE— A layer of snow covered everything this morning, indicating that the calendar start of spring meant nothing to Mother Nature.

A few days ago, I checked the soil in the garden— it was still frozen. During many a previous year, the lettuce had been in the ground for three weeks, and seed potatoes were in the garage, waiting to be cut and seasoned before planting on Good Friday, now just five days away. Spring is not all it was expected to be this year.

I decided to try starting my own seedlings again. In the past, I failed miserably, but after making soil blocks at the CSA, found the confidence to try it again. The cells are mapped out on graph paper, and yesterday, I started putting the trays on a heating pad set to low for a few hours at a time. When I looked at the green pepper seeds this morning, they had begun to take root after this first heating pad session. There is plenty of moisture in the soil mix, so I’ll continue the practice and see how the seeds sprout and grow. So far, so good.

In an effort to avoid the deadly intersection of cabin fever and spring fever, I have been exploring some new writers and found Girl Gone Farming, which is a blog by someone who recently moved to a farm in Pennsylvania after living in New York City for three years. Worth reading here, especially for readers who are city folk.

The snow continues to float through the air, morning has turned to afternoon, and it appear to be spring, not at all, in the garden.

Home Life

Sagrada Família Basilica

LAKE MACBRIDE— Runoff rainwater filled the ditch along the road most of yesterday, eroding the soil mixture laid there by the contractor last fall. The frozen ground could not absorb water, so it accumulated, and flowed downstream to Lake Macbride, the Coralville Reservoir and beyond. We needed the rain. There was talk of snow, but none stuck here, if it fell during the night— we continue to need the moisture.

While paying my property taxes, the newest Johnson County supervisor walked into the building, paused in the entryway, a lanyard dangling from his right pocket. He lacked purpose with which most people enter, perhaps he is still getting used to the building and position. He seems taller and thinner than he appeared in news media.

While in town, I stopped at Paul’s Discount store on Highway One and purchased some garden seeds. With the snow melting, it is time to get ready for planting. I bought some soil mix and a plastic flat to try starting seeds. Now that I have seen how it’s done at the CSA, I feel more confident about growing my own seedlings.

In 1974 I took a photo of the Sagrada Família Basilica in Barcelona. There was a story about it on television last night. It wasn’t a basilica then, Pope Benedict XVI consecrated the unfinished structure as such in 2010. A lot of work has been done since my visit. It remains unfinished, but with hope for closure via completion sometime in the next decade or two. It has been a remarkable project, spanning generations.

As I write this morning, I am considering a name for the new weblog. The issue is not settled, but will be soon.


Brownies and the New Format

LAKE MACBRIDE— Last night I made brownies for the first time since I can remember. I saw the box of baking cocoa, the recipe on the package, and knew we had all the ingredients in the house. They came out very well, light and chewy, so I copied the recipe into my red book.

Have been preparing my new blog on a test site, and here is a very tentative snapshot of what it will look like. More to come as it develops.

Draft Blog HEader
Draft Blog Header