Sunday, May 23, 2010

Spring Planting

Our greenhouse gave us a big headstart on tomatoes this year. We started them indoors and transferred them out into the greenhouse a few week ago. Some are already flowering. They are supported with plastic clips attached to nylon string. If all goes well the vines can grow about seven feet up. We planted a random mixture of heirloom strains, both cherry and full size. If they all bear fruit we are going to have more tomatoes than we can deal with.

We also transplanted green pepper starts, as well as a few cucumber and watermelon seeds.

Jonathan planting potatoes. The tipis behind him are supports for pole beans, which are planted around the base of the pyramids. The spinach and swiss chard in the foreground were planted last November and survived the winter under the greenhouse, which was moved to its new location this spring.

Besides potatoes and beans, we planted corn, pumpkins, onions, carrots, radishes in the big garden.

Potatoes have to be the easiest crop to plant. Also, since they produce such bushy plants, they require very little weeding.

Our backyard rubarb is ready for harvesting.

Marja preparing seedbeds in our backyard garden. The dark soil is from our compost pit.

In the backyard we planted most of our greens - cabbage, chard, spinach, kale and lettuce.

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

The Last Log

The logging truck delivered 11 cords of wood. A cord is pile of wood 4 feet high, 4 feet wide and 8 feet long. It takes many, many evenings to saw them into firewood length. Fortunately my sons will do most of the splitting. My back was a pleasant surprise to me. Despite all the log lifting and block throwing, it never got seriously sore.

Husqvarna makes good chainsaws. Mine has always started after a few pulls on the cord. I've had saws that practically wore me out getting them started. There's enough work once the saw starts, so you appreciate one that starts reliably. I sharpened the chain after every two gas fills, although sometimes I had to sharpen it more often if there was sand on the logs.
It seems like it will never end, but eventually you reach the last log....

...and there are no more left to saw. Actually, I did save a few to rip into furniture lumber using an attachment called an alaskan chainsaw mill, but all the firewood has been sawn. Two years worth.

Sunday, May 16, 2010

Summer Begins

The result of an imperfectly executed flying lateral dismount over a stump. It takes a lot of practice to master this maneuver and stumps increase the degree of difficulty considerably. Don't try it at home.

David telegraphs a right while Jonathan switches to a southpaw stance...
and connects with a right jab.

Peeled logs await the alaskan chainsaw mill.

Marja celebrating her 58th birthday....

...with a genuine Finnish taytekakku made by Deanna and David. It was delicious.

Friday, May 7, 2010

Vappu - Mayday

Low flying cumulus clouds on a sunny, brisk day - the type of weather common in Finland. The flag of Finland is a sky blue cross on a white backround.

David peeling spruce logs. If you don't get the bark off early, the logs will quickly become infested with the larvae of wood boring beetles. We are thinking to use these logs to build a primitive savusauna (smoke sauna).
Savu showed up to help also.
David first makes a long incision with a sharp ax and then peels the bark away with a small pry bar.

Savu "skinning" his prey

Niinkuin taivas ja hanki Suomen, ovat varisi puhtahat...

Marja and I drove to Brockway Mountain to watch the hawk migration, but the wind had turned to the north by the time we got there and all we saw were a few turkey vultures. According to some observers, the sky had been full of hawks a few hours earlier.