Tuesday, April 12, 2016

Days of idleness

Well, it looks as if those are pretty much numbered.
Spring is here, folks! And it came with clear blue skies, sunshine and quite pleasant temperatures. And the first calls of a loon!!!
Everyday more and new summer residents arrive; Swans are numerous this year and our lakes are inhabited by gulls again. We see very large flights of them everywhere! Terns too.
And today I spotted 2 sädesärla or white wagtails (motacilla alba). There can not be any better sign for spring's arrival!
Now I'll be on the lookout for our black and white friends that stay in our garden every year. All of the remaining nestingboxes are occupied by great and blue tits and we see plenty of buzzards too. Had a great encounter the other day as one was circling overhead, no more than 15 meters above me, its "keows" ringing loud and clear. Magnificent birds....

Spring has come,so we got busy once more! But before that we have been enjoying its arrival. The first frail flowers are showing the true colors. All of the ice and snow is gone, but the lakes were still covered in ice. Which looked like a layer of wet tissues or toilet paper floating on the surface; a weird kind of mush, but still strong enough to carry the seagulls that have been returning as I saw yesterday morning, when walking the dogs. It is quite busy on the lakes these days. many a bird is trying to establish its own territory and the neighbours are not always friendly. When I passed the same lake early in the evening, more than half the lake was icefree! And today only the shady places remain covered by ice. The rest is open water. Ahhh what the change in atmosphere and color that produced. The land lake looked a lot friendlier, the colors warmer, not as bleak anymore. It lifts ones spirit immediately.

The fine weather meant a surge in activities around the house too.
I made a start with refilling firewood for next winter, sorted out a large pile of planking in 2 categories; useful for building and furnacefood a.k.a. firewood. Much of it is riddled with nails, screws and the occasional dab of paint, so that will keep us warm on colder days.
Of course there's the garden. I always get quite excited when I see the green shoots of new growth peeping through the litter. All of the garlic I planted is sprouting! As are the daffodils I brought from the churchyard last year. There'll be plenty of splashes of bright yellow all over the place. I am equally delighted to see those beautiful deep blue violets from the same source reemerging too! The cherrytrees are covered with swelling buds, all of the planted berrybushes show hints of green and the herbs are having new shoots too. All of this despite the serious frost we had, down to -27C. I was especially worried about the garlic and the fruittrees, but they made it! *Big sigh of relief*

And of course a garden can't be a real garden without a gardenbench. We "saved" the old bench we found here, when we moved in. I was about to redesignate it as "furnacefood", but my wife thought it would make a neat bench to relax on during hard work. And right she is.... Our red cat thought so too!
Even though it feels good to be a bit stiff and sore again after the first day of gardening, it is equally enjoyable to just sit there, enjoy some tea and look around or listen.... So much to discover!!

There was also a surprise waiting for us and my wife discovered it among the leaflitter; Egyptisk luftlök or Egyptian walking onion (Allium cepa v. viviparum). It actually walks. It makes small bulbs at the end of long stem and those stems wither. The fall over and the newly created bulbs hit the ground and start growing there, one step away from the motherplant. I got these last year from a neighbour, saying it was garlic... Well, it's not, but great nonetheless!
I of course replanted the bulbs....

We are preparing for some major projects, but one quite unexpected project snuck its way up first; a loungearea. Yes, you read it right. We are creating a spot in the garden with the sole intent of lounging about and relaxing there. How come? Well, I spotted a cheap aluminium paviljon on a salessite and I got it even cheaper. Thought it would make a wonderful opportunity to do some vertical gardening and to have something for climbers to grow in to. The very next day the mrs. and I came across a outdoor sofa, made out of pallets with cushions on it with a kind of loud British print on it, but we liked it. So we went and bought that too. Again, really cheap. And so we will be merging those two together and see what else we can come up with.....
But in the meantime we have put up the greenhouse frame and we have been rethinking our garden layout, mainly because the greenhouse is bigger than we had figured! For now it will sit on the small patch of still unworked land and there we will sow and grow our plants for this year.
Because of a lack of planning and time my anticipated pattern of crop rotation got pretty much messed up. I ended up fertilising and covering random plantbeds and that might interfere with the plans..... I will have to make alternative plans and start the rotation in earnest next season. I think I will go for a 4 year cycle and the planned beds that have to be created yet will become beds with edible perennials.
I am expecting a book on just that subject by the end of the month... for now I'll enjoy the sunny days while they last and make the most of them!

1 comment:

  1. Looks like you are getting busy with many projects! This is good. We are getting our new place under control and now we have the welding trailer. Next we have to get the backhoe and then the fun really begins. We have so many projects! I am looking at the garden area everyday and thinking and thinking. I have 50% sand, 25% silt and 25% clay soil composition. Inspired by Penny Hewitt I am going to have the soil analyzed and see what minerals are there or not. The only strange thing is that the soil does not seem to drain well. You'd think sandy soil would but we still have standing water full of tadpoles even after its been a long time since it rained. There must be a hardpan layer underneath. We are going to dig a small pond and then we will know I hope. I am saving all our animal manure for compost as well as yard mowings of the tall weeds. We are having fun. I hope it does not get real hot right away.