Back to work on the yard and gardens

It feels good to get back to puttering in the yard.  Trying to finish up the sickroom and researching kept me  indoors and I ignored the yard work a bit. I finally pulled  the buckets in the front yard that did not produce and dumped all the dirt in the bin next to the compost pile. I dumped all my potato buckets and got about 10 small potatoes total.  I’m actually pleased as these are the first ever potatoes I have harvest in many years of trying to grow them.  It looks like my buckets did not have good enough drainage and the soil was not as rich as it could have been when I started the plants.  I’m going to drill some bigger holes in the bottom of the buckets,  I figure with the compost pile starting to work I will have plenty of good soil this spring to augment my dirt!

The Alley way garden got it’s first load of wood mulch. I need another 4 bags of mulch to finish up the first section but it should be ready for hardy herbs and plants this spring and I think it’s going to look much better than the weeds and dirt it has right now.  The sun chokes are doing very well considering I transplanted them in the heat of the summer. My effort at digging up the goat head weeds was a bust! It seems I spread them little suckers around and they started growing even better in the looser soil.  I had great luck killing off the cheat grass by keeping it knocked down with the weed whacker and then mowing up most of the seeds. I’m going to try that method with the goat heads and see if I have better luck with stopping them. The cardboard barrier and mulch may help cutting off some of the light those weeds get along with adding new plants that will sort of choke out or replace the bad weeds.  I don’t want to use an herbicide that kills everything including  the soil.  As my friend Gallo says “Weeds are mama nature’s paramedics.”, weeds hold down bad soil and fight erosion. The trick is making  healthy soil and work with that micro-climate by planting stuff you want to grow.

The grass is growing!  It’s still sort of patchy but I hope if I keep adding compost building good soil the grass seed  will fill in the bare spots next spring.  I’m a little angry with myself about ignoring the compost pile this last week and letting it get cold. I missed keeping it mixed up so it could maintain the heat it generated. I learned that if you keep working the pile regularly to keep it mixed it can get very hot and break down organic matter quickly.  Not to big a deal as I can get back to work mixing it more regularly and being more pro-active about maintaining it.  I asked one of the neighbors to bring over grass clippings from the next mowing and that should get the pile cooking again!  Buying dirt at the store is expensive but making good compost is cheap though it does take some physical energy. While the soil I have is mostly alkaline I got great results on my raised beds by mixing the my mineral rich soil with bagged soil from the store. Using compost and rototilling it with my soil in my garden beds should make a great growing medium for next year’s plants.

I have some great news about Diana the peke! It seems that the mammary cyst is shrinking. I had to change her diet to mostly soft dog food but I am staying away from any dog food and treats with wheat as an ingredient. She is doing great and regained a lot of her bounce.  Diana is also much more active and engaged with her surroundings, she is just flat out enjoying life that I’m happy to see in her.

Day to day living takes up quite a bit of my time and I hate it when I suddenly need to shift from my plans to deal with a possible disaster of any sort suddenly becomes critical. I hope that you are somewhat prepared to handle any sort of “outbreak” or at least have added a few medical items as well as dealing with a quarantine. Perhaps you have to wait because of your budget and that is okay because it takes time for these things to develop.  It certainly provided me plenty of motivation to get some medical items for my sickroom and learn things about preventing infections.  The PTBs have provided a darn good example of how not to handle contamination clean up!  I learned a lot about what not to do and changing my mindset/focus on sanitation.  Remember there are people that have spent several days/ almost 2 weeks in a closed apartment with contaminated bedding/fluids yet none have any Ebola symptoms yet!  So it might be true that Ebola is somewhat difficult to catch but what I hate is the PTBs are depending on that, rather than being proactive.

I was in Germany during a Hoof & Mouth disease outbreak and the Army and Government were great about the steps to take to limit the spread of the disease. There was no panic because of the government suggesting things to the population things that would limit the spread of the disease and made sense. Heck I even walked through a shallow pan of bleach and water to make sure I could not spread the disease.  Of course the Army and the German citizens are pretty good at not panicking and following safe and sane orders for public health.

I got measles when living on the ranch and my step-mother isolated me to my bedroom in order not to infect any ranch/farm hands and some of those were probably illegal aliens. It sucked for me because I managed to catch measles over Xmas break but no one else  on the ranch was infected and no plastic sheeting or masks were used, just good old soap and water, basic hygiene, and isolation/distance. Measles can be very infectious and by the way my step-mother fed the ranch hands 3 meals a day as her “job”, and I was only upstairs in my room.

Think of this Ebola thing as sort of a test/getting your preps in place to deal with any sort of outbreak. While I started planning at the end of July and have few more things I want to add I think I’m fairly well set to deal with any “Outbreaks” of any sort.




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