Welcome to Growbox Hill

Welcome to Growbox Hill
Welcome to Growbox HIll!

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Doing and planning...

Got a couple things done around the house. Not a ton.

Went around and picked up the one up hyacinths around the yard. Some more successfully than others, lol. I pulled up my first plugs of lily of the valley, and put them in on the other side of the tree. Will for sure have to do more, but I wanted to move the first batch out of the edge of the other side. Dug up a whole handful of purple eyed white violets from under the chestnuts and put them by the back corner of the house. Dug up all the little raspberry sproutlings outside the patch and put them in the patch.
While down there digging and trimming some weedy trees.. I think I may have discovered morels. There were two of them, but sadly, I stomped on one before spotting the other. The upswing is that since I had already stomped one open, I could confirm its solid and completely hollow, is more pitted than lobed, has a full attachment of cap and stem. I broke up the one I smushed and placed the pieces spore down in the area I smushed it. Keeping an eye on the other one to hopefully catch it after sporing but before pure ick. Maybe I can get a confirmation of what it is.
Sketched up some new plans for the yard. Just doing some detailing in on ideas. Came up with a nice list of bird feeding bushes to plant along the neighbors chain link fence line and the rest of the firepit sanctuary. Give us a bit more privacy along that line. And anti mosquito plants for around the outer perimeter of the firepit. Surprisingly, there's a lot of lemon scented plants on the list. Marigolds seem popular too.
Revising some of the first year planting plans. Think I'm not going to even thing about what to start to plant in in the shady triangle in front of the house this year. There's a lot of work to be done with filling in the well digging that wasn't filled in as well as addressing a lot of surface root issues from the trees.
I think I'm going to do a sunflower fence along the chain link fenceline this year.
I raked the container slab off and got a few inch thick pile of leaves in a bed right off the back of the slab. Want to layer it with some manure from the neighbor.

Saw our first hummingbird today. He zoomed by the window and stopped by the feeder on the porch. I took it as a sign it was time to take the feeder down, clean it well, and make some feeder syrup.
Simple syrup is easy- one part sugar to four parts water. Bring water to boil, kill heat, stir in sugar till totally dissolved. Cool to room temp and fill feeder.
I find it's easiest to fill the feeder bowl with water for measurement so I don't have to toss the remainder in the fridge. My feeder holds 1 1/2 cups of water. I add to that 3/8 of a cup regular sugar.
Neighbor chickens were out and bold as hell today. I came out with seed for the finch feeder, and Ruby trotted right up to me expecting some. Of course I didn't spare her a palmful till after I was done filling the feeder, and she was a meh, not interested in what I tossed her. Buffy came up our front porch step while I was folding laundry. Buffy and Harry were bummed that I gave them a scant palmful of the last of the squirrel feed. Time to hie myself off to restock on critter food and check for seeds on sale to start the bird flower garden areas.
Tec front news is also critter news. I asked Marc to design and print off fruit feeding spikes for me. Little spikes to hold half a piece of fruit for feeding the birds. Just a simple pair of loops with a spike in the middle printed off the rep-strap. He printed me off a pair of spikes pretty darn quick, so now I have them holding apples on the tree outside my office window. I used florists wire to hold them to the branch, one pointing down (making a bell of apple half), and one pointing up (making a bell). I know orange would be better since I wanted them for enticing the orioles, but the oranges got eaten, and we had apples. I put the upward spike fairly far out on a branch to discourage squirrels, we shall see how well that works.
Depending on how well it works, we will modify it or not, and I will post the plans for it here.

Mmm, no cooking today for me, I'm getting treated to dinner :) But since I dug some wild chives today, and we have a ton of them in the yard..
It's really easy to dry chives. Take a bundle of them, and slice them fine. Spread them out on parchment paper on a cookie sheet. Heat your oven to the lowest warm setting, then turn it off. Pop in the cookie sheet, and let the oven cool down to room temp. If necessary, give the chives a stir, and repeat the process. When dry, store in a tight closing container.
Equally easy is citrus zest. If using a microplane, one can just leave a plate of zest out on the counter for several hours, occasionally tossing them. If using a knife or peeler for larger bits, one can use the same oven technique as for the chives. Try to get just the colored part of the peel. I always zest my lemons and limes prior to juicing when cooking. I tend to zest my other citrus too if I'm just planning on peeling it anyway.

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