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... the sky is baby blue, and the just-unfurling leaves ...
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gregotyn



Joined: 24 Jun 2010
Posts: 2108
Location: Llanfyllin area
PostPosted: Tue May 17, 16 4:11 pm    Post subject:  Reply with quote    

Thankyou for the charcoal link Jam Lady, I have seen it but not studied it properly yet. I am sure that it isn't bad for soil, but tend to agree with MR, that it is not 'the final solution' I will be having a go though as soon as I have nothing much to do, retirement will be with me sooner rather that later.

I have been to the doctors' today to see a nurse for the bits and pieces that normally happen to me twice a year, and to ask about the haulage to and from the hospital next week when I go in for a day of tests involving a camera, which I am not looking forward to. I have to arrange my own transport, no driving allowed, but they tell me it is up to the hospital to organise the haulage as it is they who arranged the appointment. Time will tell.

The pallet supply is fairly good at the moment as there are sales but slowed down. However, before it gets really hot and I move I want to be sure I have at least 2017 Christmas covered-in stock dry and in store. Drying is the natural way, but most of my wood has been kiln dried anyway, by chopping and then netting and leaving out for a few weeks under the barn to be sure, before I pack it away in 120 nets to the box which is covered with polythene as a lid but the sides allow air to flow easily round and through the box. I always take whatever is offered if I can, even if it is bad-wet and knotty, as sometimes the offerer comes up with some really good chopping and so I don't want to appear too fussy and loose their good faith!.

I have 2 days off this week Thursday and Friday, for the Small holder show at Builth Wells on Saturday and Sunday, so I won't be with you till next Tuesday. So just be good-all of you!! Report back next week.

Jam Lady



Joined: 28 Dec 2006
Posts: 2134
Location: New Jersey, USA
PostPosted: Tue May 17, 16 8:14 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote    

Glad you have such a splendid Smallholder event to look forward to in the near-ish future, Gregotyn. Before the doctor & hospital hooha in any event. When you say "camera" do you refer to a cat scan or an MRI. They're pretty simple, lay back while the machine goes "thunk, thunk, thunk" and you're done. There is literally nothing to feel, any more than an X-ray.

Mr Jam Lord cut up two crummy pallets today and put them in a container. We'll use the pieces for burning in the chiminea.

Mistress Rose, the chelated iron is for chlorophyll-tired plants. The iron is probably in the soil but not available as some plants are fussy about their pH / iron metabolism. Rhododendron, azalea, pachysandra, etc like it acid. Various soil acidifiers are available - my favorite is ferrous sulphate, on the theory that A) it acidifies and B) contains iron so assists with the original issue. Flowers of sulphur is another acidifier but I find that it does not have as long lasting an effect. Aluminium sulphate is yet another but I am concerned about the aluminium causing other issues.

You might also want to give Epsom salts, magnesium sulphate, a try. Dissolve in water and use on potted citrus, for example. Wonderful for greening up the leaves. Tomatoes, also eggplants and peppers, appreciate a tablespoonful of Epsom salts dug into the planting hole before transplanting. Solanaceous plants really like the boost that the magnesium provides. If the tomatoes etc are already planted then just dissolve / water. Once is usually enough.

I like alpaca, llama, rabbit because they are nice little pellets, easy to handle. Llama have this territorial thing whereby they all poop in a pile. Community style. Makes it very easy to collect. And rabbit can easily be shoveled up from under their hutch.

Another gray and completely overcast day. Went out after lunch to do some gardening whereupon of course it began to sprinkle. Came in, did yet another couple loads of laundry. Very much caught up on laundry but now face an intimidating amount of ironing. Sigh. Went into the greenhouse and made some cuttings, repotted plants etc. Much more appealing.

Mistress Rose



Joined: 21 Jul 2011
Posts: 11369

PostPosted: Wed May 18, 16 6:05 am    Post subject: Reply with quote    

Cassandra currently has a sick computer, so may not be with us for a few days until she gets a new lead, so if you are going off Gregtyn, it looks like you and me Jam Lady. Have a good time Gregotyn, and look forward to hearing about the smallholder show.

We spent the afternoon digging out the charcoal kiln yesterday, so we all got rather black. Son went into it as husband still has a hole in his hand and is worried it will open up again. Husband and I did the sieving and then they bagged some up. Otherwise I spent the day on paperwork.

I didn't know about the Epsom salts Jam Lady, although if I had read the books lately I should have done. I know about the chlorosis; the iron gets bound up by the chalk and it is needed as an extra. We usually use chelated iron for that if needed, but we manage to keep the topsoil acid enough for most things with compost etc. We just don't grow acid loving plants as it just doesn't work here. On the other hand we don't tend to get club root on cabbage and don't really need to lime any of the soil.

Jam Lady



Joined: 28 Dec 2006
Posts: 2134
Location: New Jersey, USA
PostPosted: Thu May 19, 16 2:04 am    Post subject: Reply with quote    

Good morning Mistress Rose. As you say, guess it will be the two of us holding down the fort for the next few days.

This morning I went to the Wednesday knitting group, having missed the previous two weeks, first when I had a cold I selfishly decided not to share and then last week the press preview at the botanic garden. Home for lunch, then off to the vet hospital for another kitten fix. Good thing I went - the feather was well and truly mangled so it was fortunate that I brought replacements. And three kittens have already gone to new homes and two more go on Friday.

After that I was going to garden. No sooner got everything assembled and on the cart - you guessed, it began to rain again. Tomorrow, for sure I'll do better tomorrow. I better, before the weeds are so huge I need a machete to deal with them.

Pulled pork on a lightly toasted bun for dinner, with black beans and corn as a side dish. So convenient to have something like pulled pork or spaghetti sauce or chili in the freezer. Not much more effort to cook enough for several meals and it does make life easier.

Until tomorrow then, Mistress Rose.

Mistress Rose



Joined: 21 Jul 2011
Posts: 11369

PostPosted: Thu May 19, 16 6:09 am    Post subject: Reply with quote    

We had rain yesterday too. I went shopping, so running through puddles a good part of the way. Luckily didn't get too wet, but husband and son couldn't do much, so did some indoor work, checking display signs and things.

Have a busy day today; going to look at some engineering projects at a 6th form college this morning and a talk on charcoal later.

gregotyn



Joined: 24 Jun 2010
Posts: 2108
Location: Llanfyllin area
PostPosted: Thu May 19, 16 9:54 am    Post subject: Reply with quote    

I didn't expect to be here today as I had planned to be at the showground, but the ticket has not arrived yet, so as I have today off where else would one come to-the library, I suspect you guessed. I have e mailed the supplierof the tickets but will have to come back pm to see if there is a response! It is the camping bit that I need more than the ticket tickets can be bought at the gate but camping has to be booked beforehand.

Work is getting busier, and still no sign of the new counter man. We don't want another session as last year, running round headless-well I was. This mechanicing is all right if, and what an if if you don't know the tractors, their age and even in some cases the colour of the roof-oh yes the roof colour changes parts in the engine and as you will all realise the year changes parts and body shape-I think it sometimes depends on the weather as to which part we fit today!-for me a nightmare, but for my boss he knows it all and usually where it is in the stores! If only....... I could just get a new memory.

Horses also have a latrine which they use regularly often 2 or 3 in the same field-it helps when you have to pick it up-but has to be done as it reduces bugs in fields and keeps the ground sweet for the new grasses. No animal likes to graze after itself and with horses if you do the honours twice a day they will graze the new growth from wht could easily have become a 'no go'/ 'contaminated area'. It is one of the reasons that some folks, organic in particular, advocate mixed grazing. You can use pig, (hog) manure where you need acid fertiliser, particularly good for with potatoes which I am assured will grow down to ph 4!

I meant to ask you, MR, if the charcoal you produce is the same stuff as biochar, and is biochar a trade name?

Lovely day today, supposed to be getting bad for the weekend, but usually the showground is bathed in sunshine, so I am hoping. It has only rained on me twice in 30 years of going to the 2 shows there. I am hoping this will not be number 3!

Hope Cassandra's pooter gets better soon. Maybe 'see' you later.

Jam Lady



Joined: 28 Dec 2006
Posts: 2134
Location: New Jersey, USA
PostPosted: Thu May 19, 16 10:45 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote    

Some sunshine today. I spent multiple hours mixing potting soil and repotting summer bulbs. Many more to go. And there are still weeds to evict, fallen branches to pick up, escaping ground covers to head back to their allotted territory. Getting to old for this. No longer put my LED headband on and continue after dark . . . .

Black walnut trees, Juglans nigra, are finally leafing out. Last to do so, first to drop in the fall.

Pig manure is popular in Holland, used on the bulb fields. Odiferous, to say the least.

Various social events coming up - this Saturday is Mr Jam Lord's computer club meeting. I'll drive him there, run some errands, come back to the venue and crochet for a bit before we go out for lunch. Next Wednesday evening is the ice cream social at Howell Living History Farm. And the Saturday following is haying with horses which should be very interesting.

Probably catch up with the garden just in time to take it apart for fall / winter.

Mistress Rose



Joined: 21 Jul 2011
Posts: 11369

PostPosted: Fri May 20, 16 5:58 am    Post subject: Reply with quote    

Glad you were able to pop in Gregotyn, but hope your ticket arrived yesterday afternoon. Have fun at the show.

Biochar isn't a trade name as far as I know, and it is usually used to refer to the 'fines' that are sieved out when the other grades of charcoal have been removed. We sieve our barbecue charcoal to 1/2" then take another grade off, blacksmiths charcoal between 1/2" and 1/4". Anything below that is fines. You can get special biochar compost which is already mixed with fertiliser and just needs wetting before use, but we don't do that.

You seem to be busy, both in the garden and socially Jam Lady. Hope you get there with the garden; I never do.

Had a busy day yesterday. In the morning I went to a college a little way away to judge an engineering competition. Had about 10 to judge, and most of them were of very high standard. It's going to be difficult to pick out the winner.

In the evening we gave a talk in the same town on Charcoal. A few people wondered why they wanted to know about charcoal, but by the end they were all happy, so we did our job. Also managed to sell a couple of bags of barbecue charcoal and biochar and some cards, so a worthwhile evening that way too, although the audience enjoying the talk is the main thing.

cassandra



Joined: 27 Mar 2013
Posts: 1679
Location: Tasmania Australia
PostPosted: Fri May 20, 16 7:45 am    Post subject: Reply with quote    

woohoo! I am back. A trip to town yesterday was cancelled due to galeforce winds and rain (a computer cable was not that important) but I managed to get there today. This is just a quick update, I am afraid life has been fairly quiet with the weather we have been having, and I am about to head out to clean a bank.

The winds knocked down a panel of the neighbour's fence which is currently still lying in the lane, with the result their chooks and dogs are freeranging all over the place now. But not to worry.

The trip to town also achieved some chook food (I ran out and have been feeding them on a pack of past-use by mung beans soaked with the bones out of the soup I made), a longer circular knitting needle for doing the yoke of the jumper and a few other odds and sods. En route home I called in to see a lady who I knew as a client while working for Heritage Tasmania. She runs a facebook page that posts historic photos of the district and so we got back in touch via that. We chatted about life in general, got onto knitting and she has loaned me five books by Kaffe Fasset who I thought designed quilting fabric but apparently designs a lot of other things as well. His jumpers are divine, but seem to use vast quantities of colours and wools, so I will probably just photocopy some of the patterns for that fantasy future when I have money to spend on such luxury items as designer wools.

Lit the fire when I got home (still have not arranged a load - onto my second person who is going to get a phone call tonight as i have not had a response to my text) and when I get back from the bank it will be hot minestrone for dinner.

Jam Lady



Joined: 28 Dec 2006
Posts: 2134
Location: New Jersey, USA
PostPosted: Fri May 20, 16 7:59 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote    

Hello Cassandra! Welcome back. Missed you. Good to hear what you are up to. Kaffe Fasset does beautiful colourwork.

Discovered that two half pallets at the edge of the lawn used in summer for vacationing pots of hippeastrum / amaryllis, eucomis, etc have partially disintegrated over the winter. Hauled them up into the woods and dumped on the brush pile at the back of the property. Himself cut a pallet with a bad corner so one of the discarded ones has now been replaced. At the repotting rate I'm going the second one can wait - but not forever. Sunday I'll go get more horse manure from my friend as her previous gift of manure has all been put to use.

Moved crinums and xAmarcrinum out of greenhouse. They should probably be repotted too but I really don't want to move the crinum up to yet even larger pots. Division is an option, I suppose. Except I really truly honestly do NOT want yet more pots of them.

Today is sunny and I have changed my mind about the weather. Overcast is nicer if I'm digging and hauling and gardening. Sunny and 77 degrees Fahrenheit / 25 degrees Celsius is tolerable if I was sitting in the shade sipping lemonade, sweaty while I'm working.

Mistress Rose, as well as biochar decaying wood is also useful in the garden. It's the lignin which both slows down decomposition and is useful - think wood chips rather than branches. Also think hugelkultur. Waste not, want not, even in the garden.

Sherbs



Joined: 27 Apr 2007
Posts: 1931
Location: Swansea
PostPosted: Fri May 20, 16 9:02 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote    

I love Kaffe Fassett's designs. I came upon an exhibition of his stuff in the American museum in Bath completely by accident a while back and it was like walking into another world. I have some photos of it somewhere.

cassandra



Joined: 27 Mar 2013
Posts: 1679
Location: Tasmania Australia
PostPosted: Sat May 21, 16 6:50 am    Post subject: Reply with quote    

I have been wallowing in the books for much of today I have to admit. It is the philosophy behind it that opens all sorts of doors for knitters - using three strands of mixed colours in one stitch, different textures of fibre (cotton, silk, mohair and chenille) in one garment etc. I have copied off three designs I love and will try applying them on various jumpers. One, is a batwing jumper knitted sideways which will lend itself well to the wools I have, plus the tapestry wools, and some I can pick up at the Bargain Centre. At least 17 different colours in there, so very exciting to knit I suspect. It has a big cowl neck too which will be marvellous in winter.

They make me want to have a house that has no maintenance requirements (ie a team of servants) so I can lock myself away and just craft - the hooked rugs are to die for!!.

On a more practical note, I did manage to get three loads of washing done today, though not entirely dry - I will re-hang some of it in the morning, and wash the quilt as well. We have slightly stronger winds forecast so I may have to bring it all in damp, but it is the last chance I will have all week going by the forecast.

Him next door did lift and re-attach the panel of fencing that blew down in the gale - no attempt to mend the broken top rail of course, so I can't imagine it will last long. I did tell him to help himself to my random wood pile (it has rails and palings in it among other stuff) and he thanked me but, once again, failed to avail himself of the opportunity.

More wood has been cut, (though only enough for tonight as I couldn't be bothered when tomorrow is to be nice and warm), and the wood man has finally been contacted (he was waiting for his son to tell him how much). I assured him I really only needed to know if he could deliver some soonish at this stage, so all is well - he says before the end of the week. That being the case and the new woodheater being installed next Friday, I told him to just make it 18inch as it is not worth the bother getting some smaller stuff.

I also washed out the tray of the ute - I have noticed since our sea voyage that it was showing rust in places it has not previously shown it. So a good scrub, a very thorough hosing out, drying in the sun then I sprayed it with white oil. It was supposed to be WD 40 but i couldn't find that (it will be so nice to have a shed to put stuff like this in so I can find it), and any oil is better than no oil when you are protecting unpainted metal surfaces I guess.

I have built several hugelkulture beds - actually a very cheap way of building up the depth in a raised bed - I layer the rotting wood at the bottom then toss in compostables and such like. I also throw the many small stones i find in inconvenient places into the lower layers on the principle they will provide accessible minerals to the roots of plants once i get enough soil on top. I generally have one raised bed in the process at all times so I have somewhere to throw stuff that otherwise has to find a more suitable home. The present one will be ready to plant in spring as it seems to have stopped subsiding between layers of stuff - I will top it up with some of the luscious compost from the compost farm up the road once it is Spring (and use the rest of the load in other beds that have subsided over time).

Mistress Rose



Joined: 21 Jul 2011
Posts: 11369

PostPosted: Sat May 21, 16 8:40 am    Post subject: Reply with quote    

I love the colours and the patterning in the Kaffe Fasset designs, but am always worried about the practicalities of mixing the different yarns. I am afraid having something that is long lasting is more important to me than the effect of mixing the colours. I have done a couple of his designs; a sleeveless pullover and a jumper. I did both of them in Shetland wool, but sadly, even though they were carefully had washed, they shrunk, and as I got a bit bigger when I was ill, the jumper has had to go to another home. I am not sure where the pullover is.

Glad you got your firewood sorted Cassandra, and nice to see you back. No doubt the chickens are glad you went to town too, as mung beans must be a bit of a varient on their usual diet.

Jam Lady, could you sell any of the spare plants you have? If there are too many of one variety, and they are well grown, I would have thought you could find someone interested.

Had a quieter day yesterday. Went to the food bank to help. It wasn't too busy, so not that much work. Managed to do 3 loads of washing, but although I put it out on the line, I had to finish it in the tumble drier as the forecast was for rain, which has proved correct.

sean
Downsizer Moderator


Joined: 28 Oct 2004
Posts: 41991
Location: North Devon
PostPosted: Sat May 21, 16 3:42 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote    

A friend of mine knitted quite a few Kaffe Fassett designs. They always worked and the garments were worn, washed etc.

Jam Lady



Joined: 28 Dec 2006
Posts: 2134
Location: New Jersey, USA
PostPosted: Sun May 22, 16 2:23 am    Post subject: Reply with quote    

Mistress Rose, that's a good suggestion that sort of works for some bulbs. There's a purple leaved oxalis (looks like clover) with small pink tubers. I donate lots of them to garden club for our summer plant sale, give more to friends, and still have what I need for myself.

The Pacific Bulb Society has a BX for bulbs and seeds, and I do donate to that. But the problem with crinum is that they have very large bulbs (expensive to mail to the person who handles BX, expensive to mail onward to whomever wants them.) And since they are evergreen someone has to either live in a milder climate than around here, or have a greenhouse / sun room for winter. So selling or sharing is awkward. But I'll keep working on it. There's always the compost heap.

Overcast day and raining this evening. Collected the plastic pots to bring to my friend tomorrow and have them in buckets and tubs in the garage. Likely I will have a very smelly car driving home with the buckets / tubs filled with manure tomorrow.

Someone in the Wednesday knitting group knits afghans with all sorts of yarns (not plying different ones together, always separately): thick and thin, bulky, threadlike, switching back and forth, usually with a sort of wave effect. Not Kaffe Fassett style. She'll spend ages in a yarn shop, laying out skeins of yarn to create the right association of related colors. She brought the latest one last Wednesday but I didn't have my camera with me.

Very exciting about installing the new woodheater in just 6 days Cassandra. Good timing! You and the furry members of the family will be quite cozy this winter.

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