Friday, May 27, 2011
There's an old German saying - "We get too soon old, and too late smart." I think I just proved it again. I read up on Muscadine vine culture again, this time about raising them in the home garden, and the university said to pinch the tip of the vine to make them branch where you want two separate branches. It also said to prune off all of the shoots from the main trunk for the first two years, so I was waiting for a shoot to appear - but none did. I didn't know how hard to pinch (the article didn't say) so I finally just pinched one on the growing tip and cut the other tip off with my fingernail.
The one I cut off now has two branches spreading from the base of the top two leaves, and I went back and cut the tip off of the other vine, which was behind the first. Unfortunately the first vine was about 14 inches above the first wire when I cut the tip off, so the second sprout is about a foot above the wire. If no other shoots appear, I'll just tie a string back to the wire and train it down to the first wire, but it would have been nice if I had cut it off way back when it was crossing the wire.
I tried to take pictures of the split vine, but it's hard to see, and a led display doesn't read well in the sun. I wish the BW hadn't dropped my Cannon, which had an optical viewfinder as well as the led one, and did work in the sun.
Here are three pictures, first full size and then cropped.
The one branch has very small leaves and is growing straight up, and the other branch is growing away from the post, on a stem that raised from the base of the big leaf.
I never knew that it worked like that on grape vines. I did know that if you cut the tip of the top branch off, a tree will send out branches, but getting just two for one was news to me. I'll know how to do it if I plant replacement for the seedless grapes, which are still struggling.
PS - Ralphie hid in the first picture, and the last one is probably the best picture of the branch - except the top shoot's small leaves are partly hidden.
Thursday, May 26, 2011
I left at six today, and made my three miles by myself, then came back and took the dogs for a walk. It's nicer when I'm alone, because you get to meditate for an hour. There are very few people around, and not many distractions.
Brewmaster Bill shamed me into going back into the exercise business. I'm sticking with my old exercises, except I have started using lightweight dumbbells for some of them. If I don't have any more trouble with my neck, I'll buy some heavier ones. The light ones did me in about five years ago, but maybe I have healed up since then.
Tuesday, May 24, 2011
The paper had an article "Summer is Here" and it really is. I woke up at 5:45 today and the dogs and I left the house at 6:00. It was light enough to see but there was a star in the east, just north of east, and the motion detector lights would go on as we went by. We had a nice three mile walk, with detours, and the sun was just coming up as we turned the corner from 14th to Pennsylvania to come home.
The temperature has been above 90 every day for a while, and we keep getting the predictions that show 91 to 92 for the foreseeable future, so it looks as if the cold fronts are gone. It was in the low 70's when we left and when we got back, but the house still felt good when we got back inside.
The BW was irritated yesterday because her new hedge had drooping leaves, so I moved a hose to the drinking water and watered them. Apparently three days without water was too much for them. There isn't enough reclaimed water, so it is only on Tuesdays, Thursdays, and Saturdays here until the first of June, but I don't know what makes them think that there will be more after that. The rest of North Pinellas gets water Wednesday, Friday, and Sunday. I have two sixty foot hoses connected in series to a hose bib in my back yard. I leave them out for occasional use - filling the fountain, washing the cars, etc. When I went for a hose hanging on the fence it was totally limp, so I turned the valve between them off and moved the second hose to a water faucet on the house so I could water the hedge and some of the grass plugs that looked sad. Today the remaining hose is hard as a rock, and I was able to shoot the water straight out of the hose 50 feet across the yard to water the farthest muscadine vine a little more. The sprinklers had run this morning and everything was wet, but I gave all the grapes another shot just for good measure.
I sprayed everything with neem oil yesterday, and I think I'll just start spraying every week all year long to keep the bugs and diseases down. Most of the Eureka lemons have fallen off, and I only see two avocados and two grapefruit on the trees this year. The lime tree was a dud last year, but it's full of pretty big limes now, so I don't know what is happening. Unfortunately, I was an engineer, not a farmer.
Sunday, May 22, 2011
I didn't do any walking, not even the dogs' yesterday, but my pedometer read 9818 steps when I got up this morning. I went to bed at 11:00 and woke up at 8:00 with bright sunlight shining in the window. I had toast and peach jam for breakfast, and the BW commented on how good it tasted, so we're up and running.
I am taking the day off, letting the antimalware software do it's full scan, and just laying around until tomorrow. The Sunday paper is done, but I have a good book to read and good movies on Netflix, so I think it will be OK. Now I'm going to have watermelon and cantaloupe for lunch.
Saturday, May 21, 2011
For all of your comments, the jam turned out fine. I let is sit on the stove for a few hours until it was cold, then carefully put it in the refrigerator. This morning, it was nice and stiff, but still spreads on toast without too much trouble. It's just like store-bought, except Sure-Jell says a tablespoon is only five calories. It's nice and peachy, but the two tablespoons of lemon juice make it a little tangy too. I had four pieces of whole-wheat toast with peanut butter and jam for breakfast. It was like having dessert.
Then we spent the entire day doing the party in the park, and in the end took in a total of $176.00. I added up all the receipts, and we spent $172.12, so the net gain is $3.88 for a full day today, getting ready, and cleaning up. Twelve of us showed up, but a couple didn't stay all day. On the other hand, some of us put in 9 hours just today, and I now have to take a few things back to Sam's Club because we weren't allowed to sell drinks at the last minute. We may show a $25 gain in the end.
The irony is, we would have been farther ahead if I had just donated the $6 that I spent on three beers.
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