Tuesday, September 30, 2008

A Treeless Blue Sky

Monday, September 29, 2008


The futures of Silver Queen Sweet Corn plummeted again today on the news that no more seed corn would be added to the soil any time soon.

The environment for sweet corn continued to head into the red zone and that pattern looked like it will hold for some time.

With a laissez faire attitude, lax over sight and no regulations being enforced in the Silver Queen Sweet Corn market, the imagined ears of sweet corn began to vanish in the night.

The arrival of each passing day, revealed more of the imagined sweet corn had evaporated from the sweet corn market faster than the morning dew on a warm sunny day.

Panicked sweet corn eaters stripped the stalks of some of the plumpest ears, despite concerns that the assets of the ears had not reached full maturity. Amid the rotten fruits gathering at the base of the sweet corn market, corn eaters were happy to get what they could while it was still possible.

The always rosy prognostications of smooth sailing in clear skies bathed in a golden glow of safety

began to give way to the reality of ominous storm clouds on the horizon as far as the eye could see. Future predictions look decidedly chilly.

The real future for Silver Queen Sweet Corn is coming closer into view.

The end of an era as we know it may be happening again before our very eyes.


Sunday, September 28, 2008

It Was An Honor

Just to be nominated in five categories for the BlogAsheville awards. I didn't win a single one, but it was an honor to be nominated. No really. I swear. It was an honor

Some of the big winners of the night were the ever popular Ashvegas, the political Scrutiny Hooligans, one of my regular reads and My Life in Cake. When you ply the crowd with the most delicious of sugary treats and the sweet personality to go with it, you are bound to be a big winner. Congratulations Jodi.

Frankly I am still a bit puzzled how I even got to be nominated. I am a bit outside the purview of the eclectic brew of Asheville culture and bloggerati and have few readers from the region. The nominations will send some my way to check out this blog for sure. Reading the blog names during the awards, the dissonant sound of Outside Clyde must have had a few people going, who, what, huh?

Far more important than getting increased traffic to this blog, is me making connections to the vibrant culture and people of Asheville. As my new life in WNC continues to unfold, I want that to be a part of it.

Thank you BlogAsheville for helping to make that happen.

Thursday, September 25, 2008

It Was Time

The weather diagnosis is calling for rain starting tonight and in to tomorrow. That is good because we continue to be a bit on the dry side. I don't have it as bad at my elevation compared to lower down, but things were beginning to wilt and show stress again in the last few days.

There is still one major item missing in the land of the cozy little cabin and that is a well with water that comes out of it. I find the cooperation of rain very beneficial when planting new things. The closest hose bib is in the roadside vegetable garden and that is a lot of hose to be dragging around to water things with. Rain helps get things off to a good start.

It has been cool all week with highs in the mid sixties and the lows dipping into the forties. Summer is over for sure and time is of the essence to get things in the ground before it is too late.

So today I got started. I would never let a client of mine get away with doing things like this, just planting in the ground without thorough bed definition and soil preparation, but hey they have money. All I have is time and the plants I grew from seeds. It is possible to do things backwards.

In front of two apple trees, I have planted three Beauty Berry, Callicarpa japonica, Lupine, Lupinus perennis and a few Daffodil bulbs. The Beauty Berry seeds came from Hank at A Lake County Point of View, but came originally from Layanee at Ledge and Gardens. Thanks guys! The Callicarpa japonica is more cold hardy than C. americana and should survive in my zone five.

The Lupine seeds came from Client #2's across the street. I need to get back over there it has been a while.

Are 90 King Alfred Daffodil bulbs a few? I think so when compared to Bulbarella's 10,000 next door. It's a start anyway and adds to the bulbs I received last year. They were planted in two drifts, one bag of 45 bulbs to each section.

I have two very different soil types on opposite sides of my section of the sunny utility valley. The cabin side is a lean, super well drained saprolite. No septic drain field allowed. The road side soil is a better aged loam with plenty of organic matter and a touch of clay. Praise be, otherwise no pooping for you, no building permit. The cabin side is full sun and the road side is partial to full shade. I will have many micro climates to work with as a garden begins to grow.

The beginning of a nice wide path that will connect the basement patio to the new road that will lead to the heart of the garden got etched into the slope today. You can see I have already started to use this road to haul mulch and plants with my truck.

Below the path I planted Oenothera berlandieri 'Siskiyou', a pink trailing Primrose and a couple of the Clematis stans grown from seed that Chuck at My Back 40 Feet sent me. Six more of the Clematis were planted on the slope below the lower dry stack stone wall.

Watching over all my gardening activity today was an invader from Tennessee. Is it a spy, someone to check up on my gardening skills and endeavours? I did not notice her there until today.

An unexpected traveler from the generous offerings of Frances at Fairegarden has decided to take up residence on my sunny hillside. I even believe during the Beauty Pageant of the Pansies at the first Faire Garden blog, this contestant was my favorite. If not, it is now.

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

As The Body Politic


Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Doing Justice

Maybe this picture does justice to the upper sunny utility valley. Last year it did not seem to reach such a crescendo. I kept waiting. Between the Great Easter Freeze of '07' and the massive chop and drop by the utility company that I cleaned up upon my arrival last June, there must have been less still standing to bloom.

In the right light it is quite stunning.

The gathering of the rocks has begun over in my neck of the woods. Can a person be gleeful gathering and tossing stones? I think there may be a shorter bed defining dry stack stone wall in my new garden. Hardscape can give a garden a strong presence.

In time I will do this ground justice.

Monday, September 22, 2008

More Voting

Assuming this would be a subject matter of interest to you, which image would you most like to receive as a framed 8x10 piece of art?







Cast your vote or critique with a comment.

Walk Around

Viburnum Berries

Orb In Passing

Apple Grounds

Hydrangea Heads

The County Line

Around The Ridge Top Garden.

Sunday, September 21, 2008

It's A Wrap

This week it was a challenge to know what day it was. Even concentrating did not definitively convince me that I knew where in the week I was. One day moved seamlessly in to the next. With no need, I have not left the mountain since I think last Sunday, when I locked myself out of my truck and had to pay $50 bucks to get back in.

Each day a little more gets done. There is plenty to do. Six hours with a chainsaw began the cleanup of the butchered trees, felled and mangled so that I can do in the woods what bears do.

I wear no watch. The owls tell me when it is 4:30 each afternoon. A rhythm becomes perceptible despite the fact I do not know what day of the week it is.

The Japanese Anemone tell me it is fall. September 22nd at 3:40 pm is the Autumnal equinox. I now know to watch for the Anemone. I must have these purest of white blooms in my own gardens, a great end to the season.

Seven hours on a ladder ended with more of the cozy cabin wrapped and two more windows in. I ran out of the Lowes house wrap and didn't quite get to the end, but that little bit is all that is left of wrapping the entire first floor level. The loft is way way up there on the back and downhill sides. It gets a little scary way way up there on a ladder. That will have to wait for the scaffolding.

Tomorrow I will go to town to work for Client #1 and stock up on supplies. I may not leave this mountain again until BlogAsheville's Extravablogiversapaloozathonamado. Voting is open until Thursday at 11:59 for the awards. Even if you don't vote, there are a lot of great bloggers in the Asheville area worth checking out. The whole list is in the left sidebar.

Friday, September 19, 2008

Let The Garden Begin


The turd box, drain line and drain field panels are in and covered. The physical parts and the gravity fed system passed muster with the county just fine. There was one potential problem I saw. Not with the system itself, that looked great. I won't say for the world wide web what it was, but a slight of hand may have resolved the potential problem. I'm not good at slight of hand, so I made myself disappear when the inspector man came.

There was way more disruption than I had imagined. The trenches for the drain field panels were much bigger than I expected. I had in my head french drain type pipe that would fit in skinny trenches. The interlocking panels used in this method are a good 24 inches wide. They sit at the bottom of an 18 to 20 inch deep level trench.

Just being able to maneuver the trackhoe through the forest caused collateral damage. About half a dozen small trees were lost.

When the monster Black Cherry by the turd box came down, so did a few innocent bystanders. That slope will have a bit more sun now. Sun is good for gardening.

I now have a nice stack of Black Cherry lumber I need to find a buyer for. A little bulb money perhaps.

The ground that will be my garden is still pretty rough in spots. There are broken roots and piles of brush and tree tops that need to be gathered and burned. There are plenty rocks to gather into to piles to let the weather begin the cleaning process. They can talk amongst themselves and let me know what they want to be.

Soon enough the killing frosts will come and all the bare ground will reveal itself to me again.

In reality I have the fall and winter to prepare the ground, lay out the shape of beds and the direction and flow of paths. This should come first and I have put pencil to paper to see with my eyes what the memory in my feet is from a year of walking this ground.

There are sacks of bulbs and perennials grown from seed ready to be planted now. Some planting will be done too.

A garden for a small cabin to nestle in can begin.


Thursday, September 18, 2008

A Fading Light

There are days when you just seem to hit some kind of wall. That was today. My brain woke up briefly around 3pm. Otherwise this was a zero energy day with a mild headache. What could it be?

The fourth day of destruction for the turd box ended with an approval by the powers that be and the start of covering up the whole mess. The two Black Cherry trees came down without crushing the cozy cabin at least. Was that big one supposed to fall that way? Is all this destruction to blame?

Speaking of gas filled boxes, the oven, I found, was the last click away from being off. Had I been breathing carbon monoxide during the night with the windows all closed due to the new chill in the air?

This new chill in the air is scheduled for the whole week. Is my body acclimating from its tropical origins all over again? Does this happen every year? How long does it take?

The news of the weird, I mean world, has been unsettling this week. Not surprising, but still a lot to take in. I just put in a $5000 dollar turd box and am tragically under-employed.

There is no real schedule for a person that is tragically under-employed and it is my nature to keep going until there is no go left. Perhaps I just ran out of steam. That is when the guilt for being lazy kicks in, when I am exhausted. Brains can be such fun. Shut up brain.

My very nice mail carrier gave me some "sang" seeds, Ginseng, Panax quinquefolius. This came about when I asked if she knew anyone who might be missing Chow Fun. Maybe she said he belonged to the guys my neighbor in the Kingdom of Madison found digging "sang" on his property and held at gunpoint until they were hauled away by the Feds. I told her I hadn't seen any Ginseng on my land. Of course not, it is long gone she said.

The seeds take sixteen to twenty two months to germinate, coming up their second spring. Growers stratify the seed in sand boxes sunk in the ground then plant them the following fall. So I did manage to stratify my Ginseng seeds in sand today. It only takes four to five years after germination to have a harvestable size root.

Another item for the roadside possum stand that may be in my future to help pay for the turd box.

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

The Turd Box

What a mess! You can see why my gardening efforts have been confined to small strategic locations so far.

The drain field amounts to three 80 foot long lines with nine feet between the lines. This is over kill for the cozy cabin. The septic system is planned for the future house as well and is sized for a four bedroom system.

The main drain line has to come from way over there.

To get to the drain field on the far side of the sunny utility valley.

That is where the turd box goes. That's what the man called it. This location is between the cozy cabin and the future two bedroom house. Both will feed into the same turd box and drain field.

The two Black Cheery trees, Prunus serotina, between the cabin and the trackhoe have to come out, mainly because I do not want two eighty foot tall trees that now have three quarters of their root systems compromised that close to the cabin. The wind howls up here in the winter when the fronts come through. I do not want to be worrying about getting squashed like a bug while I am huddled inside trying to stay warm.

One of the good things about all this destruction is that a fresh supply of rocks is being unearthed. I like rocks.

It has been too gray and wet for me to continue wrapping the cozy cabin with tar paper and house wrap. It needs to be dry when I cover it. So I spent some time with the wall today and my new supply of rocks.

The view from the basement patio will look out over the drain field gardens. Just think how lush they will be with the extra moisture coming from the turd box.

The land will heal and over the winter while the ground is bare I can collect the rocks left on the surface and plan the flow of beds for the real gardens to come at Ku'ulei 'Aina.