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Some snowy day ramblings from the hill about snow, woodpeckers and seed starting..

Posted Monday, January 10, 2011, at 11:16 AM

I am not sure why a snowy day kicked my writing into gear but I've been working my 'day job' since about 6:30 so a break is welcome. We got somewhere around 10-12" up here, depending on where you measure it. Back when our daughter was in school that would mean a day or two of intense sledding, since we have the hills.

One particular day stands out from the rest because it was the day three of our sledders hit a plum tree head-on. Two adults and one young man (Patrick) who happened to be in the front. When Patrick saw it coming, he had the good sense to duck and even though the sled was snapped in two, everyone came out with a smile. The tree was cut down shortly after.

Yesterday gave me a once in a lifetime experience, but it is not momentous, just unique. I was walking the quarter mile to our mailbox when I noticed a big woodpecker working on a tree overhead. I looked up to get a better look and learned to keep my mouth shut when doing so.

As you can imagine,it could have been worse but a chip of wood fell into my mouth. What is the chance of getting a wood chip like that to drop into your mouth? After a brief assessment of my chances, I chose to not wait for something else to fall.

January 21 is coming up on us quickly. What is that date? Why, it is the first meeting of the year for Weed'em & Reap. We still have our standing invitation from the Celebration Assisted Living, but if we stay there we need to drop the "pot luck" and meet at 7:00 to give everyone a chance to get something to eat and get back from work.

The new owners of the Old Shoney's restaurant gave us the OK to meet there again (Chinese Cuisine) or we can find another restaurant to meet at if you want to get food while we meet. As long as we get a good turn-out, I don't care where we meet.

We can talk seed catalogs and sharing, but I am going to bring a soil blocker and some potting soil to make some blocks and seed them while there. Two weeks later I will bring them back and we will see how they have done.

At the next meeting we will encourage you to bring your own potting mixture, seeds and containers and we will have a seeding party. If someone has one of those forms that makes pots out of newspaper, that would be good to try.

Any other container that gets 'second-life' use out of something would be be welcome. My mother-in-law is BIG on saving things to plant in, so I will be sure to bring them.

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Another thought about this snow. PITA has been acting the typical kid. If she knew what a sled was, I think she would use it.

Since before dawn she has been out by herself jumping at things under the snow (probably non-existent), burying her toys in new places, running full speed across the yard, only to turn and do it again.

She came up to the house full of snow as if having just left a snow ball fight. Just great fun.

Sofie is not tall enough to walk through it, so she was like a little plow when she took her morning constitutional. By the time she got back she was covered in it and snow was everywhere on the floor as she bounced in.

-- Posted by stevemills on Mon, Jan 10, 2011, at 11:26 AM

Are the milk cartons from school still biodegradable? I'm concerned about the waxy substance on the outside. I can collect as many as ya'll want, if ya want them. I remember using them to grow plants in science class myself, but I don't remember if they had the waxy coating.

-- Posted by craftin_mom on Mon, Jan 10, 2011, at 12:54 PM

Milk cartons should be good, but I will double check.

When the top is cut off, the seal is broken. They will be slower to biodegrade but the wax should eventually let moisture in which will allow microbes to do their thing.

The individual serving would seem to be an excellent size.

-- Posted by stevemills on Mon, Jan 10, 2011, at 6:26 PM

The "wax" is not wax anymore. It is polyethylene. PE can eventually "fragment" or biodegrade but it is slow.

The paper between the PE coating will degrade once the PE is ripped.

It should be safe to start plants, but holes will need to be put in the bottom or sides to let water out.

They may actually be able to be re-used but I would expect it would not be practical to keep them over winter. At least they would be recycled once.

-- Posted by stevemills on Mon, Jan 10, 2011, at 6:49 PM

I feel awful about missing most of the last meetings. Can't wait to start going back and seeing everyone again!

-- Posted by welkin61 on Mon, Jan 10, 2011, at 8:20 PM

We look forward to seeing all our neighbors in gardening. We had a WIDE range of ages last year, but we are noticeably missing the 14-28 age bracket.

Thinking back to my days in that group, I was being tutored in the fine art of weeding and by the time I outgrew the responsibilities (went to college) I really did not want to see a garden again.

But that changes, so don't lose your momentum. We can keep gardening alive, even if you don't currently have one. What I did by about 26 is turn to indoor gardening.

No sweat, no frosts, no bugs,(well, maybe mealy bugs and spider mites and....forget about the no bugs), maybe just no human biting bugs.

-- Posted by stevemills on Tue, Jan 11, 2011, at 7:22 AM

I look forward to seeing all of y'all again.

Maybe,the weather will be co-operative.

Until then,I'll try to make plans for spring plantings and watch the critters who complain of frostbite when it's 65 degrees outside enjoy their umpty-third session of playing outside and doing their imitations of PITA and the Abominal Snowman.

-- Posted by quantumcat on Tue, Jan 11, 2011, at 5:26 PM

The snow seems to have kept PITA out of trouble the past few days. Well...., with the exception of finding my sandals on a shelf when I swapped them out for work boots to get to the truck or get firewood.

Luckily she takes them to where the truck was parked and there is no snow, so they are easy to find. I guess it is also lucky for both of us that she has not chewed them apart.

-- Posted by stevemills on Wed, Jan 12, 2011, at 8:30 AM

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Steve Mills and his wife have one daughter. They previously owned two coffee/ice cream shops, currently operate an internet sales company and teach classes, but his primary job involves the paper industry worldwide. Hobbies and interests lie in gardening, photography, recorded music and of course, their pets.