March

Key Tasks

Prepare for planting season. Get the household chores out the way, because there won’t be time to do them in April. Walk 26
in the woods all you can, for the same reason.

March 1

2015

Sunday School and church this morning. Then Amanda headed to Montgomery to see Cinderella with Lynda, Adrian, and Martha Lynn, and I returned to the farm to work on dead links. Started the afternoon with 266 and worked it down to 182 in about four hours of work. Then I potted up the native persimmon rootstock on the floor of Veg Hill. We have 24 rootstock now potted up.

March 2

2015

Started with the Governor’s Mansion. We worked hard all morning, Amanda supervising rose pruning and I using the chain saw to take down first crepe myrtles and then a good-sized youpon holly near the cast iron fence. We made our getaway about noon and headed to Tallassee for Sonny Christian’s funeral and graveside service. Then Amanda left with Adrian, and I headed to Louie’s for lunch. Then to the church to change the sign. Then home to unload all the equipment before a nap. Tonight was the MCAC board meeting. Nice visit with Adrian over a late supper.

March 3

2014

Amanda headed to Montgomery to help at the Governor’s Mansion today and Adrian had a substitute teaching gig, so I was alone most of the day. Drove into town for a session at 8:30 and then cleaned up the mess I had left yesterday in the Little House. Then several errands in town before returning to the farm. This afternoon was pretty cold and blustery, so I spent most of the day indoors updating computer records. I took delivery today on two 100-foot rolls of hardware cloth to use on the raised bed retrofit. This afternoon I milled another half gallon of wheat berries and used it to make two loaves of bread for Adrian to use in making sandwiches for school.

March 4

2015

My five-day hibernation ended today when I repaired the last broken link on Divorceinfo.com. The site is now free of bad links for the first time in more than a decade, and it feels great.

2014

Gearing up now in earnest for the raised bed retrofit. I bought a new set of eye bolts yesterday at True Value so I can be moving one bed while Tom is readying another to be moved. I have tentatively selected a pneumatic stapler that I think will save our hands when we start attaching hardware cloth to multiple beds. This morning I tried stretching the 150 feet of extension cord I owned out to Veg Hill to see if it would drive the compressor. It didn’t. Not enough voltage after that kind of distance. Talked with Tom Bray, and we decided to use the 5 kw generator in the shed at the church. It will deliver plenty of current to start the compressor, and I can park them right next to each other to minimize the voltage drop.

March 5

2015

We were prepared for the temperatures to drop, and drop they did. Midnight to midnight temp went from 68 degrees Wednesday night to 32 degrees Thursday night, with a NW wind blowing all day. I spent most of the day indoors polishing pages on Divorceinfo.com, but I did take time to apply frost blanket to the strawberries on bed #2.

2014

Ash Wednesday service was first thing this morning. At church by 8:00 to get everything ready. Had time to walk down to the shed and try to crank the lawn mowers, but I was unable to crank either one. After the service I tried to have a session but my client didn’t answer. Then to Tecumseh rehearsal, then back to the farm. This afternoon Amanda and I took a long walk on the west side. Curious about the logging going on next to us, we wandered far off our property and got thoroughly lost. Ended up having to use the little compass on Amanda’s phone (I had left mine back at the barn) to get home. We discovered that we were so turned around that in trying to get back home we had actually been walking away from it. Thank God for the compass!

March 6

2015

This morning I helped with another Tailgate Partners barbecue starting. We placed 37 briskets and about 78 butts on the fire. This afternoon was mostly indoors. We now have Google Ads back on Divorceinfo.com, and served completely via widget. No more hard code in any of the posts or pages.

2014

Cold and blustery, with light showers throughout most of the day. I spent most of the day in town, first with an appointment to go in fasting for my labs at Tallassee Family Care, then for a session, then for EfM. Then back to the farm to publish the podcast.

March 7

2014

Good day for puttering. I drove the truck to town this morning and picked up a sheet of 1/2 inch plywood, 5 bales of pine straw, and a full gas can. Cut up the plywood into four shelves for the rolling shelf units and changed out three of the four. We have a spare left, which I’ll probably use under my books in the shop. Then I charged the battery of the walk-behind and got it cranked up. Glued the filter that fits under one of the under-cabinet lights in the barn with the hot glue gun – I have no idea whether it will hold. This afternoon I used Scamp to get out on Veg Hill and try to lift one of the raised beds out of the way. Realized that space is really tight, so I needed to remove the chipper from the back to shorten Scamp. I removed it as we were finishing up and getting ready to head to Kowaliga to meet Hugh and Sharon for supper, then to Millbrook Community Theater to see Lavonne and Caleb Hart in “Sound of Music.”

March 8

2014

This morning while it was still cool and I could be comfortable with my skin fully covered, I loaded up all the knockout rose debris Amanda had left by the microclimate bed and loaded it on the pallet forks and took it over to the big ditch near the east boundary of the property. Then I headed inside to copy the music on the Loachapoka playlist and practice playing it. By the time I finished that and hung some clothes on the line, it was time to head to Loachapoka. When we got back, we took the clothes off the line and fed the fish, then I hitched up Scamp and prepared to lift Bed #16. The cable let go when I put torque on it. So I stopped and reattached all the hooks. Then I was able to lift #16 and store it in the back of the garden. I also was able to lift #15 and place it, but I was not able to stack one bed atop another, as I had expected I would be able to do.

March 9

2014

Church in the morning, and then Adrian and I drove to Horseshoe Bend for the Tecumseh rehearsal, which went well except that Tecumseh, the title character, is woefully behind and still tied to his script. After the rehearsal, Adrian and I stayed behind to do the full tour of the park and to learn all about the massacre at Horseshoe Bend on March 27, 1814. Sobering. Nice but brief visit with Jonathon Meeks when we returned.

March 10

2014

A good day. A really good day. Started this morning when Tom arrived to help with the raised beds. He and I formulated a strategy for where to place the beds and moved 16 and 15 according to it. Then we pulled 13 and 14. Then we pulled the dirt that had been in them and placed it in a big pile in the back of the garden. Then we drove over where that rank had been to pull 9-12. Now I’m ready to pull the dirt where they had been and put it in the back of the garden too. While we were working on that, Jimmy and Tim arrived with their load of pecan shell waste, which I had them dump up at the top of the parking field north of the lodge. It looks like it will be really good mulch. I fixed Tom up with some collards and sweet potatoes, and he and Adrian and I had lunch at China Garden before I drove to the pond to fish with Jerry Denton. Jerry had already caught two bass by the time I arrived, and he caught a third a few minutes later. Then things went dry so we called it a day. I brought the bass straight back and deposited them in the pond. That brings our total of healthy young bass stocked in the pond to 17. Then I drove back to town to change out the Epiphany sign. Back at the farm, my light was waning, so Oddie and I walked down to the pond and fed the fish. The neatest moment of the day came then, because the catfish began feeding today! None of them was eating catfish food yesterday, and today there must have been 20 of them eating it. It’s like they held a catfish council last night and decided it was time. And they’re getting bigger, I’m guessing a pound or so on average. With the sun going down I gathered and put up the equipment on Veg Hill and called it a day. A good day.

March 11

2014

I learned last night that my role in Tecumseh at Tuckabatchee is changing. Instead of playing Big Warrior, I’m going to play the title role of Tecumseh, a more demanding role and a much juicier part! Coming in at the last minute like this, I must do some really quick memorizing! I’ve been spending every spare minute learning those lines. This morning I readied the farm for our friends Jim and Rhonda Frazier while Amanda helped out at the learning garden. Then we had a delightful visit with Jim and Rhonda. They’re both in good shape, so we had a nice walk over on the west side. Over lunch, we talked about how we came to the decision to make this change in our lives. Jim is writing a series of articles about how baby boomers are reinventing themselves in their retirement years, so he was genuinely interested. This afternoon it was time for more Tecumseh work.

March 12

2014

Started the day with a good report from Barbara Watts on my health. Everything looks normal, and we’re steady as she goes on managing the diabetes. I do need to get a colonoscopy, so I will need to decide on a gastro to do that. Right now I’m leaning toward Richard Ginsburg in Montgomery. We had a Tecumseh rehearsal today, and I think everybody is pleased that I’ve made so much progress so fast in memorizing the lines and in presenting that powerful speech of Tecumseh. What a juicy part! This afternoon I smoothed down the second rank of raised beds and pulled beds 6-8. I smoothed down the area where 8 had been but had to stop there to allow Amanda to pull the garlic from bed #7. She promises to get that done tomorrow afternoon after EfM. Late this afternoon we recorded the podcast on the raised bed do-over and I edited it. I’ll plan to publish it in the wee hours.

March 13

2014

Published the podcast this morning, but I had some system issues and didn’t do the feed or the Facebook post. EfM in the middle of the day. Then at the end of the day Amanda went wild transplanting strawberries and garlic. I used Scamp to pick up big segments of bed #7 where the garlic was planted, which loosened everything up and helped her pull the garlic out. She pulled it while the soil was still in the bucket, and then I added the soil to our pile. Making good progress on memorizing Tecumseh lines. I’m almost finished with the first speech. I now think it’s likely I’ll be off book entirely for the rehearsal on Sunday, which I know would be a huge boost for everyone in the cast.

March 14

2014

Tom and I were able this morning to clean off and level up the pads for beds #6-8 and to place #6. We got cocky and decided to place the hardware cloth in it, which turned out to be quite time-consuming, because we were having to figure out each corner for the first time. Love using the new stapler, though. This afternoon Jerry Denton and I went fishing, and he caught three more young bass. I brought them straight back and released them in the pond. That brings our total to 20. Yay! I am off book now for Tecumseh’s first speech, and I am now working on the second. God willing and the creek don’t rise, I should be totally off book by Sunday’s rehearsal.

March 15

2014

Beans & Rice this morning, then we spent a good part of the afternoon trying to get the lawn mowers running. We got the little one cranked without incident, but the big mower has some kind of malfunction on the seat interlock and keeps thinking there’s no one in the seat, so it shuts down when you try to put it in gear or engage the PTO. Bummer. We loaded it in the trailer and took it to Tom Bray’s house and left the trailer there too. Yay! Not much time by then to do much more than feed the fish and call it a day.

March 16

2014

Church this morning, then quickly to Montgomery for lunch with Mama and then hurriedly to her house to fix a problem with her TV, then back to the farm for a mad clothes-change and straight to the Tecumseh rehearsal. Lots of criticism from the director. “Tone down the dramatics.” Major de-motivator after turning my life upside down to go from nothing to off book with 1800 words of dialogue in less than a week. I need to get away from Tecumseh for awhile, and will.

March 17

2014

Spent a lot of time in town today, first to change out the nave to prepare for Dot Harris’s funeral, then to change the sign, then lunch with Jere Van Etten, then a delightful visit with Liz Britt at her home. She’s loaned me a great-looking book on Tecumseh. Then back to the farm where I worked in the light rain to empty the humanure buckets and to move firewood pallet #12 into position. It now appears likely that we’ll have enough firewood to make it through the season, though it will be close.

March 18

2014

CAMGA meeting this morning, including an excellent presentation from Mary McCroan on drip irrigation. Then a few errands, then home for a brief rest before heading to Montgomery. We presented on Sustainability and Resilience to the Herb Society meeting at Old Town Alabama tonight. Then we buzzed by Costco to pick up our new chicken coop. Yay! Finally made it home exhausted, about 8:30.

March 19

2014

Spent most of the day in town, first to print the bulletin and prepare the nave for the funeral of Dot Harris, then to rehearse for Tecumseh with Jeanna, then to serve as lay reader for the funeral and attend the graveside, then to change out the sign at the end of the day. By the time I returned to the farm the day was basically done, but Amanda and I did find time to walk down and feed the fish and then record and edit the podcast.

March 20

2014
2014

This morning the focus was on preparing for EfM, with lots of reading. By the time we finished EfM and lingered afterward to print the bulletin (a complex affair with two colors and lots of pagination issues), it was 3:45. Then we had a couple of errands to run and then home. I groomed Oddie this afternoon; long overdue, and he seemed to love it. He always looks younger and friskier to me after grooming, and that was particularly apparent today because there was such a dramatic change. Then I loaded up the transit, compressor, hose, stapler, and lots of other hand tools and deployed them on Veg Hill in preparation for tomorrow’s work with Tom. We fed the fish as we were losing our light.

March 21

March 22

Work day at church. When we got home I was exhausted. Lay down for a while and then used the weedeater around the compost bin. The grass has been nourished by the fluids leaking from it and had become pretty scary looking. Then I started on the drip irrigation for beds 1-8. Started by digging a new channel and connecting a new header. Then I started building the manifolds for each bed. Pretty slow going. Beds 1 and 5 were already done. I got them done for beds 2 and 6 and then had to stop because of the mosquitoes. I may try using some vegetable oil as a lubricant next time to see if that will make it easier to slide the little buttons into the end of the spaghetti hose. Finished the day feeding the fish (willingly) and the mosquitoes (unwillingly).

March 23

2014

We started Sunday School with a small group in the rain, but it slowly subsided and had stopped by the time we began our outdoor rehearsal for Tecumseh at 1:00. The rehearsal went well, but I was exhausted when we got home and didn’t try to do any outdoor work. Just took a nap and then walked down to feed the fish while Amanda was preparing a delicious chicken tetrazzini for supper.

March 24 spaghetti hose connector

2014

The vegetable oil didn’t help much but I’ve now found a system that does work smoothly and produces a leak-free connection. I begin by inserting the double-fluted end of the nubbin into the end of the spaghetti hose. This goes in reasonably easily, but it helps to warm the end of the spaghetti hose in hot water before inserting it. I use the yellow plastic punch to place a hole in the header, and then I widen the hole with a 17/64″ drill bit. Then I insert the single-fluted end of the nubbin (with spaghetti hose attached) into the widened hole. I now have beds 1-8 dripped and fully functional. I took advantage of the bucket’s ability to reach across the bed this afternoon and dropped in some fill material adjacent to the beds. They now have relatively level sides (although not level ends – the slope all happens between the bottom of one bed and the top of the next). But the level sides should allow Amanda to get good access on her cart to all the growing surfaces.

March 25

2015

Most of the morning was occupied with a trip to Montgomery. I read at the dermatologist’s office while Amanda had her appointment. Then we drove to First Church to prepare for our gig at the Lenten Luncheon there. Rave reviews. The group has a name now, Alabama Skiffle. As of today, it’s made up of Lee, Amanda, Adrian, Lloyd Strickland, KC Holliday, and Joe Collins. This afternoon I made some changes to documents for clients and filed a divorce case. Good day.

2014

A full, productive morning. Tom and I prepared pads for and placed beds 9-12. I will put some Rodney Dust on three of the four to bring the soil level up to the bottom of the boards, and then I will at least try to install hardware cloth. If I am able to do that, I’ll be ready to concentrate the next time I have Tom’s health on placing the last four beds. Seeing the light at the end of the tunnel! Tecumseh rehearsal went well tonight, even though it was CRAZY windy and cold. Adrian and took the truck so we could take the kerosene heater, which was a big hit. Just hoping no one get sick from all the exposure.

March 26

2014

Had 14 master gardeners hard at work at Epiphany this morning pruning the Japanese maples under Bill Shell’s supervision. We learned a lot, and I think everybody had a good time too. Afterward, six of us including Bill adjourned to 1220 for lunch. The afternoon was mostly about getting everything ready for the dress rehearsal tonight. Finally got back about 10:00.

March 27

2014

Outlined, recorded, and edited the podcast this morning on the late freeze and its effect on the vegetables and fruits. Then lots of photos. Then EfM this afternoon. Then I published the podcast this afternoon.

March 28

2014

Today was all about the Muscogee Creek Nation. It was raining most of the morning, so the event I was looking forward to the most, the visit to the actual site of the Tuckabatchee council, had to be scrapped. And we knew by this morning that the Horseshoe Bend performance would be cancelled, because the ground was too saturated for parking. We decided to produce a simplified version of the play tonight just for the MCN in the Tallassee High School auditorium. Adrian and I reported to the Tallassee Falls Museum and worked until about 12:30, when we retreated to rest and change clothes. Everyone in the cast reported to the high school at 3:30 to talk through the revised staging, and we ran through almost the entire show. Then we broke for rest and snacks about 5:15 and reconvened about 6:00. The show went surprisingly well. It was neat to visit afterward with so many of the MCN folk, especially those with whom Adrian and I had visited earlier in the day. I think they were quite proud of themselves for being buds with two of the people in the cast, one of whom was the Big Guy himself. I was exhausted tonight but too keyed up to go right to sleep. Didn’t actually go to bed until about midnight.

March 29

2014

I was exhausted from yesterday and last night, so I slept late this morning. We started the day slowly, with my tuning my autoharp after too long an absence from it. Then we rode with Jean to Loachapoka for the dulcimer group’s practice. This afternoon after my nap, the three of us – Amanda, Adrian, and Lee fed the fish and enjoyed a long walk together.

March 30

2014

Morning at SS and church, then to Montgomery for lunch with Mama and a nice long visit. This afternoon I removed the 2 x 4s from Bed #9; I put them in apparently in some kind of effort to install 48″ hardware cloth across a 48″ gap. But with the 60″ hardware cloth we have now they just get in the way. Proved harder than I had expected. I had countersunk them using a star bit, and I had to work right out at the edge of the bit’s range to remove the screws. Eventually had to pry off a couple of screws. And I should have removed them when spacing of the bed wasn’t critical! I also dumped some sandy loam in the bottom of a couple of beds to bring the soil level up to the bottom of the bed.

March 31

2014

Worked alone almost the entire day getting the hardware cloth on beds 9-12. Stooped over most of the day. My back was so-o-o-o sore by the end of the day, but it’s done!

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