Catching Up

Reader Contribution by Nebraska Dave
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Oh, boy. I have been very neglectful to my GRIT blog and really my personal blog as well. November and December is always a busy time of the year but this year was even more so. Every year I think that I really must cut down on my 100 or so Christmas cards but then I just can’t bring myself to do it and (big sigh) each year a few more get added. I hear from people through out the year about how wonderful it was to receive a card from me and how great the letter was. It’s something that I’ve started that has taken on a life of its own and would be difficult to stop. Ah well, what’s a retired guy supposed to do with non garden time. Oh, yeah, plan, start seeds, or dream about gardening. 

Most of you know by now about the appendicitis attack that happened on January 2nd. If you didn’t hear about it and really want to know what happened you can click here and read all about it. Today’s appendectomy surgery is not the appendectomy surgery of my parents’ day. It was a major operation 50 years ago but today it’s a routine operation that takes less than an hour and got me home the next day. Two weeks later the follow-up doctor visit found me pretty much back to a normal routine life.

I still haven’t heard anything from the EPA about the lead testing so I suspect the spring planting is a bust for Terra Nova Gardens. Not to be discouraged, it will give me more time to work on developing the spring and getting ready for next year’s planting. Depending on the test results and the work that’s done, perhaps the fence will be completed as well. There’s plenty of projects to work on back at the Urban Ranch where I live. I’ve taken to searching out other properties to buy from the city foreclosure list. There are some $100 properties that would make good gardens. Not that I need any more garden space now but maybe in the future. One piece I’m looking at is 43 by 60 feet on a corner lot. It’s very flat and is a great prospect. If I bought it, development wouldn’t start for two to three years. It might be nice to own just in case things go south in the next couple years. My uncle Danny O’Kane always told me, “Ya just can’t go wrong owning property.” Of course he said it in an Irish brogue. There’s another one I haven’t checked out yet but it’s even bigger. It’s 50 by 157 feet but this one is covered with lots of trees. Maybe owning wooded land might be advantageous some time in the future. This piece could have very steep slopes as well. It’s difficult to tell from the Google aerial view.

Seed catalogs are piling up and seed orders are starting to be sent out and received. I’ve begun the testing process for viable seeds from last year’s stash. Since I had great success last year with starting seeds, I’ll be doing that again this year. I’m going to make an attempt to plant sprouted seeds to see if that can be done with any kind of success. One of the GRIT blogs says it can be done so I’m checking it out. A pen pal that I’ve been writing to for over a year that I found in the GRIT magazine pages has sent me some seeds for growing giant pumpkins. That should be fun to try. I’m not really expecting a record 1,000-pound pumpkin but a 100-pound pumpkin would still be the talk of the neighborhood.

Terra Nova looks pretty desolate right now and the wind is howling outside. Another high wind alert with the temperatures dropping below zero tonight will be bringing 20 to 30 below zero wind chills. The prediction is for snow flurries but I don’t think that’s going to happen. I could be wrong but I don’t see much headed our way on the radar.

This next week will be a week of heading down to the basement to start doing some serious cleaning out and hopefully a couple runs to the dump. I’m still hoping to keep the dump runs to a minimum. I would like to give as much as I can to the thrift store or give away to friends or family. It’s all good stuff don’t you know. I haven’t looked at it for over 12 years and don’t remember even what’s down there in the basement but I’m sure it’s all good stuff.

I have a new twist on an old story. Last year at the end of the Christmas season the fiber optic bulb for the Christmas tree burned out. So I just bagged it and thought I’d deal with it next year, which was this year. So determined to fix the bulb issue, I removed the cover plate screws and removed the bulb. A replacement bulb was found and life was good. The new bulb was inserted and the tree was plugged into the wall with great anticipation about fixing the fiber optics on the Christmas Tree …. except the bulb didn’t light up. I’m not one to give up easily so meters, screw drivers, and pliers were assembled for the trouble shooting. One hour passes with full disassemble of the base. Testing here, test there with all good results. Plug it back in and still doesn’t work. Some times stepping back and just pondering the situation does wonders. Even better if a cup of coffee is involved. My light bulb in my brain finally went on. The plug I had been using for the Christmas tree was a living room plug controlled by a wall switch. Flipped the switch, problem solved. So the new twist to an old story about tearing apart the appliance to fix it when all that was needed was to plug it into the wall socket was born. (Red Face). Yeah, I won’t be forgetting that again.

I hope and pray all is well with everyone in the GRIT blog community and the New Year will bring great success stories to share with us all.

And remember Life is simpler when you plow around the stump.

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