Gardening

Magnolia Seedlings December 2015

A few months ago, I soaked and peeled magnolia seeds and placed most of them in the vegetable drawers of the bee-supply refrigerator as I read that they need to undergo months of cold temperatures before they will germinate.  I planted some directly in seed starter pots and left those outside the greenhouse to naturally go through the seasons.  Apparently they don’t need 3 months of cold temperatures. The tender seedlings that sprouted in our abnormally high temperatures last week would probably not survive next week’s temperatures without the shelter of the greenhouse, but the few cold nights we’ve had this year followed by temperatures in the high 70s were enough to get them growing.   While only one in the above picture has obvious leaves, two others are about to unfold leaves today.

I pulled the containers out of the refrigerator and dumped all the seeds into an aluminum pan which I placed in the greenhouse.  Two of the containers were bone dry and one had a patch of mold on top, so leaving the seeds out in the elements is clearly the better option for someone like me who doesn’t remember to check what’s in the refrigerator in the house, never mind the one in the garage with the bee supplies!

I know I’m placing a lot of faith in the greenhouse, but we’ll see how well it fares this week with predicted record lows and two light bulbs burning in there overnight.  The day time high in the greenhouse only reached 64 degrees today and the magnolia seedlings are not supposed to germinate until temperatures reach the high 70s, so I don’t expect to see 50 seedlings pop up in the next day or two!   I really am far too impatient to be an effective gardener, but sometimes I’m pleasantly surprised — as with the 30 Goldenraintree seedlings that are still thriving.   School starts again in two days, so I’ll be too busy to check the greenhouse five times a day.   As well as the plants did without me for the past 10 days, I’m sure they can grow without me watching them!

Gardening · Lazer Creek Apiary

Adding "farmer" to my resume.

There’s a progression to my career path that for now ends with farmer: electronics technician, computer programmer, English teacher, and tree farmer.  It’s an odd mixture, but it represents my personality and my eclectic range of interests and abilities.  I do so love the logic and the beauty of math and science, but I also love the beauty of a well-written sentence.

Still, who would have thought I would ever become a tree farmer?  Or know so much about bees?  Or wear snake boots?  But, as of Wednesday, we own 20 acres of pine trees, so we are officially farmers!   We’ll still be teachers for at least 10 more years, but we will be able to recharge our mental batteries by working in our woods on long weekends.    Spending time in nature has always helped us get back to enjoying teaching when the demands of teaching start to obscure the rewards.

Wednesday itself was not a stress-free day!  We’ve bought and sold enough homes to anticipate surprises at closing, and this time was no exception.  Those surprises were followed by learning that the utility company we were told to contact doesn’t actually own the power lines that run along our property.  Their lines end a mile away, which makes connecting to their supply an expensive prospect at $4 a foot!  We’re meeting with an engineer from the company that does own the power lines next week and hope to be able to get electricity for less than $20,000!   On to the septic system permit — after much back and forth and $450, we finally have a permit for our second choice of locations at which to build our cabin.  We don’t know why the septic permit guy didn’t give us specs for our first choice, especially as the soils engineer typed his report with analysis of both sites.   That’s going to necessitate another round of phone calls and probably more money.  We’ve been researching composting toilets as an alternative, but as this will be our retirement home we have to consider our ability to empty the compost when we’re in our 70s and beyond.

The good side of Wednesday was spending time on the land, walking down to the creek, and investigating a natural spring that may become a series of shallow ponds with mini water falls on its way downhill.  Now that we own the land, I feel that I am allowed to snap off dead branches and vines to make my path through the woods a little easier!  As I now also own the brambles, I can threaten them with retaliation when they stick their thorns in me.

Back in the city, I can look at my 30 pots of day-lilies, my rosemary cuttings, my Goldenraintree seedlings, and all my magnolia seeds hibernating in the crisper drawer of the refrigerator in the garage as they apparently need that in order to germinate.  I’m already mentally planting the trees they will (hopefully) produce.  So, while my husband plans building foundations and septic systems, I plan gardens and avenues of pretty trees.  I envision a grove of Goldenraintrees — our own little Lothlorien nestled among the pines.