Friday, July 1, 2011

The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly

The Good...

 Broccoli is ready!  We had some with supper.  Very yummy.

 The pole beans are climbing their little vines out.  This one is nearing 8' tall.

 The zucchini are growing!

Owen is enjoying pee wee baseball.  He likes playing catcher.

The two youngest rugrats are doing well too.  I made tents for them the other night when we had a 'camp in' party while Owen was at 4H camp.  They slept in them for most of the night.

The Bad...

The potatoes and tomatoes have blight.  New spot in the garden (20' away from the old spot), new seed, new mulch.  Same old blight.  I'm not sure if I'll try to save the potatoes, I'll get a harvest out of them regardless, just not as big.  But I will mix up a batch of copper spray to try to save the tomatoes.  Next year I am definitely trying the blight resistant hybrids, heirlooms be damned. 

I have also noticed a similar affliction on the thistle plants that I have pulled out of my potato patch.  Could thistle be vulnerable to blight as well?  If so, would they act as a carrier?  If so, will the extensive underground root system of the thistle store the blight fungus for years to come?  If so, I might as well just start packing my suitcase now.

The Ugly...

As of today I am on lay-off status from my job with the Department of Natural Resources.  You might have heard something in the national news about the State of Minnesota closing down, because our Democrat governor and our Republican legislature can't come to an agreement on a fiscal year 2012 budget.  Nearly 23,000 state workers got laid off today.  Including me.

I worked 14 hours on Thursday shutting down the park.  Turning off electricity, gas, and water lines; locking up boats, vehicles, and buildings; canceling mail and garbage pick-up; hanging signs like the one above; closing gates.  Everyone said, 'the bigwigs will get it resolved in time,' and 'this is just a big political bluff.' We kept watching the news, watching our emails, waiting for the call that said everything was okay, an agreement has been reached.  It never came.

The state is actually losing money every day this month that the parks are closed.  July is our busiest time--we bring in about $1 million in revenue every week this month.  Thousands of camping reservations had to be canceled, tens of thousands of visitors had to change their vacation plans at the last minute.  It's all so very sad, and so very frustrating.

When will I go back to work?  Your guess is as good as mine.  Having the weekend off, my first July 4th weekend in 12 years, is kinda nice.  Not getting a paycheck til who-knows-when however, is not nice at all.  Especially since I am the only bread-winner in the family.  So, stay tuned!  I know I will be ...


Dangerous Linda said...

thank you for sharing authentically from your heart -- holding you and your family in my heart!

Ladytats said...

we over the border in North Dakota, feel for you, hope the idiots in your capital come to their senses soon. would like to see them locked in a room together without pay or services until they get their act together.
as for the garden, looking good. we are toooo wet here, things are very slow and most of the corn didn't come up even after being replanted. the blight... the wet weather can have something to do with that, as for thistles being a carrier,,, possible, roses get blight... hope things work out with the state paycheck

Mama Pea said...

As all of us "real" people know, the state shutdown is asinine. 'Nuf said.

Use your at-home time in your garden, talking to your healthy plants (maybe helping the less-than-healthy ones, too) so they grow big and strong and give you lots of nutrition-packed food.

Sending best wishes things work out financially for you.

You've got three happy, healthy, beautiful (don't tell them I used that adjective) boys. Good job, Momma!

CJ Ford said...

What a mixed bag this weekend is for you, woman! I woke up Fri. morning and read in disbelief the Star Trib's report on negotiation breakdowns. Buncha knuckleheads. Previously, I stated that I thought each day of a shutdown, all legislators should have to return a day's pay for not getting their job done. Now I think they should have to go provide daycare for parents who could lose their jobs because their subsidized daycare is shut off. Or go work road construction or clean toilets in state rest stops. That should convince them that compromise is not such an impossible task. Grrr.

As to the more pleasant topic of gardens, I too noted some blight in my tomatoes. With the weather of June, it's hardly surprising. I broke off infected leaves while I was weeding and had them in a pile to put in the garbage but had to run inside when the storm hit and after, all those leaves were gone!

Maybe you should give sunchokes a try as a good substitute for potatoes. They're perennial, tasty, and nothing seems to bother them. I've found celeriac is easy to grow, unbothered by pests or disease and makes better hashbrowns than kennebecs.

It sounds like you're making the best of this unplanned holiday. I hope you enjoy every minute. We're having some lovely summer days on the backside of that heat spell. In addition to all the garden chores (including planting fall carrot plots today), I'm experimenting with making yogurt cheese to have a healthy "cream cheese" and strawberry pie for the 4th! I hope our politicians regain some degree of sanity by Tuesday and get on with it! What a bunch of knuckleheads. Oh wait, I already said that.

The Apple Pie Gal said...

Wow, that is amazing, and not in a good way. Like you said, nice that you have the 4th off, but I can only imagine the impact this will have on you and many others. It had to of taken forever and ticked alot of folks off to cancel and close the parks. Sorry to hear about that.

Also sorry to hear about your blight. We've got it here too with all the cool wet weather. I try not to think of it as a losing battle, but I'm being dillusional probably :o)

Last year I had a major thistle problem in my garden and did a little research on getting rid of them. Don't pull, cut down to the ground or just past ground level. Water it heavily to drown it out (sounds nuts) and then mulch the spot really well to choke them out. It's apparently not an old wives tale that when you pull, two more sprout up in the same area. Where the break in the root is, it creates two new shoots. Argh!!!! Well, this year I have only had enough to count on one hand! Woohoooo! Hope that helps a little. Too bad ya just couldn't let the blight take them too, huh?

Erin said...

I've been keeping up with the news back home since my dad works at the "U", I also was thinking of you. Hope the idiots can get things resolved. Sorry for the blight - I too, will be entering the new world of hybrids next year, let's just look at the bright side, new things to research this winter before we make our seed orders LOL. Your bean trellis is awesome!

Jo said...

Linda -- Thanks for your kind words. I'm loving the extra time with the family and the garden.

Ladytats -- Thanks. It was really wet here this spring, but the recent sunshine has helped dry things up a lot.

Mama Pea -- Usually I just talk to the weeds in my garden. Stuff like "What are you doing here? Get out! How can you grow so fast? Arrgghh!

CJ -- I'm trying sunchokes this year for the first time, if they work out I will definitely increase. I also bought some celeriac seed, but decided not to use them this year. I will next year. Please share your cheese pie recipe, it sounds divine!

APG -- I'll try the cutting method. I'll try anything, actually!

Erin -- I saw that Johnny's is toting a new blight-resistant tomato variety. I'm tempted to try it next year.