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Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Long distance Gardening

We have a house in a sub-division in the Dallas area.  Then we have 20 acres in east Texas where we camp, lease out to people, hunt, and pretend to be country folk.  This place has a small one bedroom cabin with a cute little pond and all sorts of random cool things on and around it.
For the past two years we have wanted to start a garden at the ranch (I don't know what to call 20 acres).  The thing is we visit about once a month and trying to work around that has been our downfall.  Two years ago we tilled up a plot where the old owners had a greenhouse and planted your usual squash, pumpkin, cantaloupe and watermelons.  These are typical east Texas things to grow and can survive a while without much rain.  Well that was a disaster, we visited two weeks after we planted and everything was looking OK then when we went back two weeks after, everything was either eaten or dried up.  So last year I thought to plant some potatoes in raised tire beds.  I watched all the cool YouTube videos about how the potatoes grow out and lay in the inside portion of the tire and as the plant grows all you have to do is stack another tire on the plant and place more dirt.  As the plant grows and the tires and dirt are placed on the grow more and more potatoes in the tire.  When it is time to harvest you just take the tires off and they should be theoretically speaking full of potatoes with no digging.  Well once the potatoes were doing good my local band of deer decided the plants tasted great and would eat them down to the ground every day.
This year my son and I came up with a better plan (OK so we are just trying something different).  We decided since we have all sorts of raspberry plants growing on our land to use them as our base plant.  Then when my wife and I went blueberry picking last spring I noticed how the farm had soaker hoses ran to all the raspberry and blueberry plants.  Then as mulch they put pine needles down from pine trees they had on the side of the property.  A friend of mine told me that blueberries and raspberries need acidic soil and to keep your PH up the natural way was to lay pine needles at the base.  This made sense because when I canoed the Canadian boundary waters we would eat wild blueberries that grew near the pine trees.  My next issue was how to regulate the water while we were not at the ranch.  This smart diabetic thought to go out and buy an electric water thing that automatically turns the soaker hoses on every 12 hours.  The water thing is inside our pump house that is locked.  So if people want free water from our well they would have to be at the right place at the right time.  Last is of course our deer that like to eat potato plants.  My son and his buddy found a bunch of old goat wire on our land and fancied themselves a four foot tall fence to keep them out.  So then we added a blueberry plant, corn, squash, watermelon, cantaloupe and other things I can't remember to the other half of the garden and hopefully this year will be the year we have a garden at our house and at the ranch.
My ending random thoughts today would be about children.  So our son is now 16 and my wife and I are doing what we can do to prepare him for the real world.  The thing is I kind of would like a little bit more time with another child.  Now adding like a newborn baby does not sound like fun but maybe something greater than 4 and less than 18 would be nice.  Then I was thinking how fun (OK not fun but helpful) to like adopt a child with type 1 diabetes.  My wife and I have always wanted to adopt even taking a summer long course to be foster to adopt parents (it just kind of fell apart at the end of the program).  Is this like the blind couple wanting to adopt a blind baby because they can help the child grow up with parents that are not just in charge of you but can relate to you?  Could you do something like that?  Well I love spending time with our son and was just thinking it would be fun to raise another one.  Like I said, just random thoughts.

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