The goal this weekend was to get the Comfrey plants in the ground, if they showed up that is.My nephew Steven called Friday to see if he could come over and hangout, the term “slave” instantly popped into my head. Steven is 15 and a great guy, he is a born cat person and loves to come over to play with Annabelle, Lola, Oscar, and sometimes even the devil incarnate Salem. His motivation this time was that I had posted some new pictures of Tri-pod on Facebook, commenting on how far he has come in 3 months. Tri-pod does come out from under the bed regularly now but his trust is centered mostly around me. He came out and let Steven pet him but only for a few minutes at a time. With me Tri-pod will come out and sit on my lap for quite a while making a general nuisance of himself by trying to swat my fingers while typing my blog posts. Now all I have to do is figure out how to broker a peace treaty between Annabelle and Tri-pod, the office had always been Annabelle’s domain and she is very bitchy about somebody else taking over her territory. The other cats come in the office, munch on Tri-pods food, use his litter box and just kinda hang out, Annabelle though goes into attack mode whenever Tri-pod shows his face. Hopefully I’ll figure out some way to ease this situation but I’m fresh outta ideas, if anyone has advice it would sure be appreciated.
Steven “volunteered” Saturday morning to help out at the Orchard. After going to breakfast with Sweety #1 & #2 we didn’t get a very early start. By the time we made it to the Orchard it was 10am and extremely hot & humid. We did get the seed for my custom fermenting mix and the GP poultry pellets unloaded and stored in the coop. Screening the compost didn’t work out so well and we moved on to the hole portion of the “fertile holes” I needed for my Comfrey. After 3 holes we both cried UNCLE and cleaned up and headed out. Usually I slip Steven $10 or so for helping out, work kept calling and I got distracted and forgot. Hopefully seeing as how he is 15, just got his learners permit and I let him drive my Jeep we may be even.
Tom over at Coes Comfrey exceeded my expectations! When I got home there was a nice little box waiting with 12 healthy looking comfrey plants inside along with a very informative planting and use guide. I had tried sending Tom several e-mails and had convinced myself he was like everyone else and out of stock for the season, not so! Tom means it when he says he prefers doing business by phone, his number is 828-321-4913 and he is a great guy to talk to. A bit of cloud cover crept into the valley during the afternoon so I ran back up to the Orchard and finished digging holes. Seven plants are going in along the fence that separates the chicken run from the orchard area with the remaining five going into my sunken beds interspersed between the fruit trees. The plants are spaced about 3′ apart along the fence and the plan is to put mulberry trees or some kind of chicken friendly shrub between each comfrey plant. What the hell is a chicken friendly shrub? something that produces leaves or fruit that my chickens can eat. Do you have any suggestions? The plants need to be somewhat drought and heat tolerant but other than that I am wide open to suggestions.
This mornings efforts focused on the fertile part of fertile holes. Before leaving last night I had filled all seven holes with water so that I wouldn’t have dry thirsty ground sucking all of the moisture away from my new plants. Then 5# of used coffee grounds from Starbucks went into each hole along with another filling of H2O. While emptying Starbucks bags I found another of their secret prizes! A couple of months ago I found a nifty stainless frothing cup in a bag of grounds that my middle son Thomas stole. Yeah I know he looks like a “Pretty Boy” but if you look closely at his eyes you can see a spark of deviousness. Until today I had thought this find was just a random occurrence precipitated by poor employee motivation at a particular Starbucks, but then third bag in this morning I find another heavy duty frothing mug! This is no coincidence caused by lazy employees. Obviously Starbucks has instituted some sort of “Starbucks Rewards” program for their eco-minded customers. I thoroughly searched Starbucks Rewards website and can find no mention of this innovative and intriguing program. The program must have been inspired by the “secret menu” at In-n-Out Burger. Let me know if you’re one of the lucky recipients of a Starbucks Rewards frothing mug and please keep this on the QT, we don’t want those not in the know running out and grabbing up all of those valuable grounds just trying to get one!
After the coffee grounds-slurry was in the holes I filled them up with a mixture of the unscreened compost, that I had let the chickens scratch through last night, and bagged cow manure from the home store. I do plan on developing a supply chain for manure in my local area but I aint quite there yet. After mixing well, the resultant slop made an excellent medium to plant my new Comfrey crowns into. All that is left is to extend my Greywater irrigation system down to that area. I think that project is going to wait for fall though, the combination of Vegas heat and Monsoon humidity is stifling. Overall this has been a productive weekend and who knows if the clouds roll in the work may not be finished. I would like to get my middle half-assed-hugel bed surrounded by fencing to keep the pigeons out.
By the way does anyone know an effective way to keep them demon spawned outriders of the alien invasion out of your garden?
This last picture is an update. When I removed my Starbucks Rewards frothing mug from the dishwasher I noticed a very disturbing thing: They personalized it! My name is embossed in high relief on both sides of the spout. How did they accomplish this remarkable feat of personalized marketing? I am confused and if truth be told just a little spooked!