Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Free Time

Been thinking about this whole deal of being on short-term disability. It's probably more free time than I've had since I left England in early 2000. A week of vacation is all very nice, but four weeks of recovery!? It's quite a luxury for a middle-aged fully-employed person with a family and house to support. It's entirely possible I'll never have such an extended period of paid leisure time again for the rest of my working life. Heck, the way things are going recently, we'll be lucky if we can retire when we're 70. But that's another topic altogether.

So here I am, nearly half through the second week and feeling I should find more constructive things to do. I suppose that's a good sign I'm getting better. I'm sure there's some sewing projects I could get done. My Korea photos need arranging before I forget what all of them are. I could do more writing. Plan ahead on SCD lessons. Try some new recipes.

Unfortunately I have to be very careful about what kind of gardening I do. The restriction on how much weight I can lift (or pull, or carry) limits things like weed pulling. If we get a good rain shower this evening, I may be able to pull some small weeds tomorrow.

Meanwhile, at least I can take care of my veggie seedlings. I was much more organized this year and labeled everything more clearly. I re-potted most of them on Sunday, in hopes of bulking them up further before the last frost danger passes sometime in mid-May. I winnowed down the Italian peppers to six sturdy little plants that I hope will continue to do well. I'm really counting on extra peppers that we can roast, peel and bottle later this summer. Yum.

I'm disappointed about only one lima bean coming up, but I'm going to try planting a few more seeds of it and do a second planting later. At least the soy beans and bush beans did well. I'm looking forward to those.

I'm mostly excited about the tomatoes. I chose three varieties with different maturity dates. Gregori's Altai, a type that's adapted for cold regions, should be ready 65-70 days after fruit set. I grew Siberia one year, which is similar, and it did really well. Then there's a new hybrid of Brandywine and Big Boy, 'Brandy Boy', which should take 75-80 days. The last is a heritage variety, Purple Calabash, which takes 80-85 days. We'll see how it does. I grew it last year and wasn't impressed with the amount of fruit it gave. But there were a few things I did (or didn't) do last year that I hope to correct this time. Such as planting each variety in its own block, and using cages for every plant. Hubby isn't growing potatoes this year, so I'll have more room in our veg garden area to arrange things the way I want.

I'm a bit behind with my seedlings compared to other people, but we just don't have a lot of window space for hoards of baby plants. So we'll see how it goes. There's at least two weeks before I can think of planting things out in the garden. The weather here is still doing its roller-coaster temperature thing. We got up near 80F yesterday, and tonight they're predicting rain and possible snow showers, with lows in the 30s. I don't care, as long as there's some precipitation.

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