Follow me on Twitter

Monday, June 4, 2012

Garden stuff and photos....

We have been working non-stop on the garden.  We crawl into bed with sore muscles and dirt under our nails.  Today we finished hauling dirt to our site and filling all of the boxes.  I've planted seed or mini-plant in pretty much all of them.  I'm holding on a bit longer to the warmer weather plants, waiting to make sure the frost is gone.  The weather has been a steady mix of light rains and hot sunny warmth.    I have also found that I am a bit obsessed with taking photos of birds so that I can look them up in my husbands bird book. 

One of the weird things I have been dealing with is the massive urge I have to run every time a bee comes to look at my plants.  Most people are unaware that we Inupiat are usually absolutely terrified by the arctic bees.  They are huge and extremely furry and come with their own stereo system.  It's like seeing a flying mouse ...with a stinger.  We run.  I have been training myself not to run, because I would never be in the garden if I did.  I actually came up with a theory of why we are as a whole afraid of these fuzzy beings.  The warble fly actually looks pretty similar to the bees, but the warble flies land on a good host being (usually caribou) and deposit their eggs in the fur.  The larvae burrow into the skin of the animal and live there all winter to emerge as adults in the spring.  Yes.  It's THAT gruesome.  My theory is that to fight this thing off we as a whole have evolved to run screaming without an ounce of dignity to avoid becoming host to these insects.  That's my theory and I am sticking to it.  I know have a mission to take a photo of these bees with a size reference.

Fireweed sprouts have emerged, officially announcing spring.

The empty husks of Stinkweed seeds dot the landscape and make it look fuzzy.

I was surprised to find these little flowers.

every single photo of this bird was blurry because he was moving so fast.  Spinning in circles and bobbing his head.  He looked like he was listening to the wub wub of techno music.

I literally have had a nightmare about this robin.  He comes around every night and digs a bit in the dirt between my garden boxes looking for bugs.  So far he hasn't found the tasty seeds I have carefully planted. 

My garden.  The plastic covered box in the back left is corn, and I have covered up the little seedlings for the night under plastic.  You can see part of the rock wall we are building to the right, to cut the wind down a bit and protect it from the area that had dogs living in it.  I told my helpers that one day they will write poems about that wall...none of them believe me.
Almost completely camouflaged in the gravel in our front yard. 


  1. That lovely lil flower looks like Anemone Parviflora-a small cousin to the Narcissus Anemone we see here above treeline shortly after snow melts off and one of my favorites.
    Your soil there ? Ours here is powdered rock dust, glacial till, with almost no organic material below the thin skin of grasses, etc on top. what's yours like?
    Getting excited seeing your progress !
    Warble flies? Have heard about them, went and looked them up- yuck! Would run like mad too.
    Alaska Pi

    1. The soil is not as bad as I dreaded! We found a nice exposed eroding section near the river and concentrated on just taking a certain strata. There is a layer of sod with plants on top, then a layer of dark rich soil with a bit of sand in it, then it gets rockier as you go down. We found a couple of spots where that good soil layer was thickest and picked axed it loose and brought it here. There was a surprising amount of organic stuff in it, with bugs and everything. I noticed that the willow roots were pretty deep and worked to keep all the stuff together. When I did some oil tests everything was high expect for the Nitrogen which was pretty deficient. I added some commercial organic fertilizer to the soil as we added it to the boxes. I really need to send a sample out to a real lab!

  2. Nice wall! I did some retaining walls for raised beds when I dug my gardens for the first time.

    Don't worry about that robin Nasugraq, he has no interest in seeds. Trust me. The earthworms on the other hand, now they should be very very scared.

    When I was a kid, there were always these HUGE carpenter bees living in my Grandmother's barn. Every time I'd go out to take care of the horses, they would dive bomb me. So I can totally relate to the running and screaming. Totally. I love the honey and bumble bees where I live now. They are so nice and gentle.