Matfield Green - Our first years

Sunday, March 25, 2007

Sunday in the garden

A wonderful Sunday morning. I weeded (easily) away the Queen Anne's Lace seedlings that Charlie Pilgrim had promised me I'd find in his manure. Lo and behold I have lovely rows of lettuce, spinach and radishes. The peas had already risen above everything else. The cabbage seedlings are lost among the annual rye that I failed to till sufficiently before planting. Ah well. I can buy plants.

I added more peas, onion sets (for green onions), onion plants (for white onions) and more radishes (because Pat loves radishes).

Bill and I spent the afternoon with Roger the Mennonite cabinet maker in Burns, about 20 miles west of us. Using Bill's design as a starting point he gave us everything we'd dreamed of for the same price as Sutherlands in El Dorado was going to do it - and I trust Roger implicitly when he says he'll have the cabinets done in early June. To my surprise (and showing the ignorance of my assumptions about Mennonites) he designed and calculated everything on a sophisticated computer program. Quite the contrast to his wife Geneva's traditional dress.

While we were at Roger's shop I found the first tick of the season on the inside of Pepper's ear. At home yesterday evening I found the second tick of the season on my own outer thigh.

Friday, March 23, 2007

The Dance of the Prairie Chickens

It could have been a modern dance piece with music by John Cage. We, the audience, were there before dawn. The guests of Jane Koger, seven of us including our host, sitting in a small hut - a "blind" - on the top of a hill that Jane had mowed to just the length the birds prefer for their mating dance.

The curtain rose later than usual and Jane was palpably nervous until the first of the male prairie chickens made his entrance about about 7 am, several minutes behind schedule. 6 more males joined him in the course of just a few minutes. Over the next two hours they preaned and puffed and stomped and made their booming noise - a hooting song that apparently serves the purpose of attracting females to the booming ground (also called a lek).

Two females appeared while we were there. They reviewed their prospective mates and decided, so it seems, to shop around for awhile before making their choice.

Jane served coffee and snacks and afterwards we went back to the Tallgrass Spiritual Retreat Center, where Billie Blair cooked us breakfast.

Bill's brother and sister-in-law planned their first visit to the Flint Hills around this event. No one was disappointed.

Jane still has a few spots left in the blind for this viewing season. Check it out at

Sunday, March 18, 2007

Matfield celebrates St. Pat's

It was a big weekend in Matfield Green. We hosted a dinner party (burgers) in our half-complete studion on Friday night. Guests braved the dark to use the outhouse, but otherwise it was very comfortable. Jess & Carol provide the music and I made a big messy cake. My first try at boiled frosting and I don't think I got the sugar quite hot enough.

On Saturday there was a screening of John O'hara's beautiful film about the Flint Hills to standing room only at the Hitchin' Post. Clara Jo poured green punch and the Bud was flowing. The film will be shown on PBS April 29.

Oh and there was a Saint Patrick's Day Parade from the school to the bar before the film. I missed it to finish a good mystery novel. Oops.

That evening some of the town gathered at the lumber yard for Pizza cooked in the big brick oven, while others ate corned beef and cabbage at the Hitchin' Post. I've never liked corned beef much so I wasn't too sad that we had planned the Pizza Party in conflict. But, still, I'll remember next time.

Today I planted potatoes. Peas are poking up and I see some spinach and lettuce too hurray.

Monday, March 12, 2007

Wind Turbine step one

It's a beautful day out. Cool and blue. The air, as I stepped out of my office to put a letter in the mailbox, is a bit manury - thanks to the feedlot east of town. But not unpleasant.

There is wild garlic in abundance and I'm keeping my fingers crossed that my spinach, lettuce, radish, cabbage and pea seeds are getting ready to burst forth as seedlings.

On the house front, we picked out appliances on Friday afternoon, and earlier that day took delivery on our wind tower. The turbine has yet to arrive, but as soon as it does Travis Creswell of Joplin MO will show up to put the whole thing together. (That's Travis in the center in the picture above. The picture shows Jess Dean contemplating how to get the tower parts off the trailer. )120 feet tall, the tower will go on the hill just north of our new house. We will still be hooked up to the grid as backup but hope to generate the bulk of electricity from the wind. Extra energy will be stored in batteries and in a giant hot water heater. Feel free to come over and bathe at our house on windy days!

Monday, March 05, 2007

Things I could write about if I didn't want to go to bed

I find myself (in addition to coaching and planning workshops) swamped in paperwork associated with starting new businesses (I incorporated my coaching and there's the Pioneer Bluffs Foundation to get on it's feet with tax exemption etc.), so instead of rhapsodizing about a walk on Nancy and Jim Wights land yesterday and how GREAT it was to plant peas and spinach yesterday, and how Charlie Pilgrim gave us 5 tons of manure for the garden, I think I'm just going to do some yoga and meditate and then go home for dinner and bed.

More later!