2019 is a Wrap

2019 came and went, quickly! I am not even sure where October, November, and December went. I am sure there was not a whole lot of nature study going on. There was a lot of baking, there may have even been some canning in there. Even as I sit here and look at my calendar and my daily notes for work, I am not sure I can tell you what I did, There are only 2 sketches in my sketchbook – 1 from the Octoberfest in Salem (Pumpkins lined up on the porch rail) and the other is the start of the fall leaves falling outside my window (I got as far as the window).

As I begin to look through the photos that I took with my phone, I begin to see what I did.

October was greeted with fog and the final push in the garden before a frost or freeze. It was apple harvest time and apple pie filling time. I tried my hand at sugar beets to make sugar – this is a lesson learned. Did not work out so well. Going to try again in 2020 for sure. Ah yes, jelly and jam making also.

November was cats, snow, and Thanksgiving Dinner (Homemade apple pie anyone?) Ah yes, and there was a finished piece of art completed.

My Nature study goals for 2019 were not reached. However, that being said, I did learn not to be so overreaching. Maybe step down to the reality of life and what is really obtainable.

December came and went without much ado at all. The weather was mild and very little snow. I was busy with work, finishing Andy Christmas Present (Quilt), visiting grandma at the nursing home and resting in preparation for the new year on the horizon.

Keep watching… There is an update coming by the end of March!!!

3rd Quarter Check In – July, August, and September 2019

This sums up July, August, and September! Kitters in the basket!!!

In my defense, I started handwriting this post in October.

Summer in 4 lines:

Hot! Hot! Hot!

Weed, Weed, Weed!

Harvest, Harvest, Harvest!

Can, Can, Can!

After being under water through May and June, it quit raining and there were deep and wide cracks in our apple field. But the weeds kept growing…

Review of Goals:

Read Books: Does still reading the paper and maybe a catalog count? Still working my way through Thoreau’s Walden. I still have 17 days left in the year J

Long Term Photo Project: Farming through the seasons. As I scanned back through my photos, I did stop and take a few while on my way from one point to the next. I pulled in the farming lane between two fields and took a few.

Long Term Sketch Project: sketch property corner to corner… I have a few more sketches but not many, I have some photos? Does that count?

Visit 1 new state park, visit one new National Park, Ohio History Project (2 places) and take 2 hikes from field guide: Let me please refer you to my summer in 4 lines above. However, having said that, we did visit Zoar Village (this is part of the “Journey” Project with my mother. Andy and I went to see the “Tall Ships” in Cleveland (on like the hottest day of the year, my phone said we walked over 3 miles that day). I believe this goal will be carried over into 2020 with a more comprehensive plan to make it happen.

52 Journal Entries: written or sketched. I added 5 sketches more during the 3rd Quarter. This brings the total to 45. I also keep track of the weather usually 5 days a week and take some other notes throughout my notebooks and journals.

One plant in garden from seed to plate: Hmm. This leaves me a little boggled on whether or not this was accomplished. I have many plants I followed all the way through from the garden (or orchard) to the counter where they were canned. I believe that counts as completed. I will add a post for this goal before the year is over and let ya’ll decide.

First Quarter Check In

Wow, hard to believe it is May already. It seems like I was just writing about my Nature Study goals for 2019. Well, I have completed a number of written entries in a number of locations (including my notebook on the kitchen counter, my actual nature journal, and even in my sketchbook), what looks like 17 or 18 sketches/drawings and taken a large number of photos, some with film and some with digital. (More images coming in a future post)… 

I have only finished the one book, see post Keeping a Nature Journal. However, I am reading 3 different books at once and I have changed 2 of my books for the year. I am removing Richard Louv — The Nature Principle and  Botany in a Day. Instead I am adding

A Sand County Almanac and Sketches Here and There by Aldo Leopold

(Thank you Steven Rinella from MeatEater)  &

John Muir : Nature Writings: The Story of My Boyhood and Youth; My First Summer in the Sierra; The Mountains of California; Stickeen; Essays

I have not had a chance to get out and go on any hikes yet. But alas, the weather has just now finally broke enough that we can go outside and not be cold. In fact it has been in the upper 60’s and 70’s around here the last few days. If only it would dry up enough to get into the garden.

Leave me a comment and let me know how you are coming along with your Nature Goals for the Year so far.

Here are some of my journal entries:

Nature Study Goals for 2019

I received an email from Barbara McCoy of the Outdoor Hour Challenge titled Nature Book Project 2019. This sent me down an Internet Rabbit Hole, not only on her website, but into many a place.

It appears as if the end of 2018 is around the corner and it is time to begin thinking of goals for 2019. I usually set a list of goals that covers front and back of a page (I still need to see what goals I may not have completed from this year). This year I feel I need to break it down into more manageable pieces. Nature Study is something I have enjoyed most of my life even though most of the “study” part has been hit or miss. During a rough patch last year, my mother suggested instead of just photographing nature, I ought to draw it. It needn’t to be perfect, you never have to show anyone. So, below I am listing my Nature Study Goals for 2019. Make sure to subscribe so you do not miss an update. You never know what will happen.

  1. Choose 5 – 10 Nature Study books: I have only chosen 5, so as not to become overly ambitious. I will post these in a separate post with a little more detail.
  2. Begin work on a long-term photo project –> I am choosing Farming through the Seasons in NE and East Central Ohio. This will be a multi-year project.
  3. Begin work on a long-term sketch project –>  My goal is to sketch my property corner to corner (3 acres). This is a multi-year project also. I think for 2019 I will work on the overall layout of the property. The final goal is to write a field guide to my property.
  4. Visit 1 new Ohio State Park that I have not visited. Reference: Ohio State Department of Natural Resources.
  5. Visit 1 new National Park. Reference: Passport To Your National Parks® program
  6.  Choose one or two hikes from the following guides and hike: Follow the Blue Blazes: A Guide to Hiking Ohio’s Buckeye Trail, Trail Guide to Cuyahoga Valley National Park, or Hiking Ohio, A Guide to the State’s Greatest Hikes.
  7. Complete a total of 52 Nature Journal Entries for the year.
  8. Choose 1 plant in my garden and sketch it from seed to plate (so to speak).
  9. Visit 2 places of Ohio History (there is nature everywhere and many to be found in historic locations) that are found in Ohio History Connection using the Passport to Ohio History.

Leave me a comment with your 2019 Nature Study Goals for 2019. I am looking forward to reaching our goals together.

Be sure to subscribe to my blog to keep up on all the great happenings and to follow along with my Nature Journal Goals for 2019. I promise your email address will be safe with me. I will not rent, sell, lease, or give it away.

I am not compensated for any link you may click from this article. Every one has been checked as the date of publishing this entry. 28Dec2018_JAA.

Coming soon….

Here is where we are with the coming soon….

In the next few months I will be posting a series of posts that have been rolling around my head for the last few months.

  1. 2017 in Review (this may take the form of Month to Month or event by event) — let us change this to 2018 with some takes on 2017.
  2. Lessons Learned from Gardening (2017 completed, 2018 coming soon….)
  3. Lessons Learned from Writing a Masters Thesis — with tips on how to get it done (This will be in the future)
  4. Analog vs Digital. The Pros. The Cons.
  5. Future Blog/Website Goals/Plans
  6. Dear Potential Employers…. and the pitfalls of searching for employment)

 

Lessons Learned from My First Garden

When we moved into our new home, I knew then I wanted to plant a garden the first summer we were here. The purpose of a big garden, was because I could can and provide healthy food for my family. We began laying out plans on scraps of paper here, and scraps of paper there, of what we wanted to grow and how we wanted to lay the rows. We began purchasing seeds (do not wait till time to plan to look for one specific garden vegetable/fruit you want to plant – you will NOT find it) and I was getting excited the closer and closer May came.

But first, we had to have weather to cooperate as we needed to get in and get the soil tilled. This part of the property had been an organic garden many years ago, for the previous owner. However, it had been left to grow over and return to the grass and weeds the same as the rest of the side property. But even before that, we had to buy a tiller. We researched different tillers, the prices, the length and number of tines, the motors, etc.. We finally decided on a Cub Cadet. We anticipate that it will last us many years of tilling not just the garden, but elsewhere on the property should we have the need. (Let it be known, we would rather have a small farm tractor – compact they call them – that would make the tilling twice a year go much quicker). We (ok, Andy) tills the area for the garden twice, once one direction and then once the other direction – May 14th. Between that date and May 28th, the weather was rainy and sloppy and could not get back in to finish tilling. So, on May 28th, it was tilled a final time before planting.

When it had been tilled on May 28th, we planted seeds for almost everything. We had bought the peppers and tomato plants at Green Farms. The potatoes were cut from ones that we had set aside throughout the winter for just that purpose. In other words, the ones that most people throw away because they have the start of “eyes”. Yes, those. We put them in the basement over the winter for the purpose of planting them in the garden. And they did produce. I am getting ahead of myself.

So here is what was planted:

  • Zucchini
  • Potatoes
  • Yellow-Wax beans
  • 2 different types of Green Beans
  • Roma Tomatoes
  • Early Girl tomatoes
  • Big Boy tomatoes
  • Green Peppers
  • Red Peppers
  • Banana Peppers
  • Jalapeño Peppers
  • Burpless Beauty cucumbers
  • Pickle Barrel Hybrid cucumbers
  • Carrots
  • Onions – 2 types
  • Turnips
  • Lettuce
  • Cabbage
  • Pie pumpkins

June 10th we lay out the fence for the cucumbers so they grow up, instead of all over the place. Destany and Andy worked hard on this. So fast forward through June and into July. Throughout that whole-time period, we are all very busy and getting into the garden to get the weeds out is a daylong project every time we are out there. (lesson learned). One day, we were out there so long, I resembled a lobster when we went in for the night. Ah yes, let us not forget the #freerange chickens that are now still not in cages but no longer allowed to wander all over the place. They decided on my first day of canning to “cross to the other side”. We spent over 2 hours looking for them before they finally “appeared” in the neighbors’ shrubs across the street. But, anyway, I have some awesome photos of them in the garden with us throughout the summer.

Harvest started coming in the end of July. It was slow at first, and then WHAM, here everything comes at once. Day after day in the hot kitchen prepping, canning, rinse, repeat. My best friend was the box fan on the small red step stool (more like a miniature ladder) that the cats use in the winder to get on and look out the window at the birds and the chipmunks and whatever else might be passing through. I learned many a lesson from the actual process of canning: make sure you have EVERYTHING you might need BEFORE you start; including but not limited to, jars, vinegar, sugar, spices, seasonings, herbs, etc… and make sure you have LARGE enough pans to heat and/or cook what you are canning.

Final Harvest numbers….. well… it was an amazing harvest season, even though the bean plants did not produce nearly as many beans as we had hoped; however, a friend donated the last of his green bean harvest to us. There were 8 pie pumpkins, but they accidentally were left outside and froze before we could get them canned for pies. We did not have any onions at all, they need to be started like the potatoes, not from seed. The lettuce rotted early on in the year due to the rain we had at that time. It quit raining some time during the summer and we had to remember to go out and water in the morning before the sun came up. And the tomatoes, they grew and grew and grew and started to pull the cages over on themselves, so we took thick wood stakes and tried that. They grew so heavy they pulled those right no over too.

There were so many lessons learned throughout the year from this one garden. How many can you spot? Leave me a comment and tell me some of your lessons learned from your first garden or your many years of gardening.