• Bradley Nickell

Summer Plans (How My Health Blog Turned Into A Garden Blog)

Since my post last week I've really taken a step back and took a look at some of the things I'm doing and sort of spent some time re focusing on what my goals are, not just with the garden but also with life in general. I am not one who thinks every aspect of life needs to be planned out but there is a benefit to having some goals. My yard has been kind of a cornucopia of random ideas. They all have or had a purpose there just wasn't enough thought put into them. I've been talking about getting bees for a few years and had every intention of buying them this spring but instead of making a snap decision I think I'll do some more research and then decide if I'm ready. **bee update** On Tuesday I got invited to a bee meeting from a local bee keeper, I'm taking that as a sign. I'll be going to the meeting on Saturday and if after the meeting I feel I'm ready, I'm going for it!! Another thing I've been talking about putting more effort into is starting seeds indoors and see what I need to do to get them the size of the plants in the green houses. I don't mind spending the money at the local green houses on flowers and a few vegetables but it seems like I should be able to grow them on my own. With the right grow lights or heat mats or maybe I'm not starting them early enough but this year I'm going to do some experimenting to see if I can make it happen. Along with the garden, I've always wanted to make a little produce stand and put by the road. I've heard a lot of people say "that sounds like a lot of work, or a waste of time", well maybe it is but I enjoy gardening so maybe I'll put out some flowers on my stand one day and it'll inspire someone else to start a garden, that's how my mind works. If i can help one person...that's my goal. The picture is a drawing of my yard. The grapes have been in that location for 5 years and they do ok until about half way through the season and then they get black spot. As you can see from the "full sun" line, my grapes are in a partial shade zone which could explain the problem. This is one of the many examples of where I'm going to change some things around and try and plan a little better and not just the gardening.



Sometimes seeing it on paper makes mistakes more obvious

I blog a lot about being happy, actually I could probably say my blog is all about being happy, helping people to find their own happy place and helping them make it grow is honestly my goal with my blog. Sure money is great but have you ever seen the look of accomplishment on someones face after planting a garden? I know I've mentioned my mom and dad coming over in the summer and we would talk about the new plants and how the garden was doing, and maybe my garden is some deep rooted psychological mom/son thing? I'm thinking back now and other than a few pictures mom never saw the 800 plus flowers we planted when I moved in, full bloom. In four months I'll be forty nine years old, the last year of the first half of my life, I like to think of it as the learning years. I'm not saying that you don't learn after fifty but I think or I would like to think that most of my major learning experiences/mistakes are in the past. I have a lot of "what the hell was I thinking" experiences in my life. That's how I've gotten to where I am now though. Having a barn full of "farm pets" was fun at the time but it is extremely hard on the financial end of life so it was time to cut my loses and move forward. I have a "wall of hopps" dream, that I planted in my yard, the dream was to make my own beer. It started with buying simple beer kits, and then got a little more advanced, that's where the hopps came in. Well here is the thing, although it is fun to make your own beer, there are a lot of high quality craft beers at my local store and they are actually about the same price as what I was making. So the point again, time to let go of the hopps dream or at least re think it's purpose. (anyone have any hopps ideas other than beer?) The first half of my life I was very money driven, I worked a lot, and some people would say that's great... but is it ? What's the price of watching your kids grow up? These are the decisions we have to make and deal with the consequences later, all part of the first half of life learning. I have my vegetable garden and then multiple flower gardens around the yard, this year i'm going to go through each one and work on areas that need corrected, weed out the bad areas or plants that didn't work in that location and replace or transplant them to a better suited area. A lot like my life, there is one major part(family and friends) and then all the little parts that are smaller but still need to be managed to make every thing work together, wow that was a guru moment there lol but you all get where I'm going. I've been saying for the past few years that at fifty I'm going to....so I have a year to get some things organized.




I read a post on twitter last week that said "you can't eat meat and be an environmentalist", I'm getting really good at not having an opinion on my social media accounts so I didn't make a comment, however that is a typical uninformed statement from someone with an agenda. I guess if making yourself feel better by judging other people makes you happy then who am I, right? I eat meat, I'm trying to cut back because I think for me that vegetables should be the main source of my diet but I have no intention of becoming vegan or do I think that being vegan in any way is going to save the planet. I believe that being more responsible on where your meat comes from will. Factory farming both animal and plant on the other hand....but that's not my battle. **end of rant** I've read some percentages of 60-80 percent of our food is pollinated by bees and again I don't believe that one man can save the planet, but as a meat eating environmentalist (sarcastic jab) I think that my garden and fruit trees would benefit from having their own colony of pollinators. Owning bees to me makes perfect sense in my dream to be more self sufficient, and to create an ecosystem where we all co exist and thrive. Maybe just a hippie dream but I'm going to give it a shot. Today is the day of the bee meeting and also why I've been dragging my feet on finishing my blog post this week, I want to share the experience with other potential bee keepers so... The bee meeting was a very educational experience to say the least. I found out after listening for two hours that I'm not ready for bees so my goal this year is to make a "pollinator" garden and do more research and saving and maybe next year. I got to spend time with my father in law so that was a bonus.


The indoor seed adventure is in progress and even though it looks like the temperatures here are going to tank again spring is coming and I'm getting the cold tolerant plants started now and slowly going to add tomatoes and peppers and maybe some melons. I have a couple advantages this year that I haven't the past few. I planted a cover crop of winter beets which are supposed to take up the nutrients in the soil and then release it again in the spring when its rotting and tilled under and I also cleaned out two thirds of my barn when I sold my animals so I have little hills of organic fertilizer all over the garden that will be spread and tilled in. About three years ago a friend of mine brought over a couple tons of horse manure to spread on my garden and I had an amazing crop of watermelons so that is my hope but we will see.


March is always seems to be the hardest month for me to get through because the weather starts to get just a little warmer and I really get the itch to be outside and then it gets too cold again and its an aggravating cycle. The only thing that I'm hoping for this year is to be able to keep my mind busy enough that I'll forget about watching the days. What is it that helps you get through the month before spring? Do you have any big garden plans, summer vacation, what makes your happy hippie life?


#gardenlife, #bees, #beekeeping,#happylife, #hippielife



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