My Montana

My Montana
My Montana

Wednesday, September 7, 2016

Finally... The Milkweed Project is Done

A good part of my summer has been spent growing milkweed and then getting it in the ground. Since it was a project done mostly by me, I did a lot of it before and after doing work with the staff, sometimes making for long days.

I told you the about the fun part - getting the milkweed started here.  But I spent most of August, after my little vacation, planting milkweed. Steve, the assistant manager, tilled a strip of land all around the hill the headquarters sits on,  and about midway up.  I think it is about 150 yards or so and about two yards across. I had to get out the grass, sometimes chopping it out of the area, before digging holes and planting the milkweed.  I planted it a little below ground level so it was in its own little pond or surrounded by a moat. 

We had our planting day after I had about a dozen flats planted and only a few staffers and resident volunteers showed up. We got eleven flats planted that day. Then later I got another volunteer who came and helped me a few days. I think we planted about 5 flats those days and I had a lot more fun. But most of the time it was just me, crawling around in knee pads using a little hand cultivator to dig the holes. I set Labor Day as the last day I would plant, since the plants need to harden off and get deeper roots to enable them to live through the winter. 

Kirsten chopped grass out of the last 50 feet 

Then started planting milkweed

Mike taking a breather from planting milkweed

My mentor volunteer - still pulling her trailer at 84 - was supervisor and waterer

So all I did from September 1- 5 was plant milkweed.  I finished planting the strip around headquarters,  including planting the strips between where the volunteers had planted on work day, and replanting about 30 plants that had died, then added more plants to the ditch that needed plant cover. I planted most of the swamp milkweed there in the lower or shady parts. I  added common milkweed to the high, sunny parts of it and now have milkweed growing in most of the bare places along the ditch. 

Then I spent a few hours cleaning and packing up our planting materials. Now I'm growing back the skin on my knees and sleeping in.  ( I was starting at 6:00 so I could take a midday break or work in something else.)  I'm planning to play most of the time I have left since I've been working at least part of almost every day since my vacation and have way more hours than I need to stay here through the end of the month.

I came to town in time to shop at the Farmer's market.  This month is tomato and squash month in Maine. I got several kinds of heirloom tomatoes. And my first swiss chard and cabbage - going to go home and ferment it. And we had some great music to enjoy while shopping.

The Farmer's Market is pretty small but I usually spend about $20 for fresh produce 

There are several different species of heirloom tomatoes here

These are good enough to paint 

Those are a kind of pepper there in the middle - red and yellow fruit

There are lots of jellies and relishes and baked goods

I am still enjoying the Maine maple syrup I bought the first Farmer's Market Day

I've had to resort to buying eggs here since my boss's chickens were all eaten by foxes

I am going to pack up my bees tomorrow and finish packing up the milkweed equipment.  Then I'll pack to go camping for several days at two locations. Stay tuned.

Live well and prosper dear milkweed plants.