Thursday, April 28, 2011


I mentioned in my last post that the bosses, Mitch and Alice are back on the Ranch. They're very nice people, but not the kind to give out compliments or positive reinforcement. You'll know if they're unhappy, but otherwise, no news is good news - just like many other employers. No big deal. I often forget to point out the good when I'm running a project, too!

This morning, Alice came in to check on things - and she said, "You know, this is the best the greenhouse has ever looked this early." Woo-hoo! Score 1 for Erin! (Not that I'm competing with anyone but myself.)

J.W., the ranch manager, came in and checked in on my progress as he usually does, looking for things that he can set me to work on or ask me to keep up with. As usual, I was way ahead of him. And then he said something like, "I usually have to remind our Greenhouse Gardeners to take care of the weeds - they're normally a problem. I don't even have to remind you to do that!" Mental pat on the back, and the big, imaginary scoreboard over my head tallied "2 points" for the day.

Sometimes it's nice to have positive reinforcement. :)

I spent most of the day pruning back the forest of tomatoes in the greenhouse. When I say forest, I mean forest. I've planted 22 big tomato plants in the raised beds. There are still about 35 more plants sitting on the tables in there, waiting to get planted or given away. It was my first experience pruning tomatoes, but I think I did a good job, removing excess new growth to encourage fruit production (yes... it's a FRUIT). When you prune, the plant uses it's energy in another way - either growing in the direction you want or producing fruit or flowers. Because it was delicate work at times, I chose not to wear gardening gloves so I would have better dexterity. Unfortunately this has resulted in my hands looking a lot like my dad's (he's a plumber). I've scrubbed and scrubbed and can't get them clean - they're literally stained. Eww. I'll just keep scrubbing for a few days.

The tomato forest. This is about a third of the tomatoes in the greenhouse. There are two varieties in this photo: Old German (on the left) and Brandywine (on the right).

And I've started planting the big whiskey half-barrels that will go out around the property. Since I'm a visual person, I thought I'd show you my process using my flower flashcards that we made.

Notes and Flashcards for this barrel. See if you can read my chicken scratch. If you click on the photo, it should show up larger.

The barrel, once planted. I'm sure you can't tell what plant is what... I'll have to update as this one grows it should be bursting with green and color!

Tonight? A quiet night. Chad is in town, and Alice cooked a big dinner for us. She and Mitch will enjoy their meal at their house, and Jason and I will have dinner alone. It's sort of like a date night on the ranch. :) (Although with the NFL draft starting, I doubt it will be a very exciting date night!)

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