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deluxestogie Grow Log 2017

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OldDinosaurWesH

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Those look like tire track puddles. I take it the big weather event was a little underwhelming. Better underwhelming that the opposite. Are those silver maple leaves?

Wes H.
 

deluxestogie

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Wearing a black cape with a cavernous cowl, and carrying a scythe, I wandered past my suckers. Those that were hideous (more hideous than my grim visage), were destroyed.

Switching to a brightly colored t-shirt and ball cap, I visited the suckers that offered some promise, though slight. Every one of those Medusa stalks was topped. If any survive the weather long enough to show maturation, then I may harvest a single string of mixed leaf. It's down to Piloto Cubano and Corojo 99, and the Piloto Cubano has been slow all season. In addition, any of the VA Bright Leaf that shows a sparkle of yellow will be hung to sun-cure.

I really think that the prospects for these leaves is unfavorable. The best of them probably need another two or three weeks to mature, and I don't think the temps will hold out that long. I've already had some sucker leaf that has suffered frost damage, even though the nominal temps were in the high 30s. (Those near the bottom of the garden slope are in a cold pocket that I know gets colder than the reading on my front porch.) When the temps are dropping quickly at night, because of a perfectly clear sky and a low dew point, the temp in that cold pocket continues to drop for about 1 hour after the rest of the property begins to warm with the sunrise.

Bob
 

OldDinosaurWesH

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Bob:

I succumbed to the sirens' song and took some of my sucker leaf and strung and hung 120 leaves. I only picked what I perceived as the best, and left the rest. I thought it might be a good comparison to my regular leaf. In spite of the nice size, and advanced state of development, these suckers just don't have the same kind of weight or heft as regular leaf. It will be a while before I know anything, so we'll see. Might have been a waste of time and effort, but you never know 'till you try.

There is more out there to pick, but nature might decide for me. The weather man is predicting snow above 3,000 feet, and lows of 36 locally tomorrow night. This would be the earliest snow the ski area has ever seen. And the Elk hunters wouldn't like it at all. (Elk season = late Oct. thru first week of Nov.) Although the Elk themselves might be pleased with the lack of flying lead.

One of the old timers I used to know, told a story about the Elk hunting season of 1957. It seems they got 2 to 3 feet of the white stuff mid-season and many a hunter was stranded. An enterprising local who owned an Army-surplus 1/2 track went up to the mountains and was pulling stranded hunters out at $75 each. A lot of money in 1957. A few refused to pay. The next spring, (probably June) those who refuse to pay returned to the mountains to find snow-crushed vehicles. Those guys were wishing they had shelled out the $75. Annualized snow fall around here is highly unpredictable. Some years 10-15 feet. Other years, very little. Most years the high elevation country (5-6,000 feet) doesn't thaw out till the end of June or early July.

Again, we'll see. If mother nature makes it all go away, no big deal. Interesting, Starbuck Wa., which is 26 miles away and 1,000 feet lower in elevation has already frosted out. I can't figure that one out. Maybe it is because their skies are much clearer and dryer making night-time heat loss greater. My lowest has been 37 degrees. If I were betting on it, I'd say that we will skate on the freeze here locally. At least for another week or two.

I like your Medusa comparison. The only thing that will kill those stalks is for them to look at their own reflection...in the snow!

All in all it's been a good year and I am pleased. I have squeezed pretty much everything out of my little patch that I can. And I have learned a lot of useful stuff. "Learn by Doing."

Speaking of tobacco, (was I? sometimes I meander) I'd better go check on my kiln.

Have a good one!

Wes H.
 

OldDinosaurWesH

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Bob:

If I bet on the weather against myself who makes a profit?

The newly revised forecast is raising the snow level to 3,500 to 4,000 feet and saying mostly sleet. Looks like I'm going to win that bet with myself about not having a killing frost tonight. That's okay with me. I like our nice fall weather. I don't like tire chains, especially early in the year. Those guys in Alaska can keep their cold, thank you.

Wes H.
 

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My baby sister just moved to Alaska. She's a retired Army Lt. Colonel, and is now just north of Fairbanks, where the forecast is for 12ºF over the next week. She says it seldom gets below -50ºF there. That's a comfort.

Bob
 

OldDinosaurWesH

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A Lt. Colonel eh? That's impressive. That's a lot of rank. She must have been pretty good at what she did.

Interior Alaska gets very cold. But interestingly, no worse than North Dakota. I've known people that have lived in both places, and Brrrr! no thanks. The coldest I can ever remember was -25F, and that was an exceptional year a very long time ago when I was a school kid. I prefer our more normal pattern which is freezing at night and above freezing in the daytime. With maybe a couple of weeks of real winter thrown in during January or February. Actually, the most miserable cold I can remember was living in Olympia, the state capitol. That 32 degree weather with nearly 100% humidity seemed really cold to me. Our locally occasional zero to minus 10, with only 15% humidity doesn't seem as cold to me.

My mom was in the WAC's in WWII. She was a PFC though. She drove trucks and staff cars. She shipped out, and spent time in England, Scotland, and France. A great adventure for a 20 year old kid from rural eastern Washington. She used to tell a funny story about picking up a 6x6 load of whiskey at the Johnnie Walker distillery in Scotland. That's right, she had a highly educated left-foot, although she didn't like to admit it. No synchro-mesh in those old beasts.

Meanwhile, the sun is shining, and it's in the 50's. I don't know about those weather predictors.

Wes H.
 

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I experienced -28ºF in norther Illinois. My little farm pond froze solid in about 24 hours. (Ice skating on the pond was like trying to skate on gravel.) I knowingly went camping in -10 (the cooking oil froze, and it was too cold to ignite a Coleman gasoline stove). I've cross-country skied in -5. Those days are gone. My old bones just can't survive cold temps any more.

Bob
 

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Well, since we are telling "cold" stories.. The coldest for me was -40F. I had to do some work inside an environmental cold chamber that was set to -40. It was a tad bit chilly in there, even with cold weather gear on.
 

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Well, since we are telling "cold" stories.. The coldest for me was -40F. I had to do some work inside an environmental cold chamber that was set to -40. It was a tad bit chilly in there, even with cold weather gear on.
That's like Antarctica.

-51F, or -73F with the wind chill.
Wind chill is meaningless at -51ºF. If you've got exposed skin in those temperatures, the only effective insulation for you is a padded cell.

So, enough about cold. I'm eating ice cream at the moment.

Bob
 

OldDinosaurWesH

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It's sunny and nice here. The weather man got it wrong. I'll be able to get more work done in the garden this weekend.

Wes H.
 

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I lived in upstate NY at Fort Drum for four years. One mourning I rolled out of an Arctic tent and it was -19 with the wind gusting up to 30mph. I was decked out in full Arctic gear which worked well but if you stood still for any amount of time ya got pretty cold. At the end of four years they sent me from the freezer into the fire. Ft Kobe, Panama.
 

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Garden20171022_3184_Bob_CubanPunch_600.jpg


I can't complain today. Not about the weather; not about the labor of growing tobacco. Thanks to a forum member, I could sit and read in the dappled shade of a nearly bare, giant maple, while smoking a Cuban Punch corona. Even the subscription to the magazine is the gift of another friend. And today, a Sunday, the neighbors don't run their mowers. It's one of those rare times when I can hear individual leaves fall from the tree.

Bob
 

OldDinosaurWesH

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It looks like life is pretty good on this day. Comfy chair, slick magazine, a good smoke...Or as I like to say, if you don't have a little fun along the way what's the point?

Wes H.
 

Youn

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… dreaming of a world without mowers! :D The obsession with mowing the lawn is truly a global pandemic!

This giant maple looks awesome, how wide is the trunk?
 

deluxestogie

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The diameter is a little over 4 feet, when measured at the narrow "waist" about 15 inches above the ground. It spreads wider above and below there.

So the circumference is about 13 feet.

Judging from the shape of this tree, it is regrown from a cut stump. The shape also makes it difficult to utilize a standard tree age calculator. My best guess is that the original Silver Maple tree was cut down about 150 years ago, ~1867. This would be near or immediately after the end of the American Civil War, in which Virginia fought on the losing side. After the tree was cut, a ring of suckers emerged from the stump, and eventually fused together to form the trunk of this amazing tree.

Bob

Garden20171022_3184_Bob_treeView_400.JPG
 

OldDinosaurWesH

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Yes, but how much cordwood will it make? Silver Maple makes pretty good cordwood. So does oak. The only downside to hardwoods is that they make a lot more ash than softwoods. More shoveling of the stove.

I'ts easy to guess the age of hardwood trees around here. There are no native hardwoods! So if it is around here, it can't possibly be older than 1850's or later. Mostly later. I won a bet on that from a lady I used to work with. She claimed that the Black Walnut tree in her father-in-law's yard was centuries old. I had to forgive her though, as she was from Kentucky where they have really old hardwood trees. I never collected that $5.00.

Wes H.
 

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If you squint, you can see a bark-covered tree goddess standing in front of the tree. Her legs are sunken to mid-thigh. Her arms are raised. You can't see the weapon in her hand.

Bob
 
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