Showing posts from November, 2021

Packing It In

My wife and I made one more quick trip down to the garden before calling it good for the winter. With a new storage facility back at our house on the edge of town, I am going to take over lawn care duties starting in the spring and so picked up a battery operated weed eater to help in that regard. I wanted to try it out and so brought it with me. It made quick work of the weeds around the strawberry beds and underneath the old apple tree. Above is what we refer to as our berry patch which is in the remains of our original orchard where only three decrepit trees remain. Hopefully in the near future there will be strawberries, raspberries, blackberries and grapes growing there. The north end of our east garden was really wet for much of last year and probably a reason why the popcorn crop didn't do all that well. So more soil was added to it to build it up to allow for better drainage. Hopefully that will fix the problem. Above is our new orchard now on the other end of the garden ar


  The backstory. I had just finished up with fitting out our new walk-in pantry when news of Covid in Seattle hit the news. It just hit me that there may be a long period of shut down just like in China occurring here so my wife and I both went out to two different stores that day and stocked up on shelf stable foods. We filled out pantry completely up in one day. As it turned out, it wasn't a week later when our grocery store was nearly emptied by frenzied people stocking up and it would be months before it returned to a fully stocked condition. I was fortunate in that instance though neither of us thought to stock up on toilet paper. Live and learn. I should have made the connection that with more people stockpiling food, that it might cross over into canning supplies for gardens but I didn't. By the time our garden was producing that year and I decided I needed to get some more jars and lids, they were completely sold out and would remain that way for the rest of the year. I

A Bat Story

My wife suffers from the inability to sleep much past 3 a.m. So I was amazed recently when I woke up much later and she told me there was a bat in the house and I hadn't been woken by her terrified screaming. She said she had stifled her screams as she swung at it with a broom. She asked me to hunt it down and remove it. But I've been down this road before and knew that searching for the bat was useless. They are such tiny creatures and can crawl into tiny dark spots and short of completely dismantling the house, I probably wouldn't find it until it presented itself again. I kept my eyes peeled all day but say nary a bat. That evening my wife was disappointed that I hadn't seen the bat and was fearfully contemplating another early morning encounter. It was at that point, I learned that she had actually hit the bat with the broom during her first encounter, hard enough that it squealed at her. At that point, I figured that it had been injured enough that we would probabl

T-Shirt Blanket

 Last year we helped clean out the farm closets of some of my mom's clothes. Some we sold for a pittance at a garage sale this spring, the bulk we gave to Goodwill, but we still ended up with a sack of personalized T-shirts that others wouldn't be interested in but meant a lot to my mom. I wasn't sure about what to do with them at the time but kept them in a sack in the basement.  By chance, a friend of mine posted a Facebook post on a T-Shirt quilt she had made for someone else and I seized the opportunity to ask if she would do the same for me. She was done for the winter but promised to add me to her list the following winter after her garden was done for the year. Well that time arrived and you can see the results above.  I didn't end up with enough for a quilt but if we used some of the backs (or fronts) with no writing or uninteresting writing and mixed it in with the rest, she had enough for a large throw blanket so that is what I signed up for. I picked it up la

Not Much of Any One Thing

 I don't know what has happened this week but it has just flown by and I have little to show for it. Or perhaps I've just haven't taken any pictures of things I have been working on which would give me something to talk about. I think it is a little of both. Looking for a project, I pulled one off my lengthy list and began it earlier this week but haven't taken a single picture. It isn't real glamorous I suppose but I'll try to get one tomorrow when I put the finishing touches on it. My siding came in a full month early! Perhaps it wasn't stuck out in the bay of Los Angeles like they thought it was when I placed my order. Having never installed vinyl in my life and this is vertical vinyl instead of the typical horizontal vinyl siding, I've had to do so research on how to make it work.  I just received a project that I sent out because it is well out of my wheelhouse of skills and it is upstairs sitting in a shopping bag but I haven't yet looked at it

I'm Living In the Future

 As I mentioned earlier, we had an unexpected death in the family and I felt I needed to go and support those who it affected most. They were there for me when my mom was dying and I have never forgotten that. So when word of the death came, I bought a plane ticket and flew into the deep south. I remember my first flights as a young boy flying out west for a vacation with some distant relatives. It was such a treat to sit in a comfortable seat and have people wait on you as you were whisked thousands of miles away in a very short time. This feeling lasted well into my 20's until something shifted in that industry forever. Now, I look forward to flying just about as much as I would a double root canal. The seats are shoved so close together and shrunk to the point where claustrophobia sets in. This causes the passengers to be in foul moods. You are lucky now to get a tiny package of snack mix on all but the longest of flights. Airlines now charge for everything, including bags so no

Landscape Evolution

 Back when we just thinking about buying this house, I walked around the perimeter snapping photos which turned out to be fortunate as I often look back at them. This shows the backside of our garage and the nook outside of our dining room. It has been a problem spot for us to deal with. On of our first projects was to reside the house (covering up the unused side door) and then we planted a bunch of raspberry bushes on the backside of the garage. The first mistake was just that they didn't get enough sun on that side of the house and animal depredation took care of what remained in short order. Weeds soon grew back up in that spot. Although I can't seem to find a picture of it, soon after the above picture, I installed landscape edging and some weed control fabric along with more mulch. The edging helped keep the mulch up on the slope a lot better. I also replaced the rotten logs holding up the earth at the end of the concrete wing sticking our from our house with a small rock

This and That and Adieu

 Life has been pretty busy for me so I haven't spent a lot of time online in the past couple weeks. I have mostly been working on finishing up a big landscaping project that my wife started despite my protests and the weather hasn't been cooperating. I will do a post on it at some point but it will require some time looking through old pictures to illustrate it and I haven't had time to do even that. My brother came up again and we were preparing to spend our week on the farm doing our annual terrace and sprout patrol. For those new to the blog, it means we drive through all the fields fixing broken and displaced tile risers that help drain water away in a controlled fashion instead of eroding precious top soil. Along the way, we look for trees, especially those with thorns, that are growing up in undesirable places where they are likely to cause future flat tires or other damage. However, a family emergency called my brother immediately back home and so I've been out o

The Finish Line

My wife can be impatient at times. I am nearly daily asked if IT is done yet when we both know it may be well into next year before it will be completely done. I know she really isn't referring to that but is actually referring to when she can start moving stuff into the greenhouse side of it. So with that in mind, I made use of a spectacular sunny Saturday, the last one in October and possibly the year, to build the benches inside the greenhouse.  The were a fairly simple build with the structure made out of 2x4's screwed to the walls and topped with plastic deck boards. That was my first experience with plastic deck boards and I must say, I'm not a big fan. They were all over the map in length, which I didn't discover until I had carried them all down the hill and into the greenhouse. That meant that they didn't line up with the support I had carefully measured and placed at eight feet from each wall. They were also not the easiest to fasten down with the blind fa

Side Job In Waiting

  As you can see, I got the other set of doors installed. I went with double doors for a couple reasons. I wanted something wide enough I could drive a zero turn lawnmower through for storage and I wanted something mouse proof. From experience on the farm, mice are unforgiving to wires, plastic and various parts of just about anything when given free rein all winter long. Also, at least on just this side (at the time of the photo), I got everything trimmed out so it is essentially water tight and ready for siding. We haven't yet decided on siding but are leaning towards plastic unfortunately. I'm not a big fan but it will meet our needs. We have a healthy supply of woodpeckers who poked holes into any wood surface on our house for nearly ten years before I got everything clad in cement, plastic trim or metal flashed. Wood siding is definitely out. I don't want to do cement siding like our house by myself and it seems a bit of overkill for a storage/greenhouse building. I do

This and That

Above is the end result of a small project that I began probably several months ago. Earlier this spring we planted a row of blackberry and raspberry plants. Half of the raspberry plants died immediately but the blackberry on the end are thriving and a couple raspberry plants are still hanging in there. They are all thornless varieties and it is recommended to build some sort of trellis to contain the canes and minimize the space they take up. So I built some supports with wire strung between them to support the canes, presumably next year when they get tall enough. To the right is one end of an eventual row of grapes. We only have one plant there and it too needed some sort of trellis to allow it to get up off the ground. But it looks pretty sorry right now and so I didn't photograph it. We were harvesting the first sweet potatoes I have ever grown and I came across a root that looked similar though slightly paler. Thinking it was the mother of all sweet potatoes, I followed it fo