Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Sold the Rustic Cupboard

Sold the Rustic Cupboard to a nice lady in Texas. I put 2 shelves in it for her. I really like the way it turned out!

To see it before the shelves go to; http://www.etsy.com/transaction/52276138

Saturday, June 25, 2011

It's the Little Things I Enjoy in the Garden

   Every morning Polly (one of our cats) waits for me to water the garden. She sits by the back door and gets excited if I make a move toward the outside world. When I do go out she escorts me meowing all the way, telling me how she's been waiting for me and that she's very thirsty.
That tail is almost in the water! Polly was watching a big night crawler going round and round  with the water flow.(09 photo)

 You see, Miss Polly loves to have a long drink from the hose every morning. With the bubbler on the hose, I set it in a bed, usually the squash. The water runs around the “c” shape and fills up the trough, all the while Polly and Zelda drinking deeply. They love this time in the garden with me, and I love it too and value it greatly. If they are sleeping when I plan to go out, I wake them up. They are happy to sleepily hang around mom and indulge her with their company. (Waking up Polly keeps her from waking us a 4am to go out! We're working on her schedule.)

  Polly and I started this ritual with her first summer. She was curious as to what I was doing out there, and likes to hang with me anytime I’m out there now. The girls get really happy if both Bob and I are out there together.Sometimes Polly isn't around when I'm out there, Zelly loves that!
Zelly in the tree.

  I saw something today I couldn’t believe. I had the sprinkler on in the back yard. The 2 cats were on the fence trying to stay away from the water. (There are 2 dogs next door but they weren’t out.) Zelly was leaning way over, looking over the fence. Polly reached out and tapped her butt and scooted her right off the fence! She made her fall! I couldn’t believe it! What a brat! So Polly has some issues with Zelly. I think she just tolerates her most of the time.

  Polly didn’t want to share her outside time when we brought Zelda home. She regularly kicks Zelly's butt. I spray her with the hose or scold her if she gets too mean. We’re working on that. I play with both of them
out there. Polly’s getting better, it takes time.

The cats like to chase the squirrels but they never hurt them.
  Both cats are special in their own way. I enjoy sharing my outside time with them, and the rest of the critters too. We have an abundance of baby squirrels this year. They are sooo cute!!! They aren’t afraid of me. I was talking to one this morning. I was very close to him, 3 ft; he just sat there looking at me listening intently to all my compliments.

  I love spring! The air is sweet, a nice breeze, a beautiful Colorado blue sky (a deep blue that you’ll just have to experience), the garden is being watered, I’m stretching in the sun, I have projects ahead that make me happy to work on. Life is good.

  This is my church. This is how I pray.

Have a good day everyone!

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Some Thoughts on the Wall of Strawberries

  In reading the posting on the wall of strawberries I realized I didn't tell about the construction of the baskets.
Lining the baskets is thin cork. I found a roll of it at my local recycling store for $6. I think it's cork flooring and is thin. I cut out 3 pieces, with scissors, for each basket and lined each basket with it, then dropped in the plastic bag, poked a couple holes and added potting soil. I added polymer crystals,( soaked in diluted compost tea), to the soil before adding. The crystals keep the soil from drying out too much on a hot day. I have been watering them every 2-3 days, depending on the weather. More often on the hot days.

Here is the bottom of the basket. I cut one piece of cork that went from front to back.
The end piece of cork . The squirrels chewed on a few of these.

Daisies coming up with the strawberries.

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

I See Us Living On a Sustainable Farm

   Visualize and it'll happen, right? I can see it in detail. The cute house.The fenced garden. The veggie’s I’ll plant, the fruit trees, the berries. I have lists already. I’m excited just thinking about it. I’ve been dreaming of a little farm for so many years it feels like it will happen. Bob is on board, seeing the sense in it, I think. Our “Happy Berry Farm” will be overflowing with fruits and vegetables of all kinds. We’ll have some beehives, and a few chickens for eggs.  I plan to preserve most of what we raise for a years supply of our bounty. Sell or trade the excess for meat. We came close with the tomatoes we raised last year. We ran out in February. Not bad we thought. This helped us plan for this year. I’ve planted more tomatoes. Probably too many, but you never know what mother nature will throw at you so it’s good to plant extra if you have space.

  I won’t go into great detail about our farm. I’ll post pictures when we get there!
I keep looking for property now and again. It’ll happen when it’s meant to. We’re not ready yet anyway. No big rush. Meanwhile, I’m a sponge, learning what I can, and sometimes having to relearn stuff cuz my menopausal brain won’t retain like it used to.

  Our dream is crystallizing the more I read and learn. I just started getting Grit Magazine. It’s great!! Articles on homesteading and all that go with it. I’ve been getting Organic Gardening and Mother Earth News for years. They have been invaluable to me in my learning process. Right now I feel like I'm learning skills that will be necessary when we live off grid, or at least on a piece of land. Gardening, woodworking, sewing, cooking, preserving food to name a few. I’ve been doing most of these things my whole life; I’m in the midst of learning woodworking.

  Today I’m going to tackle cutting a piece of plywood, once again. I’ve read numerous articles and watched many videos on tricks that people use to cut plywood. I’ve used many of them with no luck. I get about 12” into it and the blade binds. I have the blade set just below the wood so that’s not it. I’ve tried many methods. It’s the lining for a nice bench I made. I’m determined to figure it out today.
New bench made from recycled wood, so far. The seat will be made from birch (new wood). The back is a twin headboard.
Yes, the dreaded plywood, time for a table saw perhaps.

   I suffer for my furniture. I force myself to learn a new skill with each piece I make. I’ve gotten this far in the project with what I knew. After the plywood lining is in and few more details taken care of I have to use the router on the nice piece of birch (3/4”) I bought for the seat. I don’t like to buy wood but the bench turned out too nice to use old wood on the top. My Dad gave me his router but I’ve never actually used one. I’ve seen them used in countless videos and home repair shows (which I love and have learned a lot from over the years). So, I’m nervous and it’s kept me from finishing this piece. It’s been sitting in the garage for a couple weeks. I turned to sewing for a couple weeks till the frustration turned to determination.  I keep reading this note I have by my computer, Let Your Heart Lead You, Not Your Fear. So here I go!

  Keep working toward your dreams. Do one thing every day toward your goal and it will happen,(even if it's frustrating).We are happy to get up every day and make small steps toward that dream. We have our eye on the prize and nothing is going to stop us, certainly not a piece of plywood or a router! Most days are not frustrating at all but very peaceful. Peace to all of you.

Friday, June 17, 2011

The Hail Protection Worked

  It worked! Yeah!! A much happier story. It started to hail last night. It was raining and I was waiting for the first thump on the skylight. As soon as I heard it I grabbed my denim shirt and ran outside. Just then, Bob alerted me that it was hailing.( He was in his office on a call to Singapore)."I'm already on it", I told him, with scissors in hand. I cut the strings on the tarp and unrolled it. Bob joined me to help, luckily his call had just about ended. I ran to the garage to grab covers for the rest of the garden. I got it all covered!
 I uncovered it all this morning. I have shower curtains hanging all over. I had to hose off the mud, now they're hanging up to dry. I save old shower curtains for this use as well as craft tablecloths, painting cloths.( I get them at the dollar store for a dollar.

  It didn't hail much but we never know that going in. The Live Hail Map can help if you have worries. I pulled it up as soon as I got a text from a close friend that alerted me that we had a hail warning till 8pm. Thanks Melodee!

As you can see the onions held up the tarp, I didn't have to stake it. They're leaning a little to the right today.

Polly is checking out her new tent.

We did put this up for Polly and Zelda, right?

Live Hail Map

Live Hail Map

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Wall of Strawberries filling in!

The wall of strawberries are filling in nicely. They are loaded with berries. I ate 3 today! A testament that the squirrels have no more access. I knew that when I put up this wall that the squirrels would love to help me eat these prized strawberries. They have their own patch in the garden, as a decoy. I small patch, maybe 4'x4'.
Since I feed the squirrels there were lots of babies this year. They climbed all over the wall. They actually ate the leaves. Little buggers. What we did was put up bird netting. It's long enough to drape over the beam above the strawberries. It hangs down on each side. I took cotton string and a baby diaper pin and literally sewed the opening shut at either end. They can get through the smallest openings so I made small stitches. On the back I took the same string and stitched it shut between the wire frame and netting. Under the baskets I took the netting and gently wrapped a bit of it around a 1"x2" and tucked it under the bottom row of baskets.It's long enough they can't get it out to get under. So far so good. I was delighted to eat 3 berries this morning! So here is what it looks like. These don't get full sun. If they did they would be much bigger!
We love to sit out here and share a meal. We can pick strawberries from our chair for dessert!
The fire pit is ready for a calm night.

The beginning of our ample supply of strawberries! I love strawberries so I have to be excited!!

Thursday, June 9, 2011

Big Hail Storm Provokes “Hail Storm Plan of Action for the Garden”

  We had a hail storm last night that wiped out a good portion of my garden. These used to be tomato plants.The onions seemed to make it through. Not many blueberries left. The squash took a beating but is coming back. They're tough!

  After mourning in a hot bathtub this morning, trying to soothe my soul, I came to the conclusion that as gardeners, we need a quick way to cover our gardens.These storms sometimes blow up quickly
or turn from rain to hail quickly, and we need to be ready.  I needed a Plan of Action!

  I know of gardeners who run out in the elements to cover precious seedlings with
 tarps, row covers, sheets or shower curtains, whatever they have. I thought of this last night as we heard the rain turn to a great noise on our roof. I knew the tarp I bought would crush the plants without a way to hold it up over them. I didn't run out. I listened, hoping for the sound to quiet. Around 20 minutes later, it turned back to rain. The hail was about 1/2 " across. Not as big as I've seen here even 2 yrs ago. We had a mini flash flood on our patio. We watched as the rain washed the hail off the patio. I knew the plants were taking a beating. We rushed to get one of the cars in the garage. The plants would have to hold their own. Some will recover. I'll replant the rest.

  After a little research I’ve discovered that Cheyenne, WY has more hail than anywhere in the US. We live 45 min south of there in Fort Collins, CO. Now I see why this is almost a yearly occurrence!  Check out the hail map I found. Very helpful! http://www.livehailmap.com/

 The Colorado websites are suggesting some sort of permanent frame with wire or netting hung from it. Hoop houses work well. Here’s a good website that can help. If you plan to throw anything on top of your plants you need to have some sort of framework in place to hold it up.

My Solution
  Today I rolled up the tarp and secured it at every grommet with cotton string. I did this inside, as it is wet and messy outside. (I have found cotton string to be very strong in the garden.) Here it is in front of the garden.

   I secured it to the fence with a few 3”nails. Basically I rested the rolled tarp on top of the tomato cages.(Which are against the fence, but hard to see. I held one end up to the fence and put a nail through
 the grommet hole into the fence post. The posts were matching the holes till I got to the last one. I confess I put a nail through a new tarp.
 Here is the result. Nothing like a good hail storm to get me off my butt!

  In a storm all I do is run out and either cut those strings or pull the string to untie the bow. (I know it seems girly but tying with a bow is very sturdy. They don’t come untied till I untie them.) Unroll the tarp and secure it to the ground with a few sticks (or tent stakes) through the grommet holes. All the rain and HAIL will run right off. 

   This only works if you have a fence or wall to attach it to. Granted, this doesn't cover the whole garden. I'll be working on that. Here's to a storm we can be happy about instead of worrying about the garden. It's not pretty but if it saves most of my garden, I don't care.

I feel better.