Garden

Independence Day Independence Update

It’s been a while since I did an update on our Independence Days project.  Over the last few weeks we’ve done a lot.  But mainly I made up for a bit of garden neglect this weekend.  We pulled lots of weeds.  Lots and lots of weeds.

Rick has been working hard over the last few weeks at digging out the tree stump.  It’s such a big project, but this weekend he got through the last of the big roots and even the tap roots underneath.  He moved it a bit with our 4Runner, but we still need to get the trunk hauled before we can really move the stump anywhere.

I’ve been consumed with baby things lately as I realized last week while finishing up the nursery that we had NO baby clothes.  I mean none.  We thought we were done after Emmett, and since the house is small, we didn’t keep anything around.  Whatever I didn’t sell I donated.  So I did a lot of shopping this weekend.  But it was fun.  Rick and I went together, and I realized that it was the first time that we actually bought baby clothes together.  :) And now, the baby will have something to wear when he or she gets here.

Here’s the update…

Plant something – okra, two varieties of sunflowers, and sad to admit, but beans and squash just went into the ground.  I hope we get something?

Harvest something –  eggs, lettuce, garlic scapes, peas, thinned carrots and onions, got a few (a handful) of raspberries!

Preserve something – quiches and some grilled chicken in the freezer… mainly things for after the baby comes.

Waste Not – compost, scraps to chickens, recycling.  Planned meals for 24 weeks straight, but then I missed last week, and our budget showed this.  But I have a plan going for this week, so I’m back on the wagon.  25 weeks planned this year so far.  I used some scrap wood from the garage to make a trellis for the grape vine, and I sold the gas-powered mower and set the money aside for a new push-reel mower.  It’s been raining a lot so we’ve just been watering the gardens and the lawn by hand as needed.  Also consolidated the freezers and unplugged the upright for the summer.

Want Not – Got new shoes for both boys (again!) – this time from the resale shop.  Got lots of neutral baby items this weekend second hand, and re-purposed a sturdy shelf to be the new changing table in the nursery.  Thrifted some pictures frames for the baby’s room too.

Build Community Food Systems – While my cousins were in town, our CSA started distribution.  This led to a few conversations about food – local, organic, non-GMO, etc.  I was super excited that when she got home, she went shopping and sent me an email detailing out her changes – she went for all local and/or organic produce, natural meats, organic dairy, etc….  !!  I know it’s not building MY community on this one, as they live in Tennessee, but it was really encouraging!

I hope everyone had a great Independence Day!  We celebrated by working outside and of course watching fireworks.  ;)

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Categories: Food, Garden, Independence Days | Tags: , , , , , | 5 Comments

On the Ground

Well – we still have a lot of work to do, but with some muscle and a little help from the 4Runner this weekend, we finally got the tree on the ground!

After Rick got the last of the big branches down on Friday...

We cleaned up the first (and only) injury. Note: Rick is not a performer in Cirque du Soleil.

Then Saturday morning, after cutting and pulling, we hooked up the 4Runner and brought it down.

Hooray!

Categories: DIY, Garden | 1 Comment

Wordless Wednesday: A Few of My Favorite Things

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Categories: Garden | 2 Comments

Tree Update and My Newfound Love of Mulch!

The tree saga continues.  I had no idea when we started this project that it was going to take so long.  Of course, this spring has been unusually rainy and windy, preventing us do-it-yourselfers from safely hugging branches as we cut the tree down.  But I can see the light at the end of the tunnel.

A couple weeks ago we had a friend come help us get some of the higher up branches of the tree.  We were so grateful for Chris’ help.  He is a rock climber and used to work cutting down trees in the forest, so he came prepared with ropes and a super-light chain saw.  He cut down nearly all the top branches for us and helped Rick navigate them safely to the ground.  We have power lines on both the North and East sides of our yard, the neighbors garage on the South, and our own house to the West of the tree.  Not to mention the fence and the chicken coop.  It was quite a feat getting through that obstacle course.  Click the photos for best view.

   

Rick was able to get the last top branches down Memorial Day weekend on his own.  After the branches were down, I ran everything that would fit through the chipper and “finished” adding mulch to the garden.  I think I’m addicted to mulch.  It’s the first time we’ve used it and it looks so nice and defines the beds so well, and seems to be doing its job keeping weeds away (and certainly the mud!).  I’m an official mulch convert!

 

Now all we have left is the trunk and the main limbs.  They are huge, and will require a chainsaw, but thankfully they are out of range of the wires and other obstacles.  I’ve contacted a local mill to see about having the trunk milled into lumber.  We’re still trying to come up with a plan for the big limbs and branches though.  But… we’re almost done.  Almost.

Categories: DIY, Garden | Tags: , | 6 Comments

Weekend Update: Memorial Day Madness?

This past weekend, we tackled more items from the seemingly endless to-do list around here.  The weather was nice for most of the weekend and we were able to get a lot done.

Friday afternoon my mom came over to help me get a few things organized for the baby’s room and the basement spare room.  We sorted through some of our food preservation items and then I realized that using that spare room as a place to store all our outdoor gear and Rick’s tools and workbench wasn’t really working anymore.

So Saturday, the first thing we did was move his work bench, cabinets and tools out of the basement and into the garage.  Rick had surgery the previous weekend and was on weight restrictions for a week, so he, of course jumped into lifting heavy objects again the moment the restriction was up.  He’s getting a pretty cool workspace set up in there, and that made a lot more room to convert the room in the basement into something useful.

We did various projects around the homestead.  I’ve lost count, but no less than five were worked on, and some even got completed.  Some of the projects turned out good enough to warrant their own future posts.  ;)  Rick spent more time cutting down the tree and we cleaned out the chicken coop since the weather was finally cooperative.  We replanted the cukes, since none had come up and it had been about two weeks since the seeds went into the ground.  I picked so many greens for every meal this weekend, and we grilled four times in two days.

I went ahead and put shingles on the roof of the beehive.  Rick’s parents gave us some spare shingles they had up in their garage rafters, and it was enough to cover the hive.  A good thing too, since the naked plywood was not loving our rainy spring.  Then, to be honest we were wiped out.

By Sunday evening, we were both pretty tired.  Monday we did a few projects (a very few) before I looked at Rick and said that I was spent.  Rick was tired too, probably from doing too much too soon.  Did I mention I’m 8 months pregnant?  Yeah.  And Rick just had surgery?  Oh.  Right.  That’s why were were tired.

Rick put the bike rack on the 4Runner and we cleaned up all our tools.  And then we went inside, made some pad Thai and watched a movie in the basement.  I’m pretty sure we’re mad.  Maybe we’ll try to rest next weekend a bit?  Maybe.  Only eight more weeks until baby (plus or minus a couple, of course).  We’re feeling the last…erm… push, if you know what I mean.  ;)

Categories: Beekeeping, Garden | Tags: , , | 1 Comment

Summertime Top Five

To me, this weekend is the official kick off for summer.  To celebrate, here are my top five favorite things about the upcoming season!

Sun-warmed tomatoes, straight from the garden.  We have thirteen varieties this year.  I truly, truly can’t get enough.

Farmers markets  Even though we have a big garden and a CSA membership, I really love strolling around a Saturday farmers market.  We always come home with a treasure.  Like the time we bought five kinds of mushrooms – just because.  Or some late-season strawberries that we had eaten practically before we left the stall.  Amazing breads, greens to die for, radishes in the colors of the rainbow.  And all the varieties of squash at the end of the season.  Such an adventure.

Dining alfresco  Whether an impromptu picnic lunch with the kiddos, a late-night backyard BBQ with friends or an everyday dinner on the back patio.  Eating outside is fun.  Bonus points for cooking outside too.  Sun tea, s’mores, and grilled corn on the cob to name a few.  Through some experimentation, we’ve managed to grill a few somewhat unusual things too, like pizza, biscuits and peach cobbler.

The Fourth of July  I love, love, love the fourth.  A BBQ with friends, sparklers and spinners with the kids, popsicles, watermelon, staying up late.  One year (2005) we saw fireworks from the beach with our friends in San Diego.  Last year it rained, so the neighbor invited us all to pile into his Volkswagen Bus.  We drove to an empty parking lot, popped the top and watched the fireworks display through the window of the top bunk.  We’re hoping for a repeat (with or without the rain) this year.  Every year, I can’t wait to get my patriot on.

Bare-feet and Line-dried Clothes  Ok… I know it’s really two things.  But I love being barefoot in the cool grass.  I’d run around barefoot everywhere if I thought I could get away with it.  And I love the smell of line-dried clothes in the summer time.  Particularly sheets.  We hang clothes to dry throughout the year, but laundry that’s been crisped by the summer sun and kissed by a warm breeze is just better.

What are your favorite things about summer?

Categories: Garden, Simple Living, Top 5 | Tags: , , , , | 1 Comment

End of May Homestead Photo Tour

I thought I’d share what’s going on at the homestead right now.  I was going to do a video tour, but being nearly 32 weeks pregnant with a baby pushing on my lungs, every video take was nothing but me breathing heavy as I walked through the yard.  So it’s a photo tour instead.

Starting just outside our back door with the boys’ hugelkultur.  I didn’t do a close up, but the watermelon sprouts are up.  Next is the chicken yard, then the side yard along our driveway where the volunteer spinach lives, as well as the grapes, garlic and strawberries.  Next come my flower gardens that are slowly getting edibles mixed in.  And the neighbor’s garden that we’ve been helping with.  Then is our main garden and the beehive, which is to receive a new roof this weekend.  Not shown are the tiny leek and kohlrabi sprouts.  :)  Eggplant and carrots are planted too, but not up yet.  Enjoy!

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Categories: Garden, Hugelkultur, Urban Homesteading | Tags: , , | 4 Comments

Thursday Tip: Tomato Tags

Every year, we try new varieties of tomatoes.  They are, by far, my favorite thing to grow in our garden.  But we’ve had a few problems over the last couple of years keeping everything straight as far as know which tomato is which.

I’ve tried sticking the little plant tag in the ground next to the plant, but inevitably the tag gets broken or lost over the summer, never to be seen again until we are tilling in the fall.  I’ve tried writing it down, so we can keep a record of the varieties we love and don’t love quite as much.  But sometimes I forget.

This year, we have fifteen tomato plants, in thirteen different varieties. I’ve decided to try something new.  I think it’s a good idea and wanted to share it with you.

I’ve taken all the tags that came with each little plant, punched a hole, and zip-tied it to the tomato cage of each plant.  I’m hoping we can keep better track of the tags this way (no getting stepped on and broken, or lost in the foliage).  Wish us luck!

Categories: Garden, Thrift | 5 Comments

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