Tuesday, September 9, 2008

June 3rd 2008

Above I posted a picture of the cold frame I finally got completed a few weeks ago. It's set in place at the end of the dogs fence, facing south. The whole thing cost me a grand total of maybe $16, and thats only because I had to buy the hinges and the thermometer. Once it was set in place, I marked the location in the sod, pulled the frame back out, and removed the sod. I screened the soil from the sod, added a good mix of compost, put the frame back, and put the mix inside. I decided to give it a try just to see how it worked, so since it was nice and sunny, I closed the lid all the way. It didnt take an hour and the inside temp read 120 degrees. It could have been higher, but thats all the thermometer goes to. Yep, I think its gonna work just fine.
I got 12-13 more windows last night from someone else on Craigslist..more freebies! I'm going to use some of them to make another cold frame sometime this summer. It won't be quite as large, and will be strictly for greens for the future rabbits. I'm also going to use maybe 2 more of them to make a solar dehydrator. I've had plans for one for quite a while, but just didnt have the materials. The rest of them I'll offer to folks on the local homesteading group that I joined.
I've yet to get the "playhouse" that I was offered. I just havent had the time and the van's been pretty stuffed all the time. This lady brought in a picture of it to Lisa, and I gotta say I was disappointed. Its not a nice kit one, its made from 2x4's and OSB,grrrr using OSB outside. Ah well, I'll still take it for the materials. At least its a start.
As of now, the garden is ALMOST all in. All thats left is the last 40 foot row of sweet corn, ( I had more sod to pull for that), a few tomato plants, the melons, squash, and Lisa's birdhouse gourds. The new apple trees didn't skip a beat on the transplant, and are looking great. I lost one of the grapes and one of the blackberries in that last snap of frost we had, but they'll get replaced sometime soon. I've been out back picking the buds off the strawberries like mad. This years new 50, and the 40 cuts from runners are looking good and should produce well next year. Last years plantings are hanging full of green berries, woooohoooo, won't be long now!
We had friends in from out of state all weekend, and I made a kind-of rough grill/fire pit from cinder blocks and burned in it every night, thursday-saturday. I've been playing with the idea of a permanent one for over a year, and I finally settled on a plan. It will be a grill with 3 different height positions, and fire up into a chimney out of block and brick. At Lisa's request, I'll make something to hold & swing a dutch oven into it as well. It will have a ledge in the back like a normal chimney, and I'm seriously thinking about bringing it back out to a door in front for a smoker, though that idea isn't totally carved in stone as of yet. The whole thing will be made of cinder blocks, the blocks will be filled with sand to retain heat, covered inside with brick, then the whole thing will be wrapped in stone. I'm going to build it on the back patio area. Its a nice area to sit and lounge, and convienent to the backdoor for anything we're doing out there.
On another note, I have a friend that I just got back in contact with after almost a year. He moved and is buying a place not far from me, seventeen acres! Small brick house, but built really well, and the basement level walks right out into the back yard. The Tuscarawas river runs through the back, and makes about 8 or 10 turns on his property alone. There is a lot of nice old wood fencing he is tearing down that he offered me and I'll more than likely take. ARRGHH I'm happy for the guy, but on the other hand, I'm jealous as hell. Its my dream place. All he plans to do is level things out and keep it nice, and just put in a small 12x12 garden. ARRGGHHHH what I could do with all that space!!! It's obvious by all the wood, barbed wire, and electric fencing that one of the previous owners had quite a bit of livestock, and he is tearing it all down, grrrrrr. Nice big old barn in the front, all that land, yep, I'm jealous. Not to mention the river and allllllllllll the deer tracks back there. I did manage to get a few things from him though. He's one of those people who likes to live "in the country" and have all the "antiques" out for display. As soon as I pulled in, I saw some things hanging on the barn that I had been actually looking to buy, I just hadda laugh. After a bit of talk and swapping for some camping gear for his son, I came home with a cross cut saw, corn knife, splitting maul, and a nice railroad style lantern. As we were walking around, on the way back I almost tripped over something in the brush, it was a small cultivator for a lawn size tractor. He apologised and said he planned on taking it to the scrapyard....wrong lol it went in my van. I had to replace a few small parts, which I got for free from the handy mower-fixin' man next door. I hooked it up and gave it a whirl through the front bed thats set aside for the melons and gourds. That thing works pretty good! It needs a little adjustment and oil, but it'll be ready for use hopefully this week. I know, I have a tiller, but its just too cool to pass up. Plus, it'll hook to the International tractor whenever I can get someone with a trailer to bring it here. So what the hell, I have that now, and there is an old disc at dads that I'm gonna take too. Now all I have to find is a small plow and I'll be all set. I dont really "need" this stuff, but I want it. We don't plan on being here forever, so when the time comes we can make our move to our own dream place, I'll have more things ready....and these kinda freebie things I just can't turn down.

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