Thursday, May 28, 2009

Rainy days and garden growth (was that a Freddy Fender song????)

Yesterday it started storming fairly hard around 4pm, and rained all night. Today it was cloudy in the morning, but started raining around 11 and has been since. We had a small scare of water coming into the basement, but lucily it never got any further than 6" into the mud room. This morning I cleaned out the drainpipe that goes from the patio to the ditch, so it shouldn't be a problem again. But...aside from the minor problems, the garden really needed the rain since we did more planting yesterday before it started to rain.

We put in an entire 45 foot row of tomato's, and around 35 feet of assorted peppers. We use a LOT of each every year since we make all of our own tomato sauces, soup, juice, pepper jelly, pickled hot peppers, pepper spread, and salsa from the rest. There are still three 45 foot raised beds left open, and another flat bed the same length. One of the raised beds will be for cabbages since we have decided to make our own sauerkraut, and another will go to cucumbers and squash. The others are still undecided, though I'm sure we won't have a problem filling them.

Everything we started from seed has popped up and is looking great. The potato's are almost all standing 4-5" tall already, and the beets, turnips, and parsnips are about the same. There are a lot of strawberries that are half ripe. Its soooo hard not to pick one lol. I imagine that after the next few days of sun, we'll have plenty of berries to eat...umm.....I mean make jam. The blackberries are starting to fruit too, and look like we'll get a decent crop this year. Thats of course hoping that the neighbor boys dont feed them all to the chickens again lol.

Tomorrow I am going to bring the wringer washer inside and look at setting up the single basin wash sink that I already have in the garage. Whenever I find a double-basin, it won't be a hard changeover, so for now we'll just use the single. I'm excited for the day when I can clean the electric washer and store it away or get rid of it. The drier will stay for now, until I can get the entire laundry room remodeled and permanant clotheslines and racks made and installed. I want to make overhead drying racks, but as always,height is an issue. I'm 6'3" and the ceiling is 7', so anything hanging will be right at that perfect "bust Chris in the skull" height. I'll try to make something that folds to the wall or raises tight to the ceiling. Yep...another trip to the trusty drawing board.

Monday, May 25, 2009

Great score & long weekend

After Lisa got home from work on Friday, we followed a friend of hers (from work) to her ex-inlaws so I could look at, and possibly take, a wringer washer they had in their basement. As soon as I saw the thing, I just KNEW I had to have it! It looked as though it was barely used, and was kept in a dry basement for all these years. I strapped it to a dolly, got it up the stairs, and loaded into the car. (along with enough flowers and plants to re-work our entire front yard lol) I got it home, made sure that the motor wasn't frozen up, and plugged it in. Uh-oh something was wrong with the rollers. It turned out that a braket was broken that held the lower roller in place, but luckily I had the other rusty washer for parts, so I had it working in just a few minutes. The wringers worked fine, the agitator worked just fine, so I filled it with water and gave it a test drive, washing some rags from the garage. I gotta say, I was really impressed at how well it worked since I've never used one before. Lisa's mom had one when she was a kid, but my mom always had a regular top-loader. (washer & dryer but no toilet-go figure) I scrubbed the whole thing down, and now it's ready to come inside. It needs a bit of paint touch-up in the normal hand-wear areas I would expect, but I'm in no hurry for that. There's no rust at all, just wear from use. I just have to get a double-basin washtub and do some minor plumbing. I'll pipe the slop sink like normal, but run a tee out of the side of the drain, and attach the washer's drain hose with a valve since it's female tapped for a garden hose connection. It will be easy to plug later down the road when the time comes to move, as I can't imagine anyone else using a wringer washer here, lol. ( Thanks for the tip tiny dragon rider lol I know you're reading this)

As Lisa said in her blog, I helped her on Saturday cleaning out her mudroom. I had been putting it off, just because I thought it was going to be a nightmare. wasn't as bad as I thought, though the pile of junk and garbage seemed to be endless. A few loads of junk and 20 minutes with the shop-vac later, Lisa was dusting and remodeling her newly reclaimed space.
Afterwards, I went back to garden work, finishing the last 2 rows of tilling, and started raking the last 6 raised beds. The last 2 got finished today, with the unexpected help of the neighbors 11 year old grandson, with paw-paw's rake, lol. We tend to be kid magnets with gardens, chickens,and bunnies, lol.
On Sunday, I spent a lot of time removing and moving the fire pit we had near the garage. It's now right next to the cookstove, and had a revolving and removable hanger/hook for her dutch oven. For now, its just block with stones piled on and around it, but eventually it will be cemented and wrapped in stone and mortar just like the stove. I can't wait till we can use both, side by side, making an entire meal outside.
This morning, I thinned the turnips that came up so fast, and put the thinnings in the new 8x8 bed where the dandelions didn't come up. Even if we don't eat that many turnips, the bunnies will enjoy the greens. I've already started eating the green onions as always lol I better start putting new bulbs in those empty holes. I cut out some more rougue maple tree's that we always get, cut Lisa enough pieces of wood to make 2 sets of runes, and watched her enjoy walking through her mudroom to use the clotheslines that she loves so much. She made us both salads for lunch, all from greens and onions from the garden already, and later brought me out hot fresh bread with home made honey butter for a snack. YUMMMMMMMMMM
As things wound down today, I had Lisa help me mark out some new garden area's I want to start this week. I'll be adding another 4 feet to the garden, making it 45x65. I marked out another 8x32 strawberry bed, and an 8 foot additon on the blackberries since I have so many new small starts/chutes. We talked about even more strawberries for next year, and we'll probably end up adding another 16 feet to each one of the beds. That will make two beds at 8x48 feet, and the old origional one at approx. 6x15. Just like I always say lol there's no such thing as too many strawberries. Who knows, maybe by then we'll just make it a 32 foot addition. hahaha Things always end up bigger than we initially plan.

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