Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Garbage Can Potatoes

Garbage can potatoes sounds like a strange combination of words to me, but after doing some online research into it, I am a big fan. All you have to do is take a 30 gal. garbage can (it can be and old one that has holes in the bottom or a brand new one, makes no difference) and drill 1/2 inch holes in the bottom and up the sides 3-6 inches for drainage. Fill the the can with about 10 inches of soil and plant your starters. As the plants grow keep adding compost/soil/etc. to cover the stem (the leaves need to keep showing) - this takes the place of mounding the potatoes. Once they are ready to harvest, just dump the can out on a tarp and pick out the potatoes. No digging needed! I've read that this works well seeing as how potatoes like loose rich soil, they can't be planted in the same soil year after year because of decease that may occur and it saves space in the garden from these "space hogs." I am very excited to try this for my potatoes and sweet potatoes.

Monday, April 26, 2010


What an evening. I got home from work and went right out to the "garden" or future site of, and started cutting sod. This would be easy with one of those nice little sod cutters, but no - I'm doing it with a flat shovel. After I cut the outer line on 3 sides I started pealing the sod back. I actually got some pretty nice sod rolls. They were cool.

When Scott and the kids got home, the kids joined me in the sod cutting department and Scott started sodding the spots where we had stumps taken out. We were glad that we could reuse the sod instead of just composting it. Now I just hope that it will take and thrive and not just die on us.

While pealing sod, I discovered an oddity in our yard/future garden site. In one area I was hitting hard spots that just wouldn't peal with the shovel. Come to find out.... that area is riddled with garden stakes. Who puts garden stakes in the middle of the yard that are about 1 inch under the sod. Very strange and frustrating. I think I pulled up about 6-8 of them in 15 minutes. At least I'll get to reuse those also. :) We got a lot done tonight, but we have a really long way to go. Hopefully tomorrow when I get home from work I'll be able to get some more sod cut and rolled.

Once all the sod is removed Scott is going to try and use our 4Wheeler and the plow attachment to slowly level the area an move the top soil around so we won't have to do as much shoveling. I hope and pray that this works.

Sunday, April 25, 2010

Garden Posts

So tonight we decided that were are going to dig up and level the garden area by hand and not rent a bobcat to do it. Saving money is the key! So we marked the corners and started a couple of test holes to see how much good soil we had. To our surprise we have about 6-8 inches depending on the spot. NICE! Tomorrow when I'm done with work I'm going to start the sod removal process and see how long that will take in a 30' x 30' area. I'm excited that we are actually breaking ground on this part of the project.

Friday, April 23, 2010

Gophers and Lilies

We started this morning cleaning up the "Gopher" mess in the yard. I didn't get all the grinder holes filled in, but I got a good chunk of them done. Adin insisted on filling holes the way dogs create them. The dirt was a flying, I wish I would have gotten a picture.

After I had enough of the shoveling and raking we moved on to finishing the lily and day lily beds. Needless to say it was an all day project, I got lots of sun, I'm a bit sore, but they are all in their new homes and it is really starting to look nice. I am bummed that I had to leave a 4 foot section in the middle of the day lily bed so Scott can dig a trench to lay the piping and such for the outdoor wood furnace. Once that is done than I'll fill in that area so it won't look so strange.

Once Scott got home from work this afternoon, we started to map out where the wood stove shed/green house/wood storage/chicken coop is going to be. I'm not really sold on the the layout that he has in mind yet, only because it is going to be a long building and I really like the view into the valley. But - with the topography of our backyard we are going to have to dig into the hill and the building will be set about 3-4 feet into the hill to make it lower, so the obstruction won't be as bad. I'm going to sleep on it, but really that is how it will have to work I think.

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Stumps Gone! Lilies Here We Come!

Today the guys with the stump grinder finally were able to come and get rid of all the stumps. It was a pretty cool contraption and Adin was in heaven. BIG MACHINES! The grinder was attached to the front end of a small dozer. Little boy's dream! Adin kept saying that "This is the best day ever!" After they were done grinding, our yard looked like we had a major gopher problem.

Now on to my Lilies! As soon as I got home from work, I started in on amending the soil in the lily bed and then started transplanting. All 3 kids were pretty excited to help also and were so cute at how they handled the bulbs, especially the "baby" ones. Lizzy is now my expert lily girl. I worked as long as I could and got 80% of them moved (not counting the ones at the old house) and I had to give it up and come in. I'm glad that I have tomorrow off and can finish this up.

Monday, April 19, 2010

Dusty Weekend

This was a very fun but dusty weekend. We went to Ashland on Saturday morning (after seeing Scott's turkey) to help Greta and Nico with some sanding of their old wood floors that they discovered under the carpet they took out and to start all the seeds for our gardens that need that indoor start. (seeds finally made it) Needless to say there was a lot of dust and sawdust flying around the living room, dining room and kitchen from the sanding and a lot of dirt flying around outside because of the wind. Yikes. But we had fun. I had lots of little helpers (5 of them) when it came time to plant the seeds. Adin, Lizzy and Tristan were the ones who helped the most. It was pretty fun. Now the seed trays are all snuggled in Greta's green house germinating away.

Lizzy and I did a lot of Egg picking in the chicken coop on Sunday. She was a little tentative, but did get brave enough to pick a couple up on her own. Hopefully she'll keep up that interest when we get our own chickens in the future.

While we were gone, Scott when and picked up our new (new to us) mower from our friend Marc who no longer needs a rider with a bagging system. So when we got home on Sunday, the kids helped Daddy put the bagger on the mower and I started mowing, which was also very dusty. We are in desperate need of rain and chopping up all those dried up oak leaves was a bit dusty also. My eyes still felt like sandpaper when I woke up this morning. But I got a good start on the bagging of the leave. There is still a lot of racking that need to be done where trees came down (I'm not going to mow over all those sticks).

Rumor has it that the tree service with the stump grinder will be coming Tuesday or Wednesday. Very exciting! Then I'll be able to get those flowers moved and start the layout of the garden and fencing. I'm so excited! This could be a busy week around our house.

Saturday, April 17, 2010

A Turkey, A Turkey, Daddy Got A Turkey!

Very excited squeals this morning when we got the call from Daddy saying that he got his turkey. The kids couldn't get dressed fast enough to go and see Daddy's turkey. Then we waited, and waited, and waited for Daddy to come home. The kids were so excited to see it and to feel the soft feathers. Elle is ready to go turkey hunting with Daddy some day. Being only 2, she has a few years to wait. Now Daddy is going to be helping Uncle Steve this next week to find and call in a bird for him, like Uncle Steve did for Daddy.

Monday, April 12, 2010

"Heart" Rot

While inspecting stumps of the trees that we have cut down during this project, the kids and I have discovered that almost all of the trees have had some degree of heart rot. There was one stump in particular that I found to have very interesting heart rot. I couldn't believe that it was actually in the shape of a heart. The kids thought that it was the coolest and I was just amazed. This actually was a pretty big tree and I was surprised that there wasn't a ton of good wood left to support that large of a tree, but I enjoy this stump and smile every time I walk by it and am happy that I am able to get a glimpse into some of God's more interesting and different handy work.

Sunday, April 11, 2010

Burning Hotdogs and Marshmallows

To night we had our first campfire here at the new house. I had originally thought that I would put the fir pit on the edge of the yard and do some fun landscaping around it, but I finally decided that having it closer to the house (about 30 feet away or so) would be more practical for campfire meals. So I put it in the same spot the previous owner had it.

I asked Adin what he wanted for supper and he said that we should burn hot dogs and marshmallows, so that is what we had, minus the burning part. That is just what he calls roasting. We have a small over the fire hand grill, so we used that for the hot dogs, which is much quicker than making the hot dogs on sticks.

I was impressed with Maya. I thought that she would be trying to eat off of every one's plates seeing as how we were sitting on stumps or the ground, but she just sat there waiting like such a good girl. All in all it was a fun and sticky night with the 5 of us and I hope that we will have many more of them.

Saturday, April 10, 2010

The Cistern

After lots and lots of digging and about 20 really stinky 5 gallon bucket loads of gross muddy water, the cistern was ready to get yanked out of the ground. However, Adin and my attempt to pull it out with the 4wheeler didn't work. We just could not get a grip on it at the right angle with the cable. Adin did get really good at controlling the buttons for the winch. When Scott got home he got out his drill and drilled a large hole in the side and hooked the cable to it and it popped right out of the ground.
This is the cistern upside down in the yard.

Now all I have to do is finish filling up the holes and we'll be good to go. I think that we are just going to leave the plastic pipe in the ground and not dig it up as it goes under the deck and all the way to the house. Digging under the deck doesn't sound to fun to me.
It was pretty cool once we got the barrel out Adin said, "look mom, there is a worm." Well his worm wasn't really a worm after all. It was a skink that was about 3 inches long at most. Scott jumped in the hole and grabbed it so the kids could get a better look. The skink's tail was the coolest color purple, which Adin loved as purple is one of his favorite colors. We let the skink go in some bushes on the edge of the yard. The kids loved seeing it and kept going over to where we let it go looking for it.
Tonight I also tried my hand and splitting wood by hand with my friend "the Maul." I knew it was going to be hard and the wood was green which make it even harder, but after many attempts I did get one chunk split. I need a lot better aim (I think - no - I know I made Scott nervous.) I figure that if I keep working on splitting by hand (as we do not have a hydraulic splitter yet) I'll be in pretty good shape by the end of the summer with all the wood we have that needs to be split. Or - I could have a really messed up back and shoulder (old injuries!) I guess we will see. It was fun though.

Thursday, April 8, 2010

Waiting on Seeds

The seeds for the garden have been ordered for over 3 weeks now (almost 4) and they still aren't here. My sister and I were hoping to be able to start some of them this weekend. Guess not. Maybe next weekend.

The work in our yard continues with more trees being cut up and hauled away to open up the space to let the sun into the yard where the garden will grow. I won't be doing much of the lifting and digging for a couple of days, seeing as how I somehow messed up my back on Tuesday. This is a major pain in the butt (and back) and a not so fun set back. At least I'll still be able to put out my bird feeders tonight - provided that the bears stay out of our yard!

Thursday, April 1, 2010

First Day of No Socks & Turkey Reports

Today I broke out my flip flops to wear to work. (I'm surprised that it has taken me this long to break them out this year.) I must be whimping out as I get older. Who knows?

Spring is definitely here as our household enters the tradition of the "Turkey Report." This goes on between Scott and I and our friend Steve as the guys start preparing for their upcoming Spring Turkey seasons. I usually hunt also, but this year I have way to much stuff at work to worry about to be able take time off for Turkey hunting. I'm a bit bummed. Oh well, I can still get up just before light and sit out on our deck to see if there is anyone out there "Talking." Can't wait to hear that gobble in the morning again. I had my first report to Scott this morning as I came across 2 jakes and 2 hens on my way to work. Pretty cool. Scott's season is in 2 weeks so we'll hit it hard core next week listening in the morning and at night to see if we can put any birds to bed.

Yesterday I was off from work and the kids and I spent most of the day outside. We did some more hauling of wood and raked up leaves. We uncovered my Hosta beds which are in the terraced garden along our driveway leading up to the house. We got most of the backyard raked up from the leaves and sticks that came down when we took that back tree down. The kids took turns raking with the little rake; Adin and Elle have the concept of raking into the pile, but Lizzy had her own ideas yesterday. :)

I also started on the process to empty and dig up the buried cistern that we found in the back yard that used to collect rain water. Great idea, but not a great spot when you have 3 small children. We don't need anyone falling in. This system has not been in use for about a year at least (or when ever the previous owner put in the new gutters on the house) seeing as the piping isn't connected to any downspout anymore. So... when I opened it yesterday to see if it was still frozen or not I found a handful of dead, gross mice in various stages of thawing. Most of the water was good to go, I was able to haul out 18 - 5 gallon buckets out of there until the ice chunk was too big to go any further down in the barrel which is cone shaped. So then I just started digging around the outside in preparation for hauling the slimy thing out. I'm all for collecting rain water for watering gardens and plants, but when it has been sitting so long and has become a mass grave site for rodents, that is when I say OK time to get ride of the thing. I am however going to try and do a regular rain barrel for watering in the future, just not a buried one that my kids could fall into.