Friday, April 21, 2017

The foundation is done!

When we woke up to perfectly blue skies and sunshine, we decided to work on the greenhouse.  We finished the cement block walls the other day in a driving rainstorm, so we were happy to see that the rain didn't disturb the last tier of blocks that went in while it was pouring. We put lag bolts in at intervals around the perimeter so that we could put a sill plate on top.
Ron drilled holes in the 2x6 treated boards that we used for sill plate, and I tightened all the bolts while he got each new plate piece ready.
Next step:  squaring the metal for the beginning of the greenhouse onto the sill plate.  Fortunately, the foundation was level all the way around, so we didn't need to make any adjustments to that.

Ron left to tend his mowing, and I used the tractor and shovel and rake to fill around the foundation so that the greenhouse will start at ground level.  I still need to bring gravel all around the perimeter, but the foundation is done.  Now the fun begins as we put together the Chinese puzzle that will become the greenhouse.

Thursday, April 13, 2017

The Great Greenhouse Project Continues

After watching the original greenhouse site for a couple of months at various times of the day, we realized it just wasn't sunny enough where we had it.  So the project got a lot bigger:  first dig a hole for the new spot (I'm determined to have it partially underground), then fill in the old hole, reroute the water line, then line the bottom with gravel, measure it from every angle, and level it.
More trips to Home Depot for more cement block for the foundation.  We are going to do three tiers of cement block, or a total of 90 blocks. (That's a lot of lifting and toting!)
We decided to order an 8 x 12 greenhouse from Costco, so it was really important to get our foundation the proper size.  We waited for the greenhouse to arrive to be certain of the dimensions.
So here's the greenhouse....yikes!
Including nuts, bolts, brackets, and panels, there have to be a thousand parts and pieces.
Fortunately I have a very handy husband, so the project is once again underway.

Monday, April 10, 2017

Making Good Use of A Sunny Day

When you have a tractor, there is always a job to be done.  On Sunday we helped my sister and her friend clear brush, move a greenhouse, and smooth out a level spot for a new building.
You can see the side of the greenhouse behind the back of the tractor.
The greenhouse is about 50' away from it's original site, in a new sunny site where we cleared the brambles for it.
I have to admit I had kind of forgotten about all the seeds I started in my mini-greenhouses I made from Costco fruit containers.  I was horrified when I checked the "boiler room" where we have our hot water tank and I had put them under a grow light a month ago.
They were pathetically dry, very leggy, and obviously needing transplanting.  
Even though it's way too early to plant beans outside, I didn't have much choice, so I planted the beans in my raised bed, and the peas with the row of blackberries I'm trying to start.  Now we really have to hope for warmer weather and no more frost. 

Sunday, April 2, 2017

Great Grand Babies and Baby Showers :)

Granddaughter, Sara, with husband, Dan, and the subject of the party, beautiful little Adeline.
Auntie Amy and baby Addy.  We almost had to arm wrestle to see who got to hold her next.
Fortunately there was more than one baby to hold - Tina and Jesse with Sammy - 3 generations.
Makes everyone think about having one!
Blue eyed beauty cousin - funny how the toddlers immediately find each other.
Sunshine and warmth made for a perfect day for a party!
Tina knows how to throw a party!
Food, good friends, and fun games.  I especially liked the "Diaper raffle" where everyone brought various sizes of diapers and a name was drawn for a prize.  Fun and Practical!
Even Jasper had fun because he got to hang with Jesse and Randy, "the big boys". 

Monday, March 6, 2017

Another Quick 8,000 Mile Trip

When we left Washington in mid-February to go to our Georgia winter home, we expected to see sunshine as soon as we got through the mountains of Oregon and Northern California, but this is what most of our trip through California looked like.
After months of rain, everything is flooded - rivers, streams, fields, orchards, parking lots, and some roads.
We got a tiny peak of sunshine and blue skies as we left Bakersfield before the clouds rolled back in and the rain started again.
Still under the Jet Stream in Texas, we encountered an amazing storm with lightning strikes that covered the sky and then this vertical rainbow.

On the positive side:  gas prices kept going down the further east we went, and we finally left the rain behind when we hit Mississippi.

Back in Georgia - sunshine and warmth, and spring flowers in bloom.
Every night we had a beautiful sunset to enjoy.
But we also had a years' worth of deferred maintenance, so we worked hard for a week getting everything back in order.

The trip home was much less stressful until we got to the Siskiyous, where we had some serious snow coming down.
It was snowing hard when we got home about 8 p.m. but fortunately, it wasn't sticking to the ground.

Saturday, February 11, 2017

Getting Ready for Spring

I used to be annoyed by all the plastic containers - apples, eggs, tomatoes, nectarines, mangoes - everything seemed to be packaged in wasteful plastic.
Then I noticed they looked like mini-greenhouses.
Not only were they available in multiple sizes, they were easy to stack until the first seeds sprouted, and I could water them easily without them dripping all over my window sill.
I can use a sharpie to identify individual cells so I can plant multiple varieties of tomatoes in one flat.  I could also note the date that each container was planted.

As the seeds sprout and grow too tall for their ceilings, it will be easy to cut off the top of the carton, and keep them under a grow light until I'm ready to plant them in the garden.
In the meantime, my windowsill is full in an effort to keep me from going crazy when we have snow on the ground.

Friday, January 20, 2017

Lake Ice Update

After ten days of below freezing weather, the lake froze completely to a depth of about 3".  It was strong enough for me to walk on it without danger, but I didn't venture too far from the dock.  The lake is fed by springs, so there are definitely warmer spots where the ice could be thinner.
The thick ice lasted for one day before we had a warming trend, and the ice started to weaken.  When the ice first started to recede, it looked like a giant had created a jigsaw puzzle on top.
This is the last of the rocks we threw on the ice earlier.  All the others have already broken through.
Now the heather is in bloom.  The ice was a nice novelty, but we're ready for spring.

Sunday, January 15, 2017

Winter, Winter, and More Winter

The saving grace this winter has been the sunshine!  It's been cold for what seems like a month now, but we've had sunshine most every day, and I've been able to get out for a walk to enjoy some of the sights that only winter can bring.
The lake is completely frozen.
I've been chopping a hole in the ice by the dock to check the ice depth each day, and it has grown to about 2 1/2".
We always leave at least one snag tree in the woods for woodpeckers, and possibly bears, and for eagle perches.
This phenomenon is called "hair frost".  It only occurs on dead wood that has a certain sort of bacteria.  It is very delicate and fragile, and quite beautiful.
And, the cold days are perfect for baking and reading.  However, I'll be really glad to see spring and warmer days!

Tuesday, January 10, 2017

More Winter

January 8 - As the temperature warmed up to 38 degrees, we had hope, but also a new level of misery as the solid sheet of ice on the front walkway became treacherous.
By January 10, the tiny bit of snow by the truck is all that's left of the snow and ice.
Except for the lake - someone threw a big boulder onto the ice, and it is still strong enough to hold the rock up.
There are air pockets under the ice, and when I threw a pretty big rock out today, it bounced without breaking through.  I think the ice is still about 2" thick on most of the lake.
But we can see green again, and the sun is shining, making it feel positively balmy and springlike outside today.

Thursday, January 5, 2017

Bird Food Wreath

My friend on Facebook posted this nice short video for making a wreath out of bird seed for the birds in your yard.  I'm a sucker for anything that looks interesting so since I had most of the ingredients, I immediately set out to make one for the hundreds of birds in my yard.
Here's the recipe:
2 packages of gelatin - stir into 1 cup warm water
Add 6 tablespoons of Karo syrup (I didn't have that, so I used honey)
Add 1 1/2 cups of flour
Add 8 cups of bird seed
Mix well - (it will be a bit dryer than pie dough)
Liberally spray a bundt pan with spray oil and then pack the bird seed mixture into it

I put a plastic bag on top so I could press it firmly into the pan without having the seeds stick to my hands.
So pretty - I hung it on the line with my other feeders, where it stayed for about 2 minutes
Before it was in pieces on the ground - Not sure if it fell from it's own weight or if the first bird that landed on it caused it to break apart.  It was very heavy and I wondered about it holding together.  I'm sure the birds won't care if it's in pieces - I scattered them so that the "boss bird" won't keep it all to himself. 
This guy showed up last night, so I'm sure the remainder of the bird seed wreath won't last more than a few more hours.  But it was fun while it lasted!