End of May Wrap Up

05/24/2016 Got the Fiend Fence up! They are not, I repeat, NOT happy about that. Mabel was really trying to get through it this morning. Then she was pacing back and forth along the fence line. They’ll get used to it. 20160516_143247[1]

Got the Romanesco broccoli planted. I hope Jada does not step on them. Rose de Berne tomatoes are next on the list. I bought some creeping phlox for the spot next to the driveway in the “hell strip” and split it into two. Put the other half next to the irises that are around the telephone pole on the opposite end of said hell strip. While planting that one, I noticed a faint anise or licorice scent. I never knew my irises had a scent! It was definitely coming from the iris.

Also bought 12 strawberry plants. I put one in a hanging basket and one in a hanging basket that I turned into a pedestal planter. Now to figure out where to put the other 10.

Since I am so dang proud of those cages around the square planters, I am going to swap them out with the smaller ones out by the polyhouse. Just because the chickens can’t get at them now, is no reason to not make use of them. And this way, I don’t have to make cages for the planters that are out there now. Just swap.

In the last few months, Moe has started bumping the back of my head as he walks by. This is something new. He’s 9. And it isn’t just a one bump pass by. It’s 2 or 3 hard pushes and then he goes on. Weird cat. Gorgeous, but weird.

Moe being silly


06/05/2016 Got the strawberries planted next to the patio under the tall pear tree. They seem happy there. Got the Rose de Berne in. Got the planters swapped. Found out the kohlrabi and radish seeds were mislabeled. I think what I thought was radish is kohlrabi. I know what I thought was kohlrabi is radish. Harvested those already and planted more. Very spicy variety, whatever it was. 20160523_120251.jpg 20160523_134714.jpg

The Feathered Fiends did great in May – a total of 145.5 eggs. The .5 one was a “fairy egg”. They are smaller and are only the white. I had one of those in April, also. It happens. I now have 28 eggs frozen in the freezer waiting for the winter slow down. And a whole quiche. And 42 in the refrigerator. I need more egg recipes.

Part of the reason I haven’t posted is that I am learning how to YouTube in addition to how to blog. My channel is here: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCJ-YpuQf4atLN1ipA9cuVFg  I know that is an awkward link. There is a way to have your name as the channel name, but I haven’t found out how to do that yet. This trying to stay current stuff is mildly stressful and somewhat exciting. Admittedly, it is all vanity stuff. I don’t have anything earthshattering to report, but it is a way my distant kids can see what I am doing (like my Facebook posts aren’t enough?) and it is a log of sorts. So I will keep doing it.  In the mean time, my sister tried to kill me. I am waiting for the pictures of our hike on the Golden Eagle Trail before I post more about that.




Mid-May Garden

05/16/16 through 05/22/16 Made some seed tape and planted 20 carrots in front of the cabbage. I am not really expecting great carrots since the ground is rather stoney, but the foliage will be pretty along the sidewalk. Any carrots will be a bonus. I don’t use a lot of carrots anyway.

Got the fencing material to make the Fiend Fence. Just need to install it now.

Took one of the jars of super thick brick jam, added about half a jar of water, and some more berries. Reheated and rejarred. I think it worked. I’ll test some tonight.  Yes! It worked!!

I bought some rhubarb and had it in a pot. Darned Fiends ate all but one leaf! I thought they were toxic. Fiends must not be sensitive to that.20160516_115013[1]

We have a cherry! A. Cherry. One. I think I’ll name it George. 20160519_160438[1]

Have the Fiend Fence posts in. Weather is supposed to be rainy for the next two days so the dirt around the posts will have a chance to settle in. I’ve gone around and foot stomped at the bases so they are firmed in a bit. Gates are in place. 4x4s are cut for the border to the paver area in front of the coop. Next dry day will be working on the fence and paver area. The remainder of the Fiend Fence is the green coated 2″x4″ wire mesh stuff.


Baby blueberries! Doubt we will get enough this first year to do much with. I need to look up how to propagate them. I don’t think 3 bushes will be enough for me.


Pear tree is loaded again with lots of fruit.


I bought 12 June bearing strawberry plants. Now where do I put them? I have two baskets that might work for two of them. Maybe by the patio under the pear tree.

I think that is enough rambling for the moment. More at the end of the month with updates on the Fiends, my sister trying to kill me, and the annual parade.




Early May Garden

05/06/2016 Things are sprouting! Mostly stuff I want to sprout, but there are a few weeds. Ok, a LOT of weeds.

My pumpkin experiment worked. I put 3 seeds from a 2011 packet on damp paper towels and 3 from a 2013 packet and put each in its own little lidded container to see which one would sprout, if any, and which one first. This morning I saw a root poking out of one of the 2013 seeds. Potted it up and now out into the greenhouse it goes. The others are back to their window to keep trying. Not that I need 6 pumpkin plants.

The yellow wax beans (Second attempt) that I direct seeded have started to appear. The first batch I started inside and they did not do well. I think I started them too early.

05/10/2016 Total of two pumpkin seeds from 2013 sprouted so I have them potted up in the greenpolyhouse. I don’t know what to call that thing. It is like a greenhouse and like a polytunnel hybrid. Polyhouse maybe? Anyway, back to the pumpkins. 2011 seeds did not sprout. They might have eventually, but I do not need more pumpkins. So I tossed them.

The beans are growing. Both kinds have poked up through the soil. Started sprouting some of the hot pepper seeds from last year’s crop. I don’t use that many hot peppers – we still have a bunch in the freezer – but someone here expressed an interest in hot pepper jelly so….

Speaking of jelly, I made my first ever jam today from raspberries that I had in the freezer. So sweet and yummy. And I even used a reduced sugar recipe where the fruit:sugar ratio is not 1:1, but 2:1. Why haven’t I done this before?20160510_205333[1]

As part of my learning how to do new things journey, I tried to video my yard and uploaded the very raw results to my YouTube channel. If you want to be bored silly, you can view it here: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCJ-YpuQf4atLN1ipA9cuVFg

Next step, figure out how to edit and label the videos, and how to change the channel name. UCJblahblahblah is not a good name.

I’m moving the biggest raised bed. Rotating it 90* and shifting it back toward the patio about 2′. It will make for a better traffic flow and space for another bed later.

Work on the path is somewhat underway. I’ve moved the one daylily and put part of it in pots and part of it in the strip between the sidewalk and curb. Tidied that up, put in the edging and leveled it out a bit.


The girls are laying consistently. I forgot to mention April’s total egg count. We got 123 for the calendar month! I have a whole quiche in the freezer along with 14 frozen eggs. We’re eating a lot of hardboiled eggs throughout the week. And still, I have eggs. Lots and lots of eggs. We get between 3 and 5 eggs daily with the occasional 6 and once 7! But those darn roosters are starting to annoy me. They are not aggressive to me, but they are just very hard on the girls. Some of them are bald on their backs. I either need to rehome the boys, learn how to butcher and process, or make protective gear, aka chicken saddles, for the girls. I am leaning toward option 2, much as I like them. I’m putting it off until spring broody season is over. If one of the girls does want to be a mama, I’d like to use our own eggs this time.

More later, as I get on with the yardwork.

Updated: The Great Greenhouse Build

Fixed the weird picture placement.
Ok, the title is a bit of a stretch. It’s super easy and the pieces were well labeled.


The box. Almost like Christmas. So excited!


The site. The apple tree is to the left. Cherry tree to the right.


The pieces.


Base assembled.


Halfway there!


Ooops. Missing piece #6. One of the roof supports. I called the company and they are sending out a replacement.


Put on the cover anyway, while waiting for piece #6. I have plants in there now. I like it so far. The top gets the morning sun more than I thought it would, since it is above the fence’s shadow. Good to know for next spring’s seed starting. I want to put concrete blocks around the base to hold the plastic down and maybe fill them with dirt to use as strawberry planters. If I can figure out a way to keep the Feathered Fiends out of them.

Update. Had a very windy day. Since I didn’t have blocks down, the durn thing blew over. So, while I am waiting for piece #6, cover is off and the plants are back inside. The ones that survived, that is.

End of March Wrap Up and the Beginning of April

03/26/2016 I finally screwed together the last raised bed for the back yard. Because of the Fiends’ Fence that I need to install, I won’t have room for any more. Unless I move it over….hmmmm. Then I could put a narrow one in front of the rain barrels and trellis up vining plants. hmmmmm….I could also do a U shaped one around the propane tank. I think I may do that.

I don’t know if the onions I transplanted are going to make it. They look worse. But I have some successes. The tomatoes are doing great. The spaghetti squash is really going nuts. The cucumber all sprouted. Unfortunately, I may need to start the cabbage all over again. I put it out today thinking it would be warmer but it all went limp. I’ll see how it is tomorrow. Either way, I will want more, so I will start some more next week.

IMG_20160324_133413[1] Well that’s a rather crappy picture. Taken with my tablet. Anyway, the new bed is the furthest away, just beyond the bed with the boards on it. I have also replaced the trellis in the right bed. That is where my green beans are going this year.

Tidied up the path to the oil delivery intake. It looks a lot better. I need to get the shovel out there and dig up some forsythia that has rooted. IMG_20160324_172240[1]

04/03/2016 I got ambitious and got the front sidewalk bed and the driveway bed weeded and raked. Then, it snowed this morning. It’s all melted but still. I want to PLANT!!!20160402_151002[1].jpg Yellow wax beans will go here, where the yellow hot peppers were last year.


20160402_151008[1].jpg I haven’t decided what will go here.

There are signs of spring all around my yard:

20160402_133035[1].jpg Pear Tree. This variety is Moonglow semi-dwarf.

Cherry tree.20160402_133121[1]

Cherry tree.20160402_133142[1]

We planted 3 cherry trees last year and I am not sure which one is which. I forgot to note it when we planted them. Oops.

A neighbor’s Forsythia20160402_140143[1]

Tiny little daffodils that I do not remember planting. I hope the lavender behind it comes back. I need to weed this area. It is the strip between the sidewalk and the curb. Goal is for it to be all flowers.20160402_140321[1]

The seedlings are popping up. I have 4 butternut squashes! Parsnips doing ok. Iare all up. The chocolate bell peppers sprouted finally. King of the North bells have not yet, but I am still hoping.

I do think gardeners are the most optimistic people.

Mid-March Garden

03/20/2016 Happy Spring! Got the rest of the parsnip sprouts in dirt now. Transplanted half the onions. I hope they make it. Next time I plant onions from seed, I will NOT use the small cell starter set. I want to start the bell peppers also but I ran out of the soil. Went shopping for poles for the bean trellis, an indoor small watering can for the seedlings, grow lights, seed pots,  fencing and gate materials, and any other goodies I could find. Found the poles at Lowes but they had nothing else I liked. Walmart did have the pots, but nothing else. I didn’t really like the gate options at Lowes. I think I may have to actually build one.

03/23/2016 I planted 4 more Butternut Squash seeds. The others have done nothing. They are 4 year old seeds. I’ve also somewhat figured out what goes where this year. Subject to change as soon as I go to do it. I REALLY REALLY need to get that pond liner edged. It’s only been 3 or 4 years. In the mean time, the metal vase that we use as a spillway from the biofilter rusted. The lip part of it is completely off now. We do have another one that could be a replacement, but I may make a rock waterfall spillway instead. As long as I’m redoing the rocks anyway.

The tally of what has sprouted so far:
onions – hope these survive. Looking frail.

parsnips – at least 34. I lost count.

9 cabbage

7 grape tomato

6 Rose de Berne tomato

4 Roma tomato

1 yellow wax bean

4 Romanesco broccoli

8 cauliflower

1 Brussels sprout

2 spaghetti squash

1 cucumber

sweet potato

and the turnip tops are still leafing out. Science!

Rethinking the path. I will put down the old carpet as a weed block but just put in a bag or 2 of gravel every week. I like that better than sawdust. Fence to keep the Fiends out first, though.



More Garden in March

March Garden Update.

Leave a comment on the blog page, please!

03/10/2016 Planted 12 cells of starter pots with 2 seeds each tomatoes. 4 Romas 4 grape and 4 Rose de Berne. Planted 12 broccoli in peat pots. 2 spaghetti squash planted in individual pots. Pulled all the old water iris leaves up, or trimmed them to the ground so they don’t drag into the pond. There has to be a use for those old leaves. They are so fibrous. I suppose I could weave some baskets. Like that is going to happen!

03/14/16 Happy Pi Day. Planted 4 Waltham Butternut Squash, 16 Cauliflower, 16 Brussels Sprouts, and 4 Romanesco Broccoli. The Romanesco are very weirdly shaped, like a mutant Christmas tree. No pics because it would just be a picture of dirt in a pot.

Not much going on in the garden outside. I just dumped a bag of rabbit cage cleanout from Mr Peebles yesterday into a raised bed. Daffodils  are starting to come up, and the pond has cleared up nicely. I really REALLY need to get the rocks around it this year.

03/18/2016 It was nice these last few days so I putzed about in the yard. Still really too early to do any gardening out there but getting it ready to go.

I have figured out where the chicken fence is going so they stay out of the vegetables and out of the people area. I was debating letting them in with the veggies but just fencing off the beds like I did last year, but if I do that, it will require more corners. I may change my mind again. Any way I do it will require 3 gates.

Spent today moving paving rocks. They are not all where I want them to be yet so I have not set them  in their permanent home. This is just to get a rough idea of what I have and what I need. I do want to find a way to use the broken sidewalk slabs. They are very thick and I do not want to think about how much it would cost to dispose of them. I am thinking maybe a patio area at the pear tree end of the chicken run. There’s a gap between the run and the fence that would make a good spot for a rabbitry if we decide to raise meat rabbits. It needs cleared out first. That’s where our burner barrel area used to be. Old barrels need to GO and rubble needs leveled.

The front fenced yard path needs reset. And the raspberry brambles need pulled. Forsythia trimmed. Weeds pulled. But it is better than it was last year.

Baby parsnips!

The path to nowhere. 20160318_141459[1]

Well, it does go to the coop and around the pond from the patio.

With a small sitting area next to the pond. 20160318_141615[1].jpg

It did go behind the pear tree before we got it and got rid of the burner area. I’ve removed most of those rocks/pavers for use elsewhere.

And back up to the patio.20160318_141625[1].jpg

The plan is to line the pathway with 4 x 4s, lay down an old carpet cut to fit, and fill it halfway with sawdust before setting the rocks. I can get sawdust for free. It will take a long time to break down to where I will need to do it again.

The fishies were out today.20160318_142412[1]

These are just common goldfish. Actually, they are the cheap feeder fish, 10 for a dollar.

This is the front fenced yard. The pathway is to the oil delivery intake. The rest of it is a mess. I do like the wild raspberries the local birds gave me ages ago but boy, do they need to be watched. The minute you don’t pay attention to them, they take over! But, hey, free food. And the raspberries do make a nice curd to give to the best mother in law in the world for her birthday.

Two of my tomatoes and one spaghetti squash have sprouted! Roma tomato is slacking off!

The sweet potato is growing shoots. The turnips are leafing like crazy. I only planted them as an experiment. Nice tasting greens for in a salad. I think I will be doing this with all my turnips I buy. I have 2 window box type planters that would be useful for this. Might as well get extra use out of the scraps.

That’s it for the moment.