Inspiration and Relaxation in the New Place

We have been at the new place for a little more than two months. A lot of things have been completed and in the list of things that we need to do just keeps growing. Work is never done.

We have started building screens for all the windows that have been without so we can open the windows. I thought living in a brick house would help keep it insulated and cool, but it turns out that brick seems to absorbs heat. So in the interest of not killing each other due to heat we bought a window a/c unit. I try not to use it if possible because of the use of electricity, but it has been necessary more days than not so far.

We have also started building our raised garden beds. Once we built them I had 5 tons of top soil with 10% compost amendment delivered. It was so much cheaper and less time consuming then the bagged stuff found at the local home improvement stores at $40.12 a ton. Plus we got to support a local business, which I always like. We didn’t have quite enough to completely fill all the beds we built, but enough to get some late start stuff in the dirt before the season is over. Until we design and start building a greenhouse we will create hoop houses over the raised beds to get things started for next year.

This is the first bed built by my boyfriend.

This is the first bed built by my boyfriend.

My boyfriend built panel sides in the shade of the garage so we could just bring them into the yard and  screw them together.

My boyfriend built panel sides in the shade of the garage so we could just bring them into the yard and screw them together.

We lined the bottom and sides with cardboard to keep down the grass/weeds. We just laid these beds on top and didn't till any of the underneath. You can also see the tarp that we are waiting to put dirt on.

We lined the bottom and sides with cardboard to keep down the grass/weeds. We just laid these beds on top and didn’t till any of the underneath. There is a  tarp in the background to put dirt on.

The 5 tons of dirt arrived. You can see the comparison with the house in the background and the beds waiting.

The 5 tons of dirt arrived. You can see the comparison with the house in the background and the beds waiting.

We had more dirt then beds so we built a few more.

We had more dirt then beds so we built a few more.

So we have used as much dirt as possible to fill the beds. It wasn't quite enough, but that is ok.

So we have used as much dirt as possible to fill the beds. It wasn’t quite enough, but that is ok.

In the last picture you can see that we have transplanted a few tomatoes that we had in the ground. They were doing ok, but not getting any bigger. There are also tomatoes in the white buckets. They got beaten up by the last hail storm we had about a week or two ago, so we will see if they come back. To give you an idea on size, the corner bed on the right is 8′ long on the long size. The two detached rectangular boxes are 8’x4′. I think this is a decent start in a new place. On the other side of the rectangular 8’x4′ on the right I am going to start my asparagus bed. From my understanding they take a lot of space and several years to get going, but once established can last 30 years or more. I have the space and nothing but time.

We have also started doing simple sustainable things in the kitchen, like making pickles from cucumbers bought at the local farmers market. Unfortunately in the small town we are in that means about 4 vendors. We have also started making our own bread from scratch. But it is so good that we eat almost a loaf a day. It is so good! To be clear, when I say we have made pickles and bread, I mean my mom has. I have dubbed her the official pickle and bread maker.

Mom's Pickles

Mom’s Pickles

The new house in the new town is so relaxing. It has also inspired the ability to unplug. We don’t watch as much television out here. We like to sit on the porch. We have been taking the dogs for a walk around the park that is a block away. We eat dinner at the kitchen table. It has helped us get more creative. Mom has been sewing. My boyfriend, Jason, got a 3D printer for his birthday and is using it to fix tools, print little fun stuff for me, and to build a walking robot, We’ll see how that goes. For me I have been inspired to write, color, I am going to start a fairy garden with supplies I am gathering, and I am going to start learning how to do wood carvings. I got a couple knives and am going to practice with Ivory soap that I can then use in my laundry detergent.

We have also repotted several things. The avocado tree got a bigger pot. I am not sure how well it will do since it is growing taller but not much bigger around so there is no support structure. The top is flopping over. The dwarf banana also got a new home. It seems happy. The orange tree stayed where it is because it seems just fine where it is, it is even getting a little fruit on it. I am not sure if I should leave it there or what to do with it. I will have to do some more research. I have promised my family I wouldn’t buy anymore houseplants and instead I am concentrating on the ones we have.

Projects we having coming up before winter are to build a shed for the riding lawn mower and yard implements and to put a fence around the property. As you can tell from the pictures, that is a lot of fence. And because we are in the city and it is our front yard it can only be 3 feet high. So we will be doing a fence that is wood framed with wire. I will post pictures when we are done. In the meantime we have already hired a property surveyor that came out and staked the property lines. It was expensive, but better than having angry neighbors or land feuds.

Until next time!

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The Garden is Planted!!!! And I Got a Job!!!!

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Peppers, tomatoes, and cucumbers before planting.

We are done planting! It seemed so easy this year. Last year we got a late start and had to build garden beds with store bought dirt. This year, we simply cleaned up the beds and planted. It was so nice! Now we just get to maintain and enjoy.

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Clean bed, ready for cucumbers and tomatoes!

 

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The grate squares measure 1’x1′. We use these to easily measure and to keep the cats from using the loose dirt as a litter box.

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Tomatoes!

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Cucumber plants in one corner of each square. Seeds in the other corner of the square.

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Peppers!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Strawberries!

Here is an overall picture of the garden. The paver area is still a mess, that is the next project.

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Very top left in the shaded box is green beans. Clockwise from that: Peas, lettuce, carrots, spinach, strawberries, potted dill (not seen). potted tomato, 3 tomato plants and a whole bunch of cucumbers. In the white buckets are tomato plants, one that you can’t see has a cucumber plant (I’ll explain this in a minute). In the white box are peppers. Each large box in the middle measures 3’x6′. I have twelve squares (1’x1′) with several cucumber plants. My mother fears we planted too many, but last year she had the same concern and I held back and we didn’t get any. I can always thin them out if needed.

Most are pickling cucumbers, then there are two of burpless cucumbers. Peppers include 4 bell pepper plants, 2 anaheim peppers and 2 poblanos. Tomato plants include 2 mortgage lifters, one each of beefmaster, cherokee purple, brandywine, Mr Stripy, fantastic and an early girl. If you are counting along that would be 8 tomato plants. We are testing to see what kind we like best.

I am so excited. We plan on canning and if we need extra stuff, like onions or dill, I hope to find it at the farmer’s market. I think I may start early, I have never canned before and don’t want to have a learning curve when I have all my veggies ready to go. Some things we decided not to do this year, like potatoes. Just want to concentrate on what we have.

The white buckets are an experiment of my mother’s. Self watering potted plants. They are sort of like a pot you would use for your violets. On the bottom is a bucket that has a drain hole drilled into in about 2-3″ up from the bottom. A second bucket sits in it that has drain holes drilled on the bottom and towels that are threaded from the bottom to the top. The towels soak up the water that is in the bottom bucket to feed the roots of the plants. How does the water get into the bottom bucket you ask? Well there is a 22″ length of PVC pipe from the top through the bucket to the bottom. We put water through the pipe into the reserve. Yes, I get the irony that we still water the bucket, but we will see if it works.

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The bottom of the top bucket. There are many little drain holes to let water out. The large hole in the middle is for the towels to come up through. The larger hole off to the side is for the PVC pipe to thread to the bottom bucket.

 

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Three towel strips coming up from the bottom bucket to the sides. Now time for dirt.

 

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Finished….almost. You can see the bottom bucket, the PVC pipe on the left. In the background you can sort of see the finished product. We put black plastic over it to keep the dirt warm and extra water out.

I ordered a few little fruit trees in January and they have now all arrived. I have an orange tree (which is doing great), a lime tree and now a dwarf banana tree! When these things get bigger my living room will look like a jungle….but there are worse things. For perspective they are each planted in a 6″ pot.

 

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Orange tree

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Lime Tree

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Dwarf Banana

An update on the avocado tree. I moved it out of the bright direct sunlight and started ignoring it, just watering it weekly. Check it out. You can see on the bottom that the leaves are still burnt looking, but it’s still growing new leaves and getting bigger. I also started two new ones, because I could 🙂

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Avocado as of 5.17.14

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New avocados

And lastly, sorry for the long post, I got a job. One of my pimps came through for me. I should start next week sometime after my finger print background check comes back. It isn’t as much as I really need to make, but after 3 months of not working it is better than nothing. It also has no direct customer contact. That alone may be worth the decrease in pay.

Hope everyone is having a great weekend! Please leave feedback, advice, or just say hi 🙂