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Saturday, April 22, 2017

Seeds, and mousers, and rush time...

4/20- Happy Hemi Day!!!! And of course all the other holiday refrences, lol.

We are at the 3 week mark till last frost. Lots of shuffling of plants- just posted that one, lol, thought I had already posted it and it was still a draft.
All the tomatoes and peppers are repotted from their sproutlings at this point.

1 Pink Bumblebee cherry tomato
2 Speckled Roman tomato
3 Roman Candle tomato
8 Dwarf Wild Fred tomato
6 Urfa Beiber pepper
6 Albino Bullnose pepper
2 Aji Lemon pepper
2 Trinidad Pefume pepper
6 Tobago Seasoning pepper
8 Sweet Pickle pepper

Pricked out a bunch of lavenders and coleus as well. And started up a large round of various herbs and flower seeds. A 72 cell tray of mostly the Pinetree container flowers, cauliflower, and a giant red armanath in 9 cell packs. Another tray of 3x3 pots full of various herbs and a lot of zinnias. And a half tray of 6 cells 50/50 planted with dill and bronze fennel. We will eat the hell out of the dill, but everyone universally loathes fennel here. I use a bit of seed in some seasonings and picklings.. otherwise fennel is an awesome landscaping fern for annual action and is really beloved by beneficial insects. So even if we hate eating it, it's nasty black licorice action is really good for the garden and well worth planting.

And mousers.. my Nova boy. I spotted a wee mouse in the solarium, and called my sis over.. it was cute as hell, and we both said awwwwwww over it's wee cute goodness. Then immediately were saying, "Where's Nova?" Well, he was snoozing in mom's room. Sis scooped him up and we released him where the mouse was.. told him to earn his keep. Within two minutes he was at the kitchen window, meowing around a mouthful of wee mouse :) Of course I gushed and gave him catnip and treats.. and promptly swept up wee mouse and tossed his corpse outside, lol. And now the cats get wet food tonight too.... my good hunter tiggy.

Random house stuff... The power company stopped by yesterday. I went out to see what they were up to and turned out they were replacing the power pole behind the pole barn today, and clearing the line all the way up the fence to the barn in back. The power was out for about three hours this morning, but all is well now.

And though we set up with well guy.. it's kind of falling through. I set up appointment, and yesterday he contacted me and said he would send me email with pricing.. and stop out today or otherwise contact me today.. and nothing. Kind of bummed and unhappy about this. 

4/22: a spectacular Saturday! Upper 50's and sunny- last below 40 night predicted tonight! Got outside and did a bit of a tour of the yard- the power guys left that branch- partly blocking the driveway.. and when they left, they drove around it and extra ganked the ganked spot in the driveway. Sai... Lopped off the branches enough to make the driveway clear, will need to go in with a bigger saw for the rest of it. And look into getting some asphalt patch- that spot is super dipped badly now. The new pole looks good though, lol.
Got the first weeding of the herb garden done- I will seriously need to trim back the Rue this year, it's getting pretty weedy. The oreganos overwintered well, and I got more to put into that area. The Marjoram kind of survived, and I got more of those to plant in as well. Savory is looking good and needs a trim, so do the sages. King Tarragon is already bushy and the thymes are looking nice under their leaf mulch. And cleaned up the kale bed, that didn't require much. I used one of the compost trash cans to dump all the weedy grassy leafy rooty crap in to cook for a bit- it's out by the kale garden for the moment. The other bin is going out to the lasagna bed area. Take in all those weedy scraps from that area. I'm not going to use these bins for food scraps at the moment, just the weedy bits.
Sprayed down the straw beds with a mix of neem oil and a few essential oils. Saw a bug while cleaning up that I wasn't sure if it was a squash or stink bug.. but that means I should start spraying now for a couple weeks while they are emerging.  I'm being a bit pre-emptive about it this year. Neem is safe for food plants, and if I keep doing this every week or with the rains or so for the next few weeks before I start seriously planting in my beans and squashes... it should help. I'm also going to be covering the actual squash and bean bed at first while the bugs are out to help as well.
Made the plans to start moving raised bed frames up closer to the house. Will be starting out with the 4x6 box and move on from there. Need to lay out the smother bed surround for the new bed spot.. and figure out what I want to do with the space I'm vacating by pulling those boxes out....
It's time for another big cleanup of that area. No more compost, that's all cleared out. Since a lot of bulbs are already naturalizing in there.. I think I'm going to just keep continuing down the fence line where the current raised beds are. The area is kind of almost clean enough for it, and I would rather get in a bit more set it and forget action down there.  And I do have several pots of various bulbs that have been overwintering and are flushing out right now
I also need to clean up the front border bed- I got a few pots of daffodils I want to put in down there now that the ones already there are blooming.

Thursday, April 20, 2017

April is blooming!

4/7: Lots of growing going on! Seedlings are popping up and getting transplanted on schedule. A lot of peppers, some flowers and herbs. Tomatoes are just starting to really pop. The toothache plants are stunning- I might actually need to do another potting up before they can go outside they are getting so big. And that's a good thing, I want a big healthy crop this year since last years failed and we are now out of it. I'd like to get a double crop actually, and plan another regular seed round in the next seed starting round. And this one is one of the biggies because there's all those bedding flowers and brassicas to start up.
The rounds of garlic sprouts I've been doing since December have been awesome. Every couple weeks I start a bin, and at this point I start a new one when I pull an old one. I really do need to get out on the back 40 and figure out where I'm going to plunk in the mother beds back there. I got a few bushes and trees to move soon too that are still in the greenhouse right now.
And lol, I really need to check on the greenhouse.. herm... Been rather too busy for the last few days with some family stuff. There are some changes going on.
Anywho, it's almost getting warm enough with overnight temps that I can move the asparagus out to the greenhouse- and I still have all 60 of them that I originally seeded. Using the rock wool cubes was rather nice for this, but kind of overkill in a lot of ways. Much more useful for just cuttings. Potted up another 15 yellow mum cuttings today too, just a few more left in their cubes. The mother mum is in the midst of it's current bloom flush, and it is rather lovely. Almost time to start deadheading again. The first round of coral mum cuttings is still chugging along, and almost time to take another round of these and the first round of white cuttings. My one little cutting tip of the glorious huge rust coleus has seemed to survived the cutting and is actually sprouting up a bit! Still no roots sticking out, but hey, I'll take it.
All of the scented pelargonium made it through the winter- and all the spring cuttings I took are doing rather well in the low light levels of Eastern exposure in the office. The lemon and lime trees are getting weirdly grown out, and I think I might need to get some expert pruning advice. The strange Rex Begonia? monster plant is still limping along, poor thing.

On the grow schedule... December is finally closed out- everything has either died back or moved on, like the toothache plant. Still a lot of open January plantings- most of these needed the cold strat in the solarium, and a lot has not popped yet, mostly various berry and some of the heartier flowers. The columbine has really done well- and the double furl blue extra well so far. Super excited about that. February is closed out, all seeds either null or moved on. March is still wide open, and April starts up tomorrow.

In some exciting house news.. finally able to call in a well service and got an appointment set up! After so long of not having the "just in case" amount of funds saved up.. and after last summers attempt to get someone in and getting blown off twice... it's time to move on from trying with the really local guy. I hit a big local company up this time that has all it's license and insurance going on, and early. I had hoped to have that one done last summer and off the list, but I think I started too late in the season. But now we can afford to call in the big guys.. a difference a few months can make in life around here, lol. The well stuff really had to come first- the plumbing guys kind of didn't want to tinker around with much before that was done, understandably enough. After the well stuff is settled, we will be able to get to some other plumbing needs, yay!! We got some other stuff on the slate for this year too.. but with some of the recent news about some of the changes and coming around here.. being cautious with what comes next.

4/16: Was out of town on a conference most of the week. Gov training stuff- it was mind blowing, overwhelming, underwhelming, informative, interesting, boring, educational, chock full of a lot of stuff.. and wow, I was glad to be home, lol. Had an adventure drive on the way home, took a lot of side highways and byways twisting around through the small lakes region, and that was very cool.
Glorious day Friday, did a lot of puttering around and catching up.. stuff sprouted and moved things indoors to greenhouse or solarium, solarium to greenhouse or outside, and greenhouse to outside sorts of things. The greenhouse has been standing up outstandingly well, despite a few nasty weather spells. Had to cut in a few drainage holes in plastic here and there to release water.. but then most of that drip off water has been keeping the greenhouse moist enough that we haven't been needing to water inside the greenhouse except a couple trays of small pots up on racks.
Daffodils, hyacinths, grape hyacinths, some spring blooming trees, forsythias, and the NY-9 plum are in full bloom. The magnolia was in full juicy fuzzy bud when I got home on Thursday afternoon.. today the whole tree is in full popping out, it's open flush will start in a day or two. Mild winter and spring indeed- this flush happened first weekend in May of 2013. Aquilegia, snapdragons, lilac, and lillies are all sprouting up in the FOH garden. Spring chives were flush enough to make 4 pounds of chive butter for the freezer- I snagged on the back and hill segments over the winter, so those were a bit sorrier and older, but the spring flush in the very front yard was plush as hell. 
The Japanese Maple I rescued for a few bucks last summer from work in now a super plush happy tree worth a few times more than what I bought it for. It went from a sad double overseason in a one gallon pot languishing amongst a sea of other "nursery" plants on the back skids. Now it's a healthy 4 gallon pot tree ready to grow till 2018 spring before I need to repot or put into the ground. I gave it grow last summer when I repotted it to it's current pot, and sheltered it from solarium overwinter to greenhouse a few weeks ago. It will be a couple weeks yet till I harden it off from the greenhouse so it can be moved to the front porch area for the summer. It needs a little trimming to bonsai it up a bit to keep it container form. I'm still not sure where it will be going once 2019 comes and I put it into the ground. I know it will go somewhere into the very front yard, just not sure where yet.. Depends on how this years stuff goes, lol.. 
And on that.. The Prince Holly suffered during the winter. On the wrong corner of the greenhouse and not enough water led to a lot of dieback. He's in a bucket on the greenhouse porch now to be a bit more protected and watered for a bit like his Princess is. But both the hollies will be getting planted in down on the easement drive side of the south segment of the far front.  I have pots of daffodil and other bulbs to work into the front border- and been taking tons of mum cuttings. I have enough yellow mums, and probably enough coral. I just started taking white cuttings off those overwintered mothers.

Wednesday, March 29, 2017

Fortunes Turning, Early Spring!

And now here it is finally spring... and the most recent setup of the village. I just started the tear down on this one the other day... But now we are getting all caught up on what's been going on around town for the past few months! Been quite the backlog going on obviously.
Since this last round of starting the village, I've acquired all sorts of crazy stuff.. various foliage, some great new buildings and folks for super cheap and mostly at resale shops.. a lot of toys and tons of building materials.
I've learned from starting to make stuff and keeping an eye out for cheap stuff to fill in with that scale really matters... and really don't. Most village scale is around 1:32, but I can work up to 1:24 or down to about 1:48 depending on the item. I've even picked up a few 1:64 down to tiny N scale items to fill in some of the wee areas of town. But knowing what these scales are really matters when looking up stuff blind online.
And lol- lights. Gosh I love little battery operated lights. The things are bloody damn expensive. And the big bulb lights- using LED bulbs instead of the glass ones is a great option, especially with buildings that sit down flush instead of having a light hole. I picked up a box of clear ones after Christmas, but they didn't have any more of the colored ones. And yep, it makes a HUGE difference, using colored glass is better than trying to color a clear LED bulb outside, lol.

So anywho.. on with some pics. I didn't get a good whole shot of this one, it was all day pics and the one I got was badly backlit due to how bright the room is now.. But there are more detail pics this time :)I'm going to see if I can load 9 pics in one post or not, lol.. Sometimes Blogger is kind of squirrely.

Upper Main Street. The Church and Tower are again holding down the corner of town, lol. The small vendors are enjoying the open spring green to set up shop..

And our Sausage & Ham guy has really expanded his meat board! The large crate box and the little ones inside it holding smaller meats and cheeses I made from popsicle sticks. All the meats and cheeses in the case I made from Fimo. This is the video tutorial I used, and I did make the whole series, with enough "other" left over for a few bonus cheeses and a couple "uncooked" Fimo sticks left I can bake off later for another round of this stuff. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JX8LIlqYB5U&index=8&list=WL&t=297s

 Note the Menards billboard. These were hanging on the shelves for years at 6-7 bucks each, sometimes on sale for half off.. one day wandered in and they were on clearance for 1 buck each- I bought 5. Next time I visited, they were back up to full price again to be packed away for the season. The lights on the top of the sign are rather bright- I plan on making a few new posters to put up on a couple of these :)

And the other end of Upper.. I skipped over the Cheese Sandwich shop and  The Trouts hangout. But I wanted to point out some fun stuff. The little garden is from Target, the mushroom and Honey guys hanging out on the bridge are Shopkins, and that great farmer with the big ole scythe was part of a toy set from the local farm store. The arch the mushroom is hanging out in and the beehives on the bridge are typical scale for Joanns/Michaels fairy garden stuff- The Menards billboard is to scale with the "standard" village stuff.  The mushroom in the arch is actually the one that finally broke me down and made be collect a bunch of Chefs Club Season 6 Shopkins- I had to have one to live in the adobe houses. I mean, mushrooms are obviously living in adobe houses, right? Their compost is apparently pretty great considering how well that garden is growing.

The north end of Lower Main.. That fabulous greenhouse has been sneaking around for a while now- it was the one new late winter item at Joanns that I just couldn't resist early on- and I did get it on sale with an additional total off coupon. Our little raccoon in a boat friend has gone from the winter frozen mirror pond to a new spring pond- it's actually a saucer from a fairy tea and cup set series I picked up a bajillion years ago at Hobby Lobby. The Lilly Dock is a spoon from another set. And just peeking out in the foreground is our first spring sighting of our beloved orange and black UnderWood popping up in a lush spring ditch.

A long shot of Lower Main.. it's lovely and uses the step down nicely.. But I wanted to point out the background- this is a really excellent shot of the gruesome fridge that stays up year round now. It's where all that stuff gets stuffed away, keeping chill...

The Farm pretty much stayed put, a little spring freshening.. Piglets are starting to get trucked around, and all the snowpeople have finally melted away for the year..

Outside The Farm's gates, a bit of a park formed up. The new trailer is fun, and Little Timmy is just about to get himself in trouble up on that tire swing if he ends up trying to jump into that mirror cold pond! You can almost see where the sidewalk ends... trailing along the fence.

And right on into where the yellow brick road begins. This awesome and versatile piece came from a thrift shop for a couple bucks, and is one of my favorite newer pieces.

And down the hill.. The mailman took a spill, again... and busted one of his front wheels.. again. Good thing our local fabric merchant had only just started setting out cart action. Guess it might be time to get Mr. Mailman off the streets for a well earned summer vacation.
For some fun scale action.. The fabric cart is a random trinket I picked up at a resale shop for a buck or so. The tree house came from this springs fairy Michaels, and the bridge from last falls fairy Joanns- which I got stupid cheap on clearance because it had a cracked rail and was damaged- drop of glue fixed that shit. The three shelf stand on the right and the big box on the left come from Target toys- the little box in the big one is one I made from Popsicle sticks. Mr. Mailman is from standard village collections, as is the Mac in the background. The farmer on the left and the bins of potatoes and tomatoes are from the same toy set from the farm store.

And now we are all caught up with a tour around of Fortunes Turning since really kicking it up last year. I might consider a full folding of the village for a while.. or not. Maybe change out stuff a lot.. or not.. But it is a place that changes, and it's fun to change it around. I have to start remembering to take pics of stuff when I transform it- and put up notes when I make stuff. I've been compiling a lot of links about coolness, but that's pretty much a draft, lol.

So Happy Spring from Fortunes Turning... May the whole of Nightvale county prosper. Keep in mind the rules about The Dog Park, and always respect other government signs. Please don't tromp over the new plants, and don't forget the ditch works.

Fortunes Turning 2017, Imbolc opener...

Because yes, the village changes... After a while the heavy snowscapes of full winter start getting muddier, and bits of green start to show up. Especially after the oddly mild winter we had, it seemed appropriate for the inside to start working the outside, lol. And by mid-January, I was just ready for another change of scenery. And in general having a smaller village, and not so much decor out anymore... the living room has been kind of full since Labor Day, sheesh.

The whole village, back on the window wall again. That red fabric with the sunbursts is just as approproiate now to hope for the new spring to come as it was as a backdrop through Christmas. Nice pop of color. Most of the crazy amounts of fabric I've been doing has been put away in favor of the bit mellower set up. This is a bit like Autumn was, a wee bit of time as kind of a hold... 

Upper Main got a nice new couple.. Bob and Not-Bob, the Trouts. And the Winery is doing a brisk bit of business with some warm ups..

The Farm has shifted again, and the critters are enjoying a relatively snow free yard for a change.

Lower Main has thriving business going on, most of the smaller vendors have kind of taken over the Green.

And one of the few night shots that is pretty cool and turned out clear. Sal is out front baking up the best brains in town- he's a local legend, and one of the only food vendors that is open all hear round. The Copper Lantern is warmly aglow, and a new soup stand guy has taken up residence next door. We aren't sure what to make of him yet, he got some weird friends... but the soup is actually pretty good.

It was kind of nice to reshift and cut back the village like I did- I have enough stuff now to do some really fun rotating in and out of everyone.. and still looking forward to Halloween time when some of the spookier guys start peeking out again..

Fortunes Turning part 4... and the close of the 2016 year

With the winters coming had to come the time to majorly change the scenery in Fortunes Turning. I already had some stuff- again recycling pieces around, and a couple newer pieces that I haven't adapted yet.. I did end up picking up a couple pieces of new fabric to fit in with Christmas colors.. and the village was festive!!

It's a blurry picture, but... This is how I set up for buffet style service through the holiday...

This is a much better detail pic. The holly fabric and a nice shimmery dark green fabric are the new pieces, as is the ribbon. That top layer is a red plastic table runner with a cheap paper runner over it. The ribbon is pinned in with a reindeer button to help keep everything together in place. On the top of the gold package are some un-candles. I picked up a handful of them new in the box, and they are rather nice. I don't fill them with water and oil like supposed to do- I use the large pumpkin sized tea lights, and those fit perfectly in the top- and I keep the tins once they are empty because they are perfect for burning votive candles in too!

The Ward has now become more of a part of the village.. The kids sandbox is now a great sledding hill, and fat snowmen keep an eye out. The Drive In has had a lot of icy foliage spring up and looks to be well served and has cars coming to watch the Christmas movies :)

The whole under the falls is gone, and the snow people have taken over with their giant present of goodness. The two hurricanes on the right are filled with polyfill and blue mini-lights and light up the corner of the hearth nicely. The tower is still on pretty much all the time, and the Celestial Falls are still headed up by Job.

And all the snowfolks have moved in. The Blood and Vine is gone, and their Blood Falls with it. The Cheese Factory has taken up the space, and the new Grilled Cheese shop down the hill is right happy for such a good local supply. The Farm has sprung up in the corner, complete with awesome strung lights all along their white fence like a proper farm should. The vendors have gladly moved in too, there is even a new fabric seller cart in town.

The Trading Post has finally gotten to Upper Main, along with the general store and the Mac. Finally got a Fire Station in town, and a nice long pond for ice skating on.

The new Copper Lantern is up and glowing, supplying folks with lamps, firesticks, and flints.. and the folks up at the winery are all raising their beers to the grand opening. The heart of town is a bit more subdued, the Town Hall has finally lost it's Mayor and now there's a Christmas tree installed on the front steps. The Church is still  servicing through the holidays as well.

And that's how Fortunes Turning turned out in 2016.. of course there are a lot more pics, dozens and dozens of much closer up shots that show vignettes of daily live in the village.. and yes, almost all of them have a story attached, lol.
Since New Years Eve, the village has seen a couple more seasons... But that's another year and for other posts..