Welcome to Growbox Hill

Welcome to Growbox Hill
Welcome to Growbox HIll!

Sunday, April 28, 2013

The last few days...

This entry started on the 23rd...
Ok, so it was pretty nice when I got up this morning, overcast and warm, already in the 50's. So I took a glass run to Meijer. While wandering around after picking up spinach I had a coupon for, I spied some spring spatulas on clearance. They are minis, and I love them! Need to rub the wooden handles with wax a few times though. If they are still there next time I go in, I'm picking up another set for sure. And perhaps a mini spatula or two for scraping dehydrator bits with.

Got back from Meijer, and felt really uninspired to do anything. So I went into town instead. Hit the hardware store and picked up a new bulb for the kitchen nightlight. Then to Hardings to use some coupons that were about to expire, and a bunch of other stuff, sigh. And then to Rite Aid- they had 6.99 a can mixed nuts on sale for under three bucks each, and yep, I snagged a handful of them. Figured they would be nice to put out on Polterabend.

By the time I was done with all that, it had started raining. So I spent the day in the kitchen instead. Dehydrated up a batch of veggie soup mix. Had celery, carrots, cabbage, and some onion that it was time to clean it out of the fridge, so it all got dried up. Had a tray each of celery and carrot, two of onion, and two of cabbage. Added in about a cup of dried squash, a half cup of dried sweet potato, about a cup and a half of dried mixed veggies, about a cup of dried kale. Whole bunch of herbs and spices.
All the mushrooms got done and are stored away.
Potatoes have been on sale, so now I got a pile of them to dry up. Haven't tried it before, so I'm trying a couple of different things.
I have red potatoes. I took a few and shredded them raw into water I added a bit of citric acid to. Let them soak overnight in the fridge. Then a couple hours before I was gonna tray them, I drained and rinsed them real well in a colander. Then back into it's original tub with fresh cold water and a cup of lemon juice. An hour later, I drained them again, this time lining the colander with a floursack napkin. Squeezed out all the water I could, and spread them onto a couple jelly sheets to air dry a bit before stacking into the dehydrator. The other sheets got filled with shredded onion- I ran out while making up a bunch of spice mixes. They both dried up rather well. I got another tub of shredded red in the fridge right now to dehydrate tomorrow. This time I did up the rest of the bag, so we shall see how much it totals out to, but it's about 5 pounds going in raw.
Russets were on sale too. Took a five pound bag and baked them up with the skins on. Cooled them down then tossed them into the fridge to cool overnight. The onions took forever to finish drying, but the baked potatoes made it onto trays for the overnight. One bag filled all six trays. I didn't peel them, I think I undercooked them just a touch because the skins didn't come off nicely. The other bag I'm going to boil and chill then peel, see how I like doing it that way.

Soaked three cups of bean mix last night. This morning I added water to top off, a bag of herb and garlic soup mix, and a couple of Golden G's. Burbled it off all day. Tomorrow I'm going to experiment with making bean dip and perhaps a backed bean loaf or patty or something like that.
And the experiment used up four cups of mix, with a ton still left over. Made two different kinds of baked bean loaf, one with cheese, one without. 

Made some spice mixes and cleaned up my herb shelf a bit. I got the magic dust squared away. Made a couple cups of hot pepper powder- a blend made up of all the dried chilis that were laying around. Made a big jar of chili spice mix. Jared up the Italian seasoning, the herbs de provance, and had a couple of jars of lemon pepper mix that got put together into a big jar with some topping off of more dried lemon zest, white pepper, true lemon powder, black pepper, and garlic powder.

Hardings had corn on the cob 6 for two bucks. Not awesome, but not too bad either for this time of year. Just enough to dry up some fresh, and make a small batch of corn stock for the freezer. I figure when it's time to make the dried veggie soup, I'm gonna do it with the corn stock and it will be 100% veggie :). I have one bag left in the freezer, so plus what I made, will be a really good liquid base.
The corn is drying in the oven right now. I like to dry fresh corn in the oven for roasted goodness.

The two pots of White Emperor tulip are blooming. The Darwin mix and Banja Luka are showing signs of color and popping soon. And I may just be hopeful, but I think I might be seeing signs of the plum cracking- I need to get that thing outside.

Pulled a bunch of stuff out of the freezer for thawing to make up over the next couple days. I really needed to free up some freezer space, the thing is packed right now. Mostly of sale meats and stocks, with a goodly handful of soups- need to start eating those up.

Hopefully the forecast for next week is right.. Tomorrow is supposed to be bleak, but a string of some sun and no rain for several days. If things dry out well and keep getting in as lush as it's looking right now I may need to and be able to do a mow in a few days, neaten everything up.

So it's Thursday now, hehehe. It was a gloomy start, but goodly sunshine now, still really chilly though.
Cleaned up and swept up the solarium today, it seriously needed it. Moved the Green Gauge Plum outside in it's bucket, figured it was time.
Sorted out all my tuna fish cans and made ashtray labels for them out of leftover construction paper, now we have a bunch of disposable ashtrays out of recycling and scrap :) Folded open all of the big paper stars- those were kind of a pita, but I figured they needed a spread.
Pulled the baked potato slices out of the dehydrator, they look good and snap easily. I currently have the fresh shredded red potatoes on 4 trays (making 5 lbs filling 6 trays total) and two trays of shredded zucchini.  One medium zucchini fills one tray pretty evenly.
I read up today on if/how I could possibly dehydrate that huge tub of bean mix. I baked up little loaves to try, but still had a frigging mess left over to deal with. So I looked up dehydrating cooked beans, and yep, it can be done. Now, I added in a bunch of dried veggie and herbs to the mix, but that isn't a problem. I think I'm going to split what's left, and try out whole form and ground up form, see if it works out well for dried soup mix and/or bean dip action.
I waaaaay overtoasted the fresh corn last night. But didn't quite wreck it, it really tastes like it got grilled up good. A handful of that in with other dried corn should add a nice bit of mmmm.

Getting work done on the signs for the house. Bathroom, our room... labels for all the beverages... I picked up a little box of plastic colored cocktail forks, 75 for $1.35. I'm going to attach some more of the leftover construction paper to the tops, and set up a basket so people can write down what their dish is. I separated off the red ones- red is going to be used for any dishes with alcohol or vinegar in them.

Saturday already?
I cleaned up the garage yesterday. Almost all of what needs to be done out there is, cept for some sweeping. Got the dog runs raked out for the most part.
Got the beans dehydrated- I whirred half of it up in the mini processor, left the other half as is. Each jelly tray took about 2 cups of mix. Both dried up right fine. I took the time to flip around the mash half way through drying, and that sure did help a lot! After I spilled it all out onto the counter, and ran a rolling pin over it a bit to break it all down into crumbles before jarring up. The regular mix just got broken up a bit, and jarred up. I love Milwaukee pickles, their jars are great for reusing on the pantry shelf.
Since I only took up two trays, I filled the other two with more minced onion. Now I have over half a jar full again, I think I can hold off till onions are on sale.
And I sat down and planned out the planting for the dog run. How much of what, and where? Luffas are the main consideration of course. But I also decided to plant in beans around the pole bases to grow across the mesh, and a bush variety. Two fresh, two drying. I have enough kitty litter buckets and five gallon buckets I think to start trying out some container growing- if I'm really lucky, two kinds of cukes, a regular pea and a sugar pea, two kinds of melons, and three kinds of summer squash.
So... Luffas are one family, and the squashes are all of another, and the cukes are something else, and the melons are something else again. Even though they shouldn't cross pollinate, I checked maturation dates to help keep in the safe zone. I did the same thing for the beans too, picked what to grow by maturity date. I figure if I really bust it after the wedding, I might have at least a few of the containers set up- I know where there's a huge heap of years old composted manure ready to go.

So today... I'm absurdly pleased with myself for fearlessly using the power drill today. I was smart enough to really braid my hair back well before I started, hehehe. I drilled in pilot holes, set in eye screws, and strung cording across the tops of the dog run. Spacing is 18 inches apart, 10 ropes across. I still I still need to set in a bit of vertical climbing action along the cap end. Luffas like something to climb up rather than just rope I think. Meh, I got three sections to play with, I can try out different stuff. I might have to put up crawl mesh across the top too. I did a double knot on one side with a little leway tail, and did a loopy around kind of knot for the open side. In all, 21 feet of crawl space.
If all goes really really well, I should have some homegrown sponges/scrubbers and a ton of seed for future :)
Got the wood and plastic moved around down in the corner. The whole living fence area is now exposed, and a newly sectioned over area of plastic is established. The whole area is now good for mowing.
Scrubbed out all the coolers and rinsed out all the buckets and let those dry in the sun.
Got the rest of the basic south roughing in done, leveled out the boards a bit, much more walkable now.

Still didn't get the back of the yard and keyhole cleanup done.. But all the rest of it it looking fine in it's basic shapes. Tomorrow is supposed to be overcast but warm, so we shall see if that ends up being a yard cleanup or upstairs work kind of day. I still need to get my belt done and drape detailing for my dress, do some adjusting on my love's clothes..


So it was chilly and wet and just kind of crappy enough that upstairs I went. Got the beadwork done on my dress, and got the belt done. Made earrings for the ensemble, think it's all done now.  Did the adjustments I needed to on my loves clothes, those will be dropped off at the dry cleaners tomorrow.
Got my bouquet done.
Made a whole bunch of food tags so people can write down what it is and stick it into their dish. Embellished the baskets for various table stuff. Made labels for the basil and catgrass.
Made a couple dozen wine charms to attach to stems.

Forecast is looking icky enough for the weekend that I think I might just do basic cleanup on the back, and just mow the front. The back isn't growing too well yet, but the keyhole for sure needs some action. Even though rain is in the forecast, I'm betting there will be some sort of fire action going on still.

Guess I should post before time gets away from me again..

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Happy Earth Day!

It's Monday.. Earth Day. Well, every day is Earth day, but still.

And what a beautiful day! Sunny and in the upper 60's :) This morning it looked like a McSwanum family reunion going on down by the pond. It looked like there were a half dozen of them, mostly lounging on the land bridge. The Mrs. was on her nest the whole time. And I think we had a Great Grey Heron visit this morning, walking in the water. Now it's just down to the two again.

So it was a day to get some outdoor work done, mostly on the south side of the house. The basil cans were doing so well I split them up into a dozen cans. Still not too thrilled with how leggy the parsley, dill, and cilantro look, sigh :(. Got three pots of nasturtiums seeded up, Empress of India, Fordhook mix, and Alaska mix. They were Burpee. Gasp, I know. But they were also from the local farm shop, and I'm pretty sure they are probably not tampered with. But I was wasteful and used a whole packet per pot. I do have some other packets of safe seed, one of those will go into the pots outside the great room door, Jewel mix from Lillie Meyer, another gasp, I know. I wanted to blow through my crap seed and see what happens. I tried good seed I really wanted to save last year without a trial, and it didn't work well. This time I'm using crap seed, hehe. I still have two kinds of seed that are likely going to be planted in with the hops testing project. Another Empress of India, and Whirleybird. Nice climbers to grow in with the luffas.

Since the grape hyacinths were going to be blown out by the day anyway, I decided to plant them in now while they look good. I had potted them all up a dozen each into recycled mushroom containers. It was easy to just dig up the holes where I wanted to drop them in, and pop the bulbs in- they were all just rootbound enough to come out cleanly. So now 8 blocks of hyacinths marking the edge, from grandmas poppy to where the ditch lillies start. I had to move one clump of daffodils, and there was a blank spot handy. I left the big hyacinths alone. And made sure I kept the marker for grandmas poppy, also scattered what seed I had from the one flowerhead I harvested last year in the area I want those to fill in. I marked off the whole edge with tall bamboo stakes- driving markers for mowing.
Got in as much of the glass bottle border around the herb garden as I'm going to for the moment. I ran out of materials. A couple years collecting went a long way, but not quite long enough. All the soaking buckets are empty now and ready to be cleaned out. Since the border did wrap all the way around the redbud tree, I went ahead with my plan to dump all the Chinese Chestnut hulls around it's base. The coons didn't crawl up it anymore after I twined it with raspberry brambles last year- their paws are sensitive like our hands and they don't like to cross prickly barriers apparently. But squirrels have been up it, so I'm hoping a heaping of prickly might help deter them too. I only collected a half a tub, I was hand picking instead of raking, and blech. But I decided to wear my heavy blue rubber gloves, and was able to grab them up without any prickles at all, hooray! And the nest of raspberry brambles from last year provided a perfect ring to start piling in.
Had my love help me out and hauled some wide boards from the rows and plank over a path across the trouble area. It's not permanent, but good enough for now. Blocked off the awkward end with the catnip pot, moved the horseradish pot outside, and moved a broken pot to fill in. Long staked in the "rails".

Discovered we can't hold off with solarium skylight repairs any longer. The few cracks and tiny holes in the original wavy plastic has now given away to a large section out- a rafter wide and a foot long. and serious deterioration. So hopefully soon after the wedding we will have the resources to pick up new wavy plastic to put into place outside, and fix the hole crap. Maybe a little diverting action around the area and across the East to South face of the solarium.

Got all the big coolers and black tubs out of the solarium. Now they are stacked in the garage awaiting cleaning on another nice day between now and when they are needed. With the icky water leftover from soaking labels off bottles, I watered in along the ponds edge. Enough of it had soaked in that I finally got about two thirds of the green cans in their basic set in. The rest was still too dry and hard to even start trying really. Just dug in a bit, and gave it another soaking.
Snagged a couple of knotwork edgers from outside for around the water valve area. I just have them laying there now, they need to be dug in. The one I was all aww crap, it broke turned out to have broken perfectly for setting in there, hehe. I want to clean up and edge in the water valve area.
I moved the irises off the bench and onto the front porch. I'm hoping they will be a little bit happier there, they weren't doing too well on the bench.

Got the rest of the mushrooms in the dehydrator this morning. And whirred up the magic dust seasoning into actual dust and in a container for a gift. The berry preserves I canned up yesterday morning are all showing solid seals so far. I read around about my hardwater problem and the jars being foggy, ick. The solution was to add a bit of white vinegar to the canning water. I remembered to shake up the jars a few times while they were cooling down, to make sure all of it was distributed nicely- last batch I didn't and it was fruit on top, jelly on the bottom.
It still needs to be tasted, but here's how I did it.
I used six 12 oz jars. Boiled up 8 to be on the safe side.
3 pounds fresh strawberries- they were on sale, two bucks each
12 ounce bag of frozen mixed berries, buck fifty on sale
4 cups sugar, had to get a fresh bag, but it was on sale too, two fifty for a 5 pound bag.
one pink box of pectin, not on sale, three bucks.

I use three pounds of berries cuz I always end up slicing and dicing bits off unless they are really in good season. And it tends to run a bit over two pounds anyway.
I cut up the first two pounds, and mash them up with a potato masher. Pulp them to however you want, but yes, doing this with a masher is the best way to get juice and nice pulpy chunks.
Then mash into the fresh strawberries the bag of fully defrosted mixed berries.
Measure it off and see if it yields six cups. If it does not, cut up some more fresh berries to make up the difference, pulp them, then mix in with the mash and measure off 6 cups. Don't go over or under.
From there I just follow the directions that come with the box for strawberry jam and process for 15 minutes.

Tonights dinner is testing out some stuff. Made sausage gravy from a pound of hot tube on sale and stowed in the freezer. A large handfull of dried mushrooms simmered up. A big handful of dried kale stewed up.. All wrapped in pastry gotten on sale. I used a pizza crust and a roll of rolls, still a bit much for stuffing. Some dinner tonight, some lunch over the next day or two. 
I think I almost have the recipe down.
Set up a crockpot of beany soup goodness and a starter for some bean spread goodness to try out tomorrow.
Tossed the leftover liquids from soaking the mushrooms and kale into a bag to freeze up.

Saturday, April 20, 2013

Time keeps on slipping...

So, whats new?

Rain, rain, and more rain, lol. Peeks of sunshine here and there though, and the temps keep plugging up! We are getting some flood warnings, and it shows in some areas.. But you know what? The pond is actually sitting at it's proper level at the moment, no dropped banks at all. We shall see how it all soaks in, lol. But the sump pump is keeping up, knock on wood. Discovered a leak in the back great room doors which sucks.

But today we picked up our license and bands, so exciting :) And I got my arm band done, not positive if I really like it or not, but it looks pretty good so I'm not disappointed, hehe. The pattern was made with a slightly smaller arm in mind and I didn't realize that, but now I can put in a notation to add in a couple more segments for if I ever need to make one again.
Spent a day finally getting my ass in gear and tracing off the stack of patterns I borrowed from my sister eons ago, I want to get them back to her when she comes for the day. 

We turned in another batch of glass, just a few more till the area is clean, then it's time to start turning in plastic. But hooey, the blasting ass rain made it all to clear just how much the garage leaks, makes me extra happy we changed our plans to just the tent and saving the garage when we can afford to re-roof it properly.

Finally got over to the party store and picked up plastic utensils and figured out what to do about balloons for the end of the driveway. Luckily green is a wedding color this year. Also stopped at the dollar store and picked up a couple of utensil baskets and a big pack of napkins. And some long sleeved tshirts that were on sale for two bucks each.

The McSwanums have been tending the nest for about 3-4 weeks now, they will be popping up cygnets in another couple weeks. And geez, even with the windows closed you can totally hear all the frogs peeping and peeping.

The tulips are looking wonderful, I think we might actually get some blooms on the day. It's time to move them to the ponds edge so I can free up bench space for more seed planting. The grape hyacinths are already blooming, so those will be totally blown by then. I had to move the cilantro, parsley, and dill out to the solarium to get hardy- they were getting leggy as hell indoors. The basil is doing really well indoors though, so much so I think I'm going to divide the cans up into more. Give them another couple weeks to grow up. And start another big pot for the house, I keep forgetting about planting up for the house.

Dinner tonight is just a meaty tomato sauce pulled from the freezer with some pasta and frozen veggies on the side. Been lazy, hehe.

Ok, so it's a couple days later, hehehee.

I got our handkerchiefs embroidered, they didn't turn out too bad for just a quickie tear rag, heh.  Got my belt for my dress mostly done- still not positive if I want to do a smidge more beading or not before I sew it closed and put the clasp on, and I still have to decide which clasp I like best for it.

Went out grocery shopping today, and probably spent way too much money. But now we have a fully stocked pantry and freezer again, so that's good. I probably won't need to do serious shopping again till June cept for some fresh stuff. But all the good stock up stuff was on sale when I went in, so there I went :) TONS of mushrooms on clearance at Hardings and Meijer- I have the first dehydrator full going right now, mostly buttons and a tray of "gourmet" blend. Got some packages of baby portabellas, stuffing buttons, and enoki in the fridge to start up as soon at this bit is done. It's a good thing, cuz we are down to half a jar left of dried mushrooms. Took us a few months to burn through them. And just gack, we really need to start growing our own shrooms- even picking them up on sale, I know we can grow better cheaper.
Hardings also had fresh strawberries and frozen mixed berries on sale, so I am going to be making up a batch of berry preserves either tomorrow or Monday.
Also picked up an air popper on clearance- no more expensive and bad for you microwave popcorn, and no more on the stove popcorn, yay!!

Started a new bunch of seed. Reseeded marigolds and radishes, potted up Compacto Dill, Bouquet Dill, Mammoth Dill, cilantro, two kinds of basil. Moved all the tulip pots to the ponds edge too. Still need to repot the basil for favors, but I waited a touch too long, and they were looking a little wilty for want of water, so I watered them good and they are looking fine again. Also potted up the first round of catgrass for favors too. We shall see how they look in a few days to judge when to start the next set of cans. Hehehe, I used recycled cat food cans for the cat grass, thought that was kind of cute. And I used recycled mushroom bins for all the other potting up.

I noticed today that there is a pair of swans on the pond across the road now, the McSwanums are still happily on our pond. Looks like one of the cygnets from last year might have come back, perhaps with a mate. I wasn't too sure about that since I saw two swans on the pond, and I figured I would have only seen one if a mate was on the nest there. Who Knows? Perhaps two of the cygnets came back and they were on the pond while both of their mates were on nests.

And the weather is just... ugh. Woke up this morning to some light snow on the ground, but it worked out to be a cool but really sunny day. Tomorrow it's supposed to be even nicer out before it rains again for a while, lol. I keep hoping it will be nice for the weekend :) But the yard is starting to look verdant again, so it should be nice and green for the weekend.

Hit the dollar store again and picked up a couple of beverage tubs for the sparkling drinkables- a plain silver one for us, and a red one that I'm going to paint up with some symbols for the clerics bucket- shes deathly allergic to alcohol, so I picked up some sparkling juices for her :)

And it's a boys weekend, so lazy butt cooking for me tonight. Sloppy joes and tater tots, mixed veggies on the side...

Sunday, April 14, 2013

Gettin stuff done!

Well, over the last couple days, been getting stuff done.

Got all of the solar jars done. Got over 20 of them now, hopefully they will light up nicely on the day. I want to hang them from trees down the driveway and perhaps elsewhere- all depends on what the weather is like. I posted several entries back what they look like singly, but I'm really hoping they have a nice impact once they are all set out. Most of them are recycled cheese dip jars. They don't seal as well as canning jars do, but in effect they were free and I got better things to use canning jars for. Still need to figure out hangers for them- the rubber band idea didn't work out too well. But I got some tough yarn, I think I can figure out something, lol.

Got all of the corsages done for the wedding party, yay! Still need to figure out how to put my bouquet together. Got half of my armband done too, and I think I figured out my setup for my belt. Still need to figure out what I want to do about earrings and if I want to do a necklace or not. And something special for my loves buttonhole too.
Cleaned up the whole workshop. The storage room is neat and everything put away, the costume room, ditto. The main shop area is all cleaned up too. And once again, I realize I have about a billion little doodas like beads and thread and stacks of paper and cardstock... I looked around and was amazed all over again that I have room to work and I'm not locked away in the dark anymore. It was years that I had to make pretty stuff in the dark, having sunlight makes me a much happier and productive crafter :)

Today it was sunny and warm- I'm really really hoping it's this nice out on the day. So I got the front half of the yard cleaned up of all it's fallen branches, by the time I got done raking up the pinecones, it was such a sticky mess and I had already brought down a few wheelbarrows of debris to the firepit, I decided that was enough cleanup for one day and to do the back of the yard another day. That last wheelbarrow of pine branches and cones went right into the firepit- it should be a rather nice firestarter next time we light it up. So I sat down and peeled two buckets of recycled booze bottles, and got the last two buckets soaking. And I set in all the peeled bottles in the border of the herb garden. Not quite enough to finish the one side yet, but what I got in so far looks great. Or at least I think it looks great, hehehee. At least they all match, I've been putting aside the non-matching ones to put in somewhere else. Where I'm not sure yet, I might just have to suck it up and put them all along the other edge of the border.
And ohhhh, naughty weeds are already popping up in abundance, sigh. But yay, so are some of the spring flowers too, so I can't be too unhappy. I need to do some serious weeding around the pineapple mint to make sure it really is mint there and not the very similar looking weed next to it, heh. The sage and catnip are already showing green, but the rosemary still looks really dead, and where I marked off the other herbs still don't look to promising.
Cleaned out the firepit, that was three wheelbarrows full of ash. Takes us about a year to get one brick deep, so every spring it needs to be emptied out. I dump the ash over the leech field by the pond. I figure since it already leeches all year in the firepit, it probably isn't too harmful to dump it there.

Just need to take a moment to say thank goodness my love bought me a pair of wheelbarrows our first year here. Makes so many chores much much easier. I think I need to get some sports tape or something for the handles though, I tend to stick my workgloves on the handles, hehehe. 

The veggie rows are looking sad as hell. I think this year I will be removing the cover entirely from the living fence stretch and just concentrate on the veggie box area. The raspberry bed needs another year of serious TLC too. Didn't do too badly last year, but I lost the nice raspberries I ordered in, I think that means more work is needed in the area. I know darn well I won't be working on anything serious in the living fence area, so it's easier to leave it open to mow. I have enough to do with getting the veggie box area and raspberry bed up to par. And ugh, kill off the weedy tree shit. I'm so done with that. I tried snipping down, tried spray painting the snipped bits. This year it is full on blackout smothering, after snipping, after painting. I can't use harsh means there because it's the corner of a lot of growing area. But that crap has got to go. I need to trim down the trees there too- they are way getting into reach of the power lines. I should do that soon before too much green grows in- that makes it harder to trim down for a noob like me.
The first year was figuring out the yard, last year was the first mark ins.. This year is understanding what my limitations are and planning for the years to come.

The willow starts I let be last year have now come up into a goodly thatch. This year will be cutting out what I don't want, and starting weaving together what I do want. In a few years, there will be a nice little natural gazebo in the sanctuary :) And where it is situated it blocks a bit of neighbor view, but none of mine. Need to make sure the fenceline is open too. There's roses growing on it, and tree bits that don't need to be.

A few more seeds have popped up, including some of the carrots :) I did most of the seed starts in recycled toilet paper tubes this year. Didn't have the time or patience for making my own paper pots this time. But that's ok, I still need to get the worm tubs set up and all that paper will make for nice bedding for the redworms.

A nice bit of south neighbor news for a startling change. The neighbors showed yesterday in a dark silver SUV. Today the little boy was out and I heard the adult kind of yell at him and tell him to stay on their driveway, and keep off the neighbors property. Meaning my property. It tickled me pink, at least some of that family has a bit of respect, or maybe fear, hehehe. But anywho, it was nice. A darker sedan showed up this afternoon, but no peeps so far, which is nice too.

The FOH garden is just going to be cleaned up and maintained this year. Holy crap some of the moss path I laid in last year held on and is there this year despite the drought. Tons of weeding to do, but it looks like so far the ditch lillies are behaving. The moss mother on the back balcony is flush with a bunch of spongy green too, will need to pull some clumps for the front again. And lift the whole thing and put the mother into a proper box. It's time to really clean that balcony before it really rots, lol. The FOH walkway is flushing in mossy between it's cracks too. It paid off to be patient and shove in moss all the time. You can hardly tell where I repaired the walk and set in the pavers.

As a random yay it's spring note... The wild chives are sprouting in. I think I need to mark those areas off for transplanting. I want to start in a heavy border along the east side of the pole barn and move on from there. And now is the time to mark off where those clumps are. I think the wild chives deter the voles, but even if they don't it will be wise to grow a border that will produce seed and edible goodness for years to come.

The currently potted tulips are for sure going in along the fenceline on the east side of the pole barn. Make it easy to mow, they naturalize, and will bring a wonderful pop of color there every spring. In a couple years patience, Growbox Hill will have bulbs for sharing, trading, and perhaps even selling. I just hope last years clearance buy of irises have some return too. I'm not hugely fond of tulips, but I love irises. The grape hyacinths will be nice for years to come too if what's popping in the pots now is any indication. The tulips and hyacinths are doing so well they are getting moved tomorrow to the ponds edge for their sun so the bench space is freed up for more seed action.
The Green Gauge Plum got potted up too, in a recycled kitty litter bucket. Used up the last of my bagged dirt, I hope I did a good job with it and the tree is living and happy- it's currently along the solarium pond edge.
The horseradish is doing well in it's pot too. In a week or two, Ill move it to the outside corner of the solarium so it can start to flourish- eventually I want to put in it's barrel there, and I want to see how well it does.

The parsley, cilantro, and dill cans for wedding favors are all leggy and weedy as hell. Need to start new cans. And basil too- the current cans are doing incredibly well, so I figure if I start some more now they will be good to go for the day. Even if other starts aren't doing so well. Heh, I can just keep icky ones and grow them here and hope for the best. And heck, I could probably split the current basil cans next week too. So even if none of the other herbs work out for wedding favors, basil will. Time to be kicking up the first of the catgrass cans too.  I have a whole paper bag full of cat food cans for growing catgrass in- I figured that was appropriate. And I can do a ton of them for decor, hehe.

Right now scattered around in the tent, on tables.. bla bla bla.. Several pots of tulips and grape hyacinths that will stay here, lots of herbal cans for favors and will be marked so, lots of garden in a box seed boxes for folks to take home, a goodly handful of flameless candles to light up the tables.
Right now I'm not being terribly hopeful for nice enough weather for true backyard wedding. All the plans are going on under the tent right now. Even if it's nice the weekend of, I'm not too hopeful that it won't be soggy leading up to the date, and that kind of nixes some ideas.

Anywho, enough babbling... Been getting some stuff done, figured I better write it down while I'm thinking of it.

Thursday, April 11, 2013

And T minus.....

So, back home from my trip to WI...

My wedding dress is totally fabu, exactly what I wanted it to be. Still needs a bit of tinkering, but not much. Need to come up with some of the finishing details. It's hanging in on my dummy in my workshop right now :) Thank you Bad Bear!
I will be taking pics and probably getting taken pics of in this awesome creation. Be patient, I will post them when they turn up.

Picked up the brew.. And whew, what a lot of brew! 10 cases, all sorts of different yummy goodness. I think when I load up the tubs I will have to set aside a bottle of each so I can make sure I sample them all if I don't get to on the wedding day. I have never tasted anything he made that wasn't worth drinking many many times... Thank you Brewer Chuck!

Here's a pic of Brewer Chuck having a well deserved sit and sip among the yummy brewing all boxed up and ready to go. Yes, that whole heap is being served at the wedding :)

Of course now that we are T minus, I'm in total panicking bride mode. Meh, I think that's to be expected. But totally freaking none the less, heheehe.

Started working on my jewelry- and after half a days work, realized I was screwing it up. It's damn hard sometimes because I can't read Japanese. So I had to tear the whole thing apart, and start over. I figured out where I went wrong. Also realized I only had half of the 6mm that I needed for the project, so I picked up some more on sale. Also picked up some 6mm on clearance I think I will like even better for the project. All of the leftovers from the project will do nicely for the rest of my sparkley.

Got 6 more solar lights painted up. Just need to jar them. Picked up 4 more to start too. I won't have as many as I would have wished for, but plenty enough to set out how I want them. 

All of the tulips are popping up right fine- so I think I might actually get some blooms at the right time! Perhaps the grape hyacinths will be blown by then though. It turned chilly and rainy as hell, we might get snow Friday- so I'm kind of unwilling to put them outside to slow them down. But that's ok, I know where they are going in once they bloom :)
The irises aren't doing diddly, and I'm a tad concerned about that. Not for the wedding, but I want to plant them in the yard and would hate to lose them. 
The little daffs and big hyacinths on the south side of the solarium are already in full bloom, so were the little irises by the raspberry patch. I need to mark them off now so I know where to dig and re-distribute later in the season.

About half the seed I started before I left is popping. All the brassicas, some of the herbs, some of the marigolds... None of the carrots :( But some of the mixed radishes and golden beets.

MY TOMATO SEEDS CAME IN!!!!! Offer off the Gardenweb. Someone getting rid of older seeds- that means 3+ years on that site, but still in right fine range for tomatoes. I sent off a SASBE for a buck with three forever stamps inside for the return.. and a load of seeds back! It snipped a few off my wish list, and a lot of colors!!!

Black Prince
Purple Russian
Old Ivory Egg
Yellow Perfection
Brad's Black Heart
Great White
Gold Medal
Black Plum
Purple Calabash
Speckled Roman
Yellow Pear
Black Russian
Snow White
Kelloggs Breakfast
Orange Queen
Black from Tula
Dr. Wyche
White Wonder
Black Krim

Of course I still have to ton of tomatoes on my wish list. Now I get to go through and strike some of those off because I got in a lot of seed that covers it. I have my reds, yellows, and oranges covered. With a couple exceptions on the red and yellow. My blacks/purples are mostly covered too. I still have greens and browns out there, but meh, those are far down my list. Got an excellent hop on my whites too.
Of course I didn't start any of my own toms from seed this year- got too much going on. But I think next year is going to be a seed growing year. As many different tomatoes as I can to build a fresh seed stock from. Then the year after start really doing the rainbow effect for canning.

Hehheeee, my seed wish list. It currently has 350 kinds of seeds on it. This winter when all of my favorite seed catalogs came in, I marked and drooled and noted just like I always do. This time I noted all those seeds into a list. Some are novelty, or interest, some are wow, I really want to grow that. But it's every seed I think is neat.
And heh, I have about 180 kinds of seeds already.. I'm such a greedy little thing.
Ultimately I want Growbox Hill to have a 700 variety seedbank, maxing out at 1000 if needed. With careful storage, rotation, and growing, that can happen. Like I can have 50 kinds of tomatoes on storage, rotating through colors. Or some flowers like nasturtiums I want to grow every year several kinds or other wild flowers that will just be what it is. Or herb seed like dill and catnip :)
Our first year here was learning the lay of the land. Last year was a good learning attempt, and good planning preparation. This year is just a coasting year and building up for next year.

Cept for the luffas for the hops experiment. By golly that will work this year.

The Green Gauge Plum came in. I picked it up today bareroot, need to get it into some dirt tomorrow. 14 bucks, and if we treat it right, it will grow fruit for years :) Our wonderful brewer is also able to do blessings, and he will be doing a special blessing on the tree for our wedding :) Perhaps in a few years of loving care, we will be rewarded with yummy fruits to remind us of the happy day. Every time I go to Watervliet, I'm happier with them.
I took Gene's advice and potted up horseradish root from Meijer just before I left. Now there is green popping up from all three crowns I planted.

Made my first donation to the local library today. I like food mysteries. I owned the first two books in one volume of the Hemlock Falls series.  My library had books after that, but not those. I figured why not, and called in about donation. I dropped it off today along with the others of the series I had checked out, and they were glad to have it :) I have a small pile of media for donating, think I might have to search their catalog and make a list of what I got that they might want. Otherwise, there is a media donation bin at the Meijer.

The Salvation Army picked up our donation while I was gone. I usually like to donate nicer stuff to Kirby's, our local thrift shop. But I had built up a pile of good and random I didn't feel like sorting out, and SA was willing to pick up all of it- one less fuss to town for me :) Used plastic garbage bags for it all. One big contractor bag of random house stuff, and four kitchen bags of clothes. Three bags that don't fit me or don't wear so much anymore, one bag of clothes the menfolk weeded out.

And ugh, trouble with the south neighbors.. again... Golly I can hardly wait till that fence is installed. Dave said it might go in by our wedding- and that would be the bestist kind of wedding present. But they got stuff going on too, so I understand that the fence is secondary concern.
Anywho, today.. My love pops up by me and says there is a white sedan in their drive.. I couldn't see it clearly at first, but then the headlights popped on, and they started backing away from the garage.. then grrr, proceeded to pull onto our easement, then looped back around the barn... by then I had tossed on my shoes and jacket and started out the door. By the time they crossed my path out the office, they were already past me and headed right on out. Turned on the blinker left, and drove off that way.. Few minutes later a very similar, perhaps the same car drove north on the road. It was a car full of older folks. Couldn't see the driver clear, but the front passenger was in an old man hat and colors, and the back seat had an older person too.

Made up a big pot of soup today.. the wet and rain just made me do so. Picked up potatoes on clearance, had pork stock in the freezer and dried corn on the shelf... The leeks weren't on sale, but made up a big ole kettle of potato chowder for dinner.. it's in it's final burblating now. 
And off again, more for another day...