Welcome to Growbox Hill

Welcome to Growbox Hill
Welcome to Growbox HIll!

Monday, January 6, 2014

Happy 2014!

Happy 2014!!!

We here at Growbox Hill are dug in for the cold winter season. Got a lot of things going on with tying up the ends of 2013 and sorting things out for 2014... Particularly in our growing plans.
This month I will be doing things like looking over previous entries and making notes, updating and researching the seed list for what will be getting planted in 2014- the first plantings are just next month with wintersowing.
Up on the planting list is prepping up the solarium for potting up wintersowing seeds. Cutting up jugs and getting together dirt, figuring out what packets of seed are going to be sown starting in February. I plan on setting out my first jugs in the first weekend of February for Imbolc. 

Right now the only seriously long range guess at weather is Farmers Almanac. Here's what they say at of January first, 2014:

January 2014

1st-3rd. Scattered snow showers, flurries.
4th-7th. Rain and fog.
8th-11th. Southern Plains storm moves to Great Lakes; heavy rain and snow.
12th-15th. Big storm Gulf States to Virginias brings heavy rain and snow to Ohio Valley; lesser amounts to north and across Great Lakes.
16th-19th. Snow showers/flurries.
20th-23rd. Clearing, cold.
24th-27th. Turning colder. Widespread fog over Ohio Valley.
28th-31st. Rain and snow heavy for Great Lakes, Ohio Valley and points south.

February 2014

1st-3rd. Rain, snow.
4th-7th. More rain, snow.
8th-11th. Occasional snow flurries.
12th-15th. Unseasonably cold weather. Wintry mix extends into Ohio Valley.
16th-19th. Residual snow showers, flurries.
20th-23rd. Snow Ohio Valley, points south.
24th-28th. Cloudy, with some snow Great Lakes; wintry mix Ohio Valley.

What's been going on since my last real post? Had a good holiday, was able to have my mom here for several days. My love printed out and I hand painted and embellished a bunch of rather nice ornaments for several folks- and a sweet-ass snowman for our own tree :) Everyone gave and got a bunch a fun stuff. I got 34 pairs of socks which I was thrilled about. Food was pretty much the usual holiday faire- though I was re-introduced to an old favorite, chicken and rice. The creamy, mushroomy kind, yum!  I even had mom supervise me while making it to make sure I remembered it right, it's been forever since I even thought of it.
New Years was pretty quiet. Stayed up to see the ball drop in New York and went to bed shortly after. New Year's eve just isn't the same without Dick Clark.

So, January first is full of snow, very very full of snow. Today is a day of cleaning up after all the holiday stuff.
Set up the dehydrator with 4 trays of sliced celery, and 2 trays of shredded broccoli. Made a couple jars of refrigerator pickled baby carrots- used my standard antipasta recipe. Those will be ready to crack in a month or so. One nice thing about all the snow, I don't have to waste ice shocking veggies, I can just drain them and onto the front porch for a few minutes.
Got the leftover ham and chicken mushroom spread in the freezer, and divided the other 3 lb block of cream cheese and got that into the freezer. Made a big ole pot of Matzo ball soup with carrots, potatoes, roasted chicken, and green beans from our garden :).
Done tons of dishes. My love did a couple loads while I was gone, and I did a couple more today. And still with all I did today there is still more to be done, lol. 

Made a kitchen scrubbie over the holiday out of recycled onion bags. It was a snap to make, keeps the bags out of the landfills, and now I never need to buy a kitchen scrubber again! Stack a few bags, fold in thirds, fold in thirds the other way, and stitch around the edge, I used a scrap of yarn and a yarn needle my mom had handy. There's instructions out there on how to make other kinds, but I tend to like a square scrubby.
Now my last Dobie pad is almost dead.. And I'm fully switched over to using a luffa and recycled scubby instead of buying products for this. I have a small heap of other saved net bags set aside and will be making more of these- expect a photo tutorial soon!

Decided to brave the elements and go to the mailbox, we had outgoing mail and hadn't checked the mail in a couple days. Discovered that my rubbers are wonderful because they are tall, waterproof, and super grippy- they suck because they are zero insulated. Had to put on the rubbers because the snow was too high for my regular boots and I didn't feel like digging out my super tall boots. Wore my super-awesome cloak my mom made for me eons ago, I love that thing. Also discovered what a PITA it is breaking trail in snow several inches deep, hahha. Walking back up to the house was better, the trail was broken :) Of course it wasn't till I was walking back that I realized I should have brought my keys to grab the snow shovel out of the pole barn- oops. The shop broom might have worked fine last time, but I need a shovel this time. Perhaps tomorrow, I do need to break trail around the house and garage, and it's time to empty the compost bin, sigh.

Jan 2 was a day of tearing down the decorations and kitchen stuff and getting it packed up. Man doing that is time consuming! It was cloudy and cold, snowing on and off. Ugh, not hauling it upstairs today. Cold and snow and ugh. Got a rather nice present of pics from family, yay!

Jan 3......
This morning woke up and discovered the toilet in our bathroom isn't working- this is the one I had the sediment event with recently, and I'm not positive what's wrong this time, just no water coming in to fill the tank. This could be due to the line, or stuff in the toilet. Bummer :( dredged out more sediment and plan on doing a suction manuver before anything else.
Got a full dehydrator of raw sliced carrots set up. Made the tutorial for the kitchen scrubbies and posted it up, yay!
Kicked up the office from 55 to comfort zone, and turned on the living room for the first time after dark today.

Just after darkfall on January 4th..
With all the different snows over the last couple days, combined with the winds... We have a rather lovely striated effect like wind carved stone going on on the front porch railing. You can tell where we different inches, and the different densities of them by how much or not the layers are carved out. Pretty darn cool.
I think we might be seeing a potential 9-12 inches of snow over the next 48 hours. Overnight might get 5-7 inches with possible flurries throughout tomorrow giving snow or not.. into another possible 4 inches through tomorrow night.

I think at the close of this evening I can say FA has been wrong- flurries my butt, and softening into rain, nope. A few degrees to lift us out of total freezing, sure.

Checked in with the bean and tomato swaps. In the bean swap, looks like a couple people got packages before the holiday, and no one since then. People are asking bout it in thread now. In the tomato swap, the host is having some computer problems, but is checking in. He's reporting 10,000 packets in tomato tally, and is working on the additional donation seed now. Hopes to get all the packets off before the end of the month. Really makes me wonder how much seed I'm going to be overwhelmed with, hahaha.

Kind of figuring out what all I have or not with setting up wintersowing. I need to do a lot of cleaning up in the solarium to set it up. Gonna need a goodly swath of floor space to spread out a tarp to mix stuff up on. And I need to do a clear-off of the seeding bench.

Figuring out an attack plan on our sediment and pipes. Of course we need to replace the system filter in the crawlspace- but before we do and since we only have one clean one, I want to pick up another new one before doing the install.
Need to do a tank vacuum of the other three toilets- good thing we happen to have a device for exactly that. Ok, it's for fish tanks, not toilet tanks, but the tool will work the same. I want to clean those out ASAP too.
Will need to flush and fill the hot water tank, perhaps a couple times.
And the most dreaded- will need to clear out our bathroom and fix the toilet in there. I'm hoping for the best and it's within the toilet, and not within the feed line.
Other dreaded- this brings to point that we are overdue for our septic tank to be emptied, and how much frigging silt is in those tanks? And what might be building up at the bottom of our sump pump?

Holy crap do we have snow.

 This was taken around 1-2ish...
 This was taken at 4:30

 Out the other window... See that little mound on the right? That's the kitty litter bucket, it's 15 inches tall- the snow is at least 15 inches there, and the mound is the cap of snow that had built up on top of the bucket and now is getting filled in.
Another shot of this. And oh, that smooth section between the small tree and the mound has the black spanish round radishes, along with foot tall stakes showing where they are.

 Oh yeah, we are snowed in. The snow is halfway up the first panel of the garage door, and there's drifting deeper than that right in the drive path. Off to the left is the wall for the FOH garden- didn't take a pic because you can't see it anymore anyway, it's completely drifted in.
 Shot outside the stairwell door. This is the wee folk garden, you can just see a bit of the retaining wall on the right.
General shot out the door to the barn. That super huge mound is a plowed one-the neighbor does his own easement. You can see at the base V of the chestnut a goodly bit of branch- It's the bit that's been hung up since the storm last spring. If so yay for it finally coming down and not doing damage doing so. And what looks like a bunny shadow by the chestnut isn't a bunny- it's the blue spigot head.

 A bad pic out the kitchen window of the catnip pot. Yes, that big ole green pot that sits on a raised brick. The snowcap on it is easily as tall as it is.

This is the stakes that surround the poppy on the south side of the solarium. These are 4 foot tall stakes, and by guessing by where the tape is, the snow is about 12-15 inches here.The tape itself is a couple inches wide.
My love shot a great video of the snow, but I can't figure out how to load it up here.

On the bright side, we have now gotten in so much snow that it's starting to rather effectively insulate us from the winds- snow has blown into all the nooks and crannies already. The sound buffering effect is starting to kick in.
I'm considering how to scrap together some snowshoes out of kitty litter lids. Or something, lol. Gonna need to be able to get to the mailbox!
I should make a project out of it and see if I can find the snowshovel in the pole barn. And heh, take out one of the 4 foot bamboo stakes and take some depth readings. I've been thinking about it, and I might want to clear the end of the arch drive this spring. Seems like the neighbors won't be thinking about going where they shouldn't anymore, and it's getting to be more of a hindrance to us at this point in time.

Waking up on the 6th revealed no surprises, and a whole lot more snow!

 Here's what the front porch looks like this morning
 and the kitty litter bucket is for sure under snow now- it's over 15 inches deep out there!

 Those drifts in front of the garage doors are actually about chest high on me, around 4 feet deep

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