Welcome to Growbox Hill

Welcome to Growbox Hill
Welcome to Growbox HIll!

Monday, October 27, 2014

Fall cleanup

It's that time of year- fall cleanup. Mama N has blessed us with some glorious warm weather, so though I weep to pull spent plants, at least it was nice weather for it.

Smoked a lovely bone in ham over the weekend- when the price is low, I love to pick one up. I save the fat for later rendering, the bone always yields wonderful stock for many dinners to come, and there's enough meat there for a few dinners.

Been raking up lots of leaves to cover beds with. The garlic beds are under, as well as the tomato and little squash bed. Today I pulled the last of the squash, bean, and pepper plants and dumped on several wheelbarrows of leaves over those beds. The tarragon bush finally got it's last clipping and the whole herb bed is now buried too. Gotta love that free mulch :)

Planted in a bunch of spring bulbs too. Snowdrops under the cedar at the bottom of the mint border and in with the sky blue irises. Mediterranean bells along one side of the east bay of the pole barn. Mixed colors of hyacinths along a section of the south side of the solarium. And a few Gypsy Queen and Gypsy Princess hyacinths on the other side of the solarium in the wee folk garden. Slowly but surely I'm getting more flowers into the yard, and I'm rather pleased about it.

Decided the first batch of pickled nasturtium seeds were ready to try- I used a handful of them chopped up in some tartar sauce last night. A bit more peppery than true capers, but they for sure has that wonderful salty brine taste to them. Made nasturtium flower pesto and leaf pesto, both are delicious and in the freezer- I'm debating picking another batch before Halloween. Still got tons of the things out there if I so desire. I noticed a bunch of the wild chives are making an autumn showing too, so I might have to pick some to make butter or oil with.
Been dehydrating stuff too. Pretty soon I will publish this seasons preserving total- it's getting to be quite a lengthy list!

Been working on some more Halloween village stuff, a skeleton gazebo and my love printed me out the stuff for a jack o lantern water tower. I can't believe the holiday is right around the corner already!

Otherwise life has been the same ole around here. Doing chores, trying to deal with shit, work, life.. ya know... So I keep plugging away and hope things get better.

Been working on some crafting stuff, mostly beading projects. I'm starting to feel somewhat hopeful that I might be able to start selling some of it sooner rather than later.

Elections are coming up, and I'm sort of looking forward to being an election official- this will either be a good thing or something I rather not do again, we shall see. Maybe I just need something that is mine alone, and not shared. Greedy of me, I know, but I really miss having anything to myself.

At this point, I have several kitty litter jugs saved up for wintersowing. I think their bigger size and sturdiness will be of greater benefit than the milk jugs are. I still got milk jugs though, lol. I know, seems kind of weird that I tuck the garden away today and now I'm thinking about the next planting, but a girl has to plan, ya know? Through the winter I will probably make a thousand plans for the yard, and discard about 990 of them, hehe. My wish list for seeds is getting fairly small and specific to Pine Tree and Baker Creek- so even though I have a ton of trade seed, I think I might have to face it and just order seeds to fill in the little bit that I want.
I've culled out some more tomato seed- now I just need to settle in on what color I really want to grow next year.

Monday, October 13, 2014

Yay garlic!

October 10..
Recently, I built two new raised beds for garlic... Today they got completed. The first layers got rained in real good, and today I shoveled in the second layer of manure. Then we took the truck out to the back 40 and dug up some sandy topsoil to top off the boxes...

Then I planted in 240 cloves of garlic. 10 kinds of hardneck, 1 kind of softneck. What all did I plant in?
12 South Haven
18 Leningrad
30 Great Russian
12 Skips 1
30 Kankankee softneck
18 Up North
6 Skips 1
18 Skips 2
48 Kankankee hardneck
16 Lawrence
32 Porcelain Pearl

Two of the beds are 3x6, and one bed is 4x6. I pulled apart all the heads I harvested this summer, and picked out the best of the cloves for planting. And now I have a rather nice heap of garlic for eating too!

October 13
So I made another 9 half pints of pickled mushrooms, and another quart of fridge pickled mushrooms. They are quickly becoming a house favorite!
The weather has been nice enough to get a bit of outdoor activity done... But more importantly, it rained last night and for a while this afternoon, and the new solarium roof is perfectly dry! Whoo-hoo for a job well done! Now that I know it's nice like that, I can get the boards off the pond, get the solarium cleaned up and pots back into place- and get back to work on the beading bench.

Started in with the seed trade lists on the GW- one of them has been nice, but right now a request for SASE is kind of turning into a PITA! I get the request if I am willing to do a SASE- I say sure, just make sure it's a bubble envelope to protect the seed. I get a long email back about how the person won't do bubble mailers, all sorts of special instructions as to how they like seed sent- and that I need to take the SASE to the post office just to get it hand stamped! Do you realize that most post offices really don't like to do hand stamping, they only want to do machine stamping? And WTF is a SASE about if I have to do special running to another city to see if maybe they might be willing to hand stamp? I have done a lot of trades, and this is the first time I've gotten this kind of fucked up special requesting on what is basically me giving away seed for free- something I normally only allow to newbies. And this person claims to have done tons of worldwide trading, but is awfully particular and fucked up about it all. And their seed list is all "oops, my shit is all crossbred, take your chances with the seed". Sigh. Trading should not be that complicated.

And today I went in for Election Official training- it was interesting, but a little overwhelming on information! Lots of details got covered. Makes me glad I get to do a second round in orientation the Saturday before elections! I am looking forward to being a participant in the voting process, pretty cool stuff to do civic duty and all.

Wednesday, October 8, 2014

Season on!

Ah, it's that time of year.. Halloween time :)

There are several new additions to Nightvale, my Halloween village. A zombie eatery, coffin factory, ghostly haunted house, bat aviary, some witches flying around and stirring up potions, a couple streetlights, and a few more denizens. So now the vals sprawls across the mantle, the shelves, the stereo, and the square table in the living room.
The pumpkin patch is chock full of pumpkiny goodness, the vamps and zombies hang out on main street, the witches have their own hangout on high... Grim is hanging out with the skeletons having coffee, the workers at the coffin factory can stop for a terror dog or a couple bags of blood to go, and the haunted house gets to get a little batty.
Yes, I am kind of obsessed with my Halloween village. Some folks get Christmas village nutty, I go for Halloween. There's still a small handful of buildings I want, and a whole heap of oddbits and oddfellows. In a year or two, I will build landscape for all of it, lol. At this point when I pack it all up, it will take up more space than my Christmas decor, and I like it like that.
A bunch of the buildings are on timers, so the whole vale gets active or goes to sleep at different times of dark, which is fun in and of itself.
My love printed me off an incredible Cerberus to guard the gargoyle towers and gate I have set up, and there will be a ton more printing that will go into the vale- some buildings are just too frigging expensive for what they are, so I'm going to make my own. Same goes for stuff like gravestones- why pay someone else several bucks for them when I can make them or have my hubby print some off? There are some outstanding scans out there of real gravemarkers that are just wonderful, from when they still make them look like treestumps and books and such. Then it's just a matter of painting them up nice and putting them in place. The graveyard definitely needs more markers, it's pretty darn small right now for a Halloween village.

In other news... Got a couple of moms cabinets hung up in her room, they look real nice. And finally hung the barn painting up in the stairwell. It's not fine art, something mom picked up eons ago. But it's something that speaks to all of us of home somehow.

Exciting stuff- finally ripped out and replaced the solarium skylight today!!!! Holy shit it looks so much better now. The corrugated plastic is clear, and lets in so much light it looks like there are artificial lights on out there. And with no more gaping hole acting as a chimney, there is already a noticeable difference in the temp out there- and I'm hoping with just a little more weatherproofing and a bit of a heater, I might actually be able to use my solarium as my workshop year round :) Squee with joy! If nothing else, it will be really good for the plants.

And ugh, started the painful process of sorting out my seeds. Logging what I got, deciding what I want to keep or put into the trade list bin.. Then comes coming up with the trade list. Of course there are a lot of things I want on my wish list, but then that too needs to be cleaned up- only so many beans or tomatoes one can have and be realistic about using the seed. And heritage grower that I am, I've been taking down dates on the seeds as I can, and I have discovered that some of my oldest cultivars are about 400 years old! As in early 1600's, or at least that's when they are logged as being in the U.S.. A couple of those are even older, but I don't know how much because I'm not tracking back that far in European or Native American records at this time.