Welcome to Growbox Hill

Welcome to Growbox Hill
Welcome to Growbox HIll!

Tuesday, May 16, 2017

Garden pics :)

Time for a little garden tour.. I took the pics on Sunday morning, but I'm also going to put in stuff I've done since then.

A long shot from the FOH garden. Off to the right in front of the garage door are all the fruit pots that need to be hauled out back and planted. The greenhouse is standing strong, and that front flap is essential for shade that makes the front porch pleasant. On the left in the back you can barely see the beds.. In the foreground is a sea of grass- half of that is gone as of today- once the sun got too cooking down by the greenhouse, it was time for weeding in the shade. I've now cleaned out the whole planting in area for this years columbines.

A shot of the greenhouse and kennel beds. In the foreground you can see where I spread out a tarp to lay out some composted manure and straw bale flakes to dry. Why did I do that you ask? Because I got those two boxes moved and needing filling. Today I completely weeded out that whole front bed, and started out some sifting on the right side- where the most of the gravel and shallow rooted weeds are.. by the time I got the first couple feet sifted, the sun was nixing anything more there for today- shade is my friend, lol.

A good shot of the setup. Off frame to the left is another tarp where I stacked up the bags of stuff and straw bales- it's a testament to how well they were wrapped for winter 2015/16 that when unbagging 5, only one was really rather gunky... mostly with mushroom mold. That bale I flaked out to dry a bit overnight on Saturday. Three bags of composted manure- really wet stuff. What makes it good to mix into sweet feed but sucks for spreading over a couple boxes. So those got dumped out on Saturday to dry out a bit too. In the back you can see the left box with a first flake fluffed in. I fluffed the flake for a couple reasons- I didn't have enough bales to just straight lay in flakes, and I wanted to spread out and mix up that mushroom mold, and break up the flake matrix into a new matting to better accept what was going on top. There were 11 flakes, 5 went into the left box, 6 into the right since it's a deeper box.
A closeup of the boxes as I started. The box in the back has one flake on it so far, the box in front is just the basic inch I gave of smothering paper layer to seal in the bottom, shovels of dirt from the bed removal, and some grass on top. got the green mulch, I'm using it :) The carpet edge goes under the box by an inch or so to help with weeds too. Carpet is wonderful stuff.
After flaking up the straw, had some fun stomping it down real well again. Then a bag and a half each of composted manure on top. I watered in with a couple gallons each box to help tamp stuff down a bit more for settling.
The fill after the peat and veggie dirt mix. I used one big bale of peat moss and 4 bags of veggie dirt. Mixed up a quarter batch at a time and spread around with a small rake- it was wonderfully zen. Watered in this layer with a couple more gallons per box to help it settle in before packing a very full barrow divided between the two of more grass over the top.
While my grass fairy was off collecting that heap that you now see packing those two raised beds to the top, I started working in the rest of the smother bed action. I had just enough carpet left over that I was able to do the whole front line of the lasagna beds. This front corner is cardboard and one bale- I had barely enough, because I wasn't also covering the carpet aisle- didn't need to. Around the light pole area got two bales of straw and a good heap of cardboard- It needed the cleanup, and this year it's were the peppers growing in their containers are going to live. Nice big spot for them.
Ah, and cleaned up the far corner to with a new smother layer. I had the cardboard, but not quite enough straw at one bale because I was also renewing the aisle on that side. In the foreground is this years big brassica garden- Kalettes in back by the fennel, a row of romensco broccoli, a row of green cabbage, and a row of red cabbage. You can see the two lemon balms in the front corner of the next bed looking good, and the two cages for the asparagus beans to grow on this year. The far bed is going to be some corn, and maybe some greens.
A shot from the far end. You can see how loose that straw looks by comparison to the other end, but it was a darn sight better than the tall grass mess that was there. The carpet on the front looks great, and lays in nicely. The three bronze fennels are spectacular- we hate the stuff as a food, but it is beautiful and the bennie bugs love it. While in the cleanup, I discovered several borage sprouts popping up in the front of the beds too, which is rather nice.
A bunch of seedlings enjoying the sun... everything has been moved from the solarium and porch down to the greenhouse now. Monday night I had to tuck everything under cover because we got a thunderstorm with hail... but tonight they all stay out.

Some pots lined up and ready to move around... Starting on the left in the kitty litter bin is hardy kiwi, three lemon balms, a couple baptista and foxgloves, the dozen gallon pots of lavender, and the avocado tree.
From the nice shady corner of the greenhouse at this time in the afternoon. In the forefront is some dried grass. That marks where the helios radish is.. beets and carrots haven't done nada. Right close to the garlic is the transplanted beer radish. And a nice big area in between that I can still do what I want with. With the way the rows are matching up, I can put in future raised beds moving from the pole, and will still have a nice aisle further down the time line...

The old raised beds area still needs the whole round of attention too, starting with some solarization. And the stair garden needs it's cleanup and set in of this years plants. The tree garden needs it's tending too, lol. But so far, so good!

Thursday, May 11, 2017

Started May 9...

5/9: So, looks like everyone survived the freezes. Yes, freezes- last night hit it like the night before. But today I took off the frost cloths and the stuff down by the greenhouse looked perfect. Since overnight lows are going to be in the 40's now, we are good to go there. The poor Purple Hyacinth Bean- I covered it over days ago, and I fear it may have cooked a wee bit much when it was still sunny out. But it's still almost hanging in there when I took it's cloth out, so we shall see. The dill has loved the extra cover and sprouted great.
Today was another shuffle day- a lot of stuff moved back out of the greenhouse, so a lot of stuff could be moved from the solarium to the greenhouse. The lavender seedlings- there's a total of 84 of those at the moment, lol. Over this year they will be slowly transplanted up as needed to 3x3 then 5" pots to grow in for a year or two. Got 56 chamomiles, 36 zinnias, 18 each of fennel and dill plugs, some cauliflower, a couple more baskets of fuchsias, and all the 3x3 scented geraniums in the greenhouse too. A few days ago I transplanted 13 variegated sages from their 3x3 pots into gallon pots for growing out this year, and those got moved out to the porch. Those will be planted in next year along the front fenceline where I've tried and failed to get other stuff to start.
This year I'm going to pull out the few tulips from that area and lay in a deep smother bed and let it just die for a year before trying again. Next year I will set in the sages up that line. And I now have 16 Candy Lilly seedlings that are going to be grown in pots this year too- those will be nurtured along to plant in with the sage. Candy Lillies have spectacular blooms on 3' stalks that will look spectacular over the sage growth. So some 2018/19 plans there.
I did another good spraying with Neem & oils over the lasagna beds today- almost finished off this batch of mix doing it. Since I had a wee bit left, I started to spray on the corner of the kennel garden where there was the most recent squash bug activity... and noticed some delightful seedlings!! Last year sis and I had capped over the Beer Garden Radish as late in the season as I dared to help along what little blossoms and seed pods I saw at the time.. and when I moved the giant radish corpse today there was a nice handful of tiny radish plants!! I carefully dug them all up, and transplanted the best 21 in the batch- 7 per row, 3 rows. There were littler seedlings I scrapped too, but dang, those are big radishes and I only need so many, even with letting a few go to flower and make seed. And I do hope a few do that so I can collect some seed stock. I put them into half of last years brussels sprouts, on the garlic side. The brussels didn't respring for seed, and those radishes had to move anyway since that's the area the toothache plant is going in.. so hey, good deal. I got one strip left in that garden area, and I think I'm going to plant it in with "weird spinach and greens". Some of the other other plant species that aren't part of the classic plant rotation groups.

Tippy and friends..
The feeder action has become popular! A few weeks ago I started refilling the nyjer sock feeder, and picked up an new tube feeder since all of the old ones were broken. Menards has the sale on nyjer seed, Meijer better on wild seed. Started filling the tube feeder with cheap Meijer feed that had more small seed and less sunflower and corn. The finches, sparrows, tickmouses, chickadees came out. Dumped all the moth ridden bad seed down on the platform feeder- and that seemed to draw off to the greater extent some of the pest birds like grackles, starlings, and some of the red winged blackbirds- the grackles and starlings can't perch at the tube feeder, but the red wing blackbirds can if they are smaller and hunch up well. Then there was a red belly woodpecker that was showing up at the tube feeder and being rather entertaining because he was so huge and could hang in so well to snack at those holes and pegs meant to feed a bit smaller and upright perching feeders.
So I made up a lil batch of suet to try to feed Mr. Woodpecker. I had a lot of suet goodies stacked up that didn't get used so much this winter since it was so mild and birds had a lot of natural goodies. I made two suet cakes, poured into mushroom tubs....

For the fat..
1/2 cup of lard- I use a pound tub, and half of it was used up. I used half of what was left.
Equal amount of generic chunky peanut butter.
Nuked them up enough to make them soft and mixable, but not liquid.
In a 16 oz Daisy sour cream tub... about half fullof freeze dried mealworms, and topped off to about 2/3 full with some moth spoiled quinoa. Topped the tub off to the top with dehydrated apple bits.
Mixed in about 1 1/2 or so of Daisy tub of wild seed to that.. and poured it off to two mushroom tubs...
The woodpecker was last to show over the curiosity of the red wing blackbirds and sparrows.. and then I put out the Baltimore Oriole feed.. just in time too..
Because now every good bird is exploding like a colorful and musical muse into the spring backdrop of the tree blooming..
We have at least 2 females and 4 male Baltimore Orioles. And a nice treat- Rose Breasted Grosbeaks- we usually see a few of them here and there, but this time we have a full Gross! I'm not sure if it's the suet, or other goodies, but it's rare we see so many.
There's flocks of birds.. but then there's names for those flocks.. And how much fun is that?
Chicadees are banditry
Finches are Charm or trembling
Grosbeaks are gross
Sparrows are Host, quarrel, knot, flutter, crew

5/10: lots of indoor outdoor shuffling between the house and the porch... hardening off time has come since today is the last frost date. Transplanted up all the double furled blue columbines- ended up with 63 big, 12 little seedlings. Will be growing those out in the pots this year, or perhaps two depending on how slow they are to show first bloom. I'm hoping the mother plant was isolated enough not to have been cross pollinated with other colors, but only growing out will tell if that happened or not. If they are true, I will plant them in with the original mother. If not, elsewhere as I'm sure they would still be pretty.
Meijer had their mushrooms on sale, so over the last couple days I've dehydrated and picked up a heap of them! Which is nice, because we are always chowing those down, lol.

5/11: The birds are happy- we also have catbirds and cowbirds showing up- just a couple of each. They are new additions we had to take time to look up and identify. Orchard Orioles started showing up today too. Knock on wood, the larger ickier birds are staying away- the grackles, starlings, and bigger blackbirds. The new tube feeder has perches just short enough they can't really get on it, and the birds that are feeding aren't dropping much to make the ground enticing. Filling the platform feeder has helped with it as well.
Another round of shuffle indoors/outdoors for hardening off. Moved the asparagus seedlings and the blown small spring bulbs out to the garden porch. Moved all those transplanted columbines into the greenhouse.
Took the time today to start moving the raised beds. The biggest bed sort of fell apart while I was digging around inside and popping it up- a bit too much rot on one of the bottom side boards and collapse of a corner left me with one solid side and end panel, and some wood, lol. So it isn't being moved up this year obviously. I'm glad I did the dig out on it first, because I cleared that mound off first to start filling the two other beds. The smaller bed I made when I made the big one almost survived intact- it had a bottom end board that rotted out. No problem since I was planning on flipping the frames over so the good side was down anyway. I just put the short end in front and won't deep fill there just yet. The first frame I made held up best- a bit of chunk off on some bottom edges, but not too much- that one made the flip perfect.
Keep in mind I tend to build my beds straight on top of the lawn, I don't dig out the area first. 
So to start off with, I started cutting up that old rug we used to smother the stairs garden and has been sitting folded up for a while. 2 foot wide strips. Made 2 at first, one for the front and one for the fence edge. The front edge lines up perfect between the lasagna beds and the kennel beds, and the fence side tucked in perfect too. One box fit neatly front to back just barely covering the carpet strips. Another couple of 2 foot strips cut in half fit perfectly for the aisles between the boxes. Carpet makes for a darn fine kill blanket.
On the pole side of the beds, I laid in a new cardboard and straw smother layer to even out that curved mowing edge to butt up against the first box. I've let the back and front edges and the aisles sit as just carpet for the moment. I still got carpet to use and still need to smooth that edge for now.
In the beds themselves... laid down a thick layer of saved up MailMax newspapers.. and covered that with the dirt dug out from where the large raised bed was. It sure did make it easier that I had dug it up a lot this morning before I tried moving the box... after that all I had to do was shave that mound down to about ground level to put in my first dirt layer. I sprinkled in dirt as I was laying down paper to help hold it down in the wind.. then went back and filled and tamped down the edges and corners well with dirt, and made sure all newspaper was completely covered.. and that took up pretty much all the "extra" dirt. Raked up the mowed grass from the garden path to put a bit of green over the top- not much, but a nice fine layer of seed free green mulch. And that's as far as I got today, lol. It pooped me out, but felt good to get it done.
Tomorrow I will continue on it... I have three bags of "veggie soil", two bags of manure (both got to sweeten been planting, but I'll get more after this, I need the beds to mature before planting tomatoes), a big bag of used cocoa saved up- it isn't the most satisfying medium I've experimented with, but it will be good to add a big boost of organic fiber to the box. Since I'm breaking up the last of the bagged straw bales, I'll take a good bit of that and break it up for more fiber.. mix that stuff with the bags of stuff, plus the top clearing off of another of the old beds- the oldest one is pretty much crap now for soil removal.. I got a handful of small fertilizers that need using up and will go into the mix... and hopefully at the end of the fill I will be filled enough to plant in tomato goodness.
I should have enough straw to give the rest of the walkways around the beds a fill too. The front of the lasagne beds and it's far corner are sorry as hell, but the aisles there are looking good. This weekend sees the last of our low 40 overnights, so the big patch in the lasagne bed will be getting planted in soon with this years brassicas.
Where the raised bed were I'm going to clean up a bit then just lay it over with clear plastic to solarize for a while. I don't really need to do anything yet to that area other than the bed removal, and I don't want weeds to get in there yet, lol. I already need to work a lot down there, don't need to add to it while other stuff is going on if I have to.
In the kennel bed- the Helios radish is for sure popping up- the questionable on if it was viable or not Little Finger carrot has not popped. I think I'm starting to see the beets starting to sprout, but I'm not sure yet, lol- they are still tiny.
I still need to weed out and clean up the side of the greenhouse where the toothache plant will be planted in. And the Tree bed needs to be addressed and cleaned up before I can start thinking about putting in the beans, winter squash, and cuke seeds.......

But now it's time to get cleaned up for dinner.. pulled pork sandwiches tonight!

Sunday, May 7, 2017

Last frost? How about freeze?

Wednesday the 10th is the last frost date- but tonight we have a freeze warning, and tomorrow night is only supposed to be a couple degrees warmer. Good thing I got a nice greenhouse and know how to use frost fabric to cap over my fruit bushes and trees- the potted ones have already gone through blossoming, so I don't want to lose any potential fruiting off them. All the rest of the plants that have been sitting out between the garage and the greenhouse have been pulled into the greenhouse- all the little pot stuff. I even pulled the flat of toothache plant from the greenhouse to the solarium, just to be on the safe side.

The first week of May has been pretty darn nice so far though. Pretty much all my indoor seed starting is over now, I only have a few more pots under plastic for sprouting at this point. Got a LOT of various seedlings spread out between the kitchen, solarium, and greenhouse. It has been outstandingly nice having a greenhouse for so much stuff!!
I have been starting to harden off the tomatoes and peppers a bit with a couple hours a day in the mini-greenhouse on the porch. By next weekend, that will shift along with most of the rest of what's inside right now. Overnight temps will start stabilizing into the upper 40's/lower 50's so I will be able to overnight plants in the greenhouse instead of inside.. and without using a half dozen mini greenhouses and stupid amounts of plant shuffling. So far this year I haven't had to put the one I've been using as a shelf for pots and trays to plant use yet. Two in the kitchen has worked out fine mixed with the solarium. I have one full rack in the greenhouse, and one half rack- that one had a structural fail and the lower section removed, lol. And one on the porch.

Stuff done.. I recently moved the black compost cans and started filling the first one with cleaning out the kitchen herb garden. Over the last couple days I finished filling the bins.. I've cleared out all three lasagna beds. I'm going to give the whole area a hardcore spraydown with homemade garden spray- a mixture of oils. Neem being the biggest component- it seriously effs up a lot of the bad stuff like aphids, mexican bean beetles, squash and stink bugs, tomato hornworm feeding habits- they don't like the smell and emergent worms avoid it, reproductive cycle of japanese beetles.. while still being almost harmless to a lot of the beneficial insects that aren't out yet, and bees that are coming out now. Rain is coming in later in the week, and will wash it in.. then we can turn over those beds and give them another neem and oils shot. The other oils I'm using for this are Tea Tree, Rosemary, Lavender, and Peppermint. A nice side bennie of these oils is a lot of critters don't like the strong scent and start to avoid the gardens early.
I also cleaned out two of the raised beds real well. They were pretty easy to hand clean out since they were mostly loamy sandy and been more cleaned out more recently. The original raised bed is pretty much a contents loss, so I just cleaned it up so the frame can be dug up. These are going to me moved up to the east of the utility pole and west of the kennel garden.

But had to hunker down for freeze alert, lol. Now everything is cleaned up and tucked in.. and time for enchiladas thanks to my sis whupping up yummy dinner. and I'm off to make some refries and guac :)

Sunday, April 30, 2017

Keeping track of it all...

4/23: Another glorious day in the yard! Moved almost all of the plants from the solarium to either outdoors or into the greenhouse. Still got a shelf full in the solarium, but looking a lot more clear! Clear enough that I left the access for all kitties open for a while.. and of course Ocelot still managed to get into what was left and barf up a garlic leaf... silly kitten.
Cleaned up the front porch today.. then realized I was out of bleach and oxiclean, so no spraying the deck today. Got the porch furniture out of the pole barnt- didn't set it up yet since the porch hasn't been sprayed yet. It needs to be wiped down anyway.
A bunch of mowing.. the first round of the season!! The ole gal fired right up and I cut out the garden paths area first.. Then asked sis if she would like to take over- of course the answer was yes! So I was free to dink around with other outdoor stuff while she got some Zen on.

And yum, outdoor stuff... We have already strung up the new clothesline and been using it for a few days. It's one of those greatgrans cleaning secrets- the magic of outdoor fresh and sun on stuff. Of course rounds of frocks and bed linens have been first up, along with a couple of the hubbies stinkier coats, lol. As long as the weather is nice, we will be heavily using the lines for months now. A few things still go into the dryer- undergarments and jeans just are nicer when tumbled in the dryer. But heck yeah to all that other jazz going out on the line to dry. It not only saves a lot of money, but just no fabric sheet can match actual outdoor drying. Experimented with the neem oil spraying under the line area- I refreshed the half gallon or so that's left with an extra dash each of the lavender, rosemary, teatree and peppermint oils and sprayed heavily all along the line and well up the trunks of the three maples. It might help ward off some of the bugs in the area, lol. Once it gets nicer, I'll plant out some of the pelargoniums around the tree bases. I got a crapton of cuttings waiting.

And shit.. warm weather means tick season is on. I've found a couple so far. Gross on a gross stick. But hey, it's not like I don't have a bunch of fabu homemade soaps, conditioner, and other oils on hand to start using right now. I think I might try out the dry ice traps soon.
Dry ice traps: http://www.scout.com/outdoors/hunting/story/1411042-tick-experiment-that-ll-blow-your-mind

And speaking of nasty critters.. looks like so far the coon repellent action has been working. I've been putting out little dairy tubs with a big wad of dryer fluff and a goodly splash of ammonia in them in strategic places around the outside of the house. And liberally been sprinkling out hot pepper flake all over the general path areas and under feeder areas.. no coons. Even the drown buckets inside the perimeter have been showing zero critter sign. Good deal!! And nope, the birdies don't care one whit- we got masses of finches like no tomorrow providing all of us with OMGFinches!! TV. Next up is to start putting out "scent baits" of the cats litter boxes around the further outsides of the area. Ward off critters and perhaps start attracting a few ferals back into the area.

4/27: been some nice days of pulling stuff outside, hardening off, and all that jazz. More mowing and cleaning up stuff while the weather was nice. Porch is ready to go for when it is nice again..
Because yeah, open windows and almost 80 yesterday has crashed into "chilly" 50's and overnight into the 40's again.
Cleaned up a goodly chunk of and planted in a bunch of seed yesterday on the north side of the kennel. Colorful. Detroit White, and Detroit Golden beets, and a checkerboard of Little Finger Carrot and Helios Radish.  The Brussels and Beer radish look like scrap, so those areas are going to be yanked out. Not sure what is going to go into the BS spot, but I think I'm going to plant in the whole west side of the kennel strip with the toothache plant. I've got 72 plants to set in, and it is certainly nothing like what's been in that area ever. Another good round of sitting out and resetting that section of the bed yet to come- I still need to do some serious shaking out of gravel in the area, the greenhouse drainoff has done a great job of sifting that shit up to the surface. For whatever reason, the softneck garlic has come up profusely and is plush as hell after sitting into a second spring- still zippo sign of whatever happened to the hardneck. So I'm going to let that softneck just keep growing till it's normal late summer harvest time and then pull it. They should break up into goodly mother cloves with yummy sproutling bits to hold till next winter and fresh greens growing time :)
I still have a boatload of garlic from that bucket I got last fall. The small heads have been getting used up with fresh green eating tubs and some of the bigger smalls and some mediums have been getting tossed into the bomb buckets.. But I still have a nice box of big mother heads to plant out. I think I might use them out on the back 40 to mark off spots of where I want to grow some trees in a few years. I also have 3 pots of "ditch irises"- you know, the oober common purple ones the way Fulva Lillies are ditch lillies.. I want to plant in some Black Walnuts and American Chestnuts along the back line for some future nut and lumber investment- just 2-3 trees of each. And since I know regardless of what baby trees I might get in the next year or two, they are likely to get grown up a bit for a year or two in pots before planting out way back there. I think I'm going to use some of that garlic  and those iris pots to plant in around the center spots of where those trees will go. In a year or two those mothers will grow out nicely and be left alone by critters- and perfectly mark the planting spots.
Started most of the last of the crapton of indoor started seed today- squashes, cucumbers, melons, and long season beans. Yep, seems early- but I like pre-sprouting seedlings to plant in and still keep some seed back for direct sowing at the same time if needed. Although this year I need to concentrate on the Tonda- I had 5 seed left so I started 3 today for regular growing, and reserved 2 seed to special container grow for seed growing- with the way the greenhouse is holding up, sis and I plan on just tearing down the current tarp/plastic roof and replacing the porch roof and sides section and capping over the enclosed runs with something light that don't let the insects in so I have a few breeding chambers through the summer.

4/30: more transplanting done.. and not much else. It's been rainy and wet and rather chilly. And it's the end of the month, I should post this. 

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..

Fortunes Turning, part 3

And with the close of summer and into the cooling days the third and final harvest of Halloween came into town.. and the whole booming economy of the town became huge.. and then Samhain came, and the last reaping was done, the last portal that was opened was closed- leaving fewer doors in more secret places behind.. and then the weekend after came the cleanup when the convention blew back out out town...
Market Row and The Farm went down to other demands. The Cheese Factory, Winery, and Macintosh press. Ends Meet met it's entire end- the whole area demolished and only The Drive In survived and moved into Fortunes Turning proper along with the grill guys.

The Drive In moved up to the Ward... and a bunch of the spooky school stuff got packed away.

Above the falls got quite the rework.. most of the big buildings that were on Merchants Run ended up here, and the population started changing.. not so many folks of ghastly pallor and more rosy cheeks showing up.  The Witches have given up Lower Main entirely, and the churches cemetery has risen out of the sewage plant. Merchants Run got some new lights strung up.. but a lot of the vendors just aren't getting foot traffic.

The new farm with it's own gas station has bumped out the pumpkin farm and trading post. Santa has been spotted at the brothel getting the lowdown on who's been naughty and nice so far this year... And the final shipment of booze kegs is getting dropped off at The Warf.

Autumn was more of a waiting and holdover time in a lot of ways.. I had put some effort into twining all the falls, vines, and lights together and I knew a full tear down was coming up for winter- the fall colors had to be put away and the snowy skies were about to start peeping out...

Sunday, March 26, 2017

Fortunes Turning part 2

Since I lost the first posting of the whole thing, I decided to break this up into smaller posts that will post more readily.. so, post 2..

Last post left off to introduce The Children's Ward.. Really just The Ward to most locals.

There is an astonishing amount of little ghosts all over the place- and most of them seem to be a bit of juvenile delinquent problem, always flying in and out of every nook and cranny of buildings they possess, and dancing till all hours of dawn in the cemeteries.  Nightvale County decided to handle the matter by rounding them all up and giving them a good place to live. The Ward has an orphanage, Wizards Herb Instistute, a school, student and faculty housing, church, and more..
These grounds boast a functional human corral with The House Spider sitting nanny, two chefs, a baker, and a cruel lunch lady, a 90 degree angle sandbox with bloodvines to keep the kids safe, and a two tier cemetery with the Witch-o-Lantern keeping them from getting to rascally.
Here we can also see where the vines and waters start entangling into Fortunes Turning proper. There's a bit of a to do about being from above the falls or below them...

Some of this to do has to do with Job... He's sort of the patron saint of the area. Interesting story from the bible.. and anywho. This is where all the waters and crossings and turnings really meet up. We have the Celestial falls coming in from behind Job, the Blood falls flowing from under and out of The Blood and Vine, The Spook falls churning in and out of everywhere, The UnderWood sprouting up and growing out.. It's a crux. Of course the witches took over lower main... and the vamps extended the Blood falls out as they could on upper main..

Main quickly split off into Upper and Lower Main.. and the falls developed into under the falls. Town Hall is in the center of Upper Main with a nice Manor, Bakery, and the Post Office on the left. A note about the Post Office- They are only open during the Halloween and Autumn Season window. The rest of the year random appearing and disappearing mailboxes, bats, and occasional bees are available for mail service. Right now the chalet on Snow Mountain has applied for winter service, but that's on hold till next season when the snow will fly again. To hold up the right end of Upper Main is the local Funeral Home. This is the only place above the falls where a motorized vehicle is allowed- the hearse that services the whole community.
The witches pretty much took over the whole of Lower main with the exception of the right tower and main clocktower. Their flight school is one of the few left that has the full program of broom building and enchanting as well as a accredited flight testing ground. Their open court area is always a safe and full area of trade and various.... folks... And they do make the most satisfactory medibles to be found amongst any witchy community. The right tower has been much a battle scene. Properly set up as a courtyard of the big clocktower.. an axe wielding squirrel quickly set up door there and started terrorizing the ent stump living in the area. Gosh. The tower was one of the few lights to remain on 24/7 like Stu's during the Halloween season.
Under the falls was kind of a development in progress through most of the season. Merchants Row sprung up of many small cart vendors almost overnight where the Celestial falls drops off and the lower falls froths out. To the left a small pumpkin farm and trading post sprung up.. And to the right a much scandalous section of town sprung up, comprised of carnival crazy, The Warf House, Sophies Brothel, and The Rogues Club.. Gosh...

A few pics from Fortunes Turning

I made a big ole pic heavy post the other day about this... some pics of our village as it has progressed through the seasons so far... but apparently it was too pic heavy or something, because it seems to have never posted and rather simply disappeared. So I'm going to try this again, lol.

I started last year the day after Labor day with setting up the Halloween village. It took up the most space unsurprisingly enough. In 2015 I had used the long wall of the living room to set up large table space.. in 2016 I opted to wrap around the solarium wall instead. The whole thing just flowed so much better, and the Halloween Village is really expanded....

Fortunes Turning is kind of what I've settled into for the village name. It's a place of all crossroads and turnings, fortunes met and parted.. that sort of thing. Sometimes we call it Nightvale too, of Nightvale fame.. but that's kind of more of a "county" at this point, when there's so much Halloween Village out, it's kind of more than just a village, lol. But the rest of the year all the spooky sprawl goes back to the grave for the most part, and Fortunes Turning remains.
There is the Saga of Fortunes Turning too.. as we set things up and make vignettes, stories come out, places get new names and citizens turn up... and sooner or later time to post some pics...

Lets start with Halloween 2016 and see how the pics load or not..

Merchants Row and The Farm. A lot of the larger merchant buildings are here on the top starting with The Aviary on the left, then the Cheesemaker- they make some of the finest Gorgon-zola cheese, and have their own goat herd tended by a wonderful barfing poodle. The Winery is next, and they have a great selection of home grown brews. Up the hill is the Macintosh Cider Mill- they have award-winning pies and produce, but are closed from late spring through till after Labor Day. Last on the hill is the Zombie Cafe, they too are closed when it's warm out- health code reasons :)  That dropdown on the right is Grimm's Coffee- he hangs out with the skellies eating doughnuts and drinking coffee while his girlfriend croons at him.
The Farm is where the pumpkin watertower glows and pumps water to the brainvines. There's a train that comes by to pick up picked loads- but usually just zooms by without ever stopping for some reason. The Brains are an odd bunch of farmers, but their pig and vine compost seems to keep The UnderWood happy.

No Avary is properly run without a Dracula in the basement. Of course his front door is nicely appointed with a pair of benches... sometimes visitors might have quite the wait till sunset and would like a seat. In the background you can see the "township" of Ends Meet. It not only boasts the only functioning Drive In in the county, but one of the biggest commercial producers in the county.. The Coffin Factory.

The township of Ends Meet kind of just sprang up- so much so it got it's own clocktower and mailbox! On the brown clay cliffs sits The Drive In. It has a fully functional movie screen that plays various horror movies 24/7 all October. It's quite the attraction area with the bowling alley next door and the back door leading to The Dog Park next door. The Dog Park is an odd area- refer to Night Vale for general rules. But an odd exception here is that the Feral Chickens seem to be able to come and go from there with impunity, just like they have always done apparently. To the right of The Dog Park is Franks, he can fix just about anything that has to do with nuts and bolts, electrical stuff.. stitching together just about anything and really bringing it to life. And Stu's on the corner- it's an important source of never ending power and parts to the community- and is one of the only buildings in the county to run a light 24/7. This area is often affectionately nicknamed The Alley by the locals.
Up the hill is The Coffin Factory. To the left is downtown- and the one house. The Coffin Cafe has some of the only takeout in town, but the Zombie Brothers know how to grill up a mean mess of just about anything that don't fall through the grate into the coals.

Of course since the family that runs The Hill has that nice factory.. another shot of the area is due. The business really does take good care of their workers.. and they are the best recyclers of pretty much everything including their workers. During their high season from the day after Labor Day till the weekend following Samhain fills the county coffers right on up!

Of course.. some of those coffers overflow and supply The Childrens Ward- Fortunes Telling has a large one... But that's for the next post...

Wednesday, March 22, 2017

Spring is officially here

3/22: Well, it's official, spring has sprung!! We have had the first robins of the season hopping around, along with the return of the red-winged blackbird and starling. And this morning mom reported seeing a chippie on the ledge!! Of course that meant today I set up a couple kill buckets for the chippies to catch them as they come out of hibernation. We are still supposed to hit freezing temps tonight, but for the next 10 days plus it's looking like it shouldn't be hard freezing under 32- I still think we might get one, but we shall see.
The early flowers are starting to come up, crocus, lilies, daffodils, tulips, and hyacinths. The irises are starting to blade up too.

It looks like so far the stuff I put out to repel that racoon from our doors is being effective. I set up a few containers of dryer fluff and ammonia and put them out in strategic places, and blew through a whole jar of hot pepper flake scattering it all along that travel path area. We haven't seen it come back yet, but now I'm out of hot pepper and need to get more, lol. I'll expand out the area to surround the whole house. And start some kitty litter box dumping around some of the trees too- that helps repel the raccoons and is supposed to help attract ferals, and I would like to see a couple of those around here again.

I do finally have some pics of the greenhouse we kicked butt on. These are the originals, before we did the full sheet capover.
So a little tour...

The front porch. It's already been rather nice for a few sits so far. Right now the bench from Black Dragon is serving as a bit of a table to our milkcrate stools.

The doors and walkout to the garden. Last year we did a deep smother bed over that little walk area between the garden and garage. The two big buckets are dead pulled marigolds awaiting dumping elsewhere. But it looks nice enough for the pic :)

Another angle... most of the tubs in front are currently not in use, and likely will be filled with peppers and probably some herbs and flowers. the end bed has been weeded out, but I still need to get out there with some grid mesh and do a good gravel clean out next- I'd like to plant in some root crops there this year but it's rocky enough to need some good cleaning.

A pic from the back corner. in the middle of the staked in area is the giant Beer Garden Radish I grew last year.. I really hope that the thing comes back again this year so I have a chance at some seed off of it. I didn't really get any pods from it last year :(  The green fuzz behind and to the left of the radish is a healthy crop of softneck garlic sprouting up!! After losing all the hardneck, and thought it was too late on the softneck, and here we go. I'll let it go this year to get a good mother crop going, then dig the whole thing up in the fall to re-distribute elsewhere.

And last outside shot. To the far right you can just see some of last years brussels sprouts that I let overwinter in the hopes of seed for this year too. I've let kale overwinter before, but brussels sprouts is kind of a different challenge. The near end is pretty much clear.

The inside. We hadn't put anything in yet, wanted to see what the roof did and all that first. And I'm glad we did! We got in bad weather right after and it was way easier to fix it up while it was still empty. It comfortably holds one of the 12'x1' planks on the right side, and I started putting in cages on the left side.

And the doors. It was nice the way the plastic wrapped around for the walls, it left perfect overflaps to use.

Right now I have all the stuff that was overwintering in the box outside the kitchen window and a bunch of the big pots I was overwintering in the solarium moved into the bench side. And a couple flats of the little pots of spring bulbs- crocuses are already blooming :)
Since the weather is promising not to get all hardcore freezing again for at least a bit, tomorrow I will be moving in a bunch more stuff into the cage side- flats of herbs, lavender, landscaping plants, more spring bulbs, and strawberries. That will free up a huge amount of space in the solarium so I can move a bunch of stuff from the kitchen out to there.. we are quick hitting the time where seedlings and sproutlings are going to be needing more space, and it will be warm enough out in the solarium for a bunch of stuff.