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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.

Thursday, March 9, 2017

Yay seedlings!!

There's bulbs, trees, and bushes a sprouting in the greenhouse.. and in a few days more plants from the solarium will be shuffled out. Small potted sage, rosemary, oregano, thyme, and marjoram. Gallon pots of lavender, and a handful of landscaping plants- including a couple bergenia starting to put up buds- they look a lot like asparagus tips right now. A few more pots of bulbs ready to go out. I'm still holding back a couple of them because they are still doing quite well and the zinnias planted with them look like they are ready to start budding up for some early spring blooms.

36 asparagus seedlings have been repotted and after a few days for potential transplant shock, have been moved out to the solarium. And nicely enough, I have a bunch of seedlings popping up out there too. Mostly columbines, and some snapdragons, but hey, happy enought about that much. I'm especially pleased that all six pots of the double furled blue have popped up- I've been nurturing that plant along for years to get it to produce a robust seed crop, so I'm extra happy that the seedlings look like they have a good germination rate. I also have enough seed left over to sow in to the row with the plants. I plan on keeping them separate like they are now, and just keep planting them back in outside that office window.
The big hunk of seed of toothache plant has come along enough now that today I transplanted up 72 of them into their own cells and got them on the rack in the kitchen, and started another box of sprouting garlic. At this point I just started box 4 and box 1 that I planted at the end of December is starting to spend itself out and produce less good greens. Starting a box every 3 weeks or so seems to be working well, and looks like 4 box rotation will work out too.
With how nicely and well the garlic greens and the microgreens were, along with a few herbs- I think we probably will try to do some indoor growing of those all summer this year- an indoor kitchen garden, lol.
A couple of the peppers are starting to pop up- Aji Lemon and Tobago Seasoning.

Mums. Last winter I picked up a pair of half gallon pots of coral colored on clearance for a couple bucks each. They were extra bonus because they came in two pots- a plain one inside a nicer decorative one. Those overwintered in the solarium uncut till just a few weeks ago. Then I trimmed off all the dead blooms and old stalks to the new green fuzz. Those came inside today because they are at the 4 inch or so flush. A trio of white mums in 4 inch pots survived the winter and got brought inside today too. I want them to start flushing out to their 6-8" stage so I can start pinching them for cuttings. I picked up a bright and sunny yellow half gallon one randomly at a grocery store in January. It was in full bloom and has now had that flush die back. I've been keeping up on the trimming and now I have a half dozen cuttings started and took another 16 today. I've now fully trimmed down that mum to it's new flush that is just starting to want to peek out with some fresh blooms.

I had one last sad rust coleus struggling along all winter, and I finally had to admit it's original root and stalk were truly dying and I needed to just cut the live tip off and treat it like a cutting too and hope for the best. On the bright side, it is a nice bushy tip that could grow up quite lovely again.

All five poinsettias are alive and starting to do their thing after their die off. It's kind of neat watching them start to pop back. After a bit, those will get cut back to start over again too. And the hardy kiwi vine is starting to flush out with the most adorable rabbit ears of soft green- it's gonna kill me to trim the tops off.

The fuschias. The full whites have done beautifully in their mother pot all winter, and will be ready to start taking cuttings on soon. The cherry and white mother is doing ok, it needed a serious trimback and is just starting to leaf out again. The cherry and purple cuttings tray has done nicely over the winter and will need to be potted up in bigger pots soon. The two cuttings trays of the whites and cherry and whites suffered, and likely will not spring back.

Three large pots of lemon balm are seriously plush and springing. Large pots of rosemary are going well and the thymes are flush enough that I've started taking trimmings for cooking. The lemon verbenas are starting to crack out of their winter die off too.

All the pots of pelargoniums have flourished overwinter in the solarium. I have a lot of cutting to do on the citronella scented, and the rose scented seriously needs some cuttings taken too. I'm thinking there might be some serious yard plantings of these babies this spring. 

And tonight for dinner is homemade flatbread pizzas :)

Thursday, March 2, 2017

Made a greenhouse.. and it is awesome.

Feb 19th....

We have gotten in a freakishly nice weather spell... Freakishly as in steady 50's peaking out into almost 60's for a week straight. Overnight lows getting hard frosts.. Wha? Hello March? Nope. A couple times past this time of year yielded pics of the house snow spattered and drifted in!
Weather broke in nice on Thursday... So I raked out and did spring cleaning on the kennel bed and the raised beds, that sort of thing. Got the kid out to clean up the yard of blown around stuff and tree debris, that sort of thing.

Yesterday my sister and I started making the dog kennel into a walk in cold frame/green house. It cost about 25-30 bucks in materials, and we used a lot of recycled materials that really helped bring down the cost!

Total footprint of the "house" is 12x15- each section is around 4 foot wide and 15 foot long. Two 4x15 sections are enclosed together as the "house", and one 4x15 section roofed but not walled in. This is because originally it's a three run dog kennel- two sections are walled in, but one section does not have an outside wall. On the 12 foot wide ends, on one side there is nothing, on the other the open side has no door, but the two enclosed runs have doors.

Purchased materials list:
2- 10x25 foot 3mil rolls of clear roll plastic, 4 bucks each
2- 10x12 white tarps, 4 bucks each. I picked these up to use for some wall use on the outdoor kitchen too- once the plastic is down mid summer, they will get used again for this.
a couple packages of staples- smaller ones for the clear plastic and the smaller gun, big ones for the heavy bailing twine and the heavy gun. 10 bucks for a couple brand new packs, and still tons leftover for other projects.
That's all the bought stuff really. Everything else was pretty much free.

Free/recycled list:
A crapton of heavy duty blue plastic bailing twine. I got it last fall while working at Watervliet. They get in huge pallets of straw bales that are all baled together with this twine. It just gets cut off as cubes are broken open to sell off bales, and thrown away unless anyone asks for some. No one asked and I brought home a large box before they were thrown away.
A lot of misc boards- these are the ones I keep reusing as "outdoor wood" from a heap that was on the property when we bought it.
A couple segments of TV antenna tower- those were a whole tower before us too, and when Dave cut it down I had him do it in a few six foot-ish or so segments to use for various things. Seemed useful at the time.
A set of single waterbed rails- again free. Picked up a couple free waterbed frames last summer. The pedestals are now additional drawers under our bed. Boards are used all over inside. And a set of rails for scrap now pin the base on two sides of the house perfectly now. The pleather really stands up remarkably well to the elements.
One vertical blind- I happened to have one that was on the windows when we bought the place. When it broke and came down it went into "plant tag" material.

A special recycle from the Black Dragon... three milk crates full of paving bricks and the sitting rail.  Currently, the paving bricks are pinning down the plastic on the veranda in a neat two brick high wall, with the sitting rail acting as a light use table and the crates as low stools. As summer goes along and it's time for the bricks current usefulness ends.. that area will be nice to sit in and start some etching work on them for some folks.

So Friday.. the weather was nigh and good. Started out by raking out the end cap of the kennel bed. It needed it, and it was nice to get the break early to do it. Felt good to be out in the sun. Started out by grabbing one of the empty black party buckets and carefully pulled out the outer edge of dead marigolds- chock full of seed heads and worth setting aside. Then a nice rake out of the bed and some pulling up of weeds. Including that darn stubborn grape that keeps wanting to spring up. Other stuff too.

Saturday. Woke up early and sis busted out early with raking out and cleaning up of the front yard beds while I was still having coffee- perfect. By the time I was ready to go and do it, we got to it. First we spread out the white tarps for the roof. Used the grommets and some blue bailing twine to tie it down, making sure to overlap the two pieces well.

The clotheslines have been in place for a while and used well. Over the top we laid yard wood along the same lines, then laid the antennia sections to hold everything secure from the other way.

We made sure to tug up the corners and overlap them nice too. The Southwest corner gets the heaviest wind action, and the northeast corner the most wind drift off, so we made sure to lap down the south and west faces of the roof tarp. Put up the roof, then ran into a problem with putting up the walls...

A brilliant thought in the early point in the project on the behalf of my sister... Using tack strips- yay science. We didn't have strip wood to use, and ran out of staples during some of the preliminary tack up- that problem with putting up the walls I mentioned... and we went into town. Got staples, but partway through sis had the notion for tack strip- a vinyl blind strip would be ideal and cheap and she figured we might have one of those around... . Well hell, had a dead blind at home, no problem.

Got home with fresh staples, and went to town with putting up the walls. It really does help for this to be a two man team, makes it much faster and smoother to just tack all the way around.

By the time we really got done with tweaking the roof, getting staples, and really setting in the walls and doing some general cleanup... the day was kind of done. There were finishing details to think about and clean up, and by then those details could be finished tomorrow. And we hit the point with some of our strapping down we needed to use the heavy duty staple action.. and darn it, found out we were out of those staples too.. Just have dinner time, lol.

So Sunday morning... well got about finishing up. Sis came down when I was winding up with morning coffee. Ran into town and got the heavy staples and a few sweetrolls. And busted out when we got home. She stapled in the blue binding, and I set out with the sealing in of the foundations and general clean up. We met in the middle after our own stuff and really finished the thing. Good lord I love working with sis- we make a great team that does not need a lot of fussing or crap to get the job done. I'm always grateful for my family, but times like this make me think I wouldn't know what I would ever do without them here.

March update.... the roof turned out to not be good. Overcapped it before a storm with sheet plastic, and nope, just nope. Yesterday before it really started snowing we overcapped the whole damn thing with an extra large white tarp.

Good news is that the greenhouse is working and full of happy plants that were pulled from the outside box and from in the solarium... And that frees up those spaces for other wonderful goodies that will be getting started soon!!

Like inside the two racks I have set up in the kitchen are full... The tray of asparagus seedlings are just about ready for their first transplanting, and the bins of lettuce are ready to start being munched on thankfully- those darn things been taking forever, lol.  I've already started the earliest of the peppers, scented hots for the most part and of course a round of cherry bombs. I'm itching to start the next rounds of seeds in the next few days. Stuff is starting to pop up in the solarium too... including the beer garden radish top leftover from last falls pickling and I threw it into a bucket of water... now it's grown through the winter and about ready to bloom. How crazy is that?

Some shopping and pricing... Hmmmm...

The difference between shopping in two towns and two stores..

Menards to the north of us.. Yesterday I bought a 2 pack of regular soft light bulbs and two individual daylight bulbs for my pair of 48 inch shop lights over my workbench. At Menards the 2 pack was 5 bucks, and each bulb was 5 bucks- 15 bucks for four bulbs.
Today I hit Home Depot to the south of us, looking for a tarp and already knowing what Menards had from that run yesterday- I checked to see what they have because I knew a recap on the greenhouse roof was coming up sooner than later in the next few weeks. Checked out the bulb prices. The two pack of bulbs ran 9 bucks, and the individual bulbs were 9 bucks each- it would have been 27 bucks!
Then today it became much more imperative I pick up that tarp- we blew a hole in the roof of the greenhouse and an emergency overcap was required stat. Home Depot didn't have any white plastic tarps- and white is mandatory for a greenhouse roof capping- and their blue tarp of comparative size was way more expensive. My sister took note of the prices there and the Home Depot one was 50 bucks, the Menards one 32 bucks. It was worth the bit of time and gas to drive up to Menards and get what I really wanted for so much cheaper.

Menards and Home Depot are about the same distance away from me. But dang, I really do save big big money- 30 bucks between bulbs and a tarp over the last two days.