Saturday, June 27, 2009

I have been tagged with an award.


You are a hard worker. Someone who takes the scrap out of life and builds things with it. Someone who has so much going on that others can see the evidence of it all around you. You are one who contributes mightily to life.

This award was given to me by my very first subscription, Tracey, of Peaceful Acres. She is another awesome lady who is going it alone, as Michael and I are. She does some great things and posts about them on her blog, which I get to learn from. She'd make a fun and interesting neighbor to share ideas with, and she's got beautiful grandkids.

When you are awarded the Honest Scrap award here are the things you should do. (I am keeping in mind it is the middle of growing season and all of you may not have the time) First, you have to tell your readers 10 things about you they may not already know, but are true. Second, you have to tag 10 people with the award. Third, you have to let the people you've given the award to, know that they've received this award from you. Finally, make sure you link back to the person who awarded you.

1. I’m a down-to-earth dreamer. I always have some sort of big idea I’d love to do that takes about a billion dollars, while I happily go about my work for the day.

2. It took me til the age of twenty to get the courage to have my ears pierced.

3. I do Sudoku to put myself to sleep at night.

4. I would love to have a dozen or more children.

5. I have always had very long hair all my life, except for an ugly short shag phase in the 70s that my mother forced me to get.

6. My favorite movie that I’ve watched the most is the original Parent Trap.

7. The only water I have ever liked to drink was from our California well when I was a child.

8. My first ambition was to be a jockey. But I grew to be five foot eight.

9. I have had only one romantic relationship in my life.

10. I am happiest when things are neat and organized.

Now, for the ten blogs I nominate for this award, I choose these.

The Never Done Farm

Farm Girl Cyn

Brambleberries in the Rain

Apples of Gold

The Self-Sufficient Life

Life on A Colorado Farm

The Jersey Homesteader

Worms and Flowers

Simply Canning Updates

This & That Homestead

Enjoy these lovely ladies and their blogs!



Pool Deconstruction.


Removing the filtering system.

Cutting away the side wall, piece by piece. You need tin snips for this job. They only work in one direction, so it's good to have two that each go in opposite ways so you don't get stuck having to go at a cut in an awkward position as we did. I have two, but they both are the same.

The rotted out track between the outside dirt and the sand on the inside that is used to make a smooth floor.

I had hope to leave the liner in place, cutting it into a circle that would act as a base to set the new pool on, but it was so difficult getting the wall out, that the base was torn up and will need to be redone.

We grabbed the back edge of the liner, by the deck, and rapidly pulled it, hoping to direct most of the water out and downhill as we came. Most of it came out, I think, but it was still a pond til the next day.

Groan..... Lots of redoing needed here. No quick set up for us, this time around.

The underside of the deck. After 6 or 7 years, lots had crumbled down and fallen against the outside of the pool. With no support in the center, it is sagging. The new pool has to be taken down and stored yearly. I think I will wait until then, when it will also be cooler, to take the deck up and redo it. Perhaps by then we might find a more permanent pool solution as well.

Several things to avoid here.

Do not, under any circumstances, allow your spouse to spray Round-Up along banks to avoid using the weedwhacker. I caught him too late. LOL

Secondly, dogs like to find cool shady places to dig in in the summer. I will block off access next time.

Thirdly, I believe I will also install a french drain above the deck to channel water around, rather than through.

These pool wall pieces will be used to line the chicken house walls. When I was a child, my dad got tin-types from the local newspaper office. I don't think those exist any more, do they? We lined our chicken house with those. It was fun to read them as well.

That's the progress so far. :)





I started to dehydrate the mints, then I said, "What, am I nuts?"
The two on the left are obvious. The two on the right I am wondering if I mislabeled them. Anyone know what kind of mints they could be?

The greens are tricky. Too dry and they crumble, too moist and they mold. I already lost one bag. I will put the other one in again as soon as my cucumber slices finish this morning.

Noticing my skin looks a bit dehydrated as well!



Thursday, June 25, 2009


We made a successful trip to go get the pool. It's not much to speak of, but it's enough to get wet, cool off, and swim in! YAY! The drive there was a good two hours each way, so we didn't get much done at home yesterday, just the pool and heading to a Bible study at the home of some friends.

Here are those pics of the Swiss chard we hung on the net. I had wanted to get home and bring them in to the dehydrator that night, but we didn't make it until the dew had already settled all over them. Here they are still covered in dew the next morning.

So yesterday we hurredly got them into the dehydrator before leaving for Bible study, then of course, forgot to turn it on. LOL So we dried them overnight and just got finished bagging up a lot of them, and putting the ones that were not dry enough back in, cutting away even more of the stalk.

You really need to remove the entire stalk, so just figure on cutting every leaf in half to remove it. I like folding them over and slicing the stalk out in one motion.

I am not quite sure HOW dry they need to be. Not as dry as herbs, or they will crumble, but I don't know how much moisture is OK before you have to deal with mold. Another learning experience. We are going to know a lot someday. ;)

A neighbor of the pool place was just a little ahead of us on a greenhouse project, so I got permission to go and look at it and take photos.

Am setting some cuttings from my folks' lavender plants. There were not a lot of good growth areas, I'm not sure the flower stalks will make good cuttings. But I took what I thought was the best of what was there. If they don't work out, I can try again. The nursery downtown was completely bought out.

I tried to buy all my supplies at WalMart late last night for making bread and butter pickles. Most everything was sold out and all other stores were closed. I have no idea what I'm going to do with the cukes. I am not making another trip to town today, and there is no room in my fridge.

And our first sunflower bouquet of the season.

I LOVE having my own cutting flowers again!



Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Swiss Chard Harvest, Greenhouse Construction, Movie Night


We never did get to those tomatoes, and it won't be today either. Yikes!

The day began with finding out that the reason I've not heard anything about my divorce for several months is that my lawyer never sent the papers off to be served after the judge signed them.

I was a little frustrated by this. As far as I know, once he has been served and the papers signed my support is supposed to kick in. That means two months of support have vanished into thin air, while we try to scrape by on what little he feels like sending and we work nights and weekends trying to support ourselves and make ends meet.

However, all things are in God's timing, so I'm not really worried. Mostly curious as to how this will all pan out.

So Michael did more mowing yesterday morning while I began weeding the garden. I wish I'd taken pics AFTER weeding instead of before. LOL

Mowing around the garden itself was needed as you can see in this photo. The Three Sisters area of the garden is finally showing visible signs of some success.

The whole problem with this has been the corn. We planted it three times and each time was a significant failure. I suspect it is bugs. Ants, possibly, chewing up the roots. They must get them when they are sprouts, and if they manage to get any higher, they chew through the stalks and they just fall over.

So the pole beans and the winter squash kept getting put off for a long time.

The other half of the garden, where I will be doing some weeding.

Seed saving is something I hope to do a lot of. I hope to buy very little seed next year, so I bought 98% of my seed as open-pollinated. Here are the pods to the sugar snap peas, drying nicely.

The next huge project in the garden, getting those tomatoes back up. I planted them too thickly, and the rains and lack of wire held us back from adding wires above the first and second ones. Now it's a mess.

Peppers are finally growing.

Swiss chard, which we decided needed to be harvested. And in there are the sweet potatoes.

Scallions, onions, leeks. Only showing leeks here, I think.


More peppers.

Summer squash.

Something is wrong with this and one other summer squash.

The rain washing through the garden disturbed a lot of the melon hills.

Our biggest competition giant pumpkin vine.

Cukes that we just lifted and tied up the day before.

Broom corn and peanuts. You are supposed to hill peanuts like potatoes. If I get a spare minute, I'll do that.

Okra. Neither of us like it. But when we were aiming for a market garden we chose to plant some. No market after all, but we need to learn about it's quirks in tandem with our garden quirks, so we planted some anyway.

With the Three Sisters planting being so difficult, I decided to make an experiment plot. I simply planted all three - corn, beans, and a cucurbit all at the same time. I believe I put in small warted mix gourds. I will keep you updated.

Thinning the squash, gourd, pumpkin plantings at every other hill of corn and beans.

Then my mom and dad came by to help with the greenhouse construction project. We had been planning on digging out one of the hoops and burying in a new hoop post holder. But dad made this nifty thing.

First, drive the new, straight hoop post into the ground in the proper spot. This was ingenious. Dad got a metal rod, put body building weight clamps on it, and used it to insert into the pipe and pound it down.

Then put this crane above the old pipe.

It has an eye hook at the top.

Put on a winch.

Add a chain.

Drop chain down into the pipe.

Secure chain with a bolt.

Begin winching pipe out of ground.

Fill old hole with sand, slowly, so you don't accidentally get a pocket.

Awesome! Thanks, Dad! That really saved us a lot of work!

Michael wanted to save this volunteer, but it also has a wild rose bush there, so it got mowed down.

Bad Japanese Beetles. Scourge of the garden.

The field competition giant pumpkin. The ants got this too. We are down to one in this spot, and I'm wondering if it will survive.

Always looks so much better around here when it's mowed.

Harvesting Swiss Chard.

I left more leaves on some than others, to see how they do. I learned a lot about them yesterday. For ourselves, we don't think we need this much, but it will make a great summer substitute for salad greens, growing so much more easily then than lettuce.

Rinsing the Swiss chard leaves and hanging them to dry on a ball return net. We did not want to blanch and freeze, so we're going to dry them for use this winter in soups.

We left to visit friends and help with projects, but they were all done. So they graciously fed us dinner.

We enjoyed the progress of their lasagna style garden.

Visited their new horses, who had been rescue horses about 4 years ago. The mare has never been able to put on weight. I suspect she has organ damage and can't metabolize all she needs.

And then we all took off and enjoyed Night at the Museum 2 at the theaters. It was really good. We enjoyed it.

We stopped by my folks to pick up some lavender clippings, borrow canning books, and visit until 10:30, so we didn't get home in time to bring in the swiss chard leaves. I'll have pics on those and the lavender cuttings tomorrow.

Taking off to go pick up a used pool!