Friday, May 19, 2017

Cleaning and clearing out the stuff, so much stuff!

I've been mentioning here and there about clearing out kitchen stuff in anticipation of the kitchen being done. I've found some cool stuff, some weird stuff, and some useless stuff (at least useless to me). 

One thing I've realized about all this stuff is that cleaning up first requires making a huge mess. How huge? Take a look:

My Room: wrecked again
Cooper making use of assorted blankets/linens 
Dining room? Maybe?
It's supposed to be a dining room!
The good news is I got so much done. Emptying the boxes and really going through them resulted in actually putting things away instead of just shoving it into another room or closet. I donated boxes of stuff and feel good that someone else will get use out of it; and I love the fact that it's out of my house. My project room is better organized and I even cleaned out the dressers in there, sorted the items by type, and labeled the drawers so I have some hope of finding the pillow fabric when I need it. The upstairs bathroom, which has been treated as a big storage room for four years, now contains only bathroom related items, and we'll be able to work on the room when it's time to install the actual bathroom. 

All-in-all, it's been a pretty good May.

Thursday, May 18, 2017

Catching up on May

May always feels so busy. Getting the gardens ready, enjoying sunny days and pleasant weather (okay, not so much this year since it's been so cold but there have been some nice days), spring cleaning the house, and all that stuff.

The yellow delicious apple tree has blossoms! Definite win there. The McIntosh is just starting to leaf out, and the honeycrisp has leaves but no blossoms. The cherry tree has lots of little leaves and the plum tree looks dead. Hopefully it's not.

Pretty artsy, eh?
Chicken meet blossoms
 The Goldfinches are really enjoying the thistle feeder. I wish I'd gotten one of these years ago.
A typical view
And since I'm now having to keep the chickens in their pasture more often I decided to build them a salad bar. Basically you make a box and cover it with hardware cloth. Then set it on the ground, plant seed, and let it grow. The chickens can't get to the seed so it has time to actually germinate and when the plants get big enough you move the box to a new location and repeat. The chickens get to eat what you planted.
Building the box - did I mention the cold weather in May?
Inside the pasture
It's been a couple weeks since I planted it and the seedlings are coming along nicely. I'll move it after Memorial Day and get a new plot going. If this works really well I'll probably build more boxes so I can have multiple grazing areas growing at once. 

The cold frame I planted isn't exactly setting records for germination. The cilantro has come up great but very little else. Looks like the seed was just too old. So I'll get starts and plant them Memorial Day weekend instead. And I'll refresh my seed supply.

Monday, May 1, 2017

Planting the cold frame

This post is documentation for the cold frame - boring to all but me. Sorry.

I banged together a quick & dirty cold frame the other day and decided the dirt inside was finally warm enough to put in the seeds. Here's what I planted (on April 28th) and the seed packet info so I'll know when to harvest stuff.

Zinnia: height 12"-18"; days to germinate: 7-14; blooms summer to fall

Pansy: not a bit of info on the packet.

Crimson Sweet Watermelon: plant in hills, days to germinate: 7-14; maturity 85 days; harvest when bottom of melon is yellow and when the little "curlicue" of the stem dries up (and how cute is it that the seed packet actually put curlicue in quotes?)

Mammoth Russian Sunflower: height 9'-12' (yes, feet); days to germination: 7-14; blooms midsummer to fall

Compact Basil: height 10"-12"; days to germination: 5-7; maturity 70-80 days

Sweet Basil: height 12"-24"; days to germination: 5-7; maturity 65-75 days

Cilantro: days to germination: 7-10

Parsley: harvest in 40-60 days

Rosemary: days to germination 15-25; maturity approx 150 days(?!?) (and they want the plants 36 inches apart. 36! No rosemary in upstate NY is going to get big enough to need 36 inches between the plants; obviously I need to apply a big of gardening common sense).

So, a mixed bag of info on the ol' seed packets. I'll pick up starts for most of my veggies or direct sow them at the end of the month. I plan to scatter old seed for the chicken garden just like I did last year. Hopefully it'll do just as well - I got a decent harvest of squash and corn for the birds.