Monday, November 1, 2010

Tarps, curtains and potatoes!

Well, it's late fall and, in Oregon, that means: RAIN begins. Our current 10-day forecast predicts rain or showers 8 of the next 10 days. Hurray for sogginess.

Given that we live in a TEENY TINY cottage, I did not want to give up our (uncovered) deck space. While it might get too cold to enjoy it out there, it would be nice (for storage reasons) for it to be dry.

A local store near us had a 20'x30' tarp on sale for $30. Yes please.

Up and over the canopy it went. The canopy is all nice, but with 4 open sides and a non-waterproof top, it does not do a good job at keeping everything underneath it dry. Please ignore the mess-- we piled everything in here that needed to stay dry. It became quickly apparent that we needed a better shelter-- everything got wet. So now that the tarp is up, I'm waiting for things to dry out and then I will clean.

I used one of our trellises on the other side of the deck, that way we could have the tarp be at a nice height for the entire deck. Had I not done this, we would have had to crouch down as we got close to the railing on this side. Since this side also has the steps to the chicken coop, it had to be set at a reasonable height.

On the other side of the deck, I decided to use the extra length of tarp and tie that end near the ground. Reason? It created a lean-to of sorts next to the deck that is COVERED. This way, we can park our bikes under the tarp this winter. We won't probably ride that much, but at least our bikes won't get rained on. I still have to hook up a cable or a chain under the deck so we can easily lock up our bikes.

Bike area, better defined. I had to weight down the one side with logs because there is a stupid rose bush on the other side, and I did not want the tarp to get shredded. Perfect world, the entire side would be stretched out. Oh well. You can also see the hoses, all rolled up for the winter.
I weighted down the one side of the tarp with a piece of cedar. The hope is that the cedar keeps that flap down.

Better close-up of the flap.

The lean-to side stretches down quite a ways.

Yes, I admit it. The tarp is not the most beautiful thing. But, it will allow us to hopefully use the deck moreso in the wintertime... and when you're talking about a space that is more than half your house in square footage, that's important.

Next project: HEATING THE HOUSE.

Ok, our house is stupid. The loft is in the middle of the house, which is great, but that means that there are two tall ceilings on either side of the loft where the heat can get trapped. It's great on the living room side; when the heat rises there, it just goes INTO the loft. But on the kitchen side, the heat rises up to the rafters and is lost.

We already made the switch to a more fuel-efficient oil radiator, but now we had the task of keeping the heat where we want it. Our house is pretty much one big room (with the exception of the bathroom-- the laundry room is attached outside, as is the side shed), so we needed to create a division.

I decided the best place for it was from the bathroom to the closet wall. 83.5", to be precise. We had a bunch of material leftover from summer (I was going to put it on top the pergola, but never got around to it). So, I bought a dowel and hung it:

I found shower curtain hanger things for $1.44/dozen, and that was so much easier than sewing loops on the curtain. I wasn't very precise with the curtains. Just sewed a flip at the top (for more stability) and sewed across the bottom (so no unraveling).

I'm actually very happy with the curtains. They really divide up our space nicely, and it is nice to not always be able to see someone in the next room. I will be on the lookout for a heavier material though... the white is nice, but I think I need something a little heavier to keep the heat in one room a bit more.
And, because I sewed them in panels, it's very easy to walk through.
Yes, easy to walk through, as Maddie demonstrates.

Finally, I harvested 2.5-3 sweet potato plants this weekend. I had a LOT of sweet potatoes, which makes me excited to dig up the rest (probably early this week). I also ended up with this one potato which is pretty funktastic (closer-up images below) and one that is almost the size of a football. Here is the first group of potatoes....

And here is the second group of potatoes. They're Georgia Jets. This is the produce from those teeny tiny seedlings that I was so worried about back in April/May (putting plastic sheeting and hot caps on) remember?

Here is my football-sized one. This thing is seriously huge. I brought it to work today to show everyone.

And here is the funktastic one. Not sure what happened to it. Just didn't form the tuber correct, it looks like.
Seriously funkadelic.

The sweet potatoes have to cure for a while before I can eat them. So I'm hoping to get the rest dug up sometime soon so I can get them all curing. I need to dig them up before the first frost and when the plants look like they're beginning to die. I don't want the plants to die and then the sweet potatoes to rot in the ground. And, based upon the above, they're big enough!

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