Saturday, February 25, 2012

Love is old, love is new, love is all, love is you.

Bob to me:

"This is, quite possibly, the perfect day." He then listed out everything we did. Winter farmer's market. Watched snow (yes, really) fall outside. Drove around. Bought tea. He cooked. I worked on an album.

Me: "And sat on the couch next to me, right?"

Bob: "Of course. I get lonely when you're not here."

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Spats and Pantaloons

My chicks have spats and pantaloons.

I also refer to the ridiculous, huge, upper thigh feathers as "racing stripes."

I mean, truly, we're talking some SERIOUS cuteness here.

Though, I must admit that my husband thinks I'm a tad nuts. But really-- How could you not appreciate this ridiculousness?!

Friday, February 17, 2012

Things are a-changing.

Fabulous news: I have a new job (and still,kind of, the old one). So, things will be a bit crazy around here for the next couple weeks. I'm insanely excited... though tired right now. The excitement has made it a bit difficult to sleep, but I'm getting by, no worries.

We have a slew of projects planned, outside projects especially. As the days get longer, we'll be able to work on some after work sometimes, so hang on, we'll get cracking.

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Sad Cat

Paddington has been a total velcro cat the rest of today. Starting about two hours after this post and photo were done/taken, he clearly began to feel better. Smart cat that he is, he must have associated it with me messing with his eye, because he was a complete purr-bucket, followed me from room to room, and was even ankle-rubbing when I stood still for more than five seconds. I've had to since reapply the meds, but I was really happy to see the poor guy feeling better. What a grateful little tyke!


Someone's eye problem is flaring up again. I had to put this neosporin-like goo in his eye this morning. Paddington is a bit sad right now.

My poor guy.

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Cochin chicks

Finally, photos of the Cochin chicks!

Look at those leg and feet feathers!

This one is a sassy chick:

I call this photo "Rock Chick Album Cover":

The blackish ones will be either black, spotted or birchin-colored (probably birchin), and the brown ones will be partridge . Aren't they CUTE!?!?

Now let's hope they are all girls.

Sunday, February 12, 2012

One set of stairs: Done!

Bob and I decided to put strawberries on this slope in-between the garden beds and the raspberry beds. The problem? If we planted strawberries ALL over, how would we get to the ones in the middle? The top ones would be challenging too, since you'd have to lean over the edge of the slope to get them.

Solution: Put stairs from the raspberry beds up to the garden boxes, preferably having the stairs end at the top between two garden beds! Not only will this give us another way from the garden bed tier down, but it would make it very easy to pick strawberries. AND, we can more easily have strawberries growing through a medium like landscape fabric since the area is more contained. I'm not a huge fan of the fabric, but on a hillside with strawberries? I can be convinced. We'll plant the plants through decent holes in the fabric, tacking the fabric down at the edges of the staircases, and mounding up the area in-between (under the fabric). We'll then mulch over the fabric so you see the mulch and the strawberries, but not the fabric.

Our theory is that if the strawberries aren't putting energy into runners and aren't competing with weeds and have great dirt, then they'll put out some nice, juicy strawberries and become very large, nice plants. We've looked at successful growing operations and this seems to be a method that nicely produces good yields.

So today, I built the first staircase. It's all level (which was important), though it does have a teeny curve in the very bottom. I'm not worried by this. It looks great and I'm happy. It's a big messy right now, but I keep chugging towards what I know it will look like in the end!

Staircase #1 from a distance:

Closer-up view:

View of the top. I had to dig out the stairs a bit on the top three stairs, but in return, I got a staircase that has nice, deep treads and very reasonable rises. YES. I'll likely dig out the area a bit more (so dirt doesn't fall on the stairs easily), but the fabric will help with the dirt containing a bit.

View from the top-down. The stairs end with plenty of walking space at the raspberry beds.

Gaps between beds where the next two staircases will go:

Better view of where the next staircase will go (on the left) and the new staircase (on the right):

Best part? The staircase cost under $15 to make. Woo! AND, it's starting to rain, so here's hoping the rain will wash clean my new stairs!

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

A shout of support

Someone in Bob's family is having surgery today. Believe me, this person -- and the rest of the family too-- is high in our thoughts.

Wish we were there! We're praying for a speedy recovery (and lots of pampering after surgery!).

Monday, February 6, 2012

Mulch results

Well, here's the obligatory "before" shot...

And the after!

There is still about an 8x8' section of area in the far back (not in the photo) that needs landscape fabric and mulch, but I'm out of fabric and debating my options (cardboard?) as to if I should get more fabric.

The mulching, so far, only cost us the fabric: $26. The mulch was free. This is only two loads' worth, so we're pretty happy. Make that very happy!

But oh, so much more to do. Weed the raspberry patch, cut the pillars down a bit, and wire it.

Weed the hillside, plant strawberries, and light mulch it.

And over on this side... sigh. Where do I begin? Rake hillside. Weed hillside. Dismantle old coup and use board on top of chicken coop. Build fence. Build asparagus beds. Fill asparagus beds. Plant hillside. Mulch. Add more gravel to the ramp/path from terrace 4 to 3. Add borders to various things so no mulch in gravel, no gravel in mulch. Whew. What a LOT of work to be done here.

But at least we're getting there!

Saturday, February 4, 2012

Quick! Look over there!

I love this photo.

There are so many caption possibilities.
"Quick girls, look over there!"
"OH MY GOSH, what is that?!"
"Yes, I took your eggs..."
"Ok, really, you can look at me now, I'm sorry I didn't give you enough food this morning."
"No, I did not have time to clean your coop today."
"Yes, I didn't let you out until 10am... sorry."
"No, I'm not a vegetarian."

More on the wine closet floor.

Long story short, there is a smell. A smell coming through the vent in the floor in the wine closet.

Dingbat mcgee me decided that it'd look better to have the flooring straight, rather than cockeyed like the vent (darn person whomever put it in....). But, that meant I locked in the vent when the flooring went in.

The smell got worse.

"We really need to tear the floor up to see what it is, Jess....." said my husband.

Finally, I capitulated, and he went all gun ho happy on the floor with the crowbar. He was a little TOO happy about it, if you ask me.

Long story short, we discover that vent actually isn't a true heat pump system vent... it's connected to the crawl space so air can flow into the closet from the top vent (a true vent) and then out into the crawl space.

We deeply suspect that a squirrel or some other vermin died in the crawl space. We're debating whether we should try to find it, or if we should just let nature take its course and let the smell go away that way.


Wine closet floor.

My husband is crow-baring out the wine closet floor.

Yes, I begrudgingly agreed to this, and no, I don't want to talk about it.

Mulch Day!

Today is mulch day. I started yesterday. We're lining the space in-between the beds with landscape fabric and then getting free mulch from our city to pour on top. Pretty much, our goal is for us to be able to leave the upper garden alone, except for tending to our vegetables. I don't want to be spending our time and energy trying to pick little tiny weeds out from in-between the rocks (since there was some large gravel-- not enough-- on the top of the top tier).

Haven't decided what to do on the slope yet for the strawberries. Sawdust or coffee chaff in-between the plants? You need it to be something light so the plants can send down additional roots and wanderers. I hate weeding that slope. One step at a time though, right?

And, there are reasons why we aren't building a fence or stairs today.

For the stairs, I priced out the cost of stair cut-outs from Home Depot (underlying support thingies), and it takes 2, $25 cut-outs to make FIVE STAIRS. We're going to need at least 10 stairs, probably more like 12. So, that puts us at $125, just for the darn cut-out thingies. That's not considering the price of 4x4s or 2x6's or stain or cement or anything. I'd rather do that project when I know exactly what it will cost and when I have coupons and I've price-shopped around town (since Home Depot will match and beat by 10%).

For the garden fence, it's mostly for the same reasons (not having been priced out, no coupons, no comparison price shopping), but also because Bob and I haven't finished figuring out the design, AND we might be putting in a bed for asparagus somewhere. I'd hate to put a fence in and then kick ourselves. You'd think finding space for a 25' long bed would be easy. It's not.

Friday, February 3, 2012

Gardens don't just happen....

Gardens don't just happen... Here are my plan (to be approved by Bob, hopefully) as to where to put things. This is all based on how many of things we want, what we want to store, what needs sun, and what we need to plant throughout the summer.

You should see the seed catalog. It's drawn all over, items crossed out, items circled.

While I have the careful start dates planned out, we also have to take care to plant certain things in places where they can quickly be covered in case deluge rains come and/or things get cold.

Next comes the list of when to start certain things indoors. And then the creation of an overall calendar.

I should all we reference most things consistently with Growing Vegetables West of the Cascades, since relying on "normal" seed guidelines would set us up for a lot of failure. We carefully know what plants we're going to grow, thanks to this book.

You'll also notice that we're growing several plant varieties in the front yard. Yup. We have enough green out there in the wintertime, but in the summertime, we're hoping to have veggies out there... but done in an organized, nice-looking sort of way.

So exciting!

Thursday, February 2, 2012

Garden lust

SO much happening outside this weekend, and to say I am excited is an understatement. I'm not sure what will get done completely, but here's the list of possible things to work on:
  • Stairs (!!) between level 2 and level 3 (oh my gosh, oh my gosh!)
  • Weed blocker fabric (I normally hate the stuff, but here I make an exception) and mulch in between boxes
  • Fence along edge of garden
  • Boxes for asparagus
  • Planning out what goes where for the seeds I got today from Territorial Seed (love them).
  • Getting strawberry plant packets (they come all tied together like a bushel of carrots)--- they're our Valentine's Day gift to each other.
  • Planting two cherry trees (which we still need to buy)
  • Sprouting the peas for planting (!!)
And so many other things. It will be a nice weekend.