Thursday, February 19, 2009

Heaven's Gate

Johnnie built fencing all around our minifarm to keep the aniamls in or out so to speak. Here is the front gate between our driveway and our house. We keep it locked and people have to ring a bell (hopefuylly we hear it) to get in. There are also 5 stars on the gate which symbolize the 5 pets we had when we bought the house. Only 2 of them are still a live now which makes me realize how quickly we've lost so many pets but I suppose that is what happens when they are close in age.

Tuesday, February 17, 2009


Our yard was nothing but weeds when we first moved it. (See picture 1) There was an old shed that inhabited by mice. I pulled all the weeds by hand (See picture 2) but soon after a new set grew in their place. (see picture3). Knowing what I know now I would have left the weeds and tilled them into the soil. We will get weeds but not nearly as many - and yes I still pull them by hand. All of these areas are now covered with raised planted bed for veggies, the old shed is gone and there is a wood fence around the property.

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Friday, February 13, 2009

Here I am with some winter veggies. Radishes grown in fall and spring - they like fairly cold weather, Cauliflower and broccoli are winter crops that we LOVE. Beets like cold weather but we aren't wild about them. We haven't quiet learned to like kale or Swiss chard either but I think we might try that again next year. If anyone has good recipes for those let me know.

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Tribute to Spike AKA: Mr. Big

Our beloved Kitty Spike was diagnosed with a tumor on his spleen yesterday. He is a very good boy and we love him dearly. Spike runs the house hold and keeps the dogs in order. He also guards the garden - as you can see from the above top photo where is is guarding the new beans from birds. He is a real love bug too. Honestly, he is the best cat I've ever known. It saddens me to say that we will be saying good-by to Spike soon. He will always be in our hearts. Thank you Spike for bringing us so much joy.

Monday, February 9, 2009

Honey Harvest

We finally got around to harvesting our honey this weekend. We borrowed the extracting equipment from Friends. Johnnie capped all the comb using a hot knife. I did most of the turning of the crank - not as a horrible as I thought it would be and we ended up with about 15 cups of honey in the end plus what spilled on the floor :( Our honey is very dark - not sure why that is - but it is tasty. What a mess to be cleaned up though! Our bees took off on us this fall and we have been going back and forth if we should get another hive this spring. We know someone who captures swarms and can get one or two swarms from him. I think we will go a head and get a couple of swarms and hope they stick around this year.

Friday, February 6, 2009

Time to plant seeds

I remembered that I had most of my photos loaded on the Costco site and although I'm no longer a member I was able to retrieve some of my old photos. Here is the greenhouse Johnnie built last year. It was actually an aluminum kit from Harbor Freight but when we opened it up it had so many screws and other parts that Johnnie decided just to use the panels from the kit and build it out of wood instead. It turned out really nice. It is 10x12'. Harbor freight has really good prices for greenhouses in case you are looking for one.
It is getting to be that time of year to start the spring seedlings. Johnnie started planting flats of seeds yesterday. He planted some crook neck and some zucchini seed. We plan on planting tomatoes of course - not sure how many varieties this year, cucumber, may be spaceship squash, a bunch of winter squash: acorn, butternut, spaghetti and beans of course. Last year we harvested 12.5 beans and that is after they were shelled and dried.
Johnnie always wants to plant watermelon but I don't think it does very well and it takes a lot of watering and since we will probably be on water rationing this year I would prefer not to plant it.
I ordered a bunch of herb seed from Seeds of Change with the gift certificate I got for Christmas (along with a soil ph meter). I want to plant a beautiful herb garden this year - maybe in a circular pattern.

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

fireplace before and after

When we bought our house 2 years ago there were a lot of ugly factors we knew would have to be taken care of. The house was built in 1962 and I don't think it had any remodeling since then. One of the biggest ugly factors was the fireplace. It was almost one entire wall of the living room. It was originally floor to ceiling brick and about 10 feet across. The people who owned the house before us tried to do something to it. Notice I said tried. They did a faux plaster look with exposed brick. They didn't bother with plaster but rather used colored mortar. It was extremely ugly (see top photo).
Right from the start I wanted a river rock fireplace. I love river rock. Something about it reminds me of a cottage. I love cottages and anything like that with the shabby chic look. We were able to get a bunch of free river rock from a couple that my mom knows. The husband is the head of the agricultural history museum and when he came over to look at our old manure spreader that we wanted to donate he offered us the rock and we gladly went over and picked it up. Johnnie did all the rock work and I think he did a really good job. Th mantel is made out of a piece of black walnut that our neighbor gave us. Johnnie also built the cabinets on each side - which are not done and I'm not sure when they will be but someday.

Monday, February 2, 2009

Ground hog day - early spring

I've been in a bad mood for three days and still feel crabby today so I decided to post a blog about sun flowers which are very beautiful and sunny and make me feel good when I look at them. Last year we grew sunflowers from seeds that we saved from our sunflowers from the year before. They where about 15 feet tall and the stalks were 2" in diameter. They were magnificent. The top photo may look upside down but that is what the flower looked like when I stood under neath it to take the photo. The heads on that type where well over 1 foot across. The bees loved them.

Speaking of bees, the almond tree is in bloom right now and I am happy to report that there were bee's all over it yesterday.