Monday, February 27, 2017

February 27, 2017

What a great weekend!  We had plenty of sun and working outside was awesome.  Our big project for the weekend was bamboo trellises for the hops.  We decided to move the hops as they weren't doing much.  We felt that they were getting too much sun in relationship to the water they weren't getting (we prefer a self-service farm).  Several things came to our minds.  Move them to a spot where they can get some afternoon shade, and preferably that area might be a little more damp.  Of course, it may be more damp due to the afternoon shade.  Anyway we picked a side of our property that we get afternoon shade and went to work.  We were also keeping in mind that we needed to put them in soil that was high in compost so it would retain more water.  Warning!  If you are a perfectionist, working with natural materials is challenging.  They are not the same dimension at the bottom as the top, they are not the same diameter all over, and they are probably not exactly straight.  As my husband and I are both perfectionists, this was a VERY challenging project for us.  However, we do think it came out beautiful and was a great way to spend our weekend with breaks in between for sitting in the swing and drinking iced tea.  Other considerations for working with bamboo are that it is lightweight and hollow, which makes them more "rickety."  We found extra braces necessary, as well as we pounded some smaller pieces of bamboo in the ground (about a foot  long) and set the trellises over them.  It was also challenging that the ground we were putting them on was not perfectly flat.  We tried very hard to go with the flow, as well as to just get the job done, and not stress over the details too much, making up the design as we went along and faced each challenge.  We ended up buying some deck screws that did not have a taper at the top, 2 1/2" long that worked perfectly.  The tapered screws were causing the bamboo to split.  We also pre-drilled the holes to eliminate as much split as possible. We made the sides of the trellises 7 feet tall, and the top piece 8 feet across, as we want to be able to stand on the ground and pick the cones.  Six trellises were decided on due to having 6 varieties of hops and wanting to keep them separated.   Our idea for the area was to have trellises for the hops, make them a beautiful feature in our yard, and provide a shade structure for us and our chickens.  We feel like we accomplished all of that for around $30 for all six trellises (thanks to the Drews' family for providing the bamboo!)

The daffodils on the farm that are lining our driveway are beautiful this year. . .

Thursday, February 23, 2017

February 23, 2017

Spring seems to be in the air!  It is making want to finish old projects and be creative.  I am so glad that we finished the chicken coop watering system.  While we were working on the chicken coop, there was a hole in the side that used to be attached to a rabbit hutch.  I wanted to figure out how to make it go away and use the materials we had on hand.  Eureka!  A picture frame looks just like a window!  Since it is under a roof anyway, I decided to go check in the basement to see if I had an appropriate sized frame laying around, and I did.  Here is the before/after picture.  The after picture was taken before I put weather stripping on the inside of the glass to make it nice and tight against the outside of the chicken coop.

As I work in my home office daily, it became time to finally finish the wall that I had to look at every day.  I had installed wallpaper on the opposite wall and had the wallpaper already, so I got to work on that.  It looks so much better.

While I was working on the office, I had a nice box sitting on the desk that I use to gather our invoices until tax time.  With the new wallpaper, the busy pattern it had on it stood out like a sore thumb.  That was easy to fix.  I always keep white appliance epoxy on hand.

Life is Good!

Sunday, February 12, 2017

February 12, 2017

Busy times!  We got our beef back from the packing plant!  It filled our 15.7 cubic foot freezer.  Now to sell most of it. . .It's very tasty as we tried the ribeye steaks tonight.

We have been working on a lean-to greenhouse that is on the south side of our house.  We bought a greenhouse kit from Advance Greenhouses.  Their customer service is just awesome.  We bought the Best Buy Polycarbonate.  It arrived earlier than we thought, and the ventilation fan arrived separately.  The instructions that came with the greenhouse and dvd could have been a little better, so some of the things we put together, ended up getting re-done.  I think one of the most confusing parts was the roof glazing and the eve retainer which should have had the name Roof Glazing Bottom Plate.   When we figured it out, we ended up taking six down and having to redo them.  We do like it though and think it is a good quality greenhouse, looks nice, and it is already paying for itself by heating our house when the temperature is as low as 56 degrees.  We just open our bedroom window and turn on the ceiling fan.  It is so nice being so warm in the winter!

Since we have a busy week this week, we decided to celebrate Valentine's Day today.  We decided to to work on each other's choice of chores.  My choice was to finish the watering system for the chicken coop.  We had gotten a start on it before, but today we finished it!  The water drains from the chicken coop roof into a gutter, then to a screened barrel, then to a pipe in the chicken coop with poultry nipples in it, and finally to a clean out drain.  We are so happy to get it completed!  It will eliminate carrying water in 5 gallon buckets and having to clean out water that has been dirtied by the chickens.  Now to train them to drink from it. . .