Wednesday, April 1, 2020

April 1, 2020

Life is crazy with the Coronavirus going on.  We are now in a 30 day shelter in place quarantine.  John was required to quit working at the school building as a teacher and teach from home now.  Today he was setting up new videos for the kids including one I got to be the camera person for on using a multi-meter.  These teachers are really having to learn a lot and change everything they were doing in a short period of time.  I feel for them and everyone else who is having to change in a short period of time.  Change is hard, but in the end, I hope it is rewarding.

Having relaxing days but making progress.  Asparagus is now coming up.  Stir fries, soups and quiches are really nice.  Great timing too, as I understand it is a great pre-biotic for the flora in your gut to help your immune system.  It works best if eaten raw, which is one of my favorite ways to eat it.



I finished building the fireplace for the camper.  First, I only had 24" to work with, so I took an old mantle from a previous electric fireplace, took it apart and cut down each piece to fit the space and the new electric fireplace box.  My husband put a new outlet in the camper behind where I was planning to put it.  Then I got it installed.  Love how it looks in the space!





I had to put up some of the beadboard wallpaper before I installed the fireplace so it wouldn't get more difficult later on.   I also worked on the bathroom beadboard wallpaper, primed the faux five panel bathroom door, replaced parts on the shower curtain rail and put it back in, and hung the new shower curtain just to get a look at how it will fit in.  Can't wait to finish the bathroom!  It's coming together slowly.  So many details.


The ducks are getting really big, and I thought they should have a trial run swimming in the bathtub.



 We are going to have to move them all outside soon.  This morning one of the chicks escaped from it's tub and joined my husband and I in the living room for coffee!

Our raspberries came in today.  This time we are trying the ever-bearing variety (Polka) which has strong enough stems so we won't have to trellis them.  So they say. . .My husband will believe it when he sees it.  We got 25 of them and planted them among the elderberries so they will get relief from the sun.  We were watched over by the inspectors. . .


I have been trying to get creative with my cooking to use what we have, so last night we had ham and black olive calzones, and today we had homemade bean and bacon soup.  However, I am determined to do a better job of eating things in season, so today I purchased the books Simply In Season and Grow Cook Eat (used from Alibris) to motivate and inspire me.







Tuesday, March 24, 2020

March 24, 2020

Exciting times with the Coronavirus going on.  I bought myself some new friends for this quarantine time.  Some chicks and ducklings.  I found that the ducklings were making the tote too wet for the chicks and I had trouble keeping up with getting it dry.  I saw a youtube video from Homesteady using a paint tray and a screen.  However, I could not find one in our small town.  I ended up improvising with a deviled egg tray with lid that I drilled some holes in.  I used the round feeder for a waterer and it fit perfectly. This way when the ducks slosh the water in the beaks the extra water can drain down into the deviled egg tray through the driller holes and not get the tote wet.  At least that's the theory. . .

We decided to plant the new elderberries in the circle in our back yard that was made for perennial fruits and vegetables.  Here they are planted in their new location and trimmed to let the energy of the plant go to the roots.  We are planning to try between the elderberries as a new place to plant raspberries.  They are on order!


While we were tilling this up, we moved the three strawberry plants found and some irises to a new location in the kitchen garden.  Unfortunately some other things that were not as useful as we thought they would be had to go under the knife of the tiller when we were preparing the soil.

We have been having some extremely warm days, one of which was going to be 85 degrees, so I though I should get out the bee hive and set it up as a bee trap.  I included three frames of drawn comb and the liberal use of some lemon grass oil.  Cross your fingers!  My beekeeper came home and checked it and said I did ok.



The tomatoes are getting healthier and I went to my neighbor who gave me some of his sweet potatoes from last year so we can grow some slips for this year's garden.  Unfortunately, we couldn't work them last year and we did not have some of our own that we could use.

On camper news, this week we worked on painting and plumbing.  One of the things I did was to spray paint the shower walls with white appliance epoxy.  I would not do that again.  First of all there is a limit to how much you can mask the area and still be able to breathe.  Second if you open the back and front doors for breathing, it will blow the paint all over the camper and you will end up with a mess.  I ended up having to hurry and clean up the floors with vegetable oil before it dried there.  I swear I read about lots of people who did this.  I don't know what I did wrong, but never again.  After painting the shower walls, I replaced the gold handheld shower sprayer with a new one in silver.  I just used a regular handheld shower device and kept the hook that was already in the camper when we bought it.  I took it down and painted it silver.  Just be sure to get a handheld device with about 5 ft. of flexible tubing.  it was easy to unscrew the old one and screw in the new one.  When I put the hook back on the wall, I put a little caulking on the back before I screwed it in to avoid leaks in the future.  My husband also replaced the kitchen faucet, and I touched up the countertop as it was a different shape than the old faucet.


Additionally, I took down the air conditioner housing and spray painted it (outside) with white appliance epoxy.  It looks so much better than that gold color!



Lastly, I want to leave you with a Coronavirus story.  So one of my neighbors posted this story on Facebook.  She said that she was talking with her four year old daughter and said, "I need a glass of water."  To which her daughter replied, "Well, I need a baby unicorn."  lol.  Up until this time I hadn't thought about how tiring the restrictions of the Coronavirus quarantine have been on our little ones.  So I got out my scraps and made her a baby unicorn which I delivered to her mom in stealth mode so she could figure out the perfect timing, especially since there are other small ones at home.  It made my day to be able to do something for a child that would add joy to her life.






Saturday, March 14, 2020

March 14, 2020

I absolutely love the first tilling of the garden.  It looks so fresh and clean.  We are preparing to plant potatoes and corn.  I know a lot of people like to do no-till gardening, but there are a lot of pros to tilling:  1) I think the worms are much deeper than some people think as when we were young and had to put down a board and trickle hose water to bring up the worms.  2) I believe in the power of the sun to heal and disinfect.  3) I like churning the green manure down into the ground to break down and add organic matter to the soil, and 4) we are 58 and 63, so doing a big garden with hand digging does not appeal to us.

The black berries, we hope, are finally posed to do well this year.  As they grow berries on last year's canes, we are quite hopeful.  They are starting to come out and look really good as a row.  We didn't give up on them, just kept adding organic matter and mulch to the top and they are finally responding.


In our garden doings today, we added mulch to the asparagus bed.  We noticed yesterday that it was starting to come up and are adding the mulch to both quelch the weeds and add fertility to the soil.



The blueberry bushes are in full bloom!  Our sugar pod peas are finally coming up.










If you ever think you have a small camper to redo, just start painting.  I assure you once you hit all the surfaces with a lick of primer, you will swear it was larger.  There's walls, cabinets, ceilings, etc.  However, it is starting to look really good.








Also just finished redoing the kitchen and bathroom countertops with leftover Homax Tough as Tile.  Looking good!


I tried something new for brunch this morning.  I made bacon and hash browns in the waffle iron.  The bacon was nice and flat due to the even heating on both sides at once, and the hash browns were wonderfully crispy!  Definitely a keeper.  Update:  apparently it is not a keeper due to how difficult is is to clean the waffle iron after using it like this.  Who knew?







Thursday, March 5, 2020

March 5, 2020

Elderberries
Apricot

Here on the farm things are starting to wake up.  The elderberries are putting out more leaves, The apricot tree, peach tree, plum trees, cherry trees, and regular pear trees are in bloom.  The daffodils and forsythia are also in bloom.  The lettuce seedlings have just popped out of the ground.




Lettuce



In the kitchen garden, the fennel has come up, and the comfrey is emerging.

Fennel

Comfrey


We are continuing to work on the camper a little at a time.  John has been working on the back end, rebuilding the bottom of the upper bedroom cabinet and reworking the lights.  He has also started adding back in some insulation and repairing the back wall.


I have used some Homax Tough as Tile to resurface the tub, bathroom sink and toilet lid.  I am happy with the way it has turned out.  I left the faucet, as I am planning to paint that silver.  I have plans also to resurface the countertop.  The scent of it is strong, but thankfully I was working outdoors.

Bathroom sink

Bathtub













I have also built a slide out sofa/bed in the front of the camper that will have bins underneath it for storage.  In order to do that, I had to take out a small outside storage closet.  I used a screwdriver to permanently lock it, added some interior trim with glue and brad nails so I would have a surface to nail to, put in some insulation, and added some veneer over the top of that space. 

The slide out sofa bed construction idea was taken from a conglomerate of several youtube videos, as well as considering the space we have, the cushions we were using from the old dinette, and simplifying it to use bin storage underneath.  The pictures show the pulled out position with and without cushions, and the pushed in position with the cushions, along with the new sofa pillows.  I was pleased that there seems to be plenty of room in both positions for the planned electric fireplace.  I am also planning some table space, so stay tuned.




The pillows were made from a thrift store bathrobe, some leftover stuffing from an old pillow, and some of the leftover bathrobe fabric was used in making the tassels, for a grand total of $1.  I wanted them to be comfy and as that whole area will have a background of white, it will tone down the print of the dinette cushions that I recovered, as well as help it to blend in.  The couch will still be sanded and painted white.  

In between projects while waiting for things to dry, etc., I have been adding primer as I have had time mostly in the kitchen area.  

Lastly, I will leave you with a picture showing how much the tomatoes have matured.  Sadly, our peppers have not emerged, so we are probably looking at purchasing pepper plants this year.