Image

City meets Country

In the years away there have been plenty of changes… but the biggest change…we left the city and I talked the Mr. into buying a house in the country. While I admit, of the things the new homestead affords… most are mutual goals…but it was a hard sell not having capitol city running paths. Its now been a little over six months in the new house and we have an endless string of things we’d like to accomplish but here are our first impressions of life in the country…

  1. Creatures– No doubt moving into the country you will be dealing with endless animals, and we knew this…but now we know this. Of course there was that bird falling down the chimney, into the wood stove and flying around the room. But, besides that, we really didn’t prepare for having to catch and kill the mouse that our apparently adept cat won’t…this is generally between 1-3 am. Lesson learned-get a real cat or keep “barn cats” ours may be pretty but he also may just be defective… nuisances aside-the birds have captured my attention…I find myself patiently (or creepily if you ask the Mr.) staring into the magnolia tree or a random bush waiting for a glimpse of the cuter side of our new surroundings.IMG_5537
  2. Rural Internet this is probably my biggest beef. Moving here we kept thinking its 30 minutes from the city and its right by the interstate, it shouldn’t be that hard to find a provider…WRONG oh how wrong, after living here a month we finally found one that would provide a large enough data package for streaming…you know because at that point we still had this naive thought that we would be streaming. As time went on we’ve gotten rid of Netflix and Hulu- were basically off TV with the exception of movies from the library and an occasional amazon show on the desktop. While this was an adjustment we never had cable and this seemed like the natural next step to decrease our connection to tech
  3. Weather there is something to be said for watching the storm fronts roll in and out with no ones roof or building blocking my view. We’ve seen double rainbows, lightning storms, flooding, downed trees and some pretty amazing sunsets/ sunrises…. still doesn’t make up for the shitty internet though…
  4. Flowers flowers everywhere. I love flowers as much as the next, but I need to decrease the amount of weeding…and also things to maneuver a mower around… we will be condensing
  5. Apple trees– yes, yes they are beautiful and all… while in bloom… for those few.short.weeks.  But, you didn’t spray? BUGS ruin your crop… forgot to trim?  overgrowth-it doesn’t produce and you cant reach product easily… didn’t get to picking back fruit early season? gross, mealy or tasteless fruit oh and did I mention the ENDLESS windfalls….  Its best to not put these guys right next to other shade trees or buildings so they get the full sun they want- but also avoid putting them in the middle of the lawn as mowing over a golf ball sized rock hard apple isn’t great but trying to rake them out is even worse…one apple tree closest to the garage will be cut down and were replacing (in a full sun spot) it with a Honeycrisp tree from an orchard we pick at.
  6. Cherry trees– similar to above and when it comes to many fruiting trees- long term placement is one of the biggest things to consider. These guys specifically got HUGE here and we have more product on one tree then we will ever be able to get to. It was a bitter sweet moment taking one of the old  cherry trees down last week but without adequate sun it didn’t bloom and since we have what must be a 3 year cherry on the opposite side of the driveway (and shadowy pine), we were ready to remove and replace it. Plum and Pear trees– so its fair to say if you get a place with fruit trees know your trees …..but if you have sellers like ours that kept putting off providing the info and apparently didn’t know what they planted…wait a year or two- some trees are biennial bloomers if they are not tended to. We were told to cut some trees that were “duds” but come June I have picked over the same trees four times and the weight of the fruit still seems to be too heavy for some limbs. This was a days worth of pre-season picking of the icky fruit. 20170610_161457.jpg
  7. Raspberry & Asparagus patches– again unless things are well set up for the long term and tended to you are, in all likelihood, getting into a huge mess come summer. I thought I tended to the raspberry patch taming a 30 ft long row in the February warm snap we had….. was I wrong. The sheer amount of creeping charlie is choking out the rasp. and the rasp. are choking out the asparagus. And lets not even mention the rasp. running out into the yard…those we just mow over…We will be pulling out the whole patch in fall and moving the raspberries into way better containment up next to the grapes. As for the Asparagus…well… yeah, I’m not really sure where that will go yet…..  this was the patch last fall right after move in you see the bushy asparagus on the rightIMG_0354

    first of the raspberries June 2017!

  8. Trees– while there is something to be said for a wooded lot that can provide all the fire wood you need to stay warm- in all likelihood you will in some way need to clean the mess immediately around the house. For us this means taking down a few old trees and making sure nothing is falling on us or the neighboring barn, a never ending task with 5 massive Willows lining our lot….lucky us A & B love picking up sticks and we have bonfires on a regular occasion
  9. On season and off season tasks, in reality we do most things year round just some seasons are more intense. Chopping wood is one of those things we do more in winter but we do save what we cut and the big limbs that fall for winter firewood.IMG_2179
  10. Inside we really wanted to decrease the amount of honey oak . The rails/banisters through out the house, the built in pantry, and the beams on the ceiling …its a lot. The wood stove room beams came down last weekend we’re now retouching the ceiling holes to remount the fan. Maybe we’ll aim at the pantry next but I’m not sure either of our carpentry skills are that advanced yet…
  11. Locals– this has been one of the most bittersweet things of moving away from the city. Locals are more friendly and often are willing to lend a hand…yes please to the neighbor with the cherry picker who will be helping remove a willow tree. But they can also be up in your business in no seconds flat- lesson learned things can get weird…

    I am amazed at what we can find locally now though! 90 pounds of strawberries later…

  12. Tradition the most interesting part for us was learning about the area-ours specifically was known for Tobacco production an odd crop to see among the corn and beans- it is still traditionally farmed and a skip in time to watch. IMG_5282baby tobacco  more later …… maybe 😉
Image

DIY raised garden beds

In my short time gardening I have found I do not have that much of a green thumb. But, Im a little too stubborn to give up on growing my own food. So, while I won’t attempt seedlings again(without a grow light)I will plant what seeds we have left in these DIY garden beds!!
After almost 2 months of planning (and changing our plans numerous times) last we set into action! A family member was nice enough to share her book on raised beds and we adapted our design to be similar.
What you’ll need to make one raised 4×4 garden bed:

Supplies
4) 2inx10inx4ft lumber (we used cedar)
4) 4inx4inx8in lumber (again cedar)
32) 3in deck screws
4) 1in dia. x5in pvc
2) 1/2in dia. x10ft pvc

Tools
Power drill
Sawzall

20140505-185418.jpg


Placing the 4x4s inside each corner and screwing them in place from the outside of your beds
20140505-193918.jpg20140505-185436.jpg20140506-194513.jpgFrom the inside of the garden bed frame screw the PVC (1inch dia. x 5 inches long) into the 4x4s on each corner. Make sure to only screw at the bottom, leaving space to insert the 1/2 PVC for the arch.


The pvc arches over top to be able to cover the beds for critter control will most likely be a necessity in an area like ours. 20140506-194543.jpg
20140508-152106.jpg
As you can see we have placed the old monkey bars in the bed and are planning to bury them in for stability. And the jury’s still out on how to secure them together:)


We did transplant the grass to cover the old horse shoe pits we ripped up last weekend.
20140508-184725.jpg20140508-184712.jpg
Instead of the suggested weed cloth we are trying old cardboard since we had huge chunks from the swing set boxes! We dug in just enough to remove the grass and level the beds.
20140508-184904.jpg20140508-184910.jpg
After filling it with a layer of compost, vermiculite and peat moss we are ready to go!!….now I just have to dig up 2 more and fill those…..ughhh….at least it’s a work out…did I mention it was 85 degrees today :0

Soaking up Spring?

yep thats hail Well we were soaking it up….mid april and last Saturday I was stuck under a bridge(so as not to ruin black beauty) on the highway due to hail and Monday I was holed up in the house waiting out the snowstorm. Yes, you read that right storm because contrary to the “light snow” we had a chance of getting…we got a storm…..ughhh soooo over this winter.
Anyhow, for the few hours we had sunlight on Saturday we were planning out yardspace and working on the 3rd round of seedlings. Sadly, with the up and down weather plus the oven casualties, Ive lost almost everything I planted. I am hoping the third times a charm but while we wait I am doing tons of research….did you know cuke seedlings need 6hrs of sun daily? Were attempting something called companion gardening but today I’ll be looking into compost fertilizers as well. Our big goal was to gain enough knowledge to grow indoors with a light this winter but wish us luck since I’m running out of steam to keep attempting this 😦
unnamed (134)unnamed (132)unnamed (133)
We have also decided to tear down the play equipment in the yard. It was a huge selling point for the house buuut we soon found out that it was nowhere near sturdy…even for a child. Happy tears though because grandma bought an epic playset with swings, a slide, picnic table and a water/sand table. Scott started building the night it arrived and even with a cat hunting interlude (yes, A&B have figured out how to let the cat out)he finished it rather fast! And yes that is an airsoft BB gun

unnamedCASCEZAZ unnamed (102) unnamed (100)
yup, that’s my AMAZING hubs ;0
20140420-211802.jpg20140420-211827.jpg20140420-211840.jpg
So far the boys are smitten, and guess what ?! the old play equipment will be repurposed into our garden beds and the old monkey bars will be a trellis for peas(since they are one of the only things still growing!!

Oh and happy holiday:)
20140421-073209.jpg

Spring gardening

20140321-131712.jpg

A&B seem to be enjoying our first new adventure into……
gardening!!!

Well with spring just around the corner we are getting in gear to plant our garden! While both Scott and myself don’t exactly have “green thumbs” we thought we would give gardening a go this year. We’ve talked about all the things we would want and decided on a few that were realistic to try and grow for first timers 😉
20140321-133530.jpg
We decided on
1) sugar snap peas
2) corn
3) tomatoes
4) watermelon
5) onions
6) carrots
7) peppers
8) garlic
9) potatoes
10) melon
11) squash
12) herbs….undecided
Actually finding seeds proved to be a little more challenging as we did look for non GMO/organic seeds.[If you aren’t sure of the difference look here] Once we found seeds the other “stuff” seemed even more challenging, did you know you, are supposed to plant certain plants together? Let’s just say, I learned something new… every step of the way with this project! But we have plans for our outdoor beds drawn up, arrangements for where the plants will grow, and vermiculite, all on stand by…..

For now were germinating!

20140321-124711.jpg