Tag Archives: gardens

chickens still in the greenhouse

This year spring has been in a long debate with winter whose turn it was. Just days ago we had six inches of snow. This high up however, while lilacs bloom down along the river we get frost every morning. It drives home, again, how difficult growing a garden in a zone 3 can be.

 

Inside the green house though it is warm enough the cool weather plants have been up for weeks. The unfortunate thing is that the chickens are still using a section as a coop and two in particular are very clever and naught. Julie Chicken and Katie Bird have escaped. Not once, not twice, but a dozen times and proceeded to tear u seeds, devour seedling and teach the others that out is better than in.

1493928101133 (1)

Julie has even learned to escape the green house all together and look for better places to be. She is perhaps the most naughty bird I have ever met. At this point every three days or so I let them roam free. Sooner or later this will bring in wildlife from the mountain and Sterling, (lives down the hill) hates noise of all kinds and having Boots the rooster crowing in his driveway is not a good way to keep the peace.

1493919118083

With them free to explore and a constant seeking of escape routes the seedlings have begun to grow with vigor.

orca-image-1495499798929.jpg_1495499803946

Flowers have come up now that the threat of chicken attacks have passed and the other plants have followed.

orca-image-1495499698749.jpg_1495499699502

There are places however that remain sprout-less as I have to plant and replant them. With bird netting and coop, hopefully repaired enough to hold until the long term coop is built, this time they might get to grow.

The gutter gardens are doing very well right now. As I have never used this style of alternative beds I am still experimenting with water and exactly what pants can and can not handle the heat to their roots.

orca-image-1495499773258.jpg_1495499774283

With room in the green house for plants to be kept over winter this year I am playing with warm zone plants. Various pond plants as well as lotus. I put the seeds in water three days ago and when they sprout I will be sure to keep you informed on their progress.  Some of those I ordered have fallen rather sadly into a state of abuse as they had no time to adjust and even int eh green house water barrels they got too cold but now with the weather finally starting to warm they are putting out new leaves and starting to recover. This year will be bursting with life and I will be sure to keep you posted.

Leaking Pond

This spring, as snow began melting off, rain falling, and  the spring running high I have been watching and wonder why the pond is not brimming over. A few weeks ago James and I discovered a few thin slashes that we packed a bit of clay in as a stop gap. We theorize it was maybe made by a dog’s claw, a kids toy, or some other strange accident. It was after all just a few thin slashes. Maybe, we hoped, the clay would be enough to mend it and if not, once it warms up enough I could patch it.

The pond however, still seemed to be going down, so I shut the spring water off and waited; watched. The water kept falling. Rain fell for two week, three feet of snow melted and still the pond level steady went down. Today I went out, hose in hand to wash away sand, clay, the last bits of ice and I discovered the reason.

17310120_1583842898312224_8775816862754582674_o

Once again packrats are the bane of my life on the mountain. I have at most been annoyed at the bears, the wolves have never bothered me, the deer are too jumpy to be much trouble, and while the chipmunks cause havoc in the garden, it is the packrats who test my efforts not to declare war on a species.

I imagine that about mid-December after weeks of subzero weather and record snow levels the smug little rodent realized that what he thought was a clever home, tucked in a small pocket of air, under a rock, and a pond-liner had become not so great when there was six feet of snow and ice on top of you and no way out with no way for air to get in.

So, no. Clay will not fix this. I will be needing a rather large section of pondliner. I will need the weather to nice and warm so I get both the set liner and the path to be warm enough to press well enough together that the sealer will make a good match. The weather might just be warm enough on Wednesday. If the sun actually shines n the black it will be and I can get it fixed. Fingers crossed. 60 with rain will not do, but at least I have the liner cleaned and enough left over to patch it. Finger crossed this is the only place.

little projects

may 2015 002The garden has gotten its first real round of work. I left a couple little rose bushes and some balms root as it is a very edible plant, and got the seeds in.  I was running the hose down from the spring itself for a few days but the water flow was just little more than a trickle by time it got all the way down tot he garden.  After I hooked the hose to the water barrel, (not to the pump) messed with the lay out of the hose, and got the air locks out of the line, the problem was solved!

june 2015 012Water Pressure!  Yeah for gravity.    Up at the little cabin I got the new pump hooked up.  It is a good deal smaller than the one I had before.  I want to use it a bit before I write about that, but its in, so washing hands and dishes just became a lot easier!

june 2015 003

The weather has been getting hot enough that soon it will be a perfect day for dressing up the spring, getting the box over it and beginning to dig the permanent lines.  Once that is done then the only real project for the water system (at least for this year) will be to build the solar hot water heater.  The copper pipe is still in a pile, just need to get the solder and the ‘T’s’ to put the base together.  The insulation board and the glass are waiting against the green house as well.  One project always tends to lead to another.

May Day

The day started out a bit cool but about perfect for sitting outside with a mug of hot coffee.  While debating if it was worth starting a fire in the house or not I got to watch the humming birds come in.

april 2015 017

Of course they had to argue a little of who had rights to the feeder.  They buzzed around so fast it was hard to even see where they were going.

april 2015 013

James and I went up the road to help the neighbour before we set to work on our own projects. The main goal of the day was to get the plumbing in place to get the water to the house.

may 2015 004We lifted the barrel higher than it was originally to try and improve the water pressure but we still didn’t get as much as we wanted, certainly not enough to get my hair clean in a shower, so the 12 volt pump was inserted into the line.

may 2015 005

The water goes down and around the window garden.  They will be wrapped in foam and hopefully the front green house will be in by this fall and the water system further protected but if not, it will have to be all drained.

may 2015 006The old water line is all connected, the hot line is not in yet, but that will be a project for next weekend.

may 2015 008While cleaning up I went ahead and put the doors on the front and closed the ends quickly. They need a little trimming but for now it closes in the end.  Nights are still getting frosty so the little garden is still covered.  The plants that were put in are doing great and today the radishes started to show up.  Maybe by tomorrow the peas will pop up their heads as well.  Spring is definitely here and progress is starting to be made.

Bench update

The soil is in.  It is the native soil that will need some amendments over time to keep it rich enough for a raised bed, but with a little peat moss added in and a bit of potting soil to lighten it up, the SOIL is IN!  I went ahead and planted a few herbs I had picked up in the live herb section at the grocery store.  I am not sure they will be able to make the adjustment but no harm in trying.

001

I dropped in a celery that had been cut off.  I have grown several in a bit of water but never tried it putting them directly into soil.  Its an experiment.

009

James went ahead and planted the seeds for peas, collards, spinach and radish in the bed. From the inside this looks to be the grandest window box ever.  There is nothing like getting your hands in the soil and putting those little seeds in.  003

too good to be true

Every year in this area, it seems like we have a short few days of spring-like weather.  This year however it has been nearly a month and looks to be so for another two weeks. The 6 inches of solid ice have turned into  mere patches with slush, mud, and running water.

feb 13 2015 017

I can get down the mountain with the car !  Later today I will try to get up the driveway with a half load of wood and a fridge.  I think I can do it!

feb 13 2015 004

The mountains are nearly snowless and springs that normally start to run in may are already running.  Little waterfalls are alive and rushing.

The weather has been so nice that today I went down and worked in the community garden that this year will be turned into a flower garden for the town park. As an experiment and just because I couldn’t help myself I cleared one bed, put in some Chard, Spinach and Pea’s.  The bed I covered with the plastic beg insulation came in last fall.   Hopefully the weather will stay about how it is, long enough to get a few little leaves.  If winter returns and all is lost, no harm done.

feb 13 2015 019feb 13 2015 020I must admit I am fully enjoying the weather, and trying to not get ahead of myself as I know it is too good to be true, but sometimes life must be approached with the delight of a child.  I know the cold and snow will be back and the seeds planted today will never produce a full crop but playing in the dirt was fun none the less.

Already thinking ahead to Spring

Today as I was out splitting wood all I could think about was how different the yard will be by next winter.  If the snow doesn’t get to deep it might well transform before spring.  Right now it is a dense tangle of trees that even after pulling out branches and clearing the dead ones from the trunks as high as I could reach, it is still nearly impossible to navigate.

nov 011

If all of this was cleared out the little cabin would bask in the sun nearly all day in the winter.  For now it gets dappled patterns of light and shadow.  The land here is nearly perfectly set up for a small pond to go in,with garden beds on the slope below and up the south east facing slope that rises up from the ‘front yard’

nov 012

Its a mess now but I can see the garden beds, I can almost hear the chickens that will be ordered the day I get the coop built.  It will be set back into the hill, nice a snug; a bear proof earth ship for the ladies.

nov 013

It will be a happy day when the yard stretches out from the rocky space carved out of the mountain for the cabin to it.  For now I spend my afternoons with an axe in hand, running over plans in my head.  As soon as there is a day warm enough to sit outside to get the topography map going I will be drawing up the detailed plans.

nov 008