Friday, August 28

And It Begins.....

It was below 50 degrees last evening and, after an interesting day of yard work and house chores, I really wanted to have a campfire.

I love this weather - fall is coming and it is getting cooler at night. Yesterday evening, I got to wear a flanel shirt. I got to walk around the yard with Connor and Snowy with the damp grass and the chilly air and it was really nice since the day was annoying and interesting.

Mom came over to keep an eye on the little man while I ran around the house and yard trying to cram as many chores into the 4 hours she was there as possible. Wedding, trimming (line kept breaking), transplanting a pine tree, laundry on the line, and mowing, amoung many other little things. The grass`was so high that I couldn't see the big rock that found it's way into the path of my mower until it was too late. I am asuming that this rock found its way to the grass from a fit had during hard digging in the solar trench - I can just picture Roy getting mad at a root or some such thing and taking out his frustrations by throwing rocks.

The mower made this loud clunking noise and continued making this noise until I stopped and turned it off. I sat there for a minute hoping really hard that it I waited a minute or two that the mower would cure itself and I could keep mowing. No such luck.

Dad and Mom came back over later that evening and after a quick trip to Lowes, a new blade was installed to replace the one that was bent like a pretzel.

So, after my day, I just wanted to relax and have a campfire in the yard and read my two new magazines - Urban Farm and Country Skills. But it didn;t happen. I was just too tired from all the "excitment" of the day that if I would have started a fire, I would have been asleep before I turned around and sat in the lawn chair.

Tuesday, August 25

Friday, August 21

To Kill or Not to Kill

I HATE SPIDERS. I have always hated them and I absolutely can not stand them in the hosue or anywhere around it. Yesterday I discovered a horrible, huge spider building a web on my front porch. This thing is easily the size of a half dollar if not bigger. I want to kill it, but I am not sure since I am trying to be nice and think of the good things that spiders do. Hard for me, I know, but I am trying.

So, the Poll is - Should I Kill the Spider of Not? Vote Yes or No. Keeping it for a pet is not an option.

In Goes the Cable....

Wednesday, August 19

Trenching in the Dark

The trench is now finished - at about 10pm. They are coming to install the cables tomorrow at 7am so it had to get finished tonight. We had most of the trench done coming in towards the house from the field and some done from the house heading out so there was just about 50 feet going through the little path between the bushes. And it was here that we kept shoveling dirt out of the path.

So, with the kerosene lanterns buring, we kept digging until, like when the rails of the Central Pacific Railroad met those of the Union Pacific at Promontory Summit, Utah back in 1869, our two trenches met. And with lanterns blazing, we dug the final shovels full of dirt out and called it a night.

We did not find a golden spike. But we did find a marble. I washed it and it now has a home with the experimental pea plants in the kitchen window.

Monday, August 17

You'll Never Get Rich By Digging A Ditch...

We might has well be in the Army given all the manual labor we have had to do lately. The first step towards the solar panels, besides the signing of the contracts and the handing over of money.

In order to install the cables for the panels to run to the house, we had to dig a 200 foot trench from the field where the panels will be to the side of the house. The cables will go through the house foundation wall and across the basement ceiling to the panel box in the basement. The trench needs to be 18" deep for all 200 feet.

After the contract and money step, it was time for me to move the flowers and rocks. A 24" wide patch of pacasandra and creeping ivy. (sorry guys) But it will grow back fast since it is very agressive. And the landscaping rocks have been moved (turns out that I got a whole bunch of new rocks to add when this is all over).

We rented a "ditch-witch" that was supposed to dig the trench for us but our ground is really rocky so it only got us about 10" down and most of the dirt fell back down into the trench. So, we started digging.

And digging, and digging, and digging.

Tonight we can see the end - only about 20 to 30 more feet to go. They are coming Thursday morning to install the cables, so we should make it - if there are no disasters in the mean time that would cause the dirt to fall back in the trench. Like a rain storm. Which is supposedly coming tomrrow.

Here is the very beginnings of the life of the trench:

So our first steps toward solar have been "rocky" but what house project goes smoothly around here. Well, that light bulb I replaced the other day didn't give me much trouble. But in a few short months, that light bulb will be powered with electric we made from the sun on our side field. We estimate that these panels (9 in total on 1 pole) will cover half of our energy useage.

Sunday, August 16


It's Done! Repaired, painted and handles attched. Now, I can stock it with pots and shovels and old canning jars full of seed markers, cable ties and varrious odds and ends. It has some shelves and space for the roto-tiller and maybe some day it will have electric or a water hookup. Being close to the garden, it would be helpful but not totally necessary.

Eventually, I would like to install a "front porch" of sorts. An extension off the front - just an overhang made of pine from our trees to provide some shade and a little 'rustic-ness'. The cherry trees, which are small now, will eventually provide some shade for gardening and weeding breaks.

Tuesday, August 11

I hope the neighbors don’t notice….

Now that summer has finally decided to grace us with her temperatures above 70, the tomatoes have started to ripen. I actually have a few that are the lightest shade of orange. Orange! In August! I am amazed.

Aside from the utter disappointment of this year’s vegetable garden, this summer has been good. Not terribly humid and this year I am not sequestered in the house with all-day morning sickness. Our plans before the end of the season include trimming a ton of low hanging branches around the yard, painting the old chicken barn and getting the solar installed. Hopefully, the trenching for the cables will be done this weekend and the cable put in place and buried on Monday of next week. Unfortunately, the panels will not be able to be installed until October due to the high rate of demand for these. Which I guess is a good thing.

Regardless, I am excited about cutting our electric bill in half even if I am not so enthusiastic about having a huge solar array in the side field. I hope the neighbors don’t notice….

Monday, August 3

It's Dreary Here in Dear Old London

How cloudy and rainy it is here in London, with the drizzle and damp seeping into every corner of the house...

Hold on, this isn't England - it's UPSTATE NEW YORK - in AUGUST!!! It should be warm and sunny and almost unbearable hot and humid. Green and purple beans should be so thick on the vine that there is no way we can possible eat them all. You should be able to smell the tomatoes cooking in the sun from the house and there should be sunflowers towering over it all. But, unfortunately, we here in upstate New York are suffering from what I call London weather. Stereotypical wet, damp, foggy weather that you always see in movies that are set in London. And nothing is growing.

So far, our garden haul has amounted to 4 yellow cherry tomatoes, 2 potatoes, 2 purple string beans, 1 green pepper and 1 yellow gourd (and thats just for halloween decoration! but they way things are going, I might consider eating it.) The peas have done alright - I have enough for the chicken pot pie I am making for dinner tonight. But the rest is just a miserable mess of rotting roots, yellowing leaves, and mushy mud.

What concerns me is that some people relay on their gardens for most of their food - eating right away, canning or otherwise. How are they doing this year? One day I hope to be able to not have to purchase produce (fresh or canned) unless I want something fancy and foreign like a banana. But with seeing how things are happening this year, I know that I had tried that above mentioned experiment, I would be spending a lot of time eating pasta and soup. For the first time, I relly feel for those people who's livelyhood and diet depend on how the garden turns out.

Notes for next year - start everything in January; invest in horse manure; get an unheated greenhouse.