Friday, February 28, 2014

what we've been up to

the weather has been lovely the last few weeks and we've been extra busy lately.  working hard but having a great time with it---it's really just play for us.  i keep my camera with me most of the time so i've got lots of pictures to share.  here's what we've been up to...

took a trip to the big city (merced) and got a few goodies so staal wouldn't have to worry about being bored for a while.  below is staal with a couple dual glazed windows for the kitchen, a dual glazed, 10-light door for the side entry that leads to the kitchen garden, and a couple of screen doors---we ended up getting some rain gutter too.

the man can shop

the new door is bigger than the old door so staal had to open up the wall to make room.



he also had to relocate an exterior light and cut out a section of roof (from the "master bedroom"/soon-to-be-greenhouse) that was overhanging the doorway and interfering with getting things trimmed properly.



it was a big job but he did some very nice work with it.  it turned out beautifully and it's a great improvement over what was there before. 

here's the before: 


and after (also shows the new screen door):



with the new door put in staal has moved on to some wiring in the garage.  he's got a lot of woodworking equipment in there but the garage is underwired for lighting and powering everything.  we're also going to be getting a water storage tank and there will be some electrical changes needed for that too.



in his spare time he clears brush and cleans the dead wood out of the oak trees.  there's enough dead wood out there on our 6 to keep us in firewood just about forever.


so what have i been doing?  digging, mostly.  i've been doing some work in the kitchen garden---digging and lining beds to keep gophers out, adding some new beds for some perennial vegetables, and building raised beds under the bamboo trellises i built last summer.  it's coming along nicely.

i put in a new bed along the fence on the east side of the garden.  the picture below shows the excavated bed lined with aviary wire to keep out burrowing critters.  after i put in the wire i filled the bottom of the bed with oak logs, branches, and leaves---this is a sort of an adaptation of a permaculture technique called hugelkultur, which is basically a type of raised bed made from piling soil on top of wood.  the wood rots slowly and provides nutrients to the garden for many years and also helps conserve moisture. 



here is the same bed shown after i framed and partially filled it with a mix of soil and horse manure.




i'm using the same system with all of the beds in the kitchen garden.  the pictures below show about where i am with things currently.





i've gotten a few things planted though there isn't much to be seen yet---mostly underground stuff---potatoes, sunchokes, asparagus.  

below is a wire cage i put together for growing potatoes.  as the plants grow upward more soil is piled around them---the tubers form above the seed potato---it's a good space saver.

pre-sprouted (chitted) yukon gold taters

potato greens pushing their way up a couple weeks after planting

got a few seeds started...

left is my seed collection and right soil blocks in a flat

and this is how they looked yesterday afternoon:

an assortment of asian greens

we've been eating well from previous sowings of greens and lettuces and taking advantage of some of the edible "weeds" growing with them.  the last time i weeded i noticed miner's lettuce and chickweed starting to come in so i left them to grow---nature plants them for me and they're delicious in salads.

'freckles' leaf lettuce

a beautiful meal including a salad made from homegrown greens and foraged miner's lettuce and chickweed


zane has also been busy keeping us on task and making sure we never take things too seriously.

fun patrol


on watch while i dig


zane as alarm clock

well, back at it...