Tuesday, December 30, 2014

greenhouse (floor---linoleum removal)

it was pretty cold up here today so i spent a little time this afternoon in the greenhouse (quite comfortable in there) scraping up linoleum.  we had thought about bringing in gravel to fill in the crater in the center of the room and make a nice level floor---but i think i'd rather do some ornamental planting in that area so i've started bringing in soil (right now it's got a layer of oak leaves topped with a layer of gopher dirt).

here's what i've been up to...

 the linoleum comes up pretty easily with just a putty knife.  

some of the adhesive that was used to bond the linoleum tiles to the concrete is still a little sticky in some places but i'm hoping a little foot traffic and dirt tracked over it will take care of that.  if not we can always paint the floor---which we might do anyway.

 the hole in the slab has a lot of creative potential and i think it's going to be fun working with it.

i sort of like the mottling and coloration left on the concrete after the linoleum is removed.

Monday, December 29, 2014

tree planting

yesterday i filled the holes i dug for the new trees about 3/4 full with small oak logs i cut from downed limbs i found in the yard, twigs, leaves, and compost---my modified hugelkultur planting method---i did the same with first round of fruit trees and so far they seem quite happy.  this morning i cut aviary wire and made baskets for the new trees.  and this afternoon, with the help of a very handsome man and a very handsome dog, i got all the trees planted (except the crabapple who is now in a pot until i decide on where to plant him).

the trees all had their scaffolding (the main limbs that radiate from the trunk) started pretty high up on the trunk and because i want to keep them very compact, each of them got pruned back to about 18" to 24" before i planted them (i did the same with the trees on the east side of the garden).  so right now it's a stick orchard---but they look like happy little sticks.  and in the spring they'll grow a new scaffold at a more manageable height.

thank you, love, for the help and the company.

Saturday, December 27, 2014

new bare roots

our new bare root fruit trees arrived today.  i spent a little time this afternoon digging holes for them on the west side of the orchard garden---a good activity for a cold day.

plums, cherries, nectarines, an apricot, and a crabapple

i still need to make wire baskets to keep the gophers away from the roots but i've got holes ready for 9 of the trees---not sure where i want to put the crab yet (i'll probably espalier it) so i've got another hole to dig once i figure that out.

been a while since i've done any digging---i had a good time.

Wednesday, December 24, 2014

christmas tree

we bought a balled and burlapped spruce at the local nursery for this year's christmas tree (our first christmas tree together).  we'll have to find a good spot to plant it after christmas but for now it's nice having it in the house all dressed up with ornaments.
staal has a lot of beautiful ornaments---a lot of them have been in his family for quite a long time.
i left the decorating to nick and staal.

i like all the neat critters the most...

this little guy got a fresh web this year courtesy of master staal

this one's for all the folk in catheys valley

because every christmas tree needs a pickle

no presents under the tree---just this cute puppy

hope everyone has a great holiday!

Monday, December 22, 2014

greenhouse (electrical)

we've got power!  staal spent the last few days putting in the wiring for lights and receptacles.  it's pretty exciting---the electricity makes it possible to use my propagation heat mats so now i can have some fun with some experiments.

because all of the framing is exposed the wiring had to be put into emt (electrical metal tubing) to keep it protected. 

bending some emt

staal set the receptacles a few feet off the floor so they'd be out of any danger of getting watered and also be a convenient height to use with my propagation/potting bench.

i couldn't help sneaking out there tonight after it got dark just to see the lights...

Sunday, December 21, 2014

winter solstice morning (2014)

the morning light is soft through fine, gauzy clouds.
smoke wafts lazily from the chimney
seasoning the air
with the spicy, vaporous memories
of oaks and pines.
wrapping the morning in earth's timeless heart-song
singing the story of the return of the sun.

Friday, December 12, 2014

every day

the sun rises,
the sun sets.
in between the rising and setting
there is the daily business of living.
feed chickens,
tend garden,
“chop wood, carry water”,
no rush,
look closely,
listen intently
there are miracles in the mundane.


here's a picture of the kitchen garden area (before it was a kitchen garden) and section of the house (right side of photo) that is now the greenhouse...

this picture was taken on june 16th 2013

today, from about the same viewpoint...the greenhouse is somewhere behind our little jungle of a kitchen garden...

you sort of have to brave the vines and peek around the corner to find it.

greenhouse (south wall glazing and door)

so it's official---the greenhouse is fully glazed and doored.  there's still some work to do but it's looking great.  staal is amazing (i know i've said that before, but it's so true and definitely bears repeating).  
i helped staal tear off the tarpaper and remove wire and nails from the south wall and then he got to work cutting the channels for the glass, shifting the framing around, installing the glass, installing the door, and getting tin and tarpaper put on around the base of the wall---see---amazing.  it's beautiful and i can't believe how fast he got it put together.  it would be neat to have a time lapse video of him working. 

and here's how things look from the inside...

still quite a bit of work ahead but the major structural stuff is done.  so neat to walk out from the house into a room of light.

Sunday, December 7, 2014

greenhouse (doors)

the great door swap has begun.  we found a couple of very nice barely-used doors at the local glass shop (the same place we got the glass we're using for glazing the walls of the greenhouse).  they're heavy steel exterior doors with dual glazed windows in them.  they look almost new and we can't figure out why anyone would get rid of them---but we're happy they did.  we would have had to pay at least a couple hundred dollars each for new doors like these (and drive to merced---horror)---we only paid $40 each for them.  the down side is that since they were used (most new doors come pre-hung) staal had to build jambs for them---he did a beautiful job.

the greenhouse will have a total of three doors in it when it's done.  one on the east wall, one on the south wall, and one that links it directly with the interior of the house (west wall).  so here's how the door swap goes:  the west wall door, which was just an interior bedroom door, was replaced with one of the new doors we got from the glass company.  the east wall got the door from the room above the garage and the room above the garage got the other new door.  the south wall will get the door that was taken out when staal replaced the door from the house to the kitchen garden with a new dual glazed door that we got from lowe's.  kind of a musical chairs kind of thing.

here's how things are looking so far (staal's been a busy guy):

removal of upstairs door

one of the doors from the glass shop in its lovely new jamb that staal put together

the door from upstairs was weathered and starting to come apart so staal did some work on it before hanging it.

it looks better on the greenhouse than it did upstairs.

and here's what happened with door number two from the glass shop...

the slab in the greenhouse is pretty wonky (and not just the bit with the tree root in it).  staal had to do a little leveling with some concrete patch to get the bottom of the jamb supported and sealed.

i love all the beautiful finishing touches he puts into his work...

the new door is wider than the door that was taken out.  this gap in the trim will give us some room for something creative.

one more door to go (south wall)---but that is for a future post.