April 23, 2011

Weekend goals

It's been a busy week of strenuous farm work and helping my sister pack for her impending move to Alaska. But, I'm setting aside some home-time, and my goal for the weekend is to get these tomato seedlings into bigger pots so they can quickly grow into big strong tomato plants!! I love greenhousing.

My rosemary bush in bloom.

April 22, 2011

Rain barrel redo

I awoke early this morning to two glorious sounds - a whippoorwill singing near my window and a gentle rain falling on my roof. I'm especially happy to have a rainy day today to test out the new and improved "back of the house rainwater catchement system". We've had these two, linked rain barrels set up back there for several years now, but it was definitely time for some improvements. In the old system, the downspout fed straight into the top of the rain barrels, which put the barrels right up against the siding. They were also sitting on separate concrete block bases which had settled unevenly and so the barrels were tilted all funky. The only overflow we had was a hole in the side of the barrels so extra water just formed a marshy area right near one of our foundation posts. Joe did a serious rain barrel renovation last year on the front of the house (where we have a series of 5 linked barrels), but the back of the house never made it onto the priority to-do list.

Joe is off serving at a 10-day meditation course near here, so I decided to buckle down and finally tackle this project on my own. I had help from Joe's uncles setting the barrels in place (even when fully drained they still hold at least 5 gallons a piece) and deciding how to reconfigure the downspout diverter to allow the barrels to be positioned where I wanted them, but I'm still feeling a major sense of accomplishment and pride in my work at having done this on my own. I can't wait for Joe to see it. :) Now we just need a good heavy rain (it'll take 2 inches to fill the barrels) to make sure nothing is leaking and that the downspout diverter is doing its job and sending water back down the downspout and away from the house when the barrels are full.

In case you can't tell from the photo, those barrels are completely level. And hopefully there'll be no settling this time because I dug down almost six inches and did some serious tamping.

The boots are back in bloom!

April 19, 2011

Near-epic adventure, final installment

A few more woodland wildflower photos

Rue anenome (Thalictrum thalictroides)

An unfolding violet

Some of my own "wildflowers". These little violas/Johnny-jump-ups have been volunteering all over my yard and garden! It makes it hard to weedeat because I don't want to chop down any of them.

Fresh, delicious salad for dinner.

One tuckered out beagle!

April 18, 2011

Near-epic adventure, pt.4

I was so exhausted by the time we actually reached our property, that I was happy for the excuse to slow down and take some pictures. Here are some of the early spring woodland flowers in bloom right now.

Fiddlehead of the maidenhair fern (Asplenium trichomanes)

Not sure what this is, possibly a spring beauty? (Claytonia virginica?)

Fiddlehead of a Christmas fern (Polystichum acrostichoides)

Star chickweed (Stellaria pubera)

Stinking Benjamin (my favorite of it's several common names)(Trillium erectum)

April 17, 2011

Near-epic adventure, pt. 3

An interesting little lean-to?? Not sure I'd want to be sitting in it's shade when that hood came crashing down.

Some people like to put plastic penguins in their yards. I guess we have a different aesthetic here in the mountains.

As I was walkin' - I saw a sign there
And that sign said - no tress passin'
But on the other side .... it didn't say nothin!
Now that side was made for you and me! - Woody Guthrie, "This Land is Your Land"

April 16, 2011

Near-epic adventure, pt. 2

Side note - The whippoorwills are back! I've been anxiously awaiting this moment.

Now, some more photos from our hike on Thursday. Here are some more photos from the old homestead we passed.

These people were well stocked with firewood, especially cooking stove wood. This was just one of several outbuildings stacked full.

This and the others we found will be going in a morel and ramp omelette for dinner. Yum! :)

The view from one of the hilltops we crossed.

April 15, 2011

Near-epic adventure, pt. 1

Yesterday, Joe and I went on a near-epic cross country adventure. On Wednesday, Joe completed a true epic cross country adventure when he hiked 4.6 miles through the woods and over a couple of high ridges, leaving from our back door and showing up at the Light Morning community. In order to visit our friends at Light Morning, it usually requires a 35-40 minute drive around 3 sides of a rectangle as there is no direct road between us (this is because of the "high ridges", aka mountains, I mentioned earlier). For several years, we've thrown around the idea that "we could hike from our place to yours!", but haven't actively pursued it. But, with the help of my little brother's GPS, Joe made it a reality. He completed the grueling hike in around 3 hours. However, he decided that there were probably some spots along the way where he could have found a better path. This brings us back to the near-epic adventure in which I also participated yesterday. Before returning the GPS to my brother (also Joe, btw), Joe wanted to re-hike some of the stickier portions of the trail, so we had his mom drop us and Wilson off at a point roughly 3.5 miles from our place.

The very first part of the hike was scaling one of the ridges. I'm a horrible estimator, but I would say it was at least a 30 degree slope, and we gained ~500 feet in a very short linear distance. Joe kept assuring me that was the toughest part of the whole hike, and he was right, and a good thing it was too. Good grief I am out of shape! From their the hike was much easier as we mostly followed the ridge we'd just climbed. Of course, we were crossing over many people's properties, sometimes right through their back yards, but we never ran into anyone. Three hours and all of my energy reserves later, we popped up in our own back yard, right by the chicken house.

Here are some photos of an old homestead we passed by in a little valley. There must have been 8-10 little outbuildings, at least. I didn't venture into the main house, but peering through the windows I saw walls papered in newspaper/magazine pages, an old bed and an old treadle sewing machine, surrounded by piles and piles of junk.

April 10, 2011

Spiffed up

It is a BEAUTIFUL day and I'm sitting inside at the computer!! This will be very short. :) Just wanted to post a photo taken at our friend's wedding last weekend - proof that every so often Joe and I do manage to clean up a little bit. Joe's suit was stashed under the bed, very wrinkled and still with paraphernalia from the last time he wore it (another friend's wedding three years ago) in the pockets. I decided that the garment care business is not up my alley, but we did manage to make it semi presentable. Since my sister is getting married in just a few weeks, we've decided to just leave it out until then rather than putting it back under the bed. So, for the moment, this suit has been hung on the back of one of our two chairs, and we are tiptoeing around it so as to not put any more stains or wrinkles in it. I don't even have a coat hanger to put it on! :)

Okay, off to plant beets and carrots now!