Thursday, January 30, 2014

Snow in the South

Sucks. Plain and simple. The natives here absolutely do not know how to drive in the white stuff. I was in Greenville, SC when this 'storm' hit and let me tell you it was pandamonium. They got enough snow to make a foot print. A little ice thrown in with a dash of cold temperatures and there you go. I was supposed to go to Charleston, SC but upon hearing that they pretty much shut the city down, I decided that home would be a better option. Cars everywhere; ditches, guardrailed, a few on their sides. The main highways around town were clear but roads around where we live are pretty bad. Squeak has a few snow days and the dogs are 50/50 on the snow. At least I didn't have to shovel the driveway.

As I said the dogs were 50/50. Ginny (Woffie) doesn't like for the snow to be on her paws as Chewie (Chewdude) loves the snow. This all according to The Wife. 

I actually did some work in the garden this past weekend. I took up all of the root crops and tilled everything over, then tilled on a few more feet to the main bed, so it is now 30'-0" x 30'-0". With that I can't wait to get the celery starts I have going into the ground. I haven't killed these as I did the onions. 

I started two different types of eggplant last weekend (Black Beauty and Long 'something') as well as a plat of lavender and a few sacrificial pepper seeds I saved. I tried this once before but forgot what I did with them. Here's hoping for better luck. 

WOF of the week. I will spare you the full shot and give you the close- up. 

Until next time stay off of the roads for goodness sake! People are crazy kids. 

Wednesday, January 22, 2014


Well it is that particular time of year that makes me want to start putting seeds into dirt and under lights. The temptation is there to see something grow beyond my waistline (which is actually going down some lately.) Packets and packets call my name throughout the evening. Celery seedlings taunt the others. The glow of light through the windows makes the neighbors suspicious. Temptations. It's there and hard to overcome but I will prevail. I will be starting the eggplants this weekend but everything else will be according to schedule. Grrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr............... Well, I may 'try' a few of my saved pepper seeds to see if I knew what I was doing. No sense in taking chances.:) Oh, and I killed all of the onion seedlings. I apparently can't grow the damn things.

Other nonsense.
Played some paintball with my boys this past weekend. Note to self, don't park next to a field where there are private parties going on.

I did knock something else off of my list; I built our paintball marker holders. All said and done cost me about $12.00 each. 

And last but not least our first snowfall of the year. 

People here really panic when it snows Took me an hour and a half to get home last night. They delayed all of the schools by two hours this morning for really nothing. There was enough at the homestead to make a foot print but nothing on any of the roads. It has turned colder and it seems to be here for a little while. Our average high in January is about 51 but we are running at about upper 30s and lower 40s for a while. Definitely colder this year from last. 

I am going to do a little more work on my 'list' and keep it in the side bar so you know what I have done and what I need to do. Signing off for now. Hope you have enough for a snowman kids. 

Tuesday, January 14, 2014

Sick Day 2

Well it's day two of my home vacation for the flu. Actually starting to feel better this evening so it looks like work tomorrow. Wah....

I did spend some time today dragging down the light stand from the attic and setting it up. I need to make the legs a little longer because last year the plants grew higher than I expected. Anyway I started some celery seeds today, 18 cells of them. So I got those and the onions under the lights now.

I worked more on the building this past Sunday getting the top cap on and a few trusses. It goes slow due to having to build the trusses as I go. Making progress though and hope to have a roof on it real soon. After it got dark I finished trimming out the last window in the garage.

We are all about sauces at the homestead. There's one shelf of the refrigerator dedicated to various bbq sauces; standard, vinegar- based, wing sauces, etc. Well we stumbled onto a new wing sauce in the store and found it to have the best taste without being too hot. Who knew they made sauces now?

Ebay find. Thought it was cool and was dirt cheap to get. I put these items on the garage wall since I don't like the term "man cave" and I refuse to have one. I cringe every time I hear that on TV. 

Another thing I did yesterday was get all of the seed packets out and make a chart of dates as to when to start them as transplants or sow outside, plus anticipated harvest dates. Didn't realize I had so many seeds. Dumb Excel sheet but worked well enough for me and it now hangs on the fridge for EVERYONE in the house to look at and help.

These are thanks to our new printer, one that isn't Ukrainian, Russian, whatever. The old one is here. Printed these out then scanned them as a jpeg. Blogger is picky. 

Well, of to do a few other things then bed early as sleep has sucked these past few days. 
WOF of the Week. Pretty much how The Wife and I have felt.

Monday, January 13, 2014

Sick Day

Well it seems that the flu bug going around has finally caught up with me. Not too bad this morning but driving to work didn't seem possible and from my understanding it gets worse before it gets better. So here I sit on the couch waiting for The Wife to bring me some medicine and blogging to you.
Building on my last post I wonder what 2014 will hold for out half acre? A few things have already been put into motion since that last post. A) Since the oldest boy will be going on deployment sometime soon my daughter in law will be staying with us during that duration. Love to have her around. B) My Wife's brother and his wife are looking for work down our way so they can get out of Dayton, OH. This means that they will be visiting sometime very soon too. He has an interview, then my mother in law and his wife will be staying and looking through the area to see if they like it. And if they do move to The Sandhills I believe my father and mother in law will move this way as well. All of this is fine as we've been in NC since 2005 with literally no family near us; be nice to have a helping hand :)
And with that knowledge let me look ahead into the crystal ball.......
1. By the previous post my "To Do" list is somewhat large so I know that will keep me busy.
2. With the completion of the outbuilding in the near future I am going to install a large water storage tank and hope to do the watering for a lot of the garden that way. Get rainfall from the building's roof.
3. I am also going to get a couple of compost bins going as I am probably the only gardener within 100 miles that doesn't have one. Hey give me a break; you did my list from last year right?
4. Seriously considering getting rid of the Directv in June when our contract is up. I am to the point of watching only a few shows and I think you can view those online now with one of those cheap services.
5. I am also thinking of getting rid of my smart phone and going back to an old flip phone. I need to keep one but it is burdensome with all of the emails and such.
6. I was going to say that I needed to get off line more but I'm not really on it much now. I have a Facebook account and a Twitter account but I usually use them just to see what others are doing. Still I need to limit these activities.
7. Stay home more. I need to make a concentrated effort to stay in town instead of traveling so much.
8. Blog more. I am not sure how some people can do 200 or more posts in a year. I did 85 last year and I thought that was good. Guess I had better step it up.
9. Read a few books. I used to love reading but it seems I have given that up. Being the geek that I am I read a lot of the Star Trek pocket books. Actually the last book I read was one of those books. Maybe I'll get back into them again.

That's my quick list. Now I'm going to peruse all of the seed packets that have come in a make a final plan today of what needs to go where.

Tuesday, January 7, 2014

Crop Mobs and Layouts and

It's cold for our area. 3 degrees with whatever wind chill this morning when I left for work. I just bundle up a little more. As I have said, it's easy to put on more when it's cold but you can only go so far when it's hot! Got a few seed orders yesterday which surprised me as I ordered them on the 1st. One came from Oregon too. One order left and it has my WV 63 tomatoes in it.

I ran into an article a while back and saved it to post here sometime as I found it interesting. Crop Mobs. Heard of them? I haven't until I hit that article. Here it is as I can't find a web link to it.

So after that I did some more research and lo and behold, Crop Mob was started in my region of NC. Here's a link to their site. Crop Mob Basically what it is is a group of people that mob others to help. Not all are farmers either. Read up if you'r interested. 

I spent a little free time and made up an overhead view of this year's garden on Excel. I thought of using one of those garden planner programs but I honestly don't have the time to learn something new right now. Big To Do list. Here it is....

Definitely not set in stone but a general idea of what I want where. 

Speaking of lists, I took a look at the one I made at the beginning of last year just to see if i actually did any of it. Here it is BTW. And here it is with answers.

  • Build outbuilding CURRENTLY WORKING ON
  • Design and build water holding tanks to catch water from outbuilding for gardens Compost barrels SEE ABOVE
  • Finish framing upstairs for rec room and bathroom ONGOING BUT WITH DIL MOVING IN BETTER GET OFF MY BUTT
  • After electrical and plumbing complete, finish upstairs SEE ABOVE
  • Fix and finish side table NOT YET
  • Fix broken small chair NOT YET AND I NOW HAVE ANOTHER ONE TO FIX
  • Build two more card stock holders for The Wife ODDLY ENOUGH, DONE
  • Build trellis (pergola) over current garden beds NOT HAPPENING
  • Expand garden with in- ground plantings DONE
  • Start remaining seeds (a lot) this coming weekend DONE
  • Finish garage ceiling WORK IN PROGRESS
  • Fix cold water faucet in small bathroom NOT YET
  • Fix The Wife’s bathroom ceiling and repaint it HAH, NOT YET EITHER
  • Build Chewie’s new water and food dish holder NOT A BIG PRIORITY TO ME- FIL CAN DO THIS
  • Re- bend lawn mower blade bent when hitting big rock AHHHHH, LAZY AND WENT AND BOUGHT NEW ONES. I DON'T ACTUALLY HAVE A FORGE HERE ANYWAY.
  • Patch holes where I screwed up hanging living room curtains ACTUALLY FORGOT ABOUT THIS
  • Touch- up paint on walls around house HERE AND THERE
  • Finish and hang pictures in my bedroom DONE
  • Fix lazy susan in kitchen DONE
  • Greenhouse NOT FOR A WHILE
  • Fix small car and sell FIXING CAR FOR DIL USE NOW
  • Taxes (Uhhhggg) DONE. HATE TAXES. 
  • Fix small 4 wheeler and sell NOT YET
  • Build paintball enclosure WHERE IN THE HELL DID I COME UP WITH THIS IDEA????
  • Build golf club holder for bags and shoes FOUND CHEAP UNIT ON CRAIGSLIST
  • Invisible fence for the WOF's NOT YET
  • Pool? That means decking. NO POOL YET
  • Landscaping the side yards DONE
  • And I’m sure there’s more; stuff that pops up everyday

  • So in looking at this list it appears I didn't do a whole lot but I did. I worked out of town A LOT last year, it rained and rained and rained and rained and rained, and I did other things. Painted the home office, painted Squeak's room, set up Bubby and DIL in new apartment, items that just pop up and need fixing, etc. Seemed like the year flashed by. Working out of town as much as I did really took up time I needed to be here, especially on the garden. This means that The Wife is going to have to step up and help me out some more. 
    Now my 2014 list:
    • Finish outbuilding, including rain catchment system and composting bins
    • Expand garden with three new beds and more plowed area and run water lines for them
    • Repair existing water lines and install valves at each bed (so I can control what gets watered when)
    • Build seating area near garden to enjoy the gnats.
    • Build bird houses for Purple Martins!
    • Finish repairs on small car. 
    • After outbuilding is complete, move all items for there out there
    • After items moved out of garage, finish ceiling finishing, including two new lights
    • Finish 4 wheeler repairs and sell
    • Garage sale March 1st.
    • Build three paintball marker holders
    • Finish Wife's bathroom ceiling
    • Finish upstairs
    • Patch holes in living room. 
    • Back splash in kitchen (needed)
    • Fix small furniture pieces
    • Power wash and stain back deck and front porch
    • Gutters and downspouts on front and back of house. Garage can wait. 
    • Invisible fence for dogs. This will be nice to do. 
    • Play more golf so I can enjoy my membership. 
    • Lottery (to pay for all of this crap)
    That's my general list for this year and I will be happy to get it all or mostly done. Well this should wrap up this post. What's on your list this year?
    Stay warm kids. 

    Sunday, January 5, 2014

    First Harvest of 2014

    The weather seems to turning really cold in a few days so I decided to get what I could out of the ground today. I will say 'cold for us.' I pulled one row of carrots out and what good cabbages were there.

    Overall most everything is pretty well dead now. 

    It doesn't look like it from the picture above but it is. I hope within the next few weeks to get everything pulled out and tilled in good. The front ground where you see the carrots and broccoli will become the new tomato area. 
    Got all seed orders placed so hopefully the mailbox will get visited a few times within the next week or so. Actually didn't really order a lot this time as I already have a good stash. Can't wait to get started! Hoping for a better year than last. 

    52 tomorrow, 24 Tuesday. 

    Wednesday, January 1, 2014

    Seed Orders and Layout

    Been a pretty good Woffie type of day. Cruised through my seeds on hand then poured over the catalogs. I am going to try more varieties of the same type of plants this year. I always have my standards but I want to experiment some to see if some different varieties will do well in this soil.
    What I have on hand and what I am ordering.
    Large Red Cherry
    Big Boy Hybrid
    Black Krim
    Brandywine Pink
    German Johnson
    Abe Lincoln
    Cherokee Purple
    Eva Purple Ball
    Amish Paste
    Better Boy
    West Virginia 63
    Crakovic Yugoslavian
    Costoluto Genovese
    Scarlet Topper
    Yellow Brandywine

    Yolo Wonder
    California Wonder
    Big Dipper
    Perfection (True Heart)
    Sweet Banana

    Marketmore 76
    Sweet Burpless Hybrid
    Patio Snacker

    Fordkook Zucchini
    Straightneck Squash
    Black Beauty Eggplant
    Early Long Purple Eggplant
    Sierra Gold Melon
    Clemson Spineless Okra
    Alaska Pea
    Honey Rock Melon
    Obsession Hybrid Sweet Corn
    Silver Queen Swee Corn
    Chioggia Beet
    Romance Carrot
    Utah 52-70 Improved Celery
    Inchelium Red Garlic

    Also have the allotment of herbs: Basil, Parsley, Mustard, Lavender, etc. Amazingly I still have a bunch of flower seed packets too. I am not sure if they are worth anything now but they'll be worth a try I guess. I am going to be companion planting around the vegetables with some flowers that will hopefully help ward off some of my pests that like to eat. Beneficial insects may make their way on the half- acre too. I have never used them before so there will be some more research.

    Will be adding on to the garden again this year. Get a tiller and I go crazy, leaving no dirt un- turned. Rotating the crops around some; moving onions and potatoes into the 6 small beds, tomatoes in the upper plowed areas, build a new herb bed by request and two more raised 4' x 8' beds. I did a quick sketch on the  pad with a cool app that lets you write on pictures.

    Well that's what I have for now. Things will change here and there (definitely not planting all of those tomato varieties) but for the most part this is the plan. Hope your planning is better than mine.

    Last but definitely not least it is The Wife's birthday today. Happy Birthday dear :)