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Archive for May, 2015

Everything is taking longer than it should.  We are running into snags left and right.  We knew this was likely, but it is still very frustrating.

DSC_0126If you look closely at these trees you will see the large cracks in the one on the left.  The tree on the right fell into it and got stuck.  In trying to get it unstuck it is now hanging next to the cracked tree, dangling there.  The one on the left is a dead tree with huge branches just waiting to fall on the person cutting the tree down.  The man tried all sorts of things to remedy this safely, but nothing worked.  In the meantime we worked on getting the stumps out of the area for the tent.  They were tangled all together and sitting in wet clay.  We made almost no progress getting these stumps out.  So we caved and hired an arborist to come in and get the tree down and get the stumps out.  This was part of the reason we bought a tractor, so we could stump ourselves.  Lack of experience would not allow for this.

DSC_0163This is where I had planted my tomatoes and peppers.  The man forgot to tell the worker that it was there.  He felt it was a good spot for all the massive stumps.

DSC_0164We finally had a flatish spot to put up the tent.  Just a little more work with the tractor and we would be living on the land.  Easy.  Except the whole area is ledge.  We couldn’t really tell with the trees and stumps on top.  We were expecting lots of annoying rocks, but solid ledge?  Really?  There is no place we can stake the tent here.  Let me show you:

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After I had a little melt down, we decided to pay another months rent.  We talked to one of our friends who suggested renting a machine to drill into the ledges and sink tent anchors this way.  Annoying, but we may only be looking at a couple more weeks in the apartment.  We have also decided to get a couple acres logged.  The large trees are too much for us with our lack of experience.  They are just going to hold us up time and time again.  It is just not something we can manage.  Once the large trees are out, I will have adequate sun for my garden and I can get the orchard planted next spring.  The lack of sun and harsh winter killed most of the orchard I had already planted.  Hopefully, the loggers won’t squash the trees that I do still have.  The money we make selling the trees is also going to help keep us afloat.  Plus, I can use some of the cash to replace the trees that died and get a few more.  I plan on going crazy buying trees and doing it right this time.  This is what made me feel better about staying in the apartment for a while longer.

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I have been sitting around waiting for the Man to get the trees down so that I could start working on the garden and the living area.  Since there was nothing else to do, I started making some little improvements on the living fence.  I decided that where the two sections of fence met that I needed wisteria.  For now, they are in the ground with some small posts to climb.  I will eventually have a big arbor there, where the wisteria and grapes will meet.  Hopefully, the wisteria won’t overtake the grapes.  This may be something I have to keep on top of, but wisteria are really good for the pollinators like bees and butterflies.

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I also went out and bought a couple more grape vines.  I already had 4 purple grapes, one may be dead, so I bought 2 green grapes.  I extended the border around the grape vines, strawberries, and rhubarb and popped the 2 new vines in.

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Here are the grapes, just starting to grow!

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Seed Swap

DSC_0164The postcard swap I just finished reminded me that I would really like to do a seed swap this year.  I can have people who want to participate send me their address and how many seed packets they want to exchange.  I will exchange addresses among the participants and we can all trade seed packets.  You could save seed from your own garden or trade interesting varieties of seeds that you maybe have extra of.  February would be a good time I think, something to do in the middle of winter, just when we are starting to plan our gardens.  Any thoughts or suggestions?

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I mailed out my postcards for ihannas post card swap today.  Had a lot of fun making them, although it took many nights being that I could only work on them when the kids were sleeping.  I hope the people who receive them enjoy them as much as I have.

I started out with pieces of cardboard that came from the packaging of something we had bought.  I used some newspaper scraps.  Then I added some tissue paper that had been shipping packaging.  Then I added watercolor.

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Then I did some birch bark crafting.  Th bark came from the trees that were already on the ground.  (Still recycling!)

DSC_0123Once the bark was in place, I did some painting with some paint markers.   Here are a couple of my favorites.  The camera refused to focus on the cards for some reason.

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Now I just have to wait and see what comes in the mail for me.  And I have to come up with a new way to incorporate nature crafting into postcards for he next swap.

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Every now and then I decide to take a break from “working” on my outdoor projects and do a little crafty project.  I do a lot of postcarding anyways, so I decided that I would take part in ihanna’s postcard swap.  You make 10 postcards, mail them out, and get 10 in return.  Since I am an outdoorsy type of blogger, I had to use some outdoorsy type of material to make my postcards.  I went with birch bark.  It is actually pretty easy to peel birch bark into paper thin layers and use it in paper crafting.  If you can get an uneven edge on the bark, you can see the different layers and just fiddle with them until you get it separated.  I tried soaking it in water to make it easier, then I realized that the bark is to help protect the tree from water and was pretty repellant.  So I just pulled them apart on my own.  I want to add that I used the bark off of trees that were already dead.  I didn’t hurt any living trees.

Here are some pictures of my process:

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Birch bark pieces

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Separating it into pieces

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Using a paper punch

I’ll share the finished postcards with you after the swap!

 

 

 

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DSC_0074I had a bunch of hugel beds left from last year that I had no plans for.  It seems like such a waste to not plant anything in them though.  I ran out to the local farm store and found a rack full of non-gmo plants for sale.  I decided to go for it.  I bought a couple different kinds of asparagus to try out.  These guys look a little pathetic to me, but I have never grown asparagus before so I don’t really know what they should look like.  I think I planted 10 plants all together, some green and some purple.  They got a good rain on them the few days after I threw them in the ground, so they should have plenty of water.  I guess now I just sit back and see if they grow.  They are in a sort of shady area, should be sunnier in the next few weeks though.  I have read that asparagus will grow in less than full sun so I should be alright either way.  My very first perennial vegetables are in the ground!

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DSC_0052One of the new favorite things to do is to find worms.  Mommy digs a hole with the big shovel, and then the little ones sort through and find all the worms.  I explained to the kids that they should put the worms in a bucket of dirt if they wanted to keep them.  I explained that the worms like the dirt and that they wouldn’t like if if they carried them around all day or threw them in the water or things like that.  The little girl accepted that the worms needed to poop in the dirt so she would put dirt in the bucket for them.  And that’s what they did for a few days.

Today the little girl brought me a bucket with some dried out worms in it wanting to know what had happened to them.  I had started explaining to her before not to break plants because then they would die.  When they die they can’t grow anymore.  That was as far as that needed to go.  Now she brought me dead worms so I explained to her that the worms died because they hadn’t stayed in dirt and the sun was too hot for them.  She was mad at first that she had to keep them if the dirt because she couldn’t see them.  I explained to her that she needed to keep them in the dirt so they didn’t die and it was very mean to keep them out of the dirt.  If you are going to be mean to the worms, they you can’t collect them anymore.

I’m not sure that a 2 or 3 1/2 year old can really understand what it means for something to die.  I highly doubt they do.  They do both understand that it is mean to hurt something or do something to a plant or a bug that will cause it to die.  If I tell them that they are hurting a worm or being mean to it or even making it sad, they do understand that they should stop.  They both understand that they should be nice to living things even if they don’t comprehend what a living thing means.  I think that is a very important lesson for them to learn.  I do work really hard at teaching them.

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