Thursday, June 26, 2014

A dryer dilemma?

I was just skimming through a getting out of debt forum and saw a post about whether they should get a gas or electric clothes dryer. What struck me as odd was that nobody suggested neither, use a clothesline instead. And this was a forum that really gets into the frugal life.

I wonder why more people don't use a clothesline? Clothes smell amazing, it's free, clothes last longer, it's green...a no-brainer to me.

Sunday, June 22, 2014

Other news

And the results of yesterday's activities.

A few blossoms

My portion of the tree

The peas are FINALLY blooming

Still desperate for weeding (poor leeks)

bugs zapped since 5 a.m. when I turned it back on

A stormy night

We seem to be under a constant forecast for 'isolated' or 'scattered' thunderstorms with no real indication of where or when they will happen.

Last night one swept through dropping over 2 inches of rain and some hail.

The rhubarb took a lot of hits

The lettuce especially looks stunned

One hailstone tore through this grape leaf

Was it the torrential rain that did this to the lettuce?
I miss those nights when we would get a few hundredths of an inch of soft, gentle rain. It's not just that the garden is mud again but it's very steamy out there and uncomfortable.

Chick update

The chicks are now two months and one week old. I only got pictures of those that rushed up to the fence but you can see what pretty birds they are.

I love the interesting color combinations we get. The gray is definitely a dominant color gene, but there are so many variations. Some are clearly roosters, but not all!

Saturday, June 21, 2014

Hello Exhaustion

A strange start to the day when I looked outside at 5:30 and saw a skunk in the trap the neighbor put in my yard. He's been visited nocturnally by the beastie and wanted it gone. Oddly, it really liked his garbage cans but left my chickens completely alone. I was happy to be suffering from a bad summer head cold with that stink in my yard all day. (And VERY glad I had the foresight to bring in the laundry last night just in case.) From what I've heard at work, skunks are out in droves this year.

The other trouble we've had are the mosquitoes. At times it feels like I've got a target on my back the way they keep attacking. Even liberal spraying with bug spray only discourages the weaker ones. Finally, I dug out a bug zapper I bought a few years ago but never used. Hopefully that will cut down on the population. They really make pulling weeds a challenge when every other weed pull is delayed because of slapping the bugs.

So, after mowing my lawn, I learn my neighbor has borrowed the equipment to cut down the black walnut tree between our driveways. While the shade was nice, the sap spit out by the tree was unpleasant. When it really gets going it is difficult to see out the windshield and it doesn't clean off easily. Watching someone with a chainsaw up that high is very tense for me. By the end of the job my neck and shoulders ached from my nervousness. Plus, hauling the branches and logs around in the hot, sticky weather really sucked out my energy.

I'm so glad the day is done! And now I really need a shower. :)

Friday, June 13, 2014

The 'did' list

I've been watching the weather forecast carefully and when I spotted a dry trend I arranged to take two days off work to take advantage of it.

Not everything was done outside though. By sheer luck, today was when the chimney sweeps were working our area and I was able to be here and let them inside. The result: a clean and swept stove ready for winter.

Disclaimer: two days, while wonderful, is not enough to weed all of my garden area. Especially when there are other projects I wanted to work on as well. But it is looking much better for the attention.

The small garden with potatoes, lettuce, onions and gorgeous rhubarb. I also added a row of shell peas between the potato rows which are just emerging.

My new toy: a Hoss cultivator. Besides the obvious benefit of not needing gas or electricity, I love the silence so I can listen to the birds while using it. I borrowed my parents' electric tiller last year, which was handy but it took nearly as much work to operate as this (although that workout was in my arms and this uses my leg muscles).

The rows I've already cultivated are obvious.
My big garden is a bit of a hodgepodge of plantings: cabbages, onions, leeks, green beans, cosmos, zinnias, beets, spinach, garlic, field corn, cucumbers, flax, kale, shell peas, sugar snap peas, carrots, and clumps of self seeded lettuce and dill. I've still got an abundance of zucchini in the freezer so have chosen not to grow any squash at all this year.

This is one of my other projects. My hosta patch was fighting a grass, sapling, and weed incursion which I cleared out. I also took three hooks that were overgrown around the deck and zip-tied them together to hold new hanging plants.

I had to leave the purple wildflower because the bees love it.

The forecast is calling for rain to start tonight and into the weekend. Whew! I can rest.

Sunday, June 1, 2014

Thank you, Tanya

I left a comment on Tanya's blog wishing she would share some of her excess rain in our direction and WOW did she deliver!

Yesterday we got 2 inches, last night 1.3 inches and these pictures show what it's doing right now. I scurried enough to get a load of laundry on the line and mostly dry and mow the lawn before this hit.

We've been so dry that the last thing we will be doing is complaining about a rainy weekend. :)