Thursday, September 3, 2015

Starting to focus on fall projects.

Dawn is getting perceptibly later. It's not dark when we wake up yet, but it's getting there, and the plants are getting fewer hours of light day by day. Right now that isn't affecting the growth of any of the plants, but it will within the month. Many of the plants have started fading already and setting their last fruit since they know what's coming well before we do. That said, we're going to want more production than we've gotten this year so we have some new things to try this winter.

We were given this little greenhouse with a vinyl cover. It didn't work out very well for them, I suspect partially because it got too hot in the greenhouse for what they were growing, but probably also partially because of some difficulties with the thing itself. We're going to try putting this on a sunny area of the property, and keep leafy greens going through as much of the winter as we can. How it'll actually work or turn out is questionable, but I really am looking forward to trying it out. What I really want is a big growers hoop house, and grow year around, but learning at least the basics of how to use a greenhouse during the winter is going to be fun and interesting. If we get anything out of it, that will be excellent. We'll keep you updated as we get started with it.
In addition to the greenhouse, we have a number of things ahead of us in fall for preparation for winter and next spring. One of the things that we may be able to put off 'till winter proper when the ground is frozen and I can't work it anyhow is working on re-purposing areas of the barn. One of the things I want to do with it is turn one side into a woodworking shop since right now doing anything with real precision is more than a bit challenging because I'm working on non leveled surfaces. Getting a real work bench built in there would make my life a lot easier as I continue doing projects around the property. Especially as the Critter starts getting older and I want to make him furniture, or if I ever want to do cabinetry. Right now my thought is to keep the left side storage for farm goods as it is now. While you can't see it right now because of the photo quality that's where all of the fencing materials are. The back under the stairs has T posts. I'm thinking of building a loft area over the right side to store wood, which would make having that be a workshop area be perfect.
Things that can't wait for winter though are more of a focus right now. First thing I really want to focus on other than getting more poultry to keep our flock warm over the winter is building a shelter to put over the trash bins. In the past during the winter as we run out of space to put snow, and things get messy, it gets difficult to impossible to remove trash during the worst of the winter because the cans are frozen in place.  I'm going to build a simple shed shelter over where the trash cans go so we don't have the horrid mess build up over the winter that can be a major problem. If we can keep control over the porch area during the winter we're going to have a lot less trouble overall. I think that just that simple expedient shelter will make life a lot nicer. Given that we have a lot of lumber and roofing material this is going to be a relatively quick project.

The other big project is on this slope Above. It's very steep, and has about a 12 foot rise over 10 feet or so. I haven't precisely measured it which I'll need to do before I get seriously started on the project. This is something that would be a lot easier with earth moving equipment, but we'll make do with a shovel and a lot of work. I'm going to be turning this into a terraced growing area since it gets a LOT of sun during the day, and I think that we'll be able to grow a lot there in good sun. There's also nothing growing there that we're set on keeping because it's mostly weeds, ground cover decorative, and blackberries. My idea is to do 3 or 4, 4' wide, 2' to 3' deep raised beds with some walking room to work in. For doing this we're probably going to have to import topsoil, or compost. Given what I've learned about this it'll have to be mounded at first. After the driveway is done, I'm going to try to get this done this winter as a priority since I think that'll be a really good change to our landscape.
Last thing I wanted to touch on is a really cool thing that we figured out thanks to a friend. The first bonfire of the season where we had help with weeding, we did some cooking outside thanks to someone being really creative with stones. He suggested using bent Us of rebar to place grilling items on, and put coals under. We got to try it this weekend because he was kind enough to bring us a pair of such rebar Us, and it worked great. Even just the bone simple frozen hamburger patties grilled beautifully over this, and over the wood coals they tasted great. Simple cooking, simple solution, and a lovely complex flavor. If you're going to be doing a wood fire, instead of lighting up a charcoal grill for your grilling, give this a shot!

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