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Sunday, May 15, 2011

Homesteading Update, 15 May 2011

This has been a busy week, and I am plumb. worn. out.  Thank goodness today is a day of rest, because that is all I am fit for doing.

I got into the bee hive this week.  The girls are doing great!  They are still building comb, and I saw capped comb, which to me looked like brood comb.  There are lots more bees than when I started, which is a good sign, I think.  I'm taking it as a good sign.  I noticed that they had completely emptied their food can, so I mixed up a new batch of syrup and set that in the hive the next day, barely causing a buzz as I slipped it in there.  Another good sign was not seeing a bunch of dead bees on the bottom of the hive, so they appear to be doing really well, and I'm happy about that.

I also completely finish the breakfast nook this week.  We had dinner there last night with friends, and breakfast there this morning.  I'm glad that we have a comfortable place to eat, because now I can start on the dining nook, which I'll probably start on Monday, maybe Tuesday (I really need to get some seeds sown this week).

I also finished the hutch this week, and got it filled with my dishes.  I am really pleased with how it turned out, but especially happy that now I have the dish cupboard empty of dishes, I can move the beer and wine glasses that are in the cupboard over the oven into the dish cupboard.  Now I'll be able to reach my own beer glass! And once I get all the glasses out of the oven cupboard, I'll be able to raise the shelf in there, install the upright racks, and organized all my baking sheets and muffin tins and all that crap.  I'll also be able to unpack the last and final box from our move here three years ago, which in and of itself, is a milestone that should bring tears to my eyes.

I mentioned earlier that I need to get some seeds sown, but that required moving seedlings off the bench and out into the garden.  I planted up the bell and Italian pepper seedlings, and covered them in my water jug cloches, because they are still pretty young yet and we are having another long, cool spring.  The cloches should help a lot.  Since it has been wet, I hadn't been able to plant out my Amish Paste tomato seedlings, because I haven't been able to dig up the new tomato bed, so the seedlings were set out on the deck under the half-assed mini-greenhouses I inherited from the previous owner.  So far, they are doing fine out there.  The weather finally dried up this week long enough for me to get out there and double dig the bed, but I only had the back and energy for digging half of it.  I'll need at least three or four more consecutive dry days for the ground to dry out sufficiently so that I can finish digging the rest of the bed.  There is some controversy on the sagacity of double digging; some people insist that it destroys the soil structure, and some people insist that it allows plants to really dig in their roots. In most instances, I'm all for keeping soil structure as it is, but double digging is the only way to get tussocks of grass turf buried deep enough to not root again and start growing, plus my soil is crap either way.  I'll mulch it for the tomatoes, and when they're done, plant a short green manure crop on it, and then I'm toying with the idea of sowing winter wheat on it as an experiment.  In any case, it will be a permanent bed, and a pretty large one at that, so I'm okay with double digging it.  Fighting grass where you don't want it is such a pain.

I think it will be interesting to see how well I do with the garden this year, since so much of my stuff is getting such a late start.  Part of that is due to being busy with other things, part of it is due to having started lots of last year's stuff so darn early and not wanting to be too early again this year, and part of it is due to this whacky cold spring that we're having, again.   As it is, it's raining again today, and pretty dreary out there, so since I'm sleepy and tired anyway, I think I'll indulge in a very rare nap.  Before I do that though, I think I'll get the last zucchini bread out of the freezer, and instead of dinner this Sunday evening, we'll have tea.  At the very least, maybe the zucchini bread will stimulate me to get off my duff and get the squash seeds started.

Tomorrow is soon enough for that though, I guess.


Heidianne said...

The hutch is lovely, it such a great item to have, functional and pretty. Iam so ready for warm sunny weather, I planted some zucchini,in the garden bed even, more as an act of defiance than really thinking they will germinate in this coolness. But who knows. Hope you got some rest!

Paula said...

Thank you,Heidianne. I did get some rest, but I still think I'll sleep well tonight anyway. Usually a nap wrecks my sleep.

Good luck with your defiant zucchini!

Rae said...

Hutch does look pretty fab, as does the nook. Worked out great! Hope you had a restful Sunday. I slept in LATE! :)

Paula said...

I did have a restful day, Rae; thanks!

Holly House said...

I love love love your dishes!! Who made them?

Paula said...

Hi Holly House! lots of folks did. The white porcelain I got from all over: Stonewall Kitchen, Sur La Table, and then bits and pieces from places like Cost Plus (or World Market, as they're promoting themselves these days), and Pier One. Lots of stuff came from second hand stores as well, for that matter. The red transfer ware is Spode and some other English stuff. And the green rimmed bone china is 'Barclay' by Allerton (also English) that I found in one of those multi-dealer antique malls.

I've just been collecting stuff for several years. But I'm glad you like them!

Anonymous said...

Great job on all the projects. Congratulations! Glad to hear the bees are doing well.

Paula said...

Thanks JAGG! It just feels good to get some major stuff done!