Thursday, May 19, 2016

Veggies are "IN!" Garden is Looking Good

The fence is up, a gate is attached and we have vegetable plants in the ground. Yay! noTTafarm's vegetable garden is well on its way toward a fantastic summer harvest.
Sunday afternoon (May 15), Scott and I tackled putting up the second layer of 2x4 wire mesh fencing. It wasn't nearly as difficult as we thought. Scott unrolled the fencing around the perimeter, then we lifted each side up, hooking it on the rebar which extends above the posts. He again used the air crown stapler to affix the wire to the posts. I helped out by wiring the two panels together at regular intervals.
Side Note:  Look at this cool bench my daddy, Ray, built for us! He used wood salvaged from their deck dismantled last summer. The back splat is crafted of hickory. It is quite the comfy throne from which to survey the garden!
Later Sunday, Scott installed the gate. He screwed two lag bolt-style hinge receivers into the left post.
The lower bolt was a toughy! The vise grip made it a little easier.
Ta Da!
Horse stall door turned garden gate.
We met Mom and Dad Camp at Mulhall's after work on Tuesday (May 17) to peruse the vegetable plant selection. We came away with 15 tomato plants, hand selected for variety and deliciousness by Carl. Scott found six various sweet pepper plants, and I picked up two smallish rhubarb plants. On the way home from Mulhall's, I stopped at Home Depot for $2.50-each basil, purple basil, thyme and rosemary.

Side note: if you ever feel blue, take a trip to Mulhall's. Everything there - from the plants to the home decor to the fancy patio furniture - is so beautiful and good for the soul. 
Before dark on Tuesday, Scott stapled the 24"-tall chicken wire to the lower portion of the fence.
I followed behind, shoveling dirt back into the trench where the chicken wire terminated. There's no way any burrowing pest is going to get through now. I'm not going to lie - I didn't finish before dark. Carrying shovelfuls of dirt, squirming with earthworms is exhausting.
A chicken wire piece was stapled to the back of the gate.
With the final piece of fencing in place, it was finally time to plant. Wednesday after dinner, Mom and Dad came over for the planting party.
Carl took a few minutes of contemplation to design the perfect layout of the tomatoes. Varieties include cherry, early girl, big boy and heirloom green zebra.
The finished tomato bed; Scott's peppers, the basil and rhubarb are in the next bed east.
Dad planted additional seeds in the northwest bed. The lettuce they planted a week ago is already up!
Thursday (May 19) evening, Scott installed the gate hardware. He built up the support on the right post for the receiver of the self-closing latch. 
The gate swings easily and the latch works great! 
And just in time! This rabbit doesn't stand a chance against the awesome fortress we've built to protect our veggies. Now that the garden is done, what should we do?
Stay Tuned for Our Next Adventure!

Tuesday, May 10, 2016

More Garden Progress

In between rainstorms, we have continued to work toward completion of our vegetable garden. We still need one more full day (ok...maybe another half day on top of that) to finish the enclosure and hang the gate. Still, we've made some progress that is worthy of sharing (lucky you!)
The weekend of April 30/May 1 was cold, cloudy, and rainy. Terrible weather to work outside but good enough to solve the garden gate dilemma! This is one of the stall doors we saved when we took the walls down inside the lean-to portion of the barn. Turning it vertically (as shown here) gives us the exact right width needed.
Scott replaced all of the old hardware with new galvanized bolts. He had to cut a little notch to receive the hinge.
What looks like a horizontal screw will be pushed into the post, then pivot inside that little housing above. It's a pretty simple but strong hinge solution.
On Tuesday, May 3, we spent a few hours after work adding rebar reinforcements to the fence posts. Each side of each corner has an "X"-brace. The remaining openings are secured with two horizontal lengths of rebar.
The rebar was easily attached to the cedar posts with screws and conduit clips.
The rebar was further secured with a short length of wire.
With warm and sunny weather on Sunday, May 8, we were able to spend the entire afternoon on the garden. The next step necessary was to dig a little trench along the enclosure. Scott was smart and removed two tines from the roto-tiller to make a narrow little digger.
I followed behind with a tile spade, sharpening the edges and removing loose soil. (Side note: this was hard work for me! I actually had sweat on my brow!) Chicken wire will be added along the bottom of the fence and buried about 4 inches deep to help thwart the efforts of burrowing pests.
Meanwhile. . .planting began! Carl and Marita were excited to plant several varieties of veggies in one of the beds.
The enclosure will be complete after adding two rows of 4 ft. tall welded-wire fencing.
Scott used his air compressor and nailer to staple the fencing to each post.
We were able to surround the enclosure without having to cut the spool of wire which was a bit unwieldy but worked great. The second spool will be trickier to deal with since it will be attached at the top of the posts. We'll attempt that soon!
By the end of the afternoon, it really looked like a garden! Maybe after this coming weekend, we'll finally be ready to plant something. 
Stay Tuned for Our Next Adventure!

Sunday, May 8, 2016

Turkey Tinder

Every morning, we are greeted by a variety of turkeys in full make-out mode. It is like noTTafarm is hosting meet-and-greets for single turkeys looking for love. The toms really put on a show with their fancy tail feathers. So, with all this daily commotion we should expect to see all sorts of baby turkeys soon. You'll be the first to know!
Stay Tuned for Our Next Adventure!

Monday, April 25, 2016

A Post About Posts!

The vegetable garden comes closer to fruition each weekend. The latest step completed was the installation of the fence posts. Scott and Carl made quick work of digging the holes and placing the poles - and by mid-afternoon, all 22 were in place.
Scott and Carl each had a post hole digger so the race was on! 
Recent rain showers softened the ground a bit which made it a little easier (albeit slightly messier) to dig the holes.
Scott devised a very high tech way to ensure each hole was 18 inches deep; he made a notch on a stick and used it to measure the depth.
Yep! This one's deep enough. 
For some reason, you have to slam the pole into the hole . . . you just can't place it.
Once the pole was in place, some of the dirt was shoveled in . . .
 . . . and then tamped down with the end of a shovel. Thanks for another full day of hard work, Dad!
Here's a view of the fence (yes, that's a fence - not a frontier stockade) at lunchtime. All the posts were in place by about 3PM. It became pretty evident that they were not consistent in height. In order to create a fence tall enough to keep the deer from leaping over, each post needed to be extended to 7.5 feet high.
After considering screwing on skinny cedar branches, Scott chose to utilize 4-foot lengths of steel rebar (leftovers from the wedding bar tables.) He created a "story pole" by attaching a screw to a scrap 2x2x8 at the 7.5 ft. mark. With this as our guide, we were able to attach a piece of rebar to each post and end up with the top of each piece at the same height - so no matter how tall the cedar post is, the top of the fence will be consistent all the way around.
Each piece of rebar was attached by using two 3/8" conduit clips - little "C"-shaped metal pieces that were easily screwed to the cedar. We finished this task Monday (the 25th) evening - and we bought all the welded wire fencing and chicken wire Sunday . . . so we are really ready to finish the fence! Let's see if the weather cooperates this week.
Stay Tuned for Our Next Adventure!

Photos Reveal Bibbers' Past

Scott spoke to our neighbor-to-the-north, Jim, last week about Rocket - the new outdoor cat that hangs around the stoop. The focus of the conversation naturally turned to Bibbers (of course - what conversation doesn't?) Jim mentioned that he remembered Bibbers as a kitten, knew his mommy and litter mates - and even had photos! He was kind enough to stop by on Saturday and share copies.
Bibbers was the only orange kitten of his beautiful calico mommy. Jim told us that Bibbers (or "Garfield" as he called him) is the last survivor of the family. He also confirmed that Bibbers is around 8 years old (a few years older than we assumed.)
Yep! That's Bibbers! What a sweet baby! 
We adopted Leo at 8 months old and Wilson at 7 years old . . . so to get to see photos of one of our boys as a little kitten is quite a treat. 
Stay Tuned for Our Next Adventure!

Sunday, April 17, 2016

Garden Beds Filled; Fence Now Needed

With some pretty nice weather and two nice helpers, the vegetable garden made good progress this weekend. It began with an early morning top soil delivery Friday. Scott arranged for the Yard Market to deliver late in the day but true to form with most contractors, they chose to make us their day's first stop. 
It was a beautiful morning to take delivery of 10 Yards of top soil/compost mix!
The dirt was dumped close to the corn crib and within easy totin' distance to the beds.
The pile didn't look that big but I'll let you guess if we had any soil leftover by the end of the weekend.
After I got home from work, I got busy with the task of lining each bed with two layers of landscaping fabric to block the grass and weeds from growing. The roll on the right was leftover from a project at Grant Street. We kept it all these years "just in case" of course.
I used the staple gun to attach the fabric to the inside of each log. Each layer was secured with two rows of staples.
Wilson gave the first bed a drive-by inspection and seemed "OK" with my effort. Thanks, Wilson!
Not to be outdone by Wilson, Leo got a good look at my stapling from inside the bed.
For the second layer of fabric, I used the newly-purchased 6-foot wide roll. Easy!
By the time Scott got home (3 hours later,) I had two beds lined and a really sore stapling hand. Having wind gusts of over 20 mph didn't make it easier - but I was pretty proud of working hard all by myself with just the kitties to keep me company.
Saturday morning, Scott reinforced the lining with some of the plastic-capped nails used when the contractors wrapped the house addition. There were literally hundreds of these nails dropped all around the building site so we made sure to pick them all up and store them away "just in case." The plastic caps will help prevent the lining from tearing.
Marita was the chief rake operator and helped coordinate who was dumping soil into what area of the bed. Thank you, Mama!
Carl was an excellent shovel operator and brought his own wheelbarrow - gotta love a man with his own tools. Thank you, Dad!
The boys kept the wheelbarrows moving (I was pitching in on the shoveling side.)
After all four beds were full of soil, Scott started laying out the location of the fence posts. We realized then that we were two posts shy of proper spacing.
Luckily, we have no shortage of cedars in need of harvesting! We made quick work of two trees and had the posts we needed.
The happy crew (minus the photographer) at the end of the shoveling portion of the day. 
Next step:  build a fence. 
Then:  buy veggies!
Stay Tuned for Our Next Adventure!