Saturday, June 24, 2017

June Happ'nin's

Ten photos representing what's been happening this month:
Sunsets have been vibrant with the hot weather and frequent thunderstorms.
There's some prairie grass at the bottom of the west slope that is nearly as tall as me. Seeing it reinforces my belief that I would have made a terrible pioneer. How does one walk miles through such tall, dense grass?
 Pops of purpley-pink populate the west slope.
The neighbor's alfalfa pasture south of us has been cut in intervals. A third of it was cut two weeks ago, then another third cut a week later and the final third cut yesterday. Any hay experts out there care to explain why they did it this way? It seems inefficient.
 The crew baled in the 96-degree heat this week.
A big thunderstorm rolled through the Metro on June 16, leaving behind a trail of popcorn clouds. Those of us on the north side of town were spared the severe damage suffered in Bellevue and Plattsmouth.
Scott with his tall shadow.  
The cottonwood fluff has been flying! After the big thunderstorm, we picked up quite a few branches with the fluff still attached.  
Last Sunday (June 18,) Scott dragged the harrow up and down the driveway, weighed down with a section of pallet. He also used the snow plow (weighed down with a bucket of sand) to redistribute gravel along the length of the driveway. His four hours of work resulted in a practically-new driveway - though we will probably need a load of gravel before winter.
Good job, Scotty!
Scott in silhouette, putting the pallet back in the corncrib.
Stay Tuned for Our Next Adventure!

Monday, May 22, 2017

A 'Hole' Lotta Diggin' Goin' On

When it rains all the time and then it rains some more, things happen. Such is my theory upon Scott's discovery of The Great Sinkhole of '17. He went down to check the mail Saturday (5/20) afternoon and couldn't help but notice the hole that had formed on the south side of the big clump of concrete, plants and dirt at about the driveway's mid-point. When the skies cleared Sunday, we went out to investigate.
An area about 4 ft. x 5 ft. x 3 ft. deep appeared in a space that had heretofore been an unexplained planting Clump. (Sorta half rock garden, half wildflower effort that turned into just another thing to mow around.)
The big fears included having the water line compromised or the culvert somehow circumvented. Scott probed the bottom of the hole, looking for signs of disaster. Luckily - it turned out just to be a section of soil that sank (perhaps encouraged by the groundhog family that lives nearby.)  He decided to take apart The Clump and use its dirt to fill the hole. I decided that my time would be better spent pulling weeds.
When I checked on him 45 minutes later, he had made great progress! He sheared off the dirt with the transfer shovel, collecting chunks of concrete along the way. The weeds and grass went in the hole, along with the dirt.
The plan for the big slabs of concrete included crushing them into rubble size with the sledge. This was later determined to be too much to tackle at the moment.
Small concrete chunks were chucked into the ditch next to the culvert on the south side of the driveway.
Tall weeds and grass were tackled with the scythe. Side note: another "found" tool, this thing is super sharp!
After about 3 1/2 hours of hard work, the hole was filled and The Clump was just a memory. (Plus, the cottonwood flowerbed was looking much better due to my expert weed pulling.)
I volunteered to serve as a passenger in the Ranger as Scott drove over and over the dirt to pack it down. I knew my body weight would someday prove useful!
At the end of a long afternoon, the tools were toted back to the barn and all was well. Another satisfying day of hard work. Good job, Scotty! He will continue to monitor the area and add more dirt as the ground settles.
Stay Tuned for Our Next Adventure!

Garden Gets Growing

The veggies are "in" and growing! With the time-consuming task of building the raised beds completed last year, planting was easy this Spring. All we had to do was wait for a day with more sun than rain (a seemingly simple thing that has been a challenge of late.)
The first step was to clean up the beds which were nearly overgrown by thick grass peppered with huge dandelions.
My feet are so tiny it's hard to tell how long the grass is. Suffice to say it was past due for a clipping.
On Saturday, May 13, we went to Home Depot with Mom & Dad Camp to select this year's veggies. We pared down our inventory, realizing that we over-crowded the beds last year. After a bit of discussion about what goes where, the planting began.
Bibbers had to be in the big middle of the action, of course. He always comes a'runnin' when he sees his Gramma and Grampa drive up.
These two "volunteer" carrots are now at home with our tomatoes and basil. We planted four cherry tomatoes, two Early Girl and two Big Boy varieties. It should be just the right amount of tomato-ey goodness for Marita and me (the two tomato eaters in the bunch.)
Mom was excited to find eggplant plants. She placed two in the bed between Scott's bell peppers and my rhubarb.
Rhubarb -- Eggplant -- Peppers
Carl was happy to have one entire bed to plant with two varieties of green beans. Bibbers was his special helper (or was he impeding progress?)
Scott and I checked on the garden on Sunday, May 21st. The five+ inches of rain we got during the week must have been what the ornamental corn needed to go ahead and sprout! It's at home in the north east bed with Dad's okra and some herbs. (Side Note to My Mommy Jolene - this is the Indian Corn you gave us at Christmas which I thought was just for decor. Found it in the basement, shelled it, planted it and here we go!)
Stay Tuned to Watch Our Garden Grow!

Saturday, April 15, 2017

Corn Crib Comes Inside

While the blog has been quiet the past month, we have made progress on a long-awaited project! We've dressed up the exterior walls of the powder room with what Scott has dubbed "corn crib siding." This is a detail that we have planned to do since the remodel and we're quite pleased with the effect.
We had to begin at the beginning. The bright yellow (aka SW "Sequin") had to be replaced with a darker color. Once things were neatly taped off, the painting began.
We had nearly a gallon of SW "Black Bean" leftover from the remodel. (This color was used on the underside of the connector stairs.) I took it in to Sherwin-Williams and had it shaken - and it was as good as new.
The Black Bean is enamel paint so it's pretty shiny, not to mention really dark -- like a big bowl of hot fudge but not quite as tasty.
Meanwhile . . . we had to prepare the wood "siding." We used fir boards from Home Depot that are about 3/4" deep x 2 1/2" tall and 8-ft. long. The fun began with adding two coats of cherry stain to each of 64 boards.
Good thing we still have a workshop set up in the basement! It took a bit of jiggering to find enough horizontal surface to place the boards for drying.
Two 1x4s were added vertically to the corner.
As the width of each board were determined, a third coat of stain was added. Then, after a bit of math, it was determined that the boards could be applied evenly to the top simply by using a scrap of the same wood as a spacer.
 Here it is . . .six boards later...
 . . . and after 16 boards.
Some of the dark paint peeled as the frog tape was taken down. Scott touched up the bit that showed between slats with a little brush and a steady hand.
We've turned the corner on progress! The remaining boards have been cut to length and stained again for the third time; once they're dry, we'll get them up.  The next task will be sanding, and adding one coat of brush-on poly and two coats of wipe-on poly (just like all the other woodwork in the house.)
Stay Tuned for More Progress!

Deer Party!

Nearly every evening, we enjoy watching deer congregate in the pasture south of the house. They converge from all over, following well-worn trails on the east and west. The deer are often joined by thirty or forty turkey. It's hard to sneak out and snap a photo ... any little noise will cause them to scramble but check out this pic from March 27th. Click on the photo to enlarge and count our furry friends.
Stay Tuned for Our Next Adventure!

Spring Walk-around

Here we are in mid-April, and my mother is chomping at the bit for a new blog post. Hi, Mommy!

Spring has definitely sprung at noTTafarm. We aren't quite in the mood to do yard work but we did enjoy a walk on the west trail this afternoon.
There's a pretty tree blooming at the bottom of the west slope.
Is it a crab apple? 
Of course, Bibbers had to walk along.
With all the rain we've had, our yard is sprinkled with mushrooms which seem to multiply by the hour. This bunch is near the patio.
Tulips blooming in the south perennial bed. 
The crab apple in the east yard never disappoints. 
It's beautiful again this spring!
Stay Tuned for Our Next Adventure!

Saturday, March 11, 2017

Who's Ready?

We are Ready for our second year as gardeners! Are you ready to watch the fun? We've already started making plans, discussing what did and didn't work, and thinking about where to place what. Last weekend when we had a 60-degree Saturday, we pulled all of the snarled, dead plant carcasses out and hauled them to the burn pile. All we need is for Spring to officially get here!
Stay Tuned for Our Next Adventure!