Monday, May 30, 2016

May Celebrations

Raise your hand if you attended a graduation ceremony this month. I am raising both hands . . . because Scott and I attended two. In between working on the garden and other noTTafarm tasks, we took time-out on two May Saturdays for commencement celebrations.
On Saturday, May 7, our niece Chelsie graduated from Central Community College with an Ag Business degree. Her mommy and daddy, Karolyn and Alan, are so proud! She has accepted a position with Ward Laboratories in Kearney, working with her cousin Nick and her grandpa Ray.
Chelsie and her buddy Katie visited Omaha on May 12 for the Luke Bryan concert. We were lucky enough to have Chelsie stick around for the whole weekend! Her cousin Clark celebrated his upcoming high school graduation at a party on Saturday, May 14.
It's always a party when Clark is around!
Clark graduated from Millard South High School on Saturday, May 28 at Omaha's new Baxter Arena. Big sister Karli, Tim and Teresa were proud to pose with the graduate. Clark is going to UNL in the fall where he will work toward a degree to help him save all of the animals of the world.

Clark is the youngest of this generation of nieces and nephews. It will be a while before we attend another high school graduation! By then, I hope air horns and cowbells are allowed.
One more May Celebration . . . our 30th wedding anniversary on May 30. We are currently trying to decide what to do this fine day to celebrate. We'll probably pull some weeds or something.
Stay Tuned for Our Next Adventure!

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!