June 15, 2016

Ninety seven today (and tomorrow). Just thought I’d vary the scenery. This is from a few years ago when 4 locust trees came down across the road by my house.

Turnip’s revenge – the overgrown greenhouse. Must do something about this.

To see the entire oven story visit Building an Oven.

Back at the greenhouse things have not gotten better until…

Williams weeds. Williams also helped me install the brick floor you may have noticed in the outdoor kitchen and many other things.

Accidental harvest.  Things we found while weeding the greenhouse – beets, onions, carrots, ground cherries and enough potatoes to seed a row and 2/3.

A part of the reason we had to weed was to make way for this trench. The trench will contain 4″ corrugated black plastic pipe through which a duct fan will draw the moist air from the greenhouse. Since the pipe is 12″ underground and the winter soil temp is pretty low, the humidity in the air will condense out and reenter the soil through slits in the pipe and the air in the barn will be drier than before. That’s the theory anyway. The trench needs to be completed soon in order to plant the broccoli, beets, brussels sprouts and carrots I plan for that space. The seed potatoes we dug up are already in the ground again (red strings). The black plastic sheet you see will cover the top of the pipe and keep soil from entering through the small slits. (Sept 16, 2016)

A start on burying the pipe. Notice the segment at the bottom of the picture. This section leaves the soil and connects to the fan. It is covered all the way around and the covering sealed with tape to prevent the loss off negative pressure through the slits in the pipe.


The fan and its connector in place. Electrical needs to be hooked up and the trench backfilled. Thank God for bailing wahr.

Finally got the permanent ladder installed. Before this was in place, I had to get a rope over the peak and scale the roof. Too old for that now. The proximate cause was to replace the top chimney section with a longer one so the top was higher than the roof peak.

However, the view from the peak is also pretty OK.

View of the woodyard. Most of this is now cut and split as of January 2017.

These pictures were taken in the Fall of 2016.

Early this January (2017) we had two consecutive nights of below zero temperatures without any sun during the day. This killed the potatoes in the greenhouse but left the broccoli, Brussels sprouts and chard alone. I noticed the potatoes harvested from the garden last summer and stored in the cold room were beginning to sprout. So I harvested the potatoes in the greenhouse (finding many larger than my fist.) The idea being to plant the sprouting taters in their place. To this end I sprinkled bran on the ground and ran the small electric rototiller over it.

After the tilling, I used the Meadow Creature, a broadfork with 12″ tines to loosen the subsoil. The hope is that the much looser topsoil will fill in the openings in the subsoil. The broadfork is on loan from Mary Lehmann.

Evidence of microbial activity.

I think these are puff balls.

Well, the green leafy things are beets.

First broccoli.
Jan. 27, 2017

Tinyest brussels sprouts below. From about Nov. 15 to Jan. 15 these plants languished showing very little sign of growth and no signs of production. But once the days started to get longer, things started to happen.

The cleaned up woodyard. I’m going to string a line between the two trees and drape a tarp over it when the rains come.

The body for a new horizontal bee hive. You can see a standard Langstroth deep next to it. It uses Langstroth frames. When the colony is ready to expand, just add frames horizontally instead of adding an entire hive body on top as in the standard method. The slits are the hive entrances. The rabbit is for hanging the frames.

Here you see the bottom of the hive. Screen covers the vent holes. When the hive is assembled, the bottom board will be flipped over so that the holes can be closed with corks. I believe the problem with last year’s hive was that there were too many openings for the bees to defend and they were too large. The hive succumbed to a wax moth invasion.

Here is what is called the telescoping top for the hive. It, too, has screened vent holes and 1 1/2″ of rigid insolation. The top overhangs the body of the hive by about 1″ thus the telescope.

All the pieces painted. Notice the hive body is made of 1 1/2″ lumber. More like the log a wild colony would inhabit. This means the girls will have to do a lot less to keep warm next winter. The long sticks are, of course, legs. They attach to the end of the hive.

The finished hive. I thought I had a local bee supplier but have not heard from him. We have had a wet and windy Spring which probably slowed down the normal hive build up.

A neighbor’s field

From the sublime to the practical. The carton contains a composting toilet that is going in Ruth’s trailer in Fayette. The days of the enormous Clivis Multrum are over.

Horse radish with a tiny green frog.

Lots of amphibians this year. This guy seems to be some kind of tree frog.