Thursday, September 18, 2008

Solar Reuse

A bit here. A piece there. Working our way to be off grid.
Take one 106 year old house with no electrical wiring to the back door.
Add in a need for lighting and a deep desire to be as frugal as possible.
Throw in a few broken solar garden lights.
Top it all off with a Husband who has a MacGyver can do attitude.
Voila - enough light to come & go at night plus a slight deterrent to the criminal element.
There is one solar light hanging from each corner of the door jam along with a few @ ground level.
Parts list - solar garden light (these had broken off the metal pole used to insert them into the ground), one of those key chain circles that you put a key on, length of metal chain, & 3 very small eye bolts. A $ store plant hanger.
Directions - screw the 3 eye bolts equal distances into the top of the solar light but be careful not to Pierce the solar panel. The idea is to form a triangle. Think hanging flower pot.
Next connect the length of chain in 3 equal lengths.
Then add the key chain circle @ the end of the chains.

Bet you thought Solar had to be expensive & complicated, huh?

~~ pelenaka ~~

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Beds & no pillows

Apparently I can grow Cabbage (center middle of the pic the area that is Sunny), which is something new since my one previous attempts had been a waste of growing space. If all turns out well then I'll can these babies up in a Cole Slaw recipe using jelly jars for individual servings. Only a few of us enjoy it so if I make it up fresh more than half goes to waste.
Foreground is a new raised bed that my New Zealand & Mixed Flemish buns are hard at work providing bunny poo for. Rabbit manure has 4.2% Nitrogen, 1.4% Phosphoric Acid , and .6% Potash. This method saves me on tray cleaning along with not having the cost of wood shavings.

Odor so far hasn't been an issue.
By next Wednesday I hope to have added the final 3 inches of soil & seeded salad greens in this bed & DH has built a lid of some sort - our 2nd cold frame, (hint hint my husband).
1st frost is scheduled between September 23rd to September 29th for my area zone 4/5. Provided Mother Nature doesn't have her own schedule. Not gonna bet the farm that I have a decent harvest of Eggplant or Green Bell Peppers.

Beginnings of a raised bed located in the very back of the back 40, feet that is. The first layer was bunny poo then gradually as compost material becomes available it's added.
Can you guess what I'm canning today? A tip from my B.B. let DH & the girls to a cornfield that wasn't able to be machine harvested. As my 12 y.o. informed corn picking isn't as glam as the old days. I believe she was referring to a hoe down & finding that specially designated corn cob that meat you could kiss a boy. By boy I can only guess she means a Jonas brother.
So today & this evening & more than likely the wee hours of the night I will be pressure canning sweet corn. So far 12 pints are being vaporized as I type.
Later when I have some help I'll move the lovebirds a.k.a. Willie & Handsome (don't judge ... actually Handsome was miss named he is a she), over to this bed so they along with our 3rd bunny can do their duty to the homestead.
In between layers of composting supplies I toss a thin covering of wood ash from the canning stove to provide minerals.

Also when I have enough ground up a thin layer of eggshells for calcium.
Followed by a layer of dirt.
Then bunny poo.
Shampoo. Rinse. Repeat.

Same tomato plant that was pictured being watered by bucket-drip irrigation a few weeks ago. Plentiful but not exactly large in size. I think my biggest was 3 oz. So far about a bushel has been harvested. Never the less these have been making some tasty salsa.

~~ pelenaka ~~

Monday, September 8, 2008

Say Cheese !!!

This is what is termed a WFG a.k.a. Windfall from God.
The day before DH had attended a Steam Show in Alexander, New York where along with hit & miss engines on display there is a varied range of steam driven machines from tractors to a contraption the size of my house for running a shop. There was also a nice sized flea market with some very good deals to be had.
One of which was Cheese. Artisan cheese locally made. Cheese with titles such as Garlic Cheddar (40 lbs. blocks) , Horseradish & Bacon Cheddar (10 lbs.wheels) , Jalapeno & Cheyenne Cheddar (10 lbs. bricks) , Cheddar with Horseradish (10 lbs. brick) , and Jalapeno Cheddar (10 lbs. brick).
At first I was in quite a dilemma only having about $43 in cash. Then the cheese maker (k, people running the tent but how many times can I write that the cheese maker said?), that they take checks. Simultaneously both DH & I looked up @ each other with that strange smile we both get ... the WFG smile. All he said then was I'll go see if I can drive the car up here.
Long story short I bought over 100 lbs. of cheese for about a buck a pound.
Not long after we got home & I called my prime BB a.k.a. barter buddy to come snag some cheese & bring ice since storage hadn't quite been worked out a coworker called with an offer of almost a bushel of organic Bartlet Pears from her mother's tree. Brought about 6 Organic Macintosh (gift from DH's friend) along with a small chuck steak from our 1/3 of a cow meat deal for my end of the barter deal.
As soon as I repackage the cheese into smaller weights I'll mention I have cheese ... or carrots, potatoes, or hopefully more & different varieties of apples in case her peeps have extra pears.
Thank you to our Lord for blessing us with this opportunity.
Thank you to my Husband who dragged me out to a muddy farm to meet some wonderful people, see some wonderful antiques, and accept God's blessings.
~~ pelenaka ~~
P.S. As the cheese was being loaded into the car my 12 y.o. made the statement that she didn't want cheese for Christmas. I on the other hand would love crackers.
P.S.S. Sept. 9th - Bartered a 5 gallon bucket of mix variety tomatoes, good sized bunch of Parsley, and almost a bushel of Green beans for 5 lbs. of Garlic Cheddar from my Egg Lady.

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

Peaches Peaches Peaches

" Your the cutest thing I ever did see ... Really Love your Peaches ... wanna shake your tree ... Luv a dubby Luv a dubby all the time " Steve Miller Band

All totaled between the 2 peach trees the haul was about a market basket & a half which if bought works out to almost $25 (organic). Each tree retailed for $24.99. Doing the math after the 3rd year one tree is owned free and clear.

Seeing the twinkle in my children's eyes as they bite into a sweet juicy just picked peach - priceless.

~~ pelenaka ~~ 3rd picture down - same tree full of pretty pink peach blossoms - future peaches !

MIA on the Urban Homestead

My apologies for this longer than intended absence from blogging. My only good excuse is that I have been knee deep in homesteading activities such as canning and bringing in the harvest.

Closely followed by home repairs/restoration on my version of TOH. In short making hay while there is daylight.

This is the view looking down the garden path toward the backyard. The patio is to the left behind the PVC lattice almost completely hidden by green beans. Right foreground is a very good looking Zucchini plant that has only produced one squash to date (note to self plant in front yard for full sun). Chard directly behind is picking up the slack producing very well. To the far right is the row of Roma Tomatoes lined with Marigolds doing what they do best bug patrol. Hard to see but between the 'golds are onions both yellow & red.

Here is a really fugal version of drip irrigation. One of the many items that attracted me to DH was his collection of plastic pails & buckets that he had hoarded away after years of collecting but I digress sorry back to the subject of drip irrigation.
In short the concept is very simple - a slow steady drip of water that finds it way to the deepest portion of a plants root system, a small area of wet soil that extends down to a foot or more vs. a large soggy area that only extends down a few inches (surface watering).
Each container has a small hole drilled in the bottom about the size of half a pea. That hole I found was best to place about two inches from the edge. This works well when I place the container up close along side the plants stalk as well as the original area where the root ball was first planted.
Good method to deliver either compost or manure tea.
There are 13 Romas on that one plant ... now if only they would grow to a pound each!

~~ pelenaka ~~