Friday, July 30, 2010

The rear Exterior Siding Project

We just finished with the rear siding installation and are moving on to some trim, caulking, and then painting. We ended up installing Hardi-Plank instead of vinyl and it came out great, we also replaced the goofy window above the bay window with a true gable end vent which should assist the whirlybirds in venting the attic.

This is where we started working on raising the roof, the back door was totally exposed to the sun and rain and it just wasnt very hospitable or useful.

The old roof line was a hodge podge of roof lines and low overhangs that also leaked. The old siding was a mix of old shingles and oak planking.

Once we raised the roof we then had exposed OSB and though the rest of the exterior of the house looked pretty good the back was an eye sore and needed to be weathered in.

The new roof line and Hardi-Plank siding looks so much better even though it isnt painted yet. Next spring we will replace all of the kitchen windows and we still need to finish the trimming and caulking before we paint but it came out pretty nice we think.

You can see the gable vent here and the covered porch. The red thing at the bottom of the kitcken bay window is just a wooden access door and I have no idea why anyone would paint it red.

We like that the lap siding retains an older look in keeping with the rest of the house.

A little more hospitable ne'?

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Inside Update for Mom

So you asked and here it is. The inside has taken a back seat to all of the outside activities but we have been hitting the yard sales and antique stores.
We finally found an antique couch in pretty good shape for a super cheap price..judy stitched up one seam and it was good to go.

From what we can tell over the Internet, its a circa 1920s - 1930s couch...or should we call it a davenport?

Our $12.00 side table. Its an old Wabash shipping crate top on a Singer sewing machine base..very cool. The brick on the table is from a old Hotel and has "Missouri" engraved on it.

And we picked up an $18.00 coffee table in good shape; also an antique (though not worth anything except to us). Shaby chic at its best.

Not an antique but a $10.00 bench for the antique organ that looks like it just came from the furniture store. End of the day yard sale find.

We finally found an old oak bookshelf for cheap that has glass sliding doors. As you can see we are still unpacking but it handles a lot more of our books.

And I have increased my collection of old radios and they all work. This is a Packard Bell

And I couldnt pass up this old Zenith

Nor this RCA Victor...the color is great.

We bought this antique dresser for the spare bedroom for $40.00 and found a manufacturers stamp on the back that says it was made in St Louis in 1917.

And the guest bed, very comfortable.

And finally, we got the goat hung in the family room and the small table is an antique enamel top table we found for $30.00.

Tomorrow we start the Hardi-Plank siding on the side and back of the house and Saturday we are hitting a huge sale down the road a piece....such is retirement!!

New Day Lillie Garden

We met a nice couple at the draft horse demonstration who invited us to come and see their farm and perhaps get a couple of peach trees they planted from pits last fall. Apparently you plant the pits in the fal, the freezing cracks them and they sprout in the spring. I never knew this but it obviuosly works because they had sev or eight peach trees about 3 feet tall. Their place is beautiful with natural springs lined with limestone, old barns and outbuildings, beautiful gardens and a house they have spent much care in renovating...battery problems in the cheap camera we have prevented us from getting very many pictures but the upshot was they gave us 16 large clumps of various colored day lillies so we dug out a spot and planted them today.
I just cant get enough of old barns and theirs was a classic. Its being used too, they keep a calf in that barn and use it for storage.

They had a huge asparagas patch and gave us some tips for ours next year..ours just epicly failed this year.

Digging up one of the peach trees, they said they ate some peaches they bought last year and liked them so they just planted the pit..who knew it was that easy?

Their soil is rich creek bottom soil and their place is on what used to be the main road south...its just a dirt path now but it was the route civil war soldirs would have taken to the battle of Hartville.

This guy will get a lot bigger and despite his fierce look he is actually a beneficial garden spider, we let them live in peace despite my arachnaphobia.

So in 94 degree full sun we dug up a spot with the tractor and planted a day lillie garden.

Dirty but satisfied with a good days work. Thanks Jack and Renee.

The Apple Harvest

A friend of mine with a small farm up the road invited us to come and pick apples from some trees he found in an old long abandoned orchard on his property. We got so many we are still processing them but this is how we do it in these parts...
Get in the bucket

Ride up to the apples


Hope you dont fall

Ride home

The "fruits" of our labor and of course Rose the farm dog

And poof, canned apples in simple syrup

Apple Butter

And my favorite..curried apple chutney...mission accomplished

26 July Garden Update

We are deep into harvest time with green beans, black eyed peas, tomatoes, beets, peppers, and we have just started harvesting corn. The corn is unbelievably good...we have been buying corn from a farmers market and we thought that was good but corn starts getting starchy and loses sweetness shortly after picking and I have to tell you, picking a few ears and then cooking them right away is a whole other experience.

Same thing with the green beans, we pick them and eat them the same day and they are shockingly good. Nothing like the tasteless stuff you buy in a store. We are also into our 5th week of over 90 temps and high humidity so the outside work is taxing but we are managing to stay up with it.

We have been freezing berries and vegetables, finish drying the blackeyed peas, and canned up some ketchup and cucumber relish..all of it tastes so good and its very satisfying doing things for yourself from produce grown with your own labor on your own land.

The flower heads on the sun flowers are now so laden with seed they are drooping over. We will save seed to replant next year and then soak the rest in salt water and dry them for eating.

Some of the cantelopes will be harvested this week.

And we have many many pumpkins..some are about 40 pounds or more.

We are not sure what we are going to do with them all but we are having fun with it.

We started harvesting the black eyed peas. We let them dry on the vine then we shell them and lay them out on cookie sheets to make sure they completely dry and then put them in glass jars. They are actually a bean and you cook them like any dried bean.

Our harvest in the morning on this day.

Our harvest in the evening on the same day.

We are getting this much of a harvest every day now from our first green bean row and we have three more rows of green beans just now getting ready for harvest.

Blanch for 3 minutes, drop in ice water to cool off and into the freezer.

Prepping tomatoes for ketchup and tomato sauce.

They were first par boiled to loosen the skin then they are skinned and cored...kind of tedious.

Reducing the ketchup.....its very good.

And some cucumber and zucchini relish ...have to do something with all the squash and cucumbers besides pickles. Our freezer is full of squash for those winter stews and soups.

Monday, July 19, 2010

18 July Garden Update

The hot weather interspersed with rain have made the gardens go crazy and its completely overwhelmed us in trying to preserve it all through canning or freezing (but we are trying). We currently have squash, peas, tomatoes, onions, peas, cucumbers, peppers and various herbs being harvested. Soon to come are corn, pole beans, black eyed peas, pumpkin, more peas, sunflowers, beats, watermellon and cantelope.

Todays tomato harvest..of varying types...tomorrow more canning

For our Alaskan friends yes that is really me and yes I have lost a lot of weight....retirement is hard work. Now for the corn, we planted this about 70 days ago and its in the middle of tasseling and producing cobs.

We were told we couldnt grow corn like this and now we have had people ask us for some sounds kind of lame to say "well we plowed up some dirt with a small tractor, threw in some compost, made the rows and planted by hand and then hoped for the best" but thats where we are so what can you say.

The front 4 rows are the first planting and the second 4 rows were planted a couple of weeks later and were the rows that were mostly blown down during the storm in a previous post. A little sun, a little rain, and some crossed fingers and they popped right back up.

When the corn tassles it produces the pollen (large rice sized and shaped things dangling from the tassels) which falls down onto the silk of the cob husk and pollinates itself.

We have many many cobs and if this keeps up we are looking at about 3 or 4 cobs per stalk

You can see the pollen in the silk on this cob...tomorrow we put mineral oil on the silks to prevent corn borers but if we get some borers we will just cut off the end of the cob when we eat them. We arent truly organic but we are trying to have low impact and we have a bunch of the good lady bugs we dont want to harm.

That is not a tatto..its a butterfly on Holly ...we are still in awe of the natural beauty here and our frequent interaction with it.

This is a test plot of Sorghum, I was late by ..oh 4 MONTHS in getting it planted but we will see where it goes. It grows up into a sugar cane like plant that can be pressed to make molasses thoug we will probably just use it for silage this year if it grows enough.

Our first planting of giant sunflowers are..say 9 feet or so tall and are just now showing signs of flowering.

Behind Holly you can see the second planting of Sunflowers that are only about 4 feet tall...all of these were started from seed like you but at the store to munch on..a couple of months ago.

The blackeyed peas are loaded with pods.

We have decided to leave them in the pods to dry on the vine but we have to make sure we harvest them before they burst and spill on the ground. Dry is easier to store and personally I like the flavor better.

We still have many tomato plants in production scattered all over the place but the heat is starting to stress them.

Our beets are doing great and we have eaten some of them already. We are just letting them get bigger and then we will harvest them and can them.

We literally have 40 or 50 pumpkins growing and some of them are getting huge....we learned a few things for next year but if your family I hope you dont mind pumpkin bread, pumpkin butter, salted pumpkin seeds, pumpkin pie, pumpkin pudding.....

Lots of pole beans...luckily we like beans because we will have a bunch...this is one of two patches

The grape vines are almost touching on the hog panel arbor, it should completely cover the arbor in the next month or so.

Judy planted these elephant ears 3 months ago from a small bulb

And despite the storm damage the Hibiscus have rebouded nicely and are in full bloom.

And finally, this picture has nothing to do with gardening but its my blog and I like this picture of my partner...ha!