Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Gardening in a Drought

So with July having been the hottest month since 1871 according to Paul Poteet, our garden has had mixed results.  We watered every couple days since planting late in May.  However, with a vacation at the beginning of July and concern over running the well dry, we have backed off that schedule.

Our peas didn't tolerate the heat well and we only ate a few ripe ones while standing in the garden.  We had good results from our lettuce, but didn't continue to pick it enough and it has all gone bitter.  The radishes did well and we pickled quite a few along with some "non-garden" vegetables like cauliflower, carrots, and asparagus.  You can see them in this picture as they age amongst my collection of growlers.

Cucumber and zucchini seem to be the hit of the garden and we are working hard on keeping up with new ways to cook zucchini before it gets bad.  We pickled seven quarts of cucumbers just this week, using dill from our herb garden and garlic from our own garden.  Fairly self sufficient, wouldn't you say?

Finally we ate sweet corn out of our garden this week too.  The first couple dozen ears we probably waited too long, so we froze most of that for use in winter soups.  The second batch we picked was exactly what we hoped for; tender, sweet, juicy corn on the cob!

Tomatoes and green peppers are coming along nicely now too.  We made a small batch of salsa with the first pickings, and have been eating tomatoes with about every meal this week.  In my future I foresee a lot of tomato canning.

We are still waiting on our carrots, and our green beans.  We watered again because our beans have flowered and we think we are only days away from a tremendous crop.  More updates to come as August arrives on the east half of the southwest quarter.

Thursday, July 19, 2012

Mirror Recycling Project

I like re using wood I find on the property.  It has a great weathered look, even when machined and treated.  Plus, I am not taking more of the natural resources than I need since I am re using previous resources that have been discarded.

For this project, my raw materials came from a couple different places.  In the picture, the boards are old fence boards from the property. The grey square behind them is the back side of a mirror I salvaged from a bathroom remodeling project.

I have planed the boards to remove the old really weathered wood, plus make them uniform thickness.  I cut them to size and joined them together to make a frame for the mirror.

My goal was to make this an entry way mirror with hooks for coats or decorations.  Keeping with the recycling theme, I decided to salvage some insulators from the old electric fence on the property.

Grace and I went and retrieved some this morning.  They are soaking in some vinegar and hot water to clean up a little bit and then they will be ready to attach.

I still need to stain the frame before final assembly.  I attempted to use black raspberries from the property as a stain, but it is too purple a finish for me.  I am going to end up with a store bought stain for this project.

I finally wrapped this project up.  Here is the final version, hanging in my kitchen.  I ended up with a polyshades that worked really well on that old oak.  Two coats gave me the color I wanted and the protection level I was after.  We bought vinyl lettering to apply to the bottom. I found the saying while searching for recycling quotes.  Once I found the saying, I also found a blog with that same title.  I will give a shout out to that blog as it espouses many of my beliefs and the core of this project.