Monday, May 14, 2018

Making use

Another one of those ideas hubby loves me for (grin.)
We have a huge cedar tree out in the side yard.
It's actually a couple of trees but looks like one big bushy tree.
Over the course of years, it has been consuming more and more of the yard.
We do like it because it blocks the view of our back yard from the road
so didn't want to get rid of it.
Also, it's beautiful and smells wonderful.
So, here's where my brainy idea kicks in.
I suggested that we clean up the bottom branches so it's just up off the ground.
Mr. LB got the little chainsaw and made his way in toward the trunk of the tree.
He cut the bottom branches all the way around.
From the outer skirt, I began to try to figure out just which branches to pull
and figured I was tugging on ones that were still attached.
Finally, Mr. LB took hold of the base of of one of the branches and walked out.
It was difficult because the branches that were in part laying on the ground
and had taken root!
In addition, there were a half dozen smaller trees that had sprouted up
with trunks 2"-4" adding to the bulk.
We got the branches pulled out and set to work on them.
Even though these are smaller, cedar makes great wood for starting fires.
It's unfortunate that our old cottonwood wasn't a better burning wood since there was lots of that.
I am making use of many of those rounds,
but we'll probably end up burning some of it which will make a ton of ash.
Maybe next winter won't be tooooo cold, because 
we are sure getting a scrappy looking wood pile.
We tend to focus on the burning qualities of trees
because it is such an important part of our lives 
and requires a great deal of time and energy.
But there are other good qualities for both of these trees.
I've used those sticky little pods that the cottonwood shed 
to infuse oil for healing balm.
It works wonderfully but does smell just like cottonwood 
in case that bothers you.
The cedar of course repels bugs and moths.
We are infusing quite a bit of oil so we can make soap with it.
We made it through a good part of the branches 
when God told us to take a break.
He kindly decided to water for us (it started raining.)
We should be able to use just about every morsel of the branches.
It rained Sunday too, and 
I didn't feel like working in the rain so it's taken a little while to clean up.
I will rake up underneath the tree eventually.
Hopefully, this will let enough light in that we don't lose more lawn.
We try to make the most of our resources and trees are pretty important to us.
I can hardly wait to use the cedar oil.
Also, since we began on the cedar tree, that other cottonwood fell
as I shared in the last post.
We've been working on getting it cleaned up as well.
One of these days, we might get a yard back.

Now I have a confession to make~
Shortly after the post where I showed my upside down tomato cages,
Mr. LB noticed them and said, "NOooo!"
Evidently, that totally bothered him last year (who knew?)
He asked why, I so I told him they tipped and didn't go in the ground even, etc.
He asked if he could try.
"Sure," says I.
Of course, he tried and one tine would promptly hit a rock.
He said he could fix them, and in no time he had a thin-cut 
and chopped the stakes/tines down to about 14"-18" from the first ring.
He went through and cut each one and put them in the ground right side up.
So now I don't look quite so much like a goof.
If you are having issues with your tomato cages, 
you might try trimming the tines.

Wednesday, May 9, 2018

After the Storm

I have another post nearly finished to let you know what we’ve been up to,
but last night we had a major storm go through. 
We watched it happen. 
The base of that cottonwood is at least a couple feet across.
It was alive and healthy.
It was good that we had taken out the two trees a few weeks ago 
or this would be far worse!  
Luckily, nothing hit the house, rigs, critters or us 
but we sure have a mess to clean up now.

Monday, April 30, 2018

The Eggshells Worked!

Perhaps it would be more accurate to say they worked and are still working.
The most difficult part was writing on eggshells.
What I really love is that there are no plastic containers to deal with.
The entire set up aside from my trays is compostable.
Though that was also a plus as there were no markers getting in the way 
or getting smudged.
I have started my seeds in "rounds."
The more cold tolerant things I started first,
then as they began growing and I could move them out, 
and I found morsels of time,
I began the more delicate things (like tomatoes.)
Someday when I have a greenhouse, 
maybe I will be able to do more all at once.
For now, in my kitchen, this is what I do.
In order to plant the plants, 
I just use the corner of the spade and crack the shell
making sure to break the inner skin of the shell too.
Yes, it's early, and I certainly don't want to jinx myself,
but so far what I've planted has lived.
 (Sweetpea vine)

Funny little note~
Mr. LB suggested that next time, I plant the faster growing, larger things all together so that the one tray could be dealt with as they grew.
I then explained to him that it's meee he married, and that
they were planted in alphabetical order.

It always looks so pretty all dug up and planted - before the weeds arrive.
We were given some tomatoes that are pretty big so they are in the ground.
Mine are still pretty small so will wait a while before introducing them to the outdoors.
Again, I'm a rebel.  I use tomato cages upside down. 
They always seem to hit a rock and be crooked then tip when the plant grows.
This way they are wider at the bottom so don't tip as easily.
I should put some sort of decorations on the tips so folks can think
I'm whimsical rather than just goofy.
One other thing I've done this year that's new (to me) is to use burlap in the baskets rather than purchasing the nest things.
I don't like paying for those things so I usually just don't use the baskets.
I had quite a bit of burlap on hand as I had bought some to make a hooked rug
then found out how awful it is to work with and on for rug making.
I will see if I can make it last a couple years.
I actually like it better so far because I was able to fit more dirt in the baskets.
With the nests, it seems like they don't come up over the edge of the basket
and their thickness makes the growing space rather shallow.
As things grow, I'll share.
It feels so good to play in the dirt.
And I can hardly wait for that first green salad 
if we can keep the deer out this year.

Thursday, April 12, 2018

Being a Do-er

Good Morning.
Hope you all had a blessed Easter holiday.
We had a small gathering with a large meal at our house.
It was "easy company" and a pleasant day.
The frogs are juuust beginning to chirp, those little talkers.
It's not the whole chorus like we will have.
These are probably the optimistic frogs since we can still freeze at night.
I love the sound of them though. 
They aren't like the shrill screech of the cricket.
There's a ribbit undertone that makes it relaxing, easy.
I've been anxious for spring this year - spring fever, maybe?
It has me stirred up.
And somehow hearing the sound of those chirping talkers has reminded me
that another year has passed.
You know, 'talkers' as opposed to do-ers.
I've felt a need to finish things 
so have been doing some of those things that I've put off for far too long.
Then there are the things I've talked about doing for some time.
These things are 'dreams' of sort.
I don't want to be just a talker (even though it's easier.)
I've dabbled here and there but have never had 
a real opportunity to develop my ideas - 
Or, more likely,
I've had the opportunity but either didn't recognize it or take advantage of it.
Those frogs chirping just seem to be telling me, "Now."
It's time.
No, I don't have any more time now, but
it's time.
I don't want to just be a talker.
I want to be a do-er.
Somehow I need to figure out how to do it on 24 hours a day though.
We both work full time with nearly an hour drive at each end of the day.
Maybe if I didn't spend a third of my life sleeping.......
but that's not much of an option.
If I continue sleeping at night however,
something's gotta give.
I'm hoping to share with you soon,
 but my posts might not be regular while I take time to work on these projects.
I am still working on finishing things I started in the past,
but am also trying to be intentional about devoting a certain amount of time to 
"my work."
I'm doing.