Friday, June 26, 2015

Ramp is done

well the ramp itself is done and painted, but now needs some second coat areas and touch up paint, as well as a few missed spots that don't really show up on the photo.

As you can see I planted a pear tree in front, it is a semi dwarf moonglow, there is another pear tree in front of the center of the bedroom windows, but it is only a foot or so tall, so it will take a long time to grow up..there are plants and seedlings growing in the n ewly dug garden along the ramp and I have begun to dig out by the plum tree west (left) of the steps (thus pile of tools and wheelborrow)..

I have to dig out all the sod that grew over the pavers..sometime when I'm more full of energy and less busy, and reset all the pavers..

I have a few other projects that have to be done as well as gardening and maintainence....and weeds are so far ahead of me I'll never make a dent..but this had to be done.

update on Ron, 4 weeks out from the surgery Mon next, he will be on crutches for a few more weeks after that and can begin to start putting some weight on his r leg in July..and may possibly be walking with a cane by the end of July. Dr says he is doing really well

Wednesday, June 17, 2015


We have had nearly constant rain this spring, standing water everywhere.

The crops are enjoying it, but with our super cold winter we had so much winter damage that I lost a gob of fruit and shade trees. Even the hardiest trees have suffered with leaf and bud cherry, apple, pear, peach, grapes, etc. The nut trees are barely putting out leaves and some low down on the trees where they were below the snow.

I had to cut one large pear tree way back as it had frost cracks all over the bark which killed those areas, but there is a sprout below where I cut it off..hopefully a good fruit sprout. Other pears seem to be fine but there are some frost cracks in their trunks as well, but are healing.

catalpa has no leaves, grapes are growing new leaves but the 100 year old vines show very little growth, will possibly cut to the ground and maybe replace the old damaged arbor.

Have decided I will plant no more zone 5 trees or plants here, sticking to zone 4 or less as we have hit these cold temps for 3 years now.

Even evergreen trees have died, like most of the alberta spruce (isn't alberta in Canada!!)

I will have a few more protected areas next spring with our new deck/ramp bringing in more heat and wind/sun traps...oh the ramp is done all but rail paint, some are painted..but rain rain rain..

Had a small doe out in the yard this morning and she was mostly blackish on her fur..wierd..she has  been enjoying my cabbages and tree leaves.

Well I've got lots of sprouted things with all the rain this year, flowers and vegetables ..and many berry blossoms coming we'll be eating more than just asparagus and onions and rhubarb soon

Saturday, May 23, 2015

Redoing entry, building a deck/ramp combination

Well with Ron having knee surgery and going to be on crutches or a walker all summer, and with us NOT getting any younger, I decided to build a handicap ramp..with attached decking.

The front porch we had was converted to an enclosed porch with plexiglass, but we had left the railings up on Joel took the railings down and we realize we now need to reinforce the plexiglass as railings were holding panel frames in..oh well we can do that.

Now I have a pile of railings and the deck and ramp done. I was hoping to get the railings up this weekend, but the stores don't seem to carry the turned posts we used everywhere else on the I'll need to make a trip to Traverse City to see if I can find some up there (or maybe Joel will do that tomorrow).

The first picture is day one, when I had dismantled the front steps, and wanted to get enough of the decking up so I could put the front steps back on (no railing back up yet then) people could access our front door (if they didn't break there neck on the mess of pavers we pulled up and dirt all torn up).

The second picture is day two, Friday, when I finished the flat decking and got a start on the ramp. It is going well but each day finds me totally exhausted and sunburned.

The third picture is today, day three, Saturday Memorial Weekend. Each day I've had to make a lumber run, and Joel made a run for screws yesterday. And I'm still needing to buy more stuff, probably more spindles and need to find a place that sells the turned posts as the stores I went to don't have them.

The deck turned out to be L shape 8' across 4' wide and 8' forward 4' wide..and the ramp is 24' long 4' wide. Eventually  the railings will be up, hopefully nicely painted white..the front porch plexi frames need reinforced and painted white..and the gardens and yard need much repair, pavers reset and not covered with lawn..trellis for pink roses and blue clematis need to be reinstalled quickly as they are already growing like mad.

Tuesday, May 19, 2015

Ok time to get posting on my blog again, I've been sooo lazy.

It is blossom time in the wild north, and everything is in bloom right now...with a frost forcasted for tonight (oh no)

I've pretty much finished the project that has been keeping me off the internet all spring. I had dismantled an old raised be out back and rebuilt it east of our house, and then bought some lumber and boxed in our hugelbed so they are now side by side. I also built an 8 x 16 arbor crosswise over and between the two and 3 trellises for climbing of vines. Still have some more trellises to build and some more to do to beds, like add manure and plant..etc. Pull a few more weeds, also.

The area that is draped with row cover has baby seedlings and some baby kiwi vines that are tender when young..with frost in the forcast I'm not taking a lot of chances. The bed on the left is my hugelbed (from previous posts). There is a gob of huge logs buried in there ..I built it a few years ago. Have some manure ready to put on the bed when ready to plant. The old white posts need painting..was planning on painting the entire arbor, however, after building it I realized it was just too muich of a job to paint the entire thing. I have to build some more trellises near the other 4 posts for more grapes and kiwi. There are a lot of strawberries planted on the east side of the left bed not visible and the white plastic cylinder is around the trunk of a not easy to see baby Giant Breda Medlar tree, which is just about ready to leaf out.

So far other places I have some things planted and coming up, but it isn't really tender planting season up here. I have potatoes, carrots, beets, parsnips, radishes, lettuces, kale, cabbages, etc planted outdoors as well as some new baby grapes and kiwi and lots of baby fruit trees this year..and the usual suspects (fruit and berry and nuts and perennial plants)..

Have been cutting firewood with my new Oregon 40 V powersharp chainsaw..and have been dismantling fencing that I put in that the posts (landscape timbers) had rotted the fence fell down..

Someday I'll reassemble fence somewhere but just stacking it for the time being (lots of messes to clean up this year)...thinking of enlarging the fence around the food forest in the back to include some areas that are not fenced in..and then line the fence with rabbit fence to keep the critters out of it. But with my husband facing his 4th surgery in 9 months in a couple weeks, it is all in the thinking and planning stages as I'm tossing around the idea of building him a handicap ramp on the front, which will take priority if I decide to do surgery is looming.

Friday, April 17, 2015

Spring tree planting, raised bed building

Well each spring I attempt to plant as many trees as I can. I have some still coming that are on order, but so far this spring I have planted 3 pear trees, 2 peach trees, 2 apple trees and a plum tree.

I am also rebuilding a raised bed. I had one in a bad spot a few years ago and Joel ripped it out with the tractor, breaking up some of the wood and bending screws and had to come out but it was a chore to reassemble.

The orignal one was high in the center and low on each side...

The new one which I moved over by my hugelbed, is 18" deep 3x4' on the North end and 12" deep 4x8 ' on the south end..I am adding a 4x7 arbor over the north end for grapes and putting in a post and wire system on the s end for thornless blackberries..and I'll put in some strawberry plants and kiwi vines as well.

the north end has been filled, bottom 6"  with mulch and bark and sawdust and the top 12" with soil and manure..I have 400 pounds of soil to put on the south end but will have to get some more, I have about 6" of bark and sawdust and mulch on the bottom as well as burying compostables in the bed..but I still have to dig for 4 more posts (2 are in)..

When we put up our fences here we used landscape timbers for posts and they are all rotting off and falling I have to BUY a bunch of 4x4 treated posts to repair my fence..lots of it is falling down..this will be a huge job for this spring/summer.

My family has a lot of knee problems, so i had planned on putting in a cement sidewalk this year but am rethinking it into possibly a ramp for they guys..just need to work out the details and then get the materials and build it, later I'll do a sidewalk from the end of the ramp to the garage (now we have stepping stones)

Monday, March 23, 2015

my new present

Some of you  have read my blog for a while and you may remember that I was asked to demo a 40 volt Oregon Chainsaw a couple of years ago. I was given the saw and supplies for a couple of weeks and demo'd it and reported back to Oregon, then they made me an offer on the saw (too much money)..and I never bought it, but wanted to.

You can look back on my blog to a couple years ago and see my posts about it.

Well this week my son bought me (us) a brand new 40 volt Oregon Chainsaw, 14", eversharp...woo hoo..brings back memories.

I love it..went out that week and cut up some firewood as we were nearly out..and Ron actually cut some up a couple times as well..good for him..he doesn't do much so this is incentive..

Yes we have several gas saws and one even has powersharp (which I love) but the gas saws are difficult for me to use with my neuropathy in my hands. The 40 V cuts just like an other 14" saw and makes a lot of cuts (with heavy duty battery) as any other 14" saw..and I love that it is not noisy, it has powersharp so you just pull a lever and sharpen it, we have 2 batteries so we can keep going a long time..and it is fairly  light and easy to carry and care for.

We were almost completely out of firewood and did use gas saw 2 weeks ago to cut a tree down and up over at Joels..that is when he decided to get the 40  V.

and I am so glad he did..

Basically this was for me..but we'll all use it.

supposed to be in 40's Tu  and We so I'll be out cutting up a few more trees to get us thru the end of the heating season (was 8 degrees yesterday morning, we still need heat here).

Thursday, March 5, 2015

warm up coming

Good news, there is a warm up coming this weekend and next week. They say on St Patricks Day we should reach 50 degrees out. Right now it's cold, last night we had -18.

I haven't begun to start any seeds inside yet but have been doing a lot of planning for the spring projects, way  too many this year.

Ron had 3 surgeries over winter and Joel thought he had to have knee surgeries but dr said it will be ME again doing everything...used to that.

We have 1 1/2 cord of firewood left so may  have to cut down a dead tree at Joels to make it thru the heating season. We had 19 cord (ordered 30 but our wood guy got ill).

All of my seeds are heree waiting on planting but I have some trees, shrubs and vines yet to come. I also ordered an omega grafting tool this year so I can have better luck grafting trees, so far my luck has been pitiful.

Hoping our -24 and -27 overnight temps all Feb didn't kill all of our trees buds this year..we lost a lot of tree buds last year..and had very little fruit on them. Learning that I have to protect things better. No longer zone 5 here but more likely zone 4..and a lot of our trees are only hardy to zone 5 as that is what all the maps say we are..not.

I'm searching this spring for microclimates for planting my  more tender plants and also planning on buildng protection around some of the more tender ones like the paw paw babies and kiwi babies (also read I need to protect kiwi from cats). No wonder all my previous kiwi trials didn't make it.

Already getting some cuttings rooted off of the plants I have growing on the windowsill and in the bathroom (from prunings)..going to try to do a lot more cuttings this year. Last year I put a lot of cuttings just in the ground but not very many took (I try to do a few every year just to try them).

Our 44th year on this land this year..and 13 years since our housefire/build/move stuff year. Things are back to taking shape again but still so many baby  stick-farm things to put in again.

Hope to meet some more of the people that read this blog this year..