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..

Friday, February 27, 2015

I have been having a problem getting into my blog for months now...finally got it reset and hope to be able to continue to come on.

I'm ready for spring. We have been having -24 to -27.8 for our overnights quite often for the month of February, may be a record cold month for us.

I have all my garden seeds and some of my plants on my windowsill. I have 4 female kiwi and 3 male kiwi growing and one female has a bud on it. I have a clematis that is about to open a flower, a grapevine "Suffolk" seedless (5 more coming), 2 goji, a hydrangea..and I think that is about all growing on the windowsill so far..

I haven't started any seeds inside yet. Just too far until we can plant out. Our area has been on the edge of zone 5 for a long time but with our temps this year we are officially zone zone 4 is lows of 20 to 30 below..and we have had a LOT of 20 below and beyond this year.

I realize now that a lot of my plants will have to be planted with protection if I want them to survive next year.

Well I'm going to post this and resave my info on my bookmarks and hopefully be able to add some pictures and more info soon. It is good to be back on here..bre

Friday, July 4, 2014

My project for the past week and a half, moving the waterfall

Here are some shots of my "nearly finished" waterfall. I moved it off of the island across the pond to the SE corner. The island was just too overgrown with trees so it was not working there.

This is a view across the south end of the pond looking east toward the new waterfall placement..I haven't finished adding pavers on the path on the left hand side of the picture and have to haul more mulch is a farther away photo.

You can see a little more of the surrounding trees and shrubs. The next photo is the approach from the south ..

The is a path off of the lawn, the area around the pond is quite brushy and uneaven. Fixing that will not happen or not for a while anyway. To the right of the mulch I plan to work on the lawn area as it is all just weeds there..


The next photo is from behind the plastic bench I put up there to rest on..

I gathered all the rocks pavers and mulch I could get so far (thank you to my sister Beverly for some nice pink rocks !) the ground stake decorations are from my other sister Bette.



I got some nice potted perennials and shrubs from Home Depot and Meijer and dug the others up elsewhere in the yard..still plan on bringing some other perennials and trees into the area perennials really need dividing.

Not sure if the still photos show the water falling overf the rocks or not, but it is there. I split the stream to run on both sides of the center partition of rocks, it pools slightly and then runs under a flat rock on each side, over a flat rock and then down into the water..not much fall cause the pond is very high with all the rain..may have to adjust the flat rocks when the pond level goes down.

Hope you enjoyed the tour, not completed but pretty much there..oh the plant you can see in the bottom rh corner of the last photo is a black lace elderberry with pink will grow about 8 to 10 feet tall and give me berries for jelly (my mom's favorite jelly is elderberry)

Friday, May 9, 2014


Well it is finally ..really.. spring. We have had solid rainy days nearly every day now for a few weeks and the ground is pudding. The trees are leafing out (the ones the rabbits didn't destroy) and there is hope for growth even on the little stubs left of the ones the rabbits chewed all the bark off of. (many of which I still haven't gotten to cut down yet as I said, the ground is pudding). My guess is about 90 % of the shrubs were ruined on our property and will have to start their growth from the ground up, so no berries or nuts on any of those this year, or very few. A few actual "trees" were ruined as well, my fault for not putting wire around them high enough up, 4' is not high enough..and some will survive with some major pruning of rabbit damaged my poor pear trees, lots of branches lopped of them already.

My tomato plants are sitting out on the east deck in the rain, my squash, melons, cucumbers, etc..that I planted in peat pots are nearly all up and growing wildly and my herbs are still making it on my window sills, but some are way overgrown (started too early !).

A few things are peeking through the soil, like perennials and a few self seeders from 2013..but unfortunately even the asparagus is really late, not a single spear in site. Also no morels yet to be found on our property.

I also have peas and lettuce up in the hugelbed that I put in before we flooded too badly to be walking around that area..and I did get some grass seed in where the ground got severely damaged (driving in pudding)..

I had hoped to build a gazebo on my east deck, which I did manage to get done this last week, at least the 4 posts and roof framing are up, can't put the lattice on the top for the woodbine vines until the rain allows me to paint it..and only one section of railing is up, others need to be redone, spindles removed, length cut, spindles reattached and put up for one, the next one has to be totally built and I haven't gotten the 2x4's bought for that yet. I'll do photos later.

I also bought 2 retractable clotheslines to attach to it and shed is up and I used it for some sheets yesterday before the rain came back in, was nice to have it only 2 steps from the laundry room door and up on a solid deck..newly boughten line did sag some though so it will be attached slightly differently before next use..and I do have 2 prop poles..bought a second retractable clothesline that I need to figure out where to mount yet.

Well really nothing much to take photos of yet this spring, except chocolate pudding soil, so I'll keep this update short...

Monday, March 24, 2014

2014 planting list (so far)

I'm not sure if this is complete or not but I think it is close. This is a list of the seeds or plants that I have on hand this spring for planting or have already started plants inside of ...for my 2014 garden. I'm sure I'll buy more, I always do.

Last 3 years we have had severe droughts here in Michigan so I am changing the way I'm doing things a lot this year, starting more things inside rather than outside, cause it is so hard to keep the seedbeds wet here as they are so scatterred and so far away from the house (that happens when you do food forest gardens, they are everywhere)...also going to do a few things in containers on the deck where I can reach them to keep them watered regularly..(just my luck we'll have a wet summer).

Although I didn't write it down, most of the herbs and some other plants have already been started inside, and one of my trees ( a replacement of one that was damaged in shipment last year) has already arrived and is in a bucket on my back porch.

I have also decided (if you read my last post) to NOT use the glass sliding doors and windows that I have salvaged from my sisters as a entry enclosure on my laundry deck entry..but I'm going to use them off my garage to make a second it will be about 6x12 with about a 4x8 raised bed inside and a path around it, also there can be containers on the path and hanging containers from the roof there.

Ok well here is that list of plants for 2014:

Amaranth Grain D'Or
American Redbud (2)
Artichoke green globe
Balm, Lemon
Basil, lettuce leaf
Basil, dwarf green
Basil, opal
Brussel Sprout Long Island Improved
Bush Bean Royal burgundy
Bush Bean Improved Golden  Wax
Bush Bean Blue Lake 74
Bush Bean Mellow Yellow
Pole Bean Rattlesnake

Beet, shiroz, organic
Beet heirloom mixed seed
Beneficial Insect Mix permaculture plants
Cabbage, Primo (started a few seeds today)
Camomile, roman
Cantaloupe vine peach
Chard, rhubarb
Chard, Ruby Red
Chives, fine
Chives, garlic
Corn, Sweet, Tuxana organic heirloom
Corn, Sweet, Festivity, heirloom
Cosmos seed pink and white saved
Crabapple, flowering (2)
Cucumber, heirloom mixed seed
Dill, Mammoth
Dill, bouquet
Dogwood, white flowering (2)
Edible flower and herb mix for container greens
Fennel, Florence
Fraise des bois, strawberries
golden rain tree (2)
Herbs (mixed hasn't arrived yet)
Kale, dwarf cuirled Vates
Kale, thousand Headed
Lavender, Munstead
Lavender, Vera
Lettuce, mix, heirloom bolt resistant
Malabar spinach
Marjoram, sweet
Melon, Haogen
Melon, heirloom mix
Mint, spearmint
Mint, Peppermint
Mitsuba,  aromatic
Oregano, True
Pac Choi
Parsley, flat leaf
Parsley, curly
Parsnip, Homeschooler heirloom
Peach, blushing star
Pea, Golden Sweet Snow Pea heirloom
Pepper, hot mix heirloom (some started)
Pepper, sweet carnival mix hyb.
   Orange sun, Calif wonder, golden Calif wonder, Purple Beauty, Diamond
Pepper, Tobasco
Pepper, Red chili
Podding Radish
Pumpkin, winter Luxury Heirloom
Pumpkin Early Sweet sugar Pie
Pumpkin Triple Treat
Rose of Sharon
Sage, Garden
Salad mix, mesclun, heirloom
Somerset Grape
Squash, Winter  mix heirloom
Squash Sweet Meat Oregon Winter heirloom
Squash Zapallo del Tronco, summer, bush, heirloom
Squash, Dark Star Zucchini heirloom
Squash Early Prolific Straightneck heirloomTomato, cherry mix heirloom
Stella Sweet cherry
Thyme, french
Tomato, large mix heirloom
Tomato big boy Hyb
Tomato Sweet 100 Hyb
Washington Hawthorn (2)
Watermelon, Early Moonbeam heirloom
Yarrow, pink
Yarrow, yellow