Yin Yang Garden

Yin Yang

The Yin Yang garden bed has been planted. Last weekend I worked in some compost we bought at the feed store. Not much for the size of bed, but something. Then I planted seeds. Carrots, lettuce, kale, spinach, broccoli, beets, chard and bush beans and still have room. We’ve got tomatoes and watermelons coming up inside. This is going to be our first garden so we’re still trying things out. Over time the garden will grow. We’re going to need other planting areas in addition to this one.

Chickens!

We bought chickens on the 7th and set them up in a temporary box.

Chicks

What?

But chickens grow fast. The cardboard box (originally from our lawn mower) would not be sufficient for eight growing chicks. We had to get something else built. I’d already fixed up the old shed/chicken coop, including a fenced off run, but they won’t be able to be out there for a while yet. So yesterday I drew a quick sketch of what I was thinking for the box.

Plans

The box would be built in two sections to make it easier to move. Each would be 2.5′ x 3′ x 2′ with a hinged lid. That’d give the chickens 15 sqft of space, almost 2 sqft per chick. Enough room for them to grow. With my ‘plan’ in hand I went off to Lowe’s to buy the materials needed. I bought inexpensive 1″x2″ for the frame and some 1″x6″ boards to go around the base. Plus chicken wire, a new handsaw to make it easier to cut the boards, hinges, screws and extra staples.

When I got the materials home (after lunch) I started working on the project. First step, cut all the wood into the appropriate lengths.

Cutting Boards

Laying Out Box

First Half

Both Assembled

Wire Added

Unfortunately I didn’t have enough staples to get all of the chicken wire done. I got it one one side and today we’ve got to get more bedding, food, another feeder and waterer, so I’ll get more when we go out. But I didn’t want the chickens to have to stay longer in the small box so I set up the one side of their new box and used a piece of cardboard to block the open side.

New Diggs

Xander Looking

Poppy Watching

Patty Perching

We also added a dowel for a perch. Later the other side should be set up, but they’re already enjoying the extra room. They’ll grow fast, before we know it they’ll be moving outside!

Crop Circle

With fairly nice weather I couldn’t wait to get outside today and do some work. I wanted to finish the bed we’ve been working on.

Crop Circle


The work went pretty fast. I finished digging and raking the bed. The stones around the outside of the bed came from the bed. Those are only the biggest, most obvious ones. The soil has a lot more stones. With this circular bed now I’ve got an itching to dig other circular beds. Why do they have to be square? We’re considering what shape the paths should follow. A peace sign? Yin-yang symbol? I think I’m leaning to the yin-yang symbol.

I also transplanted our blueberries into a separate bed.

Digging It

Given the nice weather lately I’ve been out digging up the compacted ground where the pool used to be to prepare it for planting. There’s a lot of rocks. Tons of rocks. Most are smallish but I’m pulling out the bigger rocks and will use them as a border. Ultimately I’ll probably divide this circular bed into quarters for planting. I’m thinking of doing more circular beds. I think that’d be interesting. I could do more beds of different sizes from a small area that might be a couple zucchini. That’d be fun.

Dirt!

I worked from the outside around the bed inward. Alexander was out playing in the grass until he decided that the dirt looked like more fun.

Exploring

I finished two of the outside rings, leaving the center still to dig. The ground is packed down pretty hard from the pool. Beside the stones I’ve pulled out I also took out concrete paving stones that had been put around underneath the pool footings and had been buried over time. I’m going to reuse those for a walkway.

Digging

There’s more to do today!

Gated

Baby-proofing the house has been a challenge. I’m sure everyone deals with this in their own way. When we first moved in we put things where it made sense. Then Alexander started crawling, and sitting up, and suddenly books and DVDs needed to move. The television needed to move. We ended up pulling a lot of stuff out of the living room but that wasn’t enough. He could get into the kitchen, dining room and down the hall and none of those areas were safe. The wood stove is in the dining room. So we barricaded the entrance to the dining room and kitchen with large plastic tubs that we could step over but it would keep him confined.

But that proved to be a pain. Particularly for Poppy as the jumping over the tubs aggravated her bad knee. Plus there has been plenty of stumbling and tripping. Not good.

We tried purchasing a gate that could span the wide entrance to the dining room but it arrived broken. We sent it back and the replacement came broken too. We gave up on that option and talked about building something ourselves. Then before we knew it Alexander wasn’t only crawling but standing up and cruising around. For awhile the barricades still held but he’s started using his strength to simply shove the tubs out of his way. Poppy helped, she showed him that they could be pushed by squeezing between them. So we had to move fast and get something up.

Gate Access Only

The new wood gate runs along the front of Kate’s table/desk area and then has a gate across the entrance. It’s easy to operate with one hand and can keep the dogs in the dining room and Alexander safe in the other room. Because it is past the front door it gave Alexander a new area, about 3′ x 6′ with a different floor to explore. He spent a lot of time last night playing in that new area. He also walked around the gate/barrier testing it for any weaknesses, trying to squeeze between the slats (too small), and generally checking to see if there was any way he could get through. It held against the baby onslaught!

The gate and barricade along the table is made from our old futon frame that we hauled along from the apartment because we figured that we’d find a use for it. We picked up the hinges, latch, nails and a spare board that I used to mount the hinges. Using the frame made it much easier to put up quickly. It’s functional at least. Another piece will be used to block off the hallway. Once I get the repainted kitchen cupboard doors up and secured then Alexander will be able to go into the kitchen too. I’m sure he’ll be excited.

Winter Planning

It’s winter time and that means I’m dreaming about Spring. I’m thinking about all of the various projects I want to do. It’s finally sinking in that we have our own house and property! After so many years living in an apartment there’s the possibility of doing all sorts of interesting things. Lack of money limits us to some extent, but over time we can do a lot of different things. That’s what the project posts are about, getting a list of things to do and figuring out what we need to get them done.

But I’d also like to get on a regular posting schedule. There’s lots to be done. It’s time to dream!

*Really* Cold Weather!

It’s been down to 4°F lately. So cold that our pipes froze the other day, our car froze and it hasn’t been getting above freezing.

We’re adapting. Got the pipes thawed and the car. Now the water is trickling at night and I’ve been getting up to start the car. Hate doing it, but it’s too cold to ride the trike too. So at least I can get to work.

Fortunately the cold weather is supposed to get back to more normal 25-40° F temperatures soon.

Our Homestead

We lived in our last apartment for eleven years. Eleven years thinking about what we’d do when we got our own place with room for gardens, animals and everything else. Now we have the place and are slowly figuring out what to do first. I’ve posted a bunch of project posts as we’ve started working on things but I’m going to try and remember to post more frequently on the site about our progress.

Lately, with the arrival of cold weather (21 ° F this morning) we’ve been using the woodstove more frequently. That’s been interesting.

Woodstove

Woodstove

Plant Garlic

Urgency: High
Cost: $39
Status: In Progress
Description: I ordered garlic from Big John’s Garden this year. I was a little late in ordering so many varieties had sold out but I still got the Inchelium Red Garlic I wanted and another variety (was going to be Spanish Roja Garlic, but that was gone by the time my order got filled). One hard neck and one soft neck variety.

Tools Needed

Shovel, rake

Parts Needed

None

Photos

Yesterday ended up being a nice day and since I still had time before it got late I went out and started digging. Dug out the sod, dug down another layer, put the sod back in and then buried it. There are a fair number of stones in the ground, some of which I put around the sides of the bed including one big monster I hauled out. I’ll rake it out some more and get the garlic planted soon. The completed bed is 7′ x 4.5′

Build Compost Containers

Urgency: High
Cost: $0
Status: Completed, but the remains need to be removed.
Description: We need to start compost piles. Kate already hauled down some wire fencing we can use to get them going.

Tools Needed

Screwdriver, metal shears

Parts Needed