Garden Update: 06.15.21

The garden’s off to a decent start for the year! We had a relatively mild late-May, but it seems like the sun’s been out for the last few weeks now and we’re already having to water everything to keep stuff growing.

The kale is over and done with, but we left it out for awhile because it seemed like the bees were enjoying the flowers. Brooke planted a few more kale plants that are still out there (aside from that gigantic one on the right that’s very much gone to seed…), but with the heat, I doubt they’re going to last long. We also don’t have any spinach in there either, so I’ll probably just be trying to keep a lid on the weeds until we decide what to put there.

One of the squash plants Brooke put in didn’t make it, but the other three are moving along. The soup beans in the background are moving along, though they aren’t particularly large yet. The flowers Brooke planted seemingly a month ago really haven’t done much, surprisingly, so I’m not holding my breath.

The other bean plants, though, are doing great. They’ve started to flower a bit, but no pods have shown up. I need to do some more weeding around the plants, but if we keep them watered, I suspect we’ll have plenty to pick in 3-4 weeks.

The tomatoes are looking good, too! We’ve got 16 plants, one of which looks to be on the outs, but relatively speaking, that’s pretty good. We’ve also got 4 pepper plants, one of which already has 3 baby peppers on it.

We’re struggling with the trellis system, though. We were going to get cattle panels, cut them, and bend them into cages, but we’re looking at $150 for that kind of an upgrade. This year, we’ll probably still go on with some metal fence posts and string to wrap around the plants as they get taller. There are a few plants that are tall enough that they need some support, so this weekend, we’ll probably get out there get it set up.

The strawberries are done for the year. This past weekend, Brooke went out there and transplanted all of the shoots that had inserted themselves outside the bounds of the border and moved them to the surrounding area. We added some grass clippings and compost to bury them, but now we need to keep an eye on them and keep them wet. Really any additional strawberry plants are a “bonus,” so if anything survives, great! But if now, then ah well.

Brooke thinks we ended up with 15 quarts of strawberries by the end, which is more than last year by a decent amount. She made some freezer jam with it, and otherwise, we just tried sharing them with neighbors. We were gone to Florida during the height of picking, but the neighbors were able to keep tabs on them and make sure someone enjoyed them. They saved us plenty, too!

The cherries have been the next thing to deal with! Brooke made a cobbler with some of them, so now we’re struggling with what to do with the rest. We’ll probably leave some for Calvin, since he really liked eating them last year, but Brooke may try to make some canned cherry pie filling for use later on in the year!

Similar to the strawberries, the cherries were probably “ready” while we were in Florida, though they were still delayed a bit relative to the strawberries. Last year, Calvin would go out daily and just pick and eat them by the handful. This year, he hasn’t been here enough to do that! There’s always next year, I suppose.

Last but not least, Brooke got into the bees last weekend and they looked great! She put another super on the nuc hive, so hopefully we’re ready to start extracting around July 4th. We may take some to Hannibal this year, as we should have a little more time to get an extraction in among the usual mud volleyball festivities. As you can see above, the frames don’t look capped, but there’s plenty of honey in there, so give it a few weeks and we should be good to go.

We probably don’t have much more to harvest until July! Once the beans come on, we’ll be busy with more!

Garden Update: 05.13.21

We’re a bit late to get our planting in this season, largely because the weather has been very inconsistent (i.e. rain, cold, cloudy, etc.), but also because we were gone to Yellowstone last week (more on that in future posts!). Brooke also had grand plans to burn a large pile of leaves and branches a month or so ago, but because we kept having cold, wet weather, the pile never quite caught fire.

She did get some spinach and kale planted in one of the plots, though some of the kale survived from last year (flowering above). We had a nice spinach salad last weekend, so we’re getting plenty of it, and Brooke dehydrated and chopped up some kale a few weeks ago for smoothies, so the “leafy greens” side of the garden has been working just fine so far. She also planted some flowers that are starting to pop up in the foreground of this shot.

Today, I tilled the rest of the garden after Brooke raked off the remnants of the “burn pile that wouldn’t burn.” She planted green beans, pinto beans, black beans, and soup beans (that one’s close to the existing kale and spinach plot), and we plugged in tomatoes and various pepper varieties in another plot (pictured above with the milk jugs on top). We think the tomatoes and peppers have waned a bit in recent years, so Brooke grabbed some manure bags today to try and supplement a bit, so hopefully that makes a difference this time around.

The strawberries are back in full swing. We’re going to be gone again in early June which, based on last year’s pictures, we should then have fruit ready. The plot has branched out a bit, so we definitely have more plants than last year. Hopefully that leads to more strawberries! Also, it looks like the raspberries have randomly decided they’re going to start shooting up more branches after 4 years?? It’s a bit weird….to be filling in…now….

The fruit trees are also moving along! We had a crazy cold spell a few weeks ago, so we were a bit afraid of whether the trees would bear anything, but low and behold, they have. Above, we’ve got some almonds growing, though still not all that many. Maybe 5 on the tree right now? There could be some higher off the ground, but we aren’t expecting much.

There are a metric tons of cherries, though. Again, the cherries will probably be ready when we’re out of town, so hopefully the birds leave a few for us…Calvin will be very disappointed if there aren’t any left for him…

The apples and peaches are also coming on well, though some of the branches on the peach tree look a bit dicey, for some reason (like, no leaves on some of the larger branches? Strangely?!). So yeah, there are definitely peaches on there, but it’s tough to know whether we’ll have as many as last year.

Last, but not least, we have new tenants in the beehives! Brooke got a package for the tall one and a nuc for the smaller one, a few weeks separated from one another. They’ve been relatively active, despite the lack of quality weather. She’s probably going to add a super to the big hive tomorrow, and maybe another deep on the nuc hive. We expanded the bee area a month or so ago so that I can mow near the boxes more easily, and also to level out the boxes better (there used to be a tree in the ground behind where those boxes are, so there’s some ground sinking slowly…making it hard to keep the boxes level long-term…). There’s a spot for a third box, but we’ll probably just wait until we get a split from Brooke’s Dad.

The flowers I grabbed from Mom and Dad’s house last year also came back pretty well, too. The columbine has been flowering for a few weeks now, and the irises came out while we were gone on vacation. This plot of flowers are probably going to spread out quite a bit over the summer, so I’ll have to keep an eye on it. I’m sure the bees will be happy, though!

It’s supposed to rain quite a bit over the next week, so hopefully we’ll have more to share in a month!

Garden Update: 08.27.20

It’s been just over a month since the last update, and relative to where we were in July, things have definitely slowed down. Brooke planted beans and zucchini where we had the radishes and kale and those things are doing wonderfully. The soup bean pods just showed up this week, and the black beans are drying out quite a bit, so they’re going to be ready to pick soon. The zucchini have been doing well, way more than we actually want let alone need

As far as zucchini go, we’ve picked two or three like this every other day or so. It’s been pretty silly. It’s great to grow stuff and have them work really well…….but we only have so many things we want to use zucchini with (e.g. fried, bread, cookies…..muffins?)

Speaking of beans, our rattlesnake beans came back voluntarily! You can see some of them there at the top of this pic. We probably won’t end up with more than a handful of beans from the pods, but hey….we did almost literally zero work for these, so whatever.

Our peppers have been hit-or-miss. The “lunchbox peppers” Brooke planted are starting to come on pretty well now, so we’re getting a few of those every day or two. The bigger Margaret peppers have also come on better than last year, but still not tons of them. Obviously the green beans are way done, but there are still some pods growing on some of the plants. The sunflowers, though, look beautiful!

You can see some of the lunchbox peppers in orange , as well as a few tomatoes (more on that in a second). We also picked our granny smith apples! They were starting to brown at the top, so we didn’t want to let them go any longer. I picked 7 and sent them to Mom and Dad’s last weekend, so these represent the rest of the litter from the tree. We ended up with way more than we expected, and they seem to taste pretty good! Not as good as a gala apple or something, but hey….these were free(ish)!

Speaking of the tomatoes, we’ve been pretty disappointed this year. We got some really, really nice “slicer” tomatoes a few weeks ago, but since then, they’ve almost literally dried up. The cherry tomatoes are coming on very nicely, which has been good since Meg’s been home over summer, but other than that, the paste tomatoes Brooke planted have barely done anything, and the others have been one- or two-at-a-time, so never enough to process sauce or anything.

This gigantic plant is a volunteer. I’ve thought it was a watermelon for the past few weeks.

Things like this are what we’ve seen. Maybe 11 or 12 of them coming off that one plant.

Welp….we don’t think they’re watermelon anymore…

We found this out there, yellowing and, incidentally, rotting. Apparently, we’ve got a whole bunch of pumpkins growing!

That’s enough for now! Maybe one or two more posts as we finish out this year’s growing season. One last thing I should probably mention so we remember when these were planted…

Brooke ordered more strawberries! They’re June-bearing berries from Jung Seeds, this time. Since we got such a good yield this year from the existing plants, we want to keep things rolling by refreshing the plants from time to time. Hopefully we’ll end up with more than we did this year!

Garden Update: 7.26.20

I’m catching up after a few weeks, so bear with me a bit…. The bean crop kinda got the best of us when it ramped up in earnest after we returned from July 4th in Hannibal. We picked…and picked….and picked….multiple rounds like this, to the point where Brooke was quite done with canning… We ended up with around 30 pints of beans, plus the ones we’ve been eating on here and there. We didn’t end up giving many away because our beans came on late and everyone we’d usually give them away to was also inundated, so they didn’t need more. We should be set in the veggie department for, oh, a few years….

Around the same time we were dealing with the beans, the zucchini plants had grown pretty full, but we hadn’t seen many zucchini on the plants…until we found this gigantic one just chillin’, waiting to be picked. Brooke ended up shredding and dehydrating it, so we haven’t actually used it yet, but we’ve got another one or two on, so she’ll get creative with them momentarily.

We’ve also got other bean plants surrounding the zucchini plants, so as those start to slow down, the beans are going to take their place. The soup beans are vining well, so I’m sure we’ll get our usually ridiculous crop of those by the time we pick them in October/November…

The foreground still isn’t doing a lot, but there are some kale plants, spinach, and a random giant thing that’s either going to make a watermelon or pumpkin. Who can say? Certainly not me.

The tomatoes in the background are starting to produce quite a bit, mostly in the cherry tomato department, but just today, Brooke picked some beefy ones that we look forward to turning into BLTs later this week.

So yeah, not a ton yet, but certainly enough to start enjoying! That one in the upper right is one I’m particularly excited to chomp on…….

The green bean plants are in the middle there, and they’ve slowed down quite a bit. There are still some beans on there, but we’ll probably just keep an eye on them and grab a handful here and there. Brooke also planted sunflowers on the north side for the fun of it, and they’ve been blooming for a week or so.

The pepper plants still don’t look great, and in fact, a storm knocked a few of them over to the point they may not make it, but we’ve gotten some margaret peppers comin’ on that will hopefully be tasty.

In other news, the peach tree is….truckin’ along…to the point that it’s so weighed down with peaches, that branches are breaking…

I mean, on one level, I’m pretty pleased that there are so many fruit on there! But they aren’t ripe enough yet, and the japanese beetles have found them, so even with a billion peaches on there, we still may not get many… I’ve been using neem oil on them once a week, but we’re expecting rain this week, so I may need to wait until the rain subsides a bit.

Our apple trees and pear tree are also producing. The granny smith apple tree, especially, has a solid number on there, but Brooke says it isn’t time yet, so she isn’t letting me test any out… Hopefully I get to before the squirrels get them……ug…..

And last, but not least, so much honey! Brooke collected around 28 frames last Thursday, and we took them to Hannibal this weekend. We ended up with around 8-10 gallons of honey, which is a mostly ridiculous amount to get from two hives, one of which was just established a few months ago. Mark pulled 70 frames himself, so altogether, we ended up with around 30 gallons (and hundreds of pounds….) of honey this weekend between Hannibal and Marshall. I think the kids are going to try and set up a table and sell honey along the street, so we’ll see how that goes. Brooke’s going to try and contact “the powers that be” at our Farmer’s Market to see if she can set up there, in which case, we should be able to offload it relatively quickly. Plenty to get rid of!

Garden Update: 07.02.20

It’s been a minute since I updated about the garden. We’ve got some tomatoes on the vines now, including some pretty beefy big ones that’ll help make some great BLTs in a few weeks. The cherry tomatoes are moving along, but we haven’t seen any red ones yet. Also, some of Brooke’s paste tomatoes are looking to be a good size, but again, I think we’re a few weeks away.

The green beans and peppers can be seen in the lower left of the above image. No beans yet, but plenty of flowers on the plants, so in a week or so, we’ll probably be picking. It’s been pretty hot this week and last, so once that happened, the plants really started perking up.

I happened upon these margaret peppers yesterday when I was seeing why one of the plants was mostly on its side. It was apparently weighed down by huge peppers! We’ll wait until these are red, so it’ll be a bit before we can pick them, but what a pleasant surprise! We don’t usually have peppers on at this point in July, let alone peppers this size. Excellent!

Here’s a better view of the pepper plants and green beans. You can see all the flowers on there, so yeah…tons of beans coming on… At the back of this plot, Brooke planted some sunflowers, so those are slowly rising above the green bean plants.

In the background, we’ve got raspberries on the plant, so Calvin’s been going out and stealing them. The strawberries have been done for a few weeks, but we were soooooo pleased with how many we got. We were getting bowl-fulls daily for awhile there, so plenty to fill ourselves with and plenty to share! Brooke ordered some new plants, so we’ll add some more to the plot and expand it for next year. We didn’t get enough strawberries for a pie (well, total, we probably did, but not enough to split and use for other things, too…..), so gotta put more plants in.

Lastly, Brooke never planted any “pole beans” (just didn’t get around to it), but we do have a volunteer growing from last year, so we’ll probably end up with a few, regardless!

Brooke replanted the spinach and kale plot with zucchini, black beans, and soup beans. Those plants are all doing really well, but are a bit behind the green beans in total size (aside from the zucchini, of course). I need to do some weeding around that plot, and with the kids being gone next week, maybe I’ll find the motivation….(hah!).

The lettuce is looking good still, too! Probably getting done with it in the next two weeks, but we’ve had a good run of lettuce this year! Brooke dehydrated the kale and put it through the food processor, so we’ve got a few pint jars of powdered kale sitting in the freezer. What will we do with it? Who knows! Expect Christmas presents of powdered kale. 🙂

Last, but not least, so many peaches! Like, I said this last year too, but this year is so many more. Unfortunately, the japanese beetles have reared their ugly little heads, so Brooke’s already doing battle with them while I spray neem oil every week. Not sure it’s actually doing any good, but it makes me feel like I’m trying, at least…..

That’ll do for now! Another post coming once we start getting ‘maters!!

Garden Update 06.08.20

As I’ve made pretty clear with the last few points, we’ve been friggin’ busy these last few weeks, but while we’ve been busy inside the house, the garden has been doing its thing with some minimal intervention from us (aside from a little weeding here and there).

Brooke planted green beans a few weeks ago, and only in the past few days, they’ve finally started looking pretty good. We had a bout of cooler, rainy weather that wasn’t all that conducive to our hot-weather plants, so now that we’ve had weather in the upper-80s and lower-90s for the past 5 days, the beans are finally making headway.

The green pepper plants south of the beans are also finally looking better. It just took some sun showing up for them to finally take off. I wouldn’t say we’re out of the woods yet on them, though, as they’re pretty small. Brooke also added some sunflower seeds to the north part of the plot, so they’re up and moving around. We’ll see how they turn out…

The tomatoes are also finally taking off. I pulled the milk jugs off of them a few weeks ago because the plants were getting too big, but even then, they slowed down their growth due to the aforementioned cooler weather. The four varieties we’re running are all moving at around 3 plants apiece. We’ll have to see. Got another month or so to go on them…but we’re optimistic…

Today, I tilled up the last bit of the garden that wasn’t planted yet. Brooke put in more kale and spinach, as that part of the garden is relatively shady and will hopefully give us some leafy greens later on in the summer. I think this is the first time we’ve tried planting those things in mid-June, so we’ll see how that goes.

Speaking of spinach and kale, the former is mostly done (though they’re still in the garden), and the latter is ready for harvest. The kale is still looking pretty good though, so Brooke will probably pull it sometime later this week.

In the plot that previously hosted the radishes, Brooke planted zucchini. We’ve planted it before, but I don’t recall much coming of it. Instead of a mound, Brooke put them in a row. Again, this is a “we’ll see” kinda deal.

The garlic is still doing its thing, too. Waiting for them to be done!

Speaking of radishes, we got a lot! Only a few of them, thus far, are what I’d qualify as “good.” A few of the ones I’ve tried are pretty tough and fibrous, but I’m not ready to toss them all out yet.

The real story of the summer thus far is the strawberries, though. We’re getting at least a bowl like this every day, but we’ve been fighting against the slugs for them… These tiny little things keep getting the strawberries right at the “ripe” point, so we’re picking them just a day early to make sure we get some. We’ve given some to the neighbors and to my parents so far, and even with that, we’ve ended up with enough to put on ice cream and put in a breakfast cake, so we’re very satisfied with the crop!

In other news, Brooke planted some sage and bee balm in the raised bed to go with the other herbs. They’re not doing much yet, but the lettuce is finally looking good. We’ll probably have more salads next week, or at least some sandwiches. Too bad we don’t have tomatoes to go with a BLT just yet…

Today, Brooke started picking cherries! Infamously, we got a single, solitary, sad little cherry last year. This year, we’ve got quite a few more than that! Brooke said this was maybe 10% of what’s on the tree right now, so we’ve got a bit to go. We’ll probably pick every other day or so, but we’ve heard that rain can make them split, and as it’s supposed to rain the next few days, we may have to pick a few early again. Still, better than last year!

Speaking of “better than last year,” peaches. So many peaches. All the peaches.

And last but not least, the bees are doing their thing! Again, it’s been hot these last few days, so they’ve been bearding frequently. The existing hive is the one with the ridiculous numbers, but the new hive is still doing fine. I’ve noticed some bearding, but there simply just aren’t as many bees in that southern hive as in the northern one. Brooke needs to hop into the hive and see how much honey they’re putting away, but I would bet we’ve got enough to harvest by July 4th.

Onward, Summer!

The New Bedroom, Part VII

Home stretch!

As I mentioned in the previous post about this, Brooke caulked the corners and the gaps that were created along the top and bottom of the walls. We went with a second coat of primer, and a third in the spots that seemed like it really needed it. And after all that……..

…finally….PAINT!

AND MOAR PAINT!!!

Once the paint went on, we made significant headway, with me painting large swaths during the day and Brooke “cutting in” along the edges at the points where I’m just not all that patient.

Then, when Brooke was at work, I took care of the carpet. And it took me the whole day. And I had a bed frame to work around… Honestly, the carpet removal didn’t take all that long: I had it all off the wood by the time Brooke was home for lunch. It’s the tedious removal of all the staples that takes forever, but I still had that taken care of by the time Brooke got home after work.

At that point, we were so close that we just finished it all off. I’d vacuumed the floor a few times, but Brooke came back through and wiped it all down, vacuumed again, and put the finishing touches on the floor. We brought the new rug in from downstairs, Brooke put in the new Roman shades, she put in the new light fixtures, and….voila!

After we’ve got everything done, I’ll post additional pictures of it. Meg’s room and our room still need some things on the walls, and we’ve got new furniture picked out….just waiting on Ikea to open up to the point where I can actually go get it in KC… So yeah, we’ll have one last post with how everything gets reset.

Hopefully sooner rather than later, but for now, we’re all back where we belong and things are looking good!

The New Bedroom, Part VI

Apparently a lot has been going on these past few weeks…. A lot of work stuff got in the way of posting more on this subject…. Onward!

As we left off in the last post, Brooke ended up spending a lot of time on the southern wall. There were countless evenings of plastering, then sanding, plastering, then sanding, etc. She did her best to make the wall as smooth as possible, but it was hard to secure the new plaster to the lath on the wall. I don’t think she was completely satisfied with it, but it ultimately looked waaaaay better than it did before.

The other walls around the room still needed some TLC as well, but nowhere near what the south wall did. Brooke spent awhile up on the ladder and down along the floorboards to try and clean up the leftovers from the wallpaper, but ultimately, it needed a bit more. After we started priming, Brooke decided that caulking the corners and the edges would be the best solution, so after I put the first coat of primer on, she came back through with caulk, and then I covered up the caulk with the second coat of primer.

I feel like the first round of primer went better in our room than it did in Meg’s room. Yes, it definitely needed another round of primer (as you can see on the south wall in the background, but I still think it took fewer coats to actually be done.

While we waited for the walls to dry after putting more (and more and more…) plaster on, Brooke kept working on the bed frames. As mentioned in the previous post, Brooke refined her process and cut down on the time spent on each part of the frame. In general, she’d work on one at a time, then prime it, and then start stripping the paint off the next frame while the previous one dried.

The primer actually looked alright in its own right. She used spray paint for this, and it took quite a few cans per head/footboard. During the course of the stripping, Brooke noticed that the frames had been a few colors in the past, whether some shade of white or some shade of black. We also considered just painting them some loose approximation of the metal underneath it all, but ultimately, we went with a kind of hammered metal black color.

It turned out really good! It also took multiple cans, but it was really just for full coverage, not because it needed multiple coats. The drying of each board also didn’t take all that long, thankfully, though they did have to be stood up in the garage to let them dry more effectively.

I was letting a set dry outside and a bird pooped on it. This happened on the last of the four, of course…so how the previous three didn’t have that problem is beyond me…

Last, but not least, the welding! It ended up taking a week and a half to get the rails back, and it only cost $40, but it was well worth it. In the picture above, you can see the L-shape of the rail, and then a second, smaller L-shaped portion added as a stabilizer for when the rail is placed upside down. These rails didn’t need as much stripping as the other parts of the frame needed, but Brooke still primed them for paint.

So yeah, that’s how the next few weeks went. Plastering, sanding, stripping, priming, painting…..and so on and so forth……

But finally….eventually….we were “done”…

The New Bedroom, Part V

Ooooooooooh, boy…. We “finished up” Meg’s room on April 11th. We’ve been working on our bedroom basically since then without many breaks except for that first weekend and Mother’s Day. To be fair, a lot of this length of time was working around furniture refinishing and plastering (more on that later), so there have been a lot of moving parts….

…but first, back to the beginning….

So, we originally thought our room may go somewhat quickly because of the vinyl wallpaper that was already peeling in some spots (especially certain corners). As we would eventually discover, nay, it definitely did not “go quickly”… The vinyl layer came off easily, yes, along with a thin, white layer underneath. Yet, underneath that, we found a floral pattern…and underneath that, we found yet another floral pattern.

Those bottom two layers did not go quietly into that good night.

As we were doing this during Coronapocalypse 2020, I was doing scraping on the walls for 3-4 hours a day before or after my “virtual office hours,” while Brooke was at work. So I’d have to take breaks here and there to make sure the kids weren’t burning down the house, but as the weather was finally getting a little warmer, the kids were able to go outside sometimes, so that alleviated some of the constant bickering…

For the most part, I got into a groove and made solid progress. We ran into some issues with the ridiculous amount of wallpaper on the walls though, mostly on the top and bottom of the walls where the moulding was….because they put the moulding on top of the wallpaper!!!

…..sigh…..

I did my best with it, but we ultimately use caulked over it to try and obscure it as much as possible. It definitely isn’t a perfect solution, but the prospect of removing and replacing the moulding again wasn’t exactly at the top of our priority list…

I should also note that there’s a bed frame in this image. I should also I know that yours truly is the one who assembled this bed frame, and it is also yours truly that couldn’t figure out how to take it apart again… I’m assuming there was some special tool that came with it that is buried somewhere on the work bench out in the garage, but for the life of me, I couldn’t find any tool small enough to fit into the hole that held the nut that attached the head- or footboard to the side rails. Sooooo, we just decided to leave it in there and cover the surfaces of the bed with the old curtains that we were going to replace anyway. It got annoying here and there, but for the most part, we were able to work around it and still use the ladder.

The wall between the south window and my closet door was, by far, the worst one. Spoiler alert: Brooke ended up spending quite a bit of time plastering, sanding, plastering, sanding, plastering, and sanding this thing….

But while she was doing all of that, she was also messing with the bed frames, mostly on the weekends.

We got these frames from my parents, who got them from my Uncle, who has had them for a few decades, but he got them from my grandfather. These frames were his and his brother’s growing up, which is really cool! The less cool part is that they needed some TLC.

This involved quite a lot of paint stripper (the stuff in the blue bottle, not the white bottle, because Brooke found that only the stuff in the blue bottle worked well at all….), and plenty of spray painting. And some welding (more on that in a bit).

She’s pretty sure there were 3 layers of paint on one of the beds (two white, one black), and 2 layers of paint on the other bed (both white). There wasn’t a good way to know if it was lead paint or not, but we didn’t want to take the chance, so she used a carpet square from Meg’s room to catch the paper towels she was using to strip the paint. It took awhile to figure out her order of operations, and that first footboard (pictured above) took about 8 hours for her to finish (!!!!!!). By the time she got through to the fourth of these things, she cut that down to only a couple hours, so now she’s a pro!

But there was another issue with the beds. We took various measurements and discovered that one of the beds measured 53″ wide by 57″ long, which is the standard size of a modern full size bed. The other bed, however, measured 53″ wide by 69.5″ long, which is the standard size for literally nothing in 2020. Soooooo, I asked around and talked to a local welding business to see if there was something they could do to modify the off-size bed. I put these things in my Forester on Good Friday, ready to take it all over to the business, but apparently they took off that afternoon and I didn’t think about it, so the frames just sat in my car until after Easter.

Brooke met me there so we could talk to the guy and see what he thought, so everyone would be on the same page. We showed him the stuff while it was still in the car, so I didn’t have to unload it (which is not trivial, by the way….it takes a few people to finagle these into the back of a small SUV). He asked us a few questions about it, we chatted about potential options. And then he asked, “Did you try just flipping them over?”

Brooke and I just looked at each other, then said, “Uh…no?”

But low and behold, it was a great idea! You see, the beds are very similar to each other, but they aren’t quite identical. One bed (the actual full size one) has rails that slide in on their sides, but the one that’s too short has rails that connect on each end to the head- and footboards, which results in extra bits of metal (you can see all this in the image above) that would be in front of and behind the box springs.

If you flip the rail upside down, then instead of resting in the “L” shape of the bracket, that “L” is now upside down, so the box springs just sit on top of it! The problem with that is that the box springs can then slide side-to-side, and potentially off the rails.

So, after we took the pictures above, I took the rails to the welding company and told them we wanted them to just put on some bits of metal on the sides to prevent slipping of the box springs. I suggested 3 or 4 bits of metal would probably do it. Brooke also wrote “top,” “side,” and “head” on them so they would know how to orient the rails to put them in the right place.

And that took 2 weeks to get done……but on the plus side, the head- and footboards were still here, so she could keep stripping those while the rails were getting worked on.

More on that next time!

Garden Update: 05.10.20

The early(ish?) Spring has been pretty good to the garden so far. The radishes are doing really well (middle), and the kale (to the left) and the spinach (to the right) are coming along, though Brooke planted some extra seeds in there to try and fill out the row a bit better. To the far right, the garlic is…still doing its thing…

The tomatoes are doing well, too, but the temperatures these past few nights (dropping to the mid-30s) weren’t kind to at least a few of the plants. I pulled the jugs off a few that were growing out of the holes at the top (visible in the image above), but replaced them today after a few of the stems broke. They were damaged relatively high off the ground and they still have leaves, so I’m hopeful they’ll make it…

I should also note the straw, at this point. We kept it from Oktoberfest last Fall to protect the bees for the Winter, and figured this time, rather than grass clippings between the rows to limit weed growth, we could just spread the straw instead. We’ve still got some bales left, as we don’t have everything planted yet, so for now, they’re just taking up space: just not on my grass…

The peppers are also doing their thing, but growing a bit slower. We haven’t had many days in the 80s yet, so they’re probably wanting a little bit more heat…

The green beans are going in the soil next to them, but we haven’t planted them yet. I think we’re putting black beans in this year, too, as sell as soup beans (duh!).

The strawberries are taking off! Quite a few flowers have shown up, and the middle of the patch has some new plants popping up. Our next outdoor project will involve expanding the berry patch out and planting some new stuff, but first….gotta finish up the bedroom upstairs……more on that eventually…

The new bees arrived last week! She got into the older hive and put a new super with queen excluder on. For the new hive, put in new frames on the bottom, then transferred frames from the nuc into the top box, and then dumped the bees into the middle. A few days later, she added empty frames again. Both times she got into the new hive, she found the queen, but hasn’t seen much new brood in there yet.

In other news, we’ve got almonds! Like, five of them? Not very many, for sure… We’ve still got frost warnings happening still, so hopefully those few almonds make it….we’ve been waiting 5 years……..

And last, but not least, the peaches are back! Millions of them. There are so many peaches on that tree. We’ve also got apples and a ton of cherries (we only got one last year).

So yeah, I think that’s it…since we don’t have much growing yet, there’s not a ton to say yet, except that things are moving along…

And we had to cover the strawberries tonight because we have yet another frost warning….ug.