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.

The New Bedroom, Part IV

That looks better…

As I mentioned in the previous post, it took multiple coats to get through this, likely 2/3 of a gallon of paint. I used the roller twice on it, then Brooke came back through with the same off-white color we used in the other bedroom, so it matched. Then she had to come through again with the “Evergreen fog” paint to cover any extra white she’d gotten on the color of the walls. Just a lot of back and forth, really…

Is this the worst part? It may be the worst part…

I took care of the carpet this morning, cutting it roughly into quarters, then pulled up from the edges. The carpet actually came off relatively easily, but it took awhile to “find my groove,” since it’s been awhile since I did this.

The ongoing coronapocalypse is making trash pick-up difficult, so we’ll try to dispose of the carpet as best we can, but for now, it’s rolled up in those quarters on our back porch. Not ideal, but it is what it is. There’s furniture in our garage awaiting some painting, so it’ll be a bit before we can move the carpet out there. Overall, I think we were able to keep most of the dust from our wallpaper scraping on the carpet so it wouldn’t get all over the floor underneath.

The hardwood looks similar to the other bedroom.

Pulling up the tack board around the edges of the room took forever. I’m pretty sure that was Dad’s job the last time we did this, so I don’t think I’d done much of it before. This was another time it took me a bit to “find my groove” and finally feel like I was making progress. Pretty sure it took me an hour and a half to get just that part done. Brooke came up and joined me for pulling up the staples that was holding down the pad under the carpet, and while that was tedious, it went pretty well.

For now, we went ahead and kept the carpet in the kid’s closet. It will get removed, but we’ve got some time for reasons I’ll get to momentarily…

(Mostly) finished product!

After a round of vacuuming, then wood cleaner, then more vacuuming, we were done!

So, this project began on Saturday, March 28, and we finished it up on Saturday, April 11th. Technically, we still aren’t done, as we’re waiting on Meg’s bed frames to get fixed up. The frames are from my Dad’s father and brother, so they’re very old, but also only kinda fit modern beds. One of them is a full-size bed frame, but the other is about 5″ too short in the length, so it won’t fit a frame properly. We’re going to try and get a welder here in town to try and adapt it so we can have two full beds in the room.

We’re also getting a wardrobe for this room, so the closet will be mostly Calvin’s, though maybe we’ll hang a few things of Meg’s in there, too. We’re also going to move a dresser into Meg’s room, so there’s more furniture to go in, but again, it’ll take awhile for the beds to be done, and it’ll take awhile for a wardrobe to arrive.

Soooooooo, in the meantime, we’re moving on to our bedroom. We’re letting Meg sleep on a sleeping bag in her new room for a few nights, and then we’re going to break down and transfer our bed and furniture into Meg’s room while she moves back in with Calvin. Then, it’ll probably be another two weeks until our room is done, but then we’ll be mostly “project complete” for 2020. That will give us a few weeks to get the furniture situation figured out so Meg can be in her own room long-term!

On to the next project!

The New Bedroom, Part III

The kids got in on the “fun”…

Back in December 2016, we de-wallpapered, de-carpeted, and painted one of the upstairs bedrooms, so the kids could share it with bunk beds, leaving the bedroom next door (connected by a closet) into a “play room,” of sorts.

In the intervening years, Meg would occasionally ask when she was going to get her own room, and our answer became “when you’re 10.”

Guess who’s 10 now? Good work.

We were going to do the work this Summer, but due to the present stay at home order in Missouri, we went ahead and pushed up our schedule a bit.

So…much…wallpaper…

Like the last time, we left the carpet on while we removed the wallpaper. Most of the walls only had a single layer of wallpaper, but the one behind the door had a few layers….and layers of wallpaper on top of joint compound.

Brooke was not pleased.

There had been some…”work”….done to the walls…

Overall, there were relatively large portions of the walls that didn’t need a ton of work, but the portions by the closet (and on the wall with the staircase to the attic on the other side) already had a lot of joint compound on them from the last time wallpaper was applied. Brooke thinks the latest round of wallpaper was probably put on back in the 80s. Under the wallpaper, she found a handwritten note that was difficult to read, but someone wrote their name and what looked like “198-“….so it’s hard to know for sure, but at least it seems like someone tried to fix the room, thankfully, by not just wallpapering over the existing wallpaper.

The primer went on pretty well!

After Brooke was satisfied with the cleaning of the walls, I spent a lot of the week putting up some primer. I had to go with a few coats of it to cover up the wealth of joint compound just spread all over the place, and even had some of it delivered from our local hardware store.

First coat of paint. Definitely need another coat.

The paint Brooke and Meg went with was a color that will go well in our bedroom as well as her bedroom. She originally wanted something more purple-ish, but….we don’t want purple walls in our room, so we won out. This color is called “Evergreen fog.” Granted, I’m partially color blind, but I can’t really tell where the “green” is…

I’ll save the rest for another post. The painting took a few days to finish up, and we still have carpet to pull up!

Oktoberfest 2019

Our weekends this Fall have been…nuts…to say the least. Thus, our weekends were difficult to schedule around, leaving October 12th as the only possibility. If the weather ended up being bad, we would have had to reschedule for the last weekend of October, which gets kinda risky.

Anyway, our preparations started the week before, as usual. At this point, we’ve got most everything down to a science, so pulling the bins down from the garage attic and making a list of food possibilities comes pretty easily. Sure, it’s still quite a bit of work to pull off (and having our parents come by helps tremendously!), but it isn’t as heavy a lift as it was the first few years we did this.

Thankfully, the weather held up pretty nicely! It was a bit windier than we preferred, but it was better than it was a few years ago. The temperature was also on the cool side (mid-50s?), but with the Sun out, it just felt like a lovely autumn day. Most of our 35 guests showed up in the 3:00 hour and stayed until dusk, leaving us to enjoy our fire into the evening.

This year, we added quite a few more Christmas lights (blue and white LEDs), as well as a corn hole set from Brooke’s work. She also brought the giant Jenga set home, too, which proved popular with the kids.

Ultimately, it was a great day! We’d be lying if we didn’t say we were happy when it was all over, as the month and a half leading up to Oktoberfest was crazy, but afterward, we could at least sigh and relax for a bit.

At least until the next weekend when I ran another half marathon…

Garden Update: 09.09.19

The garden is definitely on the downswing. We’re still harvesting some stuff, but as you can see above, much of the greenery has died off.

The green beans are way dead. We ended up with something like 30 pints of green beans in the end, with quite a few being eaten fresh or given away. I think Brooke had four rows planted and, as usual, they performed admirably.

The soup beans are still going strong, though Brooke has picked quite a few pods thus far. Shockingly, with the heat and limited rain we’ve had recently, there are still some flowers on the plants, so maybe we’ll end up with another small wave.

The pepper plants are still bad, but we have had a few small hot peppers showing up. They’re just now turning red, so we’ll pull those relatively soon.

The cucumbers have also mostly given up the ghost, but much like the soup beans, we’ve got 3 or 4 new ones slowly growing, so maybe we’ll end up with a few more? Probably not.

The sweet potatoes are looking good, though we won’t pull those until November. Brooke’s flowers that she planted have done surprisingly well, too!

The real story is the black beans, which like the green beans before them, have also been solid. Meg and Calvin did some good work shelling soup, black, and rattlesnake beans this past weekend and we’ve definitely got a few meals out of them.

The tomatoes are doing their thing, of course. They’re mostly small, but we’re getting quite a few. Only a few “slicers” so far this year, sadly, so BLTs haven’t been common. Brooke hasn’t canned any yet, preferring to amass a metric ton in the freezer first before she focuses on them (also, waiting for the heat to die down before using the gas stove for hours on end…).

So yeah, the jury’s still out on the tomato crop for the year. We’ve got a lot: just dunno how much, exactly.

I mentioned the rattlesnake beans, pictured in the back, and again, they’re doing they’re thing…and slowing down. The strawberries have done a great job establishing themselves! We’re probably going to expand the patch out next year a bit, so I’ve started making more concrete bricks to spread out toward where the blackberries and raspberries.

Speaking of which, the raspberries are producing again, though the blackberries still haven’t done a ton. We’ll probably pull those at the end of the season, but haven’t decided on the raspberries yet.

Our milkweed is blooming and has had a few visitors! It’s over 5 ft tall, which is quite a bit bigger than we were expecting. The other milkweed plant was encroached on by the mint, so it remains to be seen how well it’ll come back next year. It kinda bent off toward the south and grew, er, sideways…so yeah…

The pears are still looking great! But they’re also still rather solid, so we don’t think they’re ripe yet… But, they’re also bruising a bit on some of the fruit, where they’re too soft on one side, yet hard on the other. Long story short, no idea if they’re ready yet, but hopefully we’ll cut into one soon…

And last but not least, Brooke tore out the bushes on the east side of the house! They were ugly and had to go. Brooke was surprised at how easy it was to remove the roots. We’ve got our landscaping project for next summer lined up, I guess!

That’s it for now! Probably one more update for 2019 coming, once we know how much tomato sauce we’re ending up with.

Garden Update: 08.15.19

Well, we’re in the throes of late-Summer, and as such, the rain has been sparse and parts of the garden are dying off. We’ve been harvesting a decent amount of stuff still and most of the plants look good, but the green beans are finally dying off.

The black beans, on the other hand, are coming on strong. Brooke only planted the one row (middle, above), and we haven’t picked any pods yet, but they’re getting full and looking pretty good. The flowers she planted in the background are also looking okay, but they seem to want more water than the other plants seem to need.

On the left, we’ve got volunteer cherry tomatoes that are still producing quite a bit. The cucumber plants Brooke planted are also still producing, giving us at least 10 good-sized cucumbers thus far with some smaller ones still coming on.

The aforementioned green beans are slowing down drastically. That doesn’t mean we haven’t picked a metric ton of them by now, but at least we can stop checking on a nearly daily basis for more to pick.

Could we pick more? Yes. But we’d need to start watering them, and that’s just a bridge too far. To date, Brooke’s canned at least 20 pints of green beans and we’ve given plenty away, and we’ve got 2 gallon-sized bags full in the fridge still yet to be canned. I’ll post a final number once that’s all done, but suffice to say we have our usual green bean crop in 2019, if not more than usual.

As the picture illustrates, we’ve also got tomatoes coming on at a somewhat regular rate now, though we aren’t getting many good “slicer” tomatoes. Some are relatively good in size, but still a bit smaller in diameter than your typical burger bun. Still, they taste good!

There are also two dried bean varieties in the ice cream buckets pictured above: on the right, you’ll find our usual soup beans (that Brooke is starting to pick, but we have a long way to go on those….), and on the left, you’ll find Brooke’s rattlesnake “pole” beans.

It’s really been the last few weeks where the flowers and beans have started taking off, as well as the vines starting to “vine on themselves” at the very top of the tetrapod (not a tripod anymore…we had a Christmas tree between last summer and this summer…). The vines were a bit slow to start this year, but July allowed them to move along quite nicely.

We’ve got a solid number of bean pods on there still, so we’re not sure how many we’ll end up. If it’s like last year, it won’t be a ton, but hey, if you have the space, may as well plant something there…

Other than that, we have a few other incidental things going on. Strawberries are done for the year, but they continue to want to expand, to some degree outside of the bounds we’ve created for them. When I weed the edges, I have to keep training them to keep their “shoots” in their patch. Brooke and I have talked about expanding that entire plot as a “berry plot,” encompassing the raspberries and other things we may want to put there. More on that in future posts, I’m sure. Still, we’re pretty impressed with how the strawberries have been growing, so hopefully that means we’ll get a solid number next June!

The pears look good, too! We’ve probably got 10 pears of various sizes on that tree. Brooke says it’s some kind of “Asian pear” variety, as it doesn’t have the same shape we’re used to getting in our neck of the woods. They’re still pretty hard, so we haven’t tried any yet. Hopefully the squirrels don’t find them, as those jerks ate the apples we had on the tree already…grrrrrr….

I’m not going to bother posting a picture of the beehive as it doesn’t look any different from last time. Brooke got into the hive last week and saw the super mostly filled with honey, so we should be good to go for some harvesting by Labor Day. She noted the frames weren’t capped yet, so the bees were still working on it…

Last, but not least, we didn’t grow this corn, but my co-worker said that her friend had ears of sweet corn that were just going to go to waste, so we could come over and grab some. We ended up with 70-ish ears of corn, the vast majority of which Brooke cut off the cob to be frozen. The flavor was pretty good for the corn, but some of the kernels were a bit smaller (like they weren’t fully grown) and some of them just didn’t feel all that full when you ate them (like, some flavor, but not really full flavor). Still, free corn is free corn, so we’ll be eating on that for the winter. It’s nice to have neighbors who like to share!

Anyway, that’s it for now! Probably only one or two more garden updates for 2019 to go!

This Summer’s Project…

The back yard has been something of a work-in-progress for awhile. The hostas were never Brooke’s favorite, grass wouldn’t grow well close to the house, and it wasn’t really usable space (as in, we didn’t sit there, didn’t throw a ball there, etc.).

Separately, I’ve never been completely satisfied with having my grills up by the garage. They’re fine there, but there are times when we’re entertaining guests and we have to move the car out of the way in order to sit closer to them.

Thus, we had the brilliant idea of putting a patio in that would help solve some problems. We figured it’d be a relatively cheap operation and something we could handle ourselves. We had Lowe’s and Spingwater deliver stuff so there wasn’t a lot of transporting back and forth on our part, aside from a few incidentals we needed to help fill in.

But first, we had to get started…

First, we had to spread things out a bit. We tried to level it as much as we could, but the dirt was pretty clumpy and I wasn’t about to bring Dr. Gault’s tiller over… Still, Brooke spread out the remaining mulch from that spot and worked the dirt around to get a pad started.

Brooke figured out her brick edging system with the storage shed we put up a few months ago, so she put her experience to work with the edging here. She really did a good job with it, leveling each one, digging out the pathway, and stacking where necessary to get them perfect. It took her quite awhile, but got it done! I don’t think her back felt great, though….

In some of the space between where the patio was going to go and the retaining wall, we moved over some of the big rocks we had left over from the porch remodel last year. Mostly, we did this as “filler” so we wouldn’t have to put so much mulch and topsoil down, but while we were at it, we placed some flatter ones around as stepping stones.

Next step, after placing those rocks and adding in some topsoil, was to start laying down the layers under which our pavers would rest. Again, this is the same process Brooke went through in April, albeit on a larger scale. Brooke used the calculator function on Lowe’s website to know how many backs and bricks we’d need and, for the most part, we think we had enough…but honestly, we could have probably used a few more bags to get the layer a bit thicker.

The sand is where we really noticed it, though. The instructions suggested 1″ thick sand and we simply didn’t have anywhere near that. We hemmed and hawed about what to do, I made some phone calls to local stores, Brooke made a trip out to a few to ask around…but in the end, no one in this town had sand for sale. This was possibly due to the flooding of the Missouri River nearby where sandbags were made, but who can say… We even stopped in Moberly on the way back from lunch with Brooke’s parents and their Lowe’s didn’t have anything for us.

So yeah, I ended up getting a few buckets of gravel from Springwater to try and move the edge of the pavers out a bit. Definitely not ideal, but serviceable. After we got that far, we put down the pavers and the plastic edging that should hold them in place.

The pavers are…sadly…not level… But they’re pretty close and the grills roll over the pads effectively, so we’ll see how it goes. We can always pull them up and add some sand underneath as they settle, so we may just go that route when we get some motivation.

For the last addition, we picked up a post from the local hardware store and some concrete to put in a set of hangers for some plants. Brooke applied a nice stain to it. It’s pretty.

The mulch was the last bit to add. Springwater brought 200 cu ft (because we ordered 100 cu ft last year and I conveniently made a note saying we’d need more than that….and we totally did…). That amount was barely enough to cover the back space of the yard and didn’t make it around to the front.

Brooke also picked up a nice wooden plant holder to put a citronella plant in. I’ll report back if it actually does any good…

The plants look good on the hangers, too! Brooke picked up a few more hooks so we can hang a bluetooth speaker and other things if we find a need.

She also added another step just down from the retaining wall that will transition to the walkway I’m in the process of extending. I’ve got one more pad to install, but we’ll see when I get around to it. Maybe this week. Who knows.

Last but not least, I re-edged the front porch to hopefully make those bricks more stable, and then bought another 10 bags of mulch for the front (and I could probably stand to pick up a few mores when i get around to it).

That’s it! The exterior of the house could still use a good spray-down of the siding, but otherwise, I think we’re going to “coast” for a bit while we work the garden (per usual) and get grass seeded where needed.

Now, I just need to pick up some pork chops and brats and break in the new patio!

Garden Update: 6.19.19

Lookin’ good, right?

While we were on vacation, the soup beans and green beans took off, so those are moving along well. The green beans have some flowers on them, so in a few short weeks, we’ll be out there picking. We haven’t tried digging up any carrots yet (left), but they should be ready soon, if not already.

The pepper plants are a mixed bag, with three of them looking okay and three of them looking…puny… Seems like it kinda always goes like that, but we’ll see. Off to the far left, you can see the pumpkin plant Calvin wanted Brooke to put in and it’s doing just fine. Probably going to take over the whole thing…and we’ll get 0 pumpkins from it…figures…

The lettuce plants have produced very well, but after pulling off leaves left and right, they aren’t looking great anymore. We’ll probably get another week or two out of it, but we don’t expect to get a ton more. In the background, Brooke planted sweet potatoes in that lattice box in hopes that we can keep adding dirt to it, filling the box (ish), and getting the sweet potatoes to grow up in the box rather than in the soil underneath. That way, when we lift said box in a few months, the potatoes should just fall right out. Considering there are holes all over that thing to leak dirt, I’m not sure how this is going to work, but oh well…we’ve got potatoes from last year, so we can afford to experiment.

Brooke also planted a round of spinach and some black beans next to them, but those haven’t popped up yet. Off to the far right, that’s where the cucumber is supposed to be, but that’s been coming on pretty slowly. We’ll see if we eventually cross the proverbial finish line on those…

In other news, the pole beans have all sprouted, the raspberries and blackberries are doing well (some blackberries are growing, but aren’t ready yet), and the strawberries have actually been producing! Only a few berries a day, but considering that we didn’t expect to get anything, we’re pleased. They’re also projecting out “runners,” so they’re spreading in the space we’ve provided for them.

The tomatoes are rockin’ it, as always. The plant sizes are pretty variable (also “as always”…), but we’ve already got some tomatoes coming on with the biggest plants. We tied them up tonight to keep ’em moving upward moreso than outward…

Brooke did some trimming of the oregano, lemon balm, and mint plants, so that’s all under control. Also, the milkweed we planted back in may is doing surprisingly well, but I’m having to keep it weeded to keep them happy. No flowers yet on them.

The bees also appear to be doing well in that spot. Brooke needs to get into the hive and check on them, as it’s been since before vacation when she did it. We’re assuming they’re ready for a super on the top, by this point, so maybe we’ll have some honey by mid-July?

The most recent project has been trying to fight off the evil Japanese beetles that we know are coming. Brooke found one in the neighbor’s yard, but that’s the only one we’ve seen. Thus, we’re trying to be more proactive about battling them, and we’re trying kaolin clay. Our understanding is that it should serve as a bee-safe pest control that should still allow the fruit to keep growing on the tree. We picked up a bag and tried painting it onto the fruit, but that was relatively inefficient. Seen above, Brooke picked up a spray bottle and she tried diluting it enough to work in that setting. Much faster, though in that concentration, it seems to work better on the peaches than the apples due to their fuzzy coating.

Speaking of which, the peaches are looking good! Getting bigger and smelling great. The apples are a bit smaller, but the seem to be progressing nicely, too.

Pears! We have pears! This is the first year we’ve had pears! Yay yay yay yay yay!!!

I think that’s about it. Everything’s moving along well! It’s been cool and rainy all week, so I tried seeding some grass where our yucca plants used to be. That’s working alright so far, too, but I bet I’ll need to water more after this week.

Garden Update: 5.19.19

This’ll be a quick update, as I just posted something a few days ago, but we needed to pull out all the spinach so I wanted to record how much we got. Seems like we have multiple Aldi-sized bags-worth of them, so it was worth the effort! Brooke thinks this is substantially more than we had last year, and I agree. Thus far, we’ve clocked 4 gallon-size bags full of it. The lettuce is coming on pretty well, too, but we haven’t harvested any of it yet.

We’ll freeze most of the spinach to be used for smoothies. We’re hoping some of the spinach continues to grow for a few more weeks so we can have some fresh stuff for salads, but the majority of it will be saved for our smoothie habit.

Other than that, we’ve got a few more things moving along, including some little strawberry-lets, so hopefully we’ll get a few of those in the near future, too! We weren’t anticipating that we’d get all that many strawberries this season yet, but we’ve got at least 5 moving along. Fingers crossed!

We’ve also got some buds on the raspberries moving along, so Calvin’s excited to start going out every day and stealing them before I can get one…

Brooke also put the next hive body on the bees today. She saw plenty of bees in there and some new brood, so the nuc appears to be doing what it’s supposed to be doing.

And last but not least, Brooke spent the week working on macrame so she could hang up some plants on the front porch. She’s very proud of them. 🙂

That’s enough! Looking forward to fresh strawberries! …so long as the squirrels lay off of them…