Sunday, February 10, 2008

spring like day

yesterday it was like spring.

the kids played outside.

i repaired the sandbox. we filled it with new sand. digging out the old sand was the most fun for toly.

tabitha and i worked in the garden. the tomato plant graveyard needed to be cleaned up.

this is what it looked like before we started our work.

we pulled all the tomato stakes and soaker hoses. all i need to do now is move three of the bean arches to their new location. two of them will integrate into the new tomato staking system. we'll need nineteen cattle panels for our garden this year. i'll need to get ten more. tristan was a huge help in the garden yesterday. destruction being his strong suit. i am excited for this summer gardening having a big helper like he alluded of yesterday.

i also made a new compost bin. it is huge. it should hold the better part of the three full ones that i now have. i built it toward the lower part of the paddock away from the garden. i'm in the middle of transferring the partially decomposed manure to the new bin. after the transfer is complete i'll move the old bins away from the garden also. the chickens use them as stairs into the garden. i won't be tolerant on any interloping chickens after this latest excommunication measure.

i figure that i will have the better part of five yards of "black gold" compost by spring. our garden should do really well on these new nutrients. we also plan to expand our garden a bit. we need room for okra and sweet potatoes. the proposed addition will encroach into the yard toward the house. there is a very sunny area that is wasted on grass. better used to make food for the family.

i have decided on a new solar dehydrator design. it will hold a larger volume of produce. adding a PV powered fan will be easier on this model also. besides no one will expect me to be half naked during its construction. i might compromise and wear my kilt the entire time.

my biggest stumbling block is the drying trays. i want to make them have a stainless steel mesh because all other alternatives are vastly inferior. aluminum, nylon, and galvanized screen touching our food isn't right. wooden slats will be an insurmountable amount of work--although probably what we'll end up with. i wish that stainless screen was reasonably priced.

i'm off to shovel some shite.....

this is the new compost area. the long one on the right is almost full. i could overfill it with the rest of the third bin (pictured in the above panoramas) but no need. the remaining compost in the old bin is done and ready to go to the garden. there is no point in moving it away from the garden to ride out the winter. when we are ready to use the compost i'll use that bin up first, then tear it down.

my guess that we'll have five yards of compost is pretty close. the new big bin is eight by five by four feet. that is 120 cubic feet plus the other yard and a half still in the old bin (35 cubic feet). account for continued settling about 15%. we'll roughly have 135 cubic feet--5 yards of finished compost.
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