Monday, June 18, 2012

Garden photos

We have spotted some baby vegetables in the garden this week! Here's some pics of a tiny Brandywine tomato, a baby bell pepper and a yellow summer squash. The tomatillos are starting as well. It is pretty fun watching them grow!

Friday, June 15, 2012

Pennies, Pipes and Prophecies

We are pretty sure we got a sign from the ancestors on Monday.

Raised beds made from old stone windowsills (used to be along driveway)
On Monday evening, Rich was finishing up a few raised beds in the garden. He reused some old stone windowsills as edgers. The beds will house herbs and lettuce this year. Once more acreage gets cleared, we plan to convert this garden space into a designated herb and “show-and-tell” garden.

One idea is to plant a historical ‘1883 garden.’ Last fall, while organizing some old papers, Rich found a seed purchase receipt from the farm dated April, 1883. It is fascinating to see what the family grew four generations ago. Rich had the idea to try to find the same seed varieties and plant an ‘1883 Garden’ in 2013 – for the 130th anniversary. We want to get school groups involved as a fun way to learn about farming and history. 

Back to Monday night. Rich, who has a knack for finding things (which is probably why he enjoyed archaeology), swung the hoe into the soil and caught the glint of metal. He bent down and picked up a small, round, earth-caked object. He brushed off the dirt and corrosion and discovered a coin.
With a little more cleaning, he realized it was an Indian Head Penny dated 1883.  Right in the place where we plan to plant the 1883 Garden!  We have a saying around here, when something that we need or have been looking for suddenly appears, that ‘The House Giveth.’ But, this find takes it to a new level. 
1883 Indian Head Penny found in the garden
When we are so busy with hard work that is also so new to us, and a future that is largely unknown to us, we cannot help but want a little sign that we are on the right track. This was one of those moments that makes you marvel at the many ways this old house connects our past to our future. We feel lucky to just be here now, right where we are.  

Hope it's not a pipe dream! (Clay pipe from early 1800s)
PS: The very next day Rich also found an old clay tobacco pipe in the same area.  What could our ancestors be hinting at now?

Sunday, June 10, 2012

Six Curious Little Stinkers - Too Cute Not To Post

I was fixing the tractor the other day and turned around to find an entire greeting committee of baby skunks!  The curious little stinkers fell in love with my boots. 

I also found these two little guys practicing their wrestling moves later in the day.  The mama skunk is probably asleep in the barn. Very cute.

Sunday, June 3, 2012

Hops Trellis Pole Raising 2012

Today, we raised 22 more poles to expand the trellis in the hopsyard. HUGE thanks to those who helped out - even braving the weather. Amazing how efficient you can be when you are racing a storm. We had sun here until the last row of poles to raise. Then, we were not sure if we would get them all in before the thunderstorm rolled over. But, we did in the knick of time! Have to say it was much cooler than last year, when we were doing the same work in the July heat.

Of course, getting the poles to this point took some preparation.
First, we logged them. Then, we cut them to 21 feet long - 3 feet below ground and 18 feet above. We had to seal the ends with deck sealant because we found that some of the poles from 2011 were cracking. We capped the tops with metal square sheets to preserve the wood a bit more, too. We drilled hooks into the tops for the trellis cable to rest. We augered holes in which to sink the poles three feet down, in line with the hops rows. Finally, we dragged the poles into place. Simple, right? There is still the cable to string and coir to tie down, but that is for another day. We finished off this day with a big meal and some friend's home brews.

Augering and digging out rocks

Getting poles into position
Racers, take your places, it's pole position
Using the brace Rich made last year, and some manpower
We are de-leanifying this one
Yikes! Gettin' it done in time.
Running for cover
Now, that's a good-lookin' hopsyard!
Our supplies - included it because Rich likes this photo