Weather be damned!

Good morning awesome readers! It is currently cold and snowy again. And we here on the homestead have frankly had enough of mother nature’s crap. She can be soo moody sometimes.

If you remember this guy from yesterday and the complex bit of science we did. Today that got put to use. Albeit slightly different than I had planned. Instead of a thermostat I’ve had to go with a timer based on the cycle time discovered yesterday. It’s not pretty, but it’s workable.

The day began with getting the trays filled while watching what the timer did with the heater. It works, but with the minimum on time of 15 minutes the temperature swings between 85-50 during the cycle. I have a more complex digital timer but I simply don’t trust myself to set it right. Lucky for me clothes come off and on easy enough. Both the high and the low are within the range to bring up seeds so why overcomplicate it.

On the agenda today are all the zucchini and summer squash for sale this year, and some nice flowers for hanging baskets.

In all nearly 300 more plants started, and probably another 200 remaining before I’m ready to call the variety good. Today has been a very good day.

While I wrote this. The first of a few loads of mulch arrived. Good looking stuff!

Now I’ve got to get it where it’s needed, and there will be no weeds this summer and better soil quality.

Until next time…

It’s for science.. I swear

Good morning awesome readers! This morning we are in the greenhouse figuring out what it is going to take to heat this monster. The initial results as things inside the greenhouse warm up are promising. The end of the cycle seems to increase by five minutes with each on cycle.

The scientific recording methods are primitive to say the least. But the results are promising.

For the springtime I’m going to be using a little jet heater. What I am finding is a seven minute burn brings the greenhouse to 80 degrees. And there is an off time of about 25 minutes between burns. The off time grows as the items in the greenhouse warm up.

The missing piece to this setup is a thermostat that works with a 110 plug. I see one in the near future.

From the greenhouse it is off to spring cleanup. I have a pretty good jump on it this year. The chickens are doing great work to help out.

I am having a bit of a challenge keeping them on the property though. They seem to like to wander way off.

I will have to look for a solution to that soon.

Until next time…

A Tuesday surprise and Wednesday fun.

Good morning readers! It’s Tuesday once more. I woke up to a lovely surprise. The first of the tomatoes have started poking up!

The time is now here to get the work area set up in the greenhouse.

The first item to get setup is the container for growing medium. In previous seasons this was under the bench, creating a back breaking ordeal to get it where it was needed. This year it will have a devoted space, at waist level. This will be much nicer.

With the medium box in place it’s off to the work benches.

Space is at a premium for the volume that I want to do. That being the case, every inch is sacred and will be used.

With both benches installed the plan is to make trays to bridge the walk way when not in use. This will allow that space to not be wasted.

The next step is to install the tops. The tops will eventually be hardware cloth to allow drainage through, but for now will likely be mere plywood and what is on hand.

Until next time…

Is this the home stretch?

Good morning awesome readers. Today we pick up on the greenhouse where we left it yesterday. First order of business is some cleaning.

That’s much better. The next bit is on the back there. A cross beam to make a utility window that will allow the stove pipe to exit in the winter and cool air to enter in the summer. From there it is off to finish the skin.

The back wall is complete. Due to a necessity to keep costs way down I am re using much of the old greenhouse skin in the walls of the new house. A pair of scissors makes easy work of this.

At mid day. One wall and the back are up. I thoroughly wish I had my knees from 20 years ago.

With the sides and front on, the project comes down to a door.

The first step in the door process is opening the sill to the right level. This little vibrio saw has paid for itself several times over on this project.

The door I decided to make from 2×4 as well. It took some sanding, and creative use of the vibro cutter as a chisel to get the fit right but in the end there is a door.

We now once again have a functioning greenhouse on the homestead. It won’t win any beauty contests but it will work for years to come.

The next step is to setup and optimize the work area. Stay tuned

Until next time…

Work continues on the greenhouse…

Good morning awesome readers! Today we pick up where we left off on the greenhouse yesterday. The old skin has to come off and new must go on.

With the skin off I’m officially on the clock to complete this. Rain is on the way all next week so time is of the essence.

First up is to get the remaining two top supports in. I am lacking twelve foot boards so I will have to fabricate one. The process starts with what I have. Two ten foot boards. Each cut at six feet and joined with a plate made from a smaller scrap of wood.

Each end of the scrap is fastened by five long screws to hold it in place. The scrap is centered, and attached.

Both of the fabricated twelve foot boards are the. Attached to the frame over the upright beams. And the ends are cut flush.

Next it is off to the ribs. My goal is to make the outer side of the roof as smooth as possible to avoid ripping the plastic once installed.

Angles will be found, and ribs attached. After a fair amount of math and a little “winging” it. The ribs are up!

Next up is sanding everything to make sure the plastic doesn’t get ripped, and then it’s off to the covering.

All joints and corners need to be ground down.

It’s time consuming but will extend the life of the plastic.

Here we are again at the end of the day. The frame is set, sanded, and some plastic is up. It looks a little rough but there is no doubt it will stand for years.

Time to relax, and get ready to pick it up tomorrow.

Until next time…

What else would you use the dining room for?

Good day awesome readers. Today’s agenda: get the hanging baskets built, and start the tomatoes. This whole operation is taking place in the dining room, mostly because why not?

For the first try at hanging baskets for sale I’ve decided on pansy’s. They seem to have done well so far. The next few days will tell the tale though. Everything looks like it got hit with a weed whacked when it’s first transplanted.

I have been instructed to wait on the tomatoes until after school by my little helper so it’s off to the greenhouse to line up tomorrow’s work.

The existing covering is going to have to go. It simply did not survive well at all

I had hoped to save it but that did not work out. I can however salvage some of it to use on the new frame. The large spans will have to get new plastic.

The whole building is currently an abysmal mess to today gets to be a clean out day.

I have got the location set up for the wood stove now.

The back and sides will be built up with cinder blocks and filled with sand to act as a heat bank. That is a fall project though.

Next up is to gain access to the last side of the house.

I need access to remove the old plastic and install the ribs.

With the structure cleared I can move around it now. Tomorrow will be stripping the old plastic and installing the ribs.

Less than an hour outside and one of the pets has found a hanging basket. They are such pests sometimes

With supper out of the way it’s on to tomatoes 288 we are doing this year of three varieties.

My little helper is over the moon happy. We are leaving one slot open in the plug tray so we can water from below.

With creative use of a pencil the holes get done right. And to the correct depth.

At last the product of a good days work is under the lights and tomatoes are on the way!

Until next time…

The wheels are turning now

Good morning awesome readers. We are hard at work on the homestead getting ready for the upcoming season. Despite the fact that Mother Nature continues to blanket us in snow. The season is underway in the house, and you can tell by the lack of desk space

Our hanging basket items are coming along great, they are a little leggy though. That is a work in progress.

Those will be going into hanging baskets this week hopefully. The greenhouse is framed in and will be getting some new plastic when the snow goes away a bit more.

It’s also time to convert the truck from winter to spring mode. I’m getting ready to offer spring clean up services through the new business and all the winter gear must come out. My usual orange helper has decided to supervise.

Made a new path to the greenhouse. This snow is terrible for snow blowing. Perfect for snowballs though.

With the paths open once more I have officially sheared my first shear pin of the year on a rock. Not bad for a full winter.

Another successful Sunday in the books.

Until next time…

Why yes. We work in the cold

Greetings on this chilly Sunday awesome readers. I’m back in the greenhouse again today. The weather is somewhere between rain and snow. The wind is blowing and I’ve gotten the second wall ready to anchor in. After dropping the support 2×4 on my head I’ve finally got the two side walls anchored.

Next up are the front and back walls. The front wall will have a new door to replace the flap that originally came with the greenhouse.

Next up, the back wall. This one will only house the vent and chimney setups so no need to be as precise.

From there it’s off to get the 4×4 ridge beam in, and then there will be little chance of it falling on my head again.

The greenhouse is once again standing. This time snow will not take it down. Next time I will be working on some finishing touches, and then I’ll put it all together and get to work.

Until next time…

A sign of spring

Hey awesome readers. I hope Saturday is treating you all well. One of the first signs of spring is upon us now.

The girls have decided to come out and explore! What a welcome sight indeed. Today the work continues in the greenhouse, trying to get ready for the upcoming season.

The other day I got the first wall installed. While it is not perfect it is a far sight better than the poor tube walls it had before.

The second wall is complete, but there is now the task of cleaning out to put it in.

Once the two side walls are in place the rest will come together very easily.

Until next time…

Steps forward slowly in the cold

Good morning awesome readers. We are making headway as we move toward spring. The greenhouse is being rehabilitated when the weather allows.

The plan is to build strong new walls and a new arch to hold the roof

We have dipped back to meat zero temperatures so it has been slow going. We will not be stopped though. Indoors the hanging baskets for this season are off to a great start.

We are also working to create more house plants and some of the more fancy varieties as well.

The tractor is back on the homestead after a hydraulic fluid change. It is nice to have this work horse back.

The honeymoon is short lived though. After thawing the new hydraulic fluid out so it would move, I promptly got it stuck on the side hill

After getting it out from that predicament I finally got the pellets I wanted in the house. And the starter has now decided to act up.

So now the tractor sits directly in the way of everything until I can dig into the starter and make it work again. It generally would not be a problem, but whoever designed this thing decided shrouds over shrouds were the cool thing to do. I needed a break. Luckily for me the long awaited FedEx driver arrived and the furnace parts came with him. A few minutes later the new room air blower is installed.

the projects continue here on the homestead.

Until next time…

Indoor work and preparing to start seeds

Good morning awesome readers! It’s a rainy cold day today. Not a good time to be running power tools. Today we work indoors close by the wood stove.

The goal today is to get the grow light we have installed and start getting some more plants up.

Before that can be done there has to be some re organization. As it happens sometimes, in order to do something new we must shuffle some things around to clear a new space.

What was an arts and crafts area will now be a place to start seeds, and propagate house plants for sale. The arts will be moving to the kids rooms. It is very likely I will regret that eventually, but time will tell.

Finally the corner is free. It’s time to hang this light and make some plants.

I’m thinking the anchors that I chose were not the best ones for the job. They are making a pretty good mess

at last the anchors are in, and the chain hung. The light is in place and it’s time to setup the timer, and I have no idea where it has gone.

With the addition of a simple timer we are on the way. Time to get some stuff growing!

Until next time…

New beginnings have begun

Good morning awesome readers. I’ve finally made the jump. I am happy to say I’m now a business owner.

But that is only where the work begins. There is a lot more work ahead. We have suffered a setback here that also impacts the new business. The greenhouse collapsed under heavy snow.

Yesterday I took the day to dig it out. It looks like it will be salvageable, but it will need a new frame.

The cheap steel included with the kit simply could not hold up. The first step was access which was made easier with the snowblower.

I cleaned everything I could reach and dig out the roof as carefully as possible.

The next steps in the coming days are to reframe it, and install the wood stove. Once that is complete we should be able to start growing.

Until next time…

Tangible Tradeable, and Perhaps a Budding Solution part two:

In a previous post we took a look at the history of fiat, and some of the reasons it has come about. We also looked at some possible solutions to detach from it a bit in our lives as homesteaders. You can find that Here.

Metals and crypto are alright solutions, but they are kind of clunky for day to day use. Crypto because it is still a budding technology, and metals because the value continuously fluctuates, and it’s not commonly recognized as spendable currency.

Today we zoom in a bit, looking for solutions that can be implemented close to home. Solutions that can snap into day to day life on the micro scale.

barter is made difficult by the formality established between fiat and the supply chain. While it is possible to establish a barter relationship with a supplier, it would be difficult. It would likely not include the realm of material items. This is because like you, their supply chain is set up for fiat money.

Where barter has a chance to shine though is in negotiations for time. People tend to gravitate toward fiat money for their time because it is the easiest path. This is where forming these local relationships is so important.

so I challenge you. Take a look at what you can do, and what you can do well. Then take a look around your community and see who needs those skills.

Until next time…

How do you snow day? Here’s how we do it.

The day starts with a call at 5:30. The superintendent calling a full stop to school for the day. Coffee and a couple of our favorite TV shows until the sun decides to come up. The. It’s bundle up and clear the snow. Life must go on regardless of school. A second shoveling shortly after due to an over zealous snow plow driver and it’s off to breakfast.

With four wheel drive, we can go most anywhere. It’s a real treat. Off to the restaurant! Two hungry kiddos in tow.

We arrive at one of our favorite local diners. Even though we don’t come often it is always a treat when we do. The town you eat in depends on which side of the restaurant you sit on. The atmosphere is one that has you expecting to see a ’40s Plymouth full of teens in poodle skirts stopping by for a hamburger on their way to the sock hop.

With appetites fulfilled we pick our way to the next stop. Back home on egg watch. It appears we have some noon time layers on our hands. All three eggs so far have been in the afternoon to evening. I’m starting to think the chickens are sick of me checking on them every five seconds.

After a third round of shoveling its time to kick back with a warm coffee, and some more favorite shows.

when everyone settles in for the night it’s off for my walk and a good evening coffee before settling in for the night.

Until next time…

Meet up and improving the blog

The other day while working on the blog I found the events section on the dashboard. It took me to a site called meetup. Generally I would have hit the back button on something like that but my curiosity had been engaged. I had to know more. I followed the prompts and was quickly entered into a wordpress meetup about categories and tags. Cool, I thought to myself. Something new to try with all the extra spare time I’ve had as of late. And it will help with organizing the blog a bit better for all of you. Fast forward a couple of weeks and I am now sitting in a futuristic looking conference room in an innovation center some sixty miles from home.

The drive over the mountain to get here was amazing as always. I was not fast enough to get a good picture of the ski slopes, bi they were there in full operation. It is quite a sight to see.

While here and early I had occasion to wander around a little bit and found a store selling wooden toys and an assortment of rocking horses. They had closed already so I did not get a chance to go inside, but their storefront was amazing.

As I sit here now. Very early for the meeting it is very quiet and a great place to write. Back on the homestead the chickens have begun laying. We have now two eggs, and many more to come.

The weather is slated to turn cold in the coming weekend. -6 by the latest report. I have sent the tractor to the shop to have some work done. It has gotten some water in the hydraulic fluid, and will not move until it is changed. I’m hoping to have that back in time to move the chickens closer to the house and get a heat lamp set up.

On the greenhouse side of things I now have replaced the lumber for framing that out. Look for those posts In the coming days. I’ve also secured all the seeds to get the hanging baskets going for the spring. We are looking to begin those this week.

Back to that conference room. Vivid bright colors. It’s quite nice really. As people begin to arrive. Introductions are made. I am feeling very welcomed, which is very good. The meet up went well and there were some really good bits of information that will help us out here at the blog.

Until next time…

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