Tag Archives: shed

organized-workshop-2-26-14

Sputtering towards Spring

Organized workshop

In between the unusual arctic blasts that continue to pummel the area I’ve been quietly preparing for the inevitable coming thaw. We’re now back in another round of near record-low temperatures, but before that happened I got some much needed clean-up done as well as set up a really simple coldframe/mini-greenhouse for seed starting.

Ever since I brought my first load of stuff out to the property there’s essentially been an amorphous pile of stuff including everything from private affects and clothes to tools and materials all piled together with little rhyme or reason. It was under tarps strung between trees for the first 3 years, and then about a year ago it moved underneath the protection of the new shed.

Organized shed

Well, I finally went through ALL of the boxes of stuff and organized at least roughly. I can’t tell you how many things I found that I’d spent crazy amounts of time looking for.

The shed is a long way from done, and I’ll have to move some of the stuff again to work on the root cellar, but it’s so wonderful to easily find the tools and materials for projects and then know exactly where they go when I’m done. There’s an actual place for that kind of object now!  Also, I finally have space to pull in a vehicle to work on it when I need to.  Will wonders never cease!

Simple Coldframe

Hay and straw bale cold frame mini-greenhouseI made a rectangle from 8 old hay bales someone gave me and then stacked another 3 bales on the north wall of it.  Then I put down about 6″ of straw within a rectangle to insulate the floor and then draped a clear plastic drop cloth over a few 2×2 boards.  I secured the drop cloth with some of the scrap chunks of granite I have for various projects, mainly the footing around the straw bale buildings.

I also put a couple of the bigger dark pieces of granite inside of it, propped up against the back wall.  These chunks of granite are thermal mass that moderate the temperature, absorbing heat and keeping it from getting too hot during the day, and then re-radiating that heat back out at night.

Opened coldframe with onion trays

Today the outside temperature topped out at 26F, but inside the bale greenhouse it was 80F.  I’ve been bringing the seedlings inside at night since it’s been getting into the single digits and it gets below freezing inside the greenhouse, but soon it’ll protect against mild frosts and I can start getting tomato and pepper soil blocks started in there along with the onion trays I’ve already got growing.

Eventually there will be a greenhouse attached to the front of the common house and I won’t need to set a variation of this up every year.

 

Unglamorous Accomplishments

It’s been almost 5 months since my last blog entry.  Summing up so many months to a length that won’t drown you is the challenge now.  The reoccurring themes of this past summer seem to have been maintenance, preserving gains, and most recently, new friendships.

Tarped shed

I suppose the lack of blog posts has something to do with the unglamorous nature of maintenance work.  For instance, I did quite a lot of work on my car this year, but it’s not something that particularly lends itself to Maya Creek’s mission or the audience.  Still, vehicle repair is an act of self-reliance and I learned a lot about car repair.

Other unphotogenic progress was made in the shed. I laid billboard tarps around the outside of the shed, which Sydney covered with gravel.  That, along with the french drain I installed on the uphill side have stopped all water from seeping into the root cellar.

I also tightly wrapped the shed in two layers of billboard tarp as a temporary moisture barrier for all of the tools and materials inside of it.  That allowed Sydney and myself to build shelving and I began the unenviable task of organizing the mountain of odds and ends that have accumulated, and which is still far from being sorted.

Duplex with half a 2nd coat of exterior plasterWith some help I also put a sturdy temporary cap over the cistern pit that was slowly collapsing in on itself thanks to several feet of water in it.  I’ve since pumped it out and after several months it is now relatively dry and I should be able to start work on it early next year.

A second coat of earthen plaster made its way onto the first floor of the side of the duplex that didn’t have it yet, as well as the exterior on most of the other half.  There will be a lot of plastering to do next year, but by the end of it the common house should be ready for the finishing touches: interior shelving, counters, sinks, etc.  I certainly won’t miss all of the dust on everything!

Mom, Gary, Me new gateSydney and I felled a couple of large cedar trees that blocked a significant amount of sunlight on the solar panels.  We trimmed them up and peeled them, then a group of visiting AmeriCorps volunteers helped me haul them down to the end of the driveway where I’d dug two large holes for them.  A couple weeks later my mom and stepdad helped me raise and set the posts and attach a gate.  Eventually I’ll put a wooden cross piece attaching the posts with “Maya Creek” on it.

Screen doorEarly in the summer I took off the back door of the common house, added a dog/cat door, changed the side it opens on, and modified the door so I could put a regular door knob on it.  Now I can lock all of the buildings as well as lock the gate at the front.  So there were some major security improvements this year.

I built a custom screen door for the common house earlier in the summer which was great for opening up the place to cool it down at night without letting all of the bugs in.  Eventually the back porch will get screened in and we can leave the back door open too and get some cross ventilation.

paw-paw-harvest-taoIt was a good year for mushrooms.  We found several large patches of chanterelles, a number of oyster mushrooms, and few medicinal jelly ears late in the summer.  I’ve since found some lion’s mane, resinous polypore, and velvet foot mushrooms that have been quite tasty.  I also turned an excellent wild harvest of paws paws into some mead and wine, which is getting close to being ready now.

Sydney left at the end of September and a little while before she left I began to connect with more people in Columbia.  I can’t remember the last time I’ve met so many fun and interesting new people in such a short amount of time.  I hosted my first Taco Tuesday potluck-type event about a month ago, unfortunately by the time most people got here it was too late for a tour.  I’m excited and energized about becoming a part of the community and all the fun, collaboration, and mutual support it brings.

Adventures in Homesteading

Cattle panel tomato supports with Sydney and KitaMy summer-long volunteer, Syndey, arrived last week.  She’s a Wisconsin native who has just finished an engineering degree in California.  She’ll mainly be focusing on the food situation, maintaining the garden, harvesting and preserving food, etc.  We’ve already spent a good amount of time familiarizing her with the garden, the plants, the pests, and the tasks to keep it on track.

Garden Observations

We just put up a few cattle panels with t-stakes to act as tomato supports.  So far I’ve tried tomato cages and last year I used t-stakes with rope tied between them as supports, but I can already tell that the cattle panels are going to be my favorite so far.  They are far more stable than the other two styles, and I think the clean up at the end of the year should be fairly minimal.

The squash bugs made their first appearance several days ago and we’ve been religiously checking for eggs and adults.  I think we caught it early and it seems to be under control.  I pulled off the straw mulch on the squash beds, so they’ll need to be watered more, but taking away the squash bug shelter is more important.  I’ve laid down some boards and pieces of granite in between the plants so we can flip them over in the morning and kill the adults that shelter there.  Another trick we’ve started doing is using duct tape to pull the eggs off rather than just pulling the section of the leaf off altogether.  It works reasonably well.Peaches ripening

A lot of things in the garden are doing well.  There’re loads of peaches on the trees, and there’s even  a handful of pears and apples ripening.  The blueberries are growing ever so slowly, but the gooseberries are loaded down and the thornless blackberries are finding their stride as well.  The potatoes are looking phenomenal, and most of the other annual vegetables seem to be kicking into high gear.

The goumi berry harvest has been completed.  This morning Sydney, Molly, and I got almost a gallon of berries off one bush.  I’d already picked the small goumi plant clean for fresh eating over the last couple weeks since it ripened first.  We made juice and fruit leather out of it.  I’ll be posting a step-by-step guide on how we did it since there wasn’t a whole lot of useful information, especially on how to separate the seed from the pulp.

I’m noticing that the birds are leaving the berries in the garden alone this year. I’m not sure if that’s because the glut of rain has made earthworms and other sources of food more accessible or if the looping mp3 of predator sounds is discouraging them from staying out in the open. There certainly seems to be fewer birds hanging around the garden. It’s probably some mix of the two.  I’ll post the MP3 of sounds I’ve made in the future when I’ve perfected it.

Rain Diversions

We had a week of very heavy rain since I last reported on the root cellar in the shed leaking and alas, significant amounts of water seeped in again.  I’ve finished half of a french drain on the uphill side of the shed, and I should finish the other half later this week.  I also put a rain diversion swale in the driveway to redirect water away from the shed as well as laying down some more tarps around the shed. We got .75″ of rain last night and so far nothing in the root cellar.

Eastern Hog Nose

Eastern hog nose snake,  aka "Puff Adder"

John came across a previously unseen species of snake out here recently.  It was right outside his cabin and scared him pretty good as it was an eastern hog nose snake, aka “spreading adder” or “puff adder” as it puffs out it’s neck like a cobra and hisses loudly. It’s not poisonous and will even play dead to avoid predators, but it’s certainly nothing I’d like to mess around with.

Carpenter Bees

I’ve also had the first serious run-in with carpenter bees. They started digging holes in the earthen plaster near the top of the gable wall on the common house. They’re typically good pollinators to have around, but I don’t want them digging holes in the walls so I’ve sprayed them with a pesticide which I loath using but don’t have a suitable recourse at this time.

I’m hopeful that once the finish coat of plaster goes on it will discourage them because it should be significantly smoother and harder. I’ve got my fingers crossed otherwise I’ll have to figure something else out.

Feist perched on the lip of a rain barrel

Balancing Act

I was on the phone making plans to visit my friend Daniel in Hawaii over the winter.  He just surfaced from a 7 month tour on a submarine, and we’re planning on doing some sailing around the islands there when I come for a month in December.  Anyway, I looked up and I saw Feist perched on the side of a rain barrel having a drink.  The lip has to be half an inch wide at most.  She sat there for a good 15-20 seconds after I noticed.

Pretty impressive.

 

 

New mailbox

Addressing Problems

I haven’t started on any major construction projects this year, but I have been spending a lot of time in the garden, doing some Spring cleaning, and addressing some other issues.  I’ll start of with the thing that spurred this post.  Today is the first day for pre-ordering internet service on the new fiber optic grid that’s been laid down in the area.  It was absurd watching them run fiber optic cable down the gravel road in front of Maya Creek.  City water doesn’t even come down this far, yet we’ll now have ridiculously fast internet.

New mailbox

Many of you know the issues I ran into when I tried to get an address for Maya Creek.  I’d essentially given up and settled into the PO box routine.  However, the fiber optic people saw fit to install a connection box at the end of the drive way and when I called them a couple months ago they said that they could still hook me up even without an address.  When I called today I got a different story and was momentarily crushed.  Then I was able to get in touch with the guy who told me he could still hook me up.  He looked up the house on Google Earth and then went and looked at their contract with the city.  Apparently, the city gave me an address and didn’t bother telling me about it.

So, I went from no address and crappy internet service to 30 Mbps(when the grid goes live in mid-July) and an address.  I dusted off the old mailbox I bought back when I’d been told I was getting an address and went ahead and set it up out front using a leftover cedar post.  I feel like a bonified neighbor now.

Garden Trials

The garden has been doing wonderfully.  The fruit trees are covered in baby fruit, the asparagus had a good run, and everything is planted except for the future succession plantings of various veggies.

Slug trap works on pill bugs tooOne issue I’ve run into is that I didn’t start my peppers or tomatoes early enough and the seed starting mix I used was out of a bag that got donated to me and it was total crap.  When the plants started showing serious nitrogen deficiency I went ahead and stuck them in the ground, but being as small as they are I’ve already lost quite a few.

Something was eating the leaves off my peppers and I finally caught the culprits one night, sow bugs, hundreds and hundreds of sow bugs.   A couple of nights before I’d set out a beer trap because I thought slugs might be the culprit, but wow, that trap filled up with maybe 50-100 of the buggers.  So, I’d luckily stumbled upon a control.  It still didn’t seem to be totally stopping them though, so I’ve also been spraying with a soap/cayenne pepper/garlic spray to make the leaves taste bad to them which doesn’t seem to be effective so I’m going to stop that.

Aluminum can plant collarAnother technique I’m trying out because a couple of my tomato plants were getting chopped down right at the base of their stem is making little metal collars out of aluminum cans.  I didn’t think it was sow bugs doing that, but I’ve read accounts online that they do.  There are definitely less sow bugs on the plants with collars, but I’ve still lost a couple more tomato plants.

Every year is a battle with pests in an organic garden.  It does seem to come into balance more and more as time goes on, the pest population explodes and eventually the things that eat those pests have a population explosion of their own.

I believe I brought the sow bugs in with a bunch of manure, and now that they’ve finished eating the decaying material in the manure they’re turning their sights on the next closest source of nutrition.  I have no doubt that they’ll eventually become less of a problem.

Shedding Stuff

My next project is going to be going through and organizing the shed and putting up the permanent 2-ply tarp walls.  Going through all of the stuff is going to be quite the nightmare. I’ll have giant piles of stuff to donate, stuff to sell, stuff to trash/recycle, and then stuff to keep and organize.  Not fun.

The temporary tarps that got hung up have been ripped to shreds.  The new ones will be attached more securely.  I’m also going to bury some tarps around the outside of the structure because I was getting water seeping into the root cellar.  After hooking up the downspouts and redirecting the roof water away and then laying down some tarps on top of the ground around the shed the problem has stopped.

 

 

July 2012 Newsletter: The Doldrums

The doldrums of June spread into July, but despite the incessant heat we soldiered forward on our projects.  We haven’t been accomplishing as much as we’d hope though, and have decided to postpone finishing the rainwater cistern until next year.

We’re still making good progress on the duplex.  Jesse has installed some bracing because the 2nd story was wobbly, and the bracing has really made a huge difference. He along with some volunteers also put in the blocking on the roof to fill in all the gaps between the purlins.

Over the last month we’ve finished the framing, dug the foundation drainage/insulation trench, put down the gravel bag stem wall, and poured the base layer of earthen floor.

We just finished placing the foam board insulation and drain tile in the rubble trench.  The foam board isn’t exactly environmentally friendly.  We’re thinking about using a layer of empty soda bottles as a dead air barrier in future construction.

Tomorrow we’ll fill it in with clean 1″ gravel and can move on to other building aspects like building window bucks, finishing the roof, and actually stacking the bales!

We finished installing the metal on the roof last week and we’ll have the gutters done tomorrow.  We used some semi-transparent pieces of roofing to let more light in and it looks they’re going to let in plenty of light.  We’ll probably only need a few lights inside.

We’ve done a good bit of digging in the root cellar squaring it up and getting it down to a better depth so some of us taller folks will be able to walk around in it without knocking our heads on the rafters.

There’s still part of a day of digging left to do on the root cellar, and then it’s on to framing it up, plastering the walls, and adding the gravel floor, shelves, and steps.

We had a wonderful 4th of July party, made some new friends and enjoyed the company of some old ones.  On the 21st we held an earthen floor workshop which was sparsely attended, but enjoyable and hopefully helpful nonetheless.  By the way, our next workshop is earthen plaster on August 18th!  Come by, learn something new, and give us a hand!

As it does every year about this time we’ve gone lax on our gardening duties as we fall behind on construction projects.  The drought certainly hasn’t helped anything, but despite that we’re still getting a nice crop of tomatoes.  So far the favorites are the yellow cherries and the hillbilly orange tomatoes. We also got a good haul of potatoes, onions, and garlic.

Most everything else is in serious need of water, but we’ve mainly kept the watering to a minimum and have been making sure the perennial fruit and berry bushes don’t die.

We’ll still plant a few more things for a fall garden, but unless the rain picks up we won’t expect much.  If we weren’t so pressed on construction we’d be hauling more water, ah priorities.  Next year we’ve got a full-time garden manager already signed up so that should help alleviate this seasonal decline.

We’ve had a number of comings and goings this last month, Dan, Lucy, Mike, Tristan, Tony, Bobbie, Janis, and Natalie.  We appreciate all of the hard work everyone has put in!

 

 

 

June 2012 Newsletter

It was a very hot, dry, yet productive June.  Many people have asked about us during the recent heat wave and we appreciate your concern.  I can almost guarantee we fared far better than those who lost power and cooling by default.  We worked during the cool mornings and by around noon it was too hot for that, and we’d retreat to the common house or the lake or creek for a dip.

The temperatures in the common house hovered around 80, although if we hadn’t been leaving the doors open to dry the slip straw interior walls it may have been more comfortable.   John’s cabin topped out at 75, while our highs hit 107 on a couple of occasions. The fan seems to really be necessary to get the benefits of the coolness of the house, otherwise it can get quite muggy.  You heat up the air around you and sit in a hot pocket of air otherwise.

Framed Up

Many of you may have seen our progress through our posts in our facebook group, but we’ve made significant progress on the shed and duplex.  We rented an auger and drilled the holes for all of the cedar posts we harvested this spring.  Digging holes especially 2′ deep holes is really hard difficult work.  The auger knocked out probably a week or more of extremely hard labor in less than 24 hours.

We used a lot of the lumber we salvaged from the old neighbor’s house, but still ended up spending about $1k on lumber for both projects.  It’s amazing how quickly the structures went from nothing to a whole skeleton.  There’s still an enormous amount of work left on both structures, but it’s nice to be able to see the outline.

The next step on the shed is to finish putting in a few posts and then it’s on to the root cellar, which still has some digging left to do before plastering and putting in the roof and stairs.

We’re working on getting the foundation insulation/drainage trench dug and then putting in the gravel bag stem wall so that we can be putting in earthen floor for our natural building workshop on July 21.

We got the bales for the duplex delivered, but we won’t put them in until the base layer of earthen floor finishes drying.  It’s about $2/bale if you pick the bales out of the field, but we missed our window this year because of the early spring.  Last year we pulled bales on the weekend of July 4th, but when we started looking around all of the bales had already been pulled out of the fields.  We found a farmer willing to deliver for $3/bale so we went with that.  Next time we’ll keep an eye out earlier in the year, or find someone to let us know when they’re ready for us to pick them up.

 Workshops Rescheduled

The primitive skills workshop was a smashing success.  I wouldn’t have believed that someone could light a friction fire on their first attempt, but several people were able to do it.  The next time someone asks for a light I’ll make sure to have a couple of sticks handy.  Ok, maybe not, but it would certainly be impressive.

The flint knapping demonstration was well done and the wood-working section was interesting.  I was especially impressed with everyone’s proficiency with an at’latl after just a few tries.  It took me quite a few  attempts my first time to get it to even move in the right direction.

We had to reschedule/cancel a couple of workshops this month.  Our June 30 natural building workshop is now on July 21, we simply didn’t have the duplex to the right stage to do what he had planned for the earthen floor.  We cancelled the trail building workshop and will just have the trail building workshop we already had scheduled for October 13.

If you’re interested in attending any of our workshops please fill out the form on our website here, or if you’re in our facebook group you can just add yourself to the event.

Garden Struggles

It’s been a tough year for the garden weather-wise.  We started with too much rain, then late frosts, then 2 months of drought, extreme temperatures, and now plagues of insects.  We started getting quite a bit of summer squash and zucchini out of the garden around the first week of June, the heat seemed to take a toll on the flowers.  We got our first ripe tomato on June 28, but tomatoes need a certain temperature range to ripen and they’ve mostly been sitting green on the vine.  We’re getting some peppers now as well, and the melons are just about to ripen.

Squash bugs have continued to be a nuisance, my new strategy involves the soap spray, which I spray on the ground around the squash, which drives the adults up and can then easily be picked off.  The juveniles just need to be sprayed.  I know we’re not getting all of them because of the number of egg clusters we continue to find, but it seems to be keeping them mostly at bay as long as we’re persistent.

On a downside we got invaded by thousands of blister beetles a couple days ago and they’ve been moving around to different parts of the garden every day.  I’ve picked off 500 or more by hand and thrown them in a bucket of soapy water.  The soapy spray doesn’t kill them, but it seems to deter them from eating that particular plant.  They disappeared altogether this evening, but I’m not convinced they’re really gone.

Another nuisance are the cucumber beetles, whose population has recently exploded.  I’m going to try some simple organic controls like spreading wood ash around, spraying them with hot peppers, garlic, and maybe making some sticky traps.

 

May 2012 Newsletter

This past month we transitioned from clearing out and processing trees to actually breaking ground on our major projects.  Just today we finished up grading the foundation for the straw bale duplex.  Yesterday, we had the excavator dig out as much of the root cellar as he was able to and then graded the shed/workshop site.  That’s been the major hold up on our projects, and with that completed we’ll be splitting up somewhat and focusing on specific projects.

John and Tony are working on the shed/workshop/root cellar, and recently refined their roof plans.  They’ve already built a few roof trusses and we received the lumber to do the rest of them yesterday.  The root cellar is going to need quite a bit more digging, but they may wait until they get the shed roof up to do that.

Jesse is tasked with the duplex, although I’ll be helping him with the planning.  Now that the foundation is graded we’ll start in on building the timberframe.  Once it’s protected with the basic frame and roof we’ll start on the rubble trench, stem wall, and then the earthen floor.

I’ll be heading up the work on the common house and the rainwater catchment system and cistern.  Over the last several weeks we’ve put in a little less than half of the interior walls using rammed straw lightly coated with clay.  Because the forms won’t fit over things like light switches, outlets, and plumbing that sticks out of the wall we’re using cob to fill in around those spots.  We’re also using cob at the top of the walls since there’s no space to ram the straw down if you put the forms all the way to the top.  So far it seems to be working well.

We’re reclaiming some broken chunks of concrete (AKA urbanite) from an old patio that was being ripped out.  We’ll use that for the retaining wall on the cistern and whatever is left over we’ll use in the stem wall in the duplex.

We’ve also done some work on John’s cabin.  We’ve cobbed in the open areas in the roof except for a spot in the back where he’s putting in a flue for a small rocket stove.  We’ve also put the first coat of earthen plaster on the roof bales and started on the second coat of plaster, or infill coat, on the lower part of the cabin.

Clay is a hugely fundamental part of our building methods here, and so any innovation in our sifting technique that speeds it up or makes it easier help greatly.  We’ve begun layering the different sifting screens and placing wheelbarrows underneath them.  This means less bending and shoveling, and has increased our sifting rate by probably 33% or so.

Workshops

I applaud the people who bravely attended the humanure workshop.  It went well and we’ll post the video from the workshop when we have time to edit it together.  The next workshop will be the Primitive Skills Primer on June 16 taught by Justin McClain.

 Garden

So far all we’ve harvested from the garden has been lettuce and peas, although that should be changing in the near future.  Our squash plants have taken off and the tomatoes and potatoes are not far behind.  With the help of  Bobbie and Janis we’ve managed to stay on top of the weeds this year.  Also, we’ve discovered that s spray of just water and a small amount of Dr. Bronner’s soap will kill squash bugs.  It looks to be an epic year for squash, and with the dehydrator cooking away we should be able to preserve huge amounts of it when the time comes.

Unfortunately for the garden we haven’t gotten much rain in the last month, although that has certainly helped with our construction plans.  We’ve been watering sporadically the few plants that need it from our rainwater barrels by the solar shower, but unless the drought breaks soon we may be forced to truck in some city water.

Fundraiser

We’ve raised $4,700 towards our fundraising goal of $8,000!  Thank you to everyone who has contributed!

Photos

We’ve got more pictures posted in our photo gallery for those who are interested.

 

 

Shed Prepping

We’ve been getting tons done with the new volunteers here.  Over the last couple of days they’ve helped clear out the spot behind the common house where we’ll be building a combination storage shed/workshop/root cellar this year.

The new chainsaw has really sped things up, but with any chainsaw it’s still stressful to use such a dangerous tool.

Healing Up and Breaking Down

As some of you already know I suffered a serious hand injury at the end of October.  I was sharpening a shovel using far too much pressure on the file, lost control, and gashed my wrist open.  I was wearing gloves for protection, but the shovel caught me just above them and severed 4 tendons and one of the 2 main nerves, narrowly missing one of the 2 main arteries.

John and Jesse were nearby and we got to the hospital right away.  Luckily, I have health insurance and so won’t be gashed too badly financially on top of it.  We were in the process of winding down construction for the year anyway so the timing, if it had to happen at all, isn’t terrible.

My doctor and hand therapist both tell me I’m recovering remarkably well. I’ve gotten a considerable amount of feeling back and my range of motion and strength is starting to return. I should be good to go when Spring rolls around.

Apart from that minor tragedy, John has moved into the new mini-cabin. He’s sealed it up better, but it looks like we should have dug deeper for the insulation barrier in the floor. We’ll fix that in our future cabins.  Jesse was staying in the common house, but just departed for a month and half trip to Denver, Portland, and Seattle. I’m staying mostly with Jessica in Columbia, although I’m hoping to start transitioning back out to MC over the next several weeks.

It’s been an incredibly mild and sunny winter and the new solar array has been pumping out the power.  Our peak power output last I checked was 847 watts from panels rated at only 800 watts.  Normally you never even produce the rated watts for panels, but thanks to the reflected roof sunlight we’re probably making an extra ~25%.

We’ve started really planning and prioritizing for this coming year and have created a project breakdown to keep track of it.  The big projects will be putting in a cistern for collecting rainwater, building a mini-duplex similar to the mini-cabin we built last year, building a shed with a root cellar in it, finishing the outside of the mini-cabin, and doing a lot of interior work on the common house.  That ought to keep us busy.

All the while we’ll be maintaining the garden.  I’ve done some planning and have put together a page of garden notes.  It has on it all of the seeds we’ve ordered with pictures and descriptions.  We’ll probably add a few more plants before it’s all said and done.  On the same page I’ll record all the pertinent information on when and how much we plant, when and how much we harvest, and everything else noteworthy.  I’m also going to record the rainfall and high and low temps in the garden.

We lost all of corn to raccoons last year, but this year we’re moving the tipi up into the garden and I’m going to spend the summer in it along with the dog.  That along with the solar-powered radio playing predator noises during the day ought to minimize our pest problems as far as mammals and birds go.