Thursday, August 29, 2013

drawing greenhouse plans (greenhouse post #2)

i broke my brain from thinking too hard. this is what it looks like when i'm working on drawing up greenhouse plans. in my attempts to draw, i discovered too many unknown variables. how much will the glass overlap the 4x4 frame? how much will the roof overhang the wall? how wide do the sides of the greenhouse need to be? how tall is the back to make the door fit? how am i even doing the roof? 3 glass panes wide or only 2? it goes on and on and on. too many unknowns at this point to lock down an appropriate 'to scale' drawing. and quite a few math things i need time to figure out in regards to roof trusses and angles and lengths.
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Friday, August 23, 2013

removing landscaping rocks to prepare a site for a future greenhouse (greenhouse post #1)

there will be a greenhouse in my future! it will go here!
where the rocks and weeds are doing nothing but wasting space and pissing me off because the rocks end up everywhere
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progress with removing the rocks and laying the pavers
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rocks are all gone on one side of the L-shaped area
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(sorry its sun/shade hard to see, but its mostly just dirt)

46 pavers, and 5 bags of sand
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pavers! i used the plywood piece to help level the sand before laying the pavers
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molly came to help
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too cute to send away
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let me just SHOVE that sand out of the way. the nice, leveled sand...
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then she lays on the sand
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see why i need sand on top of the dirt? all those stupid little roots, and rocks
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the next day i got a few more blocks laid, and guess who came back to help!
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or at least supervise. oh hey look! a stick!
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as far as i've gotten with the pavers this last week. i'm currently stuck with the stump of the metal stand from the old rusted grill that is long gone.
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the grill was old and rusted and fell over last year. the gas company came out and shut off the line. but the base was set FIRMLY into concrete below the frost line. not wanting to dig that up, my dad came up and we pounded it into submission with a big sledge hammer. it was not easy.
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Tuesday, August 20, 2013


i planted them cuz they bring all the bees to my garden
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and they make sunflower seeds!
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my sunflowers, i planted a bunch
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and the bees
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two bugs going at it
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the seeds are coming in
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sun behind the sunflower
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Saturday, August 17, 2013

canning peaches and pickle slices

back on august 2, i canned peaches and pickles with my mom.

while we were visiting my gramma in a small town in the middle of rural minnesota, we found faye elberta peaches in the little local grocery store.
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my mom says faye elberta peaches are the absolute best for canning. but she hasnt been able to find them for years. so she bought two lugs (boxes) of 50 peaches each. they cost $16.99 a lug, which is HALF the cost of what we've been able to find at farmers markets or the grocery stores here in the cities.
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clean sterilized jars
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gorgeous ripe peaches
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the stove setup. starting with the little tiny pan and moving clockwise, the water to heat and sterilize the lids, the canner, the pot of boiling water to blanch the peaches, and the pot of homemade syrup.
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the counter setup. the towel is where i slice up the peaches and fill the jars. the yellow bowl is clean water for 'holding' the peaches that have been peeled and are awaiting slicing. they'll turn brown if exposed to air. the green bowl is right next to the pan of boiling water for blanching. the peaches go from boiling water to cool water and my mom rubs the peels off. that water gets dirty fast with all the peels, and has to be changed often.
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we used ball "fruit fresh" to help prevent browning. it contains ascorbic acid (vitamin C) and citric acid. we only put it in the bowls of water, but apparently you're supposed to put it in the syrup as well.
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peel (the peels just rub right off)
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it takes me longer to slice and pit the peaches than it does to blanch and peel, so mom gets ahead of me now and then and stops to help slice. when my brother helps slice then the two of us can keep up.
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i didnt get any pictures of the slicing and filling the jars because my hands are always wet and sticky thru that part of it. dont want to touch my camera.

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this years our syrup was made of 24 cups of water and 4 cups of sugar.
we used around 87 of the 100 peaches in canning
processed the first canner full for 5 minutes (the water was already boiling)
processed the second and third batches for 7 minutes each.
one jar didnt seal.
12 quarts, 7 pints.

on to pickle slicers!!

first you must have cucumbers, all washed up
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and plenty of garlic peeled
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cut the heads off plenty of dill. we use a mandolin to get all the slices to be the same thickness. we like slightly thicker slices. skip the ends, they dont pickle well.
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stuff the jars. we used two cloves of garlic in each pint, on the bottom with a large head of dill. stuff the slices in, and put a small head of dill on top. then pour in the brine.
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we always seem to buy too many cucumbers. this is what was leftover after filling all our jars
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for the compost bin, along with the peach peels and pits
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our haul of goodies
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our brine this time was 18 c water, 6 cups vinegar, 3/4 cup canning salt.
1 bushel of cucumbers (too many!)
we bought 3 bunches of dill
and used 5 bulbs of garlic
we processed 5 minutes in the canner.
we made 3 quarts and 18 pints.

and now they'll have to sit and pickle at least 3 months before we can even touch them.