Sprung

Well we have been busy on the ol’ homestead, we are not planting any of our veg until June having learned our lesson last year when we had a frost in very late May which rather did for a lot of things. That being said we have been prettying up the place, which will be an ongoing process but we have made a start.

Rhododendron bushes, the one on the left we bought first but a frosty night did for its flowers.
The other five are ok though.
We have a new front door we painted Tardis blue, we just need some numbers on it now so deliveries can find us.
Finally got around the clearing the tangled mess that was the beds by the front door and have planted Azaleas.
We still need to weed though I see.
Hellebore (Lenten Rose). This area also needs weeding, sigh…
Hardening off the Sweetpeas.
Suzie’s greenhouse until we build one, all of the propagating is superstar Suzie, I am allowed to water them – that’s it!
In the back we have planted Dogwood around the water pump, this is the weeded side….
….and this is the unweeded side. Cleared today actually.
“Desdemona” a white David Austen Rose bought for Suzie’s birthday last year by Ali, Richard and Abs that was delivered last week.
Another rose Suzie bought that I must confess to not knowing the name off, they are pink though I think.
We did plant onions (Yay!) and they are starting to appear now, we bought three types because we do like our onions and we failed to grow any last year. No sign of the Broad Beans yet.
We are getting Asparagus this year too.
Blackberry.
Grapevine I think.
The Strawberries are looking more promising this year. What’s nicer than homegrown Strawberries?!

Plum tree in solitary to keep the Deer off of it.

Japanese Maple.
We are getting an area ready for some meat birds, just need to decide what to do with the mower.
We bought six new layers too, supposedly 2 x Rhode Island Red, 2 x Starlight Green Eggers and 2 x Silver Laced Wyandotte (though we are convinced one of the latter is another Rooster…Oh No!).
We are trying our best with these ones to get them used to us, seems to be working.
This cutie flew onto my phone (twice) while I was taking these photos so not shy.

A Bucketful of Compost

So being originally English we thought a $20 bucketful of compost meant the type that had a handle, but no it’s the bucket on a flatbed truck!

Our amazing compost place close by in Paducah.
Our lovely neighbor Carl took me in his truck AND was a big help in unloading it all. Thank you very much Carl!
First hugelkultur bed, half done.
First one done.
Did the newly cleared front beds too.

That Sinking Feeling

So our kitchen is done….for now at least. We left the countertop for around the sink until last as we figured the first two would be good practice, which they were. Our neighbor Scottie was a big help with getting the form built, he did the hole for the sink part, Suzie bought a little bottle of acrylic paint for the faucet hole as it was the perfect diameter. However as soon as we got the concrete poured Suze realized the form had not been built as a mirror image to what we actually wanted (the sink on the left)! While we were deliberating what to do and how we might be able to use the side with all of the bubbles on, one of our chickens jumped on top and left a claw print in the wet concrete – which made up our minds, we were using it!

Darn! Could we not have realized a little sooner?!
Pesky Chickens!

Thinking we needed an orbital sander we headed off into Paducah, Lowe’s had the sanders but not the diamond discs we needed so we had lunch and drove home. This happens a lot actually and it’s why we order a lot from the internet I guess.

Once the concrete had cured we needed to get it out of the form which proved somewhat difficult so we whacked it with a mallet and cracked the concrete, thought what the hell and then this happened:

We had no choice but to start over, our contractor was booked. We did things differently this time though and did not silicone around the form for the sink and we poured the concrete in smaller batches (to try to avoid pour marks, although we do kind of like those).

Fingers crossed.
Removing the inner form.
Carefully does it.
Flipped and sanding.
Quite a bit of sanding…
Applying the food grade sealant.
It served us well.

John our most excellent contractor arrived to fit the cabinets we bought and our new countertop. However, we bought an under-mount sink but due to the rough, uneven nature of the underneath of our flipped counter we could not use it as such. Which left us with a real problem as the hole we had left for the sink in the concrete was too small for a standard over-mount sink! We phoned around but not even mobile home and RV manufacturers could help us, their sinks were too small. The sink we had though just about fitted the hole so I decided we should have a go at jimmying it in and using it as an over-mount, John was concerned about bending the inside of the sink but went and fetched his rubber mallet.

The cabinets going in.

We got the sink in without damaging the bowls of the sink, so we took it out, glued it and put it back. There was a bit of the lip sticking up at the front and I asked John to give it another whack and DISASTER struck!

Nooooooo!!!!

Suzie was at work but when she got home she just loved it, crack and all, because that’s just who she is. I am “Mr Everything Needs to be Perfect” but Suzie said the damage was part of the countertops story now and that we should just fill the cracks, Kintsugi was mentioned but who has the money for gold!

Looks great we think.
Because there’s more to life than kitchen countertops.
It was also Starling migration season again this week.

The Egg Song

We figured as it’s winter that our chickens had gone off the boil (no pun intended) particularly our Easter Egger (Esther) who lays beautiful, smaller eggs that are green/blue (I think as I’m color blind). Esther is a bit flighty mind you and even laid one in our garage once.

While working outside we have however been hearing the “Egg Song” coming from the compost bins quite a lot but every time we have peered in there we have seen nothing. Today though as I needed to climb into the compost for the second of our hugelkultur beds I found 21 eggs including many of Esther’s plus a couple of smashed ones. Some of them were really buried so they have clearly been laying them there for a good while, we did the water test and they are all still fresh. It kinda/sorta brings our tally for the day to 26 eggs with probably one more to get from the coop today.

They are a bit mucky.

Hugelkultur

Suzie being the brilliant gardener that she has no doubt known about Hulgelkultur for quite a while but it was news to me. It is our plan to prevent the vegetable beds from flooding again when it rains (and blimey does it pour down here sometimes). What appealed to me about it was that it uses up the byproduct of land management, pruned trees, dug turf, etc., etc.

FIREWOOD LAYER
You can dig the beds first and I did a little (you need top soil at the end of the process) but it’s back breaking work and to save our backs we wanted our Hugelkultur beds to be as high as possible.
BRANCH LAYER
LEAF LAYER
STRAW LAYER
COMPOST LAYER
MULE POOP LAYER
GRASS SOD AND TOP SOIL LAYER (WATERED)
INSULATE AND WAIT FOR SPRING!

Chickens helpful as ever
Farmer Mack (also helping)