Tuesday, October 30, 2012

David Phelps Concert

On Saturday night, we all piled in the van and headed over to McKee, KY, to see one of our favorite singers, David Phelps, in concert.  (Essie and Chloe always request to listen to David Phelps in the car.)  If you've ever been to McKee, KY, you were there for a reason or really, really lost.  But it was a beautiful drive through the multi-colored hills and a great concert that we all enjoyed in a nice, small venue.

Just before intermission, David was showing some of the merchandise that was available in the lobby, and AJ leans over and says, "Hey, that's a David Phelps CD!"  Perhaps we didn't do a great job of explaining what the evening's activity was beforehand.

Happy kids up way past their bedtime

Friday, October 26, 2012

A Busy Day

I decided to take the apparently last nice day of weather of the year and get some end of the season maintenance done.  Last night when the girls and I were driving home, I saw these beauties on the side of the road.  "Look girls." I said,  Essie squealed, "Oh, LEAVES!" I love that I'm raising a new generation of tree huggers.  =)
I fired up the ole mulcher/shredder and turned these 9 bags of leaves into

beautiful, shredded leaves (which compost much faster)

and are also good entertainment for the girls

my Romas are still producing (crazy plants) but with the forcast showing freezing temps for the next week, I decided it was time to clean up the beds and get them ready for next year

The little, white "fingers" on the plants above and below are roots.
I read on-line that its better not to stake your tomatoes but allow them to grow horizontally & they will lay more roots, which makes for healthier plants.  Since I grew them in mulch, I had no trouble with rotting tomatoes, like you do with tomatoes grown in dirt.  It did make it harder to harvest so I think next year I will stake off walking paths around the plants

This is 1 plant-CRAZY

root base of same plant

chickens enjoying some of the "not worthy to eat" tomatoes

what a pile of plants

I let the girls out for a bit to explore the reclaimed soil

I decided to layer the spent plants with some of the shredded leaves to make one big, compost pile. I didn't really have a good place outside the garden to put it so figured why not just put it in the garden and then it will be easy to spread it out in the spring too!

I added a nice, thick layer of shredded leaves to the tomato bed

and covered it with mulch (to keep the leaves from blowing away)

The girls had to check out the freshly covered bed
and the new compost pile

Now what do I do with all of these?

and these???

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Pumpkin Time

Well, its that time of year again...pumpkin carving time.

Matt read on-line that if you cut the pumpkin's top/side this way, they are a lot easier to clean out.  It sure was.  The girls cleaned out the entire insides with little help from Dad. 




My job was to sort out the seed and roast them.  Eww... gooey mess!
Of course the insides of the pumpkins went to the girls (chickens).   AJ said, "the chickens are going to have a feast.  Lucky for them they were here for...what's this pumpkin day called?"  "Halloween, my boy, its called Halloween."

Essie with her owl-made from a template and lots of help from Dad

Chloe with her Kool-Aid Man
The template book called it a ghost, but Kool-Aid Man seems less scary for my sensitive daughter who was up twice the night before because of the "scary" MacGyver episode she watched before bed.  Honestly, it wasn't that scary but she hasn't learned that MacGyver ALWAYS makes it out alive.

AJ and his bat (minus 1 ear that fell off).  I told him it made the bat seem that much scarier.  Matt called it the bat with a past...

Monday, October 22, 2012

More uses for wood chips

I read a blog the other day that pointed out the importance of learning from older, wiser homesteaders as you look to expand your homestead.  My dad built this gate for me back in September (see Garden Fence post) and specifically designed one side of the gate to be smaller because he wanted me to be able use it as a pedestrian gate.  At the time I thought, OK but today I realized it's also the perfect size for my wheelbarrow.  Learn from the older and wiser... 

I wheel several loads into the chicken run because after the girls being in there the past several months, it was pretty bare. 

now its nice and neat and won't be a muddy mess all winter

Another Weekend...

another woodworking project.  Matt's trying to convince me he needs a woodworking shop so this past weekend he completed another project on my honey-do list. 
My kitchen is way too tiny (in my opinion) and in order to make some more room, I asked Matt to make some floating shelves. 

Chloe helping pound some nails

and voila...floating shelves!

Friday, October 19, 2012

Wood Chips!

Fall is upon us and the days have been gorgeous! Though harvesting is done, I've left the Roma tomatoes growing and am using the (slowly) ripening tomatoes as chicken feed.  Other than canning some applesause, we've pretty much wrapped up the harvest and that's fine with me.  The shelves are full and I'm tired. =) 

Caesar soaking up some sun
(notice his closed eyes)

We seem to have an overachiever in our flock- her eggs have been so big lately that I can't even shut the carton.

Yep, the biggest one was a double yolker!

A while back, I shared about the Back to Eden film that shares the idea of growing food in wood chips and therefore not needing to turn the soil (or as I call it "fight the rototiller as it runs along the surface of the hard packed KY earth known as my garden). 

  This past year, I trucked in mulch whenever the city of Lexington was giving it away (TOMORROW is another give-away day) but that only gave me about an inch or two once I covered the whole garden.  My weeds were WAY less because of the mulch and I watered much less, even with the drought.  I've been contacting different sources for free wood chips, but didn't have any luck until I came home on Tuesday and saw a large truck with grinder attachment sitting behind my house.  They were trimming trees around the power lines and were happy to dump their load wherever I wanted it.  So I just opened the garden gate and they backed up and dumped it right on the garden.  

So much easier than unloading a truck with a shovel!

Load #1

The chickens were a bit intimidated by the pile at first

But soon overcame their fears and began getting to work

this is our ADHD hen who got distracted by the camera and came in for a closer look

climbing Mt. Wood Chips

"I'm king of the hill"

and Ms. Curious decided to hop in my wheelbarrow, just to make sure she wasn't missing out on anything.  She didn't stay for a ride though.

Another day...another load of wood chips!

Seriously, what am I going to do with all these wood chips!?!?!

Oh yeah...put the kids to work.
Once again I enlisted the neighbor kids-might as well put them to work, right? 
Well, I need to go spread some more wood chips around the garden.  Can't wait to see how things grow next year!