Saturday, September 30, 2023

Raised Beds: Part 2

    I finally have an update to show you on our raised beds!  If you missed Part 1, you can find that here.

    After building the frames of the beds, Colton added the sides.  We decided to go with horizontal boards, which we stained and sealed. 

    The insides were reinforced with another layer of wood to keep them from bowing under the weight of the dirt once they were filled.  We then put hardware cloth (wire) in the bottom to prevent gophers from digging up into the beds.

    We lined the beds with more of our free, heavy-duty plastic and added logs and branches to the bottom to help take up space, resulting in less dirt we would have to buy.  The logs will decompose over time and enrich the soil.

    Then, just last week:

    We got dirt!  We had actually called to get this dirt several months ago, but our local supplier is a one man band and his dump truck was broken down.  Some time passed and we thought maybe he had forgotten about us, so Colton called again.  He had his truck fixed and then it broke down again!  So still no dirt for several weeks.  Colton called again last week, and finally we were able to get the dirt.  His truck had only been fixed for two days by the time we got it! 

    The boys were so excited to watch the truck dump the load.  Of course, the dirt was like a magnet and they ran to play in it as soon as the truck drove off.  They have been having fun digging, climbing, and playing in it every day.  Thankfully, children are washable, and playing in the bathtub afterwards is just as fun for them.

    I did not get any photos of the process, but Colton used the tractor to scoop the dirt into the beds.  This saved us hours of work and hard labor.  We did have to do some spreading by hand, but the shovel work was minimal.  This was a tremendous blessing.

    This is our progress up to now.  It feels good to finally be making some headway on this project again!  Next we will be mixing in some compost and raised bed soil, but that will be another post for another time...

Saturday, September 23, 2023

At the Cottage ~ September 23, 2023

    Hello, dear readers!  I do apologize for the unexpected, unannounced blogging break.  It wasn't something I had planned, and it lasted longer than I realized! 

    We are all doing very well.  I just needed some time to get caught up on a few things around the home that needed my undistracted attention.  With various projects going on and new things added to our schedules, I had fallen behind on some of my homemaking tasks.  It feels good to have them done.

    Annabel wrote a post a few weeks ago on stewardship that really struck a chord with me.  I know there are areas in which I need to improve, so these last few weeks I have tried to be very diligent about taking care of what I have.

    I am happy to say that my garden is staying about 95% (totally made up number, but based on my perception) weed- free!  Each morning I am getting out early to tend to this, as well as puttering around and tidying up outside.  Even just little things can become big ones if they are neglected.  I've also been trying to teach the boys good habits by having them put all their outdoor toys away in the shed before we go inside.  I do the same with my tools.

    Before my blogging break, I had cleaned out, organized, and rearranged my freezers.  Now I have done the same with my pantries.  This was a big task, but it looks and functions so much better.  I can easily see what I have and get to what I need.  I am still trying to figure out how I will restock it moving forward in a way that complies with our new healthy eating habits.  I will still have pasta, rice, and other grains on hand for emergency purposes, but those are not foods that are very good for me and eating them comes with not-so-good consequences.  Some food is better than no food, but I'd rather be stocking and eating foods that nourish me, as opposed to making me feel terrible.  Once we have our freeze dryer set up (post renovation), I hope to add lots of dried garden produce to the pantry.

    We have also joined our local homeschool co-op.  I have definitely had to get out of my introverted comfort zone to participate.  At orientation, we all had to go around the room and introduce ourselves to the group and talk about ourselves.  This is a nightmare for an introvert- as soon as I walked in and saw the chairs all placed in a circle, I thought, "Oh no."  But I survived (my heart was racing SO fast, haha)!  And I actually had a lot of fun.  I have since made several friends in the group.  A lot of the moms have gardens, chickens, bees, and other livestock.  Many of them can and preserve food, bake bread (including sourdough), and one even has a freeze dryer!  They are all Christian ladies, as it is a Christian group, so we share a lot of the same values.  I think a lot of us were surprised to have all of these things in common, as I know my interests usually make me the odd one out!  I feel like I have found my people, and my heart is full.  It's funny that I signed up for the kids, but it has been a tremendous blessing for me, too.  Of course, John has loads of fun playing with the other children.  We all meet once a week and really look forward to it.

    Aside from all of this, my regular tasks keep me busy- a good, productive busy.  I am sorry that I don't have many pictures to share - I haven't paused very often this month to take them!

    I do have one, and it is of Ginger "helping" me weed.  I'm sad to say it will be my last one of her, as she has disappeared.  We had a storm several nights ago, and my guess is that she got scared and ran off, as I haven't seen her since.  It saddens me as I got really attached to her.  I know that is part of life in the country- I just wish it wasn't.

    What about you?  What have you been up to this past month?  I'd love to hear!