Winter weather And WTSHTF

RAIN, RAIN, and more rain. And COLD. Makes it bone chilling damp. Just want to stay inside wrapped in a blanket and drinking hot tea!

PROBLEM. To much time to think and plan. I have already ordered seed. To much seed. Lots of interesting things in the catalogs. And then I ordered fruit trees for the new Food Forest. Found some relatively inexpensive – but still spent more money.

Trying to keep busy doing inside stuff. I cleaned out some closets. Donated some stuff. Amazing what you accumulate in 30 years! I really should sell some stuff on Craig’s list or Ebay. I love Craig’s List.

We bought a big tool box to organize our tools. It had to be put together. I did that. What a pain! Pictures and vague instructions. Had to put one set of legs on twice. And the handle. The multiple socket sets came in handy! They did not mention the holes to hold the box are different heights. And only one leg had a up arrow! It is together now. I had to quit and take a nap. The tools are sorted and installed. 6 socket sets! Geeez. And sooo many drill bits! Still need to sort them by size. Tired of tools right now.

There is mushroom spore in the refrigerator waiting to be put in logs. It needs to quit raining so my husband can cut the logs. And I don’t want to drill holes in the rain. VERY TIRED OF RAIN.

I would like to take this down time to do some painting inside. But, painting when there is high humidity is not smart. 😁

And now, I have been hanging around on Permies.com. I asked about a portable Rocket fuel stove. I saw instructions somewhere for making a small one with bricks and another set of instructions for making one with 6 concrete blocks. The purpose is for cooking.

Then, I ask about converting my fireplace into a Rocket Fuel Stove. A couple of REALLY smart fellows wanted pictures and measurements and are going to figure it out. So, I am going to get them the measurements. It is Winter for them too and they probably have time to do it now. I am curious how it will look. I am hoping it can all be inside the masonry fireplace. There is a lot of mass and it is free standing on 3 sides. If it is do-able and not toooo ugly and huge, it will be another project. Just what I need! It would be a good thing to have for WSHTF.

Speaking of WSHTF. I have a few things kinda working. WATER. I have three 250 gallon food grade tote tanks under downspouts. BIG rain barrels. I bought, but, have not installed a “First Flush”. It is to be installed in a downspout to wash away the bird poop, dust, etc. to capture clean water. One tank is to top off my  pond/water feature that could be a fish source. Another is next to the greenhouse. Providing some mass on the North side and water for the side garden.  And the third is for “people water” if needed. It is the one I will put the First Flush on. Plus I have a Berkley water filter to install in some food grade buckets. None of these things are finished except the pond tote tank. Anyway, I have plans for the water.

I really should finish some of these. But, I don’t want to go out in the damp cold! Maybe I will try to figure out a few things for this blog to work better. Learning curve.

 

A bit more work in the Food Forest

The sun was out today, 45 degrees but no wind. Need to work on that food forest. Today I dug part of one of my mini swales. Then dug up the little Liberty apple whip and re-planted it in it’s new home in the food forest. Added some worm compost and watered it well. It is in a mini berm. I also planted a couple Comfrey plants near it. There is hardpan under it, so the comfrey may help break it up. And will mine some minerals from the soil and be good mulch.

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Apple Up Date

The apple loved it’s new home. Now, I am debating, should I move it to the new “Food Forest Orchard”? It will have to be Espaliered where it is. If I move it, it can be trained to a small tree. I just read “Grow a Little Fruit Tree” it is a method of training full size fruit trees to stay under 6 foot. First you cut the main trunk of a whip off at about 2 feet! Seems cruel and heartless. Then you train the new branches to a open center. You can grow a lot of different fruit in a small area. The harvest will be smaller. But, who wants 300 apples to deal with at one time? And if you pick the correct trees, your small harvests will be spread out over a longer period. Easier to can, freeze or dry.

Problem. I am not sure what kind of apple it is.. Bad record keeping. Wrote it down somewhere. I am thinking it is a Winesap or Granny Smith. I know I have a new little Liberty Apple. Poor thing was cut back to 2 feet. It is going into the Food Forest. Have to check the pollinator for those two. Or, I might just get a crabapple and train it to be small. That way I have a pollinator for various apples and a pretty blooming small tree.

UPDATE UPDATE – it is now February. Last month I did move the mystery apple to the future Food Forest – in between the winter rains! And also moved the little Liberty apple whip to the Food Forest. That is a total of 3 trees! I have ordered 8 more. They will be shipped Feb 29. I need to get the swales dug and prepare places for them. Lots of dirt to move.

The apple has a new temporary home

A month ago, I dug up a “failure to thrive” dwarf apple tree. It had a great root system. Replanted it in a another spot. It promptly turned all it’s leaves black. Hummmm, not good.

I dug it up again, took it in the greenhouse and planted it in the raised bed. Gave it a bunch of worm compost and watered it well. Slowly little leaves appeared. Then, it went to town. Looking great! In fact it was throwing out sooooo many new leaves, I began to worry. It is Fall. Not a good time to be leafing out!

I  did not have it’s new home ready. It started raining, and raining for a week! Can’t dig in the mud to prepare a bed. Need to get it outside to harden off and go dormant. About 6 weeks till frost!  This is getting worrisome.

The solution is the raised bed in the greenhouse. I am removing it. It does not get enough sun, and I don’t keep it warm enough to be a productive growing bed. I mainly use it as a table or shelf.  I have been filling buckets with the dirt and filling in places on the Huglekulturs or newer raised beds. The dirt is dry. So, the apple tree went outside to a new raised bed area that was not completely filled in. And buckets of dirt went with it to cover the roots. About 8 half 5 gallon buckets.( I can’t carry a full one.) I used the dirt with the worm compost that the tree had been living in. And it has been raining on the tree. It should make it.

UPDATE- the apple tree thrived! In January I moved it to the Food Forest. Spring will tell if it is happy there.

Tree Collards

Tree collards are a important Permaculture plant in zones 7 – 10. They are not really a tree. But, are 5 – 7 feet tall. A single stalk with purple tinted leaves. The leaves are tender and delicious in cool weather.

They are rich in calcium, vitamin B1, B2, and C. They also have anti viral, anti bacterial, and anti cancer properties. And high in fiber! Sounded good to me. I acquired some cuttings from Bountiful Gardens. Here they are newly planted and coming alive.

Leaves sprouting on the tree collard cuttings.

Leaves sprouting on the tree collard cuttings.

The instructions said they will leaf out , then stop and develop roots, then leaf out more. I will be moving them to the side garden when I think they are strong enough.
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Miscellaneous things happening

The beneficial insect bed is done. Planted with some plants I picked up on clearance. Golden Rod, Aster, Cone flower, Cat Mint, Bee Balm, Russian Sage and a Perennial verbena to trail over the edge. Also seeded some Cleone. Mulched the bed with some well rotted wood chips. Moved an old stump in and put a bird bath on it. I will add some rocks to it so bees and insects can get a drink. Here the new bed.

Benefical insect plants.

Benefical insect plants.

The trays  on the ledge have baby Artichokes and baby Rhubarb growing in them. Not ready to be planted out until next year. Some garlic chives growing in one of the concrete block openings behind the bird bath.

Baby Rubarb and tiny artichoke plants.

Baby Rhubarb and tiny artichoke plants.

See the two block high wall behind it? That is the next elevation change. It will entail moving the dirt out, adding logs, branches and vegetation debris. THEN, putting the dirt back.

Dirt to be dug out to creat the next Huglekultur.

Dirt to be dug out to creat the next Huglekultur

On the left side, I need to create a deep and wide area for a dwarf apple tree. It is one that had failure to thrive. In fact, I thought it was a goner. But, dug it up and planted it in the green house bed with lots of worm compost. Look at it now!

This apple tree has sprouted a bunch of new leaves.

This apple tree has sprouted a bunch of new leaves.

I need to get it outside so that it will realize Fall is upon us and harden off for Winter. Maybe, I gave it too much worm compost! Well, I gave it a chance to live and it decided to. Now, will it start shutting down for Winter?

I received my perennial onion bulbs. I forgot I ordered them. Need to get a bed ready for them. I am thinking the back left Huglekultur bed might be good.

Also got my Tree Collards. I planted them in pots and they are leafing out. They grow 5 -6 feet tall. So they need to be somewhere that they will not shade something else. I have a spot picked out for them on the right side that is not created yet. They need time to develop roots before they can be planted. So, I am good.

Leaves sprouting on the tree collard cuttings.

Leaves sprouting on the tree collard cuttings.

A friend gave me some blackberry trimmings. I am trying to root them. Don’t know if it will work. So far so good. I have them in upside down plastic shelf units with water in them. Keep them moist from the bottom.

Blackberry cuttings.

Blackberry cuttings.

After all these ugly construction photos – here is something pretty!

Spider lillies or Disappearing Ladies.

Spider lillies or Disappearing Ladies.