Monday, December 17, 2012

Raised bed, newest path, digging, and chickens

Here's my new brick raised bed, topped by a glass shower door, aka "cold frame." Nobody is planted in it yet, but I plan on sowing some seeds in February.  It will be my I-don't-have-a-greenhouse-so-this'll-have-to-do bed.  For tomatoes, peppers, basil, and lettuces, I think.  I may totally change my mind, though.

Lately I've been darning socks.  A lot.  Mostly my own socks, but I've done Franklin's and Partner's, too.  How many darns can a sock have before it's all darned out?  I have a sock with about 7 different darns--though its mate has only 2.  It started out as black, but now it's multicolored.  I think maybe I'll darn in red from now on, and one day I'll have a red pair!

Excitingly, I had my first sale in my shop!  It was a pair of black toddler long johns which I designed and sewed myself.  I hope the little girl who wears them stays nice and warm this winter.

Though it's not easy to tell from the photo, I've been carting the dirt out from this area between our garage and next door's property.  It used to be covered in rubbish, then I planted runner beans along the wall, and now I'm slowly leveling it.  I've taken out about a third of the soil so far.  See those exposed roots under the elder stumps?  I'm not sure how I'm going to deal with those stumps, but hopefully I'll be able to get them out somehow.  Eerily, the big main trunk, detached from the stump since May, is still sending out leaves:   it's still alive!  I had planned on burying it, a la hugelculture, but I'm not doing any such thing till I know it's good and dead.

As far as Christmas goes, we're buying a chest freezer, but probably not till January, and Franklin's only getting a few hand-me-downs.  I think the only thing we've bought new for him is a set of magnets.  We also agreed not to buy anything for each other, though I suspect Partner has made me something (which I earlier requested) and it's possible I've made him something small, too (can neither confirm nor deny, so don't tell him).  We'll mostly celebrate by having a small feast and spending time as a family. 

My newest path leads to the back vegetable beds, and on the left is a low dry-stone retaining wall, surrounding the blackcurrants.  And right in the center is a DIY rainproof chicken feeder.  My design:  an upturned bucket with two arches cut out.  The chickens have had the run of the vegetable patch for a week now;  I hope they're aerating and fertilizing it well--they've absolutely demolished the last of the chard.  I went out there today only to see some sad, straggly stems, albeit in beautiful jewel tones. 

We're considering building the chickens a permanent coop, while still continuing moving them through sections of the property.  We have six sections back there, and they generally stay in a section for one to two weeks before moving to the next.  It allows each section to rest and regrow between visits, so they don't completely kill the grass and plants.  I like our little moveable coop because it's easy to move and clean, but it's not big enough for a roosting perch, which I think they'd appreciate.