Archive for May, 2011

Rain, Rain, Stay a Day

Posted on May 21st, 2011 by Tonia No Comments

A rainy day gives us a break from the heavy farm work, and an excuse to snuggle on the couch, sip coffee and enjoy freshly baked cookies. {Turns out rain ain’t so bad!}

Later today we’re going for a ride over to the Winter Greenhouse to snatch up some potted fruit trees and perennials. This is a spectacular garden center- well worth the two hour drive to get there- and we could easily spend all day walking around it……but snuggling on the couch is pretty fun too {especially because Mike and I are half-way through reading The Dirty Life out-loud to each other, and we’re really into it. Rainy days are made for reading!}

Have a cozy weekend, everyone!

Planting, Planting, Planting

Posted on May 20th, 2011 by Tonia No Comments

It has been a very exciting day here today. We seeded some of our hardier varieties of greens, as well as potatoes and corn into the ground!

It felt great to plant right into the *real ground* after dealing with the tomatoes and basil for weeks now, which needed to be planted, transplanted, and transplanted again into bigger and bigger planters, and carefully monitored so they have enough water and sunlight. As much as we love tomatoes and basil, there’s something extra cool about a plant that can grow successfully from a seed, out in the elements, all alone, with minimal maintenance.

Those right there are tiny baby fruit trees, which we grafted onto tiny baby rootstocks. But that’s a whole ‘nother post, coming soon.

Mike got to try out a really neat tool that my parents gave us…we call it The Corn Planter, because we’re not really sure what it’s really called. They brought it home from Paraguay with them after their time in the Peace Corps. As the name suggests, it works great for planting corn!

…And Mike is starting a new fashion trend: Bean boots with socks and shorts. It’s really catching on.

Bob {one half of the cool couple renting our cottage} planted several rows of potatoes and onions. Mmmmm…I’m already salivating just thinking about the delicious feasts we’ll be having this summer, if all goes well!

Oh yeah, remember yesterday’s post? This beautiful broadfork is the finished product. It saves your back when tilling up the ground, and speeds up the process about 3x. Yay!

Also today: The trees are just beginning to bud out, the hummingbirds have arrived at the feeder on the back-porch, we got our first sunburn, and the co-op started stocking the first peaches of the season.

Christening of the Forge

Posted on May 19th, 2011 by Tonia 2 Comments

Recently, Mike bought a used forge and anvil, fulfilling his long-time dream to learn how to blacksmith. These tools, along with his welding kit, will provide us with a way to fix garden/household tools when they break and to make new tools when we need them.

Mike’s first project is building a broad-fork, which we need right now for planting in the garden. They’re expensive to buy, so I’m pretty happy that he is making one instead of buying one. Mike ventured over to the local scrap-metal yard and picked out some steel rods to shape into fork spokes.

Maybe you can tell from the photos; Mike is a kid in a candy shop now that he finally has his blacksmithing tools. A few years ago for Valentine’s Day when we were first dating, I got him a blacksmithing lesson with a man in Duluth who has his own shop…and ever since then, he has dreamed of this day. In preparation for the first lighting of his own forge, Mike made his own charcoal bricks, and brought home a huge amount of used veggie oil from Patsy’s Bar & Grill {you plunge the red hot metal into cold veggie oil to cool it down after it has been shaped. The pores of the metal absorb the oil, leaving a smooth finish.}

It was a momentous occasion, so we broke out the beer and chips to celebrate.

And a certain furry friend from next door came over to sit under the warm forge and wait for us to drop a chip…

Huntin’ Chippies

Posted on May 18th, 2011 by Tonia 2 Comments

{Alternate Title: Some Poor Chipmunk Just Had a Heart-attack}

Starring: Charlie, the empirical mini-Dachshund and Roan, the blond pretty-boy Husky.

There was an unfortunate chipmunk hiding under a pile of firewood in our back yard this evening. Charlie was sound asleep between my legs in the hammock, and I was nodding off with The Woman in White on my chest. There was just the gentlest breeze, making the hammock shiver, but we were tucked cozily inside a sleeping-bag and the evening sun was warm on my cheeks.

And then….squeak, squeak, squeeeeaaaaak, from the woodpile behind us. And Charlie was gone in a flash, making that weird screaming noise that he reserves for only the fiercest of threats: Chipmunks. Those stripey, twitchy, infuriatingly fast, little hairy punks. He can’t stand the things. My sweet-snuggle-bug-puppy becomes a raging beast with bloodlust whenever a chipmunk’s shrill squeak reaches his ears.

And Roan {belonging to the folks renting our cottage}, hearing the commotion from next door, ran to Charlie’s assistance. Notice the hammock is now vacant. It was clear that my nap was not going to happen.

Alas, no chippie ever emerged from the pile, and the dogs eventually wandered off to other activities.

Team Canine, zero

Team Chipmunk, one {unless you count a chippie-heart-attack as a victory for the canines…}

Team Nap, crabby

By the way, yes, I am aware that my little dog has a bald butt. He has male-pattern-baldness. Please don’t laugh at him, he’s very proud.