Recycled Potato Bin

We have not had good luck in the past growing potatoes.  With our dense, clay like soil we ended up with very small funny shaped potatoes.  The past few years we haven’t even tried, but this year we are planning to have LOTS of home grown potatoes to store away for the winter.  A potato bin filled with a top soil, sand, and compost mix seems like the best way to go.

If you read about our “Red Neck Art Project” you know that Digger replaced the deck on his trailer last month.  He used the old boards off the deck to made a HUGE potato bin!

DSCN6163 (640x480)-1Here is the finished product.  It’s 4′ wide, 12′ long, and  2′ high and I bet you’re wondering what the pole across the middle is for.

DSCN6782 (640x480)-1Pretty handy, right?  Digger moved it into the garden and the girls and I planted potato starts!  It’s the first thing we’ve planted this year and it felt good to be in the dirt.  We’ll layer several inches of mix every few weeks as they grow which (hopefully) will fill this thing to the top by the end of the season with large, correctly shaped spuds.  In the fall Digger will bring the excavator back and lift the bin off so we can easily harvest them!

DSCN6787 (480x640)So that’s it: Our super cheap, handy dandy, recycled, potato bin, with an excavator handle!

April 2013 – A Month of Photos From the Red Double Wide

I’ve gone a little crazy with my camera lately, so I thought I would share (some of ) my favorite photos from the past month.  Spring time is so beautiful and FUN!

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This is one of our raspberry bushes that border our garden….can’t wait for fresh raspberries!
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The chickens were in heaven when digger tilled the garden.
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“Garden Butts”
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“Sleepy Dog” – This is a VERY rare moment, he is usually dropping a ball on our feet, drooling all over our pants, or trying to get the cats and chickens to play.
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Hyacinth – Not only my favorite flower but my favorite color too! I need to plant more.
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Great Grandma enjoying some snuggles with a barn kitten.
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Little Chefs first time mowing with a push mower. She decided she prefers the riding mower! I don’t blame her…I took turns with her and realized how much harder a little labor is after a long winter indoors.
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This is Diggers Grandpa….our riding mower broke down so he came out on his 94th birthday with his brand new mower and mowed some of our lawn for us!! (He had a blast and left asking when we might need him again!) What a great guy, we are so blessed to have him and Grandma close to us.
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This mama barn cat is blind in one eye, but it doesn’t seem to effect her at all. She is the best mouser we have and a wonderful mommy!!  She has two chunky adorable kittens right now.

     DSCN6157 (640x480)-1DSCN6523 (640x480)-1DSCN6497 (640x480)-1DSCN6628 (640x487)-1Don’t let these pictures deceive you!  We have had some beautiful days in April, but we also had our share of wind, rain, hail, and more wind!  We haven’t yet planted anything in the garden (it’s still getting really cold some nights) but my seed order should be here tomorrow and Digger is working on getting the fence up around the garden.  No use planting until the chickens are fenced out!

Happy Spring Everyone!!

Signs of Spring

I can’t say that spring has arrived, but I can see signs that it’s just around the corner!!  Here are 6 Signs of Spring that I’ve seen so far:

1) Cranky Girls

Yep this is my #1 sign that spring is coming.  Well maybe it’s just my hopeful thinking that the reason the 8 year old, the 10 year old, and the mom that live in this house are at each others throats because WE NEED SOME OUTSIDE TIME!!!!!!!  The winter has to end soooooon RIGHT??

Okay, it’s really not that bad, but cabin fever has taken its toll. 🙂

2) Robins

DSCN5254 (640x480)-1Yes, my little chef looked out the window yesterday and there where several robins perched in the tree outside our window.  A sure sign that things are warming up a little.

3) Garden Clean up

DSCN5267 (640x480)-1We have recently had a couple of days that where just warm enough for us to bundle up and head to the garden for some clean up.  It felt really good to play in the dirt again. 😀 As you can see the chickens enjoyed playing in the dirt too…well,.. they enjoyed all the worms.

4) Wind

DSCN5251 (640x290)-1In our neck of the woods, spring equals wind, or maybe that’s, wind equals spring??         I’m not talking about a little breeze, I’m talken about, batten down the hatches, hold your hat on, and don’t even think about taking an umbrella outside (even if it’s pouring rain) unless you want to Mary Poppins into the next county, kinda wind!  So I’m not necessarily glad to see the wind, but I am happy to see the signs of spring that come with it.

5) Longer Days and Happy Chickens

DSCN5248 (640x480)-1The days are now getting noticeably longer!  I even had to change the timer for the light in the chicken coop the other day.  Chickens need at least 14 hours of light to keep laying eggs in the winter, the longer the days get the less artificial light they need. Longer, warmer days make for happy chickens.

6) Sun Bathing Cats

DSCN5290 (603x640)-1I love all the very distinct seasons that God has given us here in the Gorge.  But I have to say that Spring is my favorite and these little signs of spring have made me so thankful and excited for what lies ahead.

Spring in January

On New Years Day we managed to slip and slide our way out for a shopping trip.  We had a foot of snow and were trying to stay off the roads, but the necessity for dog, cat and chicken feed forced us to venture out.  We got to the feed store and to my pleasant surprise they were having a sale!  Don’t you just love it when you go to the store for a specific item and it just happens to be on SALE!! (BONUS)  With all those red sale signs I COULDN’T just get what I needed and head for the door, so I started to brows.  😀  I soon spotted one of those lovely signs above several racks of newly stalked garden seeds!  Oh man!  I wanted to start dancing and spinning and giggling and throwing packets of seeds into my cart!!!  Pumpkins and cucumbers and beans OH MY!

I purposefully kept my hands on my cart as I ogled the rows and rows of beautiful seeds.  Constantly repeating to myself “January, winter time, snow, January, winter time, snow……”  That seemed to help, I slowly lost the urge to break into song and dance.  Then I spotted the sprout seeds…YEEHAW!!  It doesn’t mater if there’s snow outside, we can grow sprouts inside. 🙂

Here’s how to grow nutritious, yummy sprouts ANY time of the year!

What you need:

1 quart size mason jar

Cheese cloth and a rubber band or sprouting lids (pictured below)

Sprout seeds and water

My girls had been given these sprout grower lids as a gift from their  Aunt Kate so we used those.DSCN4646 (480x640)Put 2 tablespoons of sprout seeds into a clean quart size jar.  Fill the jar about half way up with water then place the cheese cloth over the top of the jar and secure it with a rubber band or just screw on the sprouting lid with the smallest holes.  I do this in the evening so they can soak over night.  8 hours is about right.

In the morning dump the water out through the cheese cloth or sprouting lid. Then pour some water back into the jar, swirl around and dump water out through the sprouting lid again to rinse the seeds.  Prop the jar up sideways in a bowl with the lid side down.  Like this:DSCN4690 (640x480)-1This is so remaining water can drain yet allowing the air to circulate through the jar.  Keep them on the counter out of direct sunlight.

Rinse seeds 2 to 3 times a day, always propping the jar lid side down in the bowl. It will take 4 to 5 days for them the reach the desired length.  We ate most of ours on day 4 (on sandwiches, wraps, and salads) but if you have any left overs just store them in the fridge.  These sprouts were sooooo yummy!!  We have our next batch started and now I’m looking forward to growing…red clover, broccoli, mung bean, radish…..and so on.  I had no idea there were so many different kinds of sprouts.

Even though we have a while to wait before we see signs of spring outside, it’s wonderful to have a little taste of spring in January!!

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