Over the weekend Nate built us 4 trellises.
A friend gave us some hops rhizomes, so we are super excited to get the in the ground and see how well they will do!
We also planted peas, lettuces, kale, chard, beets, turnips, radishes, and sorrel. I planted them in equilateral triangle spacing instead of rows. This should maximize the amount of food we can grow per square foot. Using the little triangle guide got tedious, so after a bit I ended up just winging it.
They are predicting snow AGAIN tomorrow. We shall see – never ending winter needs to end already.
Well, we ordered our chicks! We decided to go with My Pet Chicken. We ordered 10 chicks, 2 each of 5 different breeds. The chicks won’t be here until July due to availability of the breeds we ordered. But, I figure that gives us plenty of time to build the coop and learn about what we just got ourselves into.
Our goal is to build the coop a cheaply as possible. Nate has been scouring the free section of CraigsList for building materials.
We are getting two Australorps, two Buff Orpingtons, two Silver Laced Wyandottes, two Gold Laced Wyandottes, and two Colombian Wyandottes.
I think the Wyandottes are my favorite, they look like their feathers have been traced with a sharpie. I love it! They are also a friendly breed that is cold hardy and are good layers. Sounds perfect for Colorado!
I’m super excited about the chickens. Nate is super excited about building the coop together. So, he’s working on design ideas and I got to pick the breeds. I’m happy with that division of labor.
Strawberries were on sale this week, so I made strawberry jam for the first time ever.
I didn’t follow a recipe. I just sort of winged it. My plan was to use it as filling for a cake, so I knew I wasn’t going to can it.
I used 2lbs of strawberries, maybe 1/2 cup of sugar, a 1/2 cup of lemon juice, and a splash of orange blossom water. Seriously, orange blossom water is my secret ingredient. I’ve been finding more and more ways to sneak it into recipes and I LOVE IT. Back to the jam. I threw all of that in a big pot and just let it cook down until it was the right thickness. Be careful though, it’s easy to burn if the heat is too high. It’ll also boil over really quickly when the heat is too high. And sugary syrup is a pain to clean up. I know from experience.
This jam was so fast and easy and yummy I found myself thinking “why don’t I do this more often?” We use jam and jelly regularly. I might just start making a small batch a few times a month.
The weather actually cooperated a few weekends back! Nate and I did a few things around the yard. The yard itself actually needs some spring cleaning. We built our first compost bins ever!
We used 5 pallets I got from work and cedar pickets – from our old fence that collapsed when we moved in – to fill in the gaps.
I think we will eventually add some doors to the bins. The cats seem to think its their own personal litter box. Yuck.
We also split a bunch of wood. Nate found a bunch of green wood in the fall for free. We let it dry out some over the winter and it was ready to be split. It’ll be ready for next winter.
Nate taught me how to split logs, too!
He was faster than me, so he did more of the splitting.
We are both really ready for spring weather to stick around for a while.
After working outside all day, we stopped in at Wit’s End Brewery for a drink. Scott, the owner, is one of the nicest people. Every time we go in he remembers our names. It’s awesome having such a great brewery a mere 1.2 miles from the house!
Well, I got busy with work and the house and forgot about this blog. Oops.
It’s winter. Obviously cold. And all I want to do is landscaping in the backyard. So I’m making plans instead.
That is the north west corner of my backyard. The bush is nice in the summer and birds love it all year round but I can’t leave well enough alone. I want to eventually replace it with a red currant bush. I love red currants.
Just to the left I want to build a small brick patio with room for 2 chairs and a small table. A place for two to drink coffee in the mornings.
On the far side of that will be the chicken coop and rabbit hutch and bee hives. Chickens will be the first animals we get I think.
I’m totally building a nice path down the middle of the garden with an elderberry tree in the middle. I read somewhere that its traditional to put an elder tree in the center of a garden and I just love that idea.
The rest of the house is progressing.
We had hardwood countertops installed and they are soooo cool! I love them.
I think soon I am going to draw out actual dimensioned plans for the backyard and plan what to grow where.
I’ve found some awesome gardening books at the ARC lately and I’ll share those with you soon. They are helping me develop my garden plans.
I love to read. I keep dreaming about gardening. Here are some books that I want to read.
I started reading the preview of this on Amazon (yeah, that’s their little preview logo above) the other day and got completely absorbed in it. I think the title is pretty much what you need to know about this book. There are also recipes. I laughed at the part where she ate only zucchini for what seemed like months and lost 15 pounds and was so healthy her husband was worried. I’ll probably pick this up on Kindle soon. I don’t think it’s going to be earth shattering or anything, I just think it’ll be an amusing read.
I’m fascinated by the idea behind this book. I want to learn how to harvest vegetables year round! I fear that the space requirements will be more than we will have access to. But I’ll just have to read this to find out I guess. I’m guessing a small greenhouse, cold frames, and row covers will be what we can manage. We’ll be eating a lot of kale and cabbage next year if I have anything to say about it. Until we hate kale and cabbage, most likely.
Potatoes! I love potatoes, actually. I jokingly blame it on my Irish ancestry. Give me some potatoes, and I’m a happy gal. They also go great with cabbage or kale! Colcannon anyone? But, the one time we tried to grow potatoes, we ended up with 3 tiny baby potatoes about the size of a matchbox car. Seriously. So, I think I probably need to read this book and figure out what I did wrong. I really, really, really want to eat potatoes that I grew myself.
I really want to grow my own beans. I like eating beans a lot and I know I’d get such a kick out of eating beans that I grew myself. I’m silly like that. I’ve read that beans take up a lot of space. But they are also really good for your soil, they are some of the few plants that fix nitrogen into the soil. For some reason I’ve known that fact for most of my life, even though when I was a kid I had no idea what that meant really. This looks like a really pretty book. And, I usually prefer the pretty books over the not pretty books. Go ahead, call me a snob. I can’t help it, I’m a really visual person.
I’m really curious about this. I’ve seen it done at the GrowHaus here in town. Last time I was there, they were raising tilapia and trout, and growing the most amazing vegetables. I’ve heard that tilapia are super easy to grow. You can even just raise them in a pond. I need more information.
Any good gardening books on your radar? What should I be reading?
Things in the garden are growing. I look at the plants and am daily amazed at the speed of their growth. I grew this. This is my first garden all to myself so it is especially fulfilling. If all works out, we should have tomatoes before it gets too cold.
There are 3 kinds of squash growing in my garden. A friend gave me a bunch of seeds. She told me what they all were but she mixed them all up. This is probably either zucchini or yellow summer squash. Either way, delicious. And look! Mini flower buds already!
Today marks the first day that we only have the house. For the past month we’ve been moving slowly out of the old apartment. I think it’s finally hit me that this house is ours. No one is going to randomly take it away from us. We live here. I love it here so much. It only keeps getting better and better.
But stay tuned this week for lemoncello and the best summer cocktail.