Friday, August 28, 2020

Garden Friday


It's Garden Friday and summer's heat is hanging on!
Although our mornings are relatively cool,
we are still hitting near 90 midday.
The summer blooms are a joy to behold.

 Look who decided to stop by!
The Monarch caterpillars showed up this week to my delight.
With plenty of milkweed to enjoy,
I'm hoping they will be very happy while they chow down.
I'd love for them to tell all their friends!

It all starts with these teeny eggs on the underside of the leaves.
The cats come out of the egg, eat it,
and then proceed to devour the leaves of the milkweed.
It is the only plant that they eat.
Once they have had their fill,
they find the perfect spot to form their chrysalis,
where the dramatic transformation takes place.
The whole process, from egg to butterfly takes about 3-4 weeks.

Our butterfly bush has been covered with these yellow swallowtails.
They are enjoying the nectar of the butterfly bush, lantana and milkweed blooms.

Most of the garden has been taken out.
I'm planning to sow Dutch white clover and maybe some red clover here,
in order to provide for the pollinators and chickens,
as well as keeping the leach field easier to maintain.
I've learned that it's a good idea to grow shallow-rooted plants
over the septic leach field, as it helps with absorbtion 
and does not interfere with the workings of the system.

The chooks love foraging every evening before heading to bed.
It's become a nightly ritual that I myself relish.
Here's hoping that you find your peaceful spot this weekend.
 Blessings to all dealing with the hurricane clean up.

Tuesday, August 25, 2020

Dryer Fire Safety


One of the tasks we managed to complete during lockdown
was cleaning out the dryer vent.
It's suggested to do this at least once a year,
depending on how much laundry you do.
Not only is this important for the life of the dryer,
it could save your life.
Along with making it easier for the dryer to do its job,
keeping the lint filter and vents free and clear of sediment
helps your dryer work more efficiently and quickly.
The lint that builds up in the vent is highly flammable,
and if the vent gets clogged, it can start a fire.  
It can also prevent CO gases from exiting the system outside
and keep it circulating within the laundry area.

This brush, with the extended handle,
is a tool that makes the job a breeze.
It can be used with a power drill, to make the task even easier.
The brush can be found at most hardware and home improvement stores.


Our laundry space is in a hallway closet,
we don't have a separate laundry room (yet).
Now, you know I wouldn't show this to anyone unless I thought it could help.
This is what the floor underneath the dryer looked like.
I doubt it's ever been cleaned under,
but since the dryer had to be moved to get to the vent,
we took the opportunity to tidy up while we were there.
The hose connecting from the dryer to the vent hole in the floor (on the rear right),
was removed and we could get to work.
With the Shop Vac and my usual floor cleaner of hot water and vinegar,
the grunge was sent down the bathroom sink.

We placed the brush into the hole and got out a mess of debris.
The second part of this task was to locate the vent on the outside of the house,
and clean it out as well.
You may be surprised at all the junk that makes its way out.
All of this debris can be composted,
or if you don't use dryer sheets (I use dryer balls),
it can actually be left outside for the birds to use in nest making.
I even know someone who puts it in her worm bin.

The back of the washer and dryer were thoroughly cleaned.

The side where the washing machine sat was no better.
For some reason, this side was sticky and I found a stack of newspapers
wadded up behind it, along with a few stray kids' socks.

This tile will be replaced when we redo the bathroom floors,
but at least it's cleaner until we tackle that job.
We will be moving the laundry to another part of the house,
and this closet will become our pantry and storage area.
Looking forward to making this spot more efficient!

Every time I opened the doors of the laundry closet,
the area in front of the washer and dryer really bothered me.
It was full of nasty grunge and gunk. 
Ahhh, that's better. 

More importantly,
our family feels a bit safer,
knowing that we have maintained this often forgotten space.
It will be an annual chore that can be accomplished in minutes.
Our safety is well worth the time and effort.


Friday, August 21, 2020

Garden Friday

     Welcome to Garden Friday!

We are in the midst of rebuilding our veggie garden.

The photo above shows what it looked like just a few months ago.       

This shot was taken yesterday.

I've been working on getting most of the tear out done

to enable the leach field to work properly for our septic system.

You can read the back story here.

The arches will be moved by the weekend,

and the old chicken coop will be listed for sale.

Read about our new chicken coop here.

It's been a slow process, which is why I actually took this week off from work.

The first step was to remove the layers of bark mulch.

I added it to the pathway in the back of the house.

This used to be our watermelon patch.

We will definitely be planting this again next year.

Just look at those roots!

I have to admit, tearing out the newly planted asparagus hurt.

I know Cooperative Extension usually offers it for sale in the spring

during their annual plant sale.

This will be on the list.

The soil that was in the beds was removed,

and placed in a pile to be used only for ornamentals.

There's just no way of knowing if it was contaminated,

so it can't be used for growing food.

Before all of the boxes were cleaned out,

the girls decided to do some digging for treats.

The beds have been taken apart, and thankfully,

can be reused in the new location.

We did get some good news from the septic company,

who came by to give us an estimate on some work that needs to be done.

Since the pipes in the leach field were buried so deeply,

there's not much chance that the adjoining sloped area

will have any problems.

Originally, I was planning to use pallets to keep my containers off the ground,

and only grow in pots, thereby ruling out any fear of contamination.

Reassured by the experts, I know that I can safely grow in my raised beds.

With a new focus on the fall garden,

I resowed all of the crops that had not germinated.

Thankfully, we have lots of goodies coming up in our toilet paper roll "pots".

The chooks got moved to a new spot as well

and seem to be enjoying their new digs.

I can't tell you what a thrill it is to head out there at dusk,

and see them all tucked in and ready for bed.

They have been foraging every morning while I've been working on the garden.

They have brought so much purpose to my life

and solidify my belief in the homesteading lifestyle.

It only took them a couple of days to figure this treat container out.

They peck at the sides and the slits release sunflower seeds.

This trellis needs to be moved,

but I'm hesitant as the hyacinth bean has just started to bloom.

I'd love to see it covered in these gorgeous orchid-like blossoms.
We will rise again!

I adore this photo that my sister took of me.

It was taken before the squirrels decimated our sunflowers.

Just like those beautiful flowers,

our new garden will thrive and grow gangbusters!

You can count on that.

(I have no idea why the new blogger format spaces out my sentences.

If you can help me fix this, I would appreciate it.)