Friday, March 19, 2010

Spring? Says who?

After several days of almost perfect weather, something never seen here in the Backwoods of Hell*, winter has returned. As I type this there is snow and sleet falling, almost certainly with the sole intention of killing the 60-80 cabbage and cabbage family plants I just put into the ground yesterday...

Began planning for the next work trip, a kitchen remodel in Kansas. I loathe putting off working on my own build project, but money is getting rather tight, and this is a job which was in the pipeline for some time. So I will have about a month away from the site starting around the 4th of April. When I return, I intend to be a pain to the backhoe operator until he gets out and does the few hours of work I need so that I can begin the actual building phase.

With an increase in the size and number of timbers I have available, I have revised the plans yet again, though these are minor modifications. I have removed all interior posts that are not already in the few interior walls, and I have decided to double up many of the posts on the outer walls, just to make the job of finding shoring materials even easier. I believe also that this increase in posts on the exterior walls, will offset the effects of having very large (two feet in diameter) timbers running overhead. There are also other advantages, such as the ease with which shelves can be built between posts, but those are all secondary at best.

Though I still cannot begin developing my own garden yet, since the site needs more sculpting, I've been focusing on developing the garden schedule. Essentially I am applying the methods and recommendations from John Jeavons (How to grow more vegetables..) to this climate, noting dates of planting from frost dates, as well as some companion planting. Hopefully come next spring I will have the beds created, soil very amended, compost system set up, and a simple plan for growing more than enough food for myself, and to barter for that which I either cannot or do not wish to grow.

I've ordered three hazelnut bushes from the Arbor Day Foundation, and may well order a few more though they are supposed to be very good producers. The plan for these is to offer up some wildlife food, as well as plenty of nuts for me as well.

With the weather turning nasty again, I returned to the internet for some of the projects I have been putting off. I finally ordered the few necessary pieces of equipment and supplies I have needed to get back into brewing beer again. Call it channeling the spirit of Edward Abbey... A new 185,000 BTU burner, some caps, and a new stainless steel brew pot are all on their way.

I am now debating ordering more wine supplies, since I saw a kit for making trebbiano, a wonderful very dry Italian white wine that unfortunately is not found often as a varietal, but rather is usually blended with other grapes. This being one of my favorites, and the kits being just about half price I am finding the temptation quite strong, though so far frugality is still wining.. for now..

With luck, we will have only one day of this nastiness, then back to warmer nice weather.. If not, I may actually get through my inside chore list..

*I'll explain this reference in a later post..

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