It has been a stormy week for those of us here in the high desert. Corona cases jumped from 4 to 41 in our state one weeks time. We have been sent home & stayed home, social distancing for a … Continue reading
Tag Archives: homesteading
The Extended Garden Tour
What an honor to have our little 1/5acre of paradise featured on Soule Mama’s Blog this weekend. I was shocked at how many visitors this little blog of mine got and since a few of you asked to see more, I am so happy to share. You may have noticed I love taking pictures of my garden just about as much as I love taking pictures of my kids, so I have a lot of images to share. I put together an extended garden tour from photos I have taken over the past 5 years when I started this blog of mine, so it was also a good reflection for me to see how far we have come in seven years… so with no further ado, Welcome to our humble abode…
Thanks again Soule Mama for encouraging me to share and thanks to all of you who know small is beautiful and there is no place like home!
Water, Water everywhere and not a drop to Drink
I can’t tell you the relief I have been feeling lately in the garden. We have had 5 days straight of evening thunder storms, which considering it has been over four months with no rain, we are beyond grateful. I kind of gave up in the garden, once the tomatoes (and overzealous 100 plants this year) were in, and the irrigation on, I was too hot and losing faith…so I just prayed for rain. You see, no matter how much well water you pump from 100 feet down up onto the garden, nothing nourishes desert plants like water falling from the sky.
And then it came, downpours of beautiful abundant water, and with all that precious water came a huge strike of lightening that hit our neighbors tree and carried under ground to blow our well pump!!
Yep, so now we have water from the sky but not from the ground. The garden is thriving and we are doing just fine with our rain buckets full, but I must ask, what kind of divine comedy is going on around here? For those of you who know the story of our little house and it’s remodel you know water plays a huge role around here…( there were frozen pipes leading to a three-day flood in the middle of the winter we first meet). The water made way for a lot that probably would not have gotten done otherwise.
Joel set to work tearing out flooring and replacing walls, inserting windows, adding radiant and all kinds of beautiful touches and I helped in that process making this my home too….The water washed away the old and made way for the new, though Joel worked his butt off doing it!! And now Joel is out replacing the well pump right now, taking in stride the ongoing efforts of owning and caring for a homestead.
Bless his heart and hands for having such skills, patience and perseverance! I had no idea how well I chose such a crafty DIY guy, in fact today he got a letter from our local hardware store saying..
Yep that’s my guy.
So heres to my hubby and the mysterious, powerful, ever-flowing Waters above, below, within and all around us.
Planting into pallets
Is there anything you can’t make out of an old pallet? Yes, it does take more time and a bit more know-how to upcycle a pallet into a totally different and functional thing, but luckily I have an expert on my side. Yep, Joel does it again. This time he made me a new seed planting flat out of recycled pallet wood.
(Note: I do also do make these out new wood too, see here)
Cool Huh? Want to try? Here is how he did it.
First, he tore the pallet apart with a flat bar to get the the lumber in order.
Then he used the cross pieces which were 3.5inches wide and 1/2 to 3/4 inches thick. There was mix of oak (harder, longer lasting, heavier) & pine (softer, easier to work with lighter)
Then he cut off the split tips with the nails in them- to have clean, split free ends and not to bother with pulling out the nails.
Then he cut 2 pieces at 1ft long and 6pieces at 2ft long
He nailed 2 of the 2footers & 2 of 1footers into a rectangular box. The 2 footer edges over lapped the edges of the 1 footers. Unfortunately he moved so fast I didn’t get to photograph every step… but I hope you follow.
Then he nailed the remaining 4 2footers to the bottom of the box using 4d galvanized nails. These are rust resistant and small enough that they will keep the wood from splitting, but large enough to hold your box together when it is full of heavy, wet soil. Because the wood was irregular enough he just pushed the bottom slats together and nailed…but it is important to note during this step to leave a little space between the slats for water to drain out, but not soil. I usually stick a quarter between the slats which has always proven to be just right.
And there you have it. Here is one I made from Redwood and screws in 2010 (in front) and the new Pallet one (in back).
Similar—-but there are few subtle differences.
*The new one is a bit wider than the other. As far as size go, I pretty much try to maximize my table space. If you table is a 3×6 (which many tables are) you can fit 9 2×1 flats on it. That should be more than enough (much more in fact) for all your seedling needs. Remembering, when you start seeds in wooden planting flats you will need to divide them or thin them before they reach the garden, so leave space in you table(s) for transplants. This is basically bio-intensive gardening, but more on that later…here is the next step if you are eager.
*The other difference is that my new flat is mostly oak and the older one is Redwood. Both have their pros and cons
Oak- Hard, Heavy, Durable,Rot Resistant, Brittle-(Available in Pallets)
Pine- Soft, Not Rot resistant, Light weight, Cheap or free-(Available in Pallets)
Redwood- Light weight, doesn’t spilt easily, VERY Rot Resistant-(Must buy)
Wooden Flats are a great thing to add to your garden shed if you find yourself starting seeds every year. They are pretty simple to make, relatively cheap and last many years, not to mention they are NOT plastic. They work beautifully to hold moisture and give ample space for those babies to grow. Many farms use them, which is where I learned about them. Here are a few I stumble across while ambling through a sleepy farm in Colorado last spring.
Yes, I take pictures of other people’s planting flats, I told you I was a farm tourist.
Good Luck and I hope you help rescue one more lonely pallet from the back of your hardware store and put it to good use.
When you are ready here is a link to how to make potting soil for the flats and one on how to plant into them properly. Let the sowing begin!!
Garden Cottage Studio Craft Shack!!
This is really a dream come true! Humble as it is, a 8×8 Pallet and Mud shack….it changed my whole life and for this I must thank my wonderful husband and his crafty hands– Thanks Joel!!
You see it all started last March 2011…Baby was on his way and we needed to turn the studio/storage room into kids room….So while I sat, very pregnant watching…Joel built us this little number from some old pallets picked up behind the hardware store, some mud and straw (instead of a baby shower we had a cob party!! Thanks Everyone) insulted the roof with packing peanuts, (that thrifty guy), and finished it off with a marvelous over hanging roof that added outside storage and of course shade, nothing says loving like a porch!!
Now, almost two years later, on this cold winter day, I sit snug in this perfect little space creating like I was born to do. Gems hang in the winter light among pattern books, sewing machine, yarn, and all kinds of materials to weave together into something beautiful, someday. My challenge is pacing my creative self, knowing in time it will all get made, and tearing myself away when life…or my toddler need tending. I just feel so grateful for this space, quite, calm, focused, a sanctuary for my spirit to rest and my hands to run wild.
Because my husband is a crafty genius himself, I thought I would share the making of this little craft shack, and a few of Joel’s words about the process.
When my wife and I were expecting a baby, and my shop was too full of stuff to work in, we decided to build a shed on top of the concrete slab roof of the well house. We’d been using it as root cellar for a couple of years and also needed a pantry and a place for the used sunfrost freezer we’d bought. Our goal was to build an attractive (it is right outside our living room window) temperature-stable, weather tight structure using as much waste material as possible. It also turned out as a good way to use up scrap wood cluttering the yard.
I decided to do a modern twist on the traditional jacal technique of Northern New Mexico. Upright posts are set in the ground and the whole thing is plastered over with mud. Instead we used wooden pallets and filled and plastered them with strawy mud. Using four portland cement pallets (very strong), a 4’x 8’ “ pallet for plywood, five pallets from a cabinet shop, and miscellaneous pallets from behind the hardware store, I pieced together the walls. First redwood 2 x 4 plates were screwed to the concrete slab using tapcon screws. The pallets were attached with scrap pieces of 2×4 screwed flat to the plate that keyed into the voids in the pallets. Short pieces of scrap 2x 4 also tied the pallets to one another.
The south wall went up first because it was against the neighbor’s fence. It was sheathed with T 111 before being stood-up. The front wall included some straight lumber for framing out the door and window openings. A 2” x 8” ridge joist resting on upright members in the wall pallets carried the four cabinet shop pallets. The OSB on these pallets serves as the ceiling, the 2×4’s the roof joists, and the one-by skids are the nailers for the metal roof. The inside was sheathed with 1/8thinch pine plywood and the south wall and ceiling insulated with packing peanuts.
The pallets were filled with a straw-rich cob mixture using dirt dug in the yard. This was all plastered over with the same strawy mud mix. The straw bridges the wood members and the wood members act like wood lathe to hold the cob in place.
The whole thing then got plastered over with earth plaster. The final coat was an aliz of Carle Crews’ recipe (see her book Clay Culture).
Using a pallet base, a floor of douglas fir seconds was installed along with a ladder and trap door to make the root cellar more accessible. The building including electrical cost about $500 mostly for metal roofing. Many have said that would be a great extra bedroom. The big front and side overhangs make the building.- Joel Glanzberg
Oh what a difference just a little shack of one’s own can make It has already taken on so many forms, a storage shed, a herb drying/potting shed, a studio space for me to make jewelry, sew and knit, a writing studio for Joel’s New book….and hopefully some day we will..Have an outdoor kitchen under it’s eves, grow mushrooms in the root cellar, use it as a bedroom for our son when he turns into a teenager… and who knows what else the future will hold for this 8×8 shack of love.
Stocking up space
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