In Erie PA in January to get a sunny 44 deg day with no snow means we have chance to prune the fruit trees and grapes without a snowsuit. After the January we had 44 is tee shirt weather for me. All the kids helped and even the chicken got in on it. Great to be out in the sun.
A Buddy got me a railroad spike to make him a knife. This is my first attempt though I watched a bunch of videos, so I had a good idea what to do. There is not enough carbon in the spikes to keep a good edge but hardened it the best I could, and I got it shave. Even if it will not last.
This is my second shot at this feeder the chickens did not like the first one and it was ugly. So here are the lessons learned.
1. Melt the holes in the tub. If you just cut them in the plastic has a tendency to crack. Also too big is ok, too small and the plastic will crack. You can fill the gaps with a little hot glue if the pvc is loose.
2. Cut a 4" 90 in half do not use entire 90 or 2 street 45’s. This assumes your chickens are as picky as myn are.
3. Cut card board to slope the bottom. This is optional but really helps if the feed gets low.
This one works well and cuts down on lost feed dramatically.
When I moved in three years ago there was an ugly bush in the back. As I began to cut it down I noticed there was some wire and posts hiding in the bush. Finally I was able to see that it was the remains of a grape vine. I have four others on the property all different so I wanted to see what this one was. The first year all I did was remove the bush so it produced nothing, but I was able to find some heathy new growth over the winter so I pruned it hard and re strung the wires. The year after that it produced a small crop. The grapes were a concord but I had to leave them on until really late in the season almost to frost or the were not any good. Ended up loosing a lot to rot and fungus during the wait. I pruned it again over winter and finally had a decent vine. Last year again I go only a small crop but the grapes were good. I pruned it again this spring and I would say after three years the vines are back to good production. There are a lot of grapes and they look great I actually had to thin out this year. There are plenty for jelly and grape juice. So really I spent about 10 hours spread out over four years at my leisure to get back a forgotten grape vine. I have been bringing back apple trees and berries bushes for the last four years with varying success, and the locational massive fail, but think the grapes are my favorite.
Today I cleaned and top dressed my garden boxes. The herb box had a bunch of early oregano and sage. The sage had just started to flower so I am a little late. I picked a bunch to dry. Last year I made a solar dehydrator it’s biggest benefit has been hang drying herbs. Saves tons of time! If you saw my dehydrator last year I added a black corrugated plate to increase the temperature. Others than that it stayed the same. It still needs a sunny day to get the job done, but it works faster now.
Natural dyes on wool
This is the results of my wife’s first round of natural dyes she has a lot more to try including poke berry and dyers polypore. This was marigold and black beans. I love the marigold. She also tried some butternut husks from out back, but she just did a little bit to get an idea of the color. As a side note the yellow hand spun was done on a homemade supported spindle.
Marigolds were from the garden it was a mix 2.2 ounces dry and 3.3 fresh. It produced enough dye to do 3 or skeins.
Picked apples yesterday. Today I went to a friends house and we made cider all morning. This is my first time making cider. It was really easy, and so fun. His cider mill is beautiful and worked really well. We made about 28 Gallons. Enough for both of us to freeze, drink and ferment. It was really good cider and was a great morning…… I hope to do cider every season till I am too old to do it.
My wife asked me to make her a Lazy Kate. I messed the one up I was trying making out of oak. So I made this as a stop gap, so she could get some plying done. It works so well and is so adjustable I think she is just going to use it.
So, couple weeks ago I decided to make a solar dehydrator as a rainy day project. I went with a down draft style. I think It turned out pretty good, but I am kind of struggling with how to dial it in. I am starting out with just a black box for heat and draft. I’ve seen designs for cans, corrugation and painted mesh, but I want to get some base temperatures and drafts before I spend the time and modify it. I also have a solar powered vent fan from another project that I could add. The vent is also assisted by the shingle roof section, and I may change that. So, this is my setup before modifications. I am posting in hopes of getting some advice from people who have one themselves and have already worked things out.
I will repost the tweaked final design
This is kind of cool. I was making a special hexagon garden box. It will be a pole bean teepee garden for the kids. Anyway, I came up with this modular box arrangement almost by accident. It’s really cool. It allows me to build the boxes in my shop, move them up to the garden! And just slide them together. I came up with a bunch of others designs using the same concept spirals snakes etc. I think it will be fun building method to play around with.
PS I will post an update when the teepee is finished and grown in.