Sunday, April 24, 2016

Something old is new again with leftover lumber...

It has been awhile since I posted about something old becoming new again.   Last year around this time we bought some property out on the Belle Fourche River.  There was a pile of lumber left by the previous owner and I have had it in the back of my mind since we got the place.  I was certain I could make a couple of Aldo Leopold benches from these leftover scraps.   This weekend we went out to the property to plant a some plum trees.  I knew it was supposed to rain and snow again, so I grabbed up the lumber as we left.   I searched Pinterest for various plans.   None were very comprehensive.  I came across a couple that were helpful.  I liked this template the best.
simple bench plans:
All I needed to buy was:
6 bolts 3 1/2 inches long
12 washers
6 hex nuts
8 exterior deck screws 3 inches long

Of course that is doubled, since I am making 2 benches.  I didn't need to buy deck screws, because we already have plenty.

The lumber was cut to size and the bench assembled.   The 3 foot and 18 inch boards are secured with three bolts.  The seat is secured to the 18 inch boards with two deck screws and then the back is attached.  One of the plans had a flat back and another kept with the original angle of the board. The original angle is by far more comfortable.  You can see both below.  

Sorry the photos are not the greatest.  It was raining outside.  I will take more photos when everything dries out and I can sand and stain them.  Still I am very excited.  Two benches for a grand total of $31 and that was just for the bolts.  

It was dry yesterday and we were able to go out and plant three plum trees in the orchard.  We planted a Toka, Pembina, and a Black Ice.  I am very anxious to see how my mountain and prairie orchards do this year.  Last year we had a late frost and there wasn't much of a harvest. This year I am sure it will be a plethora of fruits and berries.  At least I hope so.
There are a few flower photos at the end.  A little bedraggled after snow and hail, but beautiful nonetheless.

Does anyone else have some projects in the works?  

Sunday, April 17, 2016

back in winter's clutches...

We are back in winter's clutches.   How silly of me to think that we could get out of this season so easily.    My only spring colors come from the birds at the feeder.
 Goldfinches and Pine Siskins 
 House Finches and Cross Bills
 Plethora of birds.
 A hungry House Finch.
 Sad little crocuses waiting for warmer days.
Hopefully, next week I will have warmer photos.

Sunday, April 10, 2016

I had a chat with my roses...

In typical South Dakota fashion, we went from 33 degrees, to 76 degrees, and back down to 45 degrees.  Normal for around here.  The problem is the last three days high winds blew the cages off of my roses.  Therefore, the roses got a taste of sunshine and warm weather.  They are ready to leaf out.  We had a chat yesterday as I covered them back up.  I reminded them that it was only April and I normally don't unleash them until the middle of May.  In fact, we had about two feet of snow this time last year.  I don't think they are going to listen to me.  I understand the yearning for sunshine.  Going from 76 yesterday to a windy snowy 45 was a bit crushing for me.  

Maybe they know more than I do and we will have an early spring.  If they know they aren't saying anything.  

On a positive note, I did have a small group of evening grosbeaks.  They used to come to the feeders by the dozen, but they have been rare the last few years.  It was a pleasant surprise this morning.  
I enjoyed being able to garden this weekend, I just hope that the weather stays warm and the winds would calm down.  How is the weather where you are?  Is it spring there?

Sunday, April 3, 2016

Hope springs eternal...

The tomatoes are thriving.  I wish it would warm up enough so I could begin to harden them.  It was warm enough to set them out today, but the wind would have blown them away.  I still have hope I can baby them to success.
I had an epiphany today on organizing my seeds.  Of course my brilliant idea came after a morning of chaos.  I had seeds scattered everywhere.  I planted a frustrating flat, because I couldn't find everything I was looking for.   
I found a small crate and then added three smaller crates inside.  Then I organized my seeds and clipped them with a labeled clothes pin.  I found out I really like to order peas and need to plant a lot of them this year.  I had pea packets everywhere.  

My lettuce and spinach are up in the greenhouse.  I am very excited about that.  There is nothing better than fresh greens.  Today was a good day to plant cabbage and carrots in the greenhouse.  I know it will probably freeze a few times after they are up.  It will be an experiment to see how tough they are.  I know the spinach and lettuce are strong.  I've planted them in the fall and had success.  When it gets cold they just play dead.  Then the next warm day they spring to life.
I planted a flat with peppers, parsley, tomatoes, broccoli, luffa, pumpkins, and ground cherries.  I found these neat Burpee labels in the store.  My delight turned to dismay when I watered the seeds and the marker washed right off.  I found a permanent marker and tried again.  I'm beginning to feel doomed about knowing what I plant where.  There is a nice diagram and everything is relabeled, so maybe, just maybe, I will know what I planted where this year.
It  sounds like the snow isn't over.  I will leave you with the snowmen made by my students.  It was the carpentry class, and they made sure he had a hardhat, tool belt, and work gloves.  The kids told me that the other snowman only has one eye, because it wasn't wearing it's safety gear.

Have you planted your seeds yet?  What do you plant in flats and what do you plant in the ground?