This summer I built a new wood rack. I had tried to move the one from our old house, but the movers couldn’t get it out of our back gate, so I finally got around to building a new one this year. I followed a pretty similar plan as last time. This time I did not make the roof as steep, because it ended up reducing the space for wood quite a bit. I used 1/4″ plywood on the sides, and 1/2″ plywood for the roof. I used a number of 2x4s leftover from Dave and Ellen’s reconstruction project, and bought a couple new ones. I did make one mistake – I put plywood nearly the entire back this time, including all the way down to the horizontal 2x4s. This meant that there was no place for the logs to rest. So I ended up adding some additional 2x4s inside the vertical 2x4s. This actually had the advantage of making it possible to stack the front row of wood without sticking out too much.
Spencer, Meg, and Clare all helped stack the wood.
The Fenders are friends and neighbors in Indiana. Angie gave me a tour of some of the projects they had been working on. We could smell honeysuckle as we checked out the ways they have worked to make their property naturally beautiful and useful. I forgot to take pictures of the garden and the wood carving picture didn’t come out. However, between the hand built canoes, the shelter from locally grown and milled wood, the pond with dueling zip lines, the mason jar chandeliers, the bark they pressed for a year to use as decorative finishes on the bar and the bed frame I can see both creativity, time and care they put into their projects. Thanks for sharing <3
In January 2010 we decided to remodel our bathroom. We put together a big order from Lowe’s and had it shipped to our house. As we decided on what to use in the bathroom, we decided to replace the door, since it was partially broken, and kind of crappy looking. We then quickly decided we couldn’t just replace one door. We had to replace all the interior doors. Clare then tacked on the exterior doors too, since Lowe’s has a flat shipping rate. Well, almost 3 years later, we finally got the rest of the doors installed. Clare and Ellen did a bunch of work staining and polyurethaning the remaining 3 doors for the bedrooms this summer and fall. The day after thanksgiving, we took the kids to school, and Clare helped me hang the doors. Then I put up the trim a little at a time over the next several weeks. It was a lot of work, but the end result is very nice. I’m not sure I would take on this task again though. If I did, I would probably get oak doors instead of pine, since staining and polyurethaning takes so much time, and is not really that fun.
Yesterday and today we made salsa again. This year Mekayla helped Clare and me some, which was very nice. We went a bit overboard this time, making nearly 28 pints of salsa in total. In addition to a bunch of tomatoes from our garden, we also got a 25 lb box of tomatoes from a local farmer’s market. We ended up canning 2 batches yesterday and 1 today. The first 2 batches turned out approximately medium (compared to Pace brand salsa), and the third batch was close to hot. I could have probably canned 7 quarts instead of pints today, but I didn’t think we had that much to do, so I washed the pint jars. I am very happy with the final product. It turned out much more flavorful than last year, which I think was due to having more peppers and more seeds, and more vinegar and salt.
Here is approximately what we used
10-12 quarts peeled, seeded, and diced tomatoes
2 bell pepper
1 lb anaheim peppers
1 lb poblano peppers
1/4 lb serrano peppers
1/2 lb jalapeno peppers
3 lbs white onions
9 tbsp minced garlic
1 tsp ground cumin
6 tbsp salt
3 small cans tomato paste
2 cups white vinegar
Today I had the day off but the kids went to school so I took the opportunity to do a project. I have been wanting to build a wood rack for sometime now. The rack I built is 3 feet deep and 8 feet tall at the back. The roof has a slope of 30°. In hindsight I think I would’ve preferred to have made it 15°. Now I should have plenty of space to store at least a cord or two for the winter for my fireplace insert. Now I just have to put some shingles on the roof.
Now that 2011 is over and the garden has been long gone, I am finally getting around to showing it off. This year I did a few things differently than in past years. Instead of using black plastic, I used weed block, with mulch on top of it. This seemed to work quite well in keeping the garden from getting too warm. It also helped keep in the moisture, and did in fact block the weeds, except in the peripheral areas of the garden where I ran out of weed block. Maybe next year I will spend a few extra dollars to get a bit more.
I also experimented with alternating rows of tall plants (tomatoes) and short ones – herbs, eggplant, peppers, etc. This seemed to work fairly well. The tomatoes did very well this year. I was particularly happy with the Black Krim, which produced a fair amount of incredibly tasty fruit. The pineapple tomato barely produced anything, which was disappointing. All of the cherry tomatoes did very good as in past years. The eggplant didn’t end up producing much. They had lots of flowers, but I only got about one piece of fruit per plant. I’m not sure what I did wrong there. And the giant pumpkin produced one giant pumpkin – 92 pounds. Speaking of squash, I also had a couple volunteer patty pan squash from the year before. In addition to all the tomatoes, I tried an armenian cucumber, which tasted very good – a little crunchier than a gerkin. We also tried a tomatillo plant, which thrived, but when they were finally ready to be harvested, we were too busy to figure out what to do with them. Oh well.Time to start planning the 2012 garden. more details follow
Spencer has recently gotten quite interested in trains. I had been thinking about getting him a train table for several months for Christmas, but hadn’t made up my mind. The last time we went to the railroad museum, he started talking about how Santa was going to bring him a train, so then I decided to get one. I did a bunch of research on train tables online, and most of them had very mixed reviews. Then I saw some instructions on how to build one, and decided to give it a try. I ended up mostly following the instructions in this video: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=G0NhM8H0fus
The main change I made was that instead of making the table 24″x48″, I made it 38″x48″, to fit the tracks we bought. I’m glad that I waited to build the table until after we got the tracks, and that I tested them.
It ended up taking me most of the day on the 23rd to build it. The thing I am most proud of is that the only thing I bought was wood filler, and some 3d nails. All of the wood was just scrap sitting in my garage. Of course, since it was scrap, it wasn’t necessarily the nicest stuff. I had exterior grade plywood, which had quite a few knots, which required filling. So I ended up using a lot of wood filler. This was my first experience with using wood filler. There were many different brands to choose from. Most claimed to be stainable, but it didn’t seem like it took the stain very well. So the table doesn’t look that great, but it is sturdy. I think we will eventually paint it. Spencer doesn’t seem to care at all how it looks though. He likes it very much, and that is the important part.
For the legs, I used pine 1″x4″s. For the lip around the top I used 1″x3″ douglas fir, which I have been using to trim out the doors I have been slowly installing in the house. So that wasn’t really scrap, but I had already had them lying around.