a compost bin like no other

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Version 2

The first half of these photos were taken back in April while Gabe and my dad were building our compost.

Gabe designed it and I have to say, it’s quite ingenious. He actually incorporated it into our fence and used some leftover fence posts so that everything matched.  He and my dad spent a day digging holes and setting posts in concrete. Once the concrete was dry, Gabe drilled metal tracks onto the sides of the posts and then cut flat boards to slide down the tracks, essentially making a removable and adjustable wall. This way as the compost pile grows we can can add boards, keeping the scraps from dumping out everywhere. Sam had a good time watching them work while drinking strawberry lemonade.

It’s hardly rained the past few months and our property is looking pretty dry. I don’t know if it’s the heat, but our apples are already dropping from the trees; a month ahead of schedule. I haven’t had the chance to pick any for canning, and so every few days Gabe scoops as many as he can into his wheelbarrow and dumps them in the compost. We ordered a cider press months ago but because they are made by hand, it won’t be ready until late September at the earliest. I don’t like the idea of wasting food but I just haven’t had the time to do anything with them. Hopefully this weekend Gabe will be able to help me collect a bushel so I can make some applesauce. I would hate for the entire season to go to waste.

While I haven’t had time to process apples, I have had the time to pickle vegetables. Pickling is my new obsession.

Now there’s a statement I never thought I would make.

raised beds

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The last few days have been really busy. The hot weather is back and we spend most of our time playing outside or patronizing business that have AC. I haven’t had time to do much knitting or photographing. I think the heat depletes my motivational resivour. The majority of the photos were taken in February. Gabe spent two cold and rainy days cutting, sawing and hammering wood in order to make my raised beds. He used a beautiful cedar that has weathered into a nice grey color over the past few months. The layout was his idea. I was going to just have rows of beds side by side but Gabe thought this layout would allow for a greater number of beds in a smaller area and that it would be more pleasing to the eye. He was right. When it comes to aesthetics, he usually is.

After he built the beds, it took an entire day to carry them to the garden, place them, and then fill them with dirt. He had help for a few hours but was on his own for a majority of the time. It was backbreaking work. I’m grateful it wasn’t my back.

The last few photos are the garden in its current state. The unusually hot summer has been good for some plants but not so much for others. My lettuce and kale are unable to stand the heat and went to seed a few weeks earlier than usual. I planted carrots, cabbage, and a few root vegetables in the Spring to see how they would fair, but a lovely case of root maggot ruined my entire crop in a matter of weeks. Gabe has since put together some hoops made out of PVC pipe. You are supposed to stretch garden fabric tightly over the hoops, providing the plants under the fabric access to sun and water while simultaneously keeping the flies and other pests out. I threw out my shoulder a few weeks ago (How, I do not know) and I have yet to complete this task. It has also prevented me from planting my leeks and onions for overwintering, and from weeding for the last two weeks. My poor garden. It looks like a jungle out there.

I don’t know that my shoulder will heal in time for me to even bother planting a fall root crop. I was so looking forward to making homemade sauerkraut this year. I think that opportunity has long passed. but on the bright side, I can still knit, and that’s something for which to be grateful.

Wednesday Yarn Along #4

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*Joining Ginny

I was in the mood for an easy project that didn’t require a lot of thought or concentration. A pair of ribbed socks for Gabe seemed like the perfect project. Plus, it was a small project and it has been too hot to sit comfortably with a pile of wool in my lap. I had planned on sticking to small knits for this very reason until the weather cools off, but once I read about the Summer Sweater Knit Along on the Very Shannon site, I couldn’t resist participating. Aside from the weekly Yarn Along that I occasionally join on Ginny’s site, I have never participated in a Yarn Along that has an actual start and end date. I think this will motivate me to finish the project in a timely manner (6-ish weeks). I find that accountability to others is a great motivator for me. The KAL starts tomorrow, but I only just ordered my yarn, so I don’t even have a swatch knitted or blocked. Not the best way to start my first KAL but hopefully it doesn’t put me too far behind everyone else.

I don’t have a photo of the book itself (because I forgot to take one), but I’m currently reading the third edition of A Well-Trained Mind, which really gives an in-depth look into the Classical Education method. Sam will begin preschool this year and while I don’t think I will use any formal curriculum this year, I have been doing some reading and researching online to try to narrow down which homeschooling path we will follow over the next few (or many) years. Unschooling is too lax for my taste and while I like certain elements of the Waldorf method, I don’t think it’s for us. I’m only a few chapters in, but I am really enjoying it so far; it has an abundance of information and it’s easy to follow. It’s quite thick, my biggest challenge will be finding the time to finish it before its due back at the library.

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