strawberry season

Picked 20 quarts…perhaps a little too much. The plan was to drive and pick ‘some’ berries. But the results are terrific. Moved the canning area to outside to keep the insides of the dwelling cool. We liked it as one person could be jamming while the other was canning and sterilizing things outside. The new pressure canner worked well too but it was only water baths used to seal things up.

We tried different recipes for the jam, some with our rhubarb and another with ginger. With and without pectin..with varying degrees of success. All are delicious. A mix of small and large jars for a total of 21. Yum.

…and a gross shot of a local hike. A* put a fresh blue hat deer catcher on and we went out for an hour. 1/² hour in and out. Over 100 deer fly caught. 74 on the way in. She led the way and if I strayed too far from her the deer fly were all over me. She always keeps our property clear of deer fly and does so in a very fashionable manner.

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Posted by on July 12, 2020 in Construction


More Bunkie progresses with the Bunkie. Window in and sealed up. Most outside trim work done,.or close enough. The corregated metal exterior made for interesting challenges. As A* picks out and experiments with stain options for the walls and ceilings I now set my mind to finishing the concrete work and 6 other projects..most of which involve a tractor with starter issues.


Posted by on June 29, 2020 in Construction


Welcome to Summer!

Felt like summer for the last month…with almost no rain. Crazy for these parts.

Other than that..more of the same around these parts. Sure is pretty once the flowers pop. Garden seems to be doing fine as well..for the most part. We purchased 2 1000l water totes…been handy for collecting lake water to use in the the Honda pump. Very fast and started right up after sitting for 8 years.


Posted by on June 24, 2020 in Construction


On Garden Evolutions

We have done square foot gardening and smaller scale gardens..with some success. Now that we have chucked in another set of beds I estimate we have gone to about 8 times out previous size.

Top page is last year. bottom is this year. Not to scale.

..not expecting miracles this year. Much of the soil needs further augmentation but we need a baseline to start improving upon!

Using straw as mulch this year. Love it except the straw shortages. Trellis soon.
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Posted by on May 31, 2020 in Construction


Overly Aggressive Planting

Lost 90% of the cukes, all tomatoes, all basil and a dahlia. We saved our best 10 tomato plants inside as insurance and just started more cukes in the beds. Disappointing but not too bad. The cukes will bounce back and instead of 30 tomato plants we will do 10. Less pressure on canning season too!

…well it has been so nice for 5 days we thought we were through the frost. Wrongo.

Also bought 2 apple trees, 3 variations of coneflower, 2 black and 2 red currant, lovage and another Azealia to replace one from 2 years ago which never made it. Oh, and another Russian sage. And a gooseberry shrub.

We have move many of our beds to ‘islands’ where there is no completion. As things proliferate we hate competition..make it hard to weed and we want more simplicity in our beds. Now..let’s have some consistency here weather. Warm consistent. Speaking of inconsistent it has not rained in a week.

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Posted by on May 25, 2020 in Construction


Air Layering Experiment

Been reading that a split trunk on a Nootka is eventually going to kill it. So in planning to take cuttings for propigation I stumbled upon ‘air layering’. Basically it is like taking a large cutting but leaving the branch attached to the tree. Perhaps a demonstration.

Nothing fancy. A knife, a sandwich bag filled with moist peat moss, rooting compound and some plastic wrap to tie things in place. We were having so much fun we did some on every bush we had. If none take is is ok…the branches we attempted to air layer on were all scheduled for removal to increase air flow in the centers of the bushes anyway. Now we wait 3 to 7 weeks for results.


Posted by on May 19, 2020 in Construction


More Mobile Chickens

Old doghouse as coop. Old insulation and scrap wood. Old countertop wrapped in wiring. Old wood stacking cages as chicken pen. Free wood wrap as tarp. Glad we found a way to make all this junk useful instead of landfilling it!

We have had metal structures in our junk area. We brought out a couple of them to extend our kennel area for the chickens…but they worked better than the kennel. We decided to make things more mobile and use all we had. Most of the pallets rotted off and they were all cut to store wood in a previous firewood business in the area and roll and are light and open on 3 sides. They needed some chicken wire added to keep the chickens in.

It can be rotated in 5 minutes. We slide the coop on railway ties to an openish area and begin rotating in 4 ft increments along the base. An 8ft railway ties gives us 7 to 9 days per side and after 2 weeks we slide the operation to a new area.

Moving the ties these days is easy by hand. 2 people and a rope looped around the tie makes for fast and lite work.

The chickens love the fresh clover and space. As well as a generous covered area for spring rains.

Still holding out on electric fence as the coop is too heavy for easy moving on the basis I want. Holding off on building wheels on the coop until project pace slows down and even the 2 week move only takes 1/2 hour. Sliding the coop is also great cardio.


Posted by on May 7, 2020 in Construction


Bunkie Shedding Snow Canoe Containerathon

Sourcing wood for the coop rebuild. Wood has expense.. A container was more but basically delivered in a completed state. Effort takes time with multiple projects waiting. Calculation complete.
70% full now. 20 ft container.
Delivery and placement were interesting but uneventful.
Rough portages..
Tacking up wood to determine the loft sizing…still not done digging underneath so these are our fun break activities.
Peeling bark for the Shed loft.
Casper! That is not supposed to be there!
Moisture for the garden seedlings on April 29.

..a later than normal 10cm of snow. Everything was fine and the snow was all gone in a day.

Rework of the Bunkie continues post shipping container purchase, shelve building, moving and repacking. Our only complaint about the container is that we did not do this 12 years ago. Opens up so many options and does a solid job. The day it arrived A* was sorry we did not get 2.

Now. Back to digging. Not my fav part of the shed rework.

All the way through on 1. 2 ft left on #2. The trenches are nearly connected.
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Posted by on May 3, 2020 in Construction


Time for Sourdough

Time on our hands to finally try soughdough, no kneading bread. We started a sourdough starter a couple of weeks ago and have been doing pancakes in prep for bread.

Sourdough being fed for bread.
We thought the load was going to be a  disaster. Best thing I ever baked.

..nothing complicated. Timing and impatience were the only complicated parts. Timing for starter addition and when to bake were the hard parts…with 9 to 12 hours to wait ( and watch) for dough to rise and no experience in the matter we mostly winged it..with the addition of 7 YouTube videos on the subject. Ours took 10 hours before the final dough stretching. Bake in a Dutch oven and voila. work on Dutch oven size to rising pan size. We let it ride in a smaller mixing bowl and when we put it in the large Dutch oven it lost form quickly.

We will try overnight for the dough to rise next time..but the 12am properly cooled first results were surprisingly excellent. Amazing the flavor flour, water and some salt can create!


Posted by on April 20, 2020 in Construction


Shed Powers Activate!

Test window. It works!

Starting the slow conversion of the shed into a 16×12 guest room..or room. Or something like that. Grind out the window and added more support. 1 more to go in…but first some other unfinished business.

Actual support on the sides of the shed.

Added support studs to the sides of the shed. Wow. Notches in studs. Took me 4 years to get around to thinking about solving the issue and 45 minutes for us to implement. I should try thinking more often.

..and the rest of the work of the conversion. The hard part of digging 2 trenches under the shed for 16ft posts we will use to raise the structure to put on posts.

We pick away every day..2/3 of the work is done. Many new ‘rescue beds’ created too with the soil from under the shed. These beds are being used for isolation beds for perennials which have not been thriving due to space competition with other plants.

Lotsa junk under the shed too. Some actually useful.
Loki has finally started to settle into old dogdom. Spending less time chasing squirrels and more time lying by warm fires.

The work to dig under the shed is tiring and by the end of a stint we have very sore legs. Perhaps I will go lay by the fire.

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Posted by on April 18, 2020 in Construction