Tuesday, May 26, 2015

Some Tedious Jobs Accomplished

The herb garden is completed, wire out, seeds planted, stepping stones placed. 

Roman my big blue chow loves his photo taken.  He has already dug up my seeds twice and made a nice bed out of the soft dirt, hence the big smile on his face. . .  me, not so much.

Nasturtiums are blooming.

Thyme, dill, basil are sprouting with some zinnias and black hollyhocks thrown in for color.

I needed a little color while waiting for our painter to begin, so I decided to paint the back door into the herb garden and the potting shed window and door an orange-red.  No other windows or doors will be painted this color, the rest will be painted the same color as the walls.

Potting Shed

I still need to paint the strap hinges black.  I actually have some newly-forged strap hinges exactly like these in my Etsy shop, TinyFarmhouseSurplus.

The chosen paint color for the outside wood walls will be Benjamin Moore's "Clove Brown" which is the color I used in my sunroom.  It goes perfectly with the brick.  Our painter, Mike, aka Shaggy (there's a good reason for that nickname) has a job on his hands, though, a lot of time-consuming prep work.

Found the perfect spot for my piece of acorn ironwork.  I don't know what this "frame" was for, but it fits perfectly and is under the eave and won't get wet and rusty. 

I now am bit by bit removing ivy from the brick walls.  I started doing this while my old cat is outside enjoying the sun and I needed something to keep me occupied.  I have to keep my eye on her because my chows would terrorize her, so she gets some cat time outside while I get some ivy off the walls. This is a very tedious job!

It looks like at one time the owners actually wanted the ivy on the walls because there are a lot of metal hooks in the brick which will also have to be removed.

Some future improvements will include a new roof . . . someday.  I wish I could have it now.  I have been carrying around a sample metal shingle that I want to use, and on our way to hike I spied an old farmhouse with my roof and took some photos to show what the whole roof will eventually look like.

This is the single galvanized shingle sample I got from the roofing company.  I think it will look fantastic on this house. 

These two wooden makeshift railings out the back door into the herb garden are hideous, but needed.  I found that out with a big ice storm this winter, but I think I can eliminate the one on the left  and just have one on the right.  The brick walkway I uncovered earlier is inaccessible with this railing in the way.  

This is a new handrail found on Ebay.  I love the simplicity of it and the straight lines.  It will look so much better than the wood.  So as I continue the slow as snails renovation, I'm sure there will be many more ideas for things that I can improve on with this little money pit.  Next on the agenda is buying my roof mounts for my weathervanes and getting them up, so that will probably be my next post!

Monday, May 4, 2015

Herb Garden . . . Oh, My Aching Hands

Today my chow alarm went off at six in the morning, so I was up early and at the stables down the road by 7:30 am for much-needed manure.  I prefer to make my own dirt rather than buy it, but it takes time and lots of compost.

It's been a year since I started my first pile, which should have been three times as much because I only have a small space to plant veggies this year, and most of that has been taken up by heirloom tomatoes, which I started from seed and are now planted.  I still need to find room for corn, cucumbers and gourds.

After a couple of trips to the stables, something came over me and I decided to tackle the area outside my kitchen window which I would like to have an herb garden in and some hollyhocks, but it is covered in old ivy and layer upon layer of metal fencing.

I had thought earlier of hiring a couple of guys to rip this stuff out.  I started at 9 am and was completely exhausted by 3 pm,  so six hours for two guys at $20/hour saved me a lot of $$$!  

The ivy was grown all through the layers of wire.  I pulled, hacked, clipped and finally got it up, cut back the ivy and cleaned out the leaves, which went in my new compost pile.

I guess the previous owners felt like it was easier to stomp the old fencing into the dirt and put up new each year.  The green was on top, and you can see the rusty one underneath.

Once I got the fencing and ivy out, then I found rebar and these metal pieces that were for who knows what.  

One-half of the area cleared and ready for planting.

I put up a trellis and planted my morning glory seedlings.

I knew this would not be a good night for my hands.  I may have to wait to do the other side, we'll see how they feel in the morning.  

Down in the pasture white wild roses are blooming everywhere.

                                              The thistles are also in full bloom.