Monday, April 25, 2016

A Post About Posts!

The vegetable garden comes closer to fruition each weekend. The latest step completed was the installation of the fence posts. Scott and Carl made quick work of digging the holes and placing the poles - and by mid-afternoon, all 22 were in place.
Scott and Carl each had a post hole digger so the race was on! 
Recent rain showers softened the ground a bit which made it a little easier (albeit slightly messier) to dig the holes.
Scott devised a very high tech way to ensure each hole was 18 inches deep; he made a notch on a stick and used it to measure the depth.
Yep! This one's deep enough. 
For some reason, you have to slam the pole into the hole . . . you just can't place it.
Once the pole was in place, some of the dirt was shoveled in . . .
 . . . and then tamped down with the end of a shovel. Thanks for another full day of hard work, Dad!
Here's a view of the fence (yes, that's a fence - not a frontier stockade) at lunchtime. All the posts were in place by about 3PM. It became pretty evident that they were not consistent in height. In order to create a fence tall enough to keep the deer from leaping over, each post needed to be extended to 7.5 feet high.
After considering screwing on skinny cedar branches, Scott chose to utilize 4-foot lengths of steel rebar (leftovers from the wedding bar tables.) He created a "story pole" by attaching a screw to a scrap 2x2x8 at the 7.5 ft. mark. With this as our guide, we were able to attach a piece of rebar to each post and end up with the top of each piece at the same height - so no matter how tall the cedar post is, the top of the fence will be consistent all the way around.
Each piece of rebar was attached by using two 3/8" conduit clips - little "C"-shaped metal pieces that were easily screwed to the cedar. We finished this task Monday (the 25th) evening - and we bought all the welded wire fencing and chicken wire Sunday . . . so we are really ready to finish the fence! Let's see if the weather cooperates this week.
Stay Tuned for Our Next Adventure!

Photos Reveal Bibbers' Past

Scott spoke to our neighbor-to-the-north, Jim, last week about Rocket - the new outdoor cat that hangs around the stoop. The focus of the conversation naturally turned to Bibbers (of course - what conversation doesn't?) Jim mentioned that he remembered Bibbers as a kitten, knew his mommy and litter mates - and even had photos! He was kind enough to stop by on Saturday and share copies.
Bibbers was the only orange kitten of his beautiful calico mommy. Jim told us that Bibbers (or "Garfield" as he called him) is the last survivor of the family. He also confirmed that Bibbers is around 8 years old (a few years older than we assumed.)
Yep! That's Bibbers! What a sweet baby! 
We adopted Leo at 8 months old and Wilson at 7 years old . . . so to get to see photos of one of our boys as a little kitten is quite a treat. 
Stay Tuned for Our Next Adventure!

Sunday, April 17, 2016

Garden Beds Filled; Fence Now Needed

With some pretty nice weather and two nice helpers, the vegetable garden made good progress this weekend. It began with an early morning top soil delivery Friday. Scott arranged for the Yard Market to deliver late in the day but true to form with most contractors, they chose to make us their day's first stop. 
It was a beautiful morning to take delivery of 10 Yards of top soil/compost mix!
The dirt was dumped close to the corn crib and within easy totin' distance to the beds.
The pile didn't look that big but I'll let you guess if we had any soil leftover by the end of the weekend.
After I got home from work, I got busy with the task of lining each bed with two layers of landscaping fabric to block the grass and weeds from growing. The roll on the right was leftover from a project at Grant Street. We kept it all these years "just in case" of course.
I used the staple gun to attach the fabric to the inside of each log. Each layer was secured with two rows of staples.
Wilson gave the first bed a drive-by inspection and seemed "OK" with my effort. Thanks, Wilson!
Not to be outdone by Wilson, Leo got a good look at my stapling from inside the bed.
For the second layer of fabric, I used the newly-purchased 6-foot wide roll. Easy!
By the time Scott got home (3 hours later,) I had two beds lined and a really sore stapling hand. Having wind gusts of over 20 mph didn't make it easier - but I was pretty proud of working hard all by myself with just the kitties to keep me company.
Saturday morning, Scott reinforced the lining with some of the plastic-capped nails used when the contractors wrapped the house addition. There were literally hundreds of these nails dropped all around the building site so we made sure to pick them all up and store them away "just in case." The plastic caps will help prevent the lining from tearing.
Marita was the chief rake operator and helped coordinate who was dumping soil into what area of the bed. Thank you, Mama!
Carl was an excellent shovel operator and brought his own wheelbarrow - gotta love a man with his own tools. Thank you, Dad!
The boys kept the wheelbarrows moving (I was pitching in on the shoveling side.)
After all four beds were full of soil, Scott started laying out the location of the fence posts. We realized then that we were two posts shy of proper spacing.
Luckily, we have no shortage of cedars in need of harvesting! We made quick work of two trees and had the posts we needed.
The happy crew (minus the photographer) at the end of the shoveling portion of the day. 
Next step:  build a fence. 
Then:  buy veggies!
Stay Tuned for Our Next Adventure!

Sunday, April 10, 2016

Vegetable Garden Progress: Beds Are Made

Over the past few weeks, we have made some pretty good progress on the new vegetable garden. Four log-based raised beds are now ready to be filled with topsoil.

On Sunday, March 28 (after a one-day rain delay), nephew Pete plus Carl & Marita spent a sunny afternoon helping put logs in place. In addition to all of the cedars that we harvested, Scott decided to utilize some of the pine from our log stockpile. Luckily, the Ranger and Pete were on hand to wrangle these huge logs up to the garden site.

Marita was in charge of entertaining Bibbers.

Taking a cue from Lincoln Logs, Scott decided to fit the logs together by notching each end.
He tried using a hatchet and axe but the chainsaw proved to be the most efficient tool. 
 Once each log was notched, the short end was lifted into place.
Ta Da!
This is one of two beds created with the large pine logs. I think they resemble the chassis of Fred Flinstone's car but I'm sure they'll do a great job of corralling veggies.
Fast forward two weeks and pine bed number two was constructed. The Farm Boss got a new blade and a new chain so made quick work of the log notching.
It's not all about Scott and his chainsaw...here's my foot, holding the log steady as he cut another notch. Good job, Kristin!
The other two beds are constructed of cedar logs. Since these logs are smaller in diameter than the big pine logs, each side of the cedar bed is comprised of two stacked logs.
Each "layer" of cedar is secured in the corner with a deck screw for extra stability.
Once the two layers of cedar were in place, Scott trimmed any excess off the corners.
And there you have it! Four raised beds ready for landscaping cloth and top soil and - oh yes - plants! We hope to have the soil in next weekend, then turn our attention to building a fence prior to planting. No need to supply salad for every deer and bunny in northern Douglas County!
Stay Tuned for Our Next Adventure!

Saturday, March 19, 2016

High Tech Improvements

Even though today was a Saturday and we have a garden to build, the weather didn't cooperate. No one wants to be outside when it's 37-degrees with snow then sun then wind then snow then clouds then sun. So it was the perfect day to stay inside and finalize the set-up of our new computers. We ordered identical all-in-one Dell computers that have tons of storage and fast processors - enough to last us at least another eight years. I spent a lot of time today just moving photos from my old computer to the new one; can you believe that my file of noTTafarm photos has over 17,000 images?
I was able to keep my old monitor and link it to the new computer so I can use two monitors at once. This is what I've been used to at work for years, so it's nice to have the same amenity at home. I can work twice as fast!

Side note: did you know noTTafarm has a Facebook page? If you'd like to see some stuff I don't post on the blog, just "like" noTTafarm and follow along.
Guess who hung out with us in the office? That's right - our former barn cat, Bibbers! He even convinced us to bring the fancy ottoman in from the library so he could sit right next to Scott's desk. What a pal!
Stay Tuned for Our Next Adventure!

Day Trip to GBAT

noTTafarm-based projects were put on hold Saturday, March 12 so we could take a quick trip west. Scott hung out with my dad in Kearney while Mom, niece Chelsie and I continued on to North Platte. Our destination? Grain Bin Antique Town! This new-to-us antique dealer is situated about 4 miles south of I-80 in cattle country, high on a ridge with a beautiful view of cedar-lined canyons. The owners have rebuilt 20 small granaries on the site, connected by a boardwalk.  Each bin is chock full of fun finds.
G.B.A.T. is definitely worth a trip west if only for the scenery! Check out info on their web site: 
I always think of my sister when I see skunks. Aren't these cute? I didn't end up making any purchases but Mom and Chelsie found some wonderful things.
The site also has a large metal shed which houses their office and more retail space. Beautiful!
Our long day ended back home at noTTafarm by 11PM so Sunday's gray and cold weather didn't encourage much activity. A late afternoon walk led to an hour or so of picking up sticks - always the best way to end a weekend.
Stay Tuned for Our Next Adventure!

Unsolved Mystery

When we were deep in the effort of cutting down cedar trees a couple of weeks ago, we couldn't help but notice two dead deer near the trail at the bottom of the west slope. They were laying about 15 feet apart. We couldn't tell how they died - whether they were shot and wondered onto our property or if a pack of coyotes took them. I know . . . it was quite upsetting! But since it was pretty apparent that something had eaten a major portion of each, and you never know when a mountain lion is lurking nearby, Scott set up the trail camera nearby to capture the action.

The first effort was pretty unsuccessful. The camera was so far from the deer that the motion sensor only captured about 10 photos over a 4-day span. We did, however, get a few curious deer taking selfies.
Since the carcasses had been moved, we knew someone had visited. Scott set the camera up just a few feet from one set of remains and hoped for a better result.
The camera might have been too close this time but even with the over-exposed photo, it was obvious that a coyote visited.
Hopefully, the coyotes and other scavengers will do their job quickly, leaving mother nature just a little bit of break-down to do. In the meantime, visitors may want to take walks on the trail's short loop.
Stay Tuned for Our Next Adventure!