Saturday, November 28, 2009

Seasons Greetings from Deerfield

The Annual Louisville Christmas Parade is a chance for residents to shine up the tractors, hook up a wagon and party down.

The lighted reindeer on front of our John Deere moved its head back and forth as it led the way. All decorations came from Big Lots, of course.

We had a dozen friends and family in our wagon today throwing candy to the masses. Granddaughter Keaton wore her antlers like a trooper.

Friday, November 20, 2009

Fruit tree inventory

This week I bedded down the apple and pear trees for the winter by doing a little pruning, putting on a new layer of mulch and spraying the trees with Fung oil. The trees seem to be doing OK with healthy looking branches.

On April 11 I told you about the two Early Richmond cherry trees I had planted. I’m republishing the photo here. I’m sad to report that one of the trees didn’t make it. If you look at the photo, you will see that the tree on the left looks the healthiest. Looks can be deceiving. That’s the tree that withered and died.

I’ll plant another cherry by April 11 of next year. Hope springs eternal in the heart of man.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Appalachian spraying contraption

Commercial sprayers that work off of a tractor's PTO (power take off) can cost $500 or more. I cobbled this one together for around $75. It involves a small pump that attaches to the PTO. All the connections and hoses are items found in any hardware store. The 55-gallon drum is a piece of salvage.

Actually, the sprayer is more powerful than I need. I'm considering taking it to the farm auction to see what I can get for it. I have down-sized plans for my fruit trees. After all, how many bushels of apples and pears do we need?

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Inside wood storage that works well

One of the things we liked about our Deerfield home when we bought it was all of the little cubbyholes and built-ins spotted throughout the house.

One interesting feature was storage for firewood near the stove in the breakfast room. It was handy to keep a few logs right across from the stove. The only problem was that our Boston terrier, Nelly, never met a log she didn't like to chew on. She would leave a path of bark and splinters throughout the house. Also, the storage spot always looked messy after a load of firewood was used.

I solved the problem by building what is actually a large drawer for the firewood. The drawer is 27 inches wide, 20 inches deep and 19 inches tall. It has a front on it that matches the arch in the wood box. I used heavy duty drawer ball-bearing drawer slides.

I bring in the wood in a heavy canvas wood carrier that we bought on a trip to Amish Country in Ohio. The carrier fits nicely into the drawer which rolls out easily with a full load of wood.

Nelly is the only member of the household that doesn't appreciate our new contraption.

Friday, November 13, 2009

First average killing frost -- NOT

On Aug. 19 I calculated the first average killing frost for my area by going to the website of the National Climate Data Center. The date I came up with was Nov. 12, yesterday.

Although we have had at least two nights as low as 31 degrees, we have not had a true killing frost for which 28 degrees seems to be the magic number.

Impatiens (above photo) are a sure-fire measure of a killing frost. The bright blooms fold up and drop off with the first hard freeze. These are probably not long for this world.

Sunday, November 8, 2009

Varmints to the rescue

While raking leaves in the front yard, I noticed a hole about the size of a basketball under the split-rail fence. Closer inspection told me it was a huge yellow jacket nest that had been devoured by a varmint, probably either a raccoon or a skunk. The larvae sacks were strewn about around the hole.

I have seen yellow jacket ground nests in the woods, and have even had the misfortune to rile up a nest and get multiple stings, but I've never had one this close to the house.

Yellow jacket nests mature in the fall, and that's when the skunks and raccoons go after them. More power to the varmints. I don't mind them stealing our bird seed if they keep the yellow jackets away.

Friday, November 6, 2009

Happiness is a full woodshed

After three long days of cutting, splitting and stacking, our woodshed is full for the first time.

I tried to note the amount and type of wood I was cutting, so here is my best guess (in descending order): locust, poplar, walnut, hackberry, wild cherry, sweet gum and hickory. I probably missed one or two.

It hurt to cut and split the beautiful walnut and cherry. I felt like I was hacking up my grandmother's dining room table, but these were trees that had succumbed to the elements.

Bring on the cold weather.

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

A place in the sun

On cold mornings when I don't build a fire in the breakfast room stove, Willie and Nelly search the house for a spot of sunshine. They found one here in an upstairs bedroom. Nelly likes to use Willie as a pillow.

Monday, November 2, 2009

Green, green grass of home

Twenty four days ago on Oct. 10 I posted a photo of an area surrounding our lower garden that I planted with grass seed. I told you I was going to revisit the patch of dirt to see how the seed took.

As you can see from the above photo, what was once a patch of red clay is now green grass. It didn't hurt that we've had about five inches of rain in the last three weeks.

The fescue will be spindly and living on the edge until next spring. I hope it makes it through the winter without too much damage. It it makes it, I'm sure I'll be complaining about all the extra mowing.