Thursday, February 28, 2013

Roosters and Night Owls

Are you a rooster or a night owl?  What about your partner in crime?  Around here we are a "mixed" family.  Mars is and has always been a morning person. Living on cattle ranches growing up had a hand in that I'm sure. I, on the other hand, am a night owl. I worked second shift for years and years. I don't know if that's the reason or that I am just naturally a night owl. 
  As most of you know, we live in a small RV out here on our little acre.  This in and of itself demands a bit of give and take.  You learn to  move differently wen you live in small places.. There isn't room for two people in the kitchen for instance.  Not even to stand with the door open on the fridge "and looking for grazing material.  You pass in the hallway by sliding sideways. Little things that, after awhile, you just do as naturally as breathing.

 I've actually learned to be a bit more patient because of living in a small space.  Things some folks take for granted like personal space are sometimes hard on folks.   One thing I think has helped us with this is our different preferences in early morning vs late night. 

Mars wakes the chickens up so they can meet the sun together I think. He likes to get up early, drink coffee and do some reading.  He is an avid reader and is a news hound as well.  This is his "quiet time" and I don't invade it. Besides.... I'd rather be sleeping at that time of the day!
 In the winter time I don't roll out of bed til about 8 o'clock, stumble to the coffee pot and then a little computer time to check emails and all ya'll blogs. (I'll never get caught up on reading all the blogs I love)  Spring and summer will have me up earlier because I'm trying to beat the heat, but not much.

We don't have a t.v. (by choice) but I'll admit that even on our budget I carve out the $$ for DVD's from Netflix every month. It's less than $2o and we've got it down to an art. We watch one movie a night 6 days a week.  That's only because mail isn't delivered on Sunday.  It actually works out pretty well because Sundays are great for good radio shows. Anyway... I digress....
Once all the daily chores are done and dinner is on the table we watch our movie of the day.  Mars will head off to bed to read awhile before he starts snoring.  That's when I have my "me time". Time to read or knit/crochet or write. Time to unwind  Quiet time.
I don't know how other folks do things but this has worked for us for almost twenty years now. Of course back then it was because our jobs called us to different hours.  These days it just is what it is and we seem to have adjusted just fine.
So here's my question.  Are you a morning person or a night owl?  What about your partner in crime? Do you have a "mixed" family or are you all on the same page? 

Sunday, February 24, 2013

The Need To Seed

I have no idea what I'm going to end up doing today.  Nothing is set in stone.  Of course there are the regular chores that need doing every day but that doesn't really count.  It is what it is.  It's to wet out in the garden right now to do anything and there's rain in the forecast again for late tonight.  Don't get me wrong, we need the rain. With the recent storms and the bit of snow and sleet, the weatherman has been hinting that we might be close to to the end of the drought. One can sure hope.  Anyway, the ground is still too wet to mess with.  That's messing with my "need to seed".

I'm starting to get antsy. Spring is around the corner and it's time  to get started getting the rows ready to plant.  The irrigation drip line needs to be laid and then I can start putting in seed.  Around here it's time to plant things like broccoli, cabbage, kolrabi, green peas, spinach, turnips, potato's, onions and lettuce.

I'd like to try my hand at growing potato's again.  Last year was the second time we've tried them.  Unfortunately, they didn't do real well but that was our fault.  They didn't get the attention they deserved and it showed in the end.  I'd really like to try again though with a different method.  I'd love to try  to grow some in tires but Mars is still adamantly against it.  He doesn't want tires "junking" up the place.  < sigh>  I think I might try growing some in some of the heavy duty feed bags I've been saving.  I'm thinking I could put a bit of soil in the bottom and use straw to cover them as they grow.  Yep, I think I'd like to try that. 

I've got some things trying to break soil in the greenhouse.  Pretty exciting, actually.  Unfortunately, tomato's aren't among them.  I had some seedlings up a couple of inches but some got stem rot, others just didn't germinate, and the few that are actually up don't look real good.  I'm sure it has to do with the temperature changes.  We are still working on that.  Mars wants to put in a couple of vents as well as try to build a mass rocket heater for it.  It's just not going to happen this season.  This year it looks like I'll be having to buy tomato's again but next year I should be able to get an early enough start to not have to do that again.  I'm just happy to have the greenhouse!

 I've been wanting to get my Mom and Sandy to come here for awhile now.  Mom's been teasing at me for the last couple of years.  Saying they were thinking about coming out this way for awhile.  This year just might be different!  I've got my fingers crossed. (and my eyes, toes and any other parts I can cross)  Rumor is that they are going to come out here around the first part of April!  And that came from Sandy so I'm really really hopeful.  It would be so great to have them here.  I haven't spent as much time as I would like to with them over the years and I'm excited beyond belief.  It would be so neat to have them close. They've been living in the mountains of Northern California for as long as I can remember so I'm not sure what they'll think about this part of Oklahoma.  I'm hoping they like it well enough to stay! 

Believe it or not there are some really cool benefits here in this state for Disabled Vets.  One of them is that Oklahoma Disabled Vets don't have to pay a sales tax.  I think that's neat.  A friend of mine here bought their new car a couple of years ago and were able to drop the sales tax on the purchase.  They don't have to pay the stupid sales tax at the grocery store either.  Sales tax on food was a new thing to me when I moved here.  In Texas they don't tax groceries. For me that was really hard. I was shell shocked at having my grocery bill suddenly increase by 10-12%.  I'm used to it now, even though I still don't think taxing food is necessary. 

Well I suppose I best find me a project for the day.  The sun is shining and it's calling me out.  I'm feeling "The Need To Seed". I think I'm up to the challenge!!

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Snow Day

What a difference a day makes!  Yesterday saw us with sunshine and close to 60.  Today we may not make it much above freezing.  OH and did I mention the snow??  I'm once again like a little kid seeing snow for the first time.  I know I've said it before but I'm still not over the "newness" of snow fall.  Shoot, this ol' Texas girl hasn't seen much snow.  And what I have seen has always disappeared pretty soon after it hit the ground.  This little storm will be over and moved on by tomorrow and the sun's promised to come out again as well.

We've been taking advantage of the good weather we've been having (until today) and getting all sorts of things done around here.  Those big stacks of pallets that have graced the front of the barn for the past few months have been re--stacked and moved to a more out of the way place.  As has what's left of the tin from building the barn and various other odds and ends, along with a woodpile.  There's still another wood pile to move but it shouldn't take too long.

We've also been working on clearing more of the underbrush and dead cedar limbs along the front of the property.  That's one of those things that we'll get finished....eventually.  I'm not in any big hurry to get that finished as I think it kind of helps keep the dust from the road cut down some.  We had a nice fire yesterday, burning some of the brush we cleared out.  We've got a couple of different places that we burn things.  The trash barrel, a burn pile for "stuff" and then we have the wood burning pile.  Mars saves the wood ash and so we are careful with that one.

Oh, another thing we got done this past week was to transplant two redbud trees.   There is a stand of them under a couple of the cedars in the front.  Since they are a native plant and free (gotta love that!) we are going to try moving several of them around the property.  Last year we tried to grow some things in that spot but it sits right next to where the old burned down house was and there is all sorts of "junk"  under the ground.   While he was digging holes for the trees new home he found the old original septic tank! Good to know that its there.  Go figure.....

I've been playing in the greenhouse this past week as well.  We're still working with the temperatures in there.  I've started all the different types of herb seed I have on hand.  There are some things I'd still like to try and grow but finances are tight and what we have will do for now.  I've got a list (imagine me with a list!) started of some of the things I'd like to try and grow.  Most I've never tried my hand at but hey, I'm good at trying new things!  I may have to try to do some seed swapping for some of the herbs I'd like to try my hand at.  Unfortunately, all the seed I have is pretty common. 

 Anyway.... I guess that's all the news that's fit to print.  Have a Super Day!

Thursday, February 14, 2013

Greenhouse Reveal

I've been putting off writing this post for several days now. Not because I don't want to share this awesomeness with you, but because Blogger is a royal PITA when it comes to uploading pictures.  And with that being said, here goes!   Are you ready for the BIG REVEAL???   Here's what Mars has been working on for the past couple of weeks or so. I

I am totally amazed at what he's been able to do with just a few dollars and lots and lots of "scrap" materials.  He shoveled up dirt  and put a "floor" in first.Used bricks were laid for the foundation.
  The bricks are from the old house that used to be here.  The wood is 97% old pallet wood and 3% other scrap wood from around the place. 
 The door frame is made from an old bed frame off a junk pile.  All the hinges, brackets, etc he made from pieces of old metal.  
 Expenses involved were pretty minimal.  A cattle panel, some screws, some tack strip, and a can of that squirty foam insulation. It was the labor that was intensive.  I'm really proud of how talented Mars is.
  The plastic sheeting was a gift from a friend. It has a high UV rating and is made for greenhouses.  It's supposed to last 4 years, but we'll have to see how that works out. There's enough plastic left on the roll to do this another 4-5 times.  Here it is going up. 
 The shelves are racks from a couple of old stoves that he cut and hung.  I don't know how well you can see it here but the shelves are hanging and are built to be adjustable.  We still need to find some more shelving but this will work for now! 
Mars has an idea for heating that I'll keep you all posted on. It has to do with a rocket mass heater and cob.  That probably won't be until after the summer garden is done though. We are getting ready to be real busy around here soon.  Still on the agenda is finding a good tarp and rigging up some hooks for it.  That way if/when it hails we can just hang it up over the greenhouse.  Also to keep the sun from doing damage to it during the summer months.  
 For those of you who were wondering why I wasn't using the baggie method for my seed starting this year....... Now ya know!  

I'm about as happy as a kitten sittin' under a leaky cow! 

Sunday, February 10, 2013

Sunday Ramblings

It's hard to believe that we are due to have one beautiful day here in Oklahoma, with much of the Northeast under tons and tons of snow.  I know it's only the 10th of February and that anything can happen with the weather.  What has been surprising to me is that we have had virtually NO SNOW this year.  One morning we got a little dusting that soon disappeared.  That and very little rain through the summer/fall have many folks in these parts worried.  The drought is still with us. Maybe, just maybe, this spring will bring the much needed rains.  

Now of course you know me, I'm going to move forward with positive thoughts.  Lots of rain this spring, a mild summer, a productive garden are just some of them.  Of course in real life things can be quite different.  We shall see!  I'm cranking up into garden mode now.  I've got some tomato seedlings coming up. Some still haven't popped up yet and I'm not sure why.  I'll give them a few more days and then start over if necessary. I've got several kinds of pepper seed in trays along with broccoli and cabbage.   I've got a feeling I'll once again be supplementing the tomato's with a few store bought plants.  My goal is that by this time next year I won't ever need to buy another garden plant again.  One can dream, right?  

Can you believe how big my "little" Coco has gotten?  See that cup-holder in the picture up there?  I used to be able to put him in there and his little head was all was showing!
We've been invited down to the neighbor's on Saturday for their oldest son's birthday. She's a wonderful cook too. They are Mexican and eat traditionally.  I'd like her to teach me how to make some of her recipes. Like her tamales (to die for I swear!)  They are really nice folks and I'm glad we have been blessed with good neighbors.  Lord knows I've had my share of bad ones over the years.  Anyway, I need your help guys.  Any idea's for a cheap inexpensive gift for a 14 yr old country boy?  

Well I'm off to start some more seed tray's and enjoy this nice day. The suns out and I want to be out with it!  I hope everyone has a wonderful day and and even better week.  Springs right around the corner, even if it doesn't feel like it yet.

Tuesday, February 5, 2013

I Made Another List

The first thing I saw yesterday morning when I signed into the Big Blue Nowhere was an email from my buddy kymber.  (Thanks Girl)


From: Kymber
Sent: February-02-13 5:03 PM
To: '

Have you seen this?



gurl – yer number 34!!! Can you believe that????


Wicked awesome congrats! Your friend,


I just love her enthusiasm!!!  It can be infectious. 

Here's a piece of trivia for you.  I've know kymber since BEFORE there was a Bacon and Eggs Blog and before there were people living out at the Framboise Manor.  Back when the American Preppers Network was first starting out I was lucky enough to "meet" her and many other folks. Although I'm no longer a contributor to the APN I will be grateful to those early members who welcomed me into the prepper world.  Shoot, I can remember kymber and I worrying so much about our first attempt at canning without blowing something up. So we decided to take a canning class "together".  And we've never looked back! 

Who would have thought that this blog would have ever grown as large as this. I started out just sort of writing about my attempts at a less expensive and yet prepared lifestyle.  This blog has morphed over the years into something all it's own.  I just want to say thanks for all you guys that have stuck by me since the start and those who are a little newer to the neighborhood. And everyone in between.   Ya'll are the best.

Anyway.... there you have it..   I've made yet ANOTHER list!  heheheheee..

Monday, February 4, 2013

Seed Starter Tray's DIY

I promised I would show you the Seed Starter trays I put together.  I'm really liking how easy to water they are too. I've got tomato's started in some of these and I have to say they are really easy to care for. Much easier to water and keep the soil moist(ish)
  First you need a styrofoam egg carton.  You'll cut the lid of the carton off and set it aside for now. It's going to become your watering tray.

Next you will need make a little hole in the bottom of each of the egg spots. I used a nail that I had heated up and sort of "melted" the holes.  Be careful not to get them too big. 
Now you want to cut one or two of those "bumps" in the middle of the egg carton.  This is where you will be watering your seedlings. I've been using a funnel to water mine and it works great.
Many of my egg cartons are made differently.  This one just has that one "high ridge" in the middle.  Some of the other ones had a bump on each side.  It really doesn't matter though. As long as you get the holes cut.
Set the piece on top of the lid you have put aside. I wrapped the whole thing in tinfoil to help it all stay together. That way if I accidentally overwater  it doesn't leak so bad.  And there you have it.  Add some dirt and your favorite seeds.  I like this because it waters the plants from the bottom and therefore its not watered unevenly. 
Once you get your seeds planted you might want to cover it with some saran wrap.  It will help create a good atmosphere for them.  

So there it is.  My new seed starter trays.  Now I just need to find some more egg cartons!