URBAN HOMESTEAD HAPPENINGS

RAIN & MUDSLIDES

Just a quick update of what’s been going on the past few days….On the 25th we had over 2 inches of torrential rain with extremely strong gusts of wind. The wind was very scary at times, so much so that we thought there was a chance of a small tornado. (Hadn’t rained on xmas for nearly 20 years and a few people, unfortunately, lost their lives from amassive mudslide in the local mountain area that had been burned in the fall.) 

LOOKING TO THE NEW YEAR

We all have been taking stock of the year’s progress AND failures, figuring out what we want to accomplish in ’04 and outlining new goals and deciding which projects should be tackled first (or scraped for now). Sometimes we wonder if we bit off more than we can swallow. We’ll need to rearrange our priorities, seeing if we can spend time more wisely and get things done, but not too hurriedly and sloppily. It’s a matter of being wise enough to know “when to say when.”We like to do things ourselves, bit of an independent lot we are (which isgood and bad). But it looks like we might have to ask for some help to get some of the projects accomplished – possibly ask if people would like to volunteer or assist us. We need to get through this rough patch and clear off some of the debris on the path. Just hard to find friends and acquaintances that don’t have a busy schedule too.

WATER WOES

Theguys have been busy organizing and fixing up the inside of garage and the cellar – still a ways to go. Also, they’ll soon be moving the grey water reed bed to a sunnier location, The place we had it in was too shady as a result of our neighbor’s massive pecan tree. We’ll be needing gravel and sand for that.Speaking of reclaiming water, the JD & JR arranged a packing and cleaning area in the garage for the produce and set up a plastic sink that drains into a bucket so that we can reclaim and save water there. Every little bit helps. We still need to buy some gutters to and drums to harvest rainwater and hopefully soon, with the rainy season upon us.The plumbing still isn’t fixed. We thought if we told the plumber that we’d do the work and dig the trench and so forth that all he would need to do is lay the pipe and we’d get a bit of a break. Not so. So, we are put in a bit of a predicament… hmm wonder one of the guys could take a crash course in soldering copper pipes. Saw it done on This Old House, doesn’t look hard… or so we think!

MUSHROOMS, ROUND II

On Wednesday the mushrooms arrived fromAmycel, and JC planted a few boxes in the cellar. Hopefully we’ve gain some knowledge from the last time — we had a good first flush, but then they just puttered out possibly due to over watering. If we can get that project going, would be great to gain the unused cellar as another growing space, not to mention some additional income.

MORE SOIL!

On Friday had another load of compost fromTim delivered. Can’t believe how many loads we have gotten over the year and how it’s just “disappeared.” Our soil’s beginning to get that nice dark, loamy look!

HARD FREEZE

Friday night and again last night we experienced a hard freeze (8 hrs of temps at or below 30), damaging quite a few plants and it looks like the bitter cold will unfortunately continue again tonight. Last night we all went out to cover the plants at around 10pm and already the the grass was crunchy under our feet with ice, not a good sign we thought. This morning the yard looks like tent city and JC is out with a hose trying to get the ice off before the sun rises (not helping yet air is so cold the water just freezes). Unfortunately, covering the plants didn’t seem to help as it froze the plants under cover as well. As it gets lighter, things are not looking good, many plants are black and shriveled, even the water in the birdbath is solid ice (perhaps the birdies can do a bit of ice-skating). We had been spoiled for the past few years in a row, as we didn’t have any real hard freezes – just light frosts. This is the worse we’ve seen in years!!!

STILL TO DO

Today JM and I will be trying to finish updating charts, making a chart of our electrical usage over the past few years, writing some informative papers for tour groups that’ll be coming in January, catch up on emails, finish organizing yarn and craft notions and so on.

BAD NEWS

News over the holidays has been depressing as killer weather, mad cow, earthquakes, death, destruction dominate the headlines. But there’s a lot to begrateful for!

Weather Report: Sunny day, but another cooooold night.

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